Spyro the Dragon (game)

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Spyro the Dragon
Spyro the Dragon PS1 US cover.jpg
Developer(s) Insomniac Games
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date(s) PlayStation:
USA September 10, 1998
Europe October 23, 1998[1]
Australia October 23, 1998[1]
Japan April 1, 1999[citation needed]
PlayStation Store:
USA October 25, 2007[2]
Genre(s) Platformer
Rating(s)
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
Console(s) PlayStation
Mode(s) Single player
Input Controller (original release)

Spyro the Dragon is the first and titular game of the Spyro series. It was first released for the PlayStation in 1998 and was re-released on the PlayStation Store in 2007. Since its release, Spyro the Dragon received two sequels, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. A remake of Spyro the Dragon and both of its sequels were done for Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

Story[edit]

In the Dragon Realms, the elder dragons, Astor and Lindar, are being interviewed for a video documentary about their world. Meanwhile, the main antagonist, Gnasty Gnorc is watching the show. Long ago, Gnasty Gnorc detested the dragon families and their shiny jewelry and caused problems among them, so they banished him the dragon junkyard.[3] During the show, a dragon calls Gnasty Gnorc simple-minded, a non-threat, and ugly. This angers Gnasty Gnorc, who casts a large magic spell to encase every dragon into a crystal, making them Dragon Statues. He also makes a potion to turn the radiant gems into Gnorc soldiers to help him invade the Dragon Worlds and steal their treasure.

A young dragon named Spyro was not hit by Gnasty Gnorc's spell (he was shown chasing sheep in the documentary). Aided by his dragonfly companion, Sparx, Spyro eagerly starts his adventure to free the dragons and battle Gnasty Gnorc. Throughout his adventure, Spyro receives advice from the dragons that he frees.

After traveling through the first five Dragon Worlds, Spyro reaches the Dragon junkyard, which Gnasty Gnorc renamed to Gnasty's World. At the end, Spyro confronts Gnasty Gnorc and manages to defeat him, putting an end to Gnasty Gnorc's plot.

Gameplay[edit]

Each world is organized into separate realms, with a central level serving as a hub and portals leading to other levels within the world. The levels take place in a fully 3D environment, allowing the player to have complete control over Spyro's movements. When Spyro reaches the end of a level, he can jump into the "Return Home" portal to return to the hub world. When Spyro has freed enough dragons or collected enough treasure, he can access the next world by talking to the nearby Balloonist in the hub world.

Every level has a few Dragon Statues, each containing an imprisoned dragon. Spyro can free the dragon simply by touching the statue. Once the dragon is freed, it briefly talks to Spyro before disappearing. The statue's pedestal then becomes a save point and a checkpoint with the Red Fairy. There are a total of 80 Dragon Statues.

Spyro's two main abilities is breathing fire and gliding long distances in the air. Spyro can also perform a charge attack, where he headbutts into enemies using his horns. He can also break objects such as treasure chests this way. Each level is designed to incorporate Spyro's gliding ability, especially large gaps can only be crossed if Spyro jumps off higher terrain and starts to glide across. Some levels have small whirlwinds that launch Spyro a certain distance into the air, allowing him to reach higher areas or glide farther. Spyro cannot swim, so if he falls in the water, he quickly starts to sink and gradually loses hit points. If he is quick enough, Spyro can jump back on land. If Spyro loses all of his ha he loses all of his health.

Later levels also feature stripes of hill marked with glowing arrows, known as supercharge ramps. When Spyro goes down a supercharge ramp, his speed increases significantly, allowing him to defeat powerful enemies or smash through certain walls. In some cases, the supercharge ramp can be combined to an upwards slope, allowing Spyro to peform a high-speed jump and cross very wide gaps.

Throughout the game, Spyro is accompanied by a small dragonfly named Sparx. Aside from helping Spyro collect nearby jewels, Sparx allows Spyro to take a few more hits. If Spyro is not accompanied by Sparx, he is instantly defeated after one hit. If Spyro accompanied by Sparx and takes damage from an enemy or obstacle, Sparx changes color to reflect Spyro's weakened condition. Sparx can take up to three hits before being defeated, and his color indicates how many health points Spyro has left: yellow represents full health, blue represents two hits remaining, and green represents one hit remaining. Sparx can regain a hit point if Spyro defeats a fodder, causing a butterfly to come out for Sparx to eat.

