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DS Fanboy Interview: Griptonite's J.C. Connors on Spore Creatures and more

Spore has been much more than a game over the years - years! -- that we've been talking about it, and it's tough to produce a companion piece in the shadow of such an epic project. From the reception of Spore and the DS crony, it's sadly clear the two were destined to sink or swim together. But Spore Creatures deserves its own time in the sun, despite what you may have heard; for a handheld title, it's certainly ambitious, and the amazing development team at Griptonite Games has done more with less.

Griptonite Games has worn several nametags in the past few years. When last we spoke with them, they were Amaze Entertainment, and their own identity as Griptonite was shelved. Now, Amaze is a part of Foundation 9 and the Griptonite name has been dusted off. In all the chaos of nomenclature, one thing has remained a constant: this little corner of the development world has been responsible for some real gems. We recently sat down with studio head J.C. Connors to discuss Spore Creatures, our Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (GBA) withdrawals, and the unexpected excellence of Disney Friends (yeah, man, Disney Friends).

DS Fanboy: Spore Creatures is an interesting companion to the main title. What can you tell us about the best aspects of the DS game?

J.C. Connors: Hands down, the creature creator. It's one of the coolest features ever seen on the DS.

Gallery: Spore Creatures

No GBA version planned for Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

Despite its fanboy following and favorable reviews from critics, the GBA adaptation for The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night will not see a follow-up on single-screen portable, according to Sierra's 2008 Spring Event held over the weekend.

Interestingly, of all the platforms The Eternal Night released on (PS2/Wii/DS/GBA), the GBA version, a 2D platformer/brawler some described as Devil May Cry meets Astro Boy: Omega Factor, has the highest average review score by a large margin. Quality doesn't equal quantity sold, however, especially on a dying console, and we're not surprised that Sierra opted to not complete its The Legend of Spyro trilogy on the GBA.

Dawn of the Dragon for the DS is scheduled to ship in fall 2008. Based on the screenshots released so far, it looks to be another 3D action platformer with occasional sidescrolling stages. Mark Hamill will reportedly lend his voice to one of the game's characters, and Elijah Wood will return to voice Spyro. Christina Ricci will take over Mae Whitman's role as Cynder. We can imagine her disbelief over the replacement : "Her?"

For reference, we gave the DS version of The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night a 5.0/10 in our review (GBA version: 9.5).

The best and worst (that we've reviewed)

2007 is almost over, and the end of the year brings joyous tidings of List Season. It's the time for taking stock of the last 12 months of gaming, and trying to make sense of it by putting things in numerical order. Join DS Fanboy for our best-ofs, worst-ofs, and other categories-ofs.

We cranked up our review quotient in 2007 (and hope to do even more in 2008!), but we still can't review everything that comes out, to our chagrin. We wouldn't have time for anything else! However, we did try to hit a wide variety of titles this year, from the biggies like Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Phantom Hourglass, to some smaller titles, like WordJong and Duck Amuck. We even worked to review some more off-the-wall things, like the Nintendo Fan Network at Safeco Field -- you know, in case you happened to find yourself in the Northwest with a hankering for a day of DS and baseball.

Continue reading The best and worst (that we've reviewed)

DS Fanswag: End of the Year Blowout!

It's been a good year, but sadly, like all those other years, it must come to an end. Before we roll out the red carpet for 2008, however, we wanted to give 2007 the send-off it deserves -- and what better way to do that than by offering up huge prize packs for our loyal readers? All you have to do is leave a comment on this very post telling us which DS model(s) you own, between now and December 26. The giveaway closes that night at 11:59 p.m. EST, and we'll announce the winners, chosen in a random drawing, on December 27. You may only enter once per day, and as usual, entries are limited to legal U.S. residents age 18 and older. Please check the official rules for any other questions.

But enough of the details -- let's get to the prize packages!

DS Fanboy's End of Year Fanswag Blowout
Grand Prize
  • Limited Edition Gold DS Lite + The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (bundle) ($149.99)
  • Nintendo DS headset ($9.99)
  • Custom Robo ($29.99)
  • Dementium ($29.99)
  • Drawn to Life ($29.99)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Trading Card Game ($19.99)
  • John Deere: Harvest in the Heartland ($29.99)
  • Mega Man ZX ($29.99)
  • Pokémon Diamond ($34.99)
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (GBA) ($19.99)
  • Geometry Wars: Galaxies swag
  • Dementium skin
  • Pokémon Diamond stylus
Cruise on past the break to see the rest of the prizes!

