Review by Gbness

Reviewed: 10/14/03

A very good game shattered by its original.

The first Spyro game was the beginning to an excellent platformer series. Few platformers have succeeded as well as this series has. Ever since the first game, many fell in love with the small purple dragon and he became immensely popular. Some time after that game, Insomniac released Spyro 2, and it heightened people's love for the series even more. Well, I personally think that Spyro 2 doesn't really deserve that score. It's still a fun and imaginative title, but it just doesn't live up to the first game.

The storyline of Spyro 2 is pretty simple, but simple isn't all that great of a thing. It's still a good storyline though. Spyro and Sparx are suffering through a lot of rain. It had been going on for quite a long time. Spyro decided to go on vacation, where it's warm and sunny and he can relax. He looks around and sees a portal to Dragon Shores, and then he decides that Dragon Shores is the perfect place for him to have his vacation. Little does he know that at the time something else is going on in another world.

After that we see three new characters at the other world (Avalar): the Professor, Hunter, and Elora. The Professor is standing near a portal and trying to get a dragon to Avalar. A character known as Ripto was terrorizing Avalar, causing trouble and always being in a nasty mind. Right when Spyro was going to the portal of Dragon Shores, the Professor had got him. Spyro then lands in Avalar, and then Ripto appears with his two monsters Gulp and Crush, and Spyro realizes what he's like. A dragon is Avalar's only chance of stopping Ripto.

Gameplay is almost exactly like the first Spyro title. Spyro 2 takes place in Avalar, going past three huge worlds. Each of them has a large set of lands in them. Spyro's basic job is to just complete a task that one of the characters in that level presents him, and he's given a talisman. Between each world, there are Ripto's cronies and later himself to battle before Spyro can make it to the next world. Spyro 2 definitely takes a really long time to complete because there are a lot of places in the game to get through!

There are a lot of things to collect in all of the games in the Spyro series, and Spyro 2 is no exception. In each level, there are 400 gems and some Orbs to get. The gems are basically used to trade with the bear Moneybags to do things like open bridges and learn new abilities, and orbs are basically collectibles. There are quite a lot of portals in Spyro 2 that cannot be opened without a certain deal of orbs. And of course there are the talismans which you collect by simply getting to the end of the level. It's pretty simple.

One of the things that Spyro 2 actually DOES improve in over the first Spyro title in gameplay is the fact that in this game, Spyro has some new abilities to use. His dragonfly friend Sparx can point him to the nearest gem by holding down the top four buttons, and he has three new abilities: swimming, climbing ladders, and headbashing. Unlike Spyro 1, the dragon doesn't die in water. He can swim underwater and get in passages. There are some ladders that can be climbed, and there are chests and rocks that need to be headbashed to break.

The huge amount of mini games in Spyro 2 almost astounds me, and it is one of the better things in the game considering that there was absolutely none of them in Spyro 1. In one of them, you get on a manta ray and go through rings, and in one of them you need to charge into a bunch of turtles to get them away from a pot of soup where they will be cooked. There are also quite a LOT of mini games that Hunter the Cheetah challenges you to playing like collecting crystals as they pop up from the ground. Most of the mini games are genius.

There's also another super fun kind of level in Spyro 2 called the speedways. In this kind of level, there are a variety of things you have to do. For example, you have to flame creatures, go through rings, and other stuff like that in a short period of time and you can usually find a character like Hunter in the speedway somewhere, where you can go through a challenge like racing him through some rings or shooting down some balloons in the sky. There are four of these brilliant levels in the game, and they're all quite enjoyable.

Probably the only thing I haven't talked about in the gameplay is the control. There's really no problem with it. X makes Spyro jump, Square makes him charge, O makes him flame, Triangle makes him look around with the D-Pad, and speaking of the D-Pad it makes him move, and so does the Left Analog Stick. All of the top buttons together make Sparx point to the closest gem, and them alone simply move the camera. He can glide by jumping and pressing X in midair, and hover to gain a bit of height with Triangle while gliding. The controls are all simple.

Graphics in Spyro 2 are in my opinion a bit overrated. Spyro looks a little better than he does in the first game as he's taller and more handsome. Other character designs are very nice. The area designs fall a little though because they just did not have the first game's huge amount of detail. They still look decent though. Snow falling through leaves falling from trees are all very detailed. The gems also do not look as good as they did in the first title. I mean, couldn't they have been a bit more colorful? Enemy designs are just as good as the character designs. Overall they're pretty good.

The music has taken a BIG step down. In Summer Forest for example, can you hardly hear the music? I don't think so. A lot of the music is rather silent and it quickly gets repetitive. I do not like this fact at all. However, that's not a total loss. Some songs are really good. Some of the speedway songs are excellent. Metro Speedway has some of the best music in the whole game. Sunny Beach has a nice theme that really fits the level's style. Still, it just cannot compare to the nice upbeat themes of Spyro 1. The music is average, nothing more.

Sound is much better than the music though. Spyro's voice has become much better and MUCH less annoying. Spyro charging and flaming sound just like they did, and most of the voices are pretty good. I do have one minor complaint though. A lot of the voices are really deep and it just makes me really annoyed. I mean, in Spyro 3 Hunter and Moneybags had a lot less deep voices. I would have preferred a little change in that, but at least there's Elora's voice. Her voice is almost perfect and fits her style very well. Overall the sound is pretty good, but could have used improvement.

Sadly however, Spyro 2 offers rather low replay value. I suppose that it could be fun going through the awesome mini games, speedways, and the rather impressive levels in the game with the good graphics and music, but I really expected more. It's really because the music is usually not too great and I have never seen music affect a game more, but I'm not saying that much though! Spyro 2 still has some replay value, but don't expect top notch replay value like the kind that the other titles featured however.

Overall, Spyro 2 is a really good game. It may have some flaws like the fact the music is pretty low and the graphics aren't as good as they could be, but that can't ruin the gameplay and storyline. They are the two most important aspects of the game and both of them are pretty high, not to mention that the other two aren't really as low as you might think, so overall you probably won't be too disappointed by Spyro 2. Still, do not expect a game that is truly as great as the other two PSX games in this fantastic series are. It's still much better than the fourth game though.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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