Publisher: Universal Interactive
Developer: Universal Interactive
Release Date: 11/04/2002
Universal Interactive's Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is one of the worst platform games to come out in some time. Although it might have some best-selling past versions, the latest incarnation is a major disappointment. The story line is convoluted and confusing, not to mention completely uninteresting. The frame rate, or lack thereof, is amazingly choppy and slows the game play down at nearly every turn. Although the levels are filled with easy-to-collect gems and semi-clever mini-games that will no doubt appeal to very young players, Spyro lacks much in the way of innovation and audio/visual quality, to say the least.
The beginning story sequence is unclear as to what it is you are supposed care about. The introductory dialogue does not help clear up the initial confusion either. You are apparently getting paired up with dragonflies, at some pairing-up-with-dragonflies-type party, complete with balloon floats and cake (mmmm, cake -ED), but Spyro’s arch enemy Ripto shows up and makes all the dragonflies disappear with a pathetic looking disco ball-type wand thingy that he somehow is not quite sure how to use properly. Then Ripto abruptly disappears after the dragons are rendered harmless, without their all important dragonfly partners, to go devise a new plan, or something. Who knows. But after a long loading screen the adventure really begins.....to annoy.
Your goal is to find all the missing dragonflies, and save the dragon homeland, which is now in danger because dragons cannot do much without their dragonfly buddies, who apparently are the key to saving the dragon homeland. Now you must collect your powers and the dragonflies and read long, confusing explanations of every little thing that you are now expected to do.
Spyro can jump, glide and hover not unlike previous versions of the game. Your powers include fire, ice, electric and bubble breath for catching dragonflies who try to get away from you because, as explained by the overly long game texts, they are “shy” and I guess they don’t know you are trying to save them. This is just another nonsensical twist in the already convoluted story line.
Spyro EtD is chalked full of bugs and makes you wonder how it ever found its way into store shelves. From visual bugs like polygons stretching from the corners of the screen to huge gaps between polygons, to sound effects sounding very much closer than they are, Spyro EtD still needs substantial sound effects work. The voice acting is average, but at times it seems the voice talent is utterly bored with the project. With the exception of some delightful music from Stewart Copeland, (formerly of the Police), the sound system feels unfinished and downright buggy. The visual bugs are too numerous to mention, but here are just a few; collision detection will let you go right through some objects if you just used a weapon on them, the boundaries of objects seems larger or smaller than they really are, and sometimes your horns will go right through objects while other times you need way more than enough clearance before you can go under some objects.
The choppiness of the frame rate is really quite bad, given that you are dropping frame rate more often then not. Although the animation system is smooth and Spyro and Sparx his dragonfly are animated sufficiently (Spyro is composed of 5000 polygons), some of the other characters look unfinished and wobble around while talking, not to mention the characters do not appear to be looking at the characters they are talking to. The environment is average at best and quite unsatisfying over all, although the water effects are kind of cool.
Even for the die-hard Spyro fan looking for a major improvement via next-gen console, this latest version is going to be very hard to enjoy. The story line is utterly ridiculous and uninteresting. The shear number of visual and sound bugs in this game will also be a huge detourant for this game being even somewhat playable for anyone who has ever played a platform game of any quality. If you have played the previous titles, you have basically played this one too. Of course if you are looking for an easy to play, mostly collection type game with some mildly entertaining mini-games, this might be just the game for you. Just don’t look to Spyro EtD as a breakthrough game by any means.
So in conclusion, this game is really not any better than its predecessors and has some serious bugs to boot. Younger players will probably not notice the frame rate problem and perhaps enjoy the cutesy characters and game play. With platform games of much better quality in abundance, you may want to steer clear of this title.