Spyro the Dragon Original Trilogy/Reignited Trilogy Review

Spyro the Dragon was at one time an extremely beloved video game mascot, like Crash Bandicoot at the time Spyro was a name that helped to push the original PlayStation to its immense popularity. The original Spyro the dragon trilogy was three separate PS1 games that were release throughout the systems life, a HD remake of the trilogy was released in 2018 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, a PC and Nintendo Switch version was released in 2019.

In this review we will take a look at the original three games and will then briefly discuss the HD remakes to see if they hold up.

Spyro the Dragon: 1998

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During a TV interview the dragons of the Dragon Kingdom catches the attention of Gnasty Gnorc who was recently banished to the Dragons junkyard. During the Interview the dragons call Gnasty simple minded, harmless and ugly which sets him into a rage, he traps all of the dragons in crystal, takes all of the dragons treasures and sends thieves to steal the remaining Dragon Eggs. Spyro was the only dragon that was not crystallised due to his small size leaving him to save the Dragon Kingdom.

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In the game players have three main goals, the most important goal in the game is to rescue the dragons. This is the easiest goal but its really satisfying to release the dragons and sometimes they do give you some very useful hints.

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The Second goal is to collect the dragons eggs, in some levels you will find these thieves and you need to run after them and attack them to get the eggs back.

Finally every stage has a set number of treasure that you can find in chests, enemies and generally scattered around.

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In the game Spyro has two ways to attack enemies, he can either breath fire or ram them, some enemies can only be attacked by one of these and are defensive against the other type so players will need to use strategy to defeat some of the bad guys.

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A dragonfly called sparks follows our hero in this game, his purpose is to represent your health, gold is healthy, blue is injured, green is very injured and no dragonfly means one more hit and your dead. You can regenerate health by killing some creatures such as sheep, chickens and lizards to create butterflies for Sparks to eat.

 

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The boss fights kind of suck in this game, they are all very easy and none of them are really that memorable, the only exception is Toasty because that boss fight is genuinely quite funny and you gotta love him.

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I love that this game has different themed worlds and levels but my biggest issue with the game is that they all feel quite empty even though they have all of the collectables for you to find, none of them look very interesting and all of them are simply forgettable, however this does not mean that the game is not fun because it is really tons of fun even with its rather boring looking levels.

IcyflightThe Flying levels are loved by some and hated by others, they are very frustrating and I feel that Spyro’s flying controls were not yet perfected but I have to say that these are my favourite levels in the game, it is so much fun to try and blast all of the items and go through the rings in the fastest time possible.

I really am not fond of the soundtrack of the first Spyro game, personally I find it boring and not very memorable however I will say that the music suits the environments that it represents quite well its just not a soundtrack for me.

Spyro the Dragon is a good game, its a little lacking in things to do and is very short but it is super fun and collecting is very satisfying and the flying levels are great, I wouldn’t consider it a masterpiece but I think a 7/10 is fair.

Spyro 2 – Ripto’s Rage: 1999

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Spyro and Sparx want to take a vacation at Dragon Shores, when they enter the portal they do not end up at Dragon Shores but instead the land of Avalar.

Spyro was summoned to Avalar by Hunter the Cheetah, Elora the Faun and a mole professor who want him to save the land from the Evil Warlock Ripto and his two henchman Crush and Gulp, Ripto hates dragons and wants to take over Avalar because it historically has no Dragons, needless to say he is not pleased when Spyro turns up to ruin his chaotic plans.

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With all of the new characters Money Bags is by far the most useful and memorable, hes a greedy rich bear that will sell useful upgrades to levels and Spyro’s abilities. These upgrades can range from creating bridges and elevators in levels and even opening new levels in hub worlds but the best thing you can buy is new abilities for Spyro.

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For me the best ability Moneybags can sell you is diving, now water does not kill Spyro but instead he can dive under the water and seek new gems and pathways. other useful upgrades and climbing ladders and smashing into the ground to destroy certain items and terrain.

