Many would-be mascots have come down the pike over the years, trying to capture the slightest trace of Mario fame. Spyro, the dragon, has never been there, but he's managed to play in some of PlayStation's most charming and accessible platformers, and the Reignited Trilogy is a great testament to the little man's perseverance.
The trilogy includes The first three – and best – titles in the series: Spyro the Dragon, Ripto's Rage (also called Gateway to Glimmer in Europe and Australia) and Year of the Dragon. His adventures are simple but delightfully cartoonish. In the first game, he travels through the five dragon kingdoms and frees his larger, evil brothers Gnasty Gnorc. The second Spyro tried to vacation after his last adventure, but was finally dragged into a kingdom invaded by the mighty Warlock Ripto. The third one is against the evil Sorceress, who stole over 1
Ignore the graphic redesign a lot of the games that were first released on PS1. The fact that they mechanically defend themselves against newer games is the most pleasant surprise of the package. Movement and attacks are one-button affairs, and simplicity works in favor of the collection. If there's a learning curve to be found, it's because it's too easy to ruthlessly use Spyros' attack, fly him off the cliff, or miss the enemy he's aiming for.
Fortunately Spyros Moveset does not need much heavy lifting, especially in the first game. In each area, there are a number of crystallized dragons to be found, and as soon as they have been freed enough, you take a balloon to the next dragon realm and repeat it until you reach the Dirty Fortress of Gnorc. There are a few minor puzzles and a tremendous amount of treasure to be found. The biggest weakness of the first game is that there is so much else to collect, among hundreds of gems, hidden treasure chests and dragon eggs stolen by hidden – and super annoying – egg thieves, but only the dragons really liberate progress in things Progress.
In this regard, the sequels are much better. Each stage has its own little tale of animated hijinks going on, from a tribe of Himalayan telepaths terrorized by a yeti to my personal favorite helping the superspy pearls Hansel and Gretel into a heavily guarded one Stealing the fortress of nomadic lizards can use and take over their psychic powers. At each stage, there are a number of unique challenges in which you will normally need to perform super versions of Spyro's current abilities or sequences, with gems in the sky and firebomb-specific objects. The third game brings new playable characters into the fight, all with their own specific movesets and bonus levels. This is a good reason to walk around and collect shiny material to unlock everything. The linear repetition of the first game is never again an issue for the rest of the collection.
As mentioned before, it speaks well of the originals that the Reignited Trilogy does not mechanically change anything and all three games are still a pleasure to play. The audio has been slightly remixed and reworked, but remains quite true to the original soundtrack, which can be switched on-the-fly. But the Reignited Trilogy goes further and gives all three games an impressive visual reworking, bringing all three games close to a Dreamworks animation. More than just lush new leaves, skin and scale textures and warm, blissful light, hundreds of tiny new details that add personality to every character and enemy. There are a number of visual gags and quirks that go through every character when you leave him alone for a moment. The generic rough dragons from the original are all unique creatures with their own personality as they teach knowledge to Spyro, as well as the dragon kites in the Year of the Dragon, all of which react like adorable, wild toddlers hatching. The Spyro trilogy already felt timeless. Well, it's much more dazzling to look at.
The Reignited Trilogy is the best collection that not only adapts a popular series to the current visual standards, but also proves how good the original titles were. Granted, the originals come from a small studio called Insomniac, and it's not really surprising that the team is a good example of the genre. The creator of Reignited Trilogy, Toys for Bob, however, deserves praise for realizing Insomniac's vision as we could have imagined in 1998.