I wish my couch could fly.
I mean, think about it. You’re on your couch, chillin’ out with your buddies, but suddenly you run out of beer. You can’t just sit around and play your movie trivia game sober. Otherwise, your cousin’s girlfriend might start winning. However, getting off the couch demands actual physical movement, and going to the store requires your absence in the living room—a perfect opportunity for your cousin’s girlfriend to go snooping around your room to find embarrassing baby pictures.
So what do you do? Board everyone into the couch and fly to the local Wegmans! You grab a fine 24-pack of Heineken, and before you can be stopped for ID, you’re back into the gentle night’s air and, soon enough, back in the safety of your living room, pouring the drinks down your cousin’s girlfriend’s throat until she believes that Steve Carrell played The Joker in The Dark Knight.
Scene It? Box Office Smash is the follow-up to last year’s 360 installment of the usually DVD-based series. Like in the previous game, players compete for points by answering trivia questions about the film industry and the people involved in it, all with the help of that beautiful big-button controller that is truly the apple in thine eye. This edition of the game adds in plenty of new questions, as well as new modes and question types to keep the action fresh.
One of the more noticeable additions is the inclusion of Avatars into the game’s interface. They’re put to good use here, appearing in many places throughout the game and given some slap-happy animations to mimic how your game is going. It’s nice to see Rare’s handiwork in obscure places, and the Avatars add a layer of personality that the first game severely lacked. The announcers—the voices from the movie trailers—are a huge step up from the director in the last game, and actually do come up with some rather funny lines. It’s not the best voice acting (and the recent death of one of the homaged voices hurts), but it’s passable work. The game actually looks like a full retail title, unlike the shoddy XBLA-like presentation we received in the first game.
The main game itself has received a wonderful upgrade; you actually now have options to play with. You can set it so you’ll never lose points for wrong answers, a great touch for younger players, or those who simply don’t know that much about movies. It also makes the game move faster, now that you don’t have to wait for the timer to run out on the questions you don’t know. You can also disable buzz-in questions on puzzles, allowing all players to throw an answer in and view the answers at all times. A solo game mode has been added, which takes one player through several question categories to obtain the highest score possible. Correct-answer streaks award point multipliers, so to do well, you’ve got to be really consistent. Xbox Live play has also been added in, and, as of this publishing, there are plenty of people around with whom to learn exactly who directed Cool Runnings.
New question types are a nice touch, although all question types from the first game also make a return. Big props to the developers for changing the Sequentials game (in which you have to identify the order in which four movies were released) so that you have unlimited guesses until time runs out, and there’s no penalty for wrong guesses. A standout new type shows 8-bit renditions of key scenes in movies. There is truly nothing better than observing “THIS IS SPARTA” in full NES glory. Movie clips are plentiful, with scenes from Shrek; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Ghostbusters; Bride of Chucky; Airplane!; and so many other classics populating the disk. The on-disc questions will last you a long while; there are over 1,800 out of the box. A stream of DLC for the title is also in the pipeline, with one expansion called “Award Winners” now available for $6. The game also gives you the option of playing with the DLC only, which is a nice touch.
And if you care, yes: The game, like its predecessor, is Achievement City. You will easily start racking up the game’s points after a few sessions. There are some challenging ones this time, and the DLC adds another 250 points based on the DLC questions. If you’re looking to have more money when gamerpoints becomes the official currency of the future kingdom of Microsoftia, this is the game you want.
Scene It? Box Office Smash is another great party title to throw in after a long night of Halo 3, Rock Band 2, and whatever else you occupy your Friday nights with. It’s also once again that game that your cousin’s non-gamer girlfriend will be able to beat you at. (How the HELL does someone who doesn’t play games get that good at Mario Kart Wii?)
Casual gamers will flock to this game, and that’s not a bad thing. The presentation is much better than in the original, the gameplay is still refreshing, and you get to pull out those sexy, sleek, and oh, so masculine big-button controllers to display for the world to see.
Yeah, I would totally replace my genitals with a BBC. Don’t fucking judge me.