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The legend of Spyro:
A New Beginning


Written by: Prof. Purble

Published: 16th, April, 2024


The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning is an action-adventure game developed by Krome Studios and published by Vivendi Universal Games in 2006 for multiple systems as part of a reboot trilogy. These play very differently and take on a darker tone and atmosphere compared to earlier Spyro games.


For this review, we’ll be looking over the first game in the series on the GameCube, which is identical to the PS2 and Xbox versions.


The game ran with minimal hitches at a smooth 30fps throughout.


Our story starts off within a great temple being under siege. A dragon called Ignitis is looking over a purple dragon egg but is fully aware that it is no longer a safe place to keep it, and so without hesitation, he carefully grabs it and flees the scene.


Ignitus finds himself at the base of a river and sends the egg downstream where no harm could come of it. Before long, it eventually wound up within the hands of a dragonfly family, who took the dragon in as their new son once it hatched, naming him Spyro. 

Shortly after exploring the swamp with his dragonfly brother, Spyro learned that his real home is somewhere else after discovering his adoption. And so he embarks on a journey with Sparx tagging along to seek out where he came from, and it doesn’t take them very long at all.

Spyro and Sparx eventually find Ignitus, who explains that a dark dragon called Cynder and her forces wreaked havoc on the Temple and kidnapped the other Dragon elders. It is now Spyro’s mission to save the Dragons and prevent Cynder from causing further havoc on this realm.


For the beginning part of it, the story was interesting to say the least, but the pacing of it is taken aback by the amount of unnecessary cutscenes, awkward silence and long drawn out stages, not to mention the weird delivery of lines and reference jokes from certain films that seem out of place here. The story eventually gets quite lousy with nonsensical events occurring with no good reasoning for it. It feels like it just gave up midway through trying to tell an epic tale, and I was quite disappointed by that.

Overall, the story took around 6 hours to finish.


First and foremost, these tutorials are awful. Individually, you're taught how to perform every single possible attack move within a contained dojo, and it even includes teaching how to do the redundant alternate button combination which does the exact same thing. Some of these moves are not the easiest to pull off either as dummy enemies will sometimes run around the training dojo, making it harder to hit them, and there's even a countdown timer before you are forced to restart the whole exercise again if you failed to complete it on time. What's worse is that these mandatory tutorial moments happen a total of four times throughout the game! Wouldn’t it have hurt to teach the player as they progressed through the stages themselves? Better yet, what about a way to disable tutorials if the player is already aware of the game's mechanics?


You can auto-lock onto targets and strafe around them, but this is so incredibly clunky and due to the way enemies are just programmed to dogpile you, it’s not very useful at all, and there's no target reticle to make hitting your foes any easier. You’re more likely to leave yourself vulnerable using it as it doesn’t stop you from flying off the edge of cliffs or into another group of enemies that will not hesitate to strike you. (3).gif

Spyro can combo enemies with his claws and tail, send foes flying into the air and jump up to attack them in some slow motion action. Successful execution will temporarily stun enemies, but their recovery time is incredibly fast and they will strike back and ignore your moves for a small amount of time. This guarantees that you will take a hit unless you deplete their health before they get back up. You can also ground pound and charge with his horns, but this is hardly effective during combat as there is a slight delay window for preparing the move, and enemies can just easily interrupt it.


Onto the topic of breath attacks, there are a total of four types to unlock. The only useful ones I found being fire that can mow enemies down and electricity can be used to send foes helplessly flying off the edge of cliffs and platforms if you don’t want to fight them. The Ice and Earth breaths aren’t particularly useful, except for the few bosses that seemed to have some kind of weakness against them.


None of these moves however will save you from how extremely easy it is to find yourself being trapped into a corner with no breathing room to recover. Some regular enemies even have secondary health meters for some reason and are even more of a pain to deal with.


Bosses require nothing but spam attacking them until they drop. There is next to no strategy to them except for jumping out of the way when they are about to strike, and then continuing button mashing to finish them off. While you might die once to these, it doesn't matter at all as you’re just respawned at the exact phase of the fight you died, and you’re given full health and magic to finish it off without any challenge whatsoever.


