Spyro: Enter the Dragon
When Super Mario 64 was first introduced to the world back in 1996, the world of 3D gaming hasn't been the same. Copycat games soon flooded the market and before you knew it, you could hardly walk into a videogame store without noticing all the cute mascot games that were out for the N64 and PlayStation. One of the mascots that came out during that time was Spyro. However, Spyro the Dragon was a good game in it's own right, with gameplay similar to old school platform games in a 3D realm. Sequels ensued and Spyro quickly became one of the many popular mascots for the PlayStation. However, this is Spyro's first appearance on Nintendo's Game Cube -- so how does it faire?
Spyro: Enter the Dragon plays just like the original Spyro on the PlayStation, but with a few extra abilities thrown in to warrant the new name, but if you've played one version, you've played then all. Spyro: ETD is a platform game that focuses primarily on collecting, with other platform elements mixed in. Several mini-games were thrown in to add some variety and they can help break up the monotony of the game at times. Levels are fairly linear, so exploring isn't focused on as much as other platforms games. But since the game is linear and collecting is the main focus, things can get tedious as you collect the 700th jewel for the level. To its credit, many of the level concepts are original (ranging from a monastery of monkeys to a farm infested with aliens) and the graphical design is impressive, but aside from that, there isn't much worth mentioning. If you like running around and collecting jewel after jewel and solving laughably easy puzzles, then Spyro: ETD might have some appeal for you, but for the rest of us, Spyro: ETD simply doesn't hold a candle to the other platformers on the market.
The camera can be faulty and will cause a few unnecessary deaths, but that can be said for every third-person game. You have two camera options, one that stays behind you at all times and one that's looser, allowing you more control'both of them are decent, but have their problems at times. Spyro: ETD isn't too long so expect between 10 to 15 hours depending on skill level. Once you've beaten it, however, there's not much reason to come back aside from the mini-games.
In screenshots, Spyro: ETD looks great, however, looking at it in motion is a different story. Spyro: ETD suffers from horrible frame rates, dipping below 30 FPS regularly. It never drops low enough that it interferes with gameplay, but all fluidity is ruined because of it. Spyro himself looks great and the levels are decent eye-candy, but all of this at the cost of a fluid framerate. The music fits well, but it's very forgettable with no memorable theme. Sound effects are standard faire with cartoony noises littering the levels, and voice acting is decent, with experienced voice-actors such as Tom Kenny of Sponge SquarePants and Billy West of Ren and Stimpy on the bill.
When all is said and done, Spyro: Enter the Dragon is an average platform with a horrible framerate. If you're looking for a good game for your kid for the holidays, do them a favor and pick up Super Mario Sunshine or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Of course, if you're looking for a game that will substitute for coal, Spyro: Enter the Dragon might be a good choice.