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Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly

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Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
Enter-the-Dragonfly-NA.jpg
Enter-the-Dragonfly-EU.jpg
Proof that littering truckloads of glitches onto next-generation debuts of beloved franchises really is a bad thing.
Protagonist(s): Spyro the Dragon
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): PlayStation 2
Nintendo GameCube
Release: PlayStation 2
NA: November 5, 2002
EU: November 29, 2002
AU: October 23, 2003

Nintendo GameCube
NA: November 19, 2002
EU: November 29, 2002
Developer(s): Check Six Games
Equinoxe Digital Entertainment
Publisher(s): Universal Interactive
Country: United States
Series: Spyro the Dragon
Predecessor: Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Successor: Spyro: A Hero's Tail


Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is a platform game co-developed by Check Six Games and Equinoxe Digital Entertainment, and published by Universal Interactive for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. It serves as the sequel to Spyro: Year of the Dragon, and is the fourth game in the Spyro series overall. Microsoft Windows and Xbox versions were planned but both were cancelled due to the game's poor reception.

Development

After Insomniac Games has just completed their three game plan and moving on to create the Ratchet and Clank series, the owners of the Spyro IP, Universal, who was merged with Havas Interactive shortly after Year of the Dragon, announced that a brand new entry will be coming to next-gen consoles, such as the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube, with both California-based studios Equinoxe Digital Entertainement and Check Six Games working on it.

Joe Goodsell, who was previously an employee of Disney Interactive Studios, joined Check Six and Equinoxe after seeing a demo of the game they have worked on. Initially, Spyro was going to have a more adult tone with a steampunk visual to incorporate the design and art, but was changed into a more traditional Spyro game with a basic story involving previous villains Gnasty Gnorc and Ripto after it received negative feeback from Universal's higher ups, with one quote saying "Its just a standard Spyro game design, what's so special about it?". Goodsell then wrote a "epic Zelda-esque RPG-lite Spyro design" that includes a hub town and changing seasons, and Universal signed on it with no feedback.

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly was unveiled in early 2002 at Vivendi Universal Games' First Annual Games Fair in France and it was planned to release in November of the same year, this turned to be a huge problem for both Check Six and Equinoxe and its the main cause for the project's downfall as a whole. The game struggled with low framerate issues, even with simplified visuals, as both companies have never worked on a game before, well Check Six was -co-working with Fox Interactive on Aliens: Colonial Marines for EA around this time and Equinoxe was working on a protoype game to show off to Nintendo with a huge promise, but these problems where mostly due to pressure for the release before Christmas and missing paychecks, as well as two directors (including Riki Rukavina) that was hurting the team's morale and running Check Six's limited remaining resources to dry, causing Joe Goodsell to rejoin Disney Interactive, and later Insomniac Games, the original creators of Spyro to work on future projects. Composer Stewart Copeland recall that there was a "divergence" with Universal after the team showed him the ad they made, which is the main reason why he hasn't returned to the series until Reignited Trilogy in 2018.

In an May 2018 interview, Goodsell apologized to many Spyro fans for the game's final result, as he and the team made the best as they can. Check Six and Equinoxe later shut down, causing Aliens: Colonal Marines to get cancelled outright and the prototype game getting rejected by Nintendo after a certain milestone. Ted Price, founder of Insomniac Games was not impressed by the game's quality, calling it "An absolute travesty", and compares his creation as an abused stepchild. As for Spyro himself? Aside from the GameBoy Advance games made by a different studio, he won't get another entry until 2004's A Hero's Tail, which while feel abit better, it was mostly the same since the classic PS1 trilogy, so its novelty has worned off for the purple dragon.

Plot

Taking place after Spyro: Year of the Dragon, Spyro, Sparx, Hunter and Bianca are cerebrating the baby dragons getting their own dragonflies, but when Ripto appears and captures them, Spyro, Sparx, Hunter and Bianca must put a stop to Ripto and save the dragonflies.

