It’s easy to forget that some games, no matter their reputation, are actually quite trivial in terms of plot and gameplay. Games are scrutinised upon release for plot, graphics, voice acting, gameplay… Pretty much everything, and you almost forget the simplicity of the only goal being “collect the things”.
I happily got on board the hype train and bought the remastered Spyro trilogy! The only Spyro games that I had played in the past were Enter the Dragonfly (which I loved), and A Hero’s Tail (which I really didn’t like), I seemed to totally miss the boat on the initial trilogy and, ironically, was late to the dragon tea party.
As I started my new game I settled in for the half-hour intro, regretting slightly that I hadn’t made a cup of tea to get me through… I turned away at one point for a couple of seconds and when I turned back all the big dragons were frozen and Spyro was looking round at the screen as if to say “well come on then! What are you waiting for?” It was blissful. I don’t remember the last time I was treated to such a short, simple intro in a game. The plot is wonderfully simple as well: the dragons call Gnasty Gnorc ugly on TV, being so extra he curses them all. As Spyro you need to go and free them, collecting gems along the way of course. That’s it. That’s the plot… And I love it! I don’t know why I expected there to be more, I guess recent games have conditioned me to expect it somewhat but almost instantly being launched into the game was so nice. Of course, it was a kid’s game (well, I guess is a kid’s game) but even so I can remember other games from my childhood having much longer intros.
Once I had recovered from my “oh I actually get to play within the first 30 minutes” shock I noticed all the pretty colours. It may sound a bit airy-fairy but this game really is so pretty. I like the wonky architecture as well, though there’s never any furniture in these castles, I think the dragons are just posing. Gnasty Gnorc had an armchair, motivational posters and a TV, maybe we’re meant to relate to him more. Maybe he’s the actual good character fighting for freedom from the oppressive dragon race that have enslaved the gnorcs. I mean, there you are watching TV, minding your own business when totally unprovoked some dragon calls you ugly on TV. I think we’d all be a bit angry really. I mean think about it: the gnorcs you fight in the first few levels are generally terrified of you and your overpowered dragon fury. Gnasty Gnorc had that scepter with the power to freeze the dragons this whole time, why hasn’t he used it before? Maybe the working conditions are really bad which is why he has all the motivational posters, he might just be a bit depressed. The dragons you free aren’t even that fussed as well! They’re all pretty chill when you release them like they knew the revolution wouldn’t last, they don’t even offer to help because they know even one of their youngest dragons is more powerful than a fully grown gnorc… I might be reading a little too far into it… Or am I? (If you have some obscure Spyro lore knowledge about this by the way feel free to share in the comments!)
There’s not really a whole lot to this game other than collect all the things but believe me when I tell you that I will tear apart those worlds and brutally slay as many monsters as I need to collect ALL the things. I want all the gems, I want to free all the dragons, I want all the dragon eggs, I want all the extra skill points in the guidebook, and I want all the PS4 trophies. I don’t remember being so obsessed with collecting everything in a game recently but I think it’s how achievable all those things are. It can be a little challenging, you may have to chase that annoying thief round for a while, you might have a stubborn gem that you just can’t find, maybe you can’t quite figure out how to get to a platform but damn it you will find a way eventually. Not so long that you get incredibly frustrated and give up though. The flying challenges are great for this. I can spend ages doing those and even when I’ve managed an all in one I want to keep playing to beat my time.
Another thing there’s not a whole lot to is the controls. You run, headbutt, breath fire and dodge. I thought as I progressed I might find more moves or different breath types like ice, electricity, etc (Enter the Dragonfly style) but no. Initially I was a little disappointed but then after thinking about it I decided I like the simple death by headbutt or fire system. Too long have I played through games with a seemingly unending list of moves, forgetting the majority of them and spamming a favourite 4 or 5 instead of strategically making the most of all of the hundreds of complex combos and tricks available to me. I also have absolutely no worries about forgetting any controls if I leave the game for a little while. My dad just got the new Red Dead Redemption game, was unable to play it for two weeks and has been putting it off since he got back because he knows he won’t remember how to do anything and will have to start again, but he doesn’t want to sit through the introduction again. If only cowboys could just headbutt, breath fire and collect gems…
Have you got the remastered Spyro trilogy? Are you enjoying it? Did you have the original version back in the day? If so, how does it compare?