Review by reflega603
"Thank you for releasing me.....from boredom."
This awesome game was the very first 3D game I popped in the original Playstation. My mom bought it for me because she felt sorry watching me play with paper planes. When I played it, I was hooked. I still remember the hours I spent on this game as a kid. My mom was addicted to this game as well because she loved collecting those gems. When I came home from school, I saw my mom glued to the TV playing this. Spyro is usually seen next to Crash Bandicoot as the best platformers of their era. I play this game every once in a while and the experience is fresh each time. This game and Pokemon Blue started it all for me.
There isn't much of a story to be honest. The peaceful lifestyles of the dragons are interrupted by Gnasty Gnorc, a green orc/gnome hybrid. He turns every dragon into statues( except Spyro of course) and conjures up henchmen by transforming gems (the dragons' loot) with magic. It is now Spyro's duty to free each dragon, get each gem back and stop Gnasty Gnorc, The manual does provide more backstory on the different kinds of dragons: Artisans, Peacekeepers, Magic Crafters, Beastmakers and Dreamweavers. But other than that there isn't much else.
The gameplay is definitely the bread and butter of this game. Spyro travels to many different worlds to free all 80 dragons. When dragons are freed, they usually give tips or humorous dialogue. The places they stand serve as save points and checkpoints. Gems are located throughout the levels in open spaces and are dropped by enemies, sometimes you have to think and use your surroundings to get all of them . Dragon Eggs are held by thieves in blue. You have to chase and defeat them to claim the egg.The way Spyro travels to these worlds is through the use of portals located in various hub worlds. Collecting X amount of a certain item is the only way to progress to other hubs. Each world has it's own set of enemies that Spyro needs to defeat in certain ways. Spyro has two ways of killing enemies, Flame (the O button) and Charge (the square button). Armored enemies die to charge and others usually die to flame or powerups. You can use these to break chests as well, who of course require different methods to destroy. To get to faraway platforms, Spyro needs to glide to them from higher elevations. Spyro can roll to dodge enemy attacks using the upper shoulder buttons, but chances are you'll NEVER use it. Spyro's life indicator is represented by the color of his buddy Sparx the Dragonfly. Yellow is healthy, blue is in the middle, green is in danger, and no Sparx means last chance. Not only enemy attacks can hurt you but touching hazards such as bodies of water or ooze as well. Sparx can recover health by eating butterflies dropped by fodder (weird harmless animals that roam around) Besides the usual worlds, there are Flight worlds that are essentially bonus worlds.The goal is to flame every object indicated under the time limit. Doing everything in one go gives you every gem for that level..Bosses have their own worlds and are usually in far off places in the hub worlds. It is possible to progress without having to fight all the bosses, provided you did some good collecting in the other worlds. The bosses are pathetically easy though (except for Gnasty Gnorc) and you may not even notice you just killed one since they don't have grand entrances. I know I didn't notice as a kid.. The controls and camera run smoothly and should hardly give problems. Analog control is a godsend for platformers like these. I remember my fingers used to hurt using the D-pad in Crash Bandicoot.The only issue is that enemies have really dumb AI, some of them just stand in one place winding up an attack everytime you get near them. They are just asking for an easy KO. Some enemies actually do come after you and still have dumb AI.
For younger audiences, the game can get pretty difficult later on. I even have slight trouble in playthroughs. Some cheapness of bigger enemy groups may cause frustration, but the falling will be the biggest contribution to your deaths. In the Misty Bog Level there is this huge group of Shield Gnorcs (no problem) and Attack Frogs (this could get ugly) that can destroy you in seconds when not careful. For older people, it will be relatively easy but expect to fall a bit in later levels. Some gems are well hidden and could leave you hunting for that last gem. For example in the Haunted Towers level, Spyro needs to Supercharge down a long hallway and make a sharp turn towards a ramp and gain enough air for a safe glide to the backside of the tower. This needs to be done a few times for other levels.
They aren't the best graphics for the PS1 but they are pretty close. The models for Spyro and the dragons are really well done and when they speak the mouth movements match. The water in the game looks more like a static pool of blue slime. The enemies are decent, then again they are supposed to look cartoonish. My favorite part about this game is the painted backgrounds and vivid colors in each world. The hues mix to create a unique feel. My favorite is the mix of yellow orange and mountain purple create a nice sunset background for some levels. The structures are also well done. Castles and forts come to life in this game. They are a pleasure to look at even in today's era of high definition gaming.
One of the best features of the game. Each level has it's own music which is a plus. After a few cycles an alternate theme plays, another plus. Stewart Copeland composed it with love, a big plus. The music is very unique to say the least. The soundtrack will definitely fill gamers with nostalgia and remind them of better days. The music is so catchy that you may hum to it. The sound effects fit everything perfectly from the rustle of grass with your footsteps to the sound of coliding into a wall during a charge. The enemy chuckles are also fitting. The voices are decent for the most part. Spyro's voice sounds great with his feisty personality. But it does sound like his nose is congested all the time.
Replay Value: 3/10
It has very little replay value. You may return to worlds you previously explored to collect any gems or dragons you've missed. Once you collect it all there is no reason to play the level again. There is absolutely nothing you can do afterwards except wander aimlessly.
The simple yet fun gameplay is one of its many charms. It has a decent difficulty level for younger players, but older players will breeze through it in less than a day. The feeling of reaching that faraway ledge is somewhat satisfying.. This is a great game to start for a young gamer. With a lot of stuff to collect,humorous dialogue and great level design, he/she will be entertained for hours. The vivid colors and characters are great. I would definitely recommend this to both new and old generations.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/07/11
Game Release: Spyro the Dragon (US, 09/10/98)
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