Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is the fourth game in the Spyro the Dragon series and the first Spyro game to be on the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube. It is also the first mainline console Spyro title not to be developed by Insomniac Games.
The game faced numerous development issues that affected both the pre-release versions and the final product. Upon release, it was widely criticized for its numerous glitches, long loading times, and choppy framerate.
The game's story begins shortly after the death of Sorceress in Spyro: Year of the Dragon. The generation of young dragons, whom Spyro recently saved from the Sorceress' clutches, are about to celebrate a rite of passage: the assignment of their newly arrived dragonfly guardians. However, during the party, Ripto (who appears to have survived the events of Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! (proven by the epilogues of this and the following game) teleports in via a portal and disrupts the celebration, intent on capturing all the dragonflies in order to weaken the young dragons. However, his spell misfires, and the dragonflies, including Spyro's dragonfly companion, Sparx, are scattered throughout the Dragon Realms. After finding Sparx inside the castle in the Dragon Realms homeworld, Spyro is tasked with recovering the other dragonflies.
After Ripto disappears, Bianca gives Spyro a Dragon Rune which can grant him the ability of Bubble Breath, so he can capture the dragonflies. Now, Spyro travels to the different realms connected to the Dragon Realms in search of the 90 missing Dragonflies. When Spyro enters Dragonfly Dojo, he discovers that Ripto's new minions, the Riptocs, have infested each of the worlds. By defeating these newly discovered Riptocs & saving each inhabitant of the worlds, Spyro will be rewarded with dragonflies until he has enough to save the Dragon Realms.
Eventually, Spyro collects enough dragonflies and gems to face Ripto (the boss portal opens first upon getting 50% completion). When the battle begins, Ripto creates a fire-resistant shield for himself. Spyro destroys the shield and beats Ripto. But when Spyro thinks he has Ripto on the verge of defeat, Ripto uses a magic spell to grow to twice his size. He then summons a flame barrier, making Spyro's flame breath useless. Spyro now uses his Ice Breath to bring down the barrier and directly hurt Ripto. Finally, in one last act of desperation, Ripto uses his magic to grow even bigger and become a mutant version of himself. Spyro eventually brings down the monster with his Lightning Breath. As Ripto is defeated, he curses Spyro. Spyro taunts Ripto by saying because he was a dinosaur, he was unable to properly use magic. This is what lead to Ripto's hatred of dragons, and is the reason why he is so relentless in destroying the dragons and vows to come back (though he only returns in spinoffs).
In the end, the festival continues, the baby dragons receive their dragonfly companions and the Dragon Realms are safe again. As the story ends back at the party, Hunter then asks Spyro if everything is finally back to normal before Spyro responds by turning to the player and gives them a wink for doing a great job, ending the game.
Gameplay is similar to the previous three console games. The layout of each realm is similar to those past. Furthermore, unlike its prequel, sequel, and the Spyro: Advance games, the only playable character is Spyro. However, Spyro can man several vehicles: Hunter's Manta Ray and the UFO's make a return appearance from Year of the Dragon, alongside two new vehicles, the tank and the Spitfire attack plane.
In this game, Speedways no longer appear as individual levels, but instead are added onto realms, accessible via Challenge Portals. The typical speedway layout stays fundamentally the same as Year of the Dragon, without the Hunter Challenge.
Spyro starts with an array of skills, and learns more as he progresses through the game. These include:
- Fire Breath (Default)
- Charge (Default)
- Glide (Default)
- Headbash (Default)
- Bubble Breath (Rune)
- Ice Breath (Rune)
- Electric Breath (Rune)
- Wing Shield (Rune)
- Dragon Realms
There were many development issues surrounding Enter the Dragonfly, with both teams (Equinoxe Digital Entertainment and Check Six Studios) not coming to a decision on which idea best suits a Spyro title. It got so bad that the game was "cancelled" one day when everyone went into work and was told to go back home. On top of that, ideas constantly were removed and changed with entire levels, characters, and minigames being cut. This is thanks to the Universal Interactive Studios producer of the project, Ricci Rukavina, and other management who would force their own ideas of what should and what shouldn't be in the game without consulting with the rest of the development team, causing the workplace to be in a state of toxicity between each member.
The original pitch was going to introduce an evil dragon who was stealing the essences of other dragons to become more powerful. Spyro would have to travel across the Dragon Worlds to restore those essences and defeat the evil dragon. However the lead designer claimed that there are no evil dragons in the world of Spyro, so existing villains were chosen to be used instead and shoehorned into the story. More than 100 dragonflies were planned according to early press reports, with over 25 levels, a framerate of 60 frames per second, and relatively fast loading times.
Despite the long development cycle of over two years, it still suffers from an inconsistent framerate, long loading times, graphical glitches, sound issues and lock-ups. As a result, Gnasty Gnorc doesn't appear anywhere in the game at all (although he is mentioned by Ripto), there are only 9 levels for the player to explore and only 90 dragonflies to collect. In addition, the popular characters, Moneybags and Bianca, appear just once each in the whole game; Bianca at the very beginning (where she mysteriously disappears afterwards and does not return until the player finishes the game) and Moneybags in Dragonfly Dojo where he charges Spyro gems to get across a chasm.
A design document that was obtained in 2020 revealed nearly a dozen cut levels that had never been heard of, as well as a plan for 4 hubworlds for the game: the Sunshine Hub, Rain Hub, Snow Hub, and Windy Hub, all in that order. It's also stated that a level called "Haunted House Level" would have Giant Spiders as enemies (the final game has Giant Spider enemies in Jurassic Jungle's Tower Minigame). It suggests that some of the early characters and ideas made it into the final game in other ways that they weren't originally intended for. This is also further proven by "Riptoc Pterodactyls" being mentioned for a cut Tornado Level (they would make it into the final game in the place of Monkey Monastery's Flying Riptocs). This theme continues with many other assets in the final game such as most of the chests which have cut level names written in their names. For example, Honey Marsh's chest has "EF" written in its name for the cut level Enchanted Forest, just as Thieves Den's chest has "BA" written on it for the cut level Baked Alaska.
