Review by meepcheese

"Tsk, tsk, Insomniac..."

I spent a good portion of my life playing video games, whether it was Pac-Man at the arcade, Starfox with my grandpa, or when the Play Station was released, Spyro the Dragon with my cousin.

I couldn't believe how good Spyro looked. When I was invited down to my cousin's trailer the day he got a Play Station, I ran through the elephant leaves and tick infested grass just so I could play with the newest, coolest gaming system I'd ever heard of. (I never was an Atari fan, so there wasn't much to choose from at the time...) He showed me a box with a little purple dragon on it and I was hooked.

The villains are somewhat just the same coding with a different look for every level; but they act differently. So differently, you would never consider the two to be the same thing. For instance, in Peace Keepers, there are little yellow frog creatures that dive under their war tents and moon you. In Artisans, there are green frog creatures that just let out a cry, similar to the Peace Keepers, but higher pitched, and will just sit there and cower in fear (sometimes run in circles) until you torch them. This is the only game I know of that doesn't just fire the hardest villains in the game at you from level one.

The music is some of the greatest I've ever heard of on a video game. It's so...nostalgic. I'll find myself humming a tune one day and realize it's the tune from Sleepy Hollow, or Magic Crafters. (Which, in my opinion, are two of the best themes in the whole game.) It's not repetitive or annoying at all, and it's really got that 'video game' quality to it. Sometimes I find myself not wanting to leave a certain level because the music is so peaceful. The best part is they don't use the same tune five hundred different times. They've got one tune for quiet, peaceful levels, like Sleepy Hollow and...that Ice Cavern place in Peace Keepers, another for deserty, Western-type levels, like Dr. Shemp and Dry Canyon.

The story is where it gets a little confusing, but I've always loved watching the Spyro cutscenes, in all three. In the beginning, while the dragons are making a documentary of some sort (?...) they repeatedly mention how ugly and dim-witted Gnasty Gnorc (pronounced Guh-nasty Guh-norc by one interviewer, who says, "What about this...Guh-nasty Guh-norc character?" but is later pronounced 'Nasty Norc' by Spyro...so I don't know, don't ask me...) and he freezes all the dragons in crystal. Except for Spyro. Why Spyro, was he too tiny, too innocent? I'm sure it says somewhere in the little book thing that came in the box, but my cat ate that years ago.

I like the health tracking system best. Most video games just use a health bar, and when it runs out, you're toast. And the worst part is, HEALTH REVIVING THINGS ARE UBER RARE! Not in Spyro, just torch a sheep (or whatever the level's animal may be, sometimes it's an unidentified creature, like in the third game, Agent Nine levels contain hopping test tubes...) and a butterfly escapes, and Sparx, you're little health meter friend, eats it and gets some color back. How easy and creative was that?

The worst part about Spyro is that he's the only teeny dragon in the game. There's no other teeny ones. He's it. Why is that? Not only is he too small to ram big enemies, but he can't fly either, except in those annoying flight levels. You'd think after about six or seven games he'd learn.

Which brings me to Spyro's worst point. After Insomniac sold Spyro to one of those big corporate companies that doesn't think their stories quite through so they could work on Ratchet and Clank (and excellent game, I might add, Insomniac is probably the greatest video game company ever...) Spyro went downhill. They didn't make any more games for the Play Station (well, the PS2 was taking over anyway, so it doesn't matter...) and their next game, A Hero's Tail, went well, I never played it, brand loyalty, I assume. But that's where it ended. Their newest game, for the Nintendo DS, completely destroyed Spyro and his legacy forever. His muzzle is too square, he can do...get this...elemental attacks, like he's some uncreative...dude who uses elemental attacks, and though the graphics are less boxy, Spyro isn't Spyro anymore. He used to be one of the last 'cute' characters left, but now, they're trying to force Spyro into a mold he wasn't made to fit into. I can only guess the next game they'll make will be of one with Spyro all grown up and able to fly and--*barf*


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/13/07


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