The ability to slightly boost in the air when gliding is a useful new ability that is taught the player by Hunter early on in the game.

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In this game killing enemies does not get you gems but instead you will be awarded a white orb, once you collect a set number of these orbs you will unlock an ability gate. These gates give Spyro super powers for a limited time, examples of these are the super flame, walking on harmful surfaces and ice breath.

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When you finish a level you get awarded with a talisman and in the first two hub worlds you need a set number of them to fight the boss, the main goals you want to look out for however are side quests that will bank you a green orb, you need these orbs to unlock doors in the game and during the battle with the final boss. Collecting these orbs is by far the best part of the game, the challenges are a lot of fun and range in difficulty, my favourite was an ice hockey challenge and another memorable challenge was riding a vehicle to collect gears. Collecting all of the gems and orbs in the game will give Spyro a very special and permanent upgrade at the end of the game.

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The boss fights in the first game were a little bit boring and all required chasing but here they are much more fun and are a lot more challenging.

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Flying levels returned and were just as fun as the last game but they each have one hidden challenge in Spyro 2. After beating the main stage players could return to find a bonus mission that would award them a green orb. These missions are all fun but my favourite was catching the gems from the cat burglars.

I still wasn’t a fan of the soundtrack here but I do not think its a bad soundtrack, again its suits the game perfectly I just don’t think its for me.

Spyro 2 – Ripto’s Rage is a fantastic game and is a wonderful sequel to the first game. I much preferred the mission based structure of the levels and how much personality the developers added to each land with unique characters and lovable cut-scenes. The only odd thing about the game was that there are three hub worlds and each are based on seasons Summer, Autumn and Winter. There is no Spring hub world but the Autumn hub world has twice the amount of stages as the other two so it seems a little weird that a fourth hub world for spring was missing. I’m not going let this affect the games score though as its just nit picky and would be unfair as in reality this game is perfect and nothing is bad about it which makes it an easy 10/10 for me.

Spyro – Year of the Dragon: 2000

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Its the year of the dragon and Spyro and the other dragons are celebrating the event with a collection of new Dragon eggs that are to be hatched, however  a new character named Bianca steals the eggs and takes them back to the new antagonist a female dinosaur who wants too use the baby dragons wings to create a spell that will let her live for eternity.

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The gameplay for Spyro is similar to the other games and he keeps all of his abilities from Spyro 2: Riptos Rage, however new styles of minigames allow him to use different types of items and vehicles, the best new gameplay style for Spyro is skateboarding, these sections are really fun and easy to control and perform tricks.

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The flying sections now have three missions each allowing you to win a Dragon Egg, the only new thing in these sections are the races, these are very challenging and really fun once you get the hang of how to get ahead of your opponents.

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Money bags will want gems to unlock new paths in the game as well as new playable characters who each have their own sections in the game.

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Sheila the Kangaroo can jump very high and kick enemies to attack.

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Sargent Byrd can fly with his jet pack and shoot projectiles.

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Bentley moves slowly but is incredibly strong using his club to wack enemies and hit back projectiles.

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Agent 9 uses a gun weapon and bombs to clear out areas of enemies and shoot targets.

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Finally Sparx is playable in birds eye view gunning sections where he needs to blast bugs and find dragon eggs.;

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Mid-bosses mixed in with the main battles was a nice addition in this game, I actually think that these fights were much more memorable and fun than the others, the Twin Dragons was particularly fun but very time consuming and challenging.

Again I really was not fan of the music and this one was the worst in my opinion, I didn’t feel that the music suited the games areas at all and the amount of recycled music did not help, I heard that a different edition of the game was released with more variety in music but I still don’t think I would enjoy it

I really love this game but even with all of the new content and gameplay variations, I felt like something was missing, I think the new characters were all great but I didn’t like all of the back tracking I had to do after rescuing them and I really did not like the Sparx sections as I thought they were extremely boring compared to the rest of the game. However the game was still really fun and getting all of the eggs was challenging and gave you a feeling of satisfaction that I didn’t quite get with the first game, I still prefer Spyro 2 but this one is a close second favourite for me 9/10

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In 2018 we got the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, it was HD remakes of the first three Spyro games, it was developed by Toys for BOB and published by Activision.

