Gary Eng Walk
February 07, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

(Microsoft; Xbox 360; Everyone)
Every collection of mini-games — from WarioWare to Monkey Ball — seems to have a unifying story that ties all the breezy diversions together. And in most cases, you can completely ignore any weak attempts at a plot. That said, Fusion Frenzy 2‘s shtick will most likely make you forget the tasks at hand and give you a migraine within minutes.

FF2 is fashioned as an intergalactic game show that pits you against three other players competing in a series of American Gladiator-like contests. Sounds harmless enough, but the tournament is presided over by a creepy, pompous emcee who might just be the most irritating game-show host of all time (and yes, we’re including Louie Anderson on Family Feud). There’s just no escaping from the guy — he talks before, during, and after each contest — and repeats the same lines of commentary over…and over…and over again. As party entertainment, the mini-games themselves aren’t terrible — our favorites include Turbine Jumping (you jog around a rotating platform and try not to get clotheslined by laser beams) and Cool Your Jets (dousing errant fireballs with your water cannon, while suspended over pools of lava). But stuff like this can be found on Xbox Live Arcade (available for download at a fraction of FF2‘s cost) and can be just as much fun. And they don’t have annoying emcees. C-

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