Characters[edit]

  • Spyro the Dragon: The main and titular character of the game, Spyro goes on an adventure to rescue his friends and defeat Gnasty Gnorc.
  • Sparx the Dragonfly: Sparx is the best friend and protector of Spyro, and he allows Spyro to withstand a few more hits.
  • Dragons: The main species and residents of Dragon World. Several dragons provide helpful advice to Spyro after he frees them from their crystal.
  • Red Fairy: She appears at every pedestal where Spyro freed a dragon from its statue. Spyro has the option to either save his game progress or replay the dragon's message.
  • Balloonists: They allow Spyro to travel between two Dragon Worlds.

Enemies[edit]

Most of the enemies are various types of Gnorcs. Spyro can defeat the weaker enemies by attacking them directly. Most of the enemies are invulnerable to a certain attack—enemies who carry a metal shield or wear plate armor are protected by Spyro's flames. They can usually be defeated from Spyro's charge attack. Contrarily, larger enemies can be defeated by Spyro's flame but not a charge attack. Few enemies are both large and metal-armored, protecting them from both of Spyro's attacks.

Species[edit]

  • Fairies: In some levels, purple fairies kiss Spyro to improve his flame breath. In a few levels, there are fairies that prevent Spyro from falling into a pit, by lifting him back up on the ground.
  • Fodder: While not enemies, fodder are various animals that Spyro can defeat to release a butterfly, which restores Sparx's health by a hit point. If Spyro is alone, he can defeat a fodder to release Sparx. Fodder consist of various animals, including sheep, frogs, chickens, rabbits, rats, bats, and lizards. There are also mushrooms, which are the only fodder that are not an animal, and Goat Sheep, which are the only fodder that are hybrid animals.

Bosses[edit]

Each world is overseen by an boss, who was put in charge of the Gnorcs in the area. While the portal to the boss's level is located near the Balloonist in each world, the player is not, in fact, required to confront and defeat the boss first. Rather, it is the Balloonist who sets the condition for traveling to the next world, and if Spyro has released enough dragons, collected enough treasure, the player may proceed to the next world without having to defeat the world's boss first.

Name Description
Toasty He is the first boss and fought in Artisans. Toasty appears to be a scythe-wielding scarecrow but is ultimately revealed to be a sheep in disguise.
Doctor Shemp Doctor Shemp is a witch doctor-like boss who wears sunglasses. He is the boss of Peace Keepers and the second boss overall. Doctor Shemp carries a skull-topped staff, which he tries to strike at Spyro. Doctor Shemp wears a metal shield to protect the front of his body, but is vulnerable from behind.
Blowhard He is the third boss and is fought in Magic Crafters. Blowhard is a wind sorcerer with a whirlwind body and some facial features. Like the Green Wizards found throughout the level, Blowhard is also capable of generating thunderclouds and lightning bolts.
Metalhead A large metal robot who is the boss of Beast Makers and the fourth boss overall. It attacks Spyro with electric rays and by throwing Armored Banana Boys and Strongarms. Metalhead is unaffected by Spyro's flame and charge attack, but Spyro can defeat it by destroying two sets of pylons.
Jacques The boss of Dream Weavers and the fourth boss overall, Jacques is a lizard-faced jack-in-the-box, which its name was derived from. Jacques is located in a nightmare landscape filled with creatures born from bad dreams. Spyro fights him on a series of platforms levitating above a volcanic crater. His main attack is to throw boxes at Spyro.
Gnasty Gnorc He is the main antagonist of the game and the final boss. Gnasty Gnorc's main attack is firing a green light from his scepter. The battle starts with Gnasty Gnorc standing on a platform that is out of Spyro's range of attack, so Spyro must obtain keys from thieves to lower the platform. Spyro must then chase Gnasty Gnorc through the junkyard until reaching a dead-end at the back of a magma-filled hallway, where he defeats Gnasty Gnorc.

