This article is about my second favorite video game franchise: Spyro the Dragon. The article provides an overview of the series, and then gives a comparison of the main differences between the original Spyro the Dragon games and The Legend of Spyro reboot. There are many changes, ranging from Spyro’s backstory to the main characters themselves. The article then concludes by stating that Spyro has been gone too long; he needs to make a fiery comeback!
Copyright 2018 Ammon Hansen
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Spyro Through the Ages: The Different Worlds of Spyro the Dragon
By Ammon Hansen November 27, 2016
Back in 1998, when there was no such thing as a PlayStation 2, a small dragon was created by Insomniac Games. This tiny purple character was named Spyro, and he became an instant hit. By using the full extent of the PlayStation’s hardware, the game became one of the first well-received 3D games on the PlayStation.
Spyro the Dragon has come a long way since that game. The series has had a reboot and multiple spin-offs, but there is only one thing that seems to be a constant in the lifetime of the series: Spyro himself.
In the reboot and spin-offs, the fact that Spyro is a fire-breathing purple dragon is always true. However, his backstory, abilities, friends, and mentors change dramatically in multiple ways.
Spyro Games Overview
Spyro the Dragon Trilogy
- Spyro the Dragon (1998) released on PlayStation, developed by Insomniac Games
- Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! (1999) released on PlayStation, developed by Insomniac Games
- Spyro: Year of the Dragon (2000) released on PlayStation, developed by Insomniac Games
- Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (2002) released on PlayStation 2 and GameCube, developed by Check Six Games and Equinox Digital Entertainment
- Spyro: A Hero’s Tail (2004) released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, developed by Eurocom
- Spyro: Shadow Legacy (2005) released on Nintendo DS, developed by Amaze Entertainment
- Spyro: Season of Ice (2001) released on Game Boy Advance, developed by Digital Eclipse
- Spyro 2: Season of Flame (2002) released on Game Boy Advance, developed by Digital Eclipse
- Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs (2003) released on Game Boy Advance, developed by Digital Eclipse
- Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy (2004) released on Game Boy Advance, developed by Vicarious Visions
The Legend of Spyro Series Reboot
- The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning (2006) released on Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube, developed by Krome Studios
- The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (2007) released on Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, and Wii, developed by Krome Studios
- The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (2008) released on Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Wii, developed by Étranges Libellules
Spyro starred in the game Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, but the game was not about him. He is simply a playable character throughout the six Skylanders games, but nothing within this universe has anything to do with the original series or the reboot. It isn’t even a spin-off, for this reason.
In the original series, Spyro is said to have hatched from a red dragon egg. His egg and a yellow dragonfly egg were stolen by two thieves, who eventually dropped the two eggs when discovered by the rest of the dragons. At this point, Spyro and the dragonfly both hatched. The dragonfly, named Sparx, was soon saved by Spyro from a bird, and the two became best friends. No one knows who their parents were, or where they came from.
In the reboot, Spyro receives an all-new backstory, which is completely different. In this version, Spyro came from a purple dragon egg. Purple dragons are very rare, appearing once every ten generations, prophesied to direct the fate of the era. However, another purple dragon known as the Dark Master knows of this prophecy as well. He doesn’t want this new dragon to hatch, so he sends his armies to destroy the eggs.
The eggs are watched over by the Fire Guardian Ignitus, and he saves Spyro’s egg by sending it down a nearby stream, hoping for the best. The egg is soon discovered by a small family of dragonflies, who adopt Spyro as their own. It just so happened that a young dragonfly named Sparx hatched to them just that day. The two believe themselves to be brothers, thinking that Spyro is just an abnormally large, purple dragonfly. It isn’t until Spyro first breathes fire three years later that he is told by his adoptive parents that he is not their son. They tell him that he came from another land, and then he sets out with Sparx to discover who and what he is.
Between the original series and the reboot, the role of the dragonflies is completely different. In the original series, every newly hatched dragon is paired with a dragonfly, to protect and mentor them. But in The Legend of Spyro, dragonflies serve no such purpose. Sparx and Spyro are best friends and brothers, and were not ceremoniously chosen.
