Title: Spyro the Dragon
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
One of my earliest childhood gaming memories is of charging around Stone Hill, head butting goats. In this gaming age there is no modern equivalent to the original Spyro series, and though Krome Studios tried to reboot the little purple dragon, the new games lacked the charm and fun of the originals.
Nowadays we’re used to top notch graphics, everything looks beautiful and smooth, but Spyro was released in 1998, before developers had managed to smooth out all those polygons. Regardless, Spyro is still visually appealing despite its angular shapes and lack of smooth circles. The environments are bright and colourful, each level is designed to reflect the overworld, from deserts, to plains, to spooky castles and dream worlds. The enemy design may have amounted to little more than re-skinning the same few enemies but at the time that didn’t matter, besides plenty of modern games are guilty of doing the same and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The point is, they’re colourful and recognisable, which is important for a kid’s game.
The controls come off as a little clunky now, that awkward glide in Town Square has almost prevented me from completing a game I finished when I was a child. Perhaps it’s because the sequels introduced the hover function which made landing easier, or perhaps child me was simply superior to adult me, but gliding from point to point certainly seems less fluid. And let’s not forget those Speedways. As a child, these were the bane of my existence. It wasn’t until I was older that I managed to complete each speedway, but the controls were so off-putting and over-sensitive that it was a miracle I ever managed it. Other than that, I can still enjoy the charging and fire-breathing that made Spyro my favourite childhood game.
Technical aspects aside, Spyro was and still is fun. The characters are funny, the enemies are try to run and hide as you charge after them, the game play is enjoyable (mostly). It may not be the best of the series by a long shot, but it is still a good game and an absolute classic. The great thing is, the new generation of gamers need not miss out as Sony released the original series on the PSN (which is lucky as copies of the PS1 game cost around £40). So yes, you may struggle with clunky controls which make the final boss excessively difficult, yes you may rage quit because you keep falling off something, but it’s worth it just to say, yes I collected all the gems, saved all the dragons, and rescued all the eggs. This classic is definitely not one to be missed.