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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sheila the Kangaroo can jump very high and kick enemies to attack.
Sargent Byrd can fly with his jet pack and shoot projectiles.
Bentley moves slowly but is incredibly strong using his club to wack enemies and hit back projectiles.
Agent 9 uses a gun weapon and bombs to clear out areas of enemies and shoot targets.
Finally Sparx is playable in birds eye view gunning sections where he needs to blast bugs and find dragon eggs.;
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
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.
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.
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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