A Perfect Tribute To The Purple Dragon
After the financial success of the Crash Bandicoot remake it was almost inevitable that a slew of studios would follow suit and recreate other iconic classics. With Medievil and Resident Evil 2 looming on the horizon, Activision’s Spyro Trilogy was met with some criticism over delays and controversial downloads before its release.
Thankfully, the game (or games as the case may be!) is another sure-fire hit, keeping everything intact that made the originals so endearing with enough of a graphical upgrade to make it worth the extra cash. The faithful recreation of Spyro and the iconic worlds he visits is a great trip down memory lane and a wonderful nostalgic hit from start to finish.
For anyone unfamiliar with the adventures of this infamous purple dragon, Spyro The Dragon dropped on the original Playstation back in 1998 to critical acclaim. Navigating a range of 3D worlds, you’re tasked with rescuing dragons from glass and collecting gems scattered around the open landscape.
Within these hub areas are portals that lead to stand-alone levels that usually have a recurring theme or include a mini-game, which in turn allow you to reach the required number of unlocked dragons or gems to progress. During the second and third games this formula is expanded upon further by including skating and more complex levels, but the core concept remains the same throughout the trilogy.
Once you’ve collected enough in one of these hub areas, you can then progress to the next, where you repeat this same pattern again, courtesy of an NPC that transports you from world to world. The ability to fast travel certainly encourages replayability too and the handy UI shows exactly what you’ve missed from each level. This process is repeated until the end boss and subsequently the end of the game. It’s a relatively simple concept and with a play time of around 8 hours per title, each Spyro adventure is perfectly balanced and offers enough playtime to keep things exciting without dragging things out unnecessarily.
Spyro has been recreated perfectly with a beautiful graphical upgrade
The controls are pretty basic too, helping with the pick-up-and-play mentality the game lives and breathes fire by. Pressing Circle unleashes your flame breath, which dispatches most enemies early on. Holding down Square allows Spyro to sprint forward with reckless abandon but also makes him a little more sluggish to control. Both of these moves combine to great effect, with some enemies immune to fire or the headbutt move respectfully, encouraging you to mix up your attacks. Speed pads, platforming sections, gliding and plenty of other little tricks and skills throughout the games help to add some variety to this too.
Fans of the original are sure to love this remake and for the most part Activision have done a wonderful job recreating Spyro in all its glory. The graphical updates are a welcome addition and the little added details to animations and backgrounds help give the game some real character. Charred grass from your flame breath causes wisps of smoke to fly lazily into the air, speed pads blur the outer lines of the screen and the added facial animations for dragons is a welcome inclusion too. All of these small touches really help Spyro stand out alongside Crash Bandicoot as a worthy update to a classic game for current consoles.
The later levels can be pretty challenging, requiring you to mix up your move set
Most of the early worlds are relatively straight forward to get through but as you progress further into this one don’t be fooled by the cutesy art – Spyro is a challenging 3D platformer at times and some of the later levels certainly test your skills. From electrified orcs to giant behemoths, Spyro’s constantly evolving roser of enemies across all three games contributes toward this level of challenge. This of course combines with the general level design too which work harmoniously together to provide a constantly challenging but rewarding experience.
If there’s likely to be one gripe with this trilogy though it’s the camera which, much like the original games, swings wildly and can be a little difficult to control. It’s certainly not a deal breaker but it is worth bearing in mind for those expecting a smooth experience akin to Crash Bandicoot’s three games, which nail the view and general cinematic feel perfectly thanks to a fixed camera.
Some of the mini-games including flying and skating can be a little clunky and difficult to control
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy may not be perfect but it’s hard to argue against the dedication and care put into crafting this set of classic games. Having to download the second and third games is admittedly a little annoying but the graphical updates and smooth gameplay make these a joy to experience again. The nostalgia flows through every perfectly recreated level with a really impressive visual design that brings the detailed locales to life. With more remakes planned for the future, it’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues going forward but for now, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a wonderful tribute to our purple hero and well worth a trip down memory lane.
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Verdict - 8/10