Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Crash Bandicoot Fusion

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre Image          OK, so I’m going to be honest for a minute now – I HATE Crash. Having an immense amount of love for my little palm-top-games-console, I thought that by bringing the two together I may be able to forge some ever-lasting bond between myself and the orange Bandicoot, but then, I’m probably a bit passed developing any new friendships, seeing how I view the Game Boy Advance platform market as Mario, Sonic, Kirby and the “me-too!” titles… not much originality on offer then.

            At first play I was actually very impressed with the quality of the title. The graphics and sound are both at least on par with the average big-name Game Boy Advance titles such as Tomb Raider and Spider-Man 2 and the level design seems fairly solid. However, first plays are often misleading and, upon digging beyond the surface, the title show’s its true colours. Throwing you straight into some side-scrolling platform action makes you believe that the majority of the title will consist of increasingly difficult platform sections, with the occasional mini-games thrown in for added value. However, as you progress through the title it becomes apparent that the gameplay emphasis is on the mini-games, with the platform sections acting as little more than a HUB.

            As the mini-games are the main feature of the title, the platforming sections of the game soon prove themselves to be incredibly uninspiring and repetitive. Towards the end of the game, the title will even prove to you itself that the platform sections are pretty much pointless, and the game would have faired far better with a Wario Ware Inc. style interface and increasingly difficult platform levels as additional mini-games. The title features a variety of mini-games, about 20-odd in total. Most of the mini-games are basic, boring button-bashers that will see you rushing through them as quickly as possible to unlock the better games. Games such as Sheep Patrol are pleasing distractions, but most of the better games have been ripped straight from either Crash Bash on the PSone or older titles such as Space Invaders.

            In addition to the usual Story Mode, you have the options to play the mini-games you have unlocked, various multi-player options and the ability to view your Trading Cards. Trading Cards are collected throughout the game. There are 100 Crash Cards in total, and 100 Spyro Cards. All the cards vary in rarity, and are obtainable by exploring the platform sections, winning mini-games, beating bosses or gambling Wumpa Fruit. Only a limited amount of Spyro Cards are available in Crash Bandicoot Fusion, and the rest must be traded with a player with a copy of Spyro Fusion. These Trading Cards do add a nice bit a of variety to the title, allowing additional characters in the mini-game mode and other hidden features, and for me became the only reason to play the game through to completion (other than for writing this review, of course!).

            As I said earlier, the graphics the title sports are in no way bad. The game seems to have taken a little inspiration from Donkey Kong Country in the way of its slickly-drawn character models, but the animation on the minor characters and the majority of the enemies is poor at best. During the mini-games the graphics remain pleasing on the whole, but vary drastically from remarkable to shameful for each component. The sound, as seems the norm these days, follows suit with the graphics, being neither outstanding nor detestable from start to finish… although hearing Crash squeal often brought a dark, foreboding grin to my face…

            The title shows plenty of signs of clever Game Boy Advance development, but is let down heavily by the lack of any really gripping single player options, and a once-in-a-while multi-player affair. I can’t help but feel that at least 70% of the title’s development was spent in pre-production, deciding exactly what type of game it should be and the interesting features that could go along with it, as opposed to actually developing a game.

            So, now we find ourselves wondering, does this title make the irritating, denim-wearing orange runt any more appealing? No. Not by a long-shot. But what it does do is pique your interest as to what exactly Coktel could’ve done with the title, had they not been restricted by time-schedules and existing characters, possibly increasing your hatred, limiting what otherwise could’ve been a landmark title.








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