Hands-onSpyro: Enter the Dragonfly

We check out Spyro's first PlayStation 2 adventure.

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Universal Interactive gave us a look at Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, the latest entry in the Spyro series. The game is a direct sequel to Spyro 3 and picks up shortly after the conclusion of that game. This time around, the source of all dragon magic, the dragonflies, is stolen following the Year of the Dragon festival. Spyro sets out, along with pals Sparx, Hunter, and Bianca, to rescue the dragonflies and save the dragon's magic. Developed by Equinoxe Check Six based in Venice, California, the build of the game we saw was 40 percent complete and gave us a feel for what to expect from Spyro's latest adventure.

The game has undergone the expected graphical facelift that most of the franchises from the PlayStation have undergone. The world that Spyro explores is a brightly colored place that stays true to the original's look. Obviously, the polygon count of both the environment and character models has been greatly improved. Spyro's model is now made up of 5,000 polygons and features a great deal of detail, like a host of facial animations that definitely add to his personality. Spyro's surroundings and the various enemies you'll encounter while playing through the game share poly counts that are nearly as generous. The game's look manages to be extremely rich and stays true to the look and feel of the Spyro world that players have grown accustomed to. Special effects such as dynamic lighting, particle effects, real-time reflections, and reactive water are all blended in to give the game a very polished look, even at this early state.

The game is set to offer 12 levels for players to explore, ranging from the standard grassy areas to snowy hilltops and jungles with lava flows. Spyro's moves have also undergone some upgrades, much like his appearance, for his latest adventure. In addition to his usual assortment of abilities, such as charging, floating, and gliding, Spyro will have new types of breath attacks. The traditional fire blasts will be joined by elemental blasts such as ice, bubble, and electricity blasts, which will be essential to solving the puzzles in the game. For example, bubble breath is essential to capturing dragonflies, which are found throughout each level.

Gameplay is essentially the same as that of previous entries in the series and is done from a third-person perspective. New elements, like platforms that tilt in reaction to Spyro's weight, change the way you'll go through levels. We got a look at several levels that showed off the variety in environments and enemies. The standard platforming levels were true to those of the earlier Spyro games, and the graphical polish already was impressive. Ice levels showcased real-time reflections in the frozen water, as well as particle snow effect. A beach level allowed us to get a look at the variety of dynamic lighting as Spyro blasted his way through enemies with fire. We also got a taste of the minigames that players will encounter throughout the game. The one we got a glimpse of found Spyro piloting a spacecraft. The goal of the level was to "abduct" cows and put them back in a corral. In addition to looking very good graphically, the level showcased the loopy sense of humor found throughout the game.

So far, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly looks good and leaves us hoping to get our hands on a more complete build soon. The game is currently slated to ship for the PlayStation 2 later this year.

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