Review by THayes

"Challenging and amusing sequel featuring the return of Spyro the dragon"

Spyro 2 is the second platform game in the series featuring the purple dragon. The game play has been greatly improved over the original game. For a start, there is much more to do in the levels. In Spyro the Dragon 1, it felt as if all of the levels were empty, with just a few random tasks to do here and there. In Spyro the Dragon 2, there are hundreds of things to do in each level. Gems are splashed all over the level. Gems in the Spyro the Dragon 2, are things that you have to pick up in order to pay this person called Moneybags so that he will give you help with certain things. There are lots of these gems in every level, and some of them are especially difficult to find as they are hidden very well. Talismans are new to Spyro the Dragon 2, and are a special item that you get for completing a level.

Once you have collected a certain number of gems, you can progress onto the next world. Orbs are also new to Spyro the Dragon 2. They are special items that you get for solving certain tasks that the characters in the game give you. Each orb task is give a difficulty out of five stars, and you are given the chance to solve their task. Some of the tasks that the characters give you are extremely easy, some are extremely hard, but all of them are fun to do. Orbs are required in order to get to secret places in a world, or to open up special places in a level. There are also many new enemies which roam about the levels, most of them being fun to annoy and have them chase after you. The control hasn't changed much, although Spyro has learnt a few new moves, most of which are given to him by characters in the game if you solve their tasks correctly. Finding all of the secret items and getting 100% in a level is not only difficult, but is extremely fun as well.

For those of you that have played the original, you may have wondered how a PlayStation can handle such amazing graphics. The fact that objects never seemed to lose detail, no matter how close you got to them. The fact that background scenery never seemed to lose detail, no matter how far away you got to them. The fact that every single object and character in the game looked like it was professionally drawn by some amazing artist. All of these facts were in the original Spyro. Spyro the Dragon 2 however, has even better graphics. In Spyro the Dragon 2, the characters now look extremely detailed, and seem to have more movements and animation than in the original. There are many new characters, all drawn and animated to a high standard. The scenery has now got even better.

Every object is very well drawn, whether it's the vases, the gems (which are much more clear and better animated than in the original) or even something as pointless as rocks, every object is full of detail. Spyro also seems to have been redrawn, as he now looks older and more detailed. His flame looks realistic, and even leaves smoke clouds behind after it. That stupid annoying dragonfly (Sparx) still flies around after Spyro as his health meter, but I had hoped that he would have been gone in the sequel as he really is annoying. Oh well, at least Sparx has got a bit more detail added to him in the sequel. Spyro the Dragon 2 has unbelievably large levels, yet they all seem to keep a high amount of detail. Scenery such as buildings or rocks never seem to disappear no matter how far Spyro gets away from them. The backgrounds are drawn nicely, and all of the graphics suit the game very well.

The sound hasn't actually changed much from Spyro the Dragon 1. It's still the same sound effects, which is no bad thing. As Spyro runs along the ground, you will hear the standard footstep effects that were heard in the original. Spyro's flame still sounds the same. So does his jumping and landing effects. So although Spyro the Dragon 2 may not win any marks for originality in the sound effects department, the sound effects sound fine the way they are, and didn't need any improving. There is a lot of speech in Spyro the Dragon 2, mostly because of the reason that there are many more characters. Every one of these characters has something interesting and informative to say, and the way they speak well, even if they do sound a little annoying sometimes. The music has been greatly improved over the original, and has been made faster, which suits this game very well.

Spyro the Dragon 2 has been designed to last a lot longer than the original in many ways. Many people have probably managed to complete the original Spyro the Dragon, getting 120% no problem. In Spyro the Dragon 2, things have got a lot more difficult. You now have to solve different tasks from characters in order to progress further into the game. Some of these tasks are easy, and could involve just getting 100 gems. Whereas some of these tasks are very difficult, and could involve solving numerous puzzles in order to get a secret item. The tasks are made so that you don't necessarily have to do all of them in order to complete the game, but it will be a shock to people when they find that they have totally completed Spyro the Dragon 1, yet can't even get 50% of the way through Spyro the Dragon 2 because of some of the extremely difficult tasks that you are presented with.

There are three huge worlds in Spyro the Dragon 2: Summer Forest, Autumn Plains and Winter Tundra. A world consists of about 9 to 12 levels. Each level is totally original and different from the other levels, whether it's on a sunny beach, in a shady oasis, or even on a volcano. Skill points are also new to Spyro the Dragon 2. To get skill points, you must accomplish extremely difficult tasks. You are not given any hints on how to complete these tasks in the game, you just have to try and find them. Although this may seem pointless, getting all of the skill points is an extremely difficult thing to do in the game, and definitely adds much more last ability once you've finished the game. This game is huge, there is just so much to do, and it's just great fun! Overall, Spyro the Dragon 2 is a great improvement over the original.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/04/00, Updated 01/10/04

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