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The best GBA Spyro yet!
on 16 December 2003
This is a fantastic little game and far outstrips either of the two previous Spyro GBA titles, and is equally appealing to those who are familiar with the Spyro series and to those for whom this is their first Spyro experience.
The new emphasis on puzzle-solving and exploring is a new one for Spyro, and is a welcome change. It also translates much better to the handheld format than the pure action of the past games. The graphics are very polished, sparkly and cheerfully-coloured - it's rather like the sort of landscapes you see in dreams. It might even be enough to make you wonder what the developers were on - this title is genuinely funny (past games have felt a little forcedly so), and wonderfully surreal - various puzzles will have you trying to put back together a rabbit who has sawed himself in half, hypnotising kittens to stand on switches for you, and freezing walruses (walri?) so you can use them as rafts.
The game's developers have also, in keeping with the new exploratory theme, finally woken up and given the player infinite lives instead of the unnecessary distraction that was keeping track of them. The omission of that annoying cheetah Hunter is also very welcome! There are two new playable characters - Sgt. Byrd the flying penguin (eh?) and Agent 9 the monkey (who did make an appearance in the last title, but his new levels are based on stealth rather than shooting-'em-up), both of whom feature in 2D scrolling levels reminiscent of the early Oddworld titles, which make a pleasant distraction from the rest of the action.
The only real downside to this game is that, like most platformers, the plot is a pile of pants, and also in places it's just too cute - this very first mission has you being told to retrieve all the baby dragons' toys, and the game is peppered with fairies and big-eyed fluffy natives. There are also a few control issues when stepping on switches or jumping up on ledges on corners, but for the most part control is very smooth and tight, and Spyro's new attacks add more depth to the gameplay.
In short, a very playable and accessible title that is a real boost to the series and a lovely addition to your games collection.