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I think most would agree that these games are the definitive version of Spyro all of them look gorgeous and even the first Spyro which felt a little bare had more details added to the environments, new voice actors also help to make the game feel more immersive, the core gameplay hasn’t really changed between the games, very small updates such as new camera controls, more fluent gameplay and censors such as changing bullets to goo in some sections are the only major differences.

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The only thing I don’t like about this collection is that the flying sections seem to have been handled much worse, they are not as smooth as they used to be and this makes some of them unnecessarily stressful and annoying.

I much prefer the new music style used in the reignited trilogy, I found the tracks a lot of fun to listen too and in my opinion I think they are much better then the originals, I know this is not the common opinion but if you prefer the original music you can switch between the two in the options menu.

Overall the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a fantastic package of three wonderful video games, the only downside is the slightly worse flying controls and longer load times, I feel these things could have been polished before release but everything else is much better and the best Spyro experience 9.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Spyro Original and Reignited Trilogy

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The Wind Rises (2013) Review

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The Wind Rises is a biopic of Jiro Horikshi who invented the Mitsubishi AM5 a Japanese fighter plane that was used in World War 2. This was stated to be Hayao Miyazaki’s last ever feature film before his retirement making it a very important part of film history.

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I love how ambitious of an inventor Jiro is in the film, I think this is a personal thing because I am very creative myself and I am very passionate about the things that I have made so I felt very connected to this character.

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The dream sequences were my favourite part of the movie, they were all very creative and full of the imaginative imagery that you would expect from Miyazaki, this isn’t as crazy as some of his other work but it is still fantastic without going overboard.

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There was a romance built up in the movie and while it was fine, I did feel that it didn’t make much difference to the plot and if it wasn’t there I do not think the movie would have been affected.

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Spoiler ahead but I want to discuss how good the ending of the film is, its another dream sequence but at this point Japan had lost the war and it showed Jiro being regretful for making the planes but one of his heroes who appears in most of his dreams comforts him saying that his dream has been realised, the film ends on a sweet but sour note yes Jiro achieved his dream but at the cost that his dream was used to take many lives in one of the worst times in history.

The Wind Rises is a really interesting movie, it focuses more on the character and his inventions than it does the tragedy of war, I suppose if you wanted to see the effects of war you can watch Grave of the Fireflies, I really don’t know what to think of this one I really enjoyed it but it didn’t impact me the same way as Miyazaki’s other films, this one is really good and educational with some big names in its cast, Joseph Gordan Levitt, Elijah Wood, Martin Short and many others. I don’t its a movie to watch countless times but one viewing is well worth your while.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Wind Rises

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The Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker (2003-2013) (GameCube/Wii U) Review

The Legend of Zelda the Animated Series……… Wait no its not

legend-of-zelda-wind-waker-hd-freeThe Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker is one of the most beloved games of the Legend of Zelda franchise and is often considered to be a masterpiece to gaming, but it never used to be looked at in such as positive light as upon the games release it was hated amongst fans due to its less serious plot and characters and its new cheerful and brightly coloured visuals.

Before just a few weeks ago I had only played this game once while I was visiting my cousins back in 2003, even though I only played the game for a short time the memories I had playing have treasured me for many years and I always intended to return the game hoping to have as much fun with it as I did back then I have now played through both the HD remake and the original thanks to my very same cousin kindly lending me the very copy we played those many years ago.

this is a comparison review so I will be using screenshots from both versions of the game.

So how did it hold up?

