Spyro: Ripto Quest «

Vivendi Universal is branching out into the wireless world, but like software titan Electronic Arts, it’s seeking the help of an established player: Digital Bridges. One of gaming’s most recognized characters, Spyro the Dragon, has taken something of a tumble since his high-flying days on the PSone (and developed by the talented folks at Insomniac) — but brand names are proving to be king in the mobile space. Does DBi’s Spyro stand taller than the recent less-than-enjoyable console games?

The graphics are almost as good as GBA’s.

We catch up with Spyro just as he’s about to charge head-first into another mission to defeat Ripto, the main heavy of Spyro’s day-glo universe. Ripto is on the verge of wreaking absolute havoc on the paceful denizens of Spyro’s universe, and if Spyro wants to stop the tyrant, he must recover four machine parts. With these four machine parts, a professor will help Spyro turn back Ripto’s thugs. Of course, that won’t be so easy, as Ripto’s rhino army is on a rampage.

Spyro: Ripto Quest follows in the formula of the moderately successful series of Game Boy Advance outings. The game is played entirely from an isometric view, which gives Spyro: Ripto Quest somewhat of a psued-3D look, but invites the kind of control issues that have always plagued isometric games: controls. When you are using a directional pad or thumbpad, you’re used to pressing in the four basic directions. The problem is, when you press “up,” Spyro doesn’t move up. He moves diagonally. This will take some getting used to, unless you have experience with Spyro’s many GBA offerings.

Spyro can jump to reach higher ledges — something you’ll be doing often as this is a platformer. As you rush around the seven levels collecting gems (a Spyro mainstay) and beating bad guys, you must leap from ledge to ledge. Fortunately, the jump button feels right — it doesn’t feel float-y. This works far beter than Spyro’s flame, which is incredibly limited in range and not as responsive. Chances are, you’ll miss the bad guys at least once as you frustratedly try to move Spyro into a good attack position, and then get the small spark to meet its mark. Spyro also has a headbutt movement that works against enemies, too.

That’s somewhat indicative of Spyro: Ripto Quest‘s biggest problem: difficulty. The game itself is not hard. It’s controlling the game that amps up the difficulty, making it an occasionally exercise in patience. For example, you want to torch a rhino, but it’s moving far quicker than the odd controls allow. Instead of running up to the bad guy and flaming him, you’re often better off figure out his movement pattern, and then standing it his way.

There are three distinctly different worlds in Spyro: Ripto Quest, all of which look good. There are seven in-game levels, which you travel between using little warp pads found on the ground. The worlds are populated by more than baddies, too. NPCs from the Spyro universe are present, like Moneybags, who will sell you goods and services.

Spyro: Ripto Quest is a very pretty little game. The Spyro sprite itself is colorful, detailed, and well animated. Spyro has a running style all to his own, and KAOLink was able to nail it. The levels themselves are big and colorful, and look good – especially from the isometric view. Bad guys are also well drawn and animated. This is a very pretty game.


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