Spyro: Year of the Dragon

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Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Spyro Year of the Dragon PS1 US cover.jpg
Developer(s) Insomniac Games
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date(s) USA October 24, 2000
Europe November 10, 2000
Genre(s) Platformer
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
Console(s) PlayStation
Mode(s) Single player
Media Disc
Input PlayStation Controller
Wikipedia icon.png This page uses content from Wikipedia (view authors), and falls under the compatible Creative Commons license.

Spyro: Year of the Dragon is the third game of the Spyro the Dragon series. It was developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released for the PlayStation in 2000. It is the last Spyro game that was developed by Insomniac. In 2018, the game and the previous two games were remade for Spyro Reignited Trilogy. The original PlayStation version was not released in Japan.

Named for the animal of the Chinese zodiac, Year of the Dragon follows Spyro as he travels to the Forgotten Realms after 150 Dragon Eggs were stolen by an evil sorceress. He travels across thirty different worlds gathering gems and eggs. Upon release, the game received positive critical response; on Game Rankings, Year of the Dragon is one of the top 20 highest-rated PlayStation games of all time.


The game starts with the dragons celebrating the Year of the Dragon, an event that occurs every twelve years where new Dragon Eggs are brought to the realm. During the celebration, a cloaked rabbit girl, Bianca, invades the Dragon Realms with an army of Rhynocs and steals all of the Dragon eggs. Spyro, Sparx, and Hunter go down a hole to find the thieves and recover the Dragon Eggs.

Pursuing the thief, Spyro discovers a realm once inhabited by the dragons, but long abandoned and forgotten, now known only as the Forgotten Realms, ruled by a queen called the Sorceress, and under firm control of an army of Rhynocs. Of the few who defy the Sorceress' rule, the first one that Spyro encounters is a kangaroo named Sheila. She is locked within a cage, but Spyro pay a fee to Moneybags to release her.

As Spyro travels through each realm, acquiring aid from local inhabitants and bartering with Moneybags for passage to new areas, Bianca abducts and imprisons Hunter. It is later revealed that the Sorceress is seeking not the baby dragons themselves, but merely their wings to concoct a spell that can grant her immortality. Once Bianca finds out she feels sorry for the baby dragons, and defects to side with Spyro, Hunter, and the others who defy the Sorceress.

Celebrations resume after the Sorceress' defeat, although Spyro cannot find Hunter. With help from his friends, Spyro eventually locates Hunter out on a date with Bianca and laments about another hero "falling" for love.

It is later revealed that the Sorceress survived her previous battle with Spyro. She is found in the Super Bonus World, awaiting Spyro on her UFO. The two of them battle again, each in a UFO, above a pool of hazardous liquid. Spyro eventually manages to shoot down the Sorceress, and she drops into the liquid below, presumably killing her. After she dies, it becomes apparent that she had the final dragon egg, which hatches a Siamese pair of dragons named Yin Yang. The baby dragons then return to the Dragon Kingdom.


The gameplay is somewhat similar to its two predecessors- there are four homeworlds which contain several other realms. Spyro must defeat the boss in between each homeworld to access the next one. To travel to these boss arenas and proceed further into the game, Spyro must make his way to the four normal realms and the one protester realm to fetch one person to help build his transportation.

These realms are free to explore and wander in all directions without any time limit. The realms are littered with enemies which attack Spyro. Upon defeating these enemies, Spyro, as a reward may receive gems. Gems also lay all over the levels on the ground and inside crates. These gems are used later in the game to pay off Moneybags, as well as counting towards Spyro's overall percentage.

Levels may also be littered with non-playable protesters, who provide information about the realm or set tasks for Spyro to complete.

Entry to normal realms requires certain amounts of eggs. However, entry to protester worlds ignore the amount of eggs collected and instead require a sacrifice of gems to Moneybags.

Eggs can be found by simply locating them or as a reward for completing one of the minigames inside the realm. There are many different minigames which reward Spyro with these eggs, i.e. sliding down a slide, racing, piloting a submarine or fighting bosses. Each normal world has roughly six eggs, while protester worlds have three.

Spyro can also run into Powerup Gates, which give him special abilities for a limited period (time left can be seen on a bar on the right of the screen). These abilities could be a stronger flame, a flying ability or invincibility.

Similar to the last two games, there are some areas where Spyro can "super-charge". This means that when Spyro charges while upon a certain track, he can accelerate and move faster, as well as break heavy crates or catch fast thieves.

Including Spyro, there are 7 playable characters which all have there own abilities. All of these characters (excluding Hunter) have their own realm where Spyro can only play as that character. All of these characters (excluding Sparx) have minigames inside other realms.

Once the player has achieved 100% completion (which is done by collecting all 150 Dragon Eggs and 15,000 gems), a secret world named the Super Bonus World opens. It features harder versions of minigames from previous realms and has several gems.