Items and objects[edit]

Name Description
Dragon Egg They are pink eggs that are stolen by thieves, and each one carries a Dragon Egg. There is a thief in most worlds and levels. Spyro is required to collect enough eggs to access Beast Makers world.
Extra Life Extra Lives are represented by silver dragon statues that are usually hidden within a blue treasure chest.
Jewel Also known as treasure, jewels make up the hoard of the Dragon Treasure, which Gnasty Gnorc stole from the dragons. He used some of the treasure to create Gnorcs, although because of his sloppy personality, several jewels were scattered around the Dragon Worlds. Several are found in plain sight, some are found in treasure chests or pots, and some are found by defeating an enemy. Every level and world has a set number of jewels, and collecting them adds to the game's completion percentage. Spyro must collect enough jewels to access the last two worlds, Magic Crafters and Gnorc Gnexus.

There are five types of jewels, each having a different color⁠—red, green, blue, gold, and purple⁠—and denomination: 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 respectively. Jewels with higher denominations are less common than the jewels with a lower one. There are a total of 14,000 jewels, several of which are located in the bonus level, Gnasty's Loot.

Orb If Spyro defeats an enemy more than once, it may drop an Orb. When Spyro collects twenty of them, he receives an extra life.

Worlds[edit]

The game has six worlds, which are known as Dragon Worlds. Each world is home to a different type of dragon. They are where Spyro can access other levels by entering a portal. Every world has five portals except the last one, Gnorc Gnexus. Every world hub has some jewels, a few dragons to rescue, and a flight level that Spyro can unlock by performing a certain task within the hub.

World Description Objectives
Artisans The first world and the home of Spyro and the other dragons. Artisans is an area with flourishing grass and meadows. There are several small castles throughout the area. The Gnorcs found in Artisans are weak and do not attempt to attack Spyro. Gems: 100
Dragon Statues: 4
Peace Keepers The second world is Peace Keepers, which is a dusty desert with several tar pits, and it is located at a relatively high altitude. The world has a number of secrets, several of which Spyro can find by aiming each of the surrounding cannons in a certain directions. The world has Gnorcs who try to harm Spyro and those who run from him. Gems: 200
Dragon Statues: 3
Dragon Eggs: 1
Magic Crafters The third world is filled with landscape that defies the laws of physics because of the green Druids around the area. Magic Crafters are where supercharge ramps are first introduced. Spyro can use them to perform a fast charge and glide to much longer distances. Gems: 300
Dragon Statues: 3
Dragon Eggs: 2
Beast Makers The fourth world is a dark swamp that was turned into an electrified battlefield. Hazards include native wildlife, Gnorcs specialized with electricity, and murky swamp water. Spyro must have at least five Dragon Eggs in order to access the world. Gems: 300
Dragon Statues: 2
Dream Weavers The fifth world is Dream Weavers, a dream-themed world consisting of several illusions. The native dragons are in charge of creating dreams and intercepting nightmares. Dream Weavers consists of several islands floating in the skies. Dream Weavers has several monks that are capable of changing size with the help of a magical cannon. Spyro must have rescued at least 50 dragons before he can access the world. Gems: 300
Dragon Statues: 3
Gnorc Gnexus (Gnasty's World) The sixth and last world is the industrial home world of Gnasty Gnorc, who was banished here by the dragons long ago. Unlike previous worlds, each level is unlocked by completing the previous one. Gems: 200
Dragon Statues: 2

Levels[edit]

The levels are similar to the worlds in that they have a certain number of gems and usually a few dragons to rescue. Every world except Gnorc Gnexus has three regular levels, a boss level, and a flight level. Every boss level has the same name its boss. Every level, including boss ones, can be completed in any order, although Spyro must unlock the flight levels from the world hub first.

The first five Dragon Worlds each have a flight level. As their name implies, flight levels involve Spyro gliding around the area, fulfilling certain tasks. They are the only levels with no dragons to rescue.

