Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Review
December 15, 2018
With the recent releases of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, I have been really in the mood for Spyro and Crash! Not having the new games, I decided to go back and play Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. After all, they came out on the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube -- systems much more powerful than the original PS1, and with updated graphics, so these games should be awesome right?
My original playthrough
Back in the 90s, I didn't have a Playstation. We were a Nintendo 64 house. But I always liked Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, they were clearly awesome PS1 games and I always liked playing them at the store or at a friend's house. So when I found out that the NINTENDO GameCube was getting a Spyro and Crash game I couldn't believe it! I was so psyched. We got Spyro and Crash for Christmas...probably around 2002. It was really cool playing these games on a Nintendo system. So cool, that I overlooked the serious flaws in each game...I thought they were great as a kid.
I played both games again this summer. They are much worse than I remember.
The graphics are bad. It is kind of hard to explain why though, because at first glance, they seem better than the originals. The worlds and characters in each game are smoother, that is the most obvious difference. But if you look past the smoothness, you'll see that the graphics are worse. Less care has been put into the levels and characters. They are very bland, without much detail. If you pop-in the old PS1 Crash or Spyro games, they just look better despite their older graphics. This is a great example of newer not being better.
Gameplay and Levels
Crash starts out just like Crash Bandicoot 3. The first level is a standard Crash Bandicoot level, breaking boxes, collecting fruit, and running to the end of the level, and it is fun. Sadly, a lot of the levels don't follow the standard formula. Crash drives a plane, a car, runs around inside a ball, and just does too many weird things. It's like the developers wanted to make a different game but got stuck making a Crash Bandicoot game, so they added all this weird stuff. Overall it is OK, but I would really have preferred the standard Crash levels over the weird ones.
Spyro's gameplay sticks more to the standard Spyro formula. Spyro runs around the levels collecting gems and dragonflies. However, the levels are horrible and catching dragonflies is needlessly difficult. The levels are kind of boring compared to the originals, with long load times in between them, and long load times when loading the mini-game levels. They are too big, and themed really weird. There is a UFO world that is way too dark, making everything hard to see. At one point, you get inside your own UFO and "battle" another UFO to abduct cows. It is really weird, not fun, and I was asking myself "why am I playing this?" the whole time. One level did stick out as being decent, which was the cloud themed level. But overall they were just not very fun. Catching dragonflies is also a hassle. In this game, Spyro can blow fire, ice, electricity, and bubbles. So you have to switch breath depending on the enemy you are fighting. And you can't catch a dragonfly by touching it, you have to catch it with your "bubble breath". Bubble breath has horrible hit detection, meaning that even if you are right next to a dragonfly blowing bubbles on it, you still might not catch it, and have to waste your time getting the exact bubble pixel to touch the exact dragonfly pixel. Not fun.
Both Spyro and Crash share a LOT of glitches. Crash would get stuck at the edge of a crate. Spyro would get stuck hovering. It is funny for a few seconds, until you realize you have to restart the game to fix it. Spyro also froze during load screens, making me scared to enter any mini-games.
The music in Crash is forgettable. Not even close to the great soundtracks and music of the original games. Spyro's music is better than Crash's, but still not as memorable as the original games. The character voices are highly annoying in Spyro too.
Somebody on a random YouTube comment summarized Spyro best: "This game tries so hard to make you hate it.". That is true for Crash too. I really wanted to like these games, as I love the characters and their previous games. But the games are just bad. It's like they hired interns to make them, they just aren't polished, maybe they were rushed or the developers just didn't care. This becomes evident when you play a game like Super Mario Sunshine. It is a 3D platformer in the same genre on the same system. But it is night and day different. The levels are good, the gameplay is fun, and it isn't glitchy. These are Spyro and Crash games to avoid. I really hope the N. Sane and Reignited trilogies are better!