Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon have been popular ever since games featuring the two mascots first appeared on the original PlayStation console. Vivendi Universal has had the rights to both characters for a while, so it was only a matter of time before someone at the company came up with the idea to pair them together in a crossover of some sort. That crossover has finally achieved fruition as two separate games--Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage and Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy. They're both side-scrolling action games, and the story is basically the same in each (Ripto and Cortex have joined forces to try to get rid of Spyro and Crash once and for all). Besides the abilities that the characters in each game possess, the biggest difference between the two is that one (Spyro) is geared toward novice players while the other (Crash) is geared toward seasoned players. On its own, there really isn't enough to Spyro Orange to keep players interested for very long.
Most of the action in Spyro Orange happens in the minigames contained within each level.
Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy is very different from the previous Spyro games that have been published on the GBA. There are five worlds. Each world consists of two main levels, which are set up like a typical side-scroller, so Spyro can jump, double-jump, float for a short period, and perform a fire-breath attack that burns enemies to a crisp. Within each world, there are five minigames situated behind locked portals. These portals open up once you collect the indicated number of gems, and then you need to finish all five minigames to make it to the boss at the end of the world. There isn't much more to it than that, which is why this game is best suited for novice or younger players. The three previous Spyro games were set up so that Spyro acquired new attacks as the game went on. They also used the isometric viewpoint, which, besides giving the games a vivid 3D look, allowed players to cut loose with Spyro's flying ability. Spyro Orange isn't as involved, so it probably won't appeal to seasoned players.
The minigames in Spyro Orange are OK, but they're nowhere near as interesting or as intricate as the minigames in Crash Purple. There also aren't as many of them (six as opposed to more than a dozen). The best of the bunch is a side-scrolling shooter that puts Spyro into the cockpit of a giant walking robot. The robot can fire rockets and switch from walking on the floor to walking upside-down on the ceiling--similar to the old NES game Metal Storm. Other minigames include a Breakout-style pinball game (that's also in Crash Purple), various games where you have to mash the A button to yank an obstacle out of the way, and a pair of scrolling spaceship shoot-'em ups (one horizontal and one vertical) where you need to shoot stationary enemies and dodge obstacles until you reach the gateway at the end.