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GENRE: Platformer
November 03, 2002
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

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 Written by Tim McGrew  on February 19, 2003

Full Review: It should read ?Spyro: Enter the Lame,? but it doesn't.

As a tiny little dragon, Spyro sure does get around a lot these days. He's making appearances on virtually every platform, fresh off the property's exclusive agreement with Sony, which faded awhile ago with his first appearance on the GBA. Unfortunately, since then, the GBA games have been the only ones to actually show decent gameplay as well as improvement from one sequel to the next. What this means for Spyro fans, or action game fans in general, is that Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is bad. In fact, it's hideous beyond comprehension and playing through this game is about the same as going to the dentist and having your gums scraped, and of those two events, I can't decide which is worse.

The game starts off with Spyro at some party with younger dragons who are receiving dragonflies, something of an ascension into adulthood ceremony if you will. In typical fashion, Ripto breaks up the scene and uses his magic powers to break up the party and scatter the dragonflies across the world. Apparently, without the dragonflies, the dragon's will lose their powers and start to die off and of course, its Spyro's job to recover them before Ripto does. Despite the fact that dragonflies on Earth can fly great distances at great speeds, the dragonflies in Spyro: ETD are incredibly dumb. They don't know their way home, and the only flying they actually do is to run away from Spyro when he's trying to retrieve them. Using your bubble special, which is earned when you stumble on the dragonfly, Sparx, at the beginning of the game, Spyro needs to trap them and recover them.

Fortunately, the controls are perfectly fine which is about the only plus when playing the game. As an action game, Spyro fails miserably in a number of ways. The collision detection is absolutely horrid, some objects are tiny and have large areas to hit while others are really big and Spyro can clip right through them. Still, this is just a minor problem since you usually get a feel for how to hit objects after the first world. Spyro also has a bunch of different well animated abilities using his different breath types and his different attributes that come stock with a dragon including flying, gliding, and breathing fire.

One very irritating problem with the game is the framerate. Generally speaking, smooth framerates will generally get a higher score from me then poor framerates pushing a high number of polygons, but in Spyro's case, since it does neither well, the graphics are horrible. It's hard to enjoy Spyro and Sparx's great animations when the framerate chugs and chugs with each move. It's absolutely horrible programming and it's sad to see this once great series come to this. If you absolutely need to play a Spyro game on your next generation console, please be sure to never let your Xbox enthusiast friend see this one since the absolute lack of quality from this title could damage your reputation forever.

Speaking of character animation, about the only two characters worthy of noting are the two main characters, Spyro and Sparx. The rest of the cast are just one big glitch after another with clipping, sagging bodies, and just poor design. I don't know if I should blame the programmers or the artists, but someone needs to get fired for this filth. I personally feel sorry for the testers after playing this game since there were obviously hundreds of problems at first and they just got sick of mentioning them before allowing it to ship to retailers.

Searching for some saving grace, I gave the audio a listen and, to this writer's shock, the music was actually bearable for a few moments. Then, the characters began to speak and yet again, what seemed like a good start turned into just another horrifying assault on one of my senses. The voice actors aren't bad, not by a long shot, but the script they were given to read can be construed as anything but positive. Word after word, sound effect after sound effect, players will start to wonder how this game was given the green light in the first place and how could something so bad get past any company's quality control department.

Bottom Line
If it isn't obvious by now, I'll say it one more time: This game is terrible. In fact, it just might be better if you stared at the sun for two hours without blinking because above all else, almost anything is more fun than this game. Don't even look at the box on the counter, but rather avoid it as if it were the plague.

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