Review by BigCj34

"Spyro's back with a bang, slightly too easy but still great fun."

The original Spyro game came out in late 1998, which was a top class polished platform game. It had all sorts, from challenging puzzles to impossible to get to platforms. This new game is a very polished sequel, and has had a massive makeover. Spyro 3 was also a hit, but Insomniac dropped the series to make the futuristic blast ‘em up platformer Ratchet and Clank. Spyro was passed on to other developers but they couldn't make the next step up.

Having taken a well-deserved break after kicking Gnasty Gnorc, it's pouring down with rain, and Spyro's bored stiff. What did Spyro decide to do? Go on a vacation to Dragon Shores! Meanwhile, in the land of Avalar, Hunter, a leopard, Elora the fawn and the professor have been working on a super-portal. Unfortunately, Ripto comes in to crash the party with his Henchmen, Crush and Gulp! The fairies are told to scatter the orbs around Avalar, taken from the portal so Ripto couldn't go home and pack his bags. While Hunter and crew are terrified, they realise that Ripto hates dragons, so they try to get a dragon by diverting a portal to Glimmer, the first level you play. Having worked out a plan to get a dragon, guess who they get? Spyro! Spyro asks for directions to the beach, but as they stare blankly at him, he finds himself collecting talismans and orbs to progress, along with gems to get fat-ass Moneybags to do stuff for… eh-hem, a small fee. Yes, YOU have to collect the talismans and orbs, not him.

In this sequel you'll find that Spyro has been given a new blanket, most notably the graphics look different and there's new characters. In the first one, the only allies Spyro really had was just the dragons that he had rescued but here Spyro is helping Hunter, a cheetah who sometimes helps Spyro with moves; Elora and the Professor, who sometimes gives puzzles for Spyro to sort out for orbs. Just one question, if they need the orbs then what the hell are they doing hiding them? Hunter: “Have this orb Spyro, I found it in my flipper…have this one as well, I found this in my other flipper too” D'oh! Spyro 2 is crammed with loads of mini-games and challenges, that you must pass to get orbs, along with getting to the end of the level in which you receive a talisman. Everything gets recorded into your Guidebook, just like your inventory on Spyro the Dragon. In every level you have characters in there who have their own problems, like some evil idols have been made by the workers and locked them all out in Idol Springs.

The format of the game works in a similar way of the original Spyro, with a home world which has all the portals to the other levels, but there are a few notable differences. Moneybags requires you to pay him to unlock certain levels in worlds, or even learning abilities to get to places that I'll explain later. The second difference is that bosses in the game are mandatory if you want to get to the next world. Where in the original game it was optional, but to get to the next world you just had to free a certain number of dragons, gems, or eggs.

In each level you get presented with a main challenge, some enemies are causing chaos, you have to storm them out using your, umm, dragon breath and get to the end of the level, where you get a Talisman. On top of that you have to get gems and also you have to beat enemies that you'll need to do to get powerups for certain tasks. You need gems to pay Moneybags to learn abilities so you don't cut corners, and actually giving a reason to collect gems aside from bragging rights, and you need orbs for their magic power to open up certain doors. Can you get all orbs and gems?

Skill points are available if you do certain things. Sometimes it involves destroying certain things in a level, getting to a secret area or maybe get a certain time in a speedway. For each one you get, you get an extra life. They are hidden, so I won't say anything more.

All the new changes in this game are all welcome, because everyone likes new things in a sequel, the minigames are good fun to play, some of these involve knocking monkeys out of a tree, swimming through a series of hoops on an adamantine fish, challenging Hunter to collecting crystals from a volcanic spring and see who gets the most, or even an ice hockey game against a generic fat git. As you can see, there's a whole lot of mini-games to keep you busy.

But, with all these mini-games, aren't we missing something? A challenge, no? The game is way too easy. Fun it is, but challenging it ain't. There are plenty of mini-games which do vary, some of them are easy it'll only take a couple of attempts, some even do test your skill, but other than that the main structure of the game is very definitely questionable, with linear levels that are just a matter of helping some of the inhabitants to get to the end.

There are a few levels that aren't quite like that, but the majority are. The first Spyro really did challenge your skills and initiative but unfortunately, the real-time platforming has been dried up to make way for the dozens of mini-games. There aren't many secret areas or anything.

Aside from that, the game is importantly, fun. Yes, you will get through it in no time but it's a fun game to play, possibly multiple times and that's what really matters. Although a challenge gives you that satisfaction factor, there's no taking the fun factor here.

Graphically, this games good. The graphics have taken a complete overhaul, but not really for the better. That's not to say the graphics are bad, but they feel a bit scrappier than the original. Aside from that the visuals are very good and cartoony, definitely not a problem. As can be said about the audio. The voice-acting is excellent, Hunter and Elora have been performed fantastically well with expression, plus all the other characters definitely are up to scratch. Musically, the game's up there with original, with great soundtracks.

Spyro 2 is definitely enough to keep you going for about a month, and you'll definitely not get bored of it.

Summary

Graphics Slightly downgraded from Spyro 1, but still nice, cartoony style is very good. 8/10
Sound Great voice acting and music. 9/10
Gameplay Easy linear levels justified by lots of mini games. Should've been better, but still good fun none the less. 7/10
Lifespan It'll keep you going up to a month. 8/10

Even though this game is too easy, it's still bursting with fun, that's the important thing. For a challenge though, Spyro 1 is better. Definitely not a bad sequel. 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/10/05


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