Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly

Moby ID: 8578
PlayStation 2 Specs
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Description official descriptions

Spyro the dragon is back yet again with his trusted dragonfly Sparx. After the end of the last game, Spyro and his friends Hunter, Bianca, Bentley, the Professor and Shiela, had a great time at the Year of the Dragon festival at Dragon Shores. But something goes horribly wrong.!!

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

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Critics

Average score: 50% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.9 out of 5 (based on 28 ratings with 1 reviews)

It's like drowning in a sea of honey

The Good
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is the fourth entry in the Spyro series, and the first one to make the leap to the next generation console, the PlayStation 2. While the Spyro series is often praised highly among the PlayStation classics, I have to admit that I don't know much about it. I have bought this game because I have received a used PS2 console, and I was looking for something similar to Gex 3D: Enter the Gecko to play on it. Initially, it seemed like a good choice: on the surface, it looks like a competent, well rounded 3D platformer.

Playing as a dragon. I AM FIRE! I AM DEATH! -- Eh, I mean like a purple colored cartoon dragon, which is young and can't even fly yet. But hey, it is unique to control a four legged creature in a platforming game. Spyro's main attack is a fire breath. Above that, three more breath modes will be gained as you progress: ice breath, electric breath, and - wait for it - bubble breath. Okay, these all have their purpose. For one, they unlock various elemental locks, most notably on the gates in the main hub world. These breath attacks are introduced as something unknown yet, so I guess these are new features to the franchise. Another attack is ramming, whick allows you to run headfirst into destructable/killable things and do damage. For defense, the wings can be used as shield, reflecting enemy projectiles back to the sender. It is fun, but you rarely get to use it. The wings are also used to be able to glide after jumping. There is also a kind of triple-jump mechanic, where in mid-air Spyro can flap wings to just barely reach a ledge.

Spyro has a sidekick constantly with him: Sparx the dragonly. It flies around and helps you to pick up nearby gems, so you don't have to touch everything yourself.

The goal of the game is to capture 100 dragonflies that has been kidnapped and scattered around the land by the villain. The stupid little bugs run away from you when approached, so the bubble breath has to be used to catch them.

The levels... honestly, they had generic cliche themes from popular media that were forgettable (the Gex games are also guilty of this, but not to this extent). One exception that I liked was Cloud 9, a dreamy above-cloud city inhabited by sleepy teddy bears and bouncing stars. The background music also picked up the pace there. For another one, the honey slide levels were also memorable (for being a pain).

Let me compliment the audio-visuals. The graphics looks both delightful and eye-candy. Especially the level loading animations jump to my mind: purplish hues, wooly clouds, Spyro floating in the air before the sun-lit vibrant horizont. It is all so dreamy! The soundtrack fits to this. The music troughout the is not very interesting, in the sense that it doesn't really come forward and grab your attention. It's sublime, sort of there in the background, made of little chiming and bells, contributing to the a magical aura of the game. The controls seem to be functioning well. There was also no problem with the camera (your view to the game world), like it was in earlier 3D platformers. In general, it is a very calming and peaceful experience, that makes you feel like everything is fine and dandy.

IT'S A TRAP!

The Bad
Shesh! I really wanted to like this game. But there must be something terribly wrong, when after each play session you leave frustrated and fuming angrily! I can't really grasp the full extent on what's the problem with the gameplay, but I will try.

