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Spyro: Year of the Dragon Review

June 10, 2009


The last game in the Spyro trilogy by Insomniac games, Spyro: Year of the Dragon marks the end of the Playstation 1 era, and the series only went downhill after this, BUT we are talking about the good one!  Now available for the Playstation 3 & Playstation Portable, does this classic game work well in modern times?

Yes it does.  Year of the dragon is sort of a combination of the previous two titles in the franchise.  While Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage had you collecting Talisman/Orbs, & Spyro the Dragon having you collect stoned dragons, Spyro: Year of the Dragon has you collection Dragon Eggs!  Story wise the game begins with Spyro, Hunter from the previous games & the other dragons relaxing & sleeping when thieves appear from under the ground and steal all the dragon eggs.

These eggs only hatch every 12 years, on the year of the dragon no less, (Also giving Spyro the age of 12 since this is the first Year of the Dragon he sees).  The hole is too small for most dragons to go through so its up to Spyro & Hunter to retrieve all the eggs.

All the gameplay additions from Ripto’s Rage are here, swimming, Climbing, the power boosts return, as well as new ones like other playable characters.  These characters take the form of various new allies in the new world, or Forgotten Realm as it is called in game.  Sparx also becomes playable and each character plays differently than the rest, and especially different from Spyro.  For example one of the first characters, Sheila the Kangaroo, is, well a kangaroo, and has the ability to double jump.  These side characters give a nice change of pace to the game and adds more to the overall game.

What also comes along to change the pace are a variety of mini games, whether they be the classic flying ones, or the new skateboarding missions.  These mini games/side missions or however you want to call them generally appear at the end of levels, beyond the point of where the level ends.  To get into them you have to go through a portal that resembles a snapshot of space that teleports the player/Spyro to a new area to complete the mini game.

Jumping is still fun

Jumping is still fun

There are around three dozen levels or so that are split into a handful of world hubs and a handful of bosses that hub.  It is classic Spyro gameplay and still works well, even in its third incarnation.  The bright and colorful art style returns, with slightly improved graphics over the previous game, and I have to admit, looking at it now it is hard to tell the difference, but it is there.  The biggest improvement is the way the faces look & animate on the characters/  The playful, sometimes annoyingly cheerful music also returns with the great sound effects and voice acting from the previous games.

Overall Spyro: Year of the Dragon returns to the tradition of the previous games, improving and expanding on them.  It wasn’t a tremendous leap over Ripto’s Rage, however it is still agreat fun game to play, even today.  As with most Playstation One Classics, the low $5.99 price tag makes buying this game easy on the wallet and at such a low price, should be bought by anyone wanting a great retro platforming game.



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