Review by HisDudeness

"Bah, I'm out of things to say in these taglines. Just go buy this game."

Back in the days of the original Playstation, the star of Sony’s big machine was Crash Bandicoot. Many tried, but none could topple him off the top in the game of Platforming King of the Mountain. But one day, out of nowhere, a small, purple dragon came to the mountain. Crash looked down, and said, “What the hell?!” Sure, when the original Spyro the Dragon came out, it wasn’t the most spectacular game the world had ever seen. It almost seemed like Spyro was just created as a Right-Hand man to Crash (A demo of the original Spyro can be found on Crash Bandicoot 3.) A year later, Spyro’s second game came out. And it was with this, that Spyro flamed Crash’s furry ass off the top of the mountain. It was with this, that Spyro, the little dragon who could, earned the crown.

Ripto’s Rage starts right where the first game left off. And I mean right where they left off, you can even see Spyro is still kind of tired from saving eighty of his cohorts and collecting around 12,000 treasure (If you fully completed the game, and if you didn’t…wuss.) Spyro decides that instead of staying around to make sure that his dragon kingdom doesn’t get crystallized again, he’s going to go on vacation with his buddy Sparx the Dragonfly. Where to, you ask? To none other than Dragon Shores, the Six Flags of the Dragon World! But wait…something is amiss! You’re not in Dragon Shores; you’re in some weird land…with little…rat type things! What the hell happened? Well, turns out Erica the Fawn, and her pal Hunter, want you to help them save their kingdoms from Ripto, and they ain’t gonna take no for an answer! Now, off you go!

As soon as you start the game up, you will notice just how much work was put into how the game looks. Each land has it’s own personality, whether it be the dry desert of Scorch, or the rainy robotic lands of Hurricos. Everything is very colorful and bright, and fit well into Spyro’s universe. Water effects in the game look very pretty, and Spyro even has little bubbles coming out of his mouth while underwater. There is never any slowdown no matter how fast you’re charging, or how many enemies you’re flaming on the screen. The game runs at a very solid frame-rate, so you won’t run into anything that you wouldn’t want to run into. Basically the only problem I have is that some of the character models are very poorly drawn, especially hunter, who looks like he was just stuck in a microwave. Also, there are a few funny glitches (like being able to fly out of the world.) Other than these very minor flaws though, all is purdy and bootifull in the land of Avalar.

Spyro is also able to scoot around these worlds with ease. Moving around is simple, with an option of using either the D-Pad, or the left stick. You can flame and charge with ease as well, and looking around is a breeze. Later on in the game, you can learn new moves, but those are very easy to execute as well. Gliding is smooth as a baby’s behind, along with…well…pretty much everything else in this section. Note I said pretty much. Imagine trying to look at one object for about a minute. Now, imagine that you’re swirling around on one of those godawful kiddie rides at the carnival, while trying to do this. Congratulations, you now know how the camera moves in this game. This has to be the low point in the game, and trust me, it’s pretty low. Your eyes in the game always get stuck behind trees and hills and such. This leads to much pissing off, and cheap deaths.

Seeing as I said that the low point of the game was the camera, you must think, well, the game itself must be better, right? Well…you’re right, it is! It also happens to be better than a certain bandicoot’s games. To start off, well, you’re Spyro, and you got a big job ahead of you. In order to save Elena’s world from the evil clutches of Ripto, you must go through 3 different homeworlds, each with it’s own set of lands. In these lands, you must simply make it through to the end of the levels to get a talisman, which will be recorded into your guidebook.

With any sequel comes a few changes, and it is very apparent that insomniac wanted to take the series in a new direction. Spyro is now able to earn new moves during the game, such as being able to swim underwater (something that would normally kill you in the first game), and the Headbash, and so on. You are able to pay for these moves, along with openings to new areas and such to a rather annoying bear named Moneybags. Along with changes in the water come changes on land, in the form of the enemies. Now instead of giving you a gem for killing them, you earn a spirit particle. These can be used to open up power-ups within the level, such as superflame, ice flame, etc. Each level has around 200-600 treasure, two to four orbs, and one talisman, although talismans are replaced in the last world by just gaining more orbs. You are able to get orbs through challenges in the levels. Altogether, there are sixty-four orbs in the game. The challenges are very varied, as they can range from sailing a manta ray through rings, to shooting bombs into a nasty ox. Along with these challenges comes a difficulty rating, so you know what you’re up against. These challenges really keep the game from becoming a stale and tedious treasure hunt. The final task you are able to accomplish is that of getting the sixteen skill points that are hidden throughout the game.

Treasure hunting is, of course, really the key to the game though. Without enough treasure, you can basically go nowhere. Treasure can be lying around in bits of 1, 2, 5, 10, or even 25 karat gems. Each is color coordinated to keep you from getting confused. As for the items in the game, well, you can flame a bottle with a golden butterfly in it to give you an extra life. And that…is basically it.

The only problem with the gameplay is that it feels sort of like they’ve wussed out and made the game less difficult. For one thing, in the first game, enemies would give up treasure if you killed them, making it harder to complete certain areas. Along with that, completing the game with 100% really does nothing except for give you a permanent fireball powerup. At least in the first game you got a really cool level to play. Although, if you look at the way the overall game turned out, you really shouldn’t be all that disappointed.

While Spyro 2 may have a ton of fun available in playing it, don’t expect the music to be as fun. Some of the music doesn’t fit the levels that they are in, and only one tune plays for the 3 overworlds, which feels kind of cheap to me. As for voice acting, the game won’t win any awards, but it’s decent enough. While they aren’t really into their characters, they at least say their lines with a bit of expression, and can speak decently.

To sum this all up, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage is definitely one of the better games to come out for the Playstation in it’s lifespan, and is also one of my favorite games to play. While the music is rather annoying, and the camera could use some Ritalin, the rest of the game passes with flying colors. Fun, easy gameplay, easy controls, great graphics, and a good amount of replay made this game a classic. I recommend it to basically anyone out there, unless you feel platform games are too “kiddy” for you to play. To those people, I say…wuss.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/28/02, Updated 08/28/02

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