Review by ploodie
"Unfairly Maligned, the is a great Spyro game, it's only held back by some gameplay glitches."
Everyone seems to hate this game - I thought it was actually pretty good. Coming off of three smash hits for the Playstation, Spyro 4 had some big shoes to fill - and it certainly isn't as wonderful as those first three . . . but it's still a great game.
VIDEO - the game simply looks great! The same lush and candy-land style from the previous games is still present here, but the resolution is so much crisper. Yes, there are some frame-rate issues, but not enough to hinder the flow of the game at all. The flame effects are all nice and it's just a very pretty game to look at.
AUDIO - one of my favorite aspects to any Spyro game is the music and SFX - the music is always very dreamy, and this game upholds that standard. The effects are about where they should be - nothing outstanding. The only real gripe here is the voicing of Sparx (who will be speaking ALOT during the game) - rather than having an actual voice, Sparx just hums like a dragonfly might, which sounds like someone playing a kazoo. It's very annoying - but fortunately, you can skip ALL the voice acting! Nice touch, that!
GAMEPLAY: THE GOOD - the game plays pretty much like the other three. You run around picking up gems and flaming baddies, jump platforms, play a few mini-games, and of course the ever-cool speedway levels! Each Spyro game has you finding something (Frozen Dragons in S1, Magic Orbs in S2, and Baby Dragon Eggs in S3). This time around, you are trying to find the Dragonflies that have been taken and scattered all over the kingdom. OK, doesn't make much sense as a story, but who cares - it's a kiddie platform game for cryin' out loud! Collect enough Dragonflies to access new levels off the hub world - collect gems to pay off Moneybags for opening other areas within levels. Some new features include alternating flame breath with electric, water, and ice breath.
GAMEPLAY: THE BAD - ok, it's not ALL perfect. For starters, erhaps to accomodate the higher-resolution graphics, the overall game feels much shorter. The previous games had anywhere from three to five hub worlds with several levels per world, and lots and lots of gems to find. SPYRO: ETD consists of only one hub world and 8 additional levels. Also, there is only one boss battle in the whole game, at the end.
The biggest problem with the game is the glitches. The game WILL crash on you when you least expect it. It hasn't happened TOO often, but it is very frustrating when it does! It crashed for me once when simply exiting an in-game menu - it crashed later when I had caught a dragonfly while plummeting to my death (I guess it got confused on whether or not to award me the dragonfly since I died in the process). Other in-game glitches range from laughable to downright irritating. Sometimes, leaving a mini-game will have Spyro "hovering" instead of running over solid ground. Enemies sometimes simply vanish as you run up to them, some VOs are completely missing, even though their text is on screen. All of these are interesting issues - but there are two others that are flatly annoying:
1) Long jumps require that hover move at the last moment to get that extra bump onto the platform you're aiming for. Nothing wrong with that in itself - but oh so often you will find yourself trying to time it just right and missing, so you plummet to your death. Other times, you swear you made it, but the game disagrees, and sends you plummeting to your death. I've heard many call this a glitch - I don't know, it could just be poor platform spacing - making the jumps so long that there is NO room for error. The worst occurs in the cloud level, and will have you restarting at least ten times till you get lucky.
2) The dragonfly thing is annoying. For starters, if they are stolen, why are they left scattered all over the land. Second, why can't they just fly back home. Third, WHY DO THE RUN FROM ME AND TAUNT ME WHEN I TRY TO CATCH THEM? Yes, as you approach, they do a "Nah-Nahny Boo Boo" and flutter off. The idea is to catch them in your bubble water breath - but often you can hit them multiple times and they don't get caught. Again, poor object detection is to blame on this one.
OVERALL - but, these few problems are not enough to detract from the rest of the game - if you have been a fan of Spyro in the past, you should enjoy this one as well. Just don't expect quite the same level of gameplay as the last three, and you'll enjoy them!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 08/25/05
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