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Wednesday, November 4, 1998
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 52




The Video Vixen




About the Cougar
 

Spyro breaks the mold of platform-based games while Turbo Prop Racinggives players infinite new worlds to conquer

PlayStation Reviews


Spyro the Dragon
for Sony PlayStation

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 9.5
Challenge: 7.5
(all ratings on 10-point scale)
Overall grade: B+


By Brandon Heath Franks
Daily Cougar Staff

It takes all kinds to save the world. In this case the kind is a dragon -- Spyro the Dragon


Spyro the Dragon, a new Sony PlayStation adventure, is a 3-D experience that shouldn't be missed.

Courtesy of Sony Entertainment

This little "mouthy" fire-breather goes through six vast, colorful worlds with more sub-levels than you can snort fire at. This 3-D platform game, brought to you by Insomniac Games and Universal Interactive Studios, goes beyond the Super Mario genre that so many are used to. Spyro charges, glides and fires up some unusual enemies in an adventure that made me say "Wow!"

Here's the lowdown on the game: Spyro must free the dragons frozen by the Gnasty Gnorc and battle rhinos, frogs, wizards, bulls and others too numerous to mention.

You may realize that a lot of thought was put into aspects of the game like the scenery, the secrets and the dialog as you search for jewels, dragon eggs and dragons while trying to put this world right.

The bosses and levels are creative, as are their names, like "Blowhard" (Monica Lewinsky's favorite).

There's also a cute little dragonfly named, appropriately, "Sparx," who is Spyro's tiny protector. While he guards Spyro through his journey, Sparx will also help pick up jewels, but be careful: Sparx can only take three hits, then you're on your own.

Luckily, you can blast some nonviolent creatures like sheep and chickens and they'll give you the fuel you need. 

Some may say all 3D adventures are the same, but youill most likely disagree after experiencing this creative game that has broken the boundaries of other platform games.

Overall, the game is a blast, and you'll find the more you play, the more addicted you'll be. This is a one-player game and takes one block of memory.

If you've got a dual shock analog controller, the vibration and analog functions will both work.

Pros: tons of things to do in each level
Cons: seems like there's not enough time in flight areas



 


Turbo Prop Racing
for Sony PlayStation

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Challenge: 9.5
Overall grade: A-


By Brandon Heath Franks
Daily Cougar Staff

Have you ever wondered what waves crashing against you feel like at 205 mph? If so, get your helmet, strap on your seat belt and prepare for the spin of your life. 

Sony Interactive's Turbo Prop Racing is so vigorous that it will turn a piranha into a perch. You race on speed boats from the Arctic to hot lava and still have time to splash down in Canada.

Make sure you've got the skills, though, because you'll have to place first in every track in order to advance, and you'll need to open bonus levels to upgrade your boat. How easy is that?

Let's put it this way: Even if you put TPR on easy mode, you would have a better chance of passing a calculus exam the morning after a frat party.

There are six tracks on the day and night courses that you'll surge through separately. Once all this is completed, you have the option to compete in the championship mode, which means -- if you can handle it -- that you'll go through the six regular tracks all at once. If you think it ends there, your mother must've dropped you on your head.

Just when you think you've conquered the game and have finished the championships, the assault on your senses really begins. Take a break, get a haircut and order a pizza, because you're about to go into a fractal generator! This thing takes different parts of tracks and makes up more than 1 million random tracks. In other words, you'll never stop playing TPR.

There's also two-player and three-to-five player modes that make this game full of endless possibilities. This game is a must even if you don't like racing games. 

It only takes one block of memory, and the dual shock controller will enhance the mood and blow Gran Turismo out of the water. 

Literally.

Pros: with the fractal generator, the game never has the same track twice
Cons: no real water.
 

Reach Franks at 
Bfranks@msn.com.
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