"Spyro is the mischievous hero of this tale. He may be the smallest hero in the Dragon Family, but even the Elder Dragons admit he's got gumption! Just ask Gnasty Gnorc - he won't mess with Spyro again! Spyro's always rarin' to go, especially when he can headbash some sheep or flame some frogs. He's so full of energy, he keeps me on the move! Spyro is extremely curious and hardly ever cautious, which sometimes gets him into trouble! That's why I stick around, to make sure nothing too serious happens to him!" -Sparx

Spyro is the main character and thus the most commonly used. He has two main attacks, but retains the special abilities taught in the second game.

  • Charge: allows Spyro to run faster as well as ram enemies with his horn. Spyro will bounce off walls if he charges into them, and large enemies aren't affected by charging.
  • Flame: Spyro unleashes a fire burst from his mouth to singe enemies. Enemies wearing metal armour or shields are immune to his flame (they aren't immune to the fireball generated by the Superflame Powerup, however).


Sparx has a larger role than in earlier games. As with the previous two games, Sparx functions as Spyro's health bar, allowing him to withstand a few extra hits. Sparx "in charge" of all the speedway levels, asking Spyro through his kazoo voice what Spyro wants to do in these levels.

He also has 4 playable levels of his own, which are bird's-eye—view scroll-shooters. In these levels, Sparx must shoot a number of enemies and collect the gems they leave, eat butterfiles which increase his health or give him special powers, collect keys to open gates and defeat the boss at the end of the levels to receive an egg.

After completing these levels, Sparx will unlock permanent special abilities for himself which can be used in normal play such as being able to collect gems further away or having an extra hit point.

Other characters[edit]

  • Hunter: a cheetah who first appeared in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, aiding Spyro on his quest to defeat the Sorceress, as well as being playable in a few minigames in the speedway levels.
  • Bianca: a young rabbit girl and the love interest of Hunter. At first, she worked for the Sorceress but later joined Spyro and Hunter.

There are more playable characters than in the first two games. Each character has one exclusive playable level, and they also appear for various missions and minigames in other levels. In most cases, these missions are separate from the main level by means of a portal; upon arriving, player control switches from Spyro to the character, and the side mission begins.

  • Sheila: Found in Sunrise Springs, She is an Australian kangaroo with an exceptional jumping ability. She can also kick with her feet. When freed, she kicks Moneybags in the stomach.
  • Sgt. Byrd: Found in Midday Gardens, he is a penguin and military soldier with a slow waddle. He can fly as well as shoot homing missiles and launch bombs. When freed, he is questioned by Spyro why he didn't shoot his way out of the cage. He responds that he had 'limited ammo' and promptly shoots Moneybags off the platform.
  • Bentley: Found in Evening Lake, he is a smart and strong yeti with a gentle demeanor who wields a club made of ice. He can hit things with this club or rebound snowballs. When freed, he demonstrates his verbose nature by calling Moneybags a stream of wordy insults and hitting him over the head with his club.
  • Agent 9: Found in Midnight Mountain, he is a space monkey who carries a laser gun and is obsessed with killing Rynocs. He assists the same Professor from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, who can only be seen in Agent 9's level and in one of the final cutscenes. In an odd exploit of the game, paying Moneybags to free him isn't actually required; accessing the last boss only requires eggs and not the participation of someone from every realm, Spyro can just ignore his level and he will mysteriously show up to help him anyway in the last fight.


Moneybags is another character that returns from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!. He was hired by the Sorceress to "keep charge" of certain things in the Forgotten Realms. Like the previous game, Spyro must pay Moneybags to get through some levels. He must also pay Moneybags to release protesters that are imprisoned in front of their own level. At the end of the game, Moneybags appears in Midnight Mountain. Spyro can humorously chase him down and ram into him repeatedly, to regain all of his gems and a Dragon Egg. If Spyro gets the six eggs in Midnight Mountain and get Moneybags' egg as well, the atlas will show Midnight Mountain as having '6/5' eggs.


  • Buzz resembles a giant toad, with a pair of strong legs. When pushed into lava, Sheila stomps on him to deal damage.
  • Spike is a tall, muscle-bound monster who uses a laser-like weapon to shoot at Spyro. His main attacks are trying to crush Spyro under his fist or shooting plasma balls at him. Later on in the fight he can pick up the ammo Sgt. Byrd drops and briefly power up.
  • Scorch is a giant winged beast that can produce a forcefield to protect himself. He is defeated via the powerups Bentley throws.
  • The Sorceress is the final boss. She can conjure up some powerful magic when necessary. There are two times she must be defeated: the first time is reached by collecting one hundred dragon eggs to gain entry into her lair and the second time is a saucer battle for the last dragon egg. In the first fight, Agent 9 helps out even if Moneybags was not paid for his release.


