Spyro Reignited Trilogy
I am proud to announce that I have finally achieved a longstanding childhood goal. After 19 long years of scouring the magical realms (including a 12-year PlayStation hiatus) I finally beat the original Spyro trilogy. By beat I don’t simply mean I defeated all the bosses, I mean I found every gem, every orb, every dragon, and every single egg.
The series was remastered in 2018 and sold as a bundle package including Spyro, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, and Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon. This was such a sweet deal, not only because you get three games in one for $24.99 or because you no longer have to switch out those pesky discs, but because a classic game of many-a-90s child’s life is back with beautiful graphics and a powerful nostalgic kick.
Meet Spyro: Objectives, Plot, and Goals
For those who have never played the game before, I’ll give you a brief overview. You play as a plucky purple dragon whose main objective is to save a variety of characters and worlds from a series of megalomaniac bosses who want to destroy all dragons. In the first game your end goal is to toast Gnasty Gnorc, a weird dino-rhinoceros hybrid who trapped all the dragon elders in crystal and stole all the dragon hatchlings (along with all of their gems). Much like the first game, Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon, sends Spyro on a mission to reclaim all the stolen dragon eggs from the crocodile sorceress who is using their energy to gain magical power. Ripto’s Rage stands out because its objective is to help all the creatures in Avalar who have been oppressed by Ripto, a red rhinoc wizard suffering from a classic case of short man’s syndrome. In this version of the game you are seeking out talismans and portal orbs to free locked worlds.
With dozens of levels, minigames, puzzles, and objectives, these games are perfect for first time gamers who may not yet have the skills to complete each level with 100 percent accuracy but are still looking for a game to enjoy and stay interested in. For example, by the time you have absolutely had it with the “Icy Flight” speedway in Spyro 1 (literally the last level I had to beat before completing the game with 120 percent), you can return to the main world and try your hand at discovering all the secrets there, or hop into the next portal and take on new themed enemies.
In case any parents are reading, I will throw out that this game provides refuge from the hardcore violence found in many other video games nowadays. If you are having trouble finding an E-rated game that holds your youngster’s attention, then these will be the games for you. While Spyro and his dragonfly sidekick Sparx are out kicking butts and taking names, there isn’t any blood, guts, or trauma. Just a little dragon roasting and charging cutesy cartoon henchman to save baby turtles, Scottish satyrs, and the kooky professor, to name a few. This was one of the first games I learned how to play, second to the Namco classics Dig Dug, Ms. Pacman, and Galaga (my family’s favorite), and it still holds a special place in my heart today as a reminder of a time of happiness and innocence.
Playing through these games now, I am marveling at all the little details I overlooked when I played them for the first time nearly two decades ago. Cracks in castle walls leading to secret stairs and tunnels, eggs and orbs hidden on tricky ledges, and fireworks for opening steel gem chests are much more apparent now. However, I still had my fair share of difficulties beating the trilogy as a game-savvy 24-year-old. Some of the eggs and orbs felt like they had been hidden by evil geniuses in the game lab twirling their handlebar moustaches. Take for example the “Treetops” level (Spyro 1, Beast Makers world), which includes a hidden egg thief perched on the top of the tree stump above the exit portal. It took me at least five minutes to realize where the classic “na na nuh na na” taunt was coming from and another 10 minutes and six lives to figure out how to hop from supercharge ramp to supercharge ramp to get there. Heads up! You’ll find another frustrating supercharge challenge in “Fracture Hills” (Spyro 2, Autumn Plains) that will require you to accurately charge down 3 or 4 doors before you can even attempt to make a clean run all the way up to the final tower.
Tips, Tricks, and Play through
Logistically all three games are comparable in play through times, number of levels, and variety of tasks. All the games took between 10-13 hours to complete at 100 percent. [I will save you a decent chunk of time by telling you a little secret I didn’t discover until last week: if you have not found all the gems in a level and are struggling to find any stragglers, toggle (push in) on the left analog stick to activate the Sparx gem finder. Your little pal will act as a compass and direct you toward any treasure.] Of the differences between the three games here are the most beneficial/noticeable:
Spyro does not take damage from water in Ripto’s Rage or Year of the Dragon.
Yup, that’s right — a magical dragon that shoots fire and piledrives enemies with his head takes damage from touching water in Spyro 1. We’re not just talking ocean water but shallow fountain water. It was bizzare-o and oh so frustrating.
2. Spyro acquires loads of new skills in Ripto’s Rage. In each world Spyro has the opportunity to learn new skills from Hunter, Elora, and the dreaded carpetbagging bear MoneyBags (his skills require a “nominal fee”).
You learn how to swim, dive underwater, headbash, glide, and hover!
Using triangle to hover in the last two games was so much more intuitive and effective than taking blind leaps of faith in Spyro 1 and hoping that you were close enough that Spyro would self-correct on ledges.
Even better is the fact that you automatically start Spyro 3 with all of these abilities!
3. Spyro 3 offers you the chance to play as some of the nifty characters you end up saving. Each character has unique new skills that allow you to explore the map and achieve goals that Spyro is unable to.
Along the way, you’ll meet Sheila the Kangaroo, Bentley the Yeti, Agent 9 (a laser shooting chimp), and Sargent Byrd (a flying militant penguin) and receive their help during each boss level. These characters serve as another way to keep the game fresh and avoid burnout from powering through as Spyro.
Bonus! Our little buddy Sparx gets his chance to shine in a series of mini missions to reclaim the last eggs of the game. Zoe the fairy will guide you through these arcade-style shooter levels.
4. After completing Spyro 1 and Spyro 3 at 100 percent you’ll have the chance to enter bonus rounds. In the former, you’ll gain access to Gnasty’s Loot to gain back all the gems for the entire dragon world. In the latter, you’ll get to enter the Super Bonus Round from Midnight Mountain and have fun completing the game.
In Spyro 2, however, you are required to have all the orbs and gems to gain entrance to Dragon Shores, Spyro’s favorite vacation spot. Once you enter you’ll have to go around collecting carnival tickets to unlock video scenes and the extra end credits. After 9.5 hours of build-up and top notch investigation this ending was a colossal let down to an otherwise fantastic game.
Although the games have been remastered and are great fun, it doesn’t mean they are glitch-free. I encountered several bugs during my play through, some of which were fixable and some of which were not. In “Enchanted Towers” and “Molten Crater,” for example, I was unable to find the last gem in each despite re-sweeping the main level and the Sgt. Byrd minigames using the Sparx gem finder. I had to exit the level and re-enter to find the gems in the spots they should have been in the first place. While this isn’t a terrible glitch, it still caused a lot of late-night frustration and added at least 15 minutes of unnecessary playtime per affected level. I found another weird glitch in Spyro 3 when I flew to get the egg behind the "Desert Ruins" portal. I glided to the egg and then a whirlwind appeared to lift me back to the main world, except it didn’t work! I lost three lives attempting to use the whirlwind before I had to manually teleport using the guidebook to select a different level. The last glitches seemed to be literal system failures causing the screen to turn blue during Sgt. Byrd’s mission in “Molten Crater” and creating this error message during my hovercraft battle in “Haunted Tombs".
Overall, I have loved and will always love these games. Maybe it is because of the fond memories I have playing with my sister back in the late 90s or simply because the games hold water as entertaining, challenging, and rewarding pastimes well into adulthood.
If you are looking to take a break from the modern days of Fortnite and first-person shooters, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy will hit the spot!