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Crash Bandicoot Fusion Game Boy Advance

Published by Vivendi Universal Games
Developed by Vicarious Visions
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99

One of the stranger decisions in the gaming world, for me, was the decision to make Crash Bandicoot a multi platform game after he was originally supposed to be a mascot for Sony. Crash Bandicoot was one of my favourite games on the PlayStation and even when the game was completed, I'd still go back and play on levels already completed because I enjoyed them that much (Hog Wild was my favourite level). In recent times though Crash has appeared on almost all of the main platforms with the exception of the PC. On the Game Boy Advance though the games have been particularly good and we were very impressed with Crash Bandicoot XS (also by Vicarious Visions) as it captured the feel of the first Crash Bandicoot game on the PlayStation.

Crash Bandicoot Fusion is slightly different from the Crash Bandicoot games that have gone before. While the platforming elements from the previous games are very much in place there is more of an emphasis on mini-games this time around. As you probably already know the story of the game is also intertwined with the simultaneously released Spyro Fusion. The story of each game contains both Crash and Spyro (and their respective rivals). The main difference being that Crash Bandicoot Fusion lets you play the story from Crash's perspective whilst Spyro Fusion lets you play from Spyro's perspective. Dr. Neo Cortex and Ripto have teamed up to try and improve their chances of once again attempting to take over the universe. To complicate matters they've disguised their minions as purple dragons. Crash has to find his friend Spyro in order to stop these two evil-doers.

The game is comprised of three modes. Story mode is the main part of the game but there is also a Party mode where the mini-games can be played either alone or when linked to another GBA (single-pak and multi-pak games are available and the game links with either another Crash Bandicoot Fusion or Spyro Fusion). There is also a Trading mode which allows you to link up with other gamers and trade the cards that you've collected in Story mode. The game comes with three save slots (saves are made automatically during a game), which is great news if you have a few children who like to play as it means you don't have to buy them a game each.

Story mode is where most gamers will spend their time though and it's here you'll get to experience the traditional Crash Bandicoot game play. If you've played a Crash Bandicoot game before you'll know what to expect. The game is played from a side-on perspective and Crash will have to jump, double jump and spin to repel the ever appearing enemies. All the items from previous Crash Bandicoot games are here such as Aku Aku, TNT crates, Arrow crates, Mystery crates and Wumpa fruit etc. Should Crash get killed he'll simply appear at his last checkpoint so there's never too much backtracking to be done which helps avoid frustration. The platform elements of the game are up to scratch and won't disappoint fans of the Crash Bandicoot series.

The mini-games are a mixed bag to be honest and range from blowing up sheep with rockets to sailing down the river on an inflatable ring. There are some enjoyable mini-games here but some are too easy and slightly tedious to be honest. You'll need to play them in the Story mode though as they enable you to collect the various crystals you need to progress in the game. As we've already mentioned you'll collect various trading cards in the game and you'll need to collect every one in order to fully complete the game. Cards can be traded with a friend if you wish and you'll need to trade with someone who has Spyro Fusion in order to have a complete set. Some cards can unlock mini-games and rare characters but unfortunately they serve no other purpose. Had a trading card game been included it would have made the collection of the cards much more compelling. Turning on the GBA and holding down the L & R buttons will load up a Spyro Party game which requires you to press the buttons in the correct sequence. The game is actually quite enjoyable and it's a nice bonus to include.

Graphically the game is on a par with the previous Game Boy Advance Crash Bandicoot games. What I really like about the Crash Bandicoot games on the GBA is how well proportioned they are. I've played other platform games on the GBA and the characters are either too small or too large but the characters in the Crash Bandicoot games are just right. Although Crash Bandicoot Fusion and Spyro Fusion have been developed simultaneously, Crash Bandicoot Fusion appears to be slightly more detailed although to be honest both games look good.

There are no problems for deaf gamers with Crash Bandicoot Fusion. The game story is told exclusively via text so you'll have no problems in following what's going on. Each mini-game has it's own rules and set of controls and these are all displayed in text before the game starts so again you'll know exactly what to do. The rather bulky manual contains only 20 pages of English text but it manages to include everything you could wish to know about the game so there's no complaints here either.

Crash Bandicoot Fusion is a game all Crash Bandicoot fans will enjoy. Some may be deterred by the heavy chunk of mini-games that appear in the game but there is still enough of the traditional Crash Bandicoot platforming elements to keep you happy. Out of the two games I personally prefer Crash Bandicoot Fusion. It's difficult to say why but it just seems to be more enjoyable than Spyro Fusion and I found myself wanting to play the game more. All things considered I didn't enjoy the game as much as Crash Bandicoot XS but I feel it's a game that Crash Bandicoot fans will appreciate.

Overall Game Rating: 7.1/10
Another enjoyable GBA Crash Bandicoot title. Not as good as Crash Bandicoot XS but it's enjoyable nevertheless.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers as all information is shown in text.