Spyro Is Fun

I’m trying to keep me streak of three posts a week going, but unfortunately I’m mostly playing the Spyro Reignited Trilogy right now, and there’s not a whole lot to say about that. I played the first game as a rental when I was a kid, and could recognize the remastered levels, especially in the first two worlds, which I played and replayed a lot. For some reason worlds three through five of the original have pretty much completely vacated my memory, even though I remember playing the final boss and finding it surprisingly easy. I kept expecting each segment was gonna be when the hard part started and it never came.

Spyro is good enough at being what it is that I don’t really have any suggestions for it, though. Its hub-and-levels design allows for exploration while still giving a clear goal and way forward, which is good because this is a platformer and not a Metroidvania so a player should never feel lost. The different games don’t all have the exact same setup, but there’s some kind of main collectable that you can, but don’t have to, collect all of, which is a good way to add optional challenges to the game, making it clear that if a specific dragon statue/power orb/whatever is too hard to get, you don’t have to keep banging your head against it, without siloing those statues/orbs/whatever into entire optional levels. The basic controls are really fun and responsive, the charge, fire breath, and gliding make Spyro feel like a dragon, and the gliding in particular makes for platforming challenges that are very different from most 3D platformers, where gliding is usually a temporary power-up when not completely unavailable. The health system of having a little guardian dragonfly that changes color as you accumulate more damage is fun, and recovering health by chasing down local wildlife like sheep feels appropriately dragon-y.

Running around accumulating a huge hoard of treasure is also pretty draconic, although it’s something that basically all platformer protagonists do, and it would’ve been nice if that accumulated treasure could actually be seen piled up somewhere rather than just a number in the corner of the screen like every other game. Crash Bandicoot doesn’t particularly need to be able to make snow angels in the huge pile of wampa fruit he accumulates over the course of a game, but Spyro’s a dragon, he should totally be able to lie on (and, energetic young ‘un that he is, run across and glide around) a huge pile of gold and gems. Maybe there’s something like this for reaching 100%, but it should be something available at any time, from the first hub world of each game, some spot that’s barren when you have no treasure and gets a bigger and bigger pile after certain treasure thresholds. 100% should just put the finishing touches on the hoard with, like, a giant gold statue of Spyro or something.

And the climbing animation for the second game of the remaster is absolute garbage. Look at it:

If you’re reading this from some point in the future and the embed link no longer works, rest assured it is very dorky. I can’t find any footage of the original Spyro 2’s climbing and I never played that one as a kid, but I’m guessing it had basically the same climbing animation, except it didn’t look nearly as out of place in the blocky, low-poly style of the original. Spyro himself was already a rough approximation of a dragon, so his climb animation being a rough approximation of climbing would’ve been fine. Now that Spyro just looks like an actual dragon, the climb animation doesn’t work.

Still a fun game overall, though. I got all the dragons from the first one but didn’t bother hunting down every last gem before moving on to the second, which I’m half-ish the way through now. Hopefully none of what I’ve said turns out to be totally wrong because of some development in the third game.

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