If the last twenty years of video game history has proven anything, it's that nearly every toy, commercial or movie can be turned into a lame interactive experience. Who would have thought that we would see a game based on the 7up Spot, the Domino's Pizza Noid, or Burger King's King? Yet we've had all of those games plus dozens of other terrible licensed products based on properties that should not have been turned into console titles. Having said that, I would actually argue that the Incredible Crash Dummies could make for a great video game ... unfortunately this Master System title is not their finest hour.
The Incredible Crash Dummies is based on a line of toys developed by Tyco Toys back in the late 1980s. Those of us old enough to remember the first Bush administration will no doubt remember the popular (and questionably effective) crash test dummy public service announcements, which were intended to get people to wear their safety belts. This game is not actually connected to those slapstick public service announcements; rather it is based on the toys which were only modeled after the TV and magazine commercials. Whether or not this actually matters is purely academic, as most people that are going to play this game now probably won't even remember these commercials. Either way, this is a game that had a lot of potential but just couldn't get its focus together long enough to be worth playing.
Believe it or not, this Sega Master System game is actually a lot better than its 16-bit counterparts. On the Genesis and Super NES The Incredible Crash Dummies was nothing more than a 2D side scroller, but on the Master System (not to mention the Game Gear and Game Boy) the game is a series of mini-games that almost always end with you crashing and falling into a bunch of different parts. This means that you will be driving, skiing, jumping off buildings, piloting spaceships and all sorts of other crazy tasks all in the name of public safety.
These mini-games aren't very long, often lasting less than a minute. While games like Wario Wares have proven that short mini-games can be a lot of fun, The Incredible Crash Dummies is marred by a severe lack of games to play. You can beat this game in less than 15 minutes once you've figured out how to beat each of the levels. What's worse, the controls are always changing and are often not very responsive. In the first few levels this isn't a problem, but after around level four you'll find that the game becomes punishing.
Being an 8-bit game based on a licensed toy line you shouldn't expect much from the graphics. This game looks like an afterthought from Acclaim, it features repeating sprites and unremarkable animations. Some of the graphics don't even look like what they are supposed to be, such as the level where you're in a car trying to crash. But really, when the game's controls are this bad it's hard to complain too much about the graphics. It would be like complaining about the shag carpeting when your house is burning down.
I doubt there were too many people out there desperately trying to find The Incredible Crash Dummies on the Master System, but if you were one of those lost souls checking eBay every day then do yourself a favor and just buy a hammer and hit yourself over the head repeatedly. That's about as much fun as you'll have playing this poorly conceived 8-bit Master System game. And really, it's a whole lot less painful than this "interactive" experience.