Soars quite nicely during the first few minutes, then calls in for a crash landing

User Rating: 5.5 | The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon DS
early impressions...

I have to admit, I had no idea that there was actually a trilogy going on for this title. I am not a Spyro fan, nor do I know if this guy came from a comic book, a TV series, or an original game character. Regardless, I thought the game was worth giving a shot.

The game starts off with some story with still-pictures, speech with the usual subtitles. At first it felt like they should have at least started with a video clip. But I was somewhat contented that I can at least listen to the story instead of having to read a ton of text. However, some scenes were painfully slow, so I skipped most of them.

The first part of the game is a tutorial which shows you how to perform moves in the game. Nothing special here, and I'm sure most of you guys already experienced the same thing with other games. But the tutorial while Spyro is in flight is quite irritating. Why? Because the game pauses to give you instructions and forces you to wait for 2-3secs before you can skip the pop-up message. That not only ruins the experience, but caused me to get hit numerous times in the game. And if you die, you have to go through the entire process all over again.

Gameplay wise, the game is okay at best. I personally don't get why a dragon who can actually fly need to jump or bounce of walls to reach high places though. There might be a good reason for that but for a person like me who isn't familiar with the game will find that weird. Flying is pretty cool. You get to fly on top of tribes, forest, water, then enter a cave etc. It's not something that you'll often times experience with a DS game.

The biggest problem however with the game is that the level design and the overall fun-factor is quite poor. Sure its got some Tomb Raider elements, but when you get hit by projectiles that passes through walls/floor ... then that's another story. When you're given "elements" to play with, but there's too many of them to experiment with ... then you'll end up jumping across a monster and forgetting about him altogether instead of trying to kill him. There are doors that can only be opened by a specific element, but there's really nothing fun trying them out one-by-one to see which one would actually work. And you'll also often times find yourself wondering where you should go next because the camera doesn't zoom-out in places where you need it. Sure you can look up and down, but its not all that helpful either.

Graphically, the game is quite impressive. Most of the characters are also well animated ... like the first boss Golem. Sound is average, while voice-acting is like asking your grandpa to read and act out the character on a storybook at the same time.

Controls is quite easy to master. But having to switch from buttons to touchscreen depending on the level in my opinion is not a good idea.

Overall, this is one of those games that showed promise. But crashes immediately just a few inches away from the starting line. Kids might love 'em, but there are better alternatives out there.

.:My reviews are only as good as everyone else's. Take every single one of them with a grain of salt:.