The first Spyro game was released in 1998 on the original Playstation. The game was a straightforward platform game with Spyro freeing fellow dragons from their crystal prisons. The game won praise from gamers and spawned several sequels.
Now comes the latest Spyro adventure, which is really more of a remake. The game uses an all-star cast of actors playing the main characters, including Spyro and sidekick Cynder. The game concludes much like the original game wherein Spyro must defeat his archenemy Malefor, the Dark Master.
The developers of this game took a series that had been poorly handled by its previous developers. There were many directions they could go to make a great reboot, but despite the effort Spyro has too many holes. The first thing that they did was to hire some of Hollywood's top talent to voice some of the beloved characters. Elijah Wood (yes, Frodo Baggins) plays Spyro. Cristina Ricci plays opposite Spyro's character as Cynder. Wayne Brady plays a dragonfly named Sparx, and last but not least is cartoon voice legend, the one and only Luke Skywalker, a.k.a. Mark Hamill, who plays the main villain.
The game goes south, however, with its focus on combat instead of the platforming that made the original Spyro a fun game. Give the developers credit for wanting to change the game up a bit, but the last thing you want to do is change the core of a game. Aside from the combat, the only thing left in Dawn of the Dragon is the exploration offered in each level, and unfortunately it kinda sucks. The "camera" is really bad and some of the jumping and gliding mechanics that were great in the original are a real torture in this game. For example, when Spyro is flying around you might think that you can fly over a wall, but you'll hit an invisible wall, which is the developers telling you: "that's not how to get up there." Were the creators thinking that making a game with these kinds of issues would sell like hotcakes? Well good luck with that.
The developers were nice enough to include a drop-in, drop-out co-op mode for two people that goes through the game from start to finish. This seems like a great idea, but if you thought some of those jumps were hard on your own, just wait until you have to do it with someone else. Parts of this game are even harder with two players and double your chances of not making it. With another person playing alongside you, the experience of playing a mediocre game can be shared. At least you can switch back to one player mode with ease and actually get past the levels.
Having played and enjoyed the original Spyro games on the PlayStation there was a real disappointment in playing the latest chapter. No developer has the intentions of making a bad game, but with the talent that was brought together they could have done better than this. In fact, this makes me want to go back and play the original to see if I remember it being that much better than this.
Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon ★✩✩✩✩
Rated: E for Everyone. Platform: 360, PS2, PS3, Wii. Retail: $39.99- $49.99