Like many beginnings, the story starts with an egg. The video cut scenes are cool, except that on a DS it was way too laggy. Ignitus, the first red dragon that we see, is guarding the egg of a purple dragon that the prophecy has foretold. However they come under attack and, knowing that the egg must be kept safe, Ignitus sends it down the river in a giant mushroom cap (Prince of Egypt style) and hopes that all will go well. The egg is found by a pair of dragonflies who decide to see what will emerge. Several years later is where we come in. We play the little purple dragon Spyro who is accompanied by his “brother” Sparx, a dragonfly. Spyro is the fat dragonfly that can’t fly but he finds out quickly that he can breathe fire when their forest is under attack. His dragonfly parents then tell him the truth about his past, and immediately Spyro decides to go find out who he is. The story goes from one event to another, but I am assuming this game is for kids, and they don’t really need to go into detail when it comes to character development.
When you come across power crystal puzzles, you come to a screen where there is a beam of light that you need to direct to a specific target or multiple targets. By using mirrors of different shapes, the goal is to use your physics knowledge to get the beam of light to where it needs to go. You use the touch screen to line up and rotate the mirrors to direct the beam. Each one gets progressively more complicated, but if you have any idea about how light and crystals work, then it shouldn’t be a problem. It gets trickier when colors are involved. It’s an interesting addition to the game to kind of break up the button mashing. Each time you complete a puzzle you gain a crystal shard which allows you to unlock some more puzzles when you have collected enough. Arcade mode is available once you’ve beaten the game the first time. The point of arcade mode is to let you breeze through the game without any dialogue or interruptions to try and get a high score.
As Spyro plays through the different islands, he can gain different breath weapons. Ignitus gives you a tutorial on how to maximize all your dragon abilities. With various combinations of the B, A, X, Y button, you can change it up and do different attacks. Colored crystals need to be picked up to keep your gages full so you can keep breathing fire or whichever element you have picked up. This game can actually be a bit hard at times, I find my fingers cramping up after awhile and feel like the save point can’t come soon enough. Boss fights puts you in a 3D arena where it is set up like a dog fight. You need to use the stylus to tap at targets and dodge whatever else that is flying at you.
The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning is overall a fun little button masher complete with some puzzle elements to give your brain a challenge. The fights can be intense, especially when it seems like the lines of enemies just never end. The cut-scenes and dialogue are a nice distraction from the otherwise repetitive game. The graphics and sound could be better, but you are limited to what the DS can handle. It’s not perfect, but it’s still pretty impressive.