Spyro 2 had a much greater variety in gameplay than its predecessor. In many ways, these were the necessary improvements all good sequels have to make. At the same time, this meant that Spyro 2 was also a far more frustrating game when some of the more irritating challenges were involved. Today, we will be listing the Duck’s least favorite orb challenges.
6: Playing Hockey in Colossus
The earliest nuisance came in the form of the two hockey games you could play in Colossus. Being at the bottom of the list, it was certainly not the worst part of the game, but that didn’t mean I enjoyed it. For the first game, you have to score five goals in two minutes against just a goalie. In the second game, you have to score five goals before your opponent does. Either way you look at it, this challenge was frustrating because of how Spyro moves on the ice. I spent a good deal of my time futilely chasing the puck all across the arena, Spyro’s slow movements rarely sufficient to intercept the thing before it bounced off in another direction.
5: Shooting Targets in Canyon Speedway
Again, this one’s not awful, but it still seemed to be a bit more aggravating than it needed to be. In this challenge, Spyro flies through the canyon on a set course and must shoot all 25 targets. I swear, they don’t give you enough time to get all of these unless you memorize where they’re going to appear. Usually after the first 20 targets, I would start to miss them because they would move out of range quicker than I could react.
4: Freezing Trolls in Cloud Temples
In this challenge, Spyro is granted ice breath for a limited time and must freeze fiery trolls in order to reach and ring three bells. The trolls run or jump all over the place, and it can be really tough to freeze them in just the right spot. More often than not, I would freeze the running trolls in the wrong place or the jumping trolls would be frozen too high or too low to use as proper platforms. That, paired with a time limit before your ice breath runs out, made for a tricky challenge indeed.
3: Mine Cart Challenge in Breeze Harbor
It’s ironic that I enjoy the mine cart levels in the Donkey Kong Country games so much because they can also be pretty tricky. But in the case of Donkey Kong, you don’t die after one hit and have to collect 50 items along the way. In Breeze Harbor, Spyro is tasked with collecting 50 gears while riding a mine cart, and if you make a single mistake, you have to start over from the very beginning. To make matters worse, you have obstacles like a crate you must jump over or a TNT barrel you must shoot (you don’t have much notice as to which one it will be, either), and I would often try to avoid the large crates, only to switch tracks too soon and die. Imagine my chagrin when I found that Dragon Shores had three more similar challenges….
2: Protecting the Alchemist in Fracture Hills
I would have really liked Fracture Hills if it wasn’t also the main level responsible for highlighting this game’s flaws. In this challenge, you must protect the alchemist from Earthshapers as he walks over to Hunter. This guy has no sense of self-preservation, however, as he meanders about aimlessly the whole time and seems to enjoy heading straight for the big, rock-like monsters. It’s as if he wants to die!
To make matters worse, you can’t kill them, but can only charge them to interrupt their club attack. And I never before realized how annoying Spyro’s charge is to control. So oftentimes, though the enemy is two feet in front of our purple dragon, Spyro still manages to veer off course and miss it, wasting precious time in which the alchemist might get thumped over the head.
To make matters even worse, I did this challenge on my first visit, but couldn’t do the mini game with Hunter until I returned later on with the head bash ability. And due to the game’s inane habit of resetting all your progress when you revisit a level, I had to do this challenge twice!
1: Chasing the Thieves in Mystic Marsh
As aggravating as protecting the alchemist was, I absolutely hated chasing the four kangaroo thieves in Mystic Marsh. These guys managed to be so much worse than the thieves in the first game, and merely chasing them until you close the gap or tricking them by dropping down from above did not work. These guys are fast, run across a set path that is quite tricky for Spyro to follow at any real speed, and can turn without a moment’s notice. Yep, there’s no doubt about it. This has to be the worst challenge of the game by far!
These did not make it into the main list because they are not orb challenges, but rather, optional skill points. Otherwise, they would have been right up there in the top three worst challenges in the game.
One of them was getting through the Ocean Speedway in 1:10. This challenge felt next to impossible thanks to those awful boats, which moved about in a figure 8 pattern and were exceptionally difficult to hit within any reasonable amount of time.
The other challenge involved defeating Ripto without taking damage. Parts 1 and 2 of the battle are quite easy with Spyro’s permanent Superflame ability. Such success is far tougher to pull off in part 3, however, due to Ripto’s homing attack.
Now that I’ve shared my latest tale of woe, I’d like to hear your thoughts, dear readers. What Spyro 2 challenges did you find most aggravating? Let us know in the comments below!