Why It Didn't Find All the Dragonflies

  1. Many glitches, due to the game being heavily rushed for the holiday season. There's even one glitch where you can headbutt near the place you fight Ripto, go through the floor, and fight him.
  2. False advertising: On the back of the game's cover, Hunter is seen using his bow, but he is not seen actually using it at any point in the game. He doesn't even have it or his quiver on him.
  3. Because of how broken and unfinished the game is, it can be beaten in 5 minutes. Because you only have the fire breath, Ripto only has one phase. The world record of beating this game is just over one minute.
  4. Long loading times, especially in the PS2 version. It takes almost a minute for a single level or a smaller but similar amount of time for a challenge to load.
  5. The game's demo immediately starts playing six seconds after the menu boots up, and footage of one of the Speedway levels plays, in which Spyro starts flying in the wrong direction. The demo lasts all of five seconds
  6. Physics and collision detection that are not only wonky, but inconsistent. When Spyro pulls off a hover, it doesn't just drop him and let him fall naturally, but actually pulls him down to the ground like he's tied to the floor with a rope. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when you defeat an enemy or break a basket, the gem that appears falls so slowly you'd think you were on the Moon.
  7. Bad first impression: the very first cutscene at the beginning of the game starts with Hunter screaming at a balloon that just so happens to be shaped like the Sorceress.
  8. While the game does introduce new abilities such as new elemental breaths and the Wing Shield, they don't really do much for the gameplay and are somewhat useless. The Bubble Breath can not defeat enemies. It can only catch Dragonflies and the Wing Shield isn't even usable until the eighth level.
    • Why would a mythological creature like a dragon use bubble breath as an attack?
  9. On that topic, in order for you to get the Bubble Breath and the Wing Shield, you need to find keystones that are scattered around the levels, which is easier said than done due to how confusing the levels are.
  10. Horrendous sound mixing; sound effects will sound closer than they actually are.
  11. Every time you start the game, Sparx gives you a tutorial on what you already know.
  12. Sometimes, there are dragonflies that you have to catch with your Bubble Breath, but due to the poor controls, catching them can be extremely difficult due to the fact that they never stay put.
    • According to Bianca, she says that the dragonflies run away from Spyro because they are shy, but there's this one dragonfly whose buzz means taunting, so that means they aren't shy. They are, in fact, making fun of you for not catching them, as shown in Square Eye Jak's review of the game.
  13. Clichéd and unfunny dialogue. There's even one line of dialogue during the final battle where Ripto breaks the fourth wall by saying that he doesn't want to sound like a video game cliché after saying he'll take care of Spyro permanently twice.
  14. There is one cutscene in the middle of the game where Ripto says that he'll send his Riptocs to get the dragonflies and stop Spyro, despite the fact that the Riptocs were already introduced at the beginning of the game.
  15. There are times where the Gems will have a different number of how much they are worth.
  16. Several bugs, such as being caught in an endless loop while talking to characters and the game freezing during loading screens. The PS2 version is also prone to crashing at random points.
  17. Most of the voice acting is poor, the biggest example being Ripto. Despite being voiced again by Gregg Berger, he barely sounds anything like his original version, this time talking almost like a gay stereotype.
  18. The Speedway levels are a pain to navigate, and if you mess up, you have to start the entire levels from the beginning.
  19. Some of the character models look awful (especially Ripto with his “banana mouth”).
  20. Many major characters from previous entries in the series are either entirely absent or given minor roles. For example, Moneybags only appears once in the first level, Bianca only shows up during the beginning and ending, and Hunter (despite appearing regularly) hardly does anything significant.
  21. Most of the levels are just carbon copies of levels from the original trilogy.
  22. Due to the game's rushed development, the plot is practically nonexistent and is illogical and flooded with plot holes and inconsistencies.
    • Ripto is the main antagonist, despite falling into a pool of lava after being defeated at the end of Ripto's Rage. How he managed to survive is never explained.
    • For some reason, Crush and Gulp can speak now.
    • Why can't the dragonflies just fly back to the castle on their own? They aren't captured by anyone evil and can easily fly back to the castle.
    • What does Ripto want to do with the dragonflies that he captures?
  23. A large amount of content was cut from the game. The game would've had 120 dragonflies to save, 25 levels, and Gnasty Gnorc would've appeared as one of the main villains, but (as mentioned earlier) due to the game's rushed development, the final product only has 90 dragonflies, nine levels, and Gnasty Gnorc is absent (but briefly mentioned by Ripto in the opening cutscene).
  24. While the game feels short, the levels are enormous and almost hub-like.
  25. Only one hub world with eight levels in the entire game. Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon had four hub worlds with 33 levels, almost four times as much as this game.
  26. There's only one boss fight in the entire game, which is against Ripto. The fight itself is very bad.
  27. While the dub is bad enough, the dubs in other languages are even worse.
    • Perhaps the worst of all is the Italian dub of the game, due to its bad voice acting that makes all characters look bored and the atrocious lip syncing, since most of the lines are sped-up, as if the characters were speaking in the Speed Racer language.
      • The dub was done in London.
      • Speaking of the Italian dub, due to the terrible voice acting, there is an inappropriate moment when Spyro tells Porkins "Scoverò i tuoi amici" (I'll find my friend). The word "scoverò" is the first-person singular future tense of "scovare", which means "to find". However, it sounds almost like the word "scoperò", the first-person singular future tense of "scopare", which means "to sweep" and "to fuck".
      • Oh, and the burp from Professor Squeek.
      • The italian voice actress for Bianca stated that she has no idea why the rest of her lines where reddubed with a another person after the game's opening.
  28. All that you get for completing 100% of the game is Ripto gaining a third/final phase and transformation in his final battle, and an ending cutscene after the final battle showing Spyro winking at the player, which (while better then nothing) is somewhat insulting for fans who got the patience to fully complete it.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The graphics and environments, aside from the character models, look pretty great.
  2. While not as good as the original PlayStation trilogy, the soundtrack is decent.
  3. Some of the challenges can be fun.
  4. Although flawed, the elemental breaths is a cool idea that was reused later in The Legend of Spyro series.
  5. The game does bring back the glitch where you can swim in the air.
  6. The GameCube version of the game (while still flawed) fixes several of the problems that the PS2 version has, making it much more playable, abit still mediocre.
  7. Cool cover arts, both North American and PAL versions.
  8. Very neat controls, besides the stuttering camera.
  9. It had a very funny commercial, where the farm was under attack by Spyro.

Reception

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly was met with a mixed to negative reception, with the PS2 and GameCube versions receiving Metacritic scores of 56 and 48, respectively. IGN gave it a 6/10 , stating that, "Enter the Dragonfly is essentially a replica game, a side step or a lateral move rather than a step forward. So, what it comes down to is this: Are you up for more of the exact same Spyro game?"

Despite the game's reception, both versions of the game sold well enough to be given "Greatest Hits" reprints.

Trivia

  • Gnasty Gnorc was supposed to be the main antagonist, but due to the winter release, the creators of the game didn't have any time to put him in. There were also going to be more levels, Ripto and Gnasty Gnorc would have worked together, a few more hub worlds to explore, 120 dragon flies to collect, and a solid framerate with less glitches according to AntDude.
  • A kid from New York suffered an epileptic seizure while playing the game, and it caused permanent damage. His family eventually won the lawsuit against the creators of the game.

Videos

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