Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
System: Playstation 2
Publisher: Universal Interactive
Developer: Equinoxe
Released: November 2002
Genre: Platform
Capabilities: Memory Card & Dual Shock 2 Analog & Vibration Feedback compatible

Review Written: January 25, 2003

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is the first Spyro game to be released on the next generation of consoles. Itís also worth noting itís the first one of the series not to be released by Sony. Now Universal Interactive has the rights for the game and is releasing it on all three major consoles. The previous Spyro entries on PSone were acclaimed platform games, all that changes with the latest release.

Spyro: ETD has a simple approach for a storyline. Spyroís arch-nemesis, Ripto shows up at Spyroís castle. For his latest scheme, he waves his wand and makes all dragonflies vanish into random parts of the world. Without dragonflies, all dragons are powerless. Now itís up to you to rescue them, before Ripto and his allies do.

The first stage in ETD gives a great overview of all the moves available to you from Spyroís repertoire. Youíll learn how to double jump, hover, and glide. He also has other techniques that youíll learn like head bashes, charges, and deflecting attacks. The response time to perform these moves is way off and they can make the easiest of tasks seem impossible. Spyro still has his same set of breaths which are Ice, Fire, and Electric. Spyro now has bubble breath which is used to capture dragonflies. Even though they use to be your friends, the dragonflies still run away from you because Riptoís spell has made them afraid of damn near everything. Thatís where the bubble breath comes in handy.

Spyro operates like its predecessors where you can find power ups like gems and fodder. They help you get extra lives and more health. Youíll also run across many puzzles in order to catch all the dragonflies. Spyro has to cross some lengthy gaps, or find hidden switches and whatnot to access specific areas. At first itíll seem that these challenges arenít that hard to figure out, but with the horrid controls that ETD contains youíll be destined to retry all of them a lot with large amounts of frustration to boot.

Another big problem is the collision detection. When you want to hover onto certain areas and it appears that you cleared a landing by a long shot, youíll magically vanish off your landing point into the ocean, ravine, or whatever. Then again sometimes itíll work to your advantage. For example, when it appears your flame breath missed a foe by a mile, itíll still awkwardly connect.

Iím extremely disappointed with the graphics in Enter the Dragonfly. It still seems like the game is on PSone for crying out loud! The overall presentation has very little polish to it as you notice the abundance of jagged graphics. The frame rate is choppy as hell. Almost anything you do results in the tiniest bit of slowdown. The ways the mouths are animated during any instance of speech arenít lip synched properly. I thought Sonic Shuffle was bad, but this sets a new standard at poor lip synching. Donít even get me started about the atrocious loading times. Youíll have to wait more than a whole minute to load up a new part of the game.

There are a couple good notes about the graphics. The models for Spyro, Sparx, and most of the other heroes are well done. They appear to be the only thing that got a lot of attention during the graphics. The animations for Spyroís movements are fairly smooth for the most part. Some of the areas you venture across look fairly decent. The ice world is the one that sticks out the most. Even with these few strengths, the faults end up overlooking anything promising the graphics have to offer.

The sound effects consist of your usual staple of bleeps and buzzes youíre use to. The background music is all right, and suits the nature of the game properly. The voice acting is pretty good overall. It actually sounds like youíre watching a cartoon show at some times. There is a few times where the voice acting couldíve used some more enthusiasm, but itís on par most of the time.

Spyro: ETD doesnít take too long to beat. About a dozen hours, tops. There are a few neat hidden tasks you can find like racing events that can keep you occupied for a little while. There are a good amount of tasks in each level to complete. Other than that there are not really any other multi player modes or secrets to unlock like most other games of this genre usually offers.

RATINGS

Graphics: 2.5
Sound: 6.0
Game play: 4.2
Replay Value: 1.1 

Overall: 3.4

Enter the Dragonfly is a poor first effort by Universal Interactive. There are a bunch of other great platform games on the PS2 to check out. Even the most hardcore Spyro fans should only rent this one. There are plenty of other great alternatives out on the PS2 such as Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper that I recommend rather then playing this pile of crud.

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