At last, I have completed the entire Spyro Reignited Trilogy with 100% in every game, including trophies and skill points. That means it’s time to finally review the third and final game in the trilogy, Year of the Dragon…and provide just a little overview of my general experience with everyone’s favorite purple dragon. Continue reading Spyro: Year of the Dragon Review
I have now completed the first two Spyro games in the Reignited Trilogy, so it is time for another review. As is often the case with sequels, Spyro 2 adds a lot of new features to the Spyro formula. While there are a lot of improvements, there were plenty of frustrating moments, as well. Let’s get to it! Continue reading Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage Review
Time to share with you all the highlights from my next batch of Inktober drawings! You may have noticed that I am slowly getting better. My crosshatching has improved, plus I learned that large, bold areas of ink have a way of making a picture “pop”, so you’ll be seeing a bit more of that now. As usual, you can see every one of my Inktober pictures over on Deviant Art. Continue reading Inktober 2019 Highlights Week 2
For the past decade or so, I have been trying to catch up on the major PS1 games that I had missed. For about $10 per game on Amazon (with a few exceptions), I was able to play all of the old PS1 Final Fantasy games, including a few SNES ones that were remade and bundled with other games. I caught up on the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy thanks to the N. Sane Trilogy. And last of all, to complete my PS1 tour, I have begun the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. I have played through the first game thus far, and below are my thoughts. (If you’re interested, we’re also playing through the full trilogy on our Virtual Bastion Youtube channel.) Continue reading Spyro the Dragon: A Short Review
“Spyro: A Hero’s Tail” has some good music, so here’s the top five songs. With links to Youtube.
5. “Crocovile Swamp” has a good beat and kind of a jungle sound to it. The best parts start around 1:05 in.
4. “Cloudy Domain” is played high above the clouds. I can’t think of much else to say….
3. “Sgt. Byrd” is played in the flying levels with Sgt. Byrd. The music is definitely one of my favorites. It fits flying high in the air quite well and is quite epic. I think Byrd himself would find it to be jolly good.
2. “Molten Mount” is a very dramatic song played in the volcano level near the end of the game. I especially like the extra dramatic stuff around 0:38.
1. “Ice Citadel” is by far the best music of the game. The song is just epic and fits the huge, icy place well. I love the beginning the most.
Fairly recently, I played “Spyro: A Hero’s Tail”. After the steaming dung heap that was “Enter the Dragonfly”, I decided years ago to buy this game and give the “Spyro” series another chance, and it’s good to see the series took a turn for the better. The game’s not fantastic or anything, but it is fun, at least, and certainly better than “Enter the Dragonfly”. Because frankly, every game is better than “Enter the Dragonfly”. Anyway, when it comes to the story, apparently an evil dragon named Red (guess what color he is) scattered these Dark Gems (not to be confused with the Dark Crystal) all around, causing the land nearby to turn ugly and evil. So Spyro and his buddies must destroy the Dark Gems and stop Red from whatever his plot is. Because honestly, I forgot.
This game can be rather fun and improves greatly on the game that came before it. As I mentioned, “Enter the Dragonfly” was dreadful. I heard the “Spyro” series was supposed to be good, but my very first console “Spyro” game was a huge letdown. Fortunately, a lot more effort was put into this game. (To read about just how awful the previous game was, you can check out my “Enter the Dragonfly” post, just before this one. If you want. You don’t have to. But, I’ll be mildly sad if you don’t.) The character design is much better, for one thing, and the characters are no longer bouncing about like they’re made of sentient jell-o. The graphics look quite nice and clean, too. The voice acting is much better, as well. The goofiness is still there, but I expected that. (And you must admit Teena the Hyena is a funny name, though her plight saddened me.)
