Review by Ethereal Blue

"Side characters prevent this from being the best spyro game yet..."

Sadly, I never got to play the first spyro game, but i did play the second and, boy, was it a blast. So you probably can imagine my excitement when the third one came out. Unfortunately, i found it much less enjoyable than the second installment.

Graphics (System-Wise) 7/10

I\'d give this a higher rating but, alas, this all looks like the previous games, even some character models are reused. The thing is, though, these character models still look nice and crisp. Although the enemies in this game have little variety (They\'re all these rhinoceros-like beasts called rhynocs except for a few later levels) each stage incorporates a different theme to the enemy design, so it\'s all good. (None of the bosses look like rhynocs either)
All in all, the graphics are getting a little old but they still capture the traditional spyro feel.

Audio (System-Wise) 6/10

Most of the Spyro-related tracks are good, but sadly, of the 5 additional characters (Sheila the kangaroo, Agent 9 the monkey, Bentley the Yeti, sparx the dragonfly and Sgt. Byrd the uh....flying penguin), only bentley has a decent theme. Sadly enough 3 of the levels have sheila\'s god-awful theme song, hers included and one slightly remixed to sound hillbilly-ish(yuck) and 3 of them also have Sgt. Byrd\'s monotonous and repetitive stereotype army theme. Sound effects in general are great and the voices are clear and easy to listen to. No dopey accents like in Spyro 2, either.

Gameplay (Genre-Wise) 7/10

This is, first and foremost, a Spyro game, and I love playing as spyro, and this time round, he starts with his full set of abilities (Swimming, climbing, headbash, etc.) He also has a nice cast of friends of several different specieses. These being the aforementioned Sheila the Kangaroo, Sgt. Byrd the penguin, Bentley the Yeti, Agent 9 the cyber-chimp and, of course, Sparx the amazing health-meter/super-dragonfly/gem gatherer. I\'ll review all the sections seperatly as all the characters play differently.

Spyro - 10/10

Spyro controls impecably, probably because the folks at Insomniac have had so much time to smooth out and perfect the way he controls. He has 1 things that, for me, is the most important thing in a fast-paced action game that all the other characters, except Sparx, don\'t possess. That ability is \'\'the almighty HEAD DASH SKILL!\'\' hurrah! This constant mobile attack adds a lot to the pacing of Spyro 3 and gets even better on the insanely fun speedway stages when his charge attack is beefed up to a supercharge attack. HOT DOG THATS FAST! On the mention of speedways, each one has a hunter-stage where you control certain aspects of spyro\'s feline friend in various \'\'stop the invasion of alien farm animals\'\' minigames that are, at best, mildly entertaining. In addition to spyros almighty charge skill are the classic, flame breath, glide and headslam abilities. As well, Spyro can power up with super-flame, super-fly and invincibilty power ups. Sorry guys, no spirits that activate super jumps or supercharge in this one. You get gems for defeating enemies now.

Sheila the Kangaroo 0/10

No, that\'s not a typo. I HATE Sheila. Remember what I said about no annoying accents before? I lied. Sheila has the single most annoying accent in all of history(A really bland stereotypical Australian accent). She also has the single most annoying character theme ever known to mankind. It\'s hell to the ears and i reccomend turning off the sound while going trhough Sheila\'s areas. For some stupid reason, Sheila seems to live with some Swedish goats in spite of her Australian accent (What the...?). While wondering what the boys down at insomniac were smoking when they created Sheila, you\'ll find that she is nearly impossibly to control, because she\'s ALWAYS hopping when she moves, making turning around harder than tearing down the Berlin wall with a toothpick. She comes with a Spyro-like ground-pound move and her only form of offence is a hard-to-aim kick attack, which, paired with her awful control, makes killing things a living hell. Worse still, she appears the most over the course of the game. AGH! Well, I think I\'m done flaming Sheila, now on to the next animal in the side-character zoo...

