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== THE LEGEND OF SPYRO: DAWN OF THE DRAGON ==
The Spyro games have been one of the biggest platform games that have ever been released. Mainly aimed for the younger gamers but others can still have fun and fall in love with Spyro. The Legend Of Spyro Dawn Of The Dragon isn't just another platform Spyro game because it also features fighting elements in the game as well. This Spyro looks and feels completely different to the old versions of the Spyro games and in my opinion its much better. I was a fan of the old Spyro games and when hearing about this one I was a little cautious but after seeing and playing it I was very chuffed with it. This Spyro game is the third and final game in the Legend Of Spyro games. The game was released back in 2008 and it was published by Sierra and Activision and it is also available for PS2, PS3, Nintendo DS, Wii and the Xbox 360.
=== THE STORY ===
The Spyro games have always had a decent story to the games and this one is no different. It never fails to put a smile on my face and its the type of story that kids and the rest of the family would love. The game starts with Spyro and another dragon by the name of Cynder (Spyro's former nemesis). They are both broken free from their crystalline prison by mysterious enemies. Spyro along with Cynder are bound together by a mysterious green energy that the Dark Master has put on them and he has taken them to a dark mysterious island. Now Spyro and Cynder must unite and take down the force that is the Dark Master and they must also save their friends and the world from the darkness that has been brought on it by the master himself! Overall there is a lot more to the main story in Spyro and its a fascinating one with a lot of twists in it.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
This is the first Spyro game in which the player can free-fly with Spyro whenever they feel like it. In previous Spyro games he was always limited to hovering but now in this new installment Spyro can fly for a certain amount of time. You can also swap between both the characters in the game and this comes in handy as you progress through it. You can play as Spyro and Cynder. Changing between them is simple and its done with a simply click of a button. There is also the ability to play a co-op story mode with a friend and each of you play as who you choose out of the two characters. Both characters are different types of dragon and they both have different attacks and techniques. Certain parts in the game require Spyro to do something, whilst other parts require Cynder.
Each dragon have their own element breaths and attacks. Spyro has his tried and trusted fire breath back along with his ice breath, electricity and a few others. Cynder is the more dark character with different elements such as darkness. Both dragons have different flying techniques as well. Throughout the game Spyro and Cynder will meet many new ferocious enemies along with some huge bosses. They will also meet from previous games old characters such as Hunter and Sparx. Also on their adventure you will meet many new characters that will help them find their way.
Whilst playing the game you will come across many new things. In previous Spyro games you would collect all different coloured gems but in this one the gems are much smaller and there aren't as many. You will also come across certain items that Spyro or Cynder can pick up in their mouth and have to be carried somewhere. When carrying items you cant fly because it weighs you down. Also new to the game are big different coloured crystals that need to be destroyed for certain things. Light blue crystals are for experience points to upgrade each dragon and learn new abilities. Green crystals recover health and red crystals recover element powers (a bit like MP). The game is like previous Spyro games in terms of its platform elements. Run around, jump on ledges, fly around, climb up certain obstacles in this all new exciting Spyro game.
=== GRAPHICS & SOUND EFFECTS ===
The Spyro games have always had the cartoon like graphics but they don't disappoint and kids would love how this game looks and plays. Most Spyro games have been 3D and this one is no different and I feel the game benefits more from this but mainly because of the 3D world and how beautifully its designed. Spyro has been slightly made to look different and I guess this works really well in my eyes because I feel its always good to add new things to a newer game. Cynder is Spyro's old nemesis from a previous game but in this one they team up and Cynder looks equally as good as Spyro. Cynder looks smaller than Spyro but it certainly doesn't make her any less of a threat. The bosses in this game are brilliantly designed and most of them are huge. Also the normal enemies look nicely designed and do give the game that good feel factor.
The sound effects to the game are equally as impressive as the graphics. Elijah Wood has done the voiceover for the character Spyro for the past few years and he did the voice in this one as well. Christina Ricci does the voice of Cynder and Gary Oldman also voices a character in the game. They all do a reasonable job and the game definitely benefits from its main characters being voiced by some well known actors/actresses. The in game music to this Spyro is similar to all the other Spyro games and it fits in really well with the gameplay. Also the overall sound effects are great. The fighting, platforming elements and the cut scenes all sound smashing and they all make the game feel much better. I was very impressed with both the graphics and the sound effects to the game.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
Spyro games have always been aimed at the younger gamers but this newer Spyro is a little bit different. The platforming elements are a little harder than what they was but its not overly difficult for anyone. By far the hardest part of the game is the fighting. Normal monsters are fairly simple to beat but throughout the game you'll come across elite enemies and they can be the hardest things to defeat in the game. The controls to the game are very simple and easily remembered. Most of the game is easy if you follow the on screen instructions. The game is also much more fun on co-op and is a lot easier on co-op as well.
