Time Spent: 10 to 20 Hours
Headline: Purple in the sky, Fire in his eyes, Spyro is 'on the rise!'
Since his strong entrance in 1998 with the many other golden games that formed a cloud and rained gold all year long, Spyro has already become a rising mascot. Does Spyro have what it takes to go farther, higher, and harder; or does this adventure have nothing new to offer?
Spyro and his helpful friend, Sparx have decided to head to Dragon Shores for some R&R because their home world has experienced a cycle of dull weather for a few days. They travel through a portal but get sidetracked to another world. Here, a kingdom of real and fictional creatures has been overrun by Ripto and his minions. The creatures open a portal (to get a dragon to help out) and it incidentally happens to have you-know-who. If Spyro rids the world of Ripto, he can be on his way; and there's no turning back because Ripto destroys the portal Spyro comes through. The story is just as simple as before; but that's not really a bad thing as there are more cut-scenes involved in the simple storytelling to carry it along and at least keep you amused.
One noticeably better thing is being able to talk to creatures other than dragons. It got pretty tiring to talk to nothing but dragons in the whole dragon world where dragons and dragons and dragons and… yeah, those guys. The only other creatures in Spyro 1 were speechless secondary characters (except Gnasty Gnorc) such as fairies, evildoers, balloonists and they didn't have much more than a straight to the facts script. Here, you get Spyro & Sparx (previously provided), a money loving bear, a female faun, an uncertain cougar, an experimenting professor, a scepter wielding villain, and a huge dinosaur! Each of these characters has at least some personality (even if it is all brawn, no brains) and overall, the script is much livelier.
Look, a DINOSAUR!
On your quest to remove Ripto from his rule, you still collect jewels; although this time, you do need to do a decent bit of jewel collecting to continue learning new tricks or have additional portals opened. Orbs also serve as the occasional wall and collecting them should be one of your top priorities. There has also been some prioritizing going on as characters better convey information. Case in point: Talismans must be collected (all of them) to be granted access to the next hub-world. Not all worlds have a talisman and characters can help direct you to where you need to go and they will tell you how hard any challenge is. The creatures you save of the worlds also at least have an actual reason as with why they need help which the original didn't utilize very well. The camera is just as good as before; as in, it hasn't changed and it's unlikely to be improved given the fairly sound design. The levels also benefit from just as strong designs as before with the new mechanics getting properly integrated. If there's one more good change that could have been done to the levels, it was the boss battles. Previously, you'd have to face a boss in a regular level and if you died because of some minor enemy, even if the boss had died, you'd have to beat the boss again. Bosses are obstacles, once you beat them they should stay out of the way and here, the bosses have their own small levels so you don't have to beat them anymore times then necessary. There is also a jewel finding system which helps players find every last treasure within the level by having Sparx point you in the right direction. You also get the occasional chance to make use of your skills to play a tailored game of hockey, race in a mine cart, and a couple of other challenges.
Did you know that Spyro’s name has pyro in it? And he breathes fire.
The gameplay of Spyro 2 is mainly the same but there are a fair few nice additions to add more variety to the levels you have to conquer. You still have your ability to fly, ram, complete time races, and breathe fire along with upgraded versions but it's been refined. Instead, you now just go through a power up station (which is ultimately a little more efficient than before) and you have so long before it diminishes. For the better, there have been slight altercations to some familiar moves but they serve almost entirely the same purpose. Spyro also has 3 new power ups: invincibility, freeze flame, and big bounce; they also serve him well but aren't tied in quite as often as the main mechanics. And it doesn't stop there; he can also climb as well as toss objects by gobbling them up and spitting 'em out to eliminate out of reach enemies or activate switches. The last and biggest addition is the ability to swim; this allows you to explore massive water levels and perform your ram (but nothing else) while submerged. It's fun to swim because you can still move quickly like on ground. The designers were also smart enough to throw the idea of an oxygen meter away because most areas already have obstacles like enemies on the lookout for you.
The graphics in Spyro are truly amazing; the only flaws that existed in the original have been combed over with well rounded production values. The same goes for the sound, everything is top notch; there is not a flaw to criticize about on either side.
Hey! Dragons can’t swim, they’d drown!
Spyro's main week point is still its' length as you can be finished in 8 hours. However, there's so much worthwhile still left to be done that full completion warrants around 16 hours of play. The difficulty is ultimately the same, easy but a challenge remains for those going for everything.
Spyro 2 has risen its' bar and leaped over it triumphantly. There are so many games that have a simple checklist of better design, make character swim, make it look better, and add a new move. Here, Spyro is way ahead of his competition and is standing strong; it's highly recommended!
8.5/ 10 GREAT (PS1)
+Offers the same well crafted experience from before
+Swimming is a perfectly crafted addition to keep the game away from repetition
+Side characters are livelier, helpful, and more prominent
+Almost completely perfects the minor issues from before