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Sierra Spring Break 08: Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon impressions

We got a first look at Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon at Sierra's Spring Break 08 in Mallorca last week, and very nice it's looking too.

It's actually Spyro's ten year anniversary this year and this is the first time the character has featured on next-gen systems.

The first we noticed was how beautiful the game looks. Exquisitely detailed environments have that Rare quality about them. In fact, the mountainous scenery we saw was very reminiscent of Kameo: bright colours, every blade of grass visible and vibrant lighting.

Read our full impressions after the link.

The big news however, is that Spyro can now fly. The feature allows more open-ended exploration: the simple, linear, on-rails experience is out of the window, it seems.

You have a new partner too: Cinder, who some of you might remember from Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning back in 2006. Cinder has now atoned for her sins and is your companion throughout the game.

She has her own set of special abilities, such as a corrosive poison. You can either enlist the help of someone else to play her, or you can simply swap characters with the press of a button. On-line co-op won't be featured, unfortunately.

Cinder's ever-present on screen and assists in combat, which itself has been ramped up significantly this time out. The team was influenced by games like God of War, apparently, and there's a far more hack'n'slash style to the fighting.

Spyro now throws enemies into the air, grabs them and slams them down into the ground. He can use spinning attacks and also make use of his elemental abilities - fire, ice, electricity and earth - all which can be strengthened through power-ups littering the game's 11 levels.

We were also treated to a boss fight where a huge fire monster appeared from the lava, clawing his way towards toward you inside a mountain. Although very reminiscent of the Minotaur from God of War, this boss looked about ten times the size and actually followed you through the level, holding onto stalactites and stalagmites.

In fact, everything we saw looked very good indeed. With all the attention being on Prototype and Ghostbusters at the event in Mallorca, we think that Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon will surprise many people.

It seems that development team Etranges Libellules (Asterix and Obelix) is marking the game's ten year anniversary with style. With this title being the last chapter in Spyro's trilogy, everything points to the fact that it's going out with a bang.

By Mike Bowden

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