Each quiz section pretty much follows the classic multiple choice format: check the question, then press the coloured button corresponding to your answer. You’ll get points for getting answers right, and additional points for answering early. After the first round, however, you can also lose points for answering incorrectly. On top of this, a little update at the end of each round sees bonus points distributed for the fastest correct answer, answering three correct in a row or even answering incorrectly but slowly, amongst others. These awards are soon followed up by plaudits for the winners and jibes for the losers, and then it’s onto the next round of quiz sections. At the end, the points are all totted up and one lucky winner gets the red carpet treatment. Frankly, it’s a waste, as if they’re anything like me they’ll be too busy dancing around the room.
The presentation is slick in the cool but minimal style of a Guitar Hero or an Eyetoy game, and the nearest the game gets to eye-candy are the short animations that bridge the gaps between quiz sections and the gorgeous HD movie clips that turn up in rounds from time to time. I’m not really sure the movie-making framing structure works – the attempts to locate quiz sections within particular departments are pretty tangential at best – but at least the game doesn’t waste too much of your time with repetitive scenes or pointless links. The only thing that makes a game like this entertaining is what happens in the rounds themselves.
And the good news is that it’s all rather spiffing. For a start, there’s plenty of variety. Some rounds ask you to answer questions about a movie clip, but in others you might be trying to work out a title from a childish drawing or name an actor from an old high school photo. Others still demand that you arrange a series of linked movies in chronological order or work out a title from a series of baffling anagrams. In some sections the first player to buzz in gets to answer and everyone else is frozen out unless they get it wrong, but in most everyone gets a chance and the game reveals the right choice only when all players have made their selection. It’s fun and very inclusive, and the cinematic theme is a natural for the multimedia playback capabilities of your handy games machine.
The questions themselves, meanwhile, are testing without being too obscure. If you rarely go to the cinema and never rent or buy a DVD you might struggle. Conversely, should you study film and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of classic Hollywood cinema, then you might have an unfair advantage. If however, you’re just the sort of guy or gal who picks up Empire or Total Film from time to time, then your strike rate should be neither too high nor too low.
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