Reignited and It Feels So Good

I’d say that approximately 9% of my childhood was spent playing Spyro the Dragon games on my Playstation. This past week I beat that record by 91%, by playing Spyro the Dragon games on my Playstation.

The Spyro Reignited Trilogy has finally arrived, after a full year of teasers, trailers and delays. This three-in-one remake is a remaster of the original Spyro trilogy, and sees one of the most innovative 3D platform characters take to the skies once more.

This game has been eagerly anticipated by myself and many since the release of the Crash Bandicoot collection last year — A cartoonish remaster that delivered on graphics, but one where some of the movement mechanics failed to register with the old-school feel.

Spyro does not suffer from these gameplay issues, as this HD purple dragon handles and feels like his limited polygon 90s counterpart. If that’s because the studio, Toys for Bob, decided not to mess with anything beyond the graphics, then they definitely made the right decision.

I began with the first game, as I imagine most players did, and my childhood muscle-memory immediately kicked in. I raced that dragon through levels at lightning speed, before slowing down to take-in some of the upgraded scenery.

Each level has the exact same skeleton and tone as it originally did. The colours are even more vibrant than before and everything has been fleshed-out. Details and props adorn walls, hillsides and backdrops — But none feel out of place. Whoever was in charge of adding textures and more colour to these worlds has done a great job of staying true to the original vision of the games.

The enemies and fodder have been rendered cuter and I’m mad about this, in a good way. I genuinely felt remorse when toasting or charging certain gnorcs, dogs and sheep.

Some of the enemies didn’t feel like enemies, and I started questioning who the good guys were in this narrative. Sure, Gnasty Gnorc has incased all of the other dragons in crystal, but Spyro then goes on a Gnorc massacre, whereas not a single dragon dies. I’m sure there is some allegory for the Israeli—Palestinian conflict hidden in the subtext here. I’m absolutely certain of it.

The first game flew by fast, as there are fewer individual challenges compared to other instalments. It’s all about treasure hunting and dragon collecting.

Speaking of treasure hunting — The gem collection system is as enjoyable as ever. Touching bright colours and watching digits increase to a satisfying, round number was my favourite pastime as a seven year-old, and now apparently is again at twenty-five.

My non-gaming wife and partner in crime picked up the controller to play the first Spyro game and took to it in no time. She found all the treasure in every world she has played so far, so I’d highly recommend this game to parents with younger children looking to play a decent platformer that harkens back to an older generation of gaming.

That’s both a compliment and a burn on my partner and I’m okay with it — “Non-gaming” is the operative word there.

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The second game played even better than the first, as colourful characters and even brighter worlds emerged. This game has more challenging moments, with Spyro having to carry out specific tasks to earn Orbs. I had no “trouble with the trolley, eh?” this time around, but some spark-plug thieves and an angry oxen gave me a run for my money.

They have turned Elora (a fawn, you dork!) and Hunter the Cheetah into complete furry fantasies. But I think it’s probably impossible to design a cartoon anthropomorphic animal these days without adding curves, muscle definition and no pants.

I mean, I bet they could try, but statistics show that furries make up 69% of gaming consumers, so they’re not a demographic you really want to alienate.

Each world in Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer (I refuse to call it Ripto’s Rage, as an EU original) feels like it has its own identity. This is helped by individual characters who aid you in each of the worlds.

Highlights of these characters include the Breeze-Builders and the Land-Blubbers — Two sides who can’t find common ground despite sharing many ideologies. They’ve been at war for longer than they can remember and…damn they’ve done it again haven’t they? Another allegory for the conflict in the middle-east. Spyro with the hot-button issues over here.

I’ve just started playing the third instalment, and I’m curious to see what they’ve done with the secondary playable characters — Especially my boy, Agent-9. Already they’ve nailed the colour palette of this third game, which to me always felt like a vibrant celebration of the Year of the Dragon.

For me, the third game is the best game, as it takes the best features of the first two and cuts away some of the issues from both. It’s also the most challenging, in terms of time and difficulty, so I’m curious to see how I handle some of the skateboarding and speedway races.

I’m also curious to find out how they’ve represented Israel and Palestine in this game, seeing as how it’s obviously a thing now. Probably something to do with Sgt. Bird, that warmongering shit.

I can’t recommend this game enough, as it’s more than just a nostalgia trip. If this were released for the first time today, it wouldn’t sell as well, but I’d hope it would still receive critical praise as a platform game.

Parents! Are you sick of your kids asking you for another loot box so they can find that MEGA TIT CANNON in Fortnite? Well, listen to that nonsense no more, by buying them the Spyro Reignited Trilogy this Holiday season.

All of the colours of Fortnite, with none of the additional expenses! Wholesome gameplay that’s fun for the whole family. No longer will you hear your seven-year-old yell that he’s going to plow someone else’s mother, as he’ll be too busy chasing the dragon.

Wait…not that!

Spyro for President! 9/10 — Only loses a point for not being an original game.


Today is Monday, November 26th and I ate my weight in mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving weekend.

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5 Things We Need To See From An Uncharted Movie

Over the past few days I’ve watched the Indiana Jones movies. Yep, all three of the Indiana Jones films. I’m so glad Spielberg left it at those three 80s adventure flicks, and never decided to return to the franchise…

The campy action, explosive set-pieces and cartoonish characterisation from the first three films holds up brilliantly well. Which got me thinking about the Uncharted game series and rumoured film. Uncharted, rightfully, borrowed so many tropes from Spielberg throughout each of the five games. As well as peppering in its own brand of quick-witted dialogue, along with Neil Druckmann’s trademark emotional storytelling.

