Spyro the Dragon (video game)
|Spyro the Dragon|
PAL region box art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Distributor(s)||Universal Interactive Studios|
Spyro the Dragon is a platform game developed by Insomniac Games for the PlayStation. It stars the title character, a young purple dragon named Spyro and his dragonfly friend, Sparx, and is the first game in the Spyro the Dragon series. The first game was massively popular at its initial release and Spyro would later become one of the most recognizable, popular and beloved gaming icons for the PlayStation gaming console alongside Crash Bandicoot.
The game is made up of different levels (realms), all connected together by hub worlds (homeworlds). The goal in each homeworld is to collect a certain amount of items, be it gems, rescued dragons, or dragon eggs, in each realm in order to travel to the next homeworld.
Each homeworld and its realms are progressively more difficult than the last. Many later levels focus on Spyro's ability to glide from platform to platform. Additionally, Spyro's fire breath and charge are used to vanquish enemies. Each homeworld contains an optional boss to defeat, except for the final homeworld where the boss is mandatory. Every homeworld (except Gnasty's World) contains a flying challenge level where Spyro's normal gliding ability is replaced with the ability to fly freely. The goal is to complete a certain number of obstacles (such as planes to blow up and rings to fly through) which each add a small amount of time to a countdown. Throughout the game Spyro's health is indicated by his small dragonfly friend named Sparx. When Sparx is gold Spyro is at full health. After taking a hit Sparx turns blue, and with another hit, green. Another hit and Sparx disappears leaving Spyro with only one hit left before the player loses one life. After all lives are lost the player must restart from the last save point. Save points are placed throughout each homeworld and are the locations of the frozen dragons. Once a dragon has been released it leaves behind a save point which is accessible for the remainder of the game. In order to beat the game, the player must travel to the final homeworld, enter Gnasty Gnorc's lair, and defeat him. Upon Gnasty's defeat the player is presented with a closing cinematic and credits, then the player may now go to all worlds and realms in order to obtain each gem, egg, and release each dragon. Upon achieving 100% completion the play can access Gnasty's Loot.
Before the game begins, the five Dragon clans lived in harmony in their five worlds (these being Artisans, Peace Keepers, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers and Dream Weavers). Then one fateful day when a news report takes place, where a reporter asks about Gnasty Gnorc. He is then described as 'not a threat' and 'ugly'. Gnasty Gnorc is apparently watching the interview live on television and is outraged. Gnasty Gnorc attacks the dragon realms by using a magic spell that traps all the dragons in crystal, except for Spyro, who dodges the spell because of his small size. He goes across the Dragon Realms saving the trapped dragons, who give hints and tips, battling bosses and collecting gems until he faces Gnasty in a final boss battle in the Junkyard World (or Gnasty's World). After the battle, Spyro returns to Gnasty's World. He is greeted by a final dragon that says that the portal to the last level will not be opened until Spyro collects every single gem, egg and dragon in the worlds (100%.) If the player collected all gems, saved all the dragons, and rescued all the eggs, then an alternate ending is presented.
Spyro the Dragon is the main character, alongside Sparx the Dragonfly, his best friend who acts like the player's health meter and assists in gathering gems. The various dragons Spyro unfreezes along the way are also key characters in Spyro's progression through the game. Gnasty Gnorc is the main antagonist, who froze all the dragons of the land in crystal.
The development of Spyro the Dragon began in 1997, one year after Crash Bandicoot was released. The idea of a dragon was introduced by Insomniac artist Craig Stitt, while Alex Hastings developed a 3D panoramic engine containing some of the first level of detail renderers used on the PlayStation. During the development of the game, Spyro was originally going to be green, but the developers thought it was a bad idea because he would blend in with the Grass Areas, so they eventually changed him to purple. In an interview, Ted Price stated that they gave up the series after releasing Spyro: Year of the Dragon because his actions were limited, due to not being able to hold anything in his hands.
Voice Talent 
- Carlos Alazraqui as Spyro the Dragon / Useni / Marco / Hexus / Eldrid
- Clancy Brown as Obasi / Revillo / Unika / Enzo / Maximos / Nestor / Titan / Boris
- Michael Gough as Gnasty Gnorc / Sadiki / Claude / Cleetus / Bruno / Cyprin / Nevin / Astor
- Jamie Alcroft as Lateef / Cosmos / Kosoko / Zane / Interviewer / Trondo / Oswin / Tomas
- Michael Connor as Tomas / Gildas / Darius / Boldar / Dragons
- André Sogliuzzo as Sparx the Dragonfly
The music featured in Spyro The Dragon was composed and performed by Stewart Copeland (former drummer of The Police). Many of the pieces from the game, or music motifs from them, have made their way into other Copeland Pieces, such as the theme to The Amanda Show, Look Up, and Louis Hansa. The music for the level Jacques appears on Copeland's compilation album The Stewart Copeland Anthology, referred to as Rain.
The game is now available for download on PlayStation Store for the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 in North America and in Japan for $5.99 or 545 yen. It was released to the PlayStation Store in Europe on the 12th December 2012, together with Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon.
Upon release, Spyro the Dragon garnered positive critical reception, with the game receiving an average ranking of 86% at Game Rankings. GameSpot gave the game an 8.3, describing it as having very good graphics for its time, and being one of the first well-received full-3D platformers for the original PlayStation. IGN rated it 9/10, with similar comments, stating "the game utilizes the PlayStation's hardware to the max, and there's not an obvious polygon glitch to speak of", and saying that the only problem was the camera not following the character correctly. In Japan, Famitsu magazine score the game a 30 out of 40.
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