Since its debut over eighteen months ago the Buzz! series has been something of a spectacular success in Australia and Europe. For the price of a new title gamers get a game and a set of four USB buzzers which plug into the PlayStation 2. Each Buzz! title is themed and the players use the four buzzers to answer questions in a game show style format. It's a simple concept that's extremely easy to pick up and incredibly difficult to put down. Buzz! The Mega Quiz is a general knowledge quiz with several categories, new game types and new characters, but has Buzz! still got that magic touch or is it a case of going a question too far?
Those who have played a Buzz! title before will feel instantly at home with Mega Quiz. From the main menu you can select either multiplayer, single, team, quickfire or Quiz Master. The game now lets you choose from three difficulty levels (which is sensational for children) and once again you can select either a quick game, a regular game or you can customise your game. Mega Quiz! also allows up to eight players to take part in a round, so if you've got more than four people in your family and pick up another set of buzzers everyone can play. Those who are interested in characters will be pleased to know there is a wide range of returning characters and new additions, such as a mime and a woman warrior.
What makes Mega Quiz! so enjoyable is the actual rounds. Relentless Software has removed just about all of the rounds from the previous games and added in plenty of fantastic round types. The fastest finger and point stealer round types have returned, but that's all. Point picker is the first round type that kicks the game off. Each player takes turns choosing a category (such as sport, celebrities, TV, bizarre and general knowledge) and all the players have to answer questions based on the category. The winner stays on round type requires players to select an answer with the winner staying on until the end of a sequence or until the rest of the players are eliminated. The pie fight round lets you throw a pie at your opponent if you get an answer correct and the globetrotter round takes you around the world answering questions. One of the most creative round types is the top rank round. In top rank you need to order a sequence of words or events using the four buttons.
The final round has been given an overhaul for the better. At the end of the point stealer round Buzz! takes all of your points and converts them into time. Every player is assigned a certain amount of time, so the person with the highest score will have the most amount of time. Buzz! then keeps asking questions, getting an answer correct and first will net you extra time. Getting an answer correct will mean you don't lose time but getting an answer incorrect will lose you time. Soon enough players will run out of time and it's the end of the game. The final countdown round is simply brilliant, because it makes the final part of the game exciting and actually gives everybody a chance. It also feels like a good ending to the game.
Not everything is a success though, Relentless Software has added a mystery games round. During this round Buzz! will challenge you to a mystery game, such as following a card on a table or shooting down ducks by pushing the right coloured buttons. Some of these mystery games are enjoyable and fair, whereas others just simply feel pointless and gimmicky. One such round is a challenge where you have to select which horse will win in a race. Each player selects a horse and the winner receives 1000 points. You don't need to answer questions correctly to get your horse over the line you just need to be lucky. These challenges would be good fun if they didn't feel so unfair, but giving 1000 points to a player for randomly selecting a horse is nonsensical. The mystery games round is only a minor annoyance though and the rest of the round types are highly enjoyable.
Question repetition has always been a little annoying in the Buzz! games but by saving your data to a memory card you'll be able to minimise the amount of times you'll see the same question. There are over 5000 questions in the game featuring 100 celebrity photos, fifty pop videos, twenty sporting clips, ten blockbuster movie clips and nature clips and television footage.
Buzz! has a few new lines but they will become a little grating over time. The music questions can be a little difficult because the songs haven't been licensed. Graphically the game looks much the same as the previous titles, though Buzz's studio has had a makeover. In terms of the lifespan, Mega Quiz isn't a title you'll drag out to play with yourself but when friends are over it's a guaranteed success. Mega Quiz also hands out awards at the end of the game (such as slowest responder and most correct answers) which is a nice little addition.
Buzz!: The Mega Quiz is the best Buzz! title yet. With a variety of question types, better rounds, more characters and three difficulty levels all our complaints about the previous titles have been eradicated. Just about anyone who plays Buzz!: The Mega Quiz will thoroughly enjoy it. It's suitable for families and a lot of fun. A highly recommended game.