Review by SpyroCrashJak
"Before Spyro, Insomniac made incredible games - nothing's changed!"
A small, purple dragon out to torch some baddies. Boring, huh? Wrong! Spyro the Dragon is a classic platforming game which, although rather easy, fairly short and sometimes repetitive, really breaks that barrier in uniqueness.
Spyro the Dragon is a very gameplay-based game, which has a minor storyline yet is still great fun. Basically, the evil Gnasty Gnorc has been banished for a long time from the Dragon Realms for general misbehaviour. After seeing a rather insulting Dragon TV broadcast, he gets angered enough to create a spell which freezes all the dragons in crystal, turns some of their treasury into his own Gnorc soldiers, and summons thieves to steal the dragon eggs to bring up as his own evil army. However, one dragon - a small, purple dragon named Spyro - manages to dodge the spell. Being the only dragon not surrounded by crystal, he sets off on a journey to set things right.
Thanks to the ways of the plot, the game's primary aspect (besides defeating Gnasty) is in collection. Whether it's freeing dragons, rescuing eggs or collecting gems, there's always something near you to get. Gems, being 14000 of them in the game, seem to be by far the most common. You'll find around 500 in an average level, yet not nessecarily singular (gems can value up to 25). The dragons are the main ones, ofcourse, and the eggs are the most minor (with only twelve to get and none in the second half of the game). It's not hard to compare many aspects of this game to Super Mario 64.
The controls are pretty simple, yet may still take a slight bit of getting used to. Spyro can jump, glide, flame, roll and charge. There's more to knowing the controls though - it's often about timing and precision in the game. Besides these, various points of the game could see Spyro doing special things, such as flying, supercharging and powerflaming. Since things take a bit of getting used to, the game kindly dedicates the first "world" of the game to overall easiness. The rest of the game is still fairly easy, yet there are many points (namely Tree Tops, Haunted Towers, etc.), which really put your skills and knowledge of the level to test.
For its time of release, the graphics are pretty darn amazing! You'll find alot of detail in the level's structure, edges are nice and neat, colour schemes really give each level a unique feel, and the range of site stretches on right to even seeing the twinkle of distant gems. For when the graphics could be bad, the game cleverly disguises those points in different ways (e.g. fog when the range of site isn't enough). I think you'll find the graphics pleasing, besides being ever so slightly pixellated and some shapes being a little odd.
The soundtrack is a real treat! Clear sounds, which are distinctive, seem to cleverly come from the direction they're coming from in the game. Like if an egg thief is taunting you from above, you'll almost hear it from above. Sounds fade out cleverly depending on distance. Speech is very well done, with unique voices to every speaking character, though the game doesn't make that much use of conversation anyway. What really is great about the soundtrack is the music - the music in this game really stands out from any other with impressive pieces by Stewart Copeland that actually match the level.
So, overall, this game is a really great success which you should definitely buy right now. Anyone will love it, and will even want to play it countless times again. BUY!!!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/04/08
Game Release: Spyro the Dragon (Platinum) (EU, 12/31/99)
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