At first, playing the game was a breeze. I got up to the second world/level, the farm lands with the UFOs. It wasn't much of a challenge, until I got to a point where you had to clear a wide gap for a jump, to be able to continue towards the exit. It is a bit of comlicated situation, as you have to summon a spinning UFO to lower to the ground, jump on it, then it rises up to it's default position, and you have to make your way onto the storey of a barn. It doesn't seem like a big deal to pull off with the jumping-gliding-flapping mechanic you got tutored on in the beginning. I have tried, almost made it, but fell off. Tried again, almost got there but fell. Again. Again. And again... Allright, I must have gotten tired or something, will return another time. About a whole year passed like that. I have bought two new controllers in that time, because I was thinking something is broken. I kept also practicing with the controller, so after so much time and effort, it could not have been just my fault all this time! [A little side rant: I have grown to hate the PS-style controllers, as primarily a PC gamer with the comfort of a keyboard and mouse, I don't know how people find that comfortable for long session, it makes my hand hurt.] I don't even know why I returned to the game after a while, but at one time, after wasting a lot of time and effort trying to get trough that point, It somehow happened! Great, I thought, I can leave this behind and continue on with the game like nothing happend. Ugh, well, not really. Almost every level has one such a specific point of for an impossible jump. And I got stuck. Again and again and again. ARGH! Good thing not all such impossible jump spots are in the way of a level exit, sometimes they just lead to some collectible items.

The minigames, bonus races, and whatever else sidequests that come up in the game, they appear to be a nice little distraction at first. Until you realize, that in order to get to the final boss, you have to max out the game: finish every level, collect everything, catch all 100 dragonflies (insert Pokemon motto here), beat every single bonus challenges and races. EVERYTHING!!! Nothing is just a bonus. Shesh, why does it have to be like that! And what did I say again? It's good that not all impossible jump spots are in the way of level exits? Scratch that, it is mandatory to mess around with every impossible jump spots!

Worse yet, the bonus races are rigged. At the first few dozen tries, it is impossible to win. Then you seem to do better. Eventually, if you keep trying over and over again, you will win the race, and the opponents won't even pose a challenge. You may first think that you got good at it. Until one time, you will eventually realize. It's not the skill, no, it's the number of tries that matters! The developers scripted it this way to keep you busy. How lame. (Hmm, maybe this is the deal with the impossible jumps too?)

The voice acting... ugh! My head hurts from even just thinking about the badly exxagerated impressions that some NPCs had. And you had to listen to it over and over again, because sometimes it was mandatory to interact with characters (like, they gave you quests that you could easily fail... PTSD from the honey levels). Farmer Bob, Joe, Billy, whatever variations there are of him, one of the worst offenders! By the way, we are a dragon, why do we have to put up with their BS, let's just eat them or something. Spyro, as boring as he is as a character, at least his voice doesn't make my skin crawl. Sparkz on the other hand... Bzzzuuzuiu BZZzuioziuzio Buuziuzzz.

Don't even let me get started with my complaints about creative decisions the game designers had. Just for one, why are there so many military themed minigames, in this otherwise cookie-cutter kid friendly game? Is this an advertisement for the US military? Why does a dragon need to drive a tank, or an airplane? It looks dumb. Let the dragon itself be the vehicle of destruction!

The enemy creatures are so inept and useless, that they hardly ever pose a threat.

The Bottom Line
The thing is, it does not seem that bad. Only when you are playing it, it makes you want to pull your hair out. But whatever, after about a decade of torture, I have beaten the game! Now I go and beat myself up, for being so stupid that I willingly put up with this.

[That was like in 2018, but I am posting this only now. That is because I wanted to dig deep and understand how exactly this game was so tortous, but the reviews I have read contradicted with my expereince and I got confused. Who cares, I put it out as it is. Onto the next dozen unfinished reviews!]

PlayStation 2 · by 1xWertzui (1135) · 2024

Trivia

Cancelled versions

A PC and Xbox version were to be released but were ultimately cancelled.

Rushed Development

The game was rushed due to the enthusiasm of the development team. Dan Chapman, a former developer at Check Six Studios, has explained that Universal Interactive originally licensed the studio to develop two Spyro titles (which the studio chose to develop at the same time), causing the game to be only 15% complete when they reached their deadline. Universal Interactive refused to give the team an extension and released the game in this state, with the team being forced to rework the Ripto miniboss into the final boss of the game.

Unused Content

The game was originally intended to have a third type of breath that Spyro could breathe, music notes. They would cause the in-game music to be sped up and enemies to start dancing.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by indiandude.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Big John WV, Deleted.

Game added March 5, 2003. Last modified October 1, 2023.