BY: DYLAN DEL RIO
In the late 1990s, the world was introduced to Spyro the Dragon. Developed by Insomniac Games, the first three Spyro games were considered top of their class when they first came out.
However, after the third game, “Spyro: Year of The Dragon,” Insomniac Games left the series to work on other games.
Since then the series has been worked on by other game developers, with the newer entries never reaching the critical or commercial success of the original trilogy. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the current publisher, Activision, would see it fit to bring back the series by remastering the original trilogy for modern consoles as “Spyro: Reignited Trilogy.”
All of the Spyro games are very similar in story and structure. You control the titular dragon alongside his dragonfly companion Sparx and explore open levels for various collectibles.
In the first game, Spyro had to save all of the dragons who had been trapped in crystals by Gnasty Gnorc. The second game has Spyro summoned to the world of Avalar where he must stop the dinosaur tyrant Ript. The third game shows Spyro journeying through “The Forgotten Realms” to save a bunch of stolen dragon eggs that have been whisked away by the evil sorceress.
The Spyro games are 3-D platformers. Spyro has the ability to jump, glide, charge with his horns, and shoot fire out of his mouth.
In each game you start in a hub world that has portals to levels. Once you enter the levels, you are tasked to collect all of the items within (gems, eggs, dragons etc.). There are several enemies in the level that try to impede your progress. Large enemies have to be flamed while enemies wearing metal have to be charged. Some levels have unique gimmicks like dash panels that speed up your charges, or fairies that can briefly power up Spyro’s flame.
In the remaster, all of this remains but one thing that has definitely seen an upgrade is the presentation. In the first game, all of the dragons have been redesigned and all look unique as opposed to the original where a lot of the dragons shared the same character models. Characters in the second and third games are much more visually expressive.
While the Spyro games have simple stories, they are still fondly remembered because of the cast of characters. One of the character highlights is Money Bags, a snooty well dressed bear that forces Spyro to pay him gems to progress. While he can be a pain, his voice actor makes him entertaining in a conman-who-is-pushing-his-luck** kind of way.
While the games are fundamentally solid, there are still several issues that appear throughout this remaster.
The boss levels in the first game are really bland. The main levels are open and encourage exploration while these levels are linear to a fault and, despite their unique designs, the bosses just come off as standard enemies with slightly more health. The final boss is the worst in this sense as, after all of this build up, he just spends most of the fight running away from you.
The second and third games have mini games and optional objectives to get collectibles, and some of them are infuriating. In the second game there is a mission where the player has to guide an alchemist through a gauntlet of rock monsters. If the alchemist gets hit once you have to start over, and to make things worse, the player can’t kill the rock monsters, only stun them.
Additionally, the third game is not as stable as the other two. There is one mission where you have to race on a skateboard. During this, the game couldn’t handle the six races, the flashy effects and the gems all at once and the game’s frame rate tanked.
Despite this, “Spyro: Reignited Trilogy” is a fun experience. There are definitely some areas that falter, sometimes due to the games design and other times because of the remaster’s frame rate, but these games have aged remarkably well. It genuinely feels like a lot of passion went into making this and that passion shines through in the finished product.
Photo by: Eurogamer