You play as Link an adventurous young lad who lives with his little Sister Aryll and his Grandmother on Outset Island, its Links birthday and as a gift his Sister lets him borrow her special telescope for one day, while testing the telescope out Link notices a giant bird carrying a girl and dropping her into the forest of fairies which is located on a hill above Outset Island, Link runs into the forest and to his relief the girl is absolutely fine and she introduces herself as Captain Tetra and at the same time she introduces her crew of Pirates, Link and the Pirates decide that its time to leave the forest of fairies but unfortunately as they do the same bird snatches Aryll and takes he away to the Forbidden Fortress.

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The Pirates agree to help Link rescue his sister by escorting him to the Forbidden Fortress and after an intense mission impossible style journey to top of the fortress, Link finally reaches the top only to find out that the evil mastermind behind all of the previous trouble was none other than Ganondorf who has much bigger plans for the fate of the world other than simply kidnapping young girls and its up to Link the Hero of the Winds to stop him.

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As I mentioned above Wind Waker didn’t do so well upon release due to its change in graphics and visuals but another reason for this is its game play, Wind Waker is the most interesting Zelda title I have ever played because unlike most other games in the series that mostly focus on a serious and dark plot with side missions and other objectives thrown into the mix as a bonus, Wind Waker does the very opposite because it has a big focus on exploring and discovery and less of a focus on the main quest, at the time a lot of Legend of Zelda fans didn’t like this new change of pace and they labelled the game as being a wannabe Zelda title, personally I really like the idea that the game wants players to create there own adventures as these days I feel that most Zelda games don’t have a massive emphasis on adventure which was originally the staple of the franchise.

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Instead of a horse this time we are given a boat called the King of Red Lions, the King of Red Lions is one of the most useful characters in the game because not only does he help guide you towards your main quests goals but he is also the only way you can travel between towns, islands and dungeons, if you haven’t already guessed the majority of the game takes place in the ocean meaning that most of your objectives and goals are spread all across the world on different islands.

This is a Zelda game so there is a couple of dungeons that you need to complete in order to beat the game but like I said there isn’t many dungeons as the main focus here is side questing, the idea of exploration is really cool and I appreciate that they made this the main focus but unfortunately the map for the ocean kind of sucks due to there not being much indication of where certain areas are on the map, some of the main towns are drawn on the map but the rest is mostly blank and this makes exploring extremely difficult, frustrating and not fun.

tumblr_nigb6z4AcB1qg98wdo1_1280There is a way that you can easily indicate where certain areas are situated on the map but from my experience the only way to do this is to feed your bate (red berries) to certain fish in the ocean, I found a couple of these fish and they did help me with mapping the coordinates of certain islands but I only found a few of them so they actually weren’t that much help.

I feel that this issue could have been fixed in a couple of ways for example how about nothing is indicated on the map but once you discover a new area or island it is automatically added to the map for you.

If you go on-line you can find coordinates to the different areas an example would be that the private cabana is situated on E5 this makes it much easier to traverse the vast world of Wind Waker so they could have fixed the map problem by giving you the opportunity to purchase the coordinates to certain areas in shops or from travelling merchants in the game.

The most obvious fix to this would be to simply provide the player with a physical map of the ocean packed in with the game that has all of the coordinates written onto it (Similar to the Grand Theft Auto games).

Finally for Wii U players the map is seen on the game pad so it would have been cool and useful if we could have drawn our own coordinates on the map using the stylus and the game pad.

This is the the only thing about the game-play that I really dislike so lets now talk about the more positive aspects of the game

Link timed button command attack

With Link being a being a master swords man you are going to be doing a lot of sword fighting in the game and a new attack introduced in Wind Waker is a timed button command, this new attack can be triggered by the player targeting the enemy and not taking damage for a few seconds, then once the command appears they must hit the button before it disappears and if they are successful they will take hit the enemy while dealing some major damage.

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Another staple in the Zelda franchise is that in every game a new item is introduced and this time around we got the deku leaf, the deku leaf essentially allows Link to float through the air until his magic meter runs out this is useful for when you are trying to reach far away ledges and platforms, another use to this item is you can blow gusts of air with it which is mostly used to power certain mechanisms in the game luckily this particular use of the deku leaf uses no magic.

