Videogame puberty is a stressful and distressing time for all concerned. Those franchises that were once innocent, carefree and unchallenging suddenly start talking in a deeper voice and growing hair where previously no hair had been. They start mouthing off, staying out to all hours and playing that loud rap music. It’s an effort to get them to respond to even the simplest of control inputs and they’re moody and angst-ridden beyond all proportion.
We all rolled our eyes when mascots like Jak & Daxter and The Prince of Persia began noticing girls and experimenting with alcohol; we all slumped in despair when a generation of young franchises adopted GTA as a role model and started hanging around with those disreputable free-roaming environments that all the papers were talking about.
But in amongst all the foul language and unwashed clothes we may have overlooked a little game called Fuzion Frenzy, that was cruelly led astray by its older brothers and became an unsung casualty of a desolate decade of decadance.
Fuzion Frenzy was a simple game; all it wanted was to be a collection of high-energy minigames. It tried to be equally suitable for both small children and their older siblings, but ended up suitable for no-one. It longed to be loved like a toy, but instead it was loved like a loose woman. One cold December morning, it came face-to-face with a pair of drug-crazed beat-em-ups, who lured it into the old junkyard across the train tracks and locked it inside the airtight refrigerator of “attitude”.
Police were never able to determine what Fuzion Frenzy had looked like while alive; all they had to go by was the remains of its mutilated corpse. Its once innocent minigames had been transposed onto a gritty urban future, where high-impact rave DJs fought to the death for the entertainment of the masses. Its childlike sense of wonder had been drowned forever beneath a wave of low-quality hip-hop and atmospheric lighting. Sassy avatars talked trash to each other as they ground their opponents beneath their Reebok-shod feet, and where once the gameplay was accessible and understandable it was now a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in sarcasm and illiteracy. A unique and beautiful flower had been trampled beneath the boots of market-testing until it was little more than a cheap, grunge-ridden “party game” for up to four players.
A child lost in an adult’s world, it appears that Fuzion Frenzy tried to do for minigame collections what Wipeout did for high speed racing, but instead it did for minigame collections what Mark David Chapman did for the Beatles. Thanks to the Xbox Originals program this alleged classic is now available for download directly to your 360 at a budget price, but you need to be aware that the horribly desecrated cadaver of this game may be far too disturbing for some viewers. Approach with caution.