Spyro the Dragon

Reserved for classic gaming discussions.
DotNetWolf
Posts: 14
Joined: August 11th, 2019, 4:39 am

Spyro the Dragon

Postby DotNetWolf » September 20th, 2019, 6:57 am

When I was four, I got a PS1 for Christmas and one of the games was Spyro the Dragon. While most kids on the neighborhood block got an N64 with Banjo-Kazooie or Super Mario 64, I was busy exploring an awesome 3-D world with collectibles placed all over the game. The fact that you get to play as a fire-breathing dragon is something that always intrigued me, and begged current me to ask "Why are dragons always reserved for boss fights or as companions for the protagonists and not the other way around?" Every nook and cranny I checked always had something in store. Every enemy you fought dropped a gem that made fighting off each very satisfying. Each level has something different to bring to the table. One level will have you out in an open field roasting a heard of sheep and another will have you chasing thieves across tree tops at incredible speeds! Each dragon you rescued would have a fun little quip or tell you important information relating to the gameplay mechanics.

The fun did not stop there. When I got a hold of the second and third games I knew right away that I was going to have a great time. Owning and playing through two more games of the purple dragon meant I got to experience much more fleshed out levels and interact with characters that all had their own unique charm. I especially loved Moneybags (not so hot on having to give up tons of in-game currency for the sake of progression) despite his shrewdness. It was always fun to see how many different ways Spyro could get insulted by Moneybags for choosing not paying the "small fee" whenever you met up. I should also add that Ripto, the villain of Spyro 2 is also great. I won't spoil too much about him. It is better to experience the game yourself if you have not yet. Then there is the third installment, Year of the Dragon. This game was basically the second game, but expanded on both the exploration and created a narrative that connected Spyro with all the characters in a way that they all contributed towards the story. I should mention that this game may contain a purple dragon doing skateboarding stunts that would make Tony Hawk weep.

As you can probably tell, I am extremely passionate about Spyro (the original trilogy). When I came across the news that Activision was working on remastering the entire trilogy, I could not begin to express my excitement. Not only did this mean I got to play my favorite childhood games with an updated look, it also meant that the purple dragon got a second chance to win the hearts of many gamers that never got to experience these games until now. I'm glad the VGC took the time to review the first game and hope that he looks into the other two or perhaps the remake (if he can tolerate the excessive digital updates required to play the collection in its entirety). If you were fortunate enough to experience any of the original trilogy or played the remastered version, I would love to hear your thoughts!

User avatar
VideoGameCritic
Site Admin
Posts: 13315
Joined: April 1st, 2015, 7:23 pm

Re: Spyro the Dragon

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 20th, 2019, 8:09 pm

I played the first game when it was first released, and it was pretty groundbreaking in 1998. Before Spyro, 3D platformers tended to have small, closed-in stages because the draw-in distance was limited due to the technology. In Spyro not only could you see distant locations, but you could glide to them. I'm not sure if that glide mechanic was available in any previous game.

I enjoyed the game, but it was kind of slow, and by the time I was done with it I had enough. That's why I have never had an appetite for any of the sequels. Still, it's a good wholesome series and I'm glad it's still alive.

I noticed my Spyro review is really short! That's how my reviews used to be. Maybe I need to return to that style.

User avatar
Retro STrife
Posts: 1432
Joined: August 3rd, 2015, 7:40 pm

Re: Spyro the Dragon

Postby Retro STrife » September 21st, 2019, 2:52 pm

Yeah, the draw distance and glide mechanic were both big selling points for the game. I still remember the promo videos they released, where the developers talked heavily about how groundbreaking the game was for adding those features.

Personally, I never got into Spyro. I had the benefit of playing it both in the 90s and in the past year. Back in like '98 or '99, I played the demos of it several times, but I never liked it enough to buy it. Flash forward to modern times.. A couple years ago, I decided the game was too important not to own in my PS1 collection, so I ended up buying it. (Like 10 years ago the game was under $5, and now it sells for over $20...) It took me awhile to get to it, but I played it recently for a couple hours. It's an impressive game for 1998 and I had more fun with it now than I did back then. Still, Spyro isn't an interesting character and there's just not enough that draws me to keep playing the game. And while I bought the Crash remake, I don't plan to do the same with Spyro.

VideoGameCritic wrote:I noticed my Spyro review is really short! That's how my reviews used to be. Maybe I need to return to that style.


Nah, I know it's hard to believe Critic, but there is a such thing as too short!