Now on to the game itself. This game has lots of big places to explore, which is fun. There are several large hub areas, from which you can get to various other worlds, such as the lovely Dragon Falls and the awesome Ice Citadel. There are also lots of things to collect. When you’re not breaking Dark Gems, you can collect Light Gems to power the Professor’s machines, which can do things like make Spyro invincible for a limited time or extra strong. There are also dragon eggs you can collect for extras like concept art and for playing as a few other dragon characters (that are identical to Spyro, pretty much, but slightly different looking). You also get different breath attacks as you play through the game, such as electric breath or ice. I like to zap people. Watch them convulse! Ba-ha-ha-ha-ha!!
And while most of the game is played as Spyro, you can sometimes play as other characters, too. Sparx the dragonfly has his own levels, where he flies through this long tunnel area, and you can shoot enemies, and you must survive to the end. Those are my least favorite and fill me with anti-joy because they’re hard. (The falling rocks are impossible to avoid. Impossible, I tell you, impossible!) There are also levels where you control Hunter the cheetah, who is fast and has a bow. He also thinks he’s awesome, and I guess he’s somewhat awesome. There are also two new characters, Blink the mole and Sgt. Byrd the flying penguin (he has a jetpack, kind of like Boba Fett, but less cool). Blink’s levels are underground, of course, and he must destroy Dark Gems. I don’t like Blink’s levels, either. His jumping is terrible and there are spiders and platforms and too much brown and they just make me sad. And they’re annoying. Sgt. Byrd’s levels are the best of the four extra characters, where you get to fly and shoot things and go through rings within a time limit, like some extra levels that “Enter the Dragonfly” had (the only decent parts of that game). These levels are quite fun.
I feel like I should say more about the game. But, I can’t think of anything. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot to do. But, it’s pretty much a typical platformer. I did have a silly glitch worth mentioning. I was taking the elevator down from the Cloudy Domain. You can see the ground below, and then it suddenly turns to this tan color. Hmm, weird. I wait and wait and wait, and finally some words tell me I’ve arrived at my destination, but the area has turned black. I can see something green in the distance. I think, perhaps if I jump into the blackness and head for the green thing, the area will get with it and load itself. I jump…and I fall into a light blue screen. Crap. I pause and press quit. The screen goes black and the music keeps playing. Finally, I reset the Cube and get back into my file, ending up back in Cloudy Domain. I found a different way out of there. That’s one of the reasons I hate elevators. And because they are vertically moving deathtraps.
Now I have one more issue to address. Maybe it’s just me, but this game seems to have some suspicious similarities to “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy”, which came out two or three or four years earlier than “A Hero’s Tail”. I know it’s perfectly possible for two video games to have similar things without it being copying. Like in both games, in the swamp level, you must watch out for these wooden stakes in some places that come out of the ground to stab at your characters. And in both games, there are these pairs of platforms where you stand on one, and the other rotates around it. You wait for it to rotate where you want, and then jump to the next, and the platform you were just on rotates. Not only that, but the main villains, Gol from “Jak and Daxter” and Red from this game, share similarities, as well. Both were originally good (or at least, not evil), but turned bad. Both were known by some of the good characters (but not the main ones). Both had similar roles, one being an Eco Sage, the other, a Dragon Elder. (At least, I think sages and elders are similar.) Both are related to something “dark”, Dark Eco or Dark Gems. But, I suppose at first glance, these similarities may be mere coincidences. Or are they?
There are certain ideas, however, that seem very strange to appear in two unrelated games. Most notably, there’s this mini game that takes place in the swamp. There’s this character in the “Spyro” game named Fredneck the Frog (I kid you not), and his food keeps getting taken by swamp animals. So in this mini game, you have a stationary, first-person view of the swamp, and you shoot at the swamp animals to keep them away from the food. This is quite similar to a mini game in the first “Jak and Daxter”. In the swamp, there’s this dude named Boggy Billy, and he lost his pet HipHog, Farthy. He leaves out food to lure Farthy back, but swamp animals keep eating it. So in this mini game (I’ll just copy and past this part), you have a stationary, first-person view of the swamp, and you shoot at the swamp animals to keep them away from the food.
