Spyro the Dragon is one of the most recognised and respected gaming icons of the 21st Century. Bursting onto the platform gaming scene in 1998, Insomniac Games brought us an excitable, eager, purple little dragon and his dragonfly buddy, Sparx.
Sony Computer Entertainment and Insomniac Games are the people to thank for hours of gaming pleasure. Released onto the Playstation, Spyro has since broadened his horizons and featured on other consoles: Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS/3DS, Wii, Mac, Windows, PS3 and the world-wide web.
Spyro made his start in life on the self-titled game Spyro the Dragon. In this adventure, villain Gnasty Gnorc casts a spell that freezes the worlds dragons. He thinks he’s won, but of course he hasn’t. Due to Spyro’s height, the spell misses him, and so Spyro sets off to awake the dragons and defeat Gnasty Gnorc.
As an extra challenge, a dragon appears and reveals that a level will appear should Spyro collect every single dragon, egg and gem throughout the game. This completes the entire game.
Gnasty Gnorc was only the start of the many antagonists’ that Spyro must bring down to save his world. Following on with the success of the first game, a sequel Spyro 2: Ripto’s Revenge (otherwise known as Gateway to Glimmer) brought around a brand new adventure, and new characters that have featured in many other Spyro games.
Spyro, having defeated Gnasty Gnorc, decides he needs a vacation and heads off through a gateway, Sparks’ right behind him. Meanwhile, Ripto (the new pint-sized villain) and his dim-witted sidekicks, Crush and Gulp, decide to settle in the realm of Avalar. Having decided to get rid of Ripto, Hunter the Cheetah, Elora the Faun, and The Professor attempt to bring in a dragon… And in comes our hero! Making his way through the Summer Forest, the Autumn Plains, and the Winter Tundra, Spyro defeats Ripto, bringing happiness and peace to the world.
Likewise with the previous game, once the player has collected all the gems and orbs then the gateway to Dragon Shores opens – where the new Super Firebreath Powerup awaits you.
Unlike the previous game however, Spyro learns new abilities, either through the help of Hunter, or by trading gems with Moneybags the Bear (yes he really is that greedy!). Spyro’s new abilities include swimming/diving, climbing ladders and headbash.
This game also features ‘Power Up Gates’, in which a number of souls for villains have to be collected. When the gates are fully prepared, Spyro can use new power-ups, with a time limit. These new powers can include a more destructive fire breath, longer gliding and super charge.
The last Spyro game Insomniac developed was Spyro: Year of the Dragon (Insomniac went onto further success on the Playstation 2 with the equally recognisable platform sci-fi game Ratchet & Clank).
Released during the year of the dragon (following the Chinese zodiac), the game progressed further still, with improved graphics and a host of new playable characters.
Set in the Forgotten Worlds, new villain The Sorceress sends her trainee spellcaster, Bianca the Rabbit, and her henchmen to capture the new dragon eggs that have been brought in. Spyro, Sparx and Hunter venture after them, and find new homeworlds and portals such as Sunrise Spring, Midday Gardens, Evening Lake, and Midnight Mountain.
During this new adventure, Spyro meets characters that must be bought from Moneybags: Shelia the Kangaroo, Sergeant Byrd the Penguin, Bentley the Yeti and Agent 9 the Space Monkey. Each of these characters have their own portal to bring peace to. Often the characters also feature as minigames on other levels, such as using your double jump ability as Shelia to reach the egg in Sunny Villa. Spyro and his new friends earn an egg for their minigame challenges such as skateboarding, boxing and racing.
This is where Spyro changed completely. He changed consoles and creators even stated there wasn’t much more they could do with him, as he could not hold anything in his hands. Loyal fans however still continue to play the other games that have been created but Spyro will still have a place in the hearts of the PS1 gamers.