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Game Over Online ~ Spyro: A Hero's Tail (c) Vivendi Universal Games

Spyro: A Hero's Tail (c) Vivendi Universal Games

Published: Friday, September 10th, 2004 at 04:35 PM
Written By: Jeff 'Linkphreak' Haynes

Take a platforming hero who’s fallen out of the spotlight, give him a much-needed time off to return to his roots, and what do you get? A rested title of redemption. A few years ago, Spyro was the protagonist of an engaging series of games that appealed to all ages - a cute character for the kids and solid mechanics for older players. However, the last title in the series did the little purple guy a serious disservice, making fans wonder if their favorite dragon would ever return on a console to save the day. Well, get ready to dust off your wings and belch fire once again, because Spyro: A Hero’s Tale promises to return the series to its former glory.

A Hero’s Tale starts with the peace of the land violently shattered. A fallen dragon guardian named Red has returned from exile with heaps of dark crystals. Both he and his minions sink these objects into the ground, poisoning the land and twisting the surrounding areas into hideous versions of its former self. What’s worse, he’s also captured all of the dragon eggs in the realm, endangering the future guardians before they’re even born. Recognizing the danger, The Professor calls for the only hero that can possibly save the dragons and the land from evil: Spyro. The little dragon that can has to rescue the eggs, destroy the crystals and defeat Red.

Spyro has a number of abilities that he’ll use to explore the land, defeat enemies and collect loot. At first, he’ll only have the ability to dash forward to deliver a fierce headbutt and breath a stream of fire. However, he’ll quickly unlock other skills such as the ability to double jump for extra height, gliding from platform to platform, and a dive that slams into the ground, causing a lot of damage to anything beneath him. In fact, this is the only way that Spyro will be able to destroy large dark crystals. As he breaks these shards, he’ll collect gems, which can be used to purchase additional items. Some of these provide him with extra power-ups, like the ability to breath ice or electricity, while others let him unlock chests. Chests can also hold powerful items, such as light gems, which can be traded with The Professor to power incredibly strong gadgets, such as temporary invincibility or teleport him from area to area.

Fortunately, Spyro doesn’t have to fight Red and the influence of the dark crystals alone. He’s joined by four friends that will help him save dragon eggs and find light gems. Hunter the Cheetah is an agile combatant whose skill with a bow is incredibly accurate. Not only can he slide into enemies and take them out, but he’ll also be able to snipe foes from a distance. Sergeant Byrd has a jetpack strapped to his back laden with missiles and bombs. Many of his missions are “mini-game” influenced, with Byrd flying around a map taking out aerial and ground targets while flying through loops and archways. Sparx the Dragonfly is somewhat similar to Byrd, although his missions are much more linear and “rail shooter” based than Byrd’s wide open arenas. Finally, the newest friend Blink the Mole, spends much of his time underground, digging through walls, smashing opponents and hurling detonation bombs to clear objects. We’ve only scratched the surface of A Hero’s Tale, but the solid platforming and humorous asides from Spyro really gets us excited for the arrival of the little dragon that could when he burns up store shelves later this year. Check back soon for a full review!

Questions or comments about the upcoming release of Spyro: A Hero's Tail for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube? Talk to us!

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