At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Dave Wickham Gameboy Advance Vivendi Universal Games Vicarious Visions 1-2 Here
Requirements Buy from Amazon.co.uk
A copy of Crash Bandicoot Fusion, a link cable, and another GBA to do everything. Click here to buy Spyro Fusion.

Spyro Fusion review

Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon have been two popular game series since their separate PlayStation debuts in 1996 and 1998, respectively. So, what could be better than merging the two together? Well, anything more enjoyable than poking your eyeballs out with a lit sparkler, then rinsing them off with a certain purple-coloured household cleaner before playing squash with them in a room with spiked walls.

OK, so it's not quite as bad as that, but Spyro Fusion (known as Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy in the US) is a truly uninspired, monotonous game. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a member of it's target audience, so maybe kids love it; who knows?

Spyro Fusion starts off looking quite promising; you are flung into a platform-style environment, with five different mini-games to complete to be able to progress to the next area. The minigames are playable, and though they're not bad enough to make you fall asleep, they're not great. With all the minigames completed, you head on to the next area, to find another five minigames to complete. This is where Spyro Fusion begins to tire. The minigames on this level are - you guessed it - mostly very slightly modified versions of the ones you played in the previous area. For the sake of completeness, the list is:

  • Generic Side-Scrolling Driving - the screen moves, and you have to keep up with it, avoiding pits, mines, and other assorted dangers.
  • Generic Side-Scrolling Shooter - think of games like Zero Wing, just with less action and more annoying paths to crash into.
  • Destroy The Other Guy's Bridge And Make Him Fall Down - hard to give this one a name, but basically you're both high up on opposing sides of a chasm, and you're on your own very weak bridges. The objective is to destroy the other guy's bridge whilst he's standing on it. Luckily this one's very easy (stand in one spot and press fire constantly), so it doesn't last long enough to get frustrating.
  • Generic Vertically Scrolling Shooter - "Hey, wait, didn't we cover this earlier?" I hear you ask. Nope, Spyro Fusion offers both kinds of shooters - vertically and horizontally scrolling. In a similar manner to the side-scrolling shooter, think of Major Stryker, but boring.
  • Arkanoid/Space Invaders Mixture - the one minigame I looked forward to (but even then after several plays started to get boring). This crosses Arkanoid- and Space Invaders-style gameplay to produce a game where you attempt to hit moving monsters with balls.
  • Side-scrolling Walking/Shooting - another slightly interesting one, this puts you in a mechanical magnetic suit which can walk on the floor or the ceiling, and makes you avoid various hazards.
  • Assorted Simple Minigames - normally consist of pressing A rapidly so as to complete some goal.

Thankfully at least the end-of-area bosses tend to be a bit less repetitive, offering you a bit of an incentive to complete the areas, but after that it's back to the previous levels of boredom.

Right, if that sounds boring already, you've not seen half of it. Imagine the scene: you've just endured several areas of playing through these minigames, and finally come to something that looks like the end...only to be told that you have to go back and complete every single minigame twice more. To be fair, the minigames do increase in difficulty each time, but this does nothing to alleviate the boredom. I'm not quite sure who it was who thought that this is a good idea, but whoever it is, they were wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

The minigames do make up the majority of the game's focus, but there are also "Trading Cards" to be picked up. These come from various sources; completing minigames, buying them, finding them lying around, winning them in games of chance, and via the good old Pokémon method of linking up with a Crash Bandicoot Fusion owner. They don't appear to actually be useful for anything; much like trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee, they're just there as something to collect.

There are some multiplayer games available if you can track down someone who owns Crash Bandicoot Fusion; these are basically multiplayer versions of the minigames that bored you to death during single player. On a completely un-related note, oddly enough, one of the more fun games within Spyro Fusion (a Beatmania-style mode called "Crash Party") is hidden away - the only way to access it is by holding down L and R at startup.

It's a shame that Spyro Fusion gets so boring so quickly. The graphics aren't terrible, audio is a little repetitive, but not enough to become annoying, and the control mechanism is easy. The game is technically good, but the repetition kills all the fun that was to be had.

Ratings

Graphics Fairly decent; not ultra high quality, but above average. 7/10
Gameplay It would be fun if it weren't for the repetition and simplicity. 3/10
Value Maybe this is great for kids; I wouldn't know. If, as an adult or teen you buy this, you're likely to feel ripped off. 4/10
Lifespan Well, if you count doing every minigame 3 times as increasing lifespan, it has pretty good lifespan. I, however, don't. 3/10
Audio Above average, but the music can become repetitive after a while. Much like the minigames. 7/10
Overall As mentioned above, Spyro Fusion has the potential to be fun, but kills it with such a huge amount of repetition. However, the score probably isn't totally fair, given that I'm approaching it from an adult's perspective, and it's aimed at kids. Just something to bear in mind. 3/10

Click here to buy Spyro Fusion from Amazon.co.uk.

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