Inside Pulse 12

Review: Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly

Spyro Enter The Dragonfly

System: Sony Playstation 2

Genre: Action Platform

Release: November, 2002

Sony had two major mascots during the lifespan of the first Playstation. While Crash Bandicoot was the more recognizable mascot character, Spyro The Dragon carved out quite a niche for himself as well, with three beautiful, enjoyable adventures that catered to the younger crowd but played so well that seasoned gamers could enjoy them as well.

But, like Crash before him, Spyro is being handled by a new set of programmers in his second console generation, and just as the Bandicoot was shoveled into a mediocre product bereft of graphic or gameplay improvements, Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly

Gameplay

The Spyro series was never known for complicated gameplay, and the latest version does nothing to change that perception. All of Spyro’s moves are present from past games, including the ability to glide short distances, charge using his horns and breathe fire or other power ups. The controls are largely responsive and intuitive, but also don’t add anything extra special like varying degrees of jumps with the analog buttons.

In terms of new gameplay, Spyro has a couple new breathe powerups, and has the ability to climb certain walls. In addition, there are some new mini games in which Spyro can tanks, planes, UFOs and a vehicle called the Mantaray. Also there are some dance game elements that have Spyro follow along in a Simon Says fashion. Rather than seeming like new innovative elements added to the series, they all seem like continuations of previous features, and

Most of the game is still consists of Spyro gliding around, killing enemies, solving simple puzzles to earn dragonflies and collecting gems.

In his PS1 adventures, Spyro’s controls were tight and responsive. However, in the latest PS2 version, Spyro responds sluggishly at times, and the overall game seems to move at a slower speed than previous Spyro games, and especially slow when compared with modern games like Ty The Tasmanian Tiger or Ratchet and Clank

The load time between levels is incredibly high, like those in Crash Bandicoot’s latest PS2 game. Some levels have ridiculous waits of nearly 30 seconds.

Incredibly, the game actually crashes once in a while, losing all progress since the last save and necessitating a restart. How this kind of glitch was not caught in testing is further proof of the ‘shovelware’ nature of this game.

Graphics

The PS1 Spyro games had a more sparse look, with simple environments that stressed size and a deep horizon rather than a detailed world. At the time, the graphics looked great, and really stood out on the system.

For whatever reason, the developers of the PS2 version of Spyro did little or nothing to improve the graphics of the game for the next generation. The character model for Spyro has some new textures, but overall the game looks almost identical to its predecessors. In fact, there are small graphic glitches that might be acceptable for a super fast, super detailed engine, but for such a simple game, polygon seems and random lines though enemies are just not acceptable.

Sound

Surprisingly, the sound in Spyro is top notch, but that’s again more of a carryover from the previous games. Former Police-band member Stewart Copeland penned the soundtrack, which is enjoyable and fitting of the Spyro universe.

In addition, the voice acting is top notch, with unique and interesting voices for all characters, and an ample amount of it. The story might be very similar to other platform and even Spyro games, but the voice acting and differing characters at least make the story fun.

Fun Factor

As a huge fan of the PS1 Spyro series, I actually brought home Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly and Ratchet and Clank on the same day. Playing the two games is like night and day. Where as Ratchet and Clank is a technically impressive, fun gaming experience, Spyro has the series spin its wheels.

Even worse, the gameplay isn’t as tight as the PS1 games, with some glitches and looseness not acceptable for games in the current generation. Not to mention the graphics, which might have been impressive on PS1 in 1998, but almost five years later seem archaic and plain.

It’s sad to see a franchise that was once a pillar of quality fall victim as just the latest license to be milked by a publisher for more money out of the unsuspecting consumer’s hands.

Rating

Gameplay: 4

Graphics: 1

Sound: 8.5

Fun Factor: 3