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reviews >> ps2

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SCEI
Year Released: 2000
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Visuals 8
Solid backgrounds with some great firework effects.
Audio 7.75
The music isn't terrible, and effects are great, but the voice work really doesn't get you excited for clearing big combos and chains.
Gameplay 8.5
The design takes some getting used to, but it's a pretty fun puzzler. I just wish there were more stages..
Replay Value 7.5
There's only eight stages, but there are some modes offered to kill the time.
Reviewer's Impression 8
The video sequences offers some camp value, and the gameplay is different from other puzzlers, but the lack of length hurts this one.
Overall 8
It's quirky, fun and different. If you've passed by this one before, give it a shot, it won't cost you much.

Yes, it may be over five years too late (currently it's April 2006), but here's a review for the first game released for the PS2 by Sony. Perhaps you've seen this one on the shelves before and never had an interest in playing it. You probably don't even know what the hell the game is about. Fanatvision, at it's core, is a puzzle game with fireworks. The goal is to clear simlar colored flares to create big chains and combos for a high score. But even though the game is fairly straightforward, the game has a fairly whacked-out presentation that really has to make you wonder what the developers were on when they made this game.

Upon loading the game, you'll get an opening video of a little girl sitting on a box, getting a delivery from a mailman that looks like he may have helped stock brokers jump out the window on the market crash of 1929. Then it cuts to a family in some 1950's setting playing the game. So you think the odd video ends there, right? Oh no. Every two stages, you get even more bizarre video sequences with children (although I doubt kids that age could grasp the gameplay in this game). If you're one of those people who enjoy the "weird" in games, you might get a kick out of the video. But what about the gameplay? I did mention it was a puzzle game, but is it any fun?

Fantavision does seem a little overwhelming at first (luckily, there are tutorials), mainly because the control takes some getting used to. Using the left analog stick, you can use a cursor to select flares. If you can match three similar colors, you can make the flare explode. But why stop at three? The developers created a way to make chains and large combos to really push your score up. Things flow fine, until you reach a rather abrupt end. The game only has 8 stages, and you can complete the game in 20 minutes. While there is a harder difficulty and combo attack modes, it would have been nice if Fanatvision had a more "endless" expereince, like Tetris. It's still fun to pick up and play time after time, but it's not a very lasting experience.

Visually, Fanatvision has a pretty simple look, but it looks pretty good. The fireworks look great, and the environments are pretty sharp. But I have a gripe about the environments given: why are only two stages set on Earth, while the rest is set in space? It would have been better to just have realisitc cities in the background rather than fling you out into space (also, how could fireworks delploy in space?). The sound isn't too bad, either. The music is odd, but not highly irritating. The effects are excellent, but a little more variety in firework effects would have been great. Plus, why didn't the developers stick with the female voice rather than the 10th grade biology teacher they gave us here? I noticed an odd problem when it comes to digital output: Fanatvision flat out doesn't support it. You can only hear the game through a standard audio hook-up rather than an optical one.

Final Thought

If you're looking for a puzzle game on the PS2 (or any system, seeing how the genre isn't that popular anymore), Fantavision isn't a bad way to go. It would have been nice if there were more stages, or if there was an endless mode, but it's not a bad little game to hunt down. It is a bit of a lost treasure on the PS2, and it's very cheap and easy to find used somewhere.