For those who may not be familiar with the subject matter, the Worst Case Scenario books compile a variety of facts related to different life-threatening situations into handy pocket-sized paperbacks that can be found in almost any book or gift store for about $15. While some of the facts contained in these books are legitimately useful, such as the ones related to first aid, a significant number of them, such as how best to jump through a plate-glass window or jump out of a speeding car, are too obscure or outrageous to be considered anything but useless trivia for anyone whose life isn't as action-packed and as dangerous as an action movie. The Worst Case Scenario: Survival Trivia Challenge is Activision Value's attempt to capitalize on the book series' success with a standard, and reasonably enjoyable, trivia game based on facts related to life-threatening situations.
In many ways, the subject matter contained in the books is ideally suited for use in a trivia game. The trivia is both entertaining and concise and converts easily into multiple-choice question format. The game is built to mimic a TV game show and also resembles Jellyvision's You Don't Know Jack trivia games. Each match includes a 10-question trivia round followed by a seven-question challenge round. Each question is given a time limit, so every game you play is limited to about 10 minutes. The trivia round selects a random question, and if you answer the question correctly, you receive a random number of points. In the hotseat multiplayer mode, the first player to buzz in and select the correct answer receives the points for the question. The challenge mode includes seven questions all based on the same subject, such as runaway camels or jumping off bridges. Each correct answer will add 1500 additional points to the value of the next question, while an incorrect answer will drop the value of the next question to the base 1000-point level.
Even for a trivia game, The Worst Case Scenario is simple. The format for the questions never varies, and aside from the questions, the game holds no surprises. You can play the quick 10-question game without the challenge round, or a full game, or you can play against friends on the same computer, which makes the game slightly more exciting. The top 10 scores are recorded on the Hall of Fame list, and other than that, the only reason you would play the game more than once is to see more survival trivia.
The animated introduction and finale sequences do a decent job of setting a game show mood, and the background music and announcer's voice match that mood well. While each question doesn't have its own audio clip, there is enough variety in the voice clips to keep each game fresh, at least for a little while. The visual presentation of the questions is clean and easy to read, and the background drawings and diagrams for the questions make the information feel like it came straight out of a 1960s Boy Scout handbook. The game is also nearly bug-free, although there are some minor problems with matching the correct and incorrect audio clips in the challenge mode.
Overall, the real appeal of the game rests entirely on the subject matter. Survival trivia is an entertaining theme that is a good addition to the available trivia games, and as an added bonus, a small portion of the information could occasionally be useful. The Worst Case Scenario: Survival Trivia Challenge is easy to learn and play, and it will entertain you for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. The game has a lot of questions, many of which are ridiculous enough to coax a smile from most players. So if you haven't read the books--or if you have read them and are looking for more--The Worst Case Scenario: Survival Trivia Challenge can be worth picking up.