Anyone else see the similarities? Certainly, you must. Coincidence? I think not. I think the creators of “A Hero’s Tail” thought they could take a few ideas from the first “Jak and Daxter”, like a child sneaking a baked good from a cookie jar. Very naughty. Perhaps the creator of “Jak and Daxter”, Naughty Dog, is not the naughty one after all. It is you, Vivendi Universal! It is you that is naughty! Change your name to Naughty Vivendi, and Naughty Dog, change your name to just Dog. I have exposed your secret, Vivendi! I have exposed it to the world! You thought you could pull a fast one on us gamers, but you can’t get anything past this duck! Think again before you try to commit a crime in front of a duck. We are known for our sleuthing skills. And being adept at proper flossing. Now if I spot any ottsels or Dark Eco in your games, I’m telling Naughty Dog. That’s right. I’ll tattle.
Despite the hideous crimes I spotted in this game and the colorful glitch, it’s a fun game and much better than “Enter the Dragonfly”. It’s fun, a bit challenging, has variety, looks nice, sounds nice. Is nice. Just know, Vivendi, I’m watching you. With my peepers. One question, though. Am I to believe Spryo’s tail is the main character of this adventure? Very odd. It had no character development whatsoever. Now Spyro’s toes, on the other hand…
A Duck’s Tale, er, Tail
About a month or maybe a bit longer ago, I decided to get rid of some of my games. I have a bunch that I don’t care so much for anymore, yet I keep them anyway. I thought it’s about time to get rid of a few I don’t care about and make room for some new games. So one unlucky game I chose to go was “Animal Crossing”. I think I can spend time decorating my house and trying on silly shirts and talking to animals that have attitudes with me no longer. It’s a fine game. Nothing against it. I just would rather shoot aliens or look for Heart Pieces than pull weeds and dig up pitfalls.
The other game is the subject of this post. I kept it because it was something to do. But, I just can’t stand it. I played it once more for about an hour just to check it out and confirm that it’s really as bad as I remembered. Yep. That game is the horrid “Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly”, my first console “Spyro” game. I got it because I heard the “Spyro” series was good. Well, apparently no one told this game that.
This game is just… Well, it’s bad. It’s just…you see, Spyro has to catch these dragonflies. Apparently this hideous thing named Ripto (what the heck is he, anyway?) took all the dragonflies, which are important to the dragons, and scattered them everywhere. Which is quite silly because all I have to do is go look for them. He didn’t really do anything to them. I mean, I would’ve murdered all the dragonflies if I was some villain, but that’s just me. And ironically, the biggest obstacle to my goal of saving the dragonflies is the dragonflies themselves, who actually flee from you when you try to catch them. What the crap! It’s like going to save Princess Peach, and she slaps Mario and shoots him with a taser. And then calls the cops. What is your problem, you stupid idiots! So over the course of the whole game you have to chase down these stupid bugs and catch them in Spyro’s bubble breath! Stop flying away and let me save you, you pieces of crap!
And that’s not all. There’s also the dreadful voice acting. And the very upsetting character design and animation. Okay, lots of games have bad voice acting. But, what’s wrong with the characters? Not only do they look bad, but the way they move is just weird. Ripto’s practically growing and shrinking right before your very eyes. The characters are all moving around and bouncing and stretching and it is all quite disturbing. You could get seasick watching them writhe about like that. It’s like the developers left them unfinished.
And it’s glitchy. I had Spyro get stuck running next to something for a minute or so before he finally knocked it off. And in that farm level, often times the entire ground disappears. That happens to me all the time. The developers didn’t notice that? Or did they just not care? I’m sure they saw it. You would notice if a great chasm just opened up beneath you all of a sudden. They just didn’t fix it. They were too busy not fixing the characters to fix the glitches. It’s madness. It’s just madness!
So I’m selling that game. It’s bad. It hurts my soul. And I hate it. And I really can’t stand seeing Ripto moving about like an accordion anymore. It’s extremely unsettling.