Sgt. Byrd the Amazing Flying Army Penguin 6/10

\'\'James Byrd, reporting for duty, sir!\'\' Depending on what kind of player you are, you could hate or love playing as the British Byrdster. His form of weaponry is a pair of tiny rocket launchers mounted on his shoulders. Aren\'t they cuuuute? Not when they shoot deadly rounds of homing DOOM at enemies! Flight Sim lovers will sort of like Byrd as you wil spend 90% of your play time with him in the air. Pretty impressive for a penguin, eh? Aerial combat is the way to go. Problem is, fly, drop picked-up bombs and shoot missles is about all the penguin of flight can do, making his stages all seem to have the same idea to them: Fly and shoot, fly and shoot, fly and shoot, pick up a box to drop on a switch and shoot, fly and shoot again.

Bentley the Yeti 9/10

Bentley is the single coolest side-character in S:YotD. First of all, his theme song rocks! IMO, it\'ll never get old. As well, he hasa nice assortment of abilities, one of the coolest being his ability to spin his giant ice club and deflect flying projectiles back at whomsoever was unfortunate enough to throw them at you in the first place. His attack is sort of like Sheila\'s, but is much easier to aim and control and hits in a wider radius. He can also push large objects around with his shoulder. He even has an ultra-fun boxing minigame! How cool is that? My only problem with Bentley is that he is a bit slow, though no slower than the other side-characters. Also, his club attack is just about the only skill he needs outside his home-world level. After you leave his stage, you\'ll never deflect another flying round object with his club again and you will push a grand total of FOUR boxes in the entire game!

Agent 9 the Cyber-Chimpanzee 8/10

Agent 9 is the only character in the entire game who has completely first person segments of action. One of his minigames is a classic Arcade shooter against cowboy dinosaurs. Isn\'t that rad? Other than this, Agent 9 is best described as a Sgt. Byrd who can\'t fly and tosses grenades.
His weapon is a raygun that homes in on most targets, like Sgt. Byrd\'s, he can pick up bombs, or rather grenades, just like Sgt. Byrd. He can wait...he can\'t. Oh well, Agent 9 is still a solid side-character and can be quite fun to play as. His personality leaves something to be desired though...some strange and unexplained obsession with rhynocs...

Sparx the Dragonfly 9/10

I won\'t go in depth on Sparx as it is late, and I\'m getting really tired. Sparx has four stages total in which he ransacks legions of evil insects using bullets fired from his mouth(don\'t ask me) and various other special weapons aquired via sparkling butterflies. Each stage features and entertaining boss, just like Spyro. One thing i enjoy about Sparx is that he has a dash ability. After each stage is completed, Sparx gains a new ability that he uses when following spyro (example: your first bonus is that Sparx can fly farther to retreive gems for Spyro). The one problem i have is that there isn\'t nearly enough of Sparx\'s top-down gauntlet-style shooter levels and that makes me sad.

Story (Genre-Wise) 8/10

It\'s an action/adventure game so i can\'t expect TOO MUCH in the lines of plot. Basically, all the dragon eggs have been stolen from the dragon worlds and Spyro and hunter need to get them back. They go through a tunnel left by the sorceress\'(the sorceress is the main villain, a big ugly pink dinosaur with a staff) apprentice when she leaves. Various encounters are made with this apprentice and she becomes an intricate part of the story, she creates the first boss from a rhynoc. Character development is at an all-time low in this game but hey, it\'s Spyro!

Replayability (Genre-wise) 1/10

This game can be played through completely in one go, no hidden sub quests, no new game+, no hard mode to unlock, nothing. Play through it once and play through it again if you enjoyed it the first time around.

Other things...

Guilty pleasures of Spyro 3...
-Watching the ice dancing polar bear get whacked hard with a hockey stick.
-Cat hockey: The name says it all. The cats are the pucks.
-Beating on innocents: All neutral characters can be injured in this game. Beating on gnomes is FUN!
-Watching Moneybags get his ass kicked each time he releases one of the side-characters.

Overall 6/10

Although the game at its core is still awesome, the side-characters take away from the gameplay. Sparx and Bentley were the only characters i could keep having genuine FUN as. Skateboarding levels were a blast, too!
Spyro 3 is great for kids, but for many gamers should be considered for a rental before buying.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 08/06/03

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