Game Over Online ~ Spyro: Season of Ice

GameOver Game Reviews - Spyro: Season of Ice (c) Universal Interactive, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Spyro: Season of Ice (c) Universal Interactive
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 75%
Date Published Monday, March 4th, 2002 at 12:42 PM


Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Spyro was originally a mascot who honed his skills on the Playstation platform. But the meteoric rise of the Playstation platform really needed no mascots. In fact, entities like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot were not nearly as integral to the Playstation's success as franchises like Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy and Grand Turismo would later become. Upon its initial release though, Spyro was warmly received but as its iconic lustre has been overshadowed, it has transitioned to make another appearance across-town (so to speak) on the GBA platform.

The Playstation, as we all know, was never a powerhouse 3D performer. During the course of its many years, developers have learnt to harness the engine using customized techniques to bring about some modern effects and performance. Likewise, the developers of the GBA edition of Spyro have not opted to forfeit the z-axis and have actually included some of it into the game itself by overlaying it on to two dimensions. This is a mixed bag as height is always hard to guess in two dimensions and in the end, the developers hope you can gauge by using the shadow of the persona (something I learnt in recent PDA games). Spyro is tri-partite in nature with a mix of graphical effects and vantage points. The mode you will be spending most of your time in is a sort of quest mode where Spyro must traverse through various colorful landscapes in order to achieve his ultimate quest; to rescue some fairies that are entrapped by the local nemesis, known as Rhynoc. An in-flight mode places you behind the back of Spyro where he must dodge or destroy enemies passing by. Finally, there are various mini games, which actually do not possess the troublesome z-axis problems that plague the regular game.

Spyro's quest obviously is fairly clichéd but so is the actual level design itself. Apart from the fact that the actual game tries to incorporate a third dimension, the FedEx style tasks you are given are very one-dimensional in nature. But Spyro rewards the careful explorer with plentiful amounts of secrets and hidden treasures awaiting lucky players. With the number of bonuses included, tracking the bonuses down becomes a game unto itself and nearly as time-consuming as your given task. Moreover, you can unlock mini-games and assume Spyro's sidekick, Sparx.

Holistically, one of the greatest strengths of this title, aside from its colorful artistry, is the audio. The sound effects are numerous and sound like digital samples rather than MIDI generated tones. There is also an ongoing ambient soundtrack that matches the mood and motif of the game itself. Combined with the visuals, the total effect is engrossing and I only wished the technical and artistic achievements here were backed up by an equally engaging plot or script.

I must admit though, I never really played any of the Spyro franchise on the Playstation. Perhaps strict abeyance to its spiritual ancestors has kept the GBA version from breaking new ground in the story category. The premise is indeed witty: Spyro is a fire-breathing dragon and the ice-entrapped fairies are the perfect damsels in distress. Saving more than a few dozens of them in run-around subquests is another matter altogether. Spyro has definitely not lost its audio-visual lustre since its first inception, but it has some ways to go to dislodge Mario on the handheld platform.

 

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Rating
75%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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