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Jimmy Neutron Jet Fusion - GBA - Review

Regardless of your age, it's almost guaranteed that you've heard of Jimmy Neutron.  As you know he is a boy genius.  His inventions are created using typical household equipment (such as a toaster), and the results – although a little crazy sometimes – give reason for his classmates to be envious.

What happens when one of his inventions screws up?  You get another story!  In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Jet Fusion, you play as none other than Jimmy himself.  His robotic dog sidekick, Goddard, is there to help you in the same way that Ratchet's robotic sidekick helped him in Ratchet & Clank.

What players will embark on is a side-scrolling adventure.  There aren't any recent action/adventure titles that the game can be compared to, but if you remember Bubsy, Jet Fusion's controls will feel very similar.  If you've never heard of Bubsy, then imagine Super Mario Bros. with a control scheme that isn't jump-heavy.  It's about as fast, but doesn't have a run button, and your attacks consist of utilities and projectiles, not head-hopping.  That's Jimmy Neutron.  His utilities come in the form of four weapon types: Sonic Resonator, H20 Inhibitor, Gum Ball Blaster, and Micro Discharger.

The first weapon handed to Jimmy is the Sonic Resonator.  Contrary to popular belief, this weapon is not a recurring sound of a certain blue hedgehog.  In actuality, it is an enemy-stunning weapon that makes them disappear.  It doesn't kill them – there is no killing in this game.  But it does eliminate the threat.  The Sonic Resonator can be fired repeatedly just by holding down the weapon fire button (B).  You cab run while firing, and you can aim straight up or diagonally to get those hard-to-reach enemies.  It's a small, but noteworthy ability.

Jet Fusion is not an open-book game.  You can't just run through, defeat the enemies and call yourself a winner.  There's more backtracking than you'd expect for a 2D side-scroller.  You'll encounter several restricted areas, including some that are covered in lava.  I'm sure Jimmy knows that people have walked on ho coals before, but there's no way you're getting him to cross that lava path!  Unless you have the H20 Inhibitor.  With this utility you can cool the lava and cross the blocked area.  You can also defeat certain kinds of enemies with this utility.

Gum Ball Blaster.  This one just begs to be taken away by the teacher.  Yep, if Jimmy isn't careful, that would definitely happen.  Of course, he's trapped in some mysterious book world, so he doesn't really have to worry about that right now.

What the Gum Ball Blaster does is enable Jimmy to create a gummy surface to climb on.  Now there's a twist you didn't see coming!  It can also be used as a weapon against enemies, and it also includes a handy auto-fire feature that is activated whenever the B button is pressed and held.

The last of the weapons listed, the Micro Discharger, is the only true projectile weapon.  It's not a gun-like contraption, just a small discharger that Jimmy can throw at enemies.  Because of the versatility one has when throwing something, Micro Dischargers can reach areas that Jimmy's other weapons cannot.  For example, you can throw it over walls.  The reason for doing this?  You'll just have to wait and see.

The utility replenish items are labeled as projectiles, so don't be misled into thinking that there is some other kind of weapon in this game.  There are water containers to refill the H20 Inhibitor and gum balls for your Gum Ball Blaster, but that's it.

Goddard, the famous robotic dog, could serve as an inspiration for Sony to create something that goes above and beyond Aibo.  Once a specific item has been acquired, Goddard will turn into a handy helicopter that allows Jimmy to jump over wide gaps and glide for a short period of time.  After that Goddard can transform into an aqua mobile, giving the boy genius additional help.  It makes sense.  He is the one who created him, after all.

The levels were constructed in a basic, but functional manner.  There's stairs, platforms, and thus the game involves a lot of going up and down in each area.  You can't play that Pachinko mini-game yet, so go back down and explore the area you skipped.  You've already explored that area, so look around until you find an area to explore that hasn't already been covered.  That's what this game is like.  It's not that difficult to find your way around, so parents shouldn't be worried that the game is going to be too difficult for the kids.  Considering the target audience, Jet Fusion is moderately challenging, which is good because no gamer likes to have a free ride.  If you want things easy, that's what cheat codes are for!

Reviewer's Scoring Details


Gameplay: 7
A shooter action/adventure for kids?  Who would have thought?  I know I wouldn't have.  But the developers of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Jet Fusion have apparently paid close attention to the high-quality games us "big kids" (tens and adults) like.

 

At first the game seems really simple, but the hard-to-predict-at-first enemy patterns make death a much more likely occurrence than you would have ever expected.  You've got to learn to aim the weapon according to each enemy situation.  That's why the game allows you to shoot diagonally.

 

Some enemies run head on, others jump in a zigzag pattern, and become more involved as the game goes on.  Normally this would be a piece of cake, but I was pleased to find that it was not.  I found myself getting trampled by while running up or down a hill.  The reason?  I was running.  You have to have a little patience.  Not a lot, so don't be afraid kids!  It's still a video game! :)

 

This somewhat surprising challenge kept me on my toes and is ultimately what made the game fun for me.  Overall it's simplistic fun, but there are a few twists in there that should surprise you, especially if you're a kid with a limited amount of gaming experience.

Graphics: 6
Simple but colorful.  These aren't the most detailed characters in the world, but Jimmy Neutron isn't exactly the most detailed movie either.  The movie has some impressive CG, but it's very cartoony in comparison to Monsters, Inc.  The game reflects that cartoony image but it still could have looked better.

Sound: 5
Semi-annoying music and typical GBA sound effects.  What can you do?  That's what most GBA games have.  I can only hope that the sound aspect receives more attention when the PSP is released.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
I wouldn't compare the game's difficulty to the toughest world in Mario 3 or anything like that, but for a kid's game Jet Fusion is fairly challenging.

Concept: 6
What this game does it does well.  However, it doesn't really do anything that hasn't been done before.  It would be a shame to not have any similar games just because everyone wanted to create innovation, but it would have been nice to see at least one new gameplay mechanic explored here.

Overall: 6.9
This is the game that Jimmy Neutron fans should get.  It may not be in the third dimension, but it's so much more entertaining than its PlayStation 2 counterpart.  Even non-fans should enjoy it.  That alone should tell you how good this game is.  Now it would be crazy for every adult gamer to run out and buy this game.  But if you're a kid or a kid at heart, you can't go wrong with Jet Fusion.

Above Average

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