flame isn't getting any hotter with this lukewarm
entry. by Mike Chasselwaite
10, 2005 - Spyro:
Shadow Legacy is a great-looking game. Spryo and his
surroundings have never looked better on a handheld.
Unfortunately the gameplay is not very memorable.
This should have been a cartoon instead of a game.
can be no denying that Spyro has been steadily going
downhill. It as though his fifteen minutes of fame
is over and the resulting struggle to regain a few
precious minutes in the limelight is a pathetic struggle
of futility. The recycled gameplay that is aimed at
not-so-talented kids does little to bolster Spyro's
status as an iconic gaming mascot.
takes a vacation. When he returns to the Dragon Realm
he finds that all the inhabitants have been whisked
away by a mysterious force to the Shadow Realm. This
new realm is dark and foreboding. It contains strange,
aggressive and powerful creatures. Spyro is able to
enter into this realm through various vortexes that
are located throughout the map. Because he is purple
he is unaffected by the force. The captured dragons
are red and have limited powers. Once inside the Shadow
Realm, Spyro will combat monstrous insects, collect
items, gain experience and free the inhabitants of
the Dragon Realm.
of the characters that Spyro will free include various
animals such as bears, cheetahs and armadillos as
well as wizards, cavemen and fairies. The most important
of these characters are the Dragon Elders which when
freed will be able to impart new skills and magic
to Spyro. These new abilities include special attacks,
magic spells, Martial Arts moves and magic abilities
such as teleportation which allows you instant access
to different areas on the map. Using RPG elements,
these new abilities will be available when you level-up
Spyro with experience points and are invited to visit
the temple where you will meet with the Dragon Elders.
You can gain experience points in battle and by performing
side-quests which are really nothing more than simple
is the name of the game. While I can appreciate that
Spyro doesn't profess to have the depth of a strategy
game I would certainly expect the gameplay to be fun.
The various powers that Spyro acquires are not really
necessary for completion of the game. The magic spells
require that you draw a magic symbol with the stylus
to active them. It's a good idea but in the heat of
battle it's not practical especially since it slows
the pace down and you can finish the enemy off with
what powers you already possess. The character interaction
is reduced to a series of overly annoying "Thank
powers differ in the Shadow Realm. He can float a
little longer but he's can't breath fire and set things
ablaze. You will experience things in the Shadow Realm
that you won't experience in the normal world. The
Shadow Realm is like a twisted parallel universe where
different laws of physics, magic and evil reside.
It also looks a lot creepier with darker tones. Items
and enemies that appear in the Shadow Realm may have
to be taken care of to make progress in the Dragon
Realm. You will experience an invisible wall only
to find that there is an obstacle in the same location
in the Shadow Realm. Use a magic spell to move it
and then you may proceed in Spyro's normal world.
We've seen this kind of dual-world gameplay before
and it's been done better.
basic moves include double jumping, blocking attacks
with his wings and gliding. He can also perform magic
in addition to his breath attacks. As I've mentioned
you will acquire more moves as you go but other than
the novelty factor you don't really need most of them
and you probably won't use most of them.
far as your moves are concerned, you will interact
with the DS using the touch controls, the stylus and
the buttons. Most of the action commands are relegated
to the buttons with the exception of the magic spells
which are drawn with the stylus. Inventory, stats
and what should be an overhead map, but isn't, appear
on the lower screen. The map displays active quests
but give you very little detail as to where to go
and where you are.
buttons are limited and as such perform double duties.
For instance, pressing the X button for attacks in
a context sensitive area can cause you to inadvertently
enter a portal or another room.
all of the quests have to be performed but there are
some which need to be completed to finish the game.
Needless to say the game doesn't tell you which ones
you need so you will be advised to do them all. Also,
you might find that you have to restart the game.
This can happen when you enter an area in which you
are insufficiently leveled-up to defeat the enemy.
You can't go back and you can't go forward. Your only
choice is to restart the game and it might not save
are a lot of bugs in this game that seriously decrease
the enjoyment value. Slowdown occurs when multiple
enemies appear onscreen. The framerate of the sprites
may be smooth but the scrolling background is jerky
in comparison. The camera angle tends to hide some
enemies from view and the collision detection system
will find you clipping, getting caught in scenery
and missing your platform jumps. Add to this the overly-loud
and distorted sound effects and you'll wonder why
you should care about this game when it's obvious
the developers didn't.
the gameplay is simple and repetitive. So much more
could have been done with it - but fix the damn thing
first. Even if you want to collect all of the Dragon's
eggs and complete all of the side-quests there nothing
stopping you from completing this game in a day.
the first time, the series will have magical powers,
RPG elements, and martial arts fighting included
in the gameplay.
advanced and interactive features
experience points that allow you to improve Spyros
strength and abilities.
advantage of the DS dual screens, touch screen,
wireless capabilities, and 3D graphics.
symbols to cast spells or use the second screen
as an overhead map.
collectible creatures with other players nearby
via wireless availability.