The first level of 'Spyro' set the tone for a friendlier 3D platformer.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/a3dmm8/everyones-talking-about-crash-bandicoot-but-what-about-spyro-the-dragon
Such a great article! I was a young baby kid when I played Spyro and this article gave me a sense of nostalgia that I haven’t felt in a long time. I really hope that with the huge success of the Crash remake that Spyro is up next. I’d love to play Year of the Dragon again but with modern enhancements.
I guess this is also totally off topic, but I wonder if we will ever see a remaster of the Sly Cooper trilogy? That may not appeal as wide as Spyro but I’d buy the shit out of that.
I love Spyro for many reasons. One of which is that no other platforming character controls like him - of all the animal mascots the 90s produced, he’s one of the only quadrupeds. Though Spyro (unfortunately) speaks and acts like a human, his actual movement is uniquely non-anthropomorphic, compared to the contemporary hedgehogs and bandicoots. And I love the way his dashing and gliding flow into each other, allowing for expressive movement.
The major thing that drives me crazy about the first game is the complete and utter lack of female dragons. There are 80 dragons, and every single one is male. I can handle under-representation, but it makes me feel physically ill to think no one on the dev team noticed they had erased women from their fantasy realm. There are female fairies, which offer checkpoints and kiss Spyro to give him powers, but that’s it. The sequels thankfully improve on this, which is part of why I prefer them.
I really like the Spyro series but the atmosphere of these games was kinda different from what I expected. Spyro 1 had this warzone like second hub that was kinda frightening, and the worlds were kinda barren. Replaying it today made me feel a little anxious. It had good levels, and the first hub was definitely a treat.
Spyro 2 was such a great game all around, vivid colors, incredible worlds, the hubs were all a joy to go through. You know what really surprised me both as a kid and an adult ? The music (by Stewart Copeland !). Spyro had a sense of music that went far more beyond being lighthearted, like it was really made to depict a world, for every portal ! The music of the second hub is still breathtaking, I’m still thinking “I can’t believe they put this in a game for kids” and it worked incredibly well. I can’t think of a lot of platformers going ambient.
Spyro 3 suffers from the same issues as Crash 3, they didn’t know how to expand the formula so they added variety outside of the platforming. The mini-games sections were really lackluster. What hit me the most replaying it is that it’s a really overwhelming experience, I was almost uneasy playing it for some reasons. Maybe the worlds were too outlandish and not kid-friendly enough, or some levels had way too much downtime (Sparx levels made you backtrack with absolutely nothing on sight for long period of times, same thing with Agent 9), but it was weird. It’s cool doing skateboard with Spyro but the skatepark was absolutely empty and I was like “hmmm I don’t fell well skating alone”
Anyway I really like the first trilogy sorry for dumping my thoughts, I feel a remake would need a lot more work though, some parts would just not fly by today, not because they were bad, but because they were too different. Nintendo set a standard that Spyro was able to resist at the time, but I don’t think it would work today. Spyro can get suffocating sometimes…
Ohhhh, the first Spyro terrified me! I was really scared of the enemies in the Artisan Homeworld for some reason (especially those sheep). But I loved Ripto’s Rage: it had a safe, enemy-free starting zone, where I could spend as much time as I wanted diving into the waterfall pool before running out to fight enemies. I never once thought of Artisan Homeworld being a kind of “everyone’s welcome” game preview, but that’s so interesting! I wonder if the fact that it started with combat was one of the reasons my dad liked it more?
I really loved this article!
The Spyro trilogy were my favorite games growing up. I still have the worlds committed to memory.
God , the description of the Artisans homeworld was so good. I was hearing the music and each sound effect as it was mentioned.
I always appreciated how easygoing Spyro felt in comparison to most other platformers of that era. It felt more… exploratory than its peers, what with how large and winding each level were. Made it feel like I was actually moving through a world instead of a series of discrete obstacle courses.
I never considered how important the first hub world was, but in retrospect, it makes sense. Great piece!
Really want to go back and playthrough those games again now.
Seeing this article was great. I never had a N64 so Spyro was basically my Mario 64. It’s a bummer how most gaming sites regard the series as “just another one of those playstation mascots.” I wonder if we’ll ever get a remaster (or even a simple port) because of all the legal weirdness that probably surrounds the character.
The first Spyro was always my most preferred, but that is definitely nostalgia speaking. I never liked any of the extra characters/minigames/powers in the sequels. Even with the dragons you saved there wasn’t a lot explained about the worlds you would visit in the first game, so they captured my imagination more. I understand why most people like 2/3 more though.
Spyro remaster(s) for the Switch (and other platforms) please.