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Review: Spyro The Dragon: A New Beginning - PS2, Xbox

by Steven Williamson on 28 November 2006, 13:00

Tags: Spyro the Dragon: A new Beginning on Ps2, Vivendi Universal Interactive (NYSE:VIV), Action/Adventure

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Waves of respawning enemies

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning focuses heavily on combat and as the doe-eyed dragon progresses through the levels and picks up blue crystals from fallen enemies he learns new powers. Via the d-pad, Spyro can access four breath powers; fire, ice, electricity and earth. Along with a melee attack, you can use combinations of these powers in order to defeat multiple opponents and use the crystals in order to customise and upgrade your breath powers. For example, you can increase the length of your fire breathing skill or add an attack that allows you to take out more than one enemy at a time. The combat controls are incredibly simple and switching between the four breath powers can be done swiftly allowing you to combine both the breath power and melee attacks for maximum destruction.

By pressing buttons in a set combination you can pull off a range of combos, including a slow motion effect that allows Spyro more time to focus on the many enemies that appear on screen at one time. The action can be fairly frantic due to waves of re-spawning enemies and the attacking options available allow for plenty of variety, but the colourful visuals often mean that you can’t make out exactly who is attacking who on screen, meaning that the relentless combat sequences often feel as though they don't have any direction or purpose. Despite there being dozens of enemies to defeat throughout the game, it's still extremely easy to reach the next level and thanks to some poor AI we ploughed through the game without ever being seriously challenged.

During battle segments, the AI is frequently unresponsive with enemies that show no interest in attacking, but when the AI works well, they’ll dodge, weave and launch a barrage of attacking moves in order to bring you to your knees. Although the combat system for Spyro works extremely well and the upgrades are a welcome addition to his powers, it does mean that a few carefully selecting button presses will ensure that you can wipe out any attackers with little problem. The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning is aimed at 8-12 year olds so the easy-to-use combat system may be a blessing in disguise for those younger gamers, but those fans of the original Spyro, who have now grown up, will get little out of the game.

The camera angles are another bone of contention and despite being able to bring the view back behind you with the click of the right thumb stick, we were often bumping into things or getting lost in the scenery.