Level Description Objectives
Artisans
Stone Hill The first level takes place at a green hillside by the ocean. A large castle serves as a landmark within the level. Different sections of the level are connected by a series of tunnels. Rams and shepherds are the enemies found in the level, as well a thief with a Dragon Egg. Gems: 200
Dragons: 4
Dragon Eggs: 1
Dark Hollow The level takes place at night in a hollow area lit by lamps, as its name implies. Spyro can use his flame on some piles of wood to light up some of the areas. There is also a small lake which can only be reached through halls guarded by Gnorc Sentries. This is the first level to have enemies that cannot be defeated from a charge attack. Other enemies in the level include Gnorc Knights and soliders. Gems: 100
Dragons: 3
Town Square The level takes place in a town at dusk. It has several buildings that border a lake and a fountain in the town's main square. The level focuses on gliding, which Spyro must do to reach the exit. Town Square has bull enemies that chase Spyro, like the rams of Stone Hill. Gems: 200
Dragons: 4
Dragon Eggs: 1
Toasty
(boss level)
In the boss level, Spyro must traverse a large castle, which is set atop a cliff overlooking a lake. The shepherds from Stone Hill return in this level, but are paired with watchdogs that pounce at Spyro when he approaches. The battle against Toasty takes place in the castle courtyards. Gems: 100
Dragons: 1
Sunny Flight The first flight level, Sunny Flight, takes place on an island on a bright sunny morning. The island rock is decorated with crystals, and train tracks are woven throughout the island. There is a spire in the middle of the water with several Gnorcs flying around in planes and a tunnel and alcove with chests. Spyro's objectives are to destroy the 8 barrels carried by the trains, fly through 8 green arches set in a circle around the island, destroy 8 planes, and break open all 8 chests. Gems: 300
Peace Keepers
Dry Canyon The first level takes place in a dusty canyon in the middle of a rocky desert. Dry Canyon is the first level with vulture enemies, and it includes long glides and several traps. Gems: 400
Dragons: 4
Dragon Eggs: 1
Cliff Town The level has a series of villages that are situated on a high cliff. The level introduces two enemies, Fat Ladies and Pueblos. Directly across the town is a separate part of the level that has vultures. Gems: 400
Dragons: 3
Dragon Eggs: 1
Ice Cavern A dark, icy cavern full of caves and plummeting sink-holes. Both big and small Gnorcs appear in the canyon; the small ones (some of which wear skis) throw snowballs, and the big ones use their fists. Gems: 400
Dragons: 5
Doctor Shemp
(boss level)
A curvy, desert mountaintop where Doctor Shemp is fought. Along the way, Spyro must avoid Fat Ladies and Kamikaze Tribesmen, as well as tar pits. Gems: 300
Dragons: 1
Night Flight The second flight level takes place on an island in the middle of the ocean. As the name suggests, it takes place at night. Objectives include gliding through rings and destroying chests, arches, and lighthouses. Gems: 300
Magic Crafters
Alpine Ridge A mountainous area with several enemies, including Elder Wizards, Armored Druids, Green Druids, and Beasts. Gems: 500
Dragons: 4
Dragon Eggs: 1
High Caves A series of caves high up on a mountain. Enemies include Elder Wizards, Tornado Wizards, Metalback Spiders, and Green Druids. A large pit is near the end of the level, and some areas can only be reached by using the supercharge ramp. If Spyro falls into the large pit, a few fairies rescue and carry him back on land. Gems: 500
Dragons: 3
Dragon Eggs: 2
Wizard Peak A snowy mountain with Elder Wizards, Green Wizards, Armored Druids, and Ice Gnorcs. The level features several supercharge ramps. Gems: 500
Dragons: 3
Dragon Eggs: 2
Blowhard
(boss level)
A windy mountaintop guarded by lightning wizards and, to a lesser extent, Green Druids. The third boss, Blowhard, is fought here. Gems: 400
Dragons: 1
Crystal Flight Crystal Flight takes place around tall, crystal-encrusted islands. Spyro must glide through 8 rainbow rings and 8 arches and use his flame on 8 planes and 8 chests. Gems: 300
Beast Makers
Terrace Village A enclosed village located on a swamp. The level has both Electric and Laser Gnorcs, who use electricity to attack Spyro, sometimes even by electrifying the ground. There is a staircase near the end that blends in with the wall. Gems: 400
Dragons: 200
Misty Bog A large swamp covered in mist. In the level, Spyro encounters Attack Frogs, Gnorc Dudes, and literal Dragon-Eating Plants. Chickens are the fodder featured around the level. Gems: 500
Dragons: 4
Tree Tops As its name suggests, Tree Tops takes place high in the branches and features several twisting supercharge ramps. The main enemies are Banana Boys, who attack by throwing bananas, and Strongarms, who throw bananas and large apes that kick Spyro. The level has a Green Thief and a Red Thief, and both are difficult to catch. In order to catch one of the thieves and free a certain dragon, Spyro must supercharge down the correct ramps in the correct order. Gems: 500