This wouldn’t be a Wind Waker review if I didn’t talk about the Wind Waker, the Wind Waker is essentially this games version of the Ocarina, through out the game you will learn new songs you can play using the wind and to the usual Zelda fashion some songs are needed in the game when others are not so important but still useful, for example if you are using the original sail while sailing you will need to sail in the direction of the wind and if you play the Winds Requiem you can change which way the wind is travelling making sailing to your destination much faster and easier, another example is the Ballad of Gales which allows you to warp to previous locations you have already visited.

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Since the game mostly focuses on everything beyond the main quest you would think that the Side Quests would be very creative and unique compared to side quests in other entries of franchise, but this really isn’t the case as some side quests are genuinely a lot of fun and really stand out such as the Pictograph Quest which has young Link taking Photographs for an aspiring photographer on Windfall Island but apart from the few like this most of the Side quest are generic fetch quests having the player collect 20 of a specific item to be rewarded with rupees or heart pieces, one of the most awesome rewards for completing one of these quests is that Link gains his own Private Cabana which was an unexpected treat.

Both the Gamecube and the Wii U version of Wind Waker have very tight and responsive controls which are expected from a Nintendo Title, the Wii U version is the most beneficial version to play if only for the player not having the need to pause the game in order to switch between items and treasure charts due to the quick and easy access to these menus on the Wii U game pad.

The Wii U port also has a less aggravating final fetch quest at the end of game due to Nintendo kindly removing the majority of the Triforce charts allowing players to only collect three of them compared to the original which made the player collect eight.

The most unique aspect to the Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker is its visuals, Nintendo decided to steer away from the realistic and dark visuals which had become the staple of the series and decided to go with something much more happy which gave more of a childlike and innocent vibe which produced some beautiful final results.

Here are a few screen shots I found of both versions of the game.

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Link looking like a boss on the bridge

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Wind Waker is a very lively and well animated game, the game itself looks like an artist has gone absolutely nuts with colours and detail, this is also the first time we have really seen Link have a personality as he clearly shows his feelings and emotions using facial expressions through out the game and by using these facial expressions Link can take some magnificent selfies using his pictograph, the graphics are outstanding and are what help make the game really stand out as a unique title in the series.

Wind Waker also has an amazing sound track that really suits the games atmosphere and charm, what makes Wind Wakers soundtrack really stand out is that it always remains fun no matter what situation it is presenting itself too, for example most of the music in the game is fun happy and cheerful but even when the game gets to its more serious moments such as dungeon crawling and emotional scenes the music changes to suit these new environments but it also keeps its fun and cheerful presence as if its reminding you not to take the game to seriously and this is a game design choice that I really enjoy.

The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker is one of the most amazing entries in the franchise due to how unique it is, it was the first game in the series to have a less serious plot, feel and pace which is a touch that I believe only this game could pull off,  the game focuses more on adventuring than it does the main quest which is something that I believe Nintendo should implement into future Zelda titles, because Wind Waker chose to focus more on side questing and exploration I wish that the game had more interesting side quests and better map system because personally this left me very disappointed, the graphics are an interesting and risky choice but they work really well and honestly help give the game more personality, the music also carries this same risk but the final result really works in this type of game.

I will probably be crucified for saying this but I don’t think Wind Waker is one of the best Zelda titles although I believe I could have been if certain aspects of the game were executed better.

I may not have enjoyed Wind Waker as much as many of its fans but I do believe that it is a very unique entry to the franchise due to its personality and its charm.

Wind Waker 6.8/10

Wind Waker HD 7.2/10

Thank you for reading my review of The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker for the Gamecube and the Wii U

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

You can find me on Miiverse by searching for draskafer

Also me and some friends have recently started playing games together so please check out our YouTube Channel Hoenn Rangers, We haven’t played Wind Waker yet but I’m sure we will at some point whether we play the Game Cube or the Wii U Port.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYmN8F6Q-eGOD0gp0anCdcQ