Review by MetalIceWolf
"Merely a shadow of what it could have been."
After the awesome Season of Fire and Attack of the Rhynocs games, I've had high hopes for Spyro's first DS title. Unfortunately, it ended up being a big letdown and lacked the fun and enjoyment the other Spyro GBA platformers had (not counting Orange, which was just a minigame fest.) For Shadow Legacy, the developers decided to try something different. And by different I mean transform Spyro into a RPG. What they did, though, was just tacked on forced RPG elements to an adventure game. Now, instead of just hitting enemies once or twice to kill them, you'll have to do it multiple times (depending on how much HP the enemy has) and by how high Spyro's attack power is. When Spyro has gained a certain amount of experience, he'll level up, allowing you to gain new attack abilities and higher stats. Sure, a cool element to the game, but they failed in implementing it, which is sad as it had lots of potential to be great.
Typical Spyro flair. You're a special purple dragon, the only one that can save the world, etc. Well this time, Red, the evil dragon that those of you have played A Hero's Tail will remember, has caused the shadow realm to take over the world and by doing so, a bunch of shadow creatures have trapped all of Spyro's friends. If the shadow creatures aren't destroyed and if his friends aren't saved, the world will end. Little does Spyro know though, that the real nemesis isn't Red......Overall, the story is fine. It's only a Spyro game, and platformers rarely have epic storylines.
Controls are quite annoying. For some odd, stupid reason, the X button is used as the basic command inputing option, while B is used as an flight button, except for when you want to save the game, you have to use it then as the command inputing, which is confusingly odd. The other controls aren't that good either, they're actually really slippery. There were many times Spyro would fall down into an endless chasm over faulty controls. The attack buttons sometimes don't function properly either, considering how you have to press three at the same time in order to perform one of Spyro's super "Chi" moves. The stylus is used for selecting/using items, viewing the map, your stats, etc, and for drawing magic which Spyro will perform in order to move objects and attack enemies and stuff like that (for example, drawing a triangle allows you to warp to another area.) Overall, the controls weren't good. They could have been made so much better, instead of being annoying as they are.
The background music is pretty good. Some of the tunes are nice to listen to, though there's hardly anything memorable. Sadly, the same music is used for all Shadow Realm situations, and since you have to go there a lot, listening to the same tune all the time will start to bother you, unless you greatly enjoy it. In terms of sounds, I didn't like the grunts Spyro used. They sounded slightly odd. Overall, though, the music and sound are both tolerable, just nothing special.
For a DS game, the graphics were average. They looked more like a GBA game though than a DS game. The Shadow Realm is always a dull, black and white coloring of the normal areas. The only time the graphics really took a dramatic turn were during the three boss fights in the game - which are in full 3D. And they look great! It makes me wish the whole game looked that good. Because of the great-looking boss fights, the game gets a good score in the graphical section.
So, how does it play? Well, if you've played any of the other Spyro games, then you pretty much know what to expect. There's your charge attack, flame attack, and a new feature to Shadow Legacy, which are a bunch of other fighting moves, all for battling the shadow creatures. The whole point of the game is to go to a new area, battle the shadow creatures, free all of the critters that are trapped, then talk to them and see what you could do for them (tasks involving fetch quests or stuff like lighting all torches.) Once you've done that, you go to the next area, and you do the same thing, until you get to a boss, which, when beaten, will earn you a new ability, so that you can go to another area and repeat the same stuff over and over until you're done with the game! Yes, as you can see, it's really repetitive, and boring.
The level-up system allows Spyro to gain new abilities. Spyro will defeat enemies and gain experience so he can level up. Whenever he levels up, a symbol will appear on the left corner of screen, and at any time you can go backtrack your way to the Dragon Elders and select two new abilities to level up, of which could be anything from new attack moves, defensive abilities, etc. Those new moves will help make the game easier for you, though it's already super easy (especially the boss fights, which are the coolest part of the game.) There are chests scattered around the area which you can unlock using a key, and inside the chests are gems, and a crystal item (these, while being carried, increase Spyro's stats until they break), or a item needed for a fetch quest. The gems you earn are used only for buying items at the store, such as butterflies which restore Spyro's HP, or mushrooms which restore his MP. The gameplay is just too simple, repetitive and boring. At least the other GBA Spyro platformers contained more things to do....more variety. The whole game itself is short. It took me only three days to 100% it.
Overall, if you're looking for a portable Spyro game, this wouldn't be a good title to play. Check out 'Season of Fire' or 'Attack of the Rhynocs' instead. Shadow Legacy, though having a nice bit of potential with the RPG elements and cool boss fights, fails to be more than anything but a simple, easy, short repetitive platformer which won't hold your interest for very long.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 05/19/08
Game Release: Spyro: Shadow Legacy (US, 10/18/05)
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