A pink dragon named Ember was created for Enter the Dragonfly. Her role would've had her as another playable character or even a helper of Spyro, similar to Sparx. However, it was not decided what exactly Ember's final purpose would be, which would lead to her removal. She would later make her debut in Spyro: A Hero's Tail.
Five different composers were assigned to Enter the Dragonfly, including Stewart Copeland who was the composer of the original Spyro trilogy. The large portion of the soundtrack was done by Peter Neff who did tracks such as Dragon Realms and Thieves Den. Other composers include Emiliano Almeida (who composed 4 songs total, notably Crop Circle Country), Kenneth Burgomaster, and Emilio Kauderer. Stewart Copeland directed these 4 composers and then was given the project files afterwards and added his instrumentation on top of them. In the end, Stewart Copeland was the one who received all the credit as it was stated in the contracts. 42 music tracks were composed but only 28 made it into the final game and 14 wound up being unused on the Master Disc Soundtrack which was obtained in 2020.
Stewart Copeland stated he started to feel a "divergence" with publisher Universal Interactive, stating "I remember the team came in to create the promotional materials for Enter The Dragonfly. They showed me an ad they had, which I didn’t even recognize as Spyro. It was country and western-themed, and I think that’s where the divergence happened for me. We were not on the same page any more."
Critical reception for the game was mixed to negative due to its numerous glitches, irritating sound issues, and frequent long loading times. It is considered by many critics to be one of the worst, if not the worst, game in the series. Ted Price, the President of Insomniac Games who oversaw the original Spyro games, even spoke out about how bad he found the game; in an interview, he stated, "Spyro has become an abused stepchild... Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly on PS2 and Gamecube was an absolute travesty." IGN gave the game a 6/10, stating that, "Enter the Dragonfly is essentially a replica game, a side step or a lateral move rather than a step forward. So, what it comes down to is this: Are you up for more of the exact same Spyro game?"
- GameSpot - 2/10
- IGN - 6/10
- Gamershell - 6/10
- Amazon - 2.5/5
- PlaystationWeekly - 4/10
- Nintendo Action - 2.5/5
- Enter the Dragonfly was the last game in the series to feature a musical score composed by Stewart Copeland, who had previously composed the scores of the original trilogy, until he composed the main theme for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy in 2018.
- The game's title is a pun on the 1973 Bruce Lee film "Enter the Dragon."
- This is the last game to feature the original voice cast, as beginning with Spyro: A Hero's Tail, the voice cast is entirely different. Tom Kenny would return 16 years later for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
- One of the dragonflies is named Tashistation, named after the Tosche Station from Star Wars. This peculiar name was widely mocked online.
- A cutscene shows Ripto blasting Crush and Gulp and knocking them over: as they are never seen again after this, not even in the endings, it's widely believed by fans that Ripto actually killed them. This, however, is not the case as both henchmen appears in games that are set after this one.
- There are only 90 dragonflies to collect. This is odd, as there are 151 baby dragons (If you count Yin & Yang as two) who need dragonflies. This is likely due to the developers not having enough time to include more levels. It could also be that some of the dragonflies simply hadn't arrived yet.
- There is a dragonfly called Cinder, whose name is similar to Cynder's, who first appeared as the deuteragonist of The Legend of Spyro series.
- Spyro's creator Insomniac Games released their next game Ratchet and Clank the same year Enter the Dragonfly published, 2002.
- One can find Ripto in Spyro's eye reflection on the North American box art.
- An infant suffered from a seizure from playing this game which caused permanent damage. The mother of the infant filed a lawsuit and therefore won the case to cover ongoing treatment for the child.
- A lot of the recycled details in this game come from levels present in the demo versions of the previous Spyro games. Some examples are that a couple of the enemy sounds are the same as some of the Rhynocs from Molten Crater and Seashell Shore. Also a lot of the characters and chant spells from Colossus return. Avalar and Frozen Altars were also to be mentioned, but were cut.
- A level called Enchanted Forest was to be featured in this game, but was removed for unknown reasons.
- Both development companies Equinoxe Digital Entertainment and Check Six Studios were shut down shortly after the game's release due to money problems. Check Six would also not be able to pay a large amount of the employees through the last year of development (2002) and even closed with over $200,000 of debt.
- It was the only title Check Six would ever release. Prior to Enter the Dragonfly, Check Six Studios was creating a PS2 title known as Aliens Colonial Marines based off the incredibly popular Aliens franchise, though it ended up cancelled due to Fox not being happy with the milestones they were receiving.
- The fourth wall was broken twice:
- When confronting Ripto at Ripto's Arena, he stated that "I will take care of you permanently" before realizing he'd already said that in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and wouldn't want to sound like a "videogame cliché", referencing self-awareness that Ripto is in game, both in Ripto's Rage! and Enter the Dragonfly.
- Back at the party at the end of the game, after beating Ripto, Hunter asks Spyro if everything is finally back to normal to where Spyro responds by turning to the player and giving them a wink.
- Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly Documentary
- Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly Documentary (FULL)
- Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly Documentary (FINALE)
- Emiliano Almeida Composer Call - Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
- Sound Disc
- Talking Spyro with The Police’s Stewart Copeland
- Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
- Gamespot's Review (GameCube)
- Gamespot's Review (PlayStation 2)
- IGN's Review (PlayStation 2)
- Spyro Enter the Dragonfly Review
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