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Spyro 2
"Takes up where the original Spyro left off... only it ups the ante !" Image Loading...
Developer: Insomniac
Distributor: Sony
Game Type: 3D Platform
Review Date: Nov 99
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      If you have played the previous Spyro game, jumping into Spyro 2 will feel like you are treading on familiar turf. Basic controls are still there like pressing the "O" button for flame, "Square" for charging "X" for jumping and gliding and "Triangle" for looking around. The game also starts out slowly for newbies and includes various tasks for you to complete that will help you get a feel for how to control the little dragon. I liked the fact that the game has a nice gradual ramp up in difficulty instead of either starting out too difficult or staying too easy. By the later levels you will be pulling off moves that would have given the faint of heart seizures earlier on in the game. Gliding Spyro from place to place is a satisfying, almost surreal experience.

That was the one thing that ended up leaving the biggest impression on me both while playing the game and after I completed it…because the controls are so good, the only thing gamers need to worry about is having fun! There are no cheap, rip-offs in Spyro 2, if you end up dying of getting whacked around, it's because YOU are not executing things properly.

Image Loading...The universe of Spyro 2 is a big one…a really BIG one, so to help gamers from getting too intimidated the worlds are broken down into realms. Each of the three worlds contains multiple realms and also additional 'boss' levels. In the start of the game only one world is open to gamers and it is presented in the form of a hub called Summer Forest. It is from here that you are able to "jump" to other realms via various portals that are active throughout the land.

To help you keep track of where you have been and to see your completion ratio for each realm, you have access to a Guidebook. You can refer to this tool at any time by pressing the Start button. It will open up and allow you to skim through any of the locations that you have visited and tell you what you have collected thus far and what remains to complete the level…sweet!

In each realm you need to find a Talisman. Talking to the first friendly character that you meet once you arrive and they will give you instructions on how to find it. Just collecting Talismans though is not enough to complete the realm, there are many other things that you will need to do in order to get a perfect 100% completion mark for each area. Each realm has a set amount of gems for you to discover. Most are out in plain view but others are hidden in vases and baskets that you need to smash or burn to release them. Some of them are even enclosed in super containers that need a special power-up or weapon to open.

Image Loading...Another item to be on the lookout for is Orbs. You see, you must re-collect a good portion of the Orbs that the Professor scattered about in order to send Ripto back to his own world. Orbs can normally be obtained by completing special tasks or challenges that you are presented with by some of the denizens of each realm. Some of these challenges are creative mini-games, such as riding on the back of a Manta-Ray and directing it through a series of rings, or jumping onto a hockey ring and outscoring your opponent in a little game of one-on-one. These little extras add a great deal of depth to Spyro 2 and gamers may find themselves playing them for hours on end, specially as they remain open once completed.

To successfully complete a level with a 100% mark you need to find the Talisman, collect all of the gems and all of the Orbs. No small task I should say…

Image Loading...There are a few characters that you will run into time and again throughout your gameplaying. One notable is Mr. Moneybags. This greedy old coot is out after just one thing, to make money! You will need to pay him to unlock certain areas or gain new skills. Hunter the Cheetah will be there to offer his support and also to teach Spyro some of the more unique moves early on in the game. Elora will assist you with many questions that you may have and she will also open up important portals for you throughout the game. Then there is Zoe, the little fairy that give you some advice early on and also provides you with a checkpoint each time you pass her way.

Image Loading...Playing through Spyro 2 is easily one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences that I have had all year long…and I have played a LOT of games this year. The realms are immensely creative and original…all of them featuring kooky characters that are both amusing and very entertaining. I found myself actually looking forward to visiting each land to see what the developers have in store for me next. The levels are all laid out in a wonderfully logical way, but Spyro is still able to roam freely and complete tasks in any order you deem fit. You are also free to leave any realm once you have collected the Talisman for that level and return to complete it at a later time. There are actually many realms that you will have to re-visit due to the fact that early on in the game you have simply not learned all of the skills required to finish.

Oh, and speaking of skills…Spyro has learned a few new tricks from the last game. The little wise-cracking dragon can now swim underwater, climb and head bash…once he learns (or buys) these skills. Funny thing is, if you remember from the first game he had to stay away from the water, so for the first few realms I actually missed quite a bit of stuff until I realized that he could swim and water was not his enemy! Guess I should have read the instruction book…doh! One other handy little trick that Spyro has picked up is the ability to gobble up lava chunks and spit them out at his enemies. This makes for great long range attacks as he can spit the lava chunks a lot further than he can breath fire.

Yes the game is cute, but not sickeningly so and the challenge to complete the game in its entirety is certainly formidable and will keep you chugging along for a good long time. Add to that the marvelous mini-games, goofy, quirky characters and excellent control and you have yourself a top notch 3D platformer folks. Spyro 2 is a clear-cut winner through and through.

Oh, as icing on the cake…there is also a nice demo of Crash Team Racing included on the disc! So what are you waiting for??
Game Options:
      This is a 1 disk game for 1 Player. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the analog stick controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).

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Staff Opinions  
Tom: "Spyro 2 takes up where the original Spyro left off only it ups the ante by having even better graphics, better tunes, better level designs and most importantly a better story and gameplay.

After such a lengthy review I guess I can really sum Spyro 2 up in only one word…magical.

Get this game…you won't regret playing it for a moment "
Graphics: 20/20
Playability: 49/50
Sound: 9/10
Lastability: 20/20
Overall: 98%
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Reader Opinions  

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