I want to start this review by saying that this is only for the first Spyro game, I’ve recently finished it and am going to be playing the other two. I’m planning on reviewing all three simply because I want to get more practice reviewing… anyways… hope you enjoy!
Spyro is a huge dose of nostalgia for myself, developed by Toys for Bob, is a game from my childhood that I adored, as did many of my friends. Whilst many of my memories are tied up in Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! I still played a lot of Spyro the Dragon.
The introduction to the plot has always amused me, it’s just absurd and childish and I love it! During an interview with the dragons of the Artisan world one of the dragons calls Gnasty Gnorc (The main villain, half orc… half gnome… Gnasty Gnome) ugly and states that he is no threat to the dragons. Angered by this, Gnasty (Who is watching the interview live) decides to cast a spell trapping all the dragons in crystal and send his army to conquer the dragon’s realms. As Spyro, your job is simple, rescue the dragons and roast Gnasty.
The first thing that struck me was the beautiful work that Toys for Bob had done in restoring this old classic to its glory. The art-work and music blend together to hold up the nostalgia value, but also welcome new players with a new look to the fun adventure they will be having.
The game works off hub worlds, much like many Mario games do. When you arrive at the hub world you have tasks to complete there; collect all the gems, defeat all the enemies, rescue the stolen dragon eggs and free your dragon friends from their crystal prison. Each hub world sets the scene that the rest of the levels within it will take, we see many different areas with themed enemies and challenges which all train you to use the different environments to your advantage.
Exploring each world was one of my favourite things about this game, Spyro does an excellent job of populating an area with things that would fit in. But those things whilst looking like they belong are still extraordinary and wonderful. My personal favourite area was the Dream Weaver area, it’s just… Well magical. It’s where we meet dragons such as this…
The enemies remind you when playing that it is child game, they are simple to kill and the game does much to remind you how each are killed. This I think is where it can get a bit repetitive and maybe annoying for an older gamer, the repetition. “Spyro don’t forget that…”, “Remember Spyro that…” and “Just a tip Spyro…” you will hear many times when you rescue each dragon from their prison. My question is… why are you letting Spyro go after Gnasty? Each dragon you rescue have an impressive individuality to them, they look and act incredible… but we never see them do anything in this game.
The health system is interesting, using sparks your dragonfly. Depending on Sparks colour (Yellow, Blue or Green) is how your health is doing, you must feed sparks butterflies to gain more health. It’s simple but it’s quite amusing. “Remember Spyro look after your dragon-fly” you will hear this multiple times… so it’s safe to say that Sparks is important.
Each world as you would expect have bosses but they are really easy, unfortunately Gnasty Gnorc is really easy too with the final fight just becoming a chase instead of an actual fight. It was disappointing and I whilst I know it’s a game directed for children it doesn’t mean that they have to be spoon fed, they can deal with a slightly difficult or even interesting fight. The game spends so much time teaching you about different techniques like supercharge ramps, gliding at the tip of your jump, how to beat big and small enemies and even the super flame, but none of that is really used in the last fight… which is a real shame.
But where they fail on difficulty they excel in design, my personal favourite is the first that you fight, Toasty in the Artisan world. A scarecrow doesn’t mix well with fire so after chasing Toasty a little and flaming him it is revealed that Toasty is actually a sheep on stilts… this was as amusing to me now as it was as a child.
Long live Toasty the leader of the sheep rebellion!
I guess for a game called Spyro the Dragon it’s only fitting to talk about Spyro himself, he is a great character to look into as I feel he reflects a lot of how a child playing the game would feel. At first all he wants to do is Roast Gnasty, but has to visit each world to learn a valuable lesson before he faces his foe. He is arrogant, rash and always ready to kick some ass.
He reminds me of how I was as a kid, not really taking into account the big picture and always wanting to dive headfirst into anything that’s in my way. The game is designed as a learning process for both the player and Spyro himself, it repeats itself and shows Spyro constantly that he is able to overcome any task in front of him if he is willing to try and try again. (Which you will have to on the flying lessons! Jesus, they take the biscuit).
Spyro the Dragon was an absolute blast to play, it really brought up my love for characters like Sonic, Kirby and Yoshi, it even got me excited to play Super Lucky’s Tale. Whilst it constantly reminds you that it is a child’s game, by repeating itself being simple and easy it is still a blast to play, if not for nostalgia but for a fun few hours.