Spyro has never been a huge game and like most platform games it can be completed in about the 30+ hour mark. However I have found that the Spyro games have always been one of the biggest platform games around with multiple worlds and lots of different levels. To fully complete this game and collect all the achievements your looking at the 30 hour mark as usual and to be fair thats a reasonable amount of gameplay because most game nowadays are ridiculously small and can be completed before reaching the 20 hour mark.
=== ACHIEVEMENTS ===
The achievements on this Spyro game are a little varied in terms of variety and difficulty. There are a total of 50 achievements to get on the game and most platform games don't offer close to that. I feel the more achievements a game has the bigger the game is. Some of the achievements will be acquired automatically as you progress through your adventure but some of them will require you to do something in order to get them. There are certain achievements that take time to get. One for example is to defeat over 1000 enemies and a few others are to defeat certain enemies but to defeat these certain enemies you have to find them first. There are also achievements for killing certain monsters without dying which can be time consuming. Overall 50 achievements will keep you on your toes because some of them can be quite tricky to get.
=== GOOD BITS ===
*Play and swap between Spyro and his old nemesis Cynder.
*Another beautifully designed world with lots of new features added to the gameplay.
*The graphics and sound effects really do make the game much more fun to play.
*Spyro and Cynder can fight and not just with their fire breath!
*Kids and fans of the Spyro games will love this.
*Co-op story mode with a friend!
=== BAD BITS ===
*The game isn't a massive one and could probably do better with a couple of different game modes as story mode is the only playable mode.
*The game could be seen more of a kiddies game but I think anyone can enjoy Spyro!
*Some gamers may find its a little easy.
*No online features what so ever and the game would of benefited more if there was.
*The game is a bit pricey for a 2008 popular platform game.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
The Legend Of Spyro Dawn Of The Dragon was actually going to be called The Darkest Hour but the developers opted for Dawn Of The Dragon. The Spyro games have been hitting different consoles since 1997 and has always been one of the biggest and best platform games around. There are a couple of similar games to this such as the Crash Bandicoot games. This game is in my opinion the best Spyro game out there so far to date. Its different to the others and offers a lot more in terms of gameplay. I was a little disappointed that the gems you collect in the games don't resemble the ones from the older Spyro games that were released back on the Playstation One.
The game has been out a while now and to be fair i'm still playing it because its great fun. Kids will seriously love this game and will certainly be able to do it. I would recommend the game to kids, fans of the Spyro games and also fans of any kind of platform games because its the best out there. I'm not usually a massive fan of platform games but Spyro has always been close to my heart. This Spyro game has an age rating of 7+ but I seriously don't see why the younger gamer cant play this. Also the game manual is really good and offers a ton of information on how to play the game and also troubleshooting information as well.
Now the price of the game is an interesting one. I wanted the game but was really put off by the price tag. I had looked all over for a cheap version of the game. However everywhere I looked it was over the £15 mark and this was about half a year ago. Luckily my uncle had a copy because he had sold his Xbox 360 and he only wanted £5 for it, so I jumped at the chance and bought it. However the game is now going for an incredible price of £23 on Amazon for a used copy but for a brand new copy it will set you back a ridiculous £37.99. Overall for a 2008 game that is far too pricey.
Overall I would give Spyro a respectable 7/10!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!
Spyro The Dragon, then. Not my usual cup of tea. I picked this up only because I was looking for a couch co-op game, and these days choice in this market is appallingly limited. Every game under the sun seems to include web-based co-op, but if you want to sit on your couch and play with a friend, then you're stuck. Take note, developers, people do still have real friends!
Anyway, on to the game. As I mentioned, this game was a complete punt simply because it's one of the few games that supports real two player play. I didn't expect much from it because let's face it, it's Spyro, right? Well, all told, I was very pleasantly surprised.
At its heart it's a cutesy platformer, just like the Spyro games of old. However, this version is surprisingly reminiscent of the God of War series, which was completely unexpected but really made me appreciate the game a lot more than I otherwise might have. As the game progresses, Spyro and his partner gain new abilities such as the ability to breathe fire, ice poison and so on, and as you work your way through you can upgrade these abilities as you wish, either being strong in certain areas and weak in others, or all at once to be a balanced character. In addition, with enough exploration, you'll come across pieces of armour that give Spyro inherent abilities like extra strength, defence and regenerating health. Another apparent nod to the God of War series is the use of Quick Time Events in boss battles. Sometimes in games QTEs aren't used well at all. They can be overused so as to become boring, used in completely inappropriate places, or so underused that they take you completely by surprise (I'm looking at you, Uncharted). But there's none of that here. You'll fight a boss using the standard 'dodge until you figure out weakness, hammer it, boss changes weakness, repeat' method until the boss is about to keel over. Then you'll get a nice cinematic which sees Spyro finish him off while you tap the right buttons on screen. It works well and is used sensibly and infrequently enough to not make the game boring.