Continue reading DS Fanswag: End of the Year Blowout!

Gifts for us (or people like us)

Gaming sites are inundated with holiday gift guides at the end of the year, listing the best and most popular games that everyone pretty much already has (or knows about). Well, we're not going in for that this year. Our gift guide will help you find the best gifts in categories the other sites won't cover -- because we just made them up.

Of course we recommend buying DS games and accessories for everyone on your shopping list -- whether they want them or not. But, ironically, the hardest people to give the gift of DS are the people who love the DS the most -- people who live the DS. In a word, us. Game bloggers. Well, not us specifically, but people like us who are far too enthusiastic about the Nintendo DS.

We're so nuts about the DS that we devote most of our lives to talking about it. We know pretty much everything out there, and we spend entirely too much time building our collections. We're emblematic of exactly the kind of brutally insane people for whom it's nearly impossible to shop. That's why we've put together this handy guide to the kind of stuff we would love, but wouldn't necessarily think to buy ourselves. Not because we want you to buy gifts for us, although we certainly won't stop you if you think we deserve a little token of appreciation.

See what we did there? We've given you the gift of an obvious opening through which to insult us! 'Tis the season!

Continue reading Gifts for us (or people like us)

DS Fanswag: Give thanks with this three-pack!

What with the holiday this week, it seemed fitting to show a little gratitude to you -- yes, you, over there, in the back -- by offering up a pack of games for the grabbing. One lucky DS Fanboy reader can take home Crash of the Titans ($29.99) and The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night ($29.99) for the DS, as well as our beloved GBA version of The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night ($19.99), for you to cherish (and compare to the DS title). In order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post about giving thanks between now and next Monday, the 26th of November. The contest will end that day at 11:59 PM EST, so get cracking! You can only enter once per day, and as usual, the contest is limited to U.S. citizens over the age of 18. We'll announce the winner on Tuesday, November 27 -- and it could be you!

Don't forget to check out the official rules if you have questions.

DS Fanboy Review: The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (GBA)

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.

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (GBA)

DS Fanboy Review: The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night

Earlier this month, we took a look at Amaze Entertainment's take on Crash of the Titans, and were pleasantly surprised to find an excellent, old-school style entry into the series. So now, with Spyro the Dragon, it seemed reasonable to expect something truly special, particularly considering the wondrous job they've done with the GBA title.

Unfortunately, what should be just ain't. Not this time. While Spyro: The Eternal Night for the DS has its moments, overall, the game is blandly disappointing and has some real problems that prevent it from feeling nearly as polished as the studio's other recent developmental efforts.

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night

Purple dragon meets silver screen for Spyro movie

While playing The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night, all we could think was, "What would Spyro look like if he was 100,000 times bigger?" Okay, so the thought never actually crossed our minds. We only wish we could say the same for everyone else.

The Animation Picture Company apparently decided to option the rights to the Spyro franchise, allowing them to bring the purple guy to the big screen. The company plans to make a 3-D computer animation feature of the game, written by the guys who scripted Dr. Dolittle 4: First Dog. To that, we say ... there was a Dr. Dolittle 4?!?

Adding further credit to the "stay the hell away from this movie" argument, APC is also responsible for subjecting us to bringing us Garfield Get's Real and Garfield's Fun Fest.

Movies and video games generally don't mix well. Unfortunately, we don't see Spyro's foray into Hollywood ending up differently.

DS Fanboy interviews The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night's Sean Epperson

With the holiday season and its big-ticket games approaching like a bullet train, threatening to deafen all with its passing roar, we're not surprised that most people haven't thought to pick up The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night. The GBA version of the multiplatform release, in particular, received very little promotion or attention when it hit stores two weeks ago.

It really is a shame, as, barring any surprise localizations for Rhythm Tengoku or Mother 3, The Eternal Night could be the last great GBA game. Available at GameStop for only $15 (with Wendy's $5-off coupon), there's no excuse for any fan of polished action platformers to pass on this title. Some are calling its combat system a 2D interpretation of Devil May Cry; as you'll see in the trailer past the break, that comparison hasn't been made in jest.

