Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Crossing board games over to the video game world hasn’t always been the recipe for success. Sure, it can sometimes provide a serviceable game, but it usually produces a rather bland product that doesn’t provide the same fun, exciting atmosphere of a real board game. Plus it tries to eliminate the place where all the important action takes place, the board. Luckily, Scene It: Lights, Camera, Action is far more successful than its predecessors in making the conversion.

OK, the reason Scene It has made the transition is pretty simple. It never was a true board game as the guts of the game were on the television. People played this game for the movie clips, not necessarily to see who could get across the board first.

For those concerned with winning the game, it now uses a scoring system. Points are earned for correct answers (and sometimes deducted for incorrect ones) based on the amount of time the user takes to answer. Less time means more points. You can also earn bonus points at the end of a round for achievements such as quickest correct answer, three correct answers in a row, running a category, etc.

There are three playing options: short play, long play and party play. In short play, contestants play three rounds, with three puzzle types per round. In long play, the rounds expand to five puzzle types. In each format, a final round (appropriately called “Final Cut”) wraps things up, kind of like Final Jeopardy without the wagers. Party Play is basically a non-stop series of movie trivia that doesn’t stop until you return to the menu screen.

There are many puzzle types and all are simple and easy to play:

Anagrams – Unscramble the movie titles.
Child’s Play – Figure out movie titles from a childlike drawing of a famous scene.
Credit Roll – Name the movie based on selected credits from that title.
Distorted Reality – Photo of an actor, actress or movie slowly forms.
Invisibles – Guess a movie by looking at a photo of a scene where the actors have been erased.
Montages – Watch a montage of footage and guess the movie.
Movie Clip – Watch a film clip, then answer questions about it.
Now Playing – Guess a movie by identifying its gradually forming poster.
Pictograms – Figure out the movie or actor by putting together the clues.
Pop Culture – Answer questions about the subject.
Props – Guess a movie title by looking at a prop from the film.
Quotables – Fill in the blanks to finish a movie quote.
Rising Stars – Identify the actor/actress shown in the pictures.
Sequentials – Arrange the movie titles in order of release.
Sketches – A sketch representing a movie gradually appears.
Songs, Slogans, and Sayings – Name the film associated with the song, slogan or saying.
Soundclips – Listen to a clip from a movie, and then answer the questions.
Star Trailers – Guess the actor or character based on provided clues.
Take 3 – Guess the movie, actor or character based on three clues.
Visual Puzzlers – Look at four movie photos and guess the title.
What’s Missing? – Figure out what has been removed from the picture.

In order to answer questions about the categories, participants will use one of four buzzers that come with the game. Sure, you can also use regular controllers, but why? Each buzzer has the A, B, X and Y buttons lined up in a row on the base of the controller. They also have the standard Xbox Guide, Select and Start buttons. But, more importantly, each comes with a big button at the top, leading to the name “Big Button Pad.” Some questions allow for all teams to answer, while others require teams to buzz in first in order to have a chance to answer.

Is Scene It perfect? No, it has its flaws. Screenlife could have spent more time tending to things like not having the option to disable things like the bonus points, questions that can be tough to read and the overused “You Don’t Know Jack” commentator approach. But, in the whole scheme of things, these are minor detractors and don’t eliminate the fun from the game. One major issue is the number of questions. With only 1,800 currently available in the game, the need for expansion packs is evident. Otherwise the snazzy new controllers will wind up as paperweights.

GAMEPLAY: The game has a quick pace and provides the excitement of the original Scene It games. 1,800 seem like a lot, but are a relatively small number for those big on movie trivia. Without future trivia expansion packs, the longevity of this game will be very limited. The Big Button Pad is a nice addition and adds to the enjoyment of the game.

GRAPHICS: Adequate, but do they really need to be great? The majority of clues use authentic clips or pictures, so graphics don’t really play a big role. When they do, they are done well enough to not be a drawback. It does need to be noted that some of the questions can be difficult to read. Main Menu has an option for adjusting video.

SOUND: It might be time for trivia games to lose the “You Don’t Know Jack” approach, or at least alter it enough so you don’t feel like you’re playing “YDKJ.” Otherwise, the audio is just fine. The Main Menu has an option for tweaking audio.

EXTRAS: No Live support, inability to adjust rules or other main gameplay options…really no extras to speak of.

GRADE: 79% (Future expansion packs could boost this rating.)

This title has a Teen rating, but seems suitable for most gamers. Parents may take issue with a clip or two, for whatever reason, so they should supervise and make decisions based on each family's preferences.

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