The two player aspect of the game also works brilliantly. Both players occupy the same screen, but are attached by magical collars which operate in a kind of 'tug of war' mechanic so as to keep one player from wandering too far off from the other. This is a great way to keep the dominant player from sprinting into the distance while Player 2 is left miles away and forgotten, a la Tails. Each player gets a share of the experience orbs so they can customise their own character as they wish. It really is a true two player game, not a kind of one player game that you can have a friend join in on. It was a fantastic surprise and one I'd recommend to anyone looking for a similar experience. You could do a lot worse.
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon-A dawn of decent games for the franchise?
Spyro has had some tough times since the dawn of the Playstation 2. Both Spyro and Crash Bandicoot were the mascots of Sony's Playstation system, yet when both franchises were taken under the development of Vivendi Games, both franchises went down the toilet. Well, at least Crash Bandicoot made a decent, if uninspired, debut on the PS2. Spyro, however, sucked from day one. Enter the Dragonfly was horrible, with a dismal frame rate, choppy gameplay, and lots of horrible, unpolished aspects. Things were looking up when A Hero's Tail debuted which in my opinion was a bit improvement over Enter the Dragonfly, if not as brilliant as the PS1 games. Then things went back down the toilet with the first of two episodes in a trilogy called The Legend of Spyro. A New Beginning and Eternal Night were both meant to be games to revive the franchise. Let's just say they didn't. Now, with the platforming genre on the brink of death, the final episode in the trilogy is here with the series debuting on the Xbox 360. Is this the new beginning?
Because this is the final episode in the three part trilogy, Spyro follows on from the previous game Eternal Night. Unfortunately, this means if you haven't played the previous two games in the series on PS2, not 360, then you will probably be lost wondering why these events are happening. On a more serious note, the game borrows its major events from the final episode in a famous trilogy-Lord of the Rings. As you fend off an army from a clean city, fight a giant fire breathing golem and stop a creature from destroying the world-you will feel the similarities which is, sadly, unoriginal. The story is okay, if not very well geared towards the target audience of children-the dark and gloomy tone of the game makes it feel rather alienating towards children. Basically, Spyro and enemy turned ally Cynder must work together, as they are bonded by a magical force, to defeat the evil dragon Malefor and stop the destruction of the world.
There are two things that immediately strike out to you. The first thing is the rather impressive visual presentation. The game definitely looks gorgeous, with lush landscapes, smooth animation, bright colours and nice details. The cutscenes in between gameplay look impressive, with smooth animation and nice choreography, whether they are in-engine or CG cutscenes. The special moves and effects for both the dragons look cool too. Unfortunately the game does have some rough edges too, with some nasty frame rate stutters and some ugly character models. The enemy models are also extremely repetitive with the constant models repeating constantly. But overall, the visual presentation is very nice and probably the best looking Spyro yet.
The other big noticeable element is the big voice cast hired. The other two games in the series have been known for their big budget voice cast and this edition is no exception. Elijah Wood, Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill and Blair Underwood give their voices for various characters in the game. Pretty much all of the actors do a good job, though sometimes the script is too sleepy to entertain any audience. That said, most of the dialogue is enjoyable and some of the lines from Sparx (voiced by Wayne Brady, are pretty funny. The rest of the sound is pretty good too, especially the epic score. The urgent orchestral songs and awesome choral sections definitely improve the atmosphere of the game, making it feel more epic like God of War, even if it's nowhere near as epic. The sound effects are pretty standard, and can be a bit annoying like when collecting gems.
As you may have guessed, a lot of effort has been placed into the production values with gorgeous visuals and big name actors for voice work. The actual gameplay, however, doesn't come up quite as strong as the production though it's far from poor. The game is a mix of platforming, combat and puzzles. The level design is a bit meh thanks to some key issues. For starters, the game doesn't guide you very well. I wasn't asking to have my hand held, but for a kids game there's a little too much thinking required to make progress. The way to go isn't always clear, and the game doesn't guide you in the right direction very well. This means kids might become frustrated with the game. Also, the objectives which require you to find specific items don't show you the way very well making the game frustrating at times.
