Kotaku Game Diary Daily thoughts of a Kotaku employee about a game we play.
998, with Insomniac Games, we gave a little violet dragon that has fun in control, colorful, free-running playgrounds and exquisite music. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy looks different but feels just as good.
Released in 1998 for the original PlayStation and 1999 followed by a couple of sequels, Spyro the Dragon ] was the perfect game at the perfect time. In a time when the Nintendo 64 was seen as a children's game console and the PlayStation tended to darker, more adult themes, this brilliant, violet, mythological creature gliding through the skies of a cartoon fantasy world. Spyro debuted in 1998 at the E3 in Atlanta, a large plastic statue of him that floated above the Sony booth. The statue made me happy. The game made me even happier.
The 3D graphics of the time were up to date. The revolutionary panoramic engine of the game, developed by Alex Hastings, made it possible to reproduce distant geometry with fewer polygons, creating the darkening fog that Games of this epoch plagued, was eliminated. Stewart Copeland, former drummer of The Police composed unique and exotic music for the series and contributed to his whimsical character.
And the movement. The movement was perfect. It's hard to describe how good a 3D motion system is. Tim Rogers, Kotaku came closest in 2010 with his treatise on "Sticky Friction". Spyro trots carefree through fantasy landscapes. Hold down the load button and his little dragon face gets a sombre, determined look as he heads toward his enemies. Jump in the air and hold down the sliding button. Spyro floats gracefully through the void. There is no guess. Within minutes you can easily gauge where Spyro can go and not, and even the most daring jumps come by themselves. It just feels right.
The satisfactorily precise movement is the key to the Spyro trilogy. Although there are opponents to defeat in the three levels of the three games, they are less deadly opponents than obstacles on the way to exploration. Once Spyro frees the enemies from one of the game's levels, conveniently accessible from a series of free-roaming hub worlds, these enemies are gone. So Spyro can collect gems, break up treasure chests and clear the optional goals of the three games. The crucial moment in a Spyro game is to see the glint of a seemingly unreachable gemstone in the distance and to find a way to get there, be it to discover a secret path or glide from above.
Collecting gifts in all three games is very important. In the first one, Spyro travels from the hub world to the hub world and frees dragons caught in crystal by Gnasty Gnorc. In Ripto's Rage each level contains a talisman and a number of challenge orbs that the little dragon can find or win through minigames. After all, in Year of the Dragon Spyro and his friends must save Dragon eggs stolen by a wicked sorceress. It is a game for players who do not leave a level before they have found 500 out of 500 gems and four out of four dragons and found two of them to stolen eggs.