The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon Review

Player(s): 1-2
Memory: 360KB

I'll have to be honest with you, The Legend of the Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is my first time playing a Spyro game, so I don't know how it compares to the rest of the series. I'll tell you this though; it's an enjoyable little platformer, especially if you're looking for a good two player experience.

The main game is played with both Spyro and Cynder. A single player can control one character while the CPU controls the other or the game can be set to "two player" through the pause menu at any time allowing a second player to join in at any time. It's just as easy to switch back to single player through the pause menu also - the CPU takes immediate control of the other character for a nice "jump-in and jump-out" multiplayer gameplay. The multiplayer aspect is local only, no Xbox LIVE multiplayer. While controlling the characters on single player mode, the LT button can be pressed at any time to switch between Spyro and Cynder. You'll be switching between the characters quite a bit as the game progresses since some puzzles require the use of both characters and sometimes only one character's abilities can be used to get past a given situation.

Spyro and Cynder feel slightly different with their melee attacks but their unique abilities are what really make them stand apart. Both of them can harness the power of four elements each. Spyro has fire, earth, electricity and ice while Cynder has wind, poison, shadow and fear. Some puzzles require the use of certain abilities and sometimes enemies are weak to certain abilities, such as zapping one with electricity to make the enemy drop its weapon or setting an enemy ablaze with fire to make it stagger momentarily. All abilities can be upgraded for additional attacks by collecting upgrade crystals throughout the game.

The game's combat, while not incredibly deep, is quite fun. Combos can be mixed up between X and Y presses for a light and heavy attack or you can grab enemies with the tap of the B button then press either the light or heavy attack button to perform a different type of throw. Enemies can also be taken to the air to perform air combos. Tap and hold the Y button to make your character knock an enemy upwards then jump into the air yourself and continue to hit the enemy in mid-air or grab the enemy and perform an air throw. Both characters also have a fury bar where a super mode can be entered once the bar if filled up, which allows them to unleash some truly damaging attacks or abilities.

One thing that does get in the way of the otherwise fun combat is the weak auto-targeting however. You might suddenly be hitting one enemy and build up a Y press to knock the enemy into the air, only to have your character turn and strike the side of the enemy. The hit detection feels off at times as well. There were many times where my character reached forward with a grab only to have it completely miss a nearby enemy - this also happens sometimes with air grabs while trying to grab an enemy that is knocked into the air. Fighting enemies in the air can get very time consuming because of these two issues, especially the auto-targeting. Thankfully, you can almost always take the fight to the ground.