Picture the scene. I, Spyro the Dragon, had just finished collecting sixty thousand gems, sixty dragons and five eggs and by doing so had earned the right to attack Gnasty Gnorc. I rock up to his lair, expecting some sort of terrifying magician, but all I find is a gladiator standing on a platform shooting lazers at me with his wand. He had prepared a home security system, which was easily disarmed by stealing three keys from his fast minions. Even then, I had to chase the loser around an obstacle course before I could breathe fire at him. Once burned, Gnasty Gnorc flees into another obstacle course that consists of disappearing platforms above lava pools. Granted, getting the timing right was somewhat hair-raising, but it says a lot about a final boss when their interior decorating is more threatening than they are. It takes a total of two fire attacks to destroy Gnasty Gnorc and win the game.
Context-lovers should know that Spyro the Dragon is a Playstation One game released by Insomniac Games in 1998. The genre is 3D platformer, and judging by the palette and cute characters, I’d say the intended audience was children.
There are times in my life when I doubt whether I have the brain for 3D platformers. I mean, what is behind me? Do you mean that I need to turn around to check? But that only means there’s more stuff behind me that I can’t see! I really need a minimap in this genre. I got over this paranoia in the first few hours of playing the game.
Controls are pretty much what you expect. Press one button to jump, another to charge, and the directional buttons move you in directions.
The music was okay, and it was composed by someone who used to work with Sting. There was voice-acting, and the reviews tell me that Spyro was voiced by the guy who did Rocko, as in Rocko’s Modern Life. Dialogue is mostly limited to Spyro chatting with the kindly dragons he rescues, and story segments at the beginning and ends of the game. The sound didn’t do all that much for me, so I mostly had it turned off as I played.
The story is Spyro the Dragon of really kinda messed up. The first cutscene consists of dragons giving vox pops about how utterly pathetic and useless Gnasty Gnorc is. Incensed at the defamation, he kidnaps the entire dragon community, sans Spyro. Then the gameplay happens, with Spyro rescuing the dragons, and eventually (presumably) killing Gnorc. The chilling implication of all this is that the dragons are EVEN MORE pathetic than Gnorc, and that Spyro is the least-pathetic being in the area. So many questions. The mind boggles.
So yeah, Spyro the Dragon is a neat little game. I personally liked Mario 64 better, but you can get this game and its two sequels for five dollars in the PSN Store. So why wouldn’t you?
‘A great war was fought in Heaven. Gnorc clashed against the great Dragon Spyro, and no more was his place found in heaven.’ I want to write something like that in a Spyro review, but it just doesn’t work.