With the announcement of the Reignited Trilogy, it looks as if we’ll be seeing the return of our favorite purple dragon. However, there are a ton of people, especially those below the age of 18, who may be confused as to why this news is such as big deal.
So for those of you who may not know, Spyro was a big hit from the very moment it launched back in 1998. It rivaled Crash Bandicoot in terms of showing what Playstation platformers were capable of; basically immortalizing itself as one of the games you needed to own way back then.
What’s even better is that the developers are nonother than Insomniac games! They’re the ones responsible for giving us the Rachet and Clank series, Sunset Overdrive, and they’re in charge of the upcoming Spider-Man game. This should give you some kind of idea as to how well some of the Spyro titles were made.
Back in the golden days of the PlayStation 1, that tiny purple dragon had a lot of people wishing they owned the console. “But why?” You may ask, and that’s a relatively simple question to answer.
If you think of the word “platformer”, what games come to mind?
Well, if you were a kid from the early 90’s and 2000’s, you might immediately think of the word Nintendo and nobody would blame you. So when Nintendo released both Mario 64 and Banjo Kazzoie (two very successful titles), they basically cemented themselves as the company that was the king of platforming games and collectathons.
And that’s when Sony decided to bare its fangs on the gaming industry. They shoved out the PS1 back in 1994 and showed that they weren’t afraid to take on multiple genres, especially platformers. When Mario 64 was released back in 1996? Sony gave the world Crash Bandicoot at the exact same year, making a statement that they’re not afraid to join the competition and do just as well or even better.
Then 1998 came and Nintendo took the hearts of gamers with Banjo Kazooie. But a few months after, it was then that Spyro made his first appearance, rivaling Nintendo’s creation yet again. The game is one of the many reasons as to why people debated whether it was better to have a PlayStation 1 or a Nintendo 64.
Think about how awesome it is to control a small purple dragon where you shoot out flames to take on baddies, and glide or fly around a large variety of colorful and interesting environments! There was so much diversity in that one game and the story was no slouch either! The premise of the first entry in the series was that a big bad guy named Gnasty Gnorc (a villain that’s half-gnome and half-orc, cool yeah?) turned all the dragons into crystal statues with a magic spell. Spyro, who remained unaffected due to his very short stature, is determined to free his brethren from the evil spell by going through different worlds, saving his fellow dragons, and duke it out with Gnorc to prevent things from getting worse!
If that doesn’t want to make you want to play it, then I don’t know what will.
Then in 1999, Insomniac released Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, which some say is better than the first game! This was also the sequel where Spyro himself (along with a bunch of other characters), was voiced by non-other than Tom Kenny! That’s right, the guy who voiced Spongebob is in this title and he delivered all of his lines really well.
Insomniac was definitely on a roll and they had no intentions of stopping. When the year 2000 came by, they took the world by storm with Spyro: Year of the Dragon. They improved just about every game element as well as mechanics from its predecessors and it introduced us to new, controllable characters which shook up the gameplay by a ton! It seems like the franchise could do no wrong!
But remember, all good things have to come to an end at some point.
Once the third game was released, Insomniac relinquished its hold on the franchise. While the developers went on to create more amazing titles such as the previously mentioned Rachet and Clank series, Spyro’s fate was left unknown.
What’s funny was that in 2002, there were Spyro games made for Nintendo’s Gameboy Advance. Although they were made by another developer, it was still pretty weird to see one of Sony’s bigger titles on their competitor’s handheld. They gathered a bit of praise, but it wasn’t good enough to get people talking about them all that much.
And that’s because those games couldn’t compare to everyone’s expectations for Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. This is the 4th entry in the series and all I can say is that it let everyone down. Whether you were playing it on the Nintendo GameCube or the Sony PlayStation 2, the experience was one of the worst a gamer could expect from the series. It was glitchy as hell, the story was boring, and it felt so unfinished; thus signaling the decline of Spyro’s status in the gaming industry.
Other developers tried their hand in revitalizing the franchise by trying out different game mechanics and freshening things up with new characters. Ultimately, they failed to make them as massive as the original trilogy and Spyro fell into obscurity around the late 2000’s.
Now? We hear that the first 3 games are being remastered and everyone’s dragon-senses suddenly start tingling (I don’t know why I used a Spider-Man reference, but let’s just go with it yeah?). The entire thing is going to be handled by the Activision subsidiary Toys for Bob and they’re the ones responsible for giving us games such as the Skylanders series.
While Activision says that levels from the original three games are “mapped faithfully”, one would still hold a bit of skepticism in terms of the remaster’s quality. But even knowing that, there still seem to be a lot of people that are very excited at the thought of playing their favorite dragon once again in HD. It’s pretty much similar to when the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy was announced and we all know how well that turned out.
This just shows that even though there were a couple of duds in the franchise, Spyro’s first three games still left a huge mark in people’s hearts and they’re more than willing to spend their hard earned money to play the very games they once fell in love with.
Insomniac made something that people genuinely liked as well as giving everyone fond memories of being able to play something that forces them to sit down, stare at their television screens for hours on end, and enjoying every single second of it.
So when it comes out September 21, let’s see if it can compare with the N.Sane Trilogy in terms of being enjoyable and in sales numbers. It’s interesting to see just how many people in the gaming community have truly heard, played, and enjoyed what Spyro had to offer.