The Duck, Who’s Avoiding Spyro’s Hate-Filled Gaze from the Top of the To-Sell Pile
I thought I’d write about the games I got rid of. I sold them because they weren’t very good…or I had more than one copy of it. It’s kind of embarrassing how that happened. But, anyway…
I had two copies of “Kirby Superstar” for the Super Nintendo because I thought my first order wasn’t being sent. Then, it was. They both worked great, but one had a cleaner cartridge, so I kept that one and sold the other. I think I got a decent price for it. It’s one of the best Kirby games, I’ve heard. That other copy is staying with me. Now I just need to sell my extra copy of “Hunter: The Reckoning”….
A game I sold recently was “Mirror’s Edge” for the XBox 360. I saw an ad for the comic, and it looked cool, so when I saw that there was a video game for it, I had to try it out. But, I didn’t really like it. It’s hard to explain really. I just didn’t. And the colors were mainly white and this intense red, which is probably supposed to be artsy, but was unpleasant to look at. I left off in this building where people kept shooting at me, and I couldn’t find the exit. The game is in first-person, and you run and jump around on rooftops and stuff, which was interesting, but still. The comic may be much better, but I just wasn’t a fan of the game.
I also sold “The Lord of the Rings: TwoTowers” or whatever it’s called for the GameCube. It could be quite difficult, and not in a fun way, plus it had some yucky violence, despite being rated T. Boo.
“Croc 2” for the Game Boy Color, the game that chose to have passwords instead of save files. So you’d have to enter passwords to continue from where you left off, but these passwords often didn’t work. After replaying levels many times, I finally made it to the end, but couldn’t beat the final boss. I gave up, and it got sold. Bye bye.
Another game was “Warriors of the Lost Empire” for the Playstation Portable. I guess it takes place in ancientRomeor something, and you choose between four playable characters, two guys, two gals. I chose the woman with the extra good magic in hopes that she would later get healing spells. I likes me my healing spells. The game consisted of going through a whole bunch of pretty much identical dungeons. When you died, you had to start over, but didn’t lose anything, so there was no incentive to try not to die really. I finally beat it, but I don’t know why I bothered. There wasn’t much plot-wise, and the way you upgraded things made no sense. The artwork for the characters when they spoke was pretty, though.
I also sold “Spyro: Season of Ice” for the Game Boy Advance. It was too hard and annoying, and I could never beat it, even though I got close to the end. But, falling to my death so many times and being completely unable to find any more of whatever I needed to move on got old, so I quit trying.
“Bomberman Max 2: Red Advance” for the Game Boy Advance was annoying. It was one of the only Game Boy games I could beat, but I just don’t like it. Your character apparently gets shrunk somehow, but I don’t remember much else about what was going on, except the game was just silly. I particularly remember world 2, which was a library, I think, and I kept getting cornered by enemies, which is quite a problem in Bomberman games because if you try to flee, you’ll touch the enemy and die, and if you use a bomb, it will kill both the enemy and you. And the music was annoying. I can still remember it. Meh.
I found that “Super Mario Advance” is a Game Boy Advance version of “Super Mario Brothers 2” or something, which I have in “Super Mario All-Stars” for the Super Nintendo, the one where you can play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or a Toad, and the characters pick veggies and throw them at enemies. The difference, creepy sound effects. Considering that it gave me the creeps, and I already had a better version of it, selling it was an easy decision. And I got a decent price.
Occasionally a Game-Selling Duck
Occasionally, funny things happen in video games…that weren’t supposed to happen. Or sometimes, you see things you weren’t supposed to see. For example, look up in Hyrule Field in Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and you can see seams in the sky. Or look very close at some plants in Final Fantasy XIII, and what’s that, they’re 2-D?!
But, back to the things that aren’t even supposed to happen. I’m talking about glitches. The funny ones, though. I had fun making my list on how I think too much into video games, so I’d thought I’d make a glitch list. A glist.
1. There’s one thing I’ve seen several times in The Lord of the Rings: Twin Towers (for the GameCube, if that makes a difference). There’s this one level where you defend this gate (Helm’s Deep: Breached Wall), and a bunch of Uruk-Hai with bombs on their backs are running up to do destruction. Sometimes, they float a bit off the ground as they run at you. It is weird.
