No Wonder It’s Called “The Eternal Night!”
Spyro the Dragon has been around for a few years now. Since its debut in 1998 on the original PlayStation, his adventures have gone through several video game systems such as the Game Boy Advance, the PS2, the GameCube, and more recently the Nintendo DS and the Wii; it even had its share in the tiny cell phone screens!
Even though I’ve never been a big fan of the series, I have played several installments and I do recognize its charm. Moreover, Spyro was created for a younger audience, always keeping parents in mind. At least, that’s how I see it. This game is not any different in that respect. It’s a great little tale I would recommend to all those parents who watch Shrek with their kids and would like to introduce the youngsters into the fantastic world of gaming. Then there’s that age group between six and twelve that will also enjoy this title, even if they’re playing by themselves. Older audiences might also find some hours of entertainment here, but it really depends on how much they liked Spyro games in the past.
The Legend of the Spyro: The Eternal Night is, just like previous titles, a platformer with quite a bit of action. It’s the second part of an intended trilogy with the name of “The Legend of Spyro.” This time around Spyro starts following this cute dragonette called Cynder. She was born in the dark realms of the Dark Master and was later rescued and brought to Spyro’s home. She feels like she hasn’t really found where she belongs and needs to go elsewhere and search for her own path. Spyro doesn’t really agree with this, and that’s how he embarks into the new adventure. Somehow Spyro starts seeing visions that transport him to other realms. There he learns he possesses some privileged powers he needs to use in order to survive this new challenge. The Ape King has arrived to the Temple of Souls with wicked plans: he wants to resurrect the Dark Master and submerge the world into a new age of darkness. Of course, it’s in Spyro’s hands (or paws) to save everyone from the doomed fate the Ape King has orchestrated. Ignitus, old and wise dragon, will guide Spyro through the game and help him follow the right path.
The popular purple dragon, Spyro, moves along with his brother and sidekick Sparx. You’d think a brother should be a dragon as well, but he’s a dragonfly. It seems ironic, but Sparx’s parents are the ones who found Spyro’s egg back in the day and saw him hatch. They adopted him and have been a family ever since. Sparx brings the humor to the game; he fills the gaps with wit and sarcasm. Truth be told, he’s a bit of a coward; or maybe he’s just too prudent and skeptical. Nonetheless, Spyro will manage to drag him along through treacherous paths full of dangers.
The game doesn’t boast the most engaging controls, but they’re good enough to provide an easy and flawless gameplay. The problem is that things get quite redundant after a while. You’ll control Spyro with the thumb-stick on the Nunchuk and make him jump by pressing the A button. You can also do double jumps or hold the button for higher jumps. You can either use B or slash the Wii-mote forwards for attacks, and if you make certain enemies jump in the air you’ll be able to hit them even more by moving the Wii-mote in a side-to-side motion. The Z button makes Spyro charge forwards and hit the enemies with fury, while C spits out a flame that burns enemies or lights up torches and the likes. That’s basically the controls of the game. Spyro also learns to slow down time and use it at will; it comes in handy when facing moving platforms, doors that open and close too quickly, or when the floor is crumbling beneath you. Spyro’s new powers are a good break on the already too familiar gameplay we saw in previous Spyro games. The motion controls are also decisive, as the game has become less of a button-mashing platforming title and more of a platforming adventure with well implemented controls.
The graphics are pleasing and look great for an audience full of kids. Spyro looks cuter than ever and the way he walks just made me laugh! However, they’re not nearly as in-depth as they could be, and I feel like a lot was left to be desired. The elements that appear on the screen will be repeated throughout different stages, and the lack of detail shows that this never was a top-grade video game series. There’s definitely more visual appeal on this title than there ever was on the GameCube or the PS2, but it wouldn’t have hurt to work on the aesthetics a bit more. Reusing enemies, plants, and other environmental elements throughout is not the best way to make a game look good, that’s for sure.
One thing I did enjoy in The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night is the outstanding voice acting job. Of course, it couldn’t have been possible without the premiere actors that lend their voices to the game. Elijah Wood might be the most significant to most of you, since we all know the guy that once was a hobbit from The Shire in the Lord of the Rings; he casts Spyro’s voice. Gary Oldman does Ignitus’s voice. Lesser knows voices are also worth mentioning since they all did a great job and make the game feel more like a nice movie kids and parents alike can watch (and play); Billy West (Sparx), Mae Whitman (Cynder), and Kevin Michael Richardson are some of those voice actors you’ll hear throughout the numerous cutscenes and parts of the gameplay. On the other hand, the music is very simple and not very inspiring. The sound effects will draw you in more than the actual tunes of the game.
All in all, The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night is not really a big game to remember. It does feel like an eternal night when you’re playing it, due to the repetitive gameplay and lack of detail and innovation. Fighting the same enemies gets old and jumping from platform to platform is boring after a while, unless you’re a true lover of the platforming genre. On the other hand, the story is good enough that can keep you interested for a while, as long as you enjoy cartoons and you have a real motivation to play, like being a Spyro fan or simply a good dad. The title is rated E10+, which means kids under ten years of age shouldn’t be playing it. It does have cartoon violence and comic mischief, like the ESRB describes, but other than that, the title is pretty mild and won’t really corrupt your kids in any way, even if they’re just six years old. Give the game a rental and judge it on your own!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
The game has good visuals but is still stuck in the last generation. You won’t find much detail. 4.0 Control
Controls work great most of the time but they can get a bit tiring. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Top of the line voice acting, simple music, and nice sound effects. 3.8
It’s a cool adventure game for platforming lovers, especially for those with a family.
3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.