Review by Zylo the wolf
"I know I'm like 15 years to late, but Spyro is still worth your time."
It's actually a bit strange that I never bought a Spyro game when the first Playstation was new. I loved platform games and I really hoped that Sony would get an official mascot just like how Mario was Nintendo's mascot or how Sonic was Sega's. What made it even more interesting was that the official Playstation magazine even said that Crash Bandicoot was in the past and Spyro was supposed to be the system's mascot. We all know that this never happened and it's not as important to have a popular mascot today as it was in the 90's, but I still thought it could be interesting to give Spyro a chance today since the Playstation games were made by Isomniac Games, the same company that makes the Ratchet and Clank games.
The plot in this game is one of the strangest I've seen. The leader of the dragons is being interviewed by a repoter where he explains that the evil Gnastly Gnorc is not a threat to the dragons and that Gnorc is also ugly. What he doesn't know is that Gnorc is watching this interview, and gets so angry that he casts a spell that turns all the dragons into crystal statues, except of course our little hero Spyro since he's avoids the spell because he's so small. And with that the adventure can begin!
Spyro the Dragon takes place in 6 different worlds: Artisans, Peace Keepers, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers, Dream Weavers and finally Gnasty's World. Each of this worlds except the last one got five different stages, three normal stages, one where you have to fight a boss and finally there's always a flight level. In order to advance to the next world you must have either saved enough dragons, collected enough rubies or catch the dragon eggs.
The normal stages are just what you would expect from a 3D platformer. Spyro must free the dragons by finding a statue of each dragon and then touch it in order to release the dragon. Most of the dragons will then give Spyro some advice while some just say thank you for releasing me. The spot where dragon was will now work as a checkpoint where you start from if you die. It's also possible to save your game on one of these spots.
If you want to explain how you play Spyro the Dragon in a simple way there are four things that you do. Jumping, gliding, bashing and breathing fire. Since Spyro is a small dragon he haven't learn how to fly yet, but he can use his wings to glide in the air, which will be the key to reach every place in this game. He also got two ways to attack the enemies, he can either bump into them with his skull or he can toast them with his fire breath.
Unlike many other platform games where there is a goal that you need to reach, there are only one teleport that brings you back to the overworld. You don't have to save every dragon on each stage in order to beat the game, but you might still want to return to a stage if you haven't found all the rubies on that stage. Even if most of the dragons are easy to find, there are a couple in each world which really forces you to explore every corner that you could possibly reach.
The boss stages are almost the same as the other stages, the only real difference is that there's a boss fight in these stages where you usually have to figure out a clever way how you are supposed to beat this boss. I can't say that it's the best boss fights I've ever seen, in fact I didn't notice that some where supposed to be bosses until after I beat them and saw that I got more rubies than what you get from normal enemies, but at least it's not just enemies that you have to hit with regular attacks a couple of times and then they are dead. The final boss on the other hand is great.
The flight stages could just as well have been bonus stages. Unlike in the rest of the game Spyro can actually fly on these stages. This is the only stages where there is a time limit and the goal is to find all the objects that you can destroy before the time runs out. You never lose a life if you don't manages to find everything on the stage before the time runs out, so it's more like a mini game.
The game's difficulty is one of the best things about it. Most of the game is actually really easy so it won't take you many days before you've beat it. But if you are one of those who just have to get 100% then you might need months if you refuse to read a walkthrough since even if the game is easy enough to beat it's really tough to find every dragon statue in the game. Not to mention that you also have to find every ruby in the whole game, which means that you have to find and kill every enemy.
The game doesn't however come without it's issues. One obvious thing is that it asks a little bit to much of the player when you have to collect every ruby on each stage when every stage got about 500 rubies. Lets take for example that you had to collect every single coin in Super Mario 64 in order to get all the 120 stars. Personally I just gave up on this without even trying because it's a little to much.
Another thing is the control. There have been many times where I have flew into an edge just because my timing the jump wasn't 100% correct and that cost me a life. It's also very easy to fall of an edge when your really are attacking an enemy with your skull when it's standing close to an edge. The camera angles aren't the best either and it takes about 3 seconds for you to get the camera look right in front of Spyro.
Also it's a bit strange that in the later part of the game you can only kill some enemies by breathing fire and others need to be bashed with your skull. This is a real try and error which can be really frustrating. It's also a bit strange that you have to look on the color of a butterfly that flies around Spyro in order to know how many hits you can take. Why make that so complicated?
When Spyro the Dragon was released it was hyped as a Crash Bandicoot killer and that he would take the mascot role away from Crash, which is strange since both easily could coexist. And if I had to choose one of them, I would pick all three Crash games over this one, and Crash also got more attitude than Spyro. But it's still impossible to not love the little purple guy and the game is actually fun for most of the time. I just hope that the sequels will be more fun.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 08/05/13
Game Release: Spyro the Dragon (EU, 12/12/12)
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