Spyro’s abilities change drastically as well. In the original series, he breathes fire just like every other dragon. Additionally, in the spin-off game Spyro 2: Season of Flame, Spyro learns to breathe ice and lightning (powers that any other dragon could develop), although the lightning ability is not available in any other game within the series.
Later, in Spyro: Shadow Legacy, the last installment of the original series, the player learns of the innate abilities of purple dragons. It is revealed that purple dragons are a special breed, and are gifted with powerful magical energy strong enough to withstand dark magic. During the game, Spyro also learns from the Dragon Elders how to breathe ice (an ability he does not have at the start of the game).
This marks several large differences between the two series’. In The Legend of Spyro, purple dragons are rare. Meanwhile, in Spyro the Dragon, several purple dragons are rescued throughout the game.
Additionally, in The Legend of Spyro, there are four main types of dragons: Fire, Ice, Earth, and Electricity. Normally, every dragon has a single ability, which is easily seen from the color of their scales (red, blue, green, or yellow, respectively). However, purple dragons are able to master all four of these, which was previously thought to be impossible. Furthermore, a purple dragon can develop other abilities too, such as control over Time. Spyro quickly learns to use each of these five abilities, with the help of the Guardians and the Chronicler.
The Dragon Guardians
The four Guardians only exist in the world of The Legend of Spyro. These four dragons are Ignitus, the Fire Guardian; Cyril, the Ice Guardian; Terrador, the Earth Guardian; and Volteer, the Electricity Guardian. Their purpose is to protect the dragon eggs and teach young dragons. They mentor Spyro and teach him how to use his newfound powers and abilities, teaching him everything he needs to know in order to defeat Cynder and the Dark Master, Malefor.
The Dragon Elders
In both the continuation trilogy and the spin-off trilogy from Spyro the Dragon, the Dragon Elders are a group of older dragons that govern the Dragon Realms. Spyro is introduced to the seven Elders in Spyro: A Hero’s Tail and Spyro: Shadow Legacy. The Elders only exist in the original series, and are very much like the Dragon Guardians.
The seven Elders are Tomas, Magnus, Titan, Astor, Red, Cho-Lei, and Ragnar/Sensei. They teach and mentor Spyro throughout the series, giving him advice and showing him how to fight. In fact, the banished Elder Red is the main villain in A Hero’s Tail, and a minor villain in Shadow Legacy. He is welcomed back to the Dragon Dojo after the events that took place in the last game.
Spyro’s Friends and Acquaintances
In the original trilogies and spin-offs, Spyro had a great number of friends, including Hunter the cheetah, Blink the mole, and Zoe the fairy. However, none of these friends exist in The Legend of Spyro. If the series had continued, these characters would likely have been introduced, but without them in The Legend of Spyro, it simply felt as if something big was missing.
Where Have You Gone, Spyro?
Throughout the thirteen Spyro games, many changes were made, and several things were left unexplained. While these do not affect the gameplay of each individual game, it does change the feel of the series as a whole. The first trilogy is different in setup, story, gameplay, and general player experience than the spin-offs and continuation trilogy. Afterward, the reboot trilogy is completely different from the original, for many other reasons.
Overall, it is widely agreed by Spyro fans that the original trilogy provided the player with the best experience. The games were fun, different, and also fairly simple. Although the rest of the series and the rebooted trilogy were in no way bad or unsatisfying, they just were not the same.
Because of this, fans of the small purple dragon everywhere all agree on one thing: it is time for the return of Spyro. The fire-breathing lizard and his witty pal Sparx need to make a comeback, in a game that will provide the player with the same experience and feel of the Spyro we were first introduced to, back in 1998. That is the character we all know and love, because that little purple dragon has found a big place in all of our hearts. Spyro, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you…
The cover image is taken from Game-Oldies.com:
The image above is taken from Spyro.wikia.com:
http://spyro.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page (and I apologize if it is blurry, as I said before, the game was made in 1998, so good logos are hard to find)