We sat down with Amaze Entertainment's Sean Epperson, The Eternal Night's producer, to talk about why the game shouldn't be left ignored. Read on to learn more about this GBA gem and its features.

Continue reading DS Fanboy interviews The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night's Sean Epperson

Spyro heats up Wendy's Kids' Meals

Get it? He breathes fire-- and fire makes things hot! Now that Spyro: The Eternal Night on the Game Boy Advance (and on DS too) has us caring about the little purple dragon for the first time since ... ever, we find ourselves vaguely interested in these Wendy's Kids' Meal toys. Plus if we went looking for them, we could go eat deliciously unhealthy fast food and pretend it was Important Work. And we'd get a $5 coupon good for any version of the new Spyro game! This isn't the first excuse we've had to go to Wendy's in the name of Nintendology, either.

You have your choice of a maze game, a spinning Sparx copter, a flapping Spyro, a checkers game, and ... a keychain. Nothing's more fun for kids than organizing keys!

[Via Joystiq]

WRUP: Gee, we wonder what you're playing edition

Let's think of a release that most of you are probably knee-deep in? Tough one, right? Well, we're fairly confident that it's none other than ... The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night. Yup, out of the long list of games that released, we're absolutely certain that's the game you're playing. If we had to bet body parts on it, we would be rich in organs.

So, tell us of your adventures with Spyro and how much fun you're having with it. Because, you are. That's what you're playing. We know it is.

DS releases for the week of October 1st

Hmm ... isn't there something spectacular hitting this week? Maybe we're thinking of another week ... no, it must be Holly Hobbie & Friends, right? You know you want it!

Seriously, folks, DS fans have loads to be pleased about this week. Not only are we getting what may end up being our game of the year, but there are tons of other options if you happen to not be a Zelda fan (gasp!) or if you want to pick up a second or third title. What's on your shopping list?
  • Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol
  • Crash of the Titans
  • Holly Hobbie & Friends
  • Kurupoto Cool Cool Stars
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night
  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  • Master Jin Jin's IQ Challenge
  • Spider-Man: Friend or Foe
For the releases in other major markets, sail past the break. Importers especially take note: Mistwalker's Archaic Sealed Heat debuts this week in Japan.

Continue reading DS releases for the week of October 1st

Preorder Spyro for the GBA or we'll make fun of your mom

You already know from our video spotlight last month that Legend of Spyro: Eternal Night for the GBA is the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, and the dog's bollocks, all wrapped into one game -- making it some sort of strange hybrid of insect joints, sleepwear, and gonads. Wow, that's really grotesque when you think about it.

Never mind all that. In fact, erase every one of those images from your memory. The only thoughts you need to have in your head right now are that the upcoming Spyro 2D platformer/beat-em-up looks fantastic and that Amazon has listed preorders for it at $19.99, likely reflecting a budget price that other retailers will soon recognize as well. Don't even bother showing your face around here after October 2nd, the GBA title's release date, if you don't have a copy of the game in hand. That is, unless you want your mother's private matters brought to public light.

Spyro Eternal Night less awesome on DS

Remember how we lauded The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night on Game Boy Advance for being a beautifully drawn side-scrolling brawler with a nice combo system? Yeah, that's not happening on DS. Eternal Night on DS is a regular Spyro game, which for the DS means a PlayStation-looking 3D platformer for children. Which is fine for children. 1UP has new screens of all the polygons and such.

There are plenty of 3D platformers in the world. What we need more of is Metroidvania-style free-roaming 2D action games.

Next Page >

Gaming to Go!We debate the hot topics!

This Month's New Games

Name Date
Bleach: Dark Souls
Oct 6
Legend of Kage 2
Oct 6
Crash: Mind Over Mutant
Oct 6
Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals
Oct 6
My Japanese Coach
Oct 14
Korg DS-10
Oct 14
Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 Oct 14
FIFA Soccer 09 Oct 14
Populous Oct 14
Rock Revolution
Oct 14
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Oct 21
Oct 21
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Oct 21
Away: Shuffle Dungeon
Oct 21
Oct 21
Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Oct 21
What's Cooking? With Jamie Oliver Oct 21
MySims Kingdom
Oct 28
Ninjatown Oct 28

Get homebrew on your DS!

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