Unlike previous Spyro games, gems are a means of restoring health, magic and gaining experience. You can obtain these simply by smashing large pink crystals, stage props or killing enemies. Blue gems can be used to spend on upgrades for your breaths to make them more powerful. Purple gems are used to charge up your special move that can disseminate most enemies on screen, although sometimes it does no damage at all for some baffling reason.


As for upgrades, you can either invest into making the standard breath or its secondary ability stronger; however, there is no way of knowing how much experience is gained when collecting blue gems or how much you need exactly to spend on to get said upgrades. Navigating the upgrade screen is weird too, and it often confuses me trying to move around and select the correct ability I wish to upgrade. The descriptions of said abilities also take far too long to appear with slow text crawling. (1).gif

Finally, there is no way to upgrade your health or magic meters, but there is almost no point to it anyway because the penalty for dying is nothing. Once Spyro has fallen, he respawns with full health and magic in the exact same spot he fell. In some cases you are taken back to an earlier stage checkpoint, but enemies that were killed before do not revive, so it’s hardly a slap to the wrist.


The options menu has quite a range of settings for you. You can adjust Music and SFX separately. You can change the sound output to stereo, toggle on subtitles and enable widescreen support. Strangely though, the camera controls can be inverted horizontally, but not vertically… You can also invert flight controls, although you hardly ever fly in the game to begin with. Finally, there's a slider which can control the frequency of the slow mo effect when hitting enemies up in the air. Sliding it all the way to the left will disable it entirely, if desired.

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Besides just fighting endless waves of goons that have no business dragging out for as long as it should, I hope you like monkey’s, because they are the mainstay enemy throughout the whole journey. They share the same sound clips and animations, with the exception of having a slightly different look among stages. There are a few inhabitants of the area you will stumble across, but you’ll be seeing monkeys for the most part.


Graphically speaking, it’s a mixed bag depending on the area you’re in. Dante’s Freezer was uninteresting on all fronts, and nothing was remotely memorable about it. Tall Plains fairs a lot better with more interesting level design, although the amount of foliage pop-in was really distracting. Water had no effort put into it whatsoever and is such a poor excuse when examples such as ‘Super Mario Sunshine’ or even ‘The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker’ show how to do water properly on the GameCube. This version even looks marginally worse than the PS2 version with muddier textures on characters and less environmental lighting effects, which is strange considering the GameCube should be the more powerful console here.


You can’t talk about ‘The Legend of Spyro’ without mentioning its Hollywood voice cast. Elijah Wood plays as Spyro, who also played Frodo Baggins from the movie trilogy ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and Sparx is played by David Spade, most known for his performance from ‘The Emperor's New Groove’. There is even Gary Oldman who played Sirius Black from ‘Harry Potter’. Sadly however, this game doesn’t do their voices justice with poor writing and telling try-hard jokes that arguably make the characters even less likable.


Fun side note, but there is a different voice actor for Sparx in every ‘Legend of Spyro' game, so just as you get used to hearing David Spade from the first game, get ready to hear the voice actor of Bugs Bunny, Billy West in the next one. Yes, it’s just as jarring as it sounds.


And lastly, beating the game unlocks New Game+, which allows you to keep all of your breaths and abilities, including the upgrades for them. Enemies do not get stronger and there's no reward for beating the game a second time. Additionally, you also get access to an extra's interview with Elijah Wood himself.

Final Verdict

‘The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning’ was rough for me to review. Not because the game was too difficult, but because all of my views I knew about it in my earlier youth were shattered in front of me as I went through it with a more critical mindset.


The story and even the soundtrack were barely memorable to me. The levels were far too long and there are far too many enemies you have to deal with. It got to the point where I was forcing myself to continue, rather than actually enjoy any of it.


I can not in good conscience recommend this game. It’s just a mindless beat-em-up featuring Spyro in it. This could have been something more, but instead it’s just a mediocre title with issues that make it not worth your time.

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