Yesterday, I finished my playthrough of Spyro the Dragon, the first in quite a successful series of great games, and a childhood favorite of mine.
Today, I want to take a closer look at the game, and review it. Let’s just right in, shall we?
In Spyro the Dragon you play as, well Spyro, a young dragon. The game opens with a short cutscene during which all dragons, except Spyro, are turned into crystal statues by Gnasty Gnorc, the leader of the Gnorcs and main antagonist of the game. I personally really like the opening cutscene. It’s short, to the point, but not without the usual silly humor and character personalities shining through.
After that, the game really starts. In third person, you control Spyro. You have the ability to jump, glide (descending slowly, enabling you to travel greater horizontal distances), charge with your horns, and breath fire. There is a dragon statue in front of you. You step close to it, allowing the dragon to break free. He briefly explains your goal, freeing dragons, and then disappears. Throughout the world, you find different gates (or portals, whatever) that lead to the real levels of the game.
In these levels, you’ll find a wide variety of enemies. Smaller enemies you can get rid of with both your charge and flame attacks, the larger ones need a flame attack to take care of them. But what if they’re wearing metal armor? This makes them resistant to flame! The same goes for treasure boxes. There’s gems scattered all over, but there’s boxes with them as well. Some even require keys or other special means to open!
In each world, you’ll also find a portal leading to a boss. These are more or less ordinary levels, save for the presence of a strong enemy that needs to be taken care of. They’re not much harder than normal enemies (though a bit challenging at times), but very fun nonetheless. You’re not even required to beat them to advance, which is something you rarely see these days.
The level design is great. It can be quite hard to find all the treasure in a level sometimes, and the different enemies don’t make it any easier. Navigating around is fun, discovering what a new enemy does (and there’s lots of ’em) is exciting, and seeing the “500/500” in the top left (meaning you found all 500 gems in the level) is really satisfying. The egg thieves make for nice chasing parts in the game, too. Though the gameplay mechanics are relatively simple, and stay the same the entire game, I have never once felt things were getting repetitive. Oh and did I mention there’s flight levels? They’re great fun!
Story-wise Spyro the Dragon isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but that doesn’t really affect the game much. There’s a cutscene at the start, one at the end, and the occasional short lecture from a dragon you just freed. The little things you get to know are humorous, comedy gold at times, adding that extra bit of satisfaction to freeing a dragon. (Though the filler message got kind of boring, since it’s always the same “Thank you for releasing me!”
Once you’ve beaten Gnasty Gnorc, you can focus on collecting all the treasure if you haven’t already. Once you’ve done that… the game hasn’t ended yet! There’s a nice little post-game bonus level for those who have reached 100% completion. It isn’t much, but it’s kind of satisfying. (Okay, granted, it was a tad underwhelming, but cool they put it in nonetheless.)
I can’t sing enough praise about this game. Young me certainly had good taste it games. Spyro the Dragon is one that holds up, even after all these years. You don’t see much games like it, it’s quite unique. The humor is great, gameplay is fun, and there’s a lot of gameplay hours in all those different levels.
Hehe, Spyro’s such a gutsy little dragon.