Released in October 1998 in Europe after a year of development, the first Spyro game is a relic of a bygone age.
For me the game was a staple of my childhood, pulling hours of enjoyment out of it. It’s simple to play and understand, with the only main characters throughout the game Spyro and Sparx. The story is very simple to follow. Spyro must go around saving fellow dragons, collecting treasure to advance to the next worlds and ultimately defeat Gnasty Gnorc who is the one who encases the dragons in stone from which Spyro must free them.
There are five main worlds throughout the game which change the scenery and enemies that you face. These worlds are: Artisan World, Peace Keepers’ world, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers, Dream Weavers. The world changes add new mechanics to the game such as elevators that the player can use to fly around or across obstacles. Some enemies even create obstacles in some worlds to try and prevent the player access. The player must time their attacks to avoid the obstacles or defeat the enemy before they can progress.
The currency system is treasure, which can be found throughout the game. Different colour gems provide different amounts of currency. To progress throughout the levels Spyro must gather enough treasure and rescue enough dragons for the balloonist to take him to the next world.
There are various minigames in Spyro that the player can enjoy. These range from killing enemies to flight courses. The flight courses require the player to hit obstacles whilst maintaining altitude. If at any point the player falls into the water the minigame is restarted.
One weakness that I think Spyro the Dragon suffers from is the lack of challenge. The game is very simple to play. Whilst I think this is beneficial as the game becomes accessible, it can also become a problem. The final boss fight seems very anticlimactic as it’s too simple. You chase the boss around and breath fire, dodging very easy to read attacks with very generous hitboxes. This along with the hype built up around the boss throughout the game makes the fight feel very dull.
Spyro the Dragon was an incredible game at the time of it being released. Even now I can go back and play the game. The introduction of minigames and the obstacles that are added when entering a new world keep the game fresh and playable rather than it drying out.
On PlayStation. Available on Amazon: Spyro the Dragon (1998) Playstation