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Spyro: Shadow Legacy Package Art
Amaze Entertainment
Vivendi Universal

Spyro: Shadow Legacy

Spyro has seen action on quite a few platforms from his origins on the PS to the adventures on all three current-generation consoles. Spyro: Shadow Legacy in some ways continues traditions set in Spyro's earlier handheld adventures on the GBA, but it also adds a few new elements, including the Shadow World, where a lot of the action takes place.


Graphics in Spyro: Shadow Legacy are prerendered, and gameplay itself is shown from a top-down viewpoint on the upper screen. Although Spyro is one of the smallest of the dragons, he is actually one of the least goofy-looking, as several of his reptilian (and other) friends seem deliciously cartoony and top-heavy, partially because unlike Spyro, almost all the other dragons walk on two legs. Areas which are colorful and bright in Spyro's normal world become grey and dark when he enters the Shadow World. The lower screen features menus and maps, which seem to have been hand-drawn on parchment, and touch-buttons that are easy to use and comprehend.

One problem with the game's visuals is that while traveling through areas, the scrolling can get a bit choppy, visually shaking the entire screen. This can be distracting enough to detract from the game and is constant whether Spyro is running or walking.


The game's soundtrack is one of its strongest points. The synthesized tunes convey feelings of a peaceful island environment in the normal univese and a sense of mystery and the unknown in the world of Shadow. Sound effects are accurate and help indicate when tasks are complete--enemies will make a mournful cry or startled shriek when defeated. Voice acting is minimal, generally limited to Spyro himself.


Spyro: Shadow Legacy begins as the titular hero wakes up from a nap. After a bit of exploration, Spyro is summoned to the Dragon Dojo, where he is required to rescue the Dragon Elders: wise sages trapped in the Shadow World. It turns out that someone has been tampering with the gateway between the realms, possibly one of the Elders themselves. With the Shadowstone, Spyro is charged to rescue innocents who have been trapped in the world of Shadow and find who is responsible for the catastrophe.

As Spyro progresses through the game, he gains experience points, either from completing missions or defeating enemies, to increase his level. At each level up, two of the Elders will teach Spyro a new technique or spell, some of which are required to continue forward. Spyro must first rescue the trapped citizens in each area, then offer them his assistance with more mundane matters once they have returned to the natural world.

Inventory and status management, as well as spellcasting, are handled by the touch screen. The menu interface is one of the slickest yet seen on the handheld and can be accessed any time throughout the quest. Casting spells is fairly easy when in the field; each spell is represented by a shape which must be traced. This does not work quite as well in the heat of battle, though, as fumbling with the stylus, or even tracing the shape with a fingernail, can be awkward when also trying to avoid enemies.

Spyro has several different attacks to use, including a few combos, and the key to victory is determining which to use, as some enemies have certain weaknesses. Hit detection is a little off, though. Sometimes Spyro will attack an enemy on a platform such as a table and knock the enemy backwards off of the table. The enemy is now completely safe from any of Spyro's attacks until he leaps down off the table and approaches the enemy from the other side. In addition, Spyro tends to get caught behind items in the background more than is comfortable.




Spyro: Shadow Legacy has some potential, but it's unfulfilled by repetitive gameplay and objectives (i.e. fetching items for the people you've just rescued from another dimension). The game's script has some funny moments, but also suffers from occasional typos or grammatical errors. Younger gamers and Spyro fans will likely want to check this out, but as an adventure game, the title is about average.

final score 5.2/10

Staff Avatar Aaron Roberts
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