Dragons are cool. This is fact. And video games are cool. Combining the two should be even cooler, right? Well, Spyro the Dragon says so. The character is a major mascot of the PS1, and had a rather entertaining rivalry with Crash Bandicoot, another mascot, back in the day. His original trilogy of games are excellent and still hold up pretty well today. Not perfectly, of course, but they are still obscenely fun to play.
But the poor flying reptile started having problems once it came time to transition to the PS2 generation. The reboot – The Legend of Spyro – received rather mixed feelings to say the least, but it does not come close to the shame that is Enter the Dragonfly.
I was a child when I first bought it in Gamestop or somewhere, and I thought it was going to be amazing. The original games’ mechanics with new worlds and improved graphics and design? Sign me up. I remember playing it for hours and hours, and it was just not fun. At any point.
Now, from what I have read, this game was supposed to be amazing, and an absolutely massive amount of content was cut. The original 25 levels, plus multiple hubs, got reduced to ten or so, with only one bland hub to tie them all together.
And then there is the loading. It is disgraceful. Each level can take several minutes or more to load. And unlike something like Bloodborne, which also has longer-than-average load times, there is nothing for the game to load. Each level feels barren and incredibly linear. There are occasional minigames, yes, but the game also has to spend an eternity to separately load, and even then you don’t have to go far. True, the individual levels in the original Spyro games were rather small, but each was crammed full of personality, made sense and had enough details and challenges that it didn’t become dull to poke around them for rather a long while.
Okay, there are hints of personality here, and the concepts aren’t actively bad, but it’s all so generic. There’s this one level set on a farm and Spyro has to help out this farmer protect his cows from aliens. A neat concept, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been fully developed, and easily has the dullest environment of the entire game. You’ll spend most of it just walking around a dark landscape with maybe a barn or two to bounce around.
The combat is decent, but only because it is the exact same as the originals. Except for the additions of new dragon breath abilities – including the awkward and unwieldy bubble breath, which I only ever used because the game made me – there are almost no innovations or improvements whatsoever.
If you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the story yet, it’s because there isn’t really one. Ripto and his minions, the villains from the second game, have returned from the dead somehow and want to steal the dragonfly buddies of the dragons. It is only referred to at the start and end of the game and is the most phoned-in plot the series has seen in a long time.
Let’s compare this to the plots of the other games, shall we? The first game had you chasing after a monster called Gnasty Gnorc who had turned all dragons aside from you to statues out of spite. The game has you traveling from world to world, freeing the dragons and fighting against dozens of unique enemies. The second game has you sent against your will to the world of Avalar, where you are tasked with usurping a wicked tyrant, the aforementioned Rypto, and bringing peace to its many different cultures and lands. The third one has a wicked sorceress steal dozens of dragon eggs with the intention of murdering the infants to make herself immortal. Need I say more?
In Enter the Dragonfly, you have no goal, nothing to work for and no sense of progression. Rypto doesn’t seem to want to harm the dragonflies, and gains nothing by keeping them other than vaguely annoying the dragons and providing Spyro with a reason to beat up his allies. So why even continue? The answer is that you don’t. You turn off the game and return it to the nearest game shop and demand a refund. Spyro deserves better than this mess.