The Scene It? line of games may have started life as a DVD video-based table-top experience, but the series has made a solid transition to the console space. In many ways, it was a perfect match, as the Xbox 360 could better keep track of used questions, and the use of video clips was much more seamless than constantly pressing buttons on a DVD remote. The latest installment promises more of the same, but ends up feeling a little thin around the edges.
Xbox 360 gamers got their first taste of the franchise with Scene It? Lights, Camera Action, but the game really came into its own with the second entry, Scene It? Box Office Smash!. The third major console version, Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! was the first multiplatform entry, though it didn't fare well.
Scene It? Movie Night: Mega Movies maintains the core formula of the previous Scene It? video games. Questions are presented in various categories, with each one focusing on a specific actor or movie. Sometimes the questions follow a movie clip, though they don't always relate exactly to what you'll see on-screen. For example, you might see a clip of two actors riding in a car talking about their daughter. Then, one of the questions that pops up may ask you to name the actor who plays the unseen daughter. In this case, you need to know the movie from the outset. It's a good way to do things, as it helps ensure that the questions aren't too straightforward.
Movie selection is focused mostly on big-name, big-budget hits, so chances are good that you will at least be familiar with the films. Some of the movies that popped up during our play time included the new "Star Trek" and "Fright Night" as well as "American Beauty" and "A Few Good Men."
Categories run the gamut, but include favorites from past Scene It? games. Some of the puzzle types include Pixel Flix (a movie scene plays out with 8-bit graphics), Invisibles (you view a still frame with something missing), Sequentials (you have to put movies in the order of release) and Quotables (you complete a famous quote). The game wraps up with the Quick Pitch round. Here, wrong answers cost you points, so it's very easy for a player to come from behind if one of the leaders makes a misstep.
Games in Movie Night: Mega Movies are kept relatively short, clocking in at around 10 to 15 minutes. This compares to the 30 to 45 minutes per game that you would spend with one of the disc-based installments. Because each game consists of six rounds, plus Quick Pitch for the seventh and final round, with the exception of Movie Clip, you will not get every question type every time you play. This helps keep things fresh since the experience does vary.
As is typical with past Scene It? games, the video quality for movie clips is quite good. A handful of clips appear to be sourced from standard definition footage, but even those look good when scaled up to HD, with minimal artifacting. Unfortunately, the surrounding presentation isn't as exciting. Unlike Box Office Smash!, which used the Xbox 360 avatars to create animated interludes, the user interface in Movie Night: Mega Movies is functional, but bare. Even the menus are square and straightforward, without any sort of flair. Your player identifier is nothing more than a blob of color on the screen.
Online multiplayer has also been removed, so don't plan on snagging this unless you have some local buddies for competition. Playing by yourself is doable, if not a bit boring. Half the fun of the Scene It? games has always been the competition, so a group is almost a necessity.
If you happen to own one of the two previous Xbox 360 releases, Movie Night: Mega Movies has support for the Big Button controllers included with those games. If not, it also functions well with a set of standard controllers. Oddly enough, it is those older games that offer the greatest competition to Movie Night: Mega Movies.
Ultimately, Scene It? Movie Night: Mega Movies offers up a competent Scene It? experience at a budget price. If you're a Scene It? veteran, your 800 Microsoft points ($10 USD) basically get you a stand-alone DLC pack with new questions and movie clips. It may not be flashy, but it's more than functional. If you're new to the franchise, however, you're probably better off keeping an eye on Amazon, where the Box Office Smash! bundle (with Big Button controllers) can often be had for less than $15.
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