Spyro the Dragon is a 3D platformer which was developed by Insomniac Games for the Sony PlayStation. Its initial release was on September 10th, 1998 in North America and later came to Europe on October 23rd, 1998 and Japan during April of the following year. This is the first entry in the Spyro the Dragon series of games whose second reboot successfully launched the Skylanders franchise in 2011.
The story begins in the Artisan home world (one of the five realms within the Dragon Kingdom) with two of the elder dragons, Astor and Lindar, being interviewed for a video documentary about their world. When the reporter asks of Gnasty Gnorc (pronounced Nasty Norc) who was banished from the Dragon Realms to the Dragon Junkyard long ago, the two elder dragons begin insulting Gnasty, referring to him as an ugly, simple minded creature who is of no threat to the Dragon Kingdom. However, unbeknown to the dragons, Gnasty is watching the interview live on TV and so in retaliation uses a powerful magic spell to encase all of the dragons in crystal before sending out hordes of gnorc soldiers to take over the various dragon hubworlds. Fortunately for the dragons, the youngest dragon, Spyro the Dragon escapes being turned to crystal and so along with companion Sparx the Dragonfly, embarks on a quest to rescue and free all of the dragons across the various hubworlds within the Dragon Realms and defeat Gnasty Gnorc once and for all.
After visiting each of the Dragon Realms, freeing the trapped dragons, recovering all of the lost treasure and stolen dragon eggs and finally defeating the various bosses sent by Gnorc, Spyro arrives at Gnasty’s Junkyard World where he sets about confronting Gnorc. After Spyro defeats him an end clip shows Spyro back in the starting world in the Artisan World discussing his victory over Gnorc with the reporter.
After the credits however it is revealed to Spyro that Gnasty’s treasure portal is locked until the player achieves 100%, and upon accomplishing this and collecting the treasure within the world an alternative ending unfolds in which Spyro is again being interviewed by the news team just as another magic spell suddenly crystallises all of the dragons once more. Spyro’s response, “Here we go again!”
The gameplay is that of a traditional platformer of the era in that the aims and objectives of the game are to collect all of the dragon’s stolen treasure, rescue and free all of the trapped dragons and recover all of the stolen dragon eggs taken by thieves whilst all of the dragons were encased in crystal. The game also tasks players with defeating several different bosses sent by Gnasty Gnorc to each of the different hubworlds within the Dragon Realms.
As such the game takes place across the various hub worlds within the Dragon Realms and features a free roaming aspect similar to other 3D platformers such as Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. Within each of the six hubworlds are portals which Spyro uses to travel to the various Dragon Realms (think of these as separate stages or levels that work in a similar way to paintings in Super Mario 64 or jigsaws in Banjo-Kazooie) and for the majority of the game each hubworld contains various standard platforming levels as well as a flight stage and boss stage. To traverse between the various hubs players must find the Balloonist NPC who will fly Spyro between the various hubs in their hot air balloon after the player has met some arbitrary goal such as collecting a set amount of treasure, freeing a specific number of dragons or recovering so many of the stolen dragon eggs. The six hubs in which players visit over the course of the game are the following:
- Artisans World
- Peace Keepers World
- Magic Crafters World
- Beast Makers World
- Dream Weavers Home
- Gnasty’s World
To combat the various foes Spyro encounters throughout the game, he can either breath fire or charge at them with his horns. Over the course of the game players will also encounter enemies immune to one type of Spyro’s attacks and so armoured enemies must be dealt with using the charge attack and larger foes incinerated via a burst of fire. He can also perform a glide jump and upon reaching the end of his glide will flap his wings to gain some height before falling. This is particularly useful whilst traversing some of the games more difficult jumps.
Another of the games unique elements is the way in which Spyro’s health is displayed to the player. This is where Spyro’s companion Sparx comes into play as his color is the method of communicating Spyro’s health to the player. The various states are:
- Yellow - indicating Spyro is at full health
- Blue - indicating Spyro is at 3/4’s health
- Green - indicating 2/4 health
- A missing Sparx - indicates that Spyro is one hit away from death
Spyro’s method of regaining lost health is to feed Sparx butterflies which appear when he torches any of the various animals which inhabit the games stages such as rabbits or sheep. Like most other platformers, Spyro’s amount of lives is finite but free lives are scattered across the various worlds within “clam shell” boxes. Additional lives can also be earned through collecting orbs which are dropped from defeated enemies who no longer hold gems (which they drop upon being defeated for the first time). Finally another of Sparx’s attributes is to collect any nearby treasure which Spyro has failed to pick up.
|1.||"Opening (Theme from Spyro the Dragon)"|
|8.||"Peace Keeper's Home"|
|9.||"Peace Keepers (Alternate Theme)"|
|15.||"Magic Crafter's Home"|
|16.||"Magic Crafters (Alternate Theme)"|
|22.||"Beast Maker's Home"|
|28.||"Dream Weaver's Home"|
|29.||"Dream Weavers (Alternate Theme)"|
- Spyro is voiced by Carlos Alazraqui who also voiced the Taco Bell dog.
- The soundtrack was composed by Stewart Copeland, the drummer and founder of the English rock band, The Police.
The ESRB rated the game Everyone for Comic Mischief.