on the original PlayStation firmly established the cute little
dragon as one of the premier platform franchises, thus his original
outing on the GBA (gasp, a Nintendo system!) was a bit of a
surprise. It proved to be a successful move though, both in terms of
sales and quality. Thus a sequel is born, and it stands as one of
the best original platformers on any handheld.
This game takes
place immediately after the original. Upon Spyro's return to the
Dragon Realms, he realizes that no dragons (including him) now have
the ability to breathe fire. Thus Spyro sets out to recover the
fireflies that grant the ability and defeat the evil Rhyncos.
Everything is laid out in a hub-like fashion, with one main world
providing portals to 25 other levels. These can generally be taken
in any order, although Spyro is required to collect a certain number
of gems and/or fireflies to access certain areas and abilities.
difference between Spyro and other platformers is that it features
an isometric perspective. This has been known to cause perspective
problems in the past, but Digital Eclipse smartly laid each level
out so that it isn't much of an issue. Height differences are easier
to spot out, and jumps aren't taken on blind faith.
This time around
Spyro also offers three different playable characters, including
Spyro, Agent 9, and Sheila. Spyro's levels are the standard, Agent
9's levels are basically side-scrolling shoot-em-ups, while Sheila's
levels requiring hopping from platform to platform Q-Bert style.
Agent 9's levels are by far the worst, as they plod along at a slow
pace with somewhat iffy collision detection. They're luckily in the
2: Season of Flame looks a lot like it's predecessor, with the
same camera perspective and similar design. Everything is colorful
and vibrant, with youthful character designs somewhat average
animation. It's a bit disconcerting how everything appears
"blocky" due to the perspective, but the end result is a
distinct visual style that separates it from most other GBA platform
2 features a snappy soundtrack that fits the mood and younger slant
of the game well. The sound effects are all loud and clear, and the
sound effects accompanying character speech (kinda a stripped down
version of Animal Crossing's "animalese") are amusing.
- Vibrant and
- Tight control
scheme lessens the problems inherent with isometric games.
soundtrack fits the mood well.
- The Agent 9
levels are slow and boring.
- No real
It won't blow
you away or anything, but Spyro 2 is a solid platform game sure to
appease fans of the genre. It's also different enough (thanks to the
isometric perspective) that it doesn't feel like virtually every
other GBA game out there, which is important on a system so
saturated by platformers already.