  • Bluto and his Shark Sub - Fought in a giant tank of water. He is a clever and skilled in using his submarine.
  • Sleepy Head - Fought in a dome like room surrounded by a piranha filled moat. He is lazy and has no desire to defend his territory, but he gets mad if Spyro wakes him up though.
  • Boxing Bully Yeti - Fought by Bentley in a boxing ring. The Yeti from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage has made a complete recovery and is causing havoc once again.
  • Double Dragon - Fought in a fireworks based area. With the double power up portal from Spyro 2 perfected Spyro uses it not to fight sheep, but two other dragons this time.

Sparx Level bosses[edit]

  • Crawdad King - Fought in a corn field
  • Spider Queen - Fought in an arena surrounded by a wall with cobwebs
  • Giant Manta Ray - Fought in a "party room"
  • Mecha Peed - Fought in a battle dome


  • Sheep in Enchanted Tower
  • Chicken Diving in Seashell Shore
  • Frog in Sunny Villa
  • Gull in Sheila's Alp
  • Peacock in Cloud Spires
  • Slug in Molten Crater
  • Ant in Bamboo Terrace


There are four Homeworlds in the game, each named after a time of day. The later homeworlds have more dangerous environmental obstacles, although none of them have enemies. Each world has four realms, a Sparx level, a protestor level, and a speedway.

  • Sunrise Springs: The starting homeworld for Year of the Dragon. This world is set during the morning with lush green hillsides, small woods and lakes.
  • Midday Garden: The second homeworld. Midday Garden is set during the day with a brilliant blue sky overlooking wide gardens and large towering castles.
  • Evening Lake: The third homeworld is set during the evening inside a large lake containing parts of a submerged tudor-style castle.
  • Midnight Mountain: The final homeworld set at night ontop of a high mountain. One of the most dangerous homeworlds featuring multiple clifftops linked by bridges and small castles.


Sunrise Spring[edit]

  • Level I: Sunny Villa
  • Level II: Cloud Spires
  • Level III: Molten Crater
  • Level IV: Seashell Shore
  • Level V (Speedway): Mushroom Speedway
  • Level VI (Protestor): Sheila's Alp
  • Level VII (Boss): Buzz's Dungeon
  • Level VIII (Sparx world): Crawdad Farm

Midday Gardens[edit]

  • Level I: Icy Peak
  • Level II: Enchanted Towers
  • Level III: Spooky Swamp
  • Level IV: Bamboo Terrace
  • Level V (Speedway): Country Speedway
  • Level VI (Protestor): Sgt. Byrd's Base
  • Level VII (Boss): Spike's Arena
  • Level VIII (Sparx world): Spider Town

Evening Lake[edit]

  • Level I: Frozen Altars
  • Level II: Lost Fleet
  • Level III: Fireworks Factory
  • Level IV: Charmed Ridge
  • Level V (Speedway): Honey Speedway
  • Level VI (Protestor): Bentley's Outpost
  • Level VII (Boss): Scorch's Pit
  • Level VIII (Sparx world): Starfish Reef

Midnight Mountain[edit]

  • Level I: Crystal Islands
  • Level II: Desert Ruins
  • Level III: Haunted Tomb
  • Level IV: Dino Mines
  • Level V (Speedway): Harbor Speedway
  • Level VI (Protestor): Agent 9's Lab
  • Level VII (Boss): Sorceress's Lair
  • Level VIII (Sparx world): BugBot Factory

The last world is Super Bonus World, but is only accessible if the player has achieved a 100% completion.


Year of the Dragon features a wide range of minigames, some included as missions within a particular level (such as a Tony Hawk-style skateboarding minigame, or a boxing match between Bentley and another yeti), and others featured as levels of their own, such as Spyro's flying levels, and several Gauntlet-style levels featuring Sparx.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Spyro: Year of the Dragon.


  • The first production run of Spyro: Year of the Dragon featured lenticular artwork on the case cover.
  • Several of the skateboarding tricks in the skateboarding minigames are named after bosses from the first Spyro the Dragon (such as Gnasty Gnorc).
  • The game's release date is astrologically correct; 2000 was the year of the dragon in the Chinese zodiac.
  • A level in the game, Desert Ruins of Midnight Mountain, parodies the Tomb Raider franchise. In it, Spyro is sent to rescue a girl named Tara who is "raiding the Tomb of Stone Golum". Tara is dressed like the series' protagonist Lara Croft. In Desert Ruins, Sheila's sidequests, "Krash Kangaroo I" and "Krash Kangaroo II" is a parody of the Crash Bandicoot franchise.
  • Elora does not have a role in the game, although she appears in an end cutscene after Spyro defeats the Sorceress.

External links[edit]