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 Spyro game for the sixth generation consoles, and the first game exclusively released on multiple platforms.
The game faced development issues that affected the final product, which resulted in the product being poorly made. Upon release, Enter the Dragonfly 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 the new 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 Bubble Breath, so he can capture the dragonflies. Spyro goes to the different realms connected to the Dragon Realms in search of the missing 90 Dragonflies. When Spyro enters the Dragonfly Dojo, he discovers that Ripto's new minions, the Riptocs, have infested the area, along with all the other realms he must travel to. Spyro has to defeat them as well, in order to recapture the stolen Dragonflies.
Eventually, Spyro travels through all nine realms attached to the Dragon Realms, and enters Ripto's portal with the combined magic of all of the Dragonflies. 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 erects a flame barrier, making Spyro's flame breath useless. Spyro now uses his Ice Breath to bring down the barrier and freeze Ripto. Finally, in one last act of desperation, Ripto uses his magic to grow even bigger and incorporate body parts of Crush and Gulp into his own body. Spyro easily brings down the monster with his Lightning Breath. As Ripto is defeated, he curses Spyro. Spyro discovers because Ripto 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 never returns in the rest of the original series, except 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)
- Running Charge (Default)
- Glide (Default)
- Head Smash (Default)
- Bubble Breath (Rune)
- Ice Breath (Rune)
- Lightning Breath (Rune)
- Wing Shield (Rune)
- Dragon Realms
There had been development issues surrounding Enter the Dragonfly, with the teams of both Equinox Digital Entertainment and Check Six Studios not coming to a decision on which idea best suits a Spyro title. The Universal Interactive Studios producer of the project, Ricci Rukavina, would force in his own take on 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(s) that was never resolved by Universal.
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 Spyro, so existing villains were chosen to be used instead and shoehorned into a random story. At first Gnasty Gnorc was planned to be teaming up with Ripto in an attempt to capture all of the dragonflies for themselves. More than 100 dragonflies were planned, with over 25 levels, a framerate of 60 frames per second, and relatively fast loading times.
However, Universal Interactive Studios forced the developers to rush on developing the game in order to be available by winter 2002 and therefore it 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 the Dragonfly Dojo level where he charges Spyro gems for his assistance.
A pink dragon named Ember was created for Enter the Dragonfly and the game would've been her first appearance in the Spyro series. However the constant changes during development caused the team to not find a place for her in the game, so she was scrapped. Ember would later make her debut in Spyro: A Hero's Tail.
Stewart Copeland, composer of the previous three Spyro games as well as Enter the Dragonfly 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 recognise 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 recently composed the main theme for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
- The game was originally going to be released for the Microsoft Xbox and Windows platforms, but were cancelled because of the negative reviews. If this would have happened, it would have been the first Spyro game to be released on PC and Xbox.
- The game's title is a pun on "Enter the Dragon."
- This is the last game to feature the original voice cast, as beginning with A Hero's Tail, the voice cast is entirely different.
- 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.
- Gnasty Gnorc was originally going to be in the game as a secondary antagonist, but due to the team being on a schedule to release the game during the 2002 holiday season, he was cut out, though he was mentioned by Ripto.
- This is the first Spyro game not to be developed by its creator Insomniac Games, who abandoned Spyro to work on Ratchet and Clank.
- One can find Ripto in Spyro's eye on the 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. A picture from the instruction manual shows the possible portal to the level.
- Both development companies Equinox Digital Entertainment and Check Six Studios were shut down after the game's release due to the unknown reasons but, it is believed to be due to the game's poor reception.
- It was the only title Equinox Digital Entertainment ever developed. In Check Six's case, it was the only title developed by them to be released. Check Six Studios would later begin development of a title in the Aliens franchise called Aliens: Colonial Marines, but the studio went under before the project's completion, resulting in it's initial cancellation (it would later be picked back up by publisher SEGA and developer Gearbox and released).
- 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)
- Ember segment, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly Documentary (FULL)
- 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
- Vivendi, Sony sued over epileptic seizure
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
Bianca the Rabbit - Spirit - Zoe
Crush - Gulp
Dragon Masters - Rodtikiney - Pigs - Professors - Thieves - Yetis
Dragonfly Dojo - Crop Circle Country - Luau Island - Cloud 9 - Monkey Monastery
Honey Marsh - Thieves Den - Jurassic Jungle - Chateau Ripto