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Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! – PlayStation

Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! – PlayStation

Platform: PlayStationSpyro_2_-_Ripto's_Rage!_Coverart

Developer: Insomniac Games

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Date: November 2, 1999

Genre: Platforming , Action/Adventure

Nerd Rating: 10 out of 10

Nostalgia means different things for different people. For me, the sheer thought of the word brings forth memories of all the games I played when I was just 5 years old. Among them was this gem, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! I recall hours and hours of playing the second installment of Insomniac Games’ most influential series before Ratchet and Clank. Spyro returns to action after a year hiatus, and this time around he’s got new friends, new enemies, and few new tricks up his sleeve.

Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! takes place shortly after the events of Spyro the Dragon.
After what seems like an eternity of rainfall in the Artisan Homeworld, Spyro and Sparx are in search of a bit of a vacation. The dynamic duo packs their bags and heads for Dragon Shores for some R&R! Meanwhile, a group of freedom fighters in the land of Avalar have other plans for Spyro! Elora, a faun, Hunter, a high energy talking cheetah, and the Professor, a super genius mole, are all tired of the tyrannical Ripto’s claim over the land. Knowing that Ripto hates dragons, the trio attempts to summon one, and luckily for them Spyro comes crashing through their portal. This is when the player takes control of the titular Spyro and his best buddy Sparx.
Spyro receiving an orb from one of the Gemcutters.

Spyro receiving an orb from one of the Gemcutters.

In Ripto’s Rage!, Spyro can still headbutt, spit fire, and fly. However, the ability to dodge roll was removed and the ability to “hover” (along with many, many other abilities) was added. When flying, Spyro can hover to get more height to his flight towards the end of the glide. This allows players to access areas that would be unreachable otherwise. One of the biggest changes is the Homeworlds. Instead of having to fight through six of them, battling enemies in both the homeworlds and the realms within, Spyro is able to explore peacefully with no baddies. Also, the addition of NPCs that Spyro can talk to adds quite a bit to the plot and the development of Spyro’s character. Along with NPCs, Spyro’s enemies no longer drop gems upon their demise. Instead, bad guys release orbs of light that enable power ups throughout each level. These power ups give Spyro special abilities such as extended flight time, super flame breath, and super jumps. Each power up plays a part in completing each level.

powerup

One of the many power-ups unlockable throughout Spyro 2.

Speaking of completing each level, Spyro 2 has a whole new system to achieve 100% completion. As in Spyro the Dragon, completing the game at 100% unlocks some cool post-game cutscenes  and an extra level to play through. While some of the mechanics like collecting gems remains the same, there are also some other neat challenges featured in this game. For example, in the first level of the game, Glimmer, Spyro must annihilate the lizards that have infested a mine, and halted gem production. Upon completing this action, Spyro unlocks a couple of flight power ups, and the ability to talk to several new “Gemcutters,” the kangaroo looking inhabitants of Glimmer. These gemcutters offer Spyro challenges in exchange for orbs, the games newest challenge. Each level in Spyro 2 has several orbs to collect as well as one talisman (only in the first 14 levels). Spyro must collect each talisman to progress in the game and defeat Ripto, and each orb to complete his journal.

underwater

Spyro using one of his new abilities: swimming underwater.

Insomniac must have really wanted to impress players in Spyro 2, as they added many new features and a lot more structure over the first game. For example the start menu in the first installment was simple and didn’t offer players much in the way of content. However, in Ripto’s Rage!, the start menu shows players their objective, collected gems, talismans, orbs, and the levels they’ve visited. Orbs are a new sort of currency in the sense that Spyro must use them to open certain levels. With these additions comes another new mechanic: backtracking! Some levels have areas inaccessible to Spyro until he learns a new skill such as head bashing, swimming underwater, or climbing. In order to acquire these skills, players must purchase them through a new character, a greedy bear named Moneybags. These skills come in handy all throughout the game. Insomniac also made it a bit harder to kill Spyro; in the first game he couldn’t even swim! For me, these changes make the game a lot more fun, and a lot less frustrating. It’s as if a lot of pressure has been taken off of the player and the developers are saying, “Hey players, check this out!” I love it!

Along with the many additions to the gameplay of Spyro 2, there are graphical and audio updates too. Levels have more detail, shading is more prevalent, and colors are more vibrant. Even the gems that Sparx picks up for Spyro have more detail to them and look more like actual gems instead of just multicolored blocks. The voice acting is also nice, considering there is much more of it this time around. Plus, there are subtitles for each conversation with an NPC. It is also important to mention the soundtrack of Spyro 2 as well as the other two titles for the original PlayStation. That is, each soundtrack is produced by Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police! This gives each level, homeworld, and mini-game its own quality soundtrack.

Spyro 2 is much more detailed compared to the prequel.

Spyro 2 is much more detailed compared to the prequel.

Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! holds a huge piece of my heart. It’s fun, beautiful, and has incredible replay value. I could spend days on end playing this game and not get tired of it. I know because when I was a kid, my dad and I would always play this game together, leaving the console on for days (we had no memory cards). All I’m saying is that if I was forced to choose one game to play for the rest of my life, Spyro 2 would probably be that game. I implore you to try and play through this installment of the Spyro series (as well as the others!) and you will see why I have such a deep love for this lighthearted, incredibly fun series. Be careful though, you may fall in love with it!

Written by Poseidon

Poseidon

NC, born and bred.

I love my girlfriend, my dog, and I guess I like video games.
Also, I’m vegan so there’s that.

Twitch: PoseidonNB (schedule TBA)
PSN: MilesBirch
RuneScape: Not Zack

 
 

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3 Comments

  1. We must have had a similar childhood. I spent the majority of my pre-teen years with this and the first Spyro. So much character to this game compared to the first.

    Buuuut when I go back and try to do most of the orb quests these days, they just don’t feel like they hold up so well. What do you think?

     
    • I agree. It felt like we got to really know Spyro in this one. I enjoyed this game much more than the first in that way. It felt more personal; more like I could REALLY just sit back and enjoy the game.

      And what do you mean when you say they don’t “hold up?” If you mean that they’re not as fun as they first were, I agree. Now that I’m older they seem kind of repetitive and don’t add too much to the game other than a bit of a challenge or to give the player a reason to backtrack.

       
      • Yeah that’s exactly what I mean; they were fun for me as a kid but coming back to them they’re unnecessarily repetitive and kind of boring. Shoutout to the alchemist that you had to protect from rock monsters, that one gave me so much trouble back in the day!

         

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