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.

spyroreig2

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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Spyro The Dragon

Yesterday I wrote about Dungeons and Dragons, but this morning I want to talk about the only dragon that really matters. He’s about ‘yay’ high, purple and has the voice of a late 90s skateboarding American teen.

The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is coming to us this September and I haven’t been this excited for a video game remaster since they did they exact same thing with the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy last year. Usually I’m against remasters, reboots and reimagining across all media platforms, particularly if it was something that was done well the first time around. But Vicarious Visions did such a good job with the beloved Bandicoot, that I trust them with that darn dragon.

As far as I can tell the kids these days are playing a game called Fortnite, and if a rebooted Spyro series can get them to play a real platformer for a couple of weeks then I’m all for it. I was at a barbecue at the weekend where some child was playing Fortnite on his phone. He turned from a perfectly polite human being into some monster screaming at a tiny screen. Which, some to think of it, is exactly what I’ll be like when attempting some of the more difficult orb challenges on Spyro 2.

I’m going to ramble about everything I’m looking forward to revisiting in the remastered Spyro games. I’m aware that this topic would be a great one to practice writing in a clickbait style for. And while I’m training myself to write about more populist things, I’m still not at the point where I can write titles like:

Seven Things We Can’t Wait To See In The Spyro Reignited Trilogy!

The Spyro Home Worlds: Ranked! You Won’t Believe Number #1

Nine Easter Eggs From Spyro The Dragon, Number Six Will Make You Shit Satsumas!

I’m just not there yet. I can’t do it, I’m sorry.

spyro

I can’t wait to once again play a game that’s so incredibly vibrant and colourful. Spyro was great as a seven year old because it was just bright colours and shapes that you collected as you moved through various imaginative worlds. It’s all any young child wants and needs to pass a weekend. The collectable gems were the main source of the game’s vibrancy and I became obsessive about collecting every single one before exiting a level.

This might be quite a controversial statement, but I hope they move the positions of where the gems are located. I don’t think they will, but it would make for a more interesting play-through if I didn’t know exactly where each and every jewel was hidden. Obviously I want everything else (major collectables, mini-games, scenery etc) to be exactly as it was, but new gem locations would add an extra challenge without changing the core fabric of the original games.

I’m looking forward to hearing those soundtracks again. The music for all three games were composed by former drummer for The Police, Stewart Copeland, and every track is an absolute belter than I can still jam to. I’m currently typing to the beat of the Lofty Castle theme and I’m grabbing your face and telling you that this should’ve been the future of music! I’m told by the four corners of the internet that the original soundtrack will be included, which was the only right way to go about this remaster.

I’m not looking forward to that bastard pelican from Breeze Harbour. There’s a mini-game in which you have to ride a trolley and collect floating gears whilst avoiding certain obstacles. Anyone who’s played the original games knows that it can take a fair few attempts. Each and every time I failed, the same dialogue of “Trouble with the trolley, eh?” would blast out of my 14″ “portable” television. It was rage-inducing. It was dying in Dark Souls if after every death you were mocked by Nazeem from Skyrim.

trouble
Trouble?

The third Spyro game in the original trilogy had more mini-games and collectables than the prior two. It even introduced alternative characters to play as, which should be interesting to revisit. Sheila was an Australian stereotype, but at least they didn’t put her in one of those cork-string hats. Sargent Bird was a penguin that could fly? Bentley was a yeti and Agent Nine was a sociopath. I’m hoping that they all have the originally character design, and they don’t randomly put tits on Sheila or something. Seems like there’s a lot of furries in the video game industry these days, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

I wonder if Bentley boxing will be two-player.

I can’t wait to get back to Idol Springs and charge down those ‘mallow-eating wankers.

I bet the arses of the yellow men in the Peace Keepers home-world who flash you are complete with HD textures.

It’s going to be a long summer. I suppose there’ll be other things that happen between now and then that can keep us distracted from the impending death of the species, but I’ve got nothing off the top of my head.

I’ll probably 100% all three games within a week, unless they decide to make them substantially more difficult, like they did with Crash. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a fun week, and the whole world for a small slice of time will be talking about that purple dragon again. Just like Pokemon in 2016, and Crash last year.

What happens when they run out of nostalgic things to target millennials with? I don’t even want to think about remasters of remasters. We’re probably still a couple of decades away from those, I would hope.

Today is Tuesday May 15th and always remember that Zephyr and Breeze Harbour are at war with each other.