Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage

Let me start this by saying that I’ve never played the original versions of Spyro 2 or 3. If you read my first Spyro post you might recall that I was curious about how much the nostalgic nature of the original Spyro game played into my overall enjoyment. A week later and another 100% completion under my belt, I’m proud to announce that the nostalgia played only a minor role. I genuinely enjoyed this game.

I took a small reprieve from the series upon the completion of the first game. This was due in part to combat the feeling of burn out, but also because I spent a great deal of my time traveling over the holiday. However, thanks to amazing preplanning on my behalf I was able to enjoy the game away from home thanks to remote play.

Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage is wholly delightful. The design of each level is extraordinary, the characters and their personalities are charming and not overbearing, and the challenge along the road to one hundred percent completion is tough but fair. I found myself bewildered on multiple occasions regarding how to overcome a specific challenge.

The original Spyro game toyed around with some ideas such as the supercharge challenges in Tree Tops and Haunted Towers, but these were more along the lines of what I’d call “secrets” or “Easter eggs.” Ripto’s Rage took these ideas and made them full-blown implementations of the gameplay. Each level had a different set of challenges, with each accompanied by a difficulty rating out of five. Some of my favorites involved running around a tight track, full of jumps and cornering that felt like I was driving a fully loaded semi-truck on an F1 racetrack. Fracture Hills tested my patience with its supercharge challenge, but the payoff of mastering the course felt incredible. You are rewarded with an Orb for completing these challenges, and 40 are required in total to face off against Ripto. Since I was collecting every orb that I could before progressing, I had no problem unlocking everything as I went through the game.

One thing I didn’t particularly care for in Ripto’s Rage is the backtracking. In Spyro the Dragon you could walk into a level with full confidence that you’d be able to complete each level in totality before leaving. Spyro 2 dismisses this concept from the very beginning. The first level of the game, Glimmer, features an area that requires you to know the “climb” ability, which you wouldn’t have the opportunity to purchase until you move on to the second world. This is a minor frustration, and it left me feeling unenthusiastic about leaving “no stone unturned” in every level knowing full well that I would have to come back at some point. Fortunately, not all levels required the use of these abilities, so I was still able to knock out quite a bit during my initial visit before returning to the world later.

The music in this game is just as mesmerizing as the first if night slightly better. Each level features a track that’s full of life and matches the level’s thematic design while staying true to the larger Spyro formula. I’m simply addicted to the sounds of each song.

The boss fights in Ripto’s Rage felt weightier in comparison to its predecessor. Gulp was particularly vexatious but once you learned his patterns and put some thought behind your attacking strategy he can be dispatched with relative ease. The other fights in the game are less enjoyable, but were still unique enough to leave a lasting impression on me. Ripto’s fight was slightly disappointing, but this might be attributed to the fact that I’d become extremely adept at flying Spyro thanks to the wealth of “Speedway” courses that I’d mastered throughout two games. I could see how people who passed over the optional unlimited flight levels might be unfamiliar with Spyro’s handling near the end of this final brawl.

Overall, I’m pleased with the efforts and creativity that the developers put forth in the second game. I’ve already played a good amount of the third game and I can tell that the implementation of new ideas did not stop with Ripto’s Rage. My fingers are crossed for a revitalized version of this series by Toys for Bob. I’d play at least 10 more Spyro games before getting bored.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. You can swim in this game. Don’t get too excited.

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