Review by meepcheese
"I miss the days where a tiny little man with a big stick was all you had to worry about."
The first game was probably the greatest video game ever. So, logically, when you have a cash cow, you make that cow have babies, and thus, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! (or Gateway to Glimmer if you live anywhere but America...they may as well have called it Spyro 2: Revenge of the Foot Tall Man, because if you want to use a name you can only use in America, you go for terms only Americans use. And that's...well, not the metric system.) was born. I pity the cow that gave birth to a small square box. They could have at least put a cow on it.
So, this game is different from the first one (and the third one, but we don't know that yet.) in that it starts you right out in a level. That level is called Glimmer, which explains why the European version is called Gateway to Glimmer. That kinda ticked me off, 'cause I went through this phase once of seeing how far I could get while only playing the bare minimum amount of levels. Way to totally throw me off, Insomniac.
The story starts out with Spyro wanting to take a vacation because the rain is boring him. So he goes through a portal, thinking he's going to the beach. But at the same EXACT FREAKING MOMENT, a cheetah, a faun and some random old guy are trying to bring a dragon to their world so it can eat their evil tyrant dictators head off. At least, I assume he's a dictator. I mean, he's not a very good one. He watches these guys bring a dragon to them--and a pretty puny one at that--and he just hightails it out of there and holes himself up in a castle. History teaches us that that's a stupid idea. Because setting fire to the castle is much easier than you'd think. Especially when you have a FIRE BREATHING DRAGON ON YOUR SIDE. Geez...it's no wonder Ripto took over so easily.
We quickly find out that Elora the faun is the snappy, "what-you-lookin'-at?" type. Spyro asks what she's supposed to be, "some sort of goat?" and she goes "I'M A FAUN, YOU DORK!" Last I checked, fauns were goats. Not total goats, but rather half goats. Anyway, she gives him a guidebook and you're expected to get a talisman from each of the worlds in Avalar and stick them in it. Yeah. Those talismans look pretty big, I don't think the book would close right. And then after you get the first one, she's like, "HOLY FREAKING CRAP. THEY /GAVE/ YOU A TALISMAN?! That's like, ripping off their own arm and giving it to you." Well thanks for putting it into proportion for me. Fortunately, everyone in the universe has the same mindset--"you saved our village by running through it and collecting gems for your own selfish purposes! Please take this talisman as a token of our gratitude!" I know if I was the sacred keeper of the village talisman thingy, I'd put a bit more thought into giving out our talisman to a random purple dragon. "Oh, thanks for saving our village...! What, you wanted me to give you something? Um...okay...well, I've got this fish keychain, a quarter, a rubber band and a piece of gum. How about I give you that?"
I don't see why Spyro didn't just take a bite out of the professor and demand he let him go home. Isn't that, like, keeping a hostage? "Oh, PLEASE won't you stay here and practically kill yourself for the good of a kingdom you'll probably never visit again?" "Uh...nah. Back to the beach." "WELL THE PORTAL'S BROKEN SO TOUGH CRAP. You have no choice but to stay here and be our slave." See, if Spyro /really/ cared about Avalar, there'd be some trace of Elora and the professor in the next game. However, there is not. Spyro found new, better friends that don't hold him hostage; and they beat the living crap out of the one character that makes a comeback--Moneybags, the gem hoarding bear.
Moneybags is the most obnoxious character in a video game ever. He's like, "oh, Spyro, you're so rich and naive! That's right, I'm insulting you. I can insult you all I want, because you have to say yes eventually, or you're never going to beat the game." And then when you say yes, he'll call you naive some more and tell you that your willingness to give will be your downfall. LOOK, YOU FREAKING APE! I DID NOT JUST GIVE YOU 1500 GEMS BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT! IF IT WERE UP TO ME, THERE'D BE AN ENTIRE FREAKING LEVEL WHERE I GET TO USE YOU FOR TARGET PRACTICE!
Hunter is the fastest runner in the world. Or something. He's also the most uncoordinated. And of course, when they're testing out their new portal, he enters his birthdate for the coordinates...and obviously, his birthdate just happens to be the exact coordinates where Ripto and his buddies are hanging out. Coincidence? I don't think so.
I don't see why you have to do chores for people in exchange for orbs. If Ripto is so evil, why don't they just /give/ me the orbs? Why do we have to go through the whole "Ripto is so evil! *sob* Oh, and while you're here, Ripto keeps making giant T-rex eggs keep fall from the sky and eating my friends. Would you kill the eggs for me? I have an orb that will help you defeat Ripto!" Look, jerkbite, if Ripto is doing this, why not just give me the stupid orb so I can torch his puny rear end and get it over with? Although I suppose if it were that easy, it wouldn't be such a good game. :/
I miss the days where a tiny little man with a big stick was all you had to worry about. Now we've got to worry about tiny little men with big sticks and their enormously huge companions that are dumber than posts. One eats Ripto's big stick, and the other just kinda stands there with an even bigger stick. Ones name is 'Crush', the other is 'Gulp'. I suppose it's appropriate; Gulp is the one that eats Ripto's sceptre, Crush is later crushed by a really big pile of rocks. Oooh, foreshadowing. Or something.
It seems as though Avalar is populated by really stupid creatures that don't know how to protect themselves. I mean, most all of these creatures are smaller than Spyro and could fit into a little crack in a wall or dig a hole and hide it in, right? And all the bad guys are the size of trucks, yet these stupid little creatures just kinda like to hang out in open spaces where the bad guys can easily fit and generally destroy them. I suppose it's sort of a way of saying, "hey, you can move in on our turf, but just because we're smaller than housecats doesn't mean you can just move us!" it would be pretty inspiring, I guess, if they didn't spend all their time running from bad guys with their little tushies on fire.
This game kinda follows the Spryo tradition in that you don't really need to do much to get by. Remember in the first one how you didn't even have to beat the bosses, and probably didn't even realize that Toasty/Dr. Shemp/Blowhard/etc. were even supposed to be bosses? I mean, I realized there was something different about those levels, but I never would have guessed they were bosses. The guys at Insomniac must have figured that out, so they made it pretty impossible to not notice you were battling a boss. I believe Elora even says right out a couple times "boss battle". Not to mention the only way you can get to the next level is by beating them.
So overall, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! is a good game. Okay, it's better than good. A lot of that 'goodness' factor is the fact that it's so nostalgic, but it's not running on nostalgia alone. It's got great gameplay, adorable (ish) characters, giant landscapes, all that nice stuff.
I just wish you didn't have to wait until Year of the Dragon to kick the crap out of Moneybags.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/23/09
Game Release: Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! (US, 10/31/99)
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