Reviewed by Tempest
No alternate review available
When the eggs of the baby dragons are stolen by the
evil Sorceress, who do the dragon elders call?
Spyro's at it again in a whole new adventure! Meet
new friends, go new places, do new things! This is a
tale unlike any before!
Spyro: Year of the Dragon is third Spyro game released on the PlayStation and a sequel to Spyro: Ripto's Rage! that was released a year earlier. The game features new characters and s slightly improved graphics while not changing the basic concepts found in previous titles. While in Ripto's Rage gathering talismans and orbs wasn't very enticing, this time they returned to a winning formula: you have to recovers dragons eggs and it become obvious during the game that there is a convincing reason to get them all. Each dragon egg when recovered will hatch and the baby dragon will perform a little choreography for the players.
Some changes were made over the previous games. For example, in each homeworld you can free a creature that you will be able to control and play with in specific levels and sub-levels. Sheila is a the kangaroo who can make incredible jumps, Bentley is a yeti who is all strength but has poor jumping abilities, Sgt. Byrd is a militarist penguin who can fly and shoot small rockets and finally Agent 9 is a slightly mad monkey who can shoot enemies at long range with his laser gun. While Spyro is good at pretty much every task, his friends are a bit unbalanced; by this I means they have obvious strengths but also obvious weaknesses. Another change from previous games is that Spyro is no longer the dragon who does everything by himself, the player will be given control of his friends mentioned above as well as Hunter who will perform tasks at different points of the games.
Note that everything Spyro has learned from the previous game won't suddenly be forgotten at the beginning of this new adventure (contrarily to what happen in, let's say, the Metroid series). This time it is Sparx who will be able to learn new abilities such as increasing the range where he can gather gems, point where uncollected gems are located and provide an extra life point to Spyro.
As with previous titles, collecting all the eggs and gems will allow the player to access a special level at the end of the game. Moreover, getting all the Skill Points will show a little epilogue in the guidebook. Skill Points are acquired when accessing difficult places, getting high scores in minigames or sometimes just because you went looking somewhere (some do not exactly require actual skills but most do).
The story line:
The story begins in the Year of the Dragon, an event that is inspired from the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac and the Chinese calendar. In the game, this year is when dragons laid their eggs (it is hinted in one level that dragons reproduce only once every 12 years). While everyone is asleep, a mysterious clocked anthropomorphic bunny named Bianca comes to the World of Dragon with a group of Rhynocs and steals all the eggs. Spyro, Sparx and Hunter being the only creatures small enough to fit into the tunnels the invaders came through, are tasked to recover the eggs.
Spyro pursues the thieves to a world that was once inhabited by dragons but was abandoned by them a long time ago. This "Forgotten Realms" is ruled by a dinosaur-like queen called "Sorceress" to whom Bianca reports to, as she is her apprentice. Dragon eggs were stolen because dragons are magical creatures and they can bring back magic to their world but we will soon learn that there is something much more sinister behind all this. In order to complete his mission, Spyro must to visit the portals of each of the homeworlds in order to free the dragon eggs, seek the help of the local population and free the dissidents to the Sorceress' rule.
Graphics were improved slightly from the previous games but since it's still on the same console, improvement are limited.
The Sound & Music:
The music as with the others games is not distracting or annoying, some are a bit odd but it contain diversity that should be okay for people with different music tastes.
Note: the overall is not an average, but more a general appreciation of the game as a whole.
R a t i n g
|Graphics:||(7.5/10) - Good|
|Sound & Music:||(7.5/10) - Good|
|Story line:||(7.0/10) - Good|
|Play Control:||(7.0/10) - Good|
|Innovation:||(6.0/10) - Average|
|Overall:||(8.0/10) - Very Good
A rating of 5/10 should be considered as something not good but not bad either (# bad points = # good points).