Spyro the Dragon, another video game from my childhood which I have many fond memories of, and perhaps the only game I've played where the enemies actually moon you. Oh yes, they know you're literally going to toast their butts so why not show it to you?
Spyro would go on to become a critical and commercial success but much like Crash Bandicoot things would start to go downhill when the series moved on to other developers. I don't know what the deal is but it seems whenever platformers venture too far away from their roots things just doesn't work out too well. Ask Mario. There are hundreds upon thousands of YouTube poops on the one time he stumbled too far away from Nintendo.
Originally developed by Insomniac Games, Spyro the Dragon charged his way into all our hearts in the Fall of 1998 as a Sony PlayStation exclusive. At the beginning of the game we cut to an on-air interview being conducted, and how dragons got their hands on human equipment to begin with is anyone's guess, everyone has lived in harmony up to this point but when a creature called “Gnasty Gnorc” is mentioned one of the dragons cite that he is not a threat to the Dragon Kingdom, and ugly. Well as you can probably imagine by his name alone, Gnasty Gnorc doesn't like this one bit and cast a spell that turns all the grown up dragons into stone (well so much for not being a threat), except for Spyro who manages to evade the spell due to his small stature, though honestly when I watched the scene it looked like he was just lying there the whole time.
It pegs the question if he's powerful enough to just turn all the full-grown dragons into stone what's stopping him from invading their worlds? Better yet why are adult dragons, upon being released, so okay about a baby dragon going after a guy who literally just kicked their tails without even having to leave his lair? It makes no sense but I digress.
You start off in the Artisans world where you release your first dragon (not a very hard spell to reverse), he gives you some starting information and tells you to free dragons first before going after Gnasty Gnorc. After the clip you can save your game by stepping on the platform left behind by where the dragon was once trapped. Each dragon you release will offer you tips throughout the game, some of them helpful, some of them not so much and others will just waste your time by offering you nothing.
As usual the jump button is X and pressing it twice allows Spyro to glide across distances he wouldn't be able to reach otherwise. Circle permits Spyro to breathe fire, Square has him charge in with his horns and Triangle lets you look around and can also be used to have Spyro drop down during a glide.
In order to access the next world you have to release a certain set number of dragons and collect a certain set number of gems and dragon eggs, which are stolen by an annoying thief dressed in blue who you'll probably come to hate with time. Unlike Crash Bandicoot and Croc, which had levels you went to on a 3D map of the world, you access the various stages in the game through portals you can find in each world. Latter worlds offer a “Flying Stage” where Spyro can fly freely across the air and has to get by four different sets of obstacles before time runs out.
Throughout the game Spyro has a little golden firefly that follows him around. This firefly acts as a means of protection against enemies and each hit it takes changes the color of its body. When the firefly is no longer present alongside Spyro then that means one more hit will cost you a life. In order to keep the firefly afloat after being hit seek out animals either in the form of sheep, frogs, chickens etc. and burn them. Doing so will release a butterfly (don't ask me why) which the firefly will proceed to eat to recover his power.
Cons: There isn't much in ways of cons without really nitpicking. There are times where the camera won't follow the player but I didn't find the issue to be as apparent as it was in Croc. As I've already mentioned above, the dragons can go from helpful to not so helpful, especially if you actually took the time to read the instruction manual. Playing the game you can really tell how much thought and effort went into it; it looks great, it sounds great, the music is great, the voice acting isn't amazing by any stretch of the imagination but it's not bad either. The characters designs and level designs also look great and the game itself really takes advantage of everything the original Sony PlayStation had to offer for its time.
9/10 for Spyro the Dragon.