There aren't many new additions to the Spyro formula. You go one place, kill the enemies, move on, solve a puzzle, move on and fight more bad guys. It's quite straight forward, and to be honest the formula is getting stale. Banjo Kazooie added vehicle creation to its gameplay, making it fresher than its N64 predecessors, whereas Spyro really doesn't add much to what it started back on the PS1. However, some of the kinks of previous games have been fixed here. Controls are much tighter here, and the overall platforming is less clunky. In fact, the actual platforming is minimal here and you can't actually die of jumping off an edge as Spyro/Cynder can't fall into a pit thanks to their ability to fly. This is a great new feature as you can fly in the air meaning you can get around the level quicker. It eliminates the possibility of death by platforming as well, though you can still die from combat.
The big new feature to the series is a co-op focus. You can play the game in single player, and while the A.I. can follow you well enough, they are useless in combat and can get stuck on objects. The reason why the game is co-op focused is a magical bond that seals Spyro and Cynder together. If they get too far from each other, the bond will stop them from separating. Sometimes in combat, magic objects will cause the two dragons to be held down in one position, making combat harder. However, aside from helping each other in combat and giving two playable characters in single-player, the co-op mode isn't all that good. It's terrible that you can't play this online, its offline co-op only. For all the times I've complained for games not having offline co-op, I wish this game had online co-op so that you don't have to own two controllers. It can be fun, but it isn't groundbreaking.
Combat is one of the weaker aspects of Spyro. Spyro and Cynder both have high and low attacks as well as a grapple move to attack the enemies with. The most effective of these is the grapple move which can do up to 30 strikes on the enemy. Both dragons also have four magic abilities. Spyro can use fire, ice, electricity and earth to kill enemies, whereas Cynder has poison, wind, rage and darkness. The magic abilities are useful, but are limited because just using abilities like fire breath for a few seconds completely drains your magic meter. The main issue with combat is that they throw too many enemies at you at once. Sometimes you have to combat up to 20 enemies at once. It's not so bad when the enemies are weaker, but when you get five weak enemies, five powerful enemies and a giant monster, combat can last up to 15 minutes and becomes repetitive and monotonous.
Another problem with combat is the widely inconsistent difficulty level. Because combat runs on for a long period of time, sometimes you can die in combat after 10 minutes of play only to have to fight for that amount of time again increasing the monotony to a higher level. This frustration is increased by the horrible Elite enemies. These special enemies are tough, large enemies which are incredibly powerful with one mere weakness and they do a high amount of damage to you. Having one of these enemies pop up in the middle of a fight can dampen the experience, as they don't spawn for a good amount of time. Thankfully, the elite enemies are optionally, but avoiding them means losing out on powers that make your character better and to be honest, avoiding an enemy in a kids game made me feel a bit worthless.
One of the issues more to do with the whole game is the camera. Rather than locking onto one position, or letting you manipulate the camera 100%, the game instead forces the camera onto one position with a minimal amount of control. The game, however, treats it as if you have complete control of the camera, adjusting it into awkward positions and offering little control. This is horrible for trying to explore as the game's camera focuses on one path meaning if you are trying to complete the game 100%, it can be hard to because the camera doesn't show you any other paths to find all the nook and crannies. One good thing about the camera is that because of the bracelet, you never find a character off screen which is great in co-op.
The best area of Spyro is in its value for money. The game takes about 10-12 hours to complete which, while topped by Platformers like Banjo or Jak & Daxter, is a pretty good length for a platformer. The game also has great replay value. In each level, there are a ton of collectables for you to find. XP crystals can upgrade your abilities, magic crystals can up your health and magic power, elite enemies give you special items and there's also armour to find in each level to protect the dragons. As you collect these items, your completion percentage goes up. To get the full 1000 gamerscore on Spyro, you need to at least complete the game a 100% meaning you have to collect everything. Then again, you can get a good 500 gamerscore for simply completing your first playthrough so kids can earn a good amount by just playing it, but people who dig into their games can get a lot of playtime out of Spyro.
Is The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon good, bad or ugly?
With so very few platformers on the system, and most of them being mediocre, it's good to see a decent one come along in a while. Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is not perfect, but considering the purple dragons track record since his PS1 days, Dawn of the Dragon is a rather fitting game. As he launches on next-gen consoles, it's one of his best games since in years. It's far from perfect-the weak combat, annoying camera and some heavy and annoying influences from other media. If you're looking for something that will entertain you like a Gears of War or Call of Duty, where it's all about the action, Spyro may not be your game but if you are desperate to play a platformer from the old days and don't want to download Banjo Kazooie off Xbox Live, then this will be good.
Dawn of the Dragon was released on November 21st, 2008 for Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Wii and Nintendo DS. It is rated 7+ for mild violence and can be bought for around £30.
Free from his imprisonment, the Dark Master unleashes his wrath upon the world, determined to bring forth a new age of darkness. As evil spreads over the world like a plague, Spyro must discover abilities beyond that of the elements and unlock the true power of the purple dragon within him if he is to stop the Dark Master and fulfi l his destiny.