Gameplay, Story and Value:
For all intents and purposes, Spyro 2 is your run of mill 3D platforming collect-all-the-things games popularized by other games of the era such as Banjo Kazooie. That’s not to say it’s derivative of the aforementioned Bear & Bird game, or any others for that matter, just that it would be easy to lose this game in a sea of similar titles.
Fortunately, Spyro has just enough charm and style to set itself apart from the crowd. Unfortunately, that uniqueness does not come from its gameplay or structure.
Spyro 2 follows the basic formula wherein you visit a hub world, play through levels in the hub world to collect Things, trade Things for Things that let you get more Things until you have enough Things progress further. You’ll eventually come to a point where you don’t have enough Things to get the Thing you need, so you need to revisit old levels to visit new areas and get even more Things! If I’m coming off as flippant it’s because these kinds of games, even the classics, have never been appealing to me. I just can’t play for more than a few hours before the tedium kicks in.
That said, the story is a lot of fun with some great characters carrying it along. The controls are mostly okay, though you’ll be fighting the camera from start to finish.It’s never so bad as to ruin the game, but it definitely makes you appreciate more modern control schemes. Over the course of the game, Things will unlock new permanent abilities such as swimming and climbing, allowing you to explore more of the game, as well as temporary power-ups like super speed or enhanced fireballs to help you with more specific tasks.
Presentation, Music and Sound:
Still captures turn out a little fuzzy, but in motion the game looks pretty great. Spyro relies more on bright colors than detailed textures, and the result is a game that has a clean fun look about it, and that doesn’t suffer as much as other games do from texture warping. Environments are enjoyable, but they somehow manage to look both unique and samey at the same time. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but resulted in me just not getting very excited to see what was coming next. That’s not to say the visuals are bad, because by PS1 polygon standard, the game really looks pretty good!
The music is fine, though not at all memorable. What does stand out are the voiceovers. The game is fully voiced and while you can still hear the occasional mic pop, the quality is fantastic and the actors seem to be into it. I had a few good laughs listening to everything and I have to admin they did a great job here!
I wish I was more into these kinds of games, but I think I just lack the attention span. With every game I play I either beat it, or play long enough to see myself become the end boss… I mean… get to the point where I don’t want to play anymore. When I reach that point, every night I end up forcing myself into my chair to play whatever game I’m on because I “have to”, and it’s just not fun. At this stage in the project I’m making a conscious effort to not linger on games, just to keep things moving, and I’ve been better for it.
What I’m trying to say is that games like Spyro 2 are the kinds of games tht I find myself enjoying a lot initially, but put me in that position of disinterest faster than most other games. I think this is a neat game. I don’t want to play it anymore, but I hope to watch my kids beat it some day!