DotNetWolf
Posts: 14
Joined: August 11th, 2019, 4:39 am

Re: Spyro the Dragon

Postby DotNetWolf » September 21st, 2019, 10:43 pm

Very interesting perspectives, guys! I knew a lot of people growing up that were not as fond of this game like I was (collectathon games are a very niche sub-genre of gaming).

Retro STrife wrote:Personally, I never got into Spyro. I had the benefit of playing it both in the 90s and in the past year. Back in like '98 or '99, I played the demos of it several times, but I never liked it enough to buy it. Flash forward to modern times.. A couple years ago, I decided the game was too important not to own in my PS1 collection, so I ended up buying it.

Funny enough, the Spyro demo as well as the demo for Crash Bandicoot: Warped were what got me to bug my parents into getting a PS1! Ironically, I did not actually own Crash Bandicoot: Warped until 2013 when I started building a library of PS1 games.

It is kind of a shame, however, that most people never look into the sequels since they have so much more to offer than the first game. You both mention how there is not a lot to do when exploring the worlds which I can completely agree with for the first game, but in Ripto's Rage and Year of the Dragon, they really step it up and create all sorts of missions to keep you occupied until you think it is time to move on to the next level. I remember watching a documentary on YouTube about Insomniac Games and their history of how they developed Spyro. There was even a segment where Stewart Copeland (the drummer of Police fame) talked about his experience and his thought process for creating a track for each level. Regardless Spyro is still great in my eyes, and I am genuinely happy that this series is still well-known about to this day. I do hope that one day Activision/Toys for Bob will make a new Spyro game that will try to build off of what the original trilogy had to offer and possibly garner some interest in those who were not interested to revisit Spyro in the first place.

SpiceWare
Posts: 61
Joined: April 8th, 2015, 7:04 pm

Re: Spyro the Dragon

Postby SpiceWare » September 23rd, 2019, 12:01 pm

Spyro the Dragon is what got me back into consoles.

As a kid we got an Atari VCS(2600) when Space Invaders came out. Soon after I moved onto computers, starting with a VIC-20, and seldom gamed on consoles after that. I wrote and ran BBS on my VIC-20, the BBS was called The Dragons Lair and I was known as The Dragon Master. Over the years people gifted me dragons, this is a small part of my collection:
IMG_0009.jpg
IMG_0009.jpg (85.03 KiB) Viewed 438 times


In 98/99 a coworker picked up a PS1. I was curious about it, so he hooked it up on the conference room's projector after work. The demo disk had Spryo the Dragon and I had to have it so bought a PS1 and Spryo - played it to completion. As the sequels came out I picked them up and likewise played them to completion. I greatly enjoyed the second one. The third was fun, but I could have done without the other playable characters. I also picked up a Game boy Advanced and completed the Spyro games on it.

Later on I picked up a PS2 and Enter the Dragonfly. I was extremely disappointed - the controls, which were a highlight of the original trilogy, where abysmal, the framerates were appalling, etc. I never finished it and didn't buy any of the later games, though friends gifted me A Hero's Tail. I did try it, but didn't care for it either.

I'm interested in the remaster Spyro, but don't have a PS4 in a large part because I seldom game on my PS3 anymore - it's become a blu-ray player and streaming device. If the PS4 had 4K blu-ray support I would have already bought one by now. Rather disappointing that they've not done that, a large part of my PS2 and PS3 usage was watching DVDs and Blu-rays.

ThePixelatedGenocide
Posts: 368
Joined: April 29th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Re: Spyro the Dragon

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » September 23rd, 2019, 8:21 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:I played the first game when it was first released, and it was pretty groundbreaking in 1998. Before Spyro, 3D platformers tended to have small, closed-in stages because the draw-in distance was limited due to the technology. In Spyro not only could you see distant locations, but you could glide to them. I'm not sure if that glide mechanic was available in any previous game.

I enjoyed the game, but it was kind of slow, and by the time I was done with it I had enough. That's why I have never had an appetite for any of the sequels. Still, it's a good wholesome series and I'm glad it's still alive.

I noticed my Spyro review is really short! That's how my reviews used to be. Maybe I need to return to that style.


Your original review seems like the kind of review you thought you should write. Yeah, it really is a good game, but there's no mention of the nuance you've added here, and it loses the immediacy of what it's like to actually play it. (A zen game like that will rank higher for me. And if you can still appreciate what it offers, that's a high recommendation.)

I wish I could combine the two.


Return to “Classic Gaming”