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Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (PlayStation 2) artwork

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (PlayStation 2) review

"Any gamer remembers Spyro as the game which became an instant classic, as soon as it hit the shelves. Personally, I remember it as the first game I played on my first console back in '98. It had me hooked. Along with it's sequels (Gateway to Glimmer (UK version of Ripto's Rage) and Year of the Dragon), it had the ability to conjure up excitement with every new portal, homeworld or enemy. However, what went wrong with Enter the Dragonfly?"

The menu could have saved you the fifteen odd hours finding out the quality of the game. Mediocre, unjust and insulting nonsense-to the title that is. The name and menu gave off the idea of a Chinese/Dojo gimic. Something, which really did not appeal to me. When we look at the opening of other titleís in the franchise, it didnít give me the same feeling. That magical excitement that you are about to spend a solid twenty hours plus of enjoyment with this dragon. The music was lacklustre and mediocre. Wouldnít have looked out of place in some Crash Bandicoot spin-off (no offence to the resident Bandicoot), but really wasnít Spyro the Dragon. Disappointment continued.

I was introduced at this point to the major flaw in the game. Loading time. From what I understand, Universal had ďrushedĒ developers into making the 2002 deadline, using them as a scapegoat for heavy fire from Spyro fans worldwide. This apparently is to blame for the flaws in game mechanics. However, loading time really is an issue here and can be tedious. It is enough to make you want to finish a level and turn it off - just to avoid the long wait in starting the next world. Every level contains a mini game or in most cases two. Usually a speedway and a tank, aeroplane, UFO or slide related challenge. However, with up to two Dragonflies (collecting them being the games main goal), they cannot be avoided. So during one level, you could have up to 6 loading screens for entering and exiting challenges and end portals. Itís ridiculous.

I donít think there is a way to quite describe the opening cutscenes of the game. I use cutscenes lightly considering there were three throughout the whole game. The scene opened to show us Hunter, Bianca, Spyro, Sparks, among other baby dragons and dragonflies having a party (reasons irrelevant, just like to party) and it was pretty impressive. Each character had been given a glossy, shiny look. The background was colourful, characters moved well and it starts to give you some promise for the game. Voices are a little out of sync, but considering it was a new developer and the first game on the PS2 platform, it was understandable. We are later in the cutscene revealed to a return of Ripto, Crush and gulp. Iíve heard speculation that developers got ďlazyĒ by reusing these enemies, but I felt it was a positive return (like the Professor in Year of the Dragon). However, the design for Ripto was horrible. The voice synchronisation was way out compared to other characters and he didnít really fit in with the rest of the designs. I could go as far to say he looked too childish, but considering it is a game about purple dragonís and talking dinosaurs, letís leave it at poorly designed. It set the game up well.

It was good to see that the original formula for Spyro was present. The basic homeworld linking to other worlds through portals, boats, UFOs and apparently honeycombs - according to this game. Going around, collecting gems and Dragonflies (replacing, eggs, orbs and dragons). It had that classic Spyro-like music in the background and the colourful meadow welcomed you into the game. I recognised the bouncing noises of the butterfly filled sheep and the sparkling sounds from a nearby portal. . It was a welcome change, from what I thought was to become of this game from the menu. Viewing the Atlas, I wanted to know how big this game was and if it was really going to be a big adventure. 9 measly levels (out of the original 25 promised), 100 dragonflies (10 in each world, leaving no challenge in finding them) and only 8000 gems. I didnít realise until I was levels in, that this was the only homeworld and I had nearly finished the game. This was the biggest disappointment for me.

The controls for the game arenít disastrous, but arenít fluent by any means. The switch from R2 and L2 camera control too the right analogue stick can make gliding, while changing the camera angle awkward Ė most likely leading to you falling into oblivion. Also, trying to interact with the NPCs can cause hassle. This usually leads to the player circling the NPC once, just to try and get their attention.

The development of the worlds left a bitter taste in my mouth. The levels, really werenít Spyro-esque. A Dojo, a Farm, a Monastery, a Holiday getaway and a Jurassic level, being amongst these poor settings. The game lacked the mystical caverns of the Magic Crafters and places like Seashell Shore. As much as I found underwater levels boring, it was something the game lacked. Missions are usually set for the duration of the level as well, like freeing the Dragon Masters from the ice at the Dojo or destroying honey harnessing machines in the Honey Marsh. It had robbed me of the idea that I wanted to be in these levels. I didnít want to search every platform, cave or treetop, I just wanted to move on to the next disappointing place and be done with the game. One level in particular suffered terribly from the poor design flaws. Honey Marsh is set in a swamp-type area where rivers of honey run throughout. Continually, throughout the level the music could cut out. At a certain point, I attempted to jump towards a platform where an NPC was standing at the edge. Before Iíd even reached the platform, Spyro entered a conversation and because I didnít make the jump, I was trapped in this loop where Spyro would continually walk into the wall, trying to reach the NPC. Another mission, where I had to spit rocks at beehives, led to me walking continuously into a pile of rocks in the attempt to pick one up. If the player ricochet off the rocks, Spyro would end up in the honey and lose health. The NPCS design meant when their mouths were shut you could see right through to the inside.

There was some evidence that the developers did attempt to make a decent game. In the Dojo level, the ever loveable Moneybags makes a return to take our gems in order to move a bridge. Although I was two hundred gems down, it was good to see. However, this is the only time heís in the game. It gives the game that sense of being unfinished and to be honest, I think itíd have been better to leave him out entirely. Also, there is the new introduction of elemental breath, such as Thunder, Bubbles and ice, along with the new wing deflection ability. The different breaths allowed you to vary the away you attacked enemies, a nice touch. However, the wing deflection ability was really only key in one level, where the only 8 enemies in the level could be defeated using it.

The ending to the game isnít much better than the rest of it. After an easy battle with Ripto, he turns himself into Monster Ripto. The developerís obvious attempt at making Ripto their own (along with his poor appearance). I would go as far to say heís the easiest boss in the Spyro games. I found Buzz and even Toasty more of a challenge than this. Less than a four minute fight and here we have it. The return to the along awaited party for the baby dragons. With a mischievous wink, the player is left to wallow in their disappointment.

Overall, the game has made attempts to stay true to itís roots. The idea of collecting Dragonflies and Gems, going from world to world and meeting new characters is an exciting prospect. However, the game always will be thought as ďthe glass half emptyĒ. Various game flaws, poor quality and lack of levels, along with itís tedious loading times has one my vote for the worst Spyro game in the franchise.


Teddypicka's avatar
Community review by Teddypicka (June 19, 2012)

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