2. This one is just hilarious. Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams can be a glitchy game. Sometimes, you can do something wrong and you can’t continued through the level. That’s not funny. But, what is funny was when I messed with one of the squirrels in a level early on. Wetstone Lake, I believe. There’s a squirrel near a beehive, after a cut scene, and I smacked it (because squirrels can be mean in that game), and it ran and then stopped and just stood there with its body up vertically behind its head. Its left eye got big and started twitching, and it lost all but one leg. That leg got long and started wiggling around. Then, I scared the squirrel with something else, and it ran back to the hive (and I don’t remember if I hit it again), but it got stuck in the air, looking like it was flying, while that left eye twitched again. It was pretty darn hilarious, but also creepy.
3. There was this funny, but deadly glitch in Rayman 2 once. Rayman was swimming along, and he went to jump out of the water, but he kept swimming…in the air. He swam in the air for a short time before I realized he was running out of air, so I tried to return him to the water to attempt to leave it correctly, so he could breathe again. But, alas, he drowned in the air. Poor thing.
4. Another Rayman 2 glitch, and this one happened early on in the game. Rayman was walking by one of those powder keg dispensers. There’s a hole in the wall (no, not where “the men can see it all”) covered by a flap, and a keg rolls through if you blow up the one you already have. Well, I suppose he was walking too close to the wall, because he fell through the dispenser into nothingness and died.
5. There was another time I went through the floor. In Super Mario Sunshine, in the first level, Bianco Hills, there’s a waterwheel. One day I was feeling impatient and wanted to get the other side of it without having to go around the wall or climb over it. It was turning away from me, and I found that with correct timing, Mario can slide under it. One day, my timing was off, and a paddle of the wheel pushed Mario through the floor. He was stuck there, and I think I had to restart to escape.
6. There was another funny thing in the same level of Super Mario Sunshine. It was with those orange enemies with the pink flowers on their heads. You can knock them into walls and squish them, and I did this, and it hit this wall and made the sound that it usually makes, but instead of disappearing, it just stayed there, stuck to the wall, making the same sound over and over again. It sounded just as loud no matter where I went in the area, so I had to leave just to get it to stop.
7. This next glitch only happened the first time I played Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the GameCube. During cut scenes, sometimes the characters would turn in different directions when they were talking to each other. They’d be turning to the side, sometimes they’d have their back to the person they were talking to. It was weird, and it’s never happened since.
8. Another glitch was in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. I don’t even know why I still have that game. Anyway, sometimes, in the farm world (the second one, I think), the ground disappears, and you’re just running around on nothingness. Everything else also just floats there as if there was a ground. The barns, scarecrows, the wheat. It’s quite silly.
9. Another thing happened in that same Spyro game once in the first world. I had Spyro run up to something that is slightly off the ground, and he was supposed to jump onto it, but instead, he got stuck under it, I guess, or at least, right next to it, and kept running and running. I couldn’t pause and leave the level, but luckily, he eventually stopped. Dope.
10. And this one’s not quite a glitch, but it made me angrier than all of them. Oh, the rage! The utter…rage! But, no amount of fury could ease the lugubrious state of affairs that was this mistake that the creators of the game, by some astounding miracle, managed to miss. And that is the sad fact that much of the passwords in Croc 2 didn’t work. I would play and play, get a password, as the game wouldn’t just, I don’t know, have save files. Then, I’d stop, and when I came back, the password wouldn’t work. Why, oh, why?! I finally started recording the passwords quite often, keeping a long list of them, and when I returned to the game, I’d go down the list until I found one that worked. It was so annoying! I finally just sold it to a game store. Have fun with it!
So, there’s my list. Surprisingly, I really don’t get glitches very often. Very, very rarely. And yet… That shows you how much I play, I guess. And these things seem to happen less and less as technology improves. And usually, the better the game, the less glitches you’ll see. You can tell which games had more love put into them. Not that the above didn’t have love. Just, not as much as they could have. How sad.
Not Usually a Glitchy Duck