Review by HisDudeness

"This should've been called Spyro: Enter The Dragon Droppings"

Back in the days of the Playstation, one of my favorite games/series was the Spyro The Dragon series. While the first wasn’t that great of a game, it paved the way for two excellent sequels full of different levels, mini-games, and overall fun and exciting quests through their colorful lands. Spyro has even been released with great success on the Game Boy Advance. But, for the last few years, many people have been waiting for a new Spyro game for the consoles. After around three years of waiting, we finally got a new Spyro, available for not one, but two different systems, the Playstation 2 and the Gamecube. But, something happened along the way during Spyro’s development. Maybe it was the fact that Insomniac Games handed over his license to Universal. It was probably because of them getting a first time developer, Check Six, to make the game. Whatever the reason was, Spyro has come to us in the least imaginable way; a completely horrendous game that, to put it lightly, is unequaled in its badness by any other platformer except maybe Bubsy 3D.

Now, at first, I was thinking of just writing a funny review to hate on the game. After all, why not have a little fun with a terrible game? But, then I realized that, well, this is by no means funny. They killed Spyro! How the hell they could take a game that, in it’s last iteration, was easily the best platformer on the Playstation, and even rivaled Mario in its greatness?! That isn’t funny, that’s a travesty to mankind, or at least Gamer…kind!

Just about the only thing that isn’t a travesty in this game is the storyline. Actually, the story is terrible; you have to fight Ripto once again, who somehow burst onto the scene again, and stole some of the dragons’ most precious commodities. Not eggs, not babies, but…dragonflies. That’s right, you heard me. This game is based around you going to rescue friggin’ dragonflies. The storyline isn’t a travesty in that, who really gives a **** about getting dragonflies? I don’t consider that a very compelling reason to go out and flame some ass. Of course, the only dragonfly that wasn’t stolen was Sparx, your companion throughout the game. Damn, I’m glad Spyro didn’t lose him!

So, off you go to another new land, rescuing dragonflies for the good of the dragon kingdom. The first thing that you will probably notice about the game is that it is rather…small. In the first games, you always had around 10-12,000 treasure to get total. Well, that number has been reduced down to a mere 7,000 Also, in the first few games, we were treated to a virtual plethora of levels, numbering in at around 30-40 alone, not counting the many areas you explored with other characters in the third Spyro. Well, in this game, we are left with nine levels. Now, you may think that they just made the nine levels really big, so they could put in a ton of side-quests and mini-games. Wrong on both counts! Not only is there literally zero mini-games, there are basically no challenges period, except for these stupid new gates where, after traveling through them, you must flame/bolt/whatever-the-hell-breath-you-have eight different statues, or rods, or something that’s really stupid.

Now, you may think that those dragonflies must be hidden pretty well in the levels. Yeah, that’s what they did, since they totally screwed up the rest of the game! Well, you’re wrong there, too. More than half of the dragonflies in each level are flying right out in the open, basically begging for you to capture them. The only challenge in catching them is actually getting them inside your bubble breath, since half the time they could be right in your line of fire, yet they still wouldn’t be caught. A good example of this was when I was in Luau Island, and I was alone on a pedestal above a lake with a dragonfly on it. Even though it just kept fluttering around in a circle, it took me FOUR times to catch it in my bubble breath.

As you catch more and more dragonflies, you will open up portals to new lands, each of which has basically the same layout as the last. It obviously shows that the developers took no time to try and make unique levels, because each land is boring and decrepit of anything interesting. Somewhere in these boring lands, you may happen to stumble upon runes, which, by giving them to the spirit dragon in the main hub world, will give you new breath powers, such as ice and lightning. Unfortunately, the game makes these cool new power-ups basically useless, since you can kill pretty much any enemy with any breath power. It’s too bad that breath is your only good defense against an enemy, since your charge sometimes won’t work, because the collision detection in the game is terrible.

That last statement brings me to my main point about why the gameplay sucks so bad. Actually, it’s two points, because they’re both equally responsible. For one thing, the game feels way too old; all of its minigames have been seen in the same form or slightly different in the last two games. Secondly, because the game, and I mean literally every area of the game, is chock full of glitches. The part that bears the main brunt of glitches in the game is, unfortunately, the controls area. Gliding is made a chore since half the time when you land on a platform, you will slide off it because Spyro evidently forgot to land. Secondly, hovering is sort of a wait and see thing, since half the time you press the hover button, Spyro does his headbash instead of hovering, sending him down into oblivion. Like I said before, your charge doesn’t work most of the time, although that is due to poor collision detection. Seriously, I couldn’t even tell if I hit an enemy when I was underwater.

The second area of the game that is not only full of glitches, but just plain terrible outright is the graphics. Just to get it out of the way right here, right now, I have to tell you that the frame rate in the game is simply atrocious. Whenever you are in an area that is out in the open, the game moves slower than The Matrix. Even sometimes when you’re in an FMV, the whole game slows to a near-halt. Also, there are platforms that literally have holes in them, areas along walls where you can just get stuck for no reason whatsoever, and parts of the game that don’t even load (In the Crop Circle Level, I literally walked on black space for half the level before it finally loaded up.) It’s a shame too, because if there weren’t any problems, this would actually be a decent looking game, with lots of color and vibrancy.

As you can probably tell by now, with all the problems in the game, it probably isn’t going to be that fun. And you’re absolutely right. With all the problems in the game, there is very little in the way of anything interesting to keep your attention. Luckily, your boredom won’t last for long. I would be willing to wager that you could not only beat the game outright, but you could also get 100% of the Gems and dragonflies in about seven hours. It took me only a little over that to do this, and I only died about twice. This game was obviously designed for little kids, unlike the other Spyro games, which had many branching paths and hard to reach, out of place Gems and objectives. There is just no challenge now whatsoever.

Keeping with the sucking trend is the sound of the game, which, in my opinion, is the absolute worst part of this mess. Not because of the music though; Stewart Copeland once again does a great job of making new tunes for the game that sound original and stay with the levels. It’s with the terrible voice acting in the game. Spyro and Sparx now speak more throughout the game…wait, Sparx speaks? Throughout the entire hub world, Sparx will tell you how to play every single facet of the game. What’s dumb about it is that he squeaks in his little dragonflyish, and you can’t tell a damn word of what he’s saying. So, you just have to read the text on the bottom of the screen. It was a terrible idea to actually give Sparx voice acting, but even more terrible to have Spyro talk more too. Now, if you sit for a while, Spyro will shout stuff at you, and actually talks back now to people. I’ve always thought they’ve gotten one of the worst voices ever for Spyro, Tom Kenny (who, by the way, did Heffer’s voice on Rockos Modern Life), and hearing more of him makes me want to smash my fist through the TV. If you haven’t by now already.

In closing, Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly is easily the worst game I have ever played. If this game was the first entry in a series, I would probably be a bit lighter, but this is just ridiculous to have a fourth game in a series be way worse than the first one. The level design is terrible, none of the mini-games are remotely original, the graphics are full of glitches, the frame rate is the worst I have ever seen, and some of the worst voice acting I have ever heard totally killed this game off. This whole game plays like it’s high on meth. One of the things that Spyro does in the game is that, if you ever charge with him and bash his head into a wall, he’ll yell “OUCH!”. You would be banging your head in frustration as well if you bought this game. Stay the hell away from this game, and if you ever do get it as a gift or something, put it in a bag of dog poo right away and throw it the hell out. You’ve been warned.

Reviewer's Rating:   0.5 - Unplayable

Originally Posted: 03/27/03, Updated 03/27/03

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