Spyro the Dragon (video game)
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|Spyro the Dragon|
European PlayStation cover art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Distributor(s)||Universal Interactive Studios|
Spyro the Dragon is a platform video game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released for the PlayStation in September 1998. 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.
Spyro the Dragon puts players in the control of the titular Spyro, as he travels across various worlds in order to rescue his fellow dragons, recover the stolen treasure, and defeat the evil Gnasty Gnorc. Spyro has two main attacks; breathing fire and charging with his horns, which must be strategically used for defeating enemies and smashing open crates. Charging can be used against many small enemies but not against larger enemies. Likewise, fire is capable of defeating larger enemies, but can be blocked by enemies that use metal armor. Spyro is also able to glide whilst jumping to reach new areas, with some levels allowing him to fly freely in the air. Spyro's health is represented by the color of his dragonfly partner, Sparx, who also helps him pick up nearby treasure. Taking damage will cause Sparx to lose his color and disappear, leaving Spyro vulnerable, but he can recover health by eating butterflies spawned from defeating small animals. Various treasure can be found in various areas, including inside treasure chests, some of which require certain techniques to break open, or earned by defeating enemies. Enemies that have already had their gems retrieved upon revisiting areas will instead release orbs that can be collected towards earning extra lives.
The game consists of several different worlds, which are divided into various realms accessed by finding their gates. In order to progress to the next hub world, the player needs to fulfil the goal required by the balloonist in each world, such as a certain amount of treasure, rescued dragons, or dragon eggs. Most worlds contain dragons encased in stone, which can be rescued by touching them. Some of these dragons offer hints, and their platforms can be used to save the game. Eggs are in the possession of speedy blue thieves that must be chased down and defeated in order to recover them. 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 player can access a bonus level: Gnasty's Loot.
During the intro, a news team sets up an interview with a couple of dragons within the Artisan World, one of five realms in the Dragon Kingdom (the others of which include Peace Keepers' world, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers, and Dream Weavers) which have lived in harmony for years. When the reporter asks about Gnasty Gnorc, a gnorc who lives within his own, sixth realm, one of the dragons describes him as an ugly, simple minded creature who poses no threat to the Dragon Kingdom. However, Gnasty is watching the live feed from his home world and, enraged, uses a magic spell to encase all dragons in crystal and sends out his hordes of gnorc soldiers. One dragon, Spyro, is able to avoid the attack due to his more short-bodied appearance in comparison to the much larger dragons. Aided by his dragonfly companion, Sparx, Spyro vows to rescue his dragon brethren and defeat Gnasty Gnorc once and for all. He visits each of the dragon realms in sequence, freeing trapped dragons, collecting treasure, and rescuing dragon eggs from pesky thieves within each realms' portal worlds before facing realm bosses. He then makes his way to Gnasty's Junkyard World where he fights his way through two precursor portals before confronting the Gnorc himself. After he defeats Gnasty, an ending clip shows him back in Artisan World discussing his victory with the news reporters.
After the credits, Spyro appears back in Gnasty's Junkyard World where he frees one last dragon who points him to Gnasty's treasure portal which will only open once the player has completed 100% of the game; collecting every bit of treasure and rescuing all dragons and dragon eggs. Once Spyro has reached 100% and collected everything within the treasure portal, an alternate ending plays where Spyro is, again, interviewed by the news reporters just as another magic spell comes in and crystallizes the dragons. Spyro's last statement is, "Here we go again."
The development of Spyro the Dragon began in 1997, one year after both Disruptor and Crash Bandicoot were 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 grass, so they eventually changed him to purple. There were many released demos of Spyro, which did not have many differences from each other besides music and some areas being blocked off. 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.
The game's music was composed and produced by Stewart Copeland, the former drummer of The Police. The music is primarily progressive rock-themed. 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 coming from 'Wizard Peak', 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 received positive reviews from critics, holding a score of 85% at GameRankings, based on an aggregate of 18 reviews. GameSpot gave the game an 8.3/10, 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.
- "Spyro the Dragon for PlayStation - Technical Information, Game Information, Technical Support - Gamespot". GameSpot.
- Harris, Craig (1998-09-09). "Spyro the Dragon". IGN. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- "Spyro the Dragon Review". Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- Harris, Craig (September 9, 1998). "Spyro the Dragon". IGN. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- on YouTube
- John Fiorito, Craig Stitt (May 2, 2000). "Gamasutra - Features - Lessons in Color Theory for Spyro the Dragon". Gamasutra.
- Chris Buffa (September 30, 2008). "Resistance 2 on PlayStation 3 Features - GameDaily". GameDaily.
- Fielder, Joe (2012-12-07). "Spyro the Dragon returns to PSN next week! - PlaystationBlog.Europe". Retrieved 2012-12-07.
- "Spyro the Dragon for PlayStation". GameRankings. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- Fielder, Joe (September 9, 1998). "Spyro the Dragon Review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- PlayStation Power #33 (December 1998), p. 94–97
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