Considering that the game has been on shelves for a bit now, you'll have to excuse us how long it took to find time to get our hands on what could very well be the last great GBA game. And, you know what? Based on our findings, this is the last great GBA game. Well, probably the last great GBA game we'll ever get to play.
The game starts out immediately following the conclusion of the first game, with the little purple dragon that could defeating the evil Cynder at the plane of Convexity. After fleeing back to the Dragon temple with the defeated Cynder, it's revealed that she is in fact Spyro's sibling. Later, that same night, she wanders off and Spyro sets off after her.
During the outset of the game, Spyro is without any of his powers as he goes off after Cynder. Once he tracks her down, it's discovered that she's possessed. The only dragon that can help her is The Chronicler, which Spyro believes can aid him in ridding her of this evil. He hopes this dragon can aid him against the Dark Master, who aims to ... well, do some evil on this night. It's your basic "evil guy wants to do bad stuff" plot, which isn't all that fantastic. Playing the game, however, is a completely different matter. Playing is believing and you can bet we believe.
As with the game on its other platforms, Spyro dispatches most of his enemies through melee combat. Spyro starts with your basic three-hit combo, but through various Dragon Relics scattered throughout the game, ups the ante by unlocking more attacks. With these, you can string together combinations likely to make your head spin, reaching well over 20 hits. Spyro can start a combo on the ground, knock his enemies into the air and complete his assault by juggling his opponents in the sky.
It isn't the only ability Spyro has, however. He can do more than just beat a sucker down, as he can still command the elements by doing things such as spitting fireballs and utilizing his ice breath. These are gradually unlocked, with the crystals that defeated enemies drop being used to beef these abilities up. Luckily, the action of combat is just so damned fun that this hardly seems like a chore.
Not only is the combat fun, but it looks just so damn good. We haven't seen such bright, beautiful sprites for quite some time. Not to mention the environments are also well-designed, expansive and offer up some nice atmospheric effects. It's really just a lovely game visually.
In the end, The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night is much more fun than most of the GBA games that have hit the platform in the last while. It's not that long of a game, taking us only about 8 hours to complete, but it hardly feels like a shift in the salt mines. In fact, it feels more like a sick day, where you just lie in bed and watch movies all day. Except that these aren't crappy movies on TV, riddled with commercials, but rather a careful selection of your most treasured films.
If you're as sad to see the GBA go as we are, then pay homage to it by giving its last great title a try. You won't be disappointed.
Final score: 9.5/10