Although Powerdrome was supposed to precede it, recent delays have meant that Fusion surfaces as E.A.'s first release developed entirely by U.K. artists. And the team that brought you Enlightenment - Druid II have brought with them much of the look of that game. However there's not a magician in sight here - we're talking serious annihilation as you try and construct and then detonate a bomb.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Despite an action window only a little over half the height of the screen, and uneven parallax scrolling, Fusion's graphics are nevertheless finely crafted and feature probably the best contoured landscapes you'll see. Each level is a mix of elevations and plains through which you can glimpse slower scrolling pools of latticed colour threads. Throw in the sleekly animated enemy sprites and you have a rich variety of terrains composed with great care and attention to detail. Full eight way movement completes a very pretty picture.
Sound is confined to an ever-present background score, which tends to detract from the graphics at hand, and the usual kind of spot effects of lasers and explosions.
You begin Fusion in an Assault Crawler, a slow moving ground vehicle which you direct along the causeways of a richly textured landscape on a search for your mother-ship, which is concealed by a cloaking device. This brings you face to face with the five types of enemy hiding beneath silos and bunkers; blue rotating plasma spheres, grey cruise missiles, orange-eyed nitro mice, purple ergonomic disrupters and blue-edged hovering saucers emerge to work in unison against you.
Once you're in its immediate vicinity your mother-ship materialises and you're able to board it. The aim is to locate the nine disparate parts of a bomb distributed among the thirteen alien levels, collect and return them to the first level for construction.
Finding the parts is one thing - actually collecting them is quite another. There are a number of different coloured switches which when activated allow access to grid areas and other levels otherwise protected by force-fields and spheroids. To collect a key you must land your ship near it on a piece of open flat ground - a feature hard to find near anything useful - and leave the ship in your crawler to pick the key up. To make matters worse, some keys are located in areas protected by other switches so the puzzle element of the game involves determining the correct sequence of switches to activate.
To help you out in the face of prolonged physical assault are special feature icons which will provide you with bonuses such as extra shield energy, increased firepower and defensive force-field. There are also 'Save Game' icons to be found, usually next to inter-level exits where you may resume a game at a future date.
Insidiously addictive, Fusion delivers a finely weighted mix of arcade and strategy elements combining to present a series of logical puzzles. Add this to the great graphics on show and you have a game deserving to be bought. Let's hope it doesn't bomb.
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