Spyro Reignited Trilogy: Fire-breathing life into an old favourite
By Callum Smith
With his amazing fire breathing abilities and plucky attitude, Spyro showed the gaming world that little guys still pack a punch when he was introduced to the gaming world in 1998. Since then Spyro has appeared in multiple games, burning enemies and sheep along the way, but it is the original Playstation trilogy that stand out and which Toys for Bob have seen fit to remaster in 2018 and which were probably my favourite games on the PS1.
Anyone who played the original games at the time will embrace a return to some of the notable Spyro locations, such as The Dragon Realms, the peaceful plains of Avalar and the mysterious Forgotten Worlds as well as reunited with classic characters like Elora, Hunter, Zoe, The Professor, Moneybags, Sgt Byrd and Agent 9.
Even within the original trilogy, you could see how far the sequels came from the original entry, in which you were tasked with defeating the malicious Gnasty Gnorc in order to restore Spyro’s fellow dragons, who had been turned into crystal figures. The beautiful worlds that you could explore were so open that you felt as though you could breathe, yet maintained a linear storyline which kept you on track. As someone who loves collect-a-thon platformers, this was a massive plus and I loves running round each stage collecting gems that were hidden or dropped by enemies until I had obsessively managed to 100% the level.
“The beautiful worlds that you could explore were so open that you felt as though you could breathe”
My main criticism of the game was that the bosses were relatively easy and even facing Gnasty Gnorc himself at the finale was relatively simple due to him being a coward who would run away instead of confronting Spyro. I also found it odd that Spyro couldn’t hover until later games, though that wasn’t a major negative.
In the sequel; Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, we were presented with a new storyline and several improvements on the first game. In this chapter, an evil warlock called Ripto is seeking to conquer the world of Avalar alongside his minions Crash and Gulp. In order to counter this threat, Spyro and his sidekick Sparx are summoned to oppose Ripto, collecting talismans and orbs in order to do so.
The exploration was really enhanced in this game and we were introduced to a whole range of side quests which gave the game added depth. I suspect many veterans of the game might agree that the most irritating of these side quests was located in Breeze Harbour where Spyro rides a trolley along a track, trying to collect 50 gears whilst trying not to crash into a series of obstacles. If you did crash, and you inevitably would, you would need to restart the entire mission but not before an annoying pelican would say “Trouble with the trolley, eh?”.
I think the character design in Spyro 2 was excellent, it was loaded with wackiness and Ripto is comfortably my favourite enemy in the series. His short temper and menacing demeanour give him the manner of a real villain and he ultimately proved a genuine challenge to defeat, which made any eventual victory extremely satisfying.
“Ripto is comfortably my favourite enemy in the series. His short temper and menacing demeanour give him the manner of a real villain”
Last but not least, we come to Spyro 3: Year Of The Dragon. Continuing from the steady improvement from the first two, this game was the best of the trilogy overall and particularly in terms of gameplay and quests. Spyro’s nemesis in this one, ‘The Sorceress’, has stolen dragon eggs which must subsequently save. Though the storyline felt very similar to that of the first game, the game still felt fresh on account of the fact that, for the first time, players were now able to control other characters after they had been rescued, including Sparx.
It really was comfortably my favourite of the trilogy for multiple reasons; the bosses were scary and challenging but you were aided in battle by the alternate playable character in each world who would join with you to help defeat the respective boss. It felt as though these secondary characters had been conceived and designed very carefully with the differing challenges of the world and boss in mind, Spike and Scorch particularly springing to mind.
My favourite level in the game was the Fireworks Factory which looked so rich and exotic coupled with a funky soundtrack. It harked backed to the Spyro 2 with a reappearance from ‘Hansel and Gretel’, who were previously revealed to be secret agents! I remember my initial surprise at learning that they could kick ass and so they did in the third game by going up against rhyno ninjas. Gretal, in particular, has an awesome cut scene where she makes an epic run for a rocket which has one of the eggs attached to it as though she were in a martial arts film!
“It felt as though these secondary characters had been conceived and designed very carefully with the differing challenge of the world and boss in mind”
I genuinely loved playing all three Spyro games the first time round, to the extent where I still have a playlist of the soundtrack on my phone. Any fans such as myself will have considered their prayers answered at the news of the 20th anniversary remastering, meaning players can seek all the collectables and roast sheep to their heart’s content once more.
With the excellent job they did remastering Crash Bandicoot, the purchase of this game is an absolute no brainer for fans of the PS1 era platformers, such as myself, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Whether you’ve played them all before or are fresh to the series, I can’t recommend Spyro enough, so buckle up as, in the words of Spyro himself, “I think I small a barbeque”.
Audio / Visual