The year is 2188 and intergalactic travel is still not possible - so don't get any clever ideas about warping the space time continuum or eating melange, OK? It's *just not on*!
Man *has* managed to cope with the problems of suspended animation enough to travel about the galaxy, but any further than that and there are medical problems involved (shhh!) Even most small ships are fitted with systems to allow interstellar travel, right down to the tiny Trang class fighters.
You, Captain Gherheart Bloowd III, are the pilot of one of these fighters, known as the "Flayer", and are on your way home at the end of a reconnaisance mission when a message comes in on your autocom. The computer wakes you up when the message is received, printing up the text onto a screen:
The galaxy is under threat and only you in your very small Trang class fighter can save us...
The rest disappears in a stream of garbled code. Your computer manages to locate the source of the signal and automatically programs the co-ordinates into your navi-computer.
All is quiet when you reach the planet, so you begin to explore. Eventually you find a carving on a wall, prophesying the coming doom, along with the way to overcome the disastrous alien assault. You must search the planet in your Trang fighter and land assault craft in search of the bomb parts needed to blow up the alien base. Once all the pieces have been found, you must return to the first layer and activate the bomb icon.
Access to some grid sections and other layers of the base is gained by tripping certain switches set into the ground, each switch activating its own function. Other icons include the bomb parts themselves, extra ship functions (like shields or improved firepower) and a save game option.
All this seems easy enough, until the enemy detect your presence and launch Rotating Plasmo Spheres, Homing Missiles, Nitromice, UHOs (Unidentified Hovering Objects) and Ergonomic Eruptors at you. At this point you realise that it's not going to be as easy as you thought... But then, nothing ever is, is it?
There are only two words for this game: fab 'n fridd! The amount and variety of colour and the use made of it is superb - something which the screenshots on this page don't fully show.
The only thing that lets down the graphics is the scrolling, which is a little jerky - but the atmosphere generated by the punchy soundtrack and relentless waves of aliens is ace!
The inertial control method is a bit awkward too at first - but once you've got the hang of it, just fly around and blast the baddies to bits! It's such an unusual game that I'd fully recommend you check it out.
The demo copy of Fusion arrived a while ago, without any fuss at all. In fact, I didn't know what the hell it was until it loaded. Now we have the finished game, I can safely say that Electronic Arts have a really good product on their hands.
The graphics are brilliant, the sprites are nicely drawn and coloured, scrolling over strange and atmospheric backgrounds. The sound is just as brill (God, did I *really* use that word? Blimey! I must be turning into Gordon!), sounding a bit like early Human League.
At first, the game tends to be a little confusing, making you ask "Where the hell *am* I?" but you soon get drawn into looking for the switches and bomb pieces and the question becomes "Have I *really* been playing that long?"
Bullfrog Productions have certainly learned how to use the Amiga. I mean great music, beautiful graphics... they boys have got a *future*!
I must say for a start that Fusion looks absolutely wonderful! The colouring of both sprites and backdrops is incredible and the shading is so good you could almost pick the ships off the screen.
The scrolling could have been a little smoother, however, as it's a little bit bitty as it stands (or moves, as it were... never mind).
The gameplay is still frenetic, though, helped in no small degree by the stern, futuristic soundtrack that plays throughout. Initially the switches seem to be a bit far apart, requiring you to travel for miles in your slow-moving assault vehicle, but once you get used to the routes, the distance doesn't seem as far and you become more involved in blasting aliens to care.
Fusion is a good game, that's all there is to it. It's not a brilliant game, just very good.
No real options and an unnecessarily confusing number system.
Wonderful sprites and scenery, but bumpy scrolling.
Few spot effects but a brilliant synth-pop type tune.
Initially difficult to wrap your head around...
...but devilishly addictive afterwards.
A high quality shoot-'em-up and an impressive debut from Bullfrog Productions. Keep it up guys (and gals?).