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I had never previously delved into the World of Spyro, having missed the previous 2 instalments of this series. It was a welcome addition to my games collection. This third edition is the final one in the series, so it was good to get some Spyro action before the franchise disappears forever.
The action in question sees Spyro and Cynder traverse various levels in order to reach our goal, both characters are linked by some kind of spiritual chord, but this does not impede the gameplay. It becomes apparent that this chord is the result of enemies placing some kind of green snakes around the characters necks, thus causing a mysterious and mystical bond. The opening sequence sees Spyro and companion locked together in what appears to be a block of amber, before being released. I must say that coming into this title for the first time it would have been good to have had a brief catchup on the previous story and to know why this was the case.
We are guided along the way by a mysterious looking hunter who is kind of a cross between Tony the Tiger and John Major - again I wasn't really sure how he fitted into the equation, but that's my own fault for not purchasing the previous releases I guess. From what I could gather, Cynder had been a bit naughty in the past but was now a trusted if slightly suspicious companion.
The lack of briefing on the previous story is soon forgotten by the excellent fighting and movement tutorials that are thrown your way. In no time at all you will find yourself spinning enemies round in order to eliminate them, switching between elements, and generally trashing the bad guys.
The super scary monster near the beginning sets the tone with some swish sequences - not one for the little ones. I did not notice a few redraw issues though on occasion and these did keep coming infrequently as the game progressed. After getting the hang of some serious brawling one begins to find these scenes a bit laborious and inconsequential as it is difficult to see who is doing what with any real visibility.At times there are so many enemies on screen it is not really possible to use any skill in order to defeat them. Handy crystal points are scattered with enough regularity to ensure that one recovers speedily if needed. After a few fights I did begin to wonder where we were going, and why? Along the way we pick up Sparx, who is Spyro's companion, joining in the fun with some witty banter.
You are forced to use your brain to a degree, albeit to a musical score that resembles 'The Omen'.
Spyro fans will be pleased to learn that this is the most advanced title in the series with a few new features. This includes the ability to fly and also to switch characters. Flying is quite a pleasant experience, a little tricky at first but gliding is lovely. Each character has differing elemental powers such as wind, fire, poison and these can be beefed up as you progress. These elements are used to good effect as you will need to switch between characters in order to use a specific element to complete a task or puzzle. Those of you that are not so great when it comes to manual dexterity will find yourself wishing for a few more save points on some of the more trickier levels to negotiate. One of the reasons for this is that the camera doesn't facilitate 360 degree panning. A little more flexibility in this area would have really help to open up the levels and show off some of the excellent design and would have complimented the flying superbly.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game is that you are forced to use your brain to a degree, albeit to a musical score that resembles 'The Omen' after a while. It's not just a case of bish bash bosh, you have to figure out how to do a few bits. Let's not knock the music though, it's good stuff and the final song is even available on iTunes! The characters voices are provided by Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker, remember him!), the superb Gary Oldman and the delectable Cristina Ricci, complimenting the gameplay to good effect.
I'm sure Spyro fans will enjoy this title with it's vivid colours and adventure book style storyline. For me it was a mixed bag but certainly not something you would call a waste of money. As mentioned there are a few redraw issues and a case to say that the PS3 could be stretched a little more. Maybe it needs a little more fire breathed into it but it smoulders nicely in your games cabinet.
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