With a Spielberg directed and Ford fronted Indiana 5 set for a 2020 release, and an Uncharted movie stuck in development hell, I can’t help but wonder if Hollywood is backing the wrong franchise. I’m not sure how many movie-goers will be interested in the Jones brand once Ford hangs up his acting hat, and dramatic whip, for the last time.

Whereas a fully backed Uncharted franchise, with a younger established star as hero Nathan Drake, could provide a studio with a future 5-10 tentpole movies over the next couple of decades. Because that’s how things work now, you can’t just think about a stand-alone blockbuster.

So here’s…

5 Things We Need To See From An Uncharted Movie. Number Three Will Make You Want To Punch An Octopus!!!

1. Cartoonish action

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One thing that makes Indiana Jones enjoyable to this day, is that at no point do the original films take themselves seriously. The action is can’t-miss, yet there’s an element of silliness to almost every sequence. Early Uncharted games mirror this slight campiness, with slapstick and ridiculous set-pieces being utilised effectively.

The last thing I want to see is a hyper-realistic, “dark” action movie that for some reason considers itself to be the peak of artistic cinema. A lot of DC movies and the recent Tomb Raider film fell into this trap. It needs to closely mirror a lot of the in-game action sequences. They should even look back to the opening train-chase scene of The Last Crusade for how a younger action character would behave when being chased by a threat much larger than himself.

We need brightly-lit, vibrant scenes of overtly-choreographed action that bleed seamlessly into each other, just as it would in a video game.

2. Chloe Frazer

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The rebooted Lara Croft may be different, but her original characterisation was simply tits and an ass. She was meant as a sexy avatar that gamers could view as they played the game. This was before readily available pornography, so pixelated tits did a lot for some people. I’m- erm…told.

Enter Chloe Frazer, a character from the second, third and fifth Uncharted games who’s even more competent and capable than Nathan Drake. She’s framed as having looks, as is Drake, but her emotive backstory and competitive nature make her a well-rounded character when compared to the original Croft. As long as Lara is built on as a brand, we’re going to have backwards-thinking gamers boycott the film, due to her not being a pair of tits stuck to a broom handle. Establish Chloe Fraser, and these same people who don’t think women can be action stars will be tricked into seeing a female-led flick.

So I would build her as the secondary protagonist of the first film, so that she could take centre stage in the second. Uncharted started out as the Nathan Drake story, but over the years has become an ensemble group of adventurers, seeking the world’s most sought-after treasures.

Her inclusion in a prequel movie might ruin some of the cannon of the video games, but if the films are successful, then a separate canonical storyline can be established.

3. A Compelling, Possibly Cursed, Treasure

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Each and every one of the Uncharted games pulls you into the historical lore of a certain region. Some of the treasures are based on true events, whereas others are taken from local myth and legend.

The film series would need to start out strong, with a recognisable ancient treasure being at the centre of the chase. Part of worked so well with the first and third Indiana Jones films was the use of Biblical treasures. They used some historical, archeological facts about the location and significance of the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail, only to apply a realisation of myth and legend in the final act of each film.

It’s the blending of human history and mythology that makes both of these franchises so exciting. The idea that at any moment, something fantastical could happen and it would be believable. I’m not entirely sure which lost city they should focus on in the first film, but I do know that we need mythical creatures, an ancient curse or fantastical powers to be featured in the third act.

Also, that octopus over there just called you a prick. Go on, give it a smack.

4. Greatness From Small Beginnings

The revelations of Nathan’s past that are made in the fourth game are some of the most emotive and inspiring scenes in video game history. They tease this idea that Nathan and his older brother, Sam, are descendants of Sir Francis Drake. Only to find that they aren’t. Instead, as orphaned children, they become driven by this idea that they get to make their own fortune. That they may not actually have Sir Francis as a biological ancestor, but why not take his name and become self-made men in their own time?

Sic Parvis Magna was the motto used by Sir Francis Drake, which is interpreted in the Uncharted games as “Greatness from Small Beginnings”. If the first film is to be a prequel, or at the very least the start of Drake’s story, we need to see that Nathan came from nothing, and that he is out to make his fortune.

It’s from this motto that he can struggle, at first, to work well with others. It can explain his mistrust for large organisations or those who’re seeking a wealth-driven glory. If Nathan’s motto is well established in the first act of the film, followed by a strong action sequence, we’ll learn everything we need to know about him in the first twenty-five minutes.

5. Nathan’s Antithesis

Building from that, we need to see an antagonist that is the polar-opposite of what Nathan stands for. The villain also needs to be an orphan, but one who along the way decided to build his or her fortune on the backs of others. They’re now financially rich, but morally bankrupt, as a result of exploiting the “fortunes” of others. The world was never there for them, so why should they be there for the world.

Nathan seeks personal glory, the treasure for him is uncovering the treasure itself. The villain simply sees the price-tag, but also gets off on the idea of crushing Nathan’s personal dreams, because they didn’t have the strength to live out their own.

On top of this, they could make the lead henchman a direct parallel to Chloe. Hell, make the henchman an evil Lara Croft-type. A spoiled, bratty girl who was dishonorably discharged from the army but found mercenary work. And perhaps she doesn’t wear as much clothing as she probably should. Have Chloe defeat and overcome her own backwards archetype.

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At the time of writing, Tom Holland has been attached to the film to play the role of Nathan Drake. While I think this is great casting, it reeks of a studio just making talk, and that they have little intention of actually producing an Uncharted film in the foreseeable future. We’ve certainly seen it with many video game adaptations in the past.

No matter what happens with the project, they absolutely need to take lessons from the Indiana Jones films, and remember what made them fun in the first place.

So that means no aliens please.

Today is Sunday 3rd of June and you should always remember that Temple of Doom is a prequel.

Are you looking forward to a potential Uncharted movie? How would you like to see it play out? Let me know in the comments below!