Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!

released on Nov 02, 1999

Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! is the second game in the Spyro the Dragon series. In this game, Spyro is placed in the land of Avalar rather than the Dragon Worlds. Gameplay flows like the original game Spyro the Dragon, with few variations in control and Spyro's main abilities intact. The only notable difference is the removal of Spyro's side-rolling ability, previously activated by L1 and R1.

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Mad props to Spyro 2 for being pro gay rights way back then, even supported poly relationships, as well as WAIT WHAT???

Improves upon the original in all the right ways. Lot of fun!

De-emphasizes the simple but refined platforming of Spyro 1 in favor of mini games that are worse than the most annoying Banjo-Kazooie mini games by a wide margin. At least you never play as a kangaroo or some shit.

A universal improvement over the first game, Spyro 2 is where the franchise truly started for me. The first game may set up the foundation, but Spyro 2 builds the house, the garden, the garage, and I want to live there for the rest of my life. This game is Spyro, and holds up phenomenally well today.

I think they played it safe compared to the first one, but really dialed in the polish, kept it more refined, and added a lot more variety in level/world design. Very charming game with more heart than the first.

The 3D Platformer is my favorite genre, but that doesn't mean I automatically like every 3D Platformer. Moreso, it means I really love a great one and am annoyed by boring ones. One of the most common annoyances with the genre I have is when a 3D Platformer feels like it's ashamed with the genre. There's a weird amount of '3D Platformers' with platforming that is extremely easy and/or simple, where there's more focus placed on other elements. Banjo Kazooie arguably started this trend, but a few key elements make Banjo a good game, albeit one I personally don't like as much as other people. Despite the lack of difficulty, there's still always a feeling of vertical progression in each level, and platforming challenges often take place in fantastical areas or are contextualized with humourous mini-stories. The moveset ironically de-emphasizes movement, but the level design is so dense that exploring is extremely fun, and the platforming simply compliments that. Tie in some good audiovisuals, and you have a winner of a game.
A lot of games, especially in the late 90's, were influenced by Banjo. This is fine, but many failed to realize what made that game good, and Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage is one of the best examples of this. It does get one thing right: The audiovisuals. The music keeps the fantastical style of the original Spyro, and the visuals are still well animated, even moreso in the Reignited Trilogy rerelease. However, things begin to fall apart after that. You see, there's another element of Banjo I neglected to mention: minigames. I thought the minigames were pretty middling overall, but they're also not the main focus, so I still enjoyed the game. The problem with Ripto's Rage is that the focus is switched from platforming to these minigames. Instead of building a world with platforming challenges and sprinkling in the minigames, Ripto's Rage built a world filled with minigames and put platforming challenges between them.
Honestly, this could've worked as far as I know, but the issue is that neither element is good. The minigames are pretty middling overall and all of them feel extremely disconnected. The platforming takes place in levels with basic level design and a very simple moveset, which leads to most sections feeling very mindless. It leads to a game where each part feels like a chore, because that's basically what it is. Ripto lacks any presence in the overall game, and most substories are completely disconnected from the core conflict, so I never felt much actual importance in what I was doing.
My point is that Ripto's Rage has a lot of the stereotypical flaws of the genre without any particular strengths. The platforming is weak in both level design and movement, the story has some decent characters but the events are disconnected and not entertaining, and the minigames aren't good. You could probably say at least one of those about many decent 3D Platformers, but the fact that all of them apply to Ripto's Rage is what makes it a 4/10 for me.