Dragons: 3
Metalhead
(boss level)
The namesake boss, Metalhead, inhabits a small fortress in a swamp. The Banana Boys from the level Tree Tops return but were given heat-resistant armor. Most of the level involves Spyro going to the fortress, where the battle against Metalhead takes place. Metalhead is a large and powerful mechanical monster who can only be defeated by cutting off his power supply and smashing through metal power poles. Gems: 500
Dragons: 1
Wild Flight The flight level is split into two separate areas through a series of canals. Wild Flight has tighter turns than earlier flight levels and steep inclines for Spyro to ascend and descend. Spyro's objectives are to destroy 8 boats, fly through 8 arches, destroy 8 planes, and break open 8 chests. Gems: 300
Dream Weavers
Dark Passage A shadow-filled mountain that appears to hover above empty space. The level is unique in that its enemies are capable of changing size. Puppies and small turtles that appear harmless can morph into huge monsters in the darkness. Spyro can attack a Lamp Fool to temporarily turn it into a lamp, making the enemies small. Gems: 500
Dragons: 3
Lofty Castle An extravagant, airborne castle that floats around several small islands. There are various parts where Spyro must free caged fairies to progress. Enemies here include Balloonist Gnorcs, Cupids (which resemble demons), and Puffer Birds. Gems: 400
Dragons: 3
Haunted Towers The level takes place at a large, ornate castle that floats in a night sky, with the sunset located below. The castle is haunted by huge armor suits named Tin Soldiers, which spring to life with the help of Blue Wizards. Tin Soldiers can only be defeated by a superflame or a supercharge. It is the only place where Spyro can receive a kiss from the Golden Fairy, which grants him the superflame ability until he exits the level. One of the areas can only be accessed if Spyro supercharges around the castle and up a ramp. Gems: 500
Dragons: 3
Jacques
(boss level)
The titular boss, Jacques, is fought here. The boss level takes place on small, rocky islands that are suspended over lakes of magma. To progress, Spyro must attack the Clock Fools, causing them to activate a pedestal to make it rise higher temporarily. Gems: 500
Dragons: 2
Icy Flight The fifth and final flight level takes place around an ice-covered mountain at night, complete with light towers and railroad tracks. Spyro's objectives are to light the torches and destroy the chests, trains, and defeat the Propeller Gnorcs. Gems: 300
Gnorc Gnexus
Gnorc Cove The level is a shipping dock built on the sea, and it is run by Gnorcs. Gems: 400
Dragons: 2
Twilight Harbor A harbor built on the water in an alcove, set at twilight. This base is inhabited by guerillas of Gnorcs that carry a gun, machete, or hand grenades. Gems: 400
Dragons: 2
Gnasty Gnorc
(boss level)
The last area and the location of the final boss, Gnasty Gnorc. It is accessible once Spyro completes the two previous levels in Gnorc Gnexus. Gems: 500
Gnasty's Loot A level that Spyro can unlock by collecting every jewel and freeing every dragon. Although not a flight level, Gnasty's Loot features a flight segment. There are lots of gems in the level, and Spyro can collect all of them for a 120% completion score. By completing the level, a secret ending is unlocked. Gems: 2,000

Music[edit]

The music for Spyro the Dragon was composed by Stewart Copeland, the drummer for The Police. The score for Spyro the Dragon was well received for its originality and portrayal of fantasy-like themes for the Dragon Worlds. All music was composed and performed on a keyboard inputted to a computer with software managing the recordings and compositions.[citation needed] The drum tracks were recordings of Copeland performing the actual drums. Every level in the game has a unique theme, except for Toasty and the Gnorc Gnexus world hub, which use the same theme. Like several video games, Spyro the Dragon's themes do not have any vocals, although the Wild Flight theme has obscured vocal-sounding voices layered on top of the guitar, organ and drums.

Regional differences[edit]

Music[edit]

In the North American release, the track for High Caves is a remix of Tree Tops's track. In the European release, High Caves was given a more upbeat track.

Reception[edit]

Spyro the Dragon received mostly favorable reviews and became a best-seller. IGN ranked it of 9.0 out of 10, and GameSpot ranked it 8.3 out of 10. When the sequel, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, was released, several fans considered the first game to be inferior.[citation needed] Reviews have criticized the easy bosses.

Trivia[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Spyro the Dragon UK website - www.spyro1.com (archived)
  2. PlayStation Store
  3. Spyro the Dragon manual, page 6.