I played a lot of games while growing up, but there are only a few that really stick in my memory, as a distinctive part of my childhood. The original Spyro trilogy are among those few and when a remastered collection was announced in April, I can’t deny squealing like a school kid again, in anticipation. Then they delayed it… But now it’s out! So, do the games live up to nostalgia and will they capture the hearts of a new generation of children, or are they just for their reminiscing parents? Well, I’ve played all three of the remastered trilogy and I’m ready to pass my verdict.
Wow, It’s so pretty. That was my first thought on loading up the first game and all three titles are equally visually stunning. The way the level design and sense of scale has been preserved while still overhauling the visuals is really something to wonder at. It may have been many years since I last played the old games, but I still instinctively knew my way around all the levels. Even the pickups, be it gems, eggs or orbs are exactly where they used to be. I could certainly see the difference between the old and the new but I certainly couldn’t feel the difference. It’s possible that the controls may have been tightened, as I did feel less frustrated with executing jumps and chases, but it also may just be that I’ve improved, as a gamer, over the years. On second thought, might just be improved controls. Either way if you enjoyed the originals and have long wanted to replay them in a manner that doesn’t affront your current gen aesthetic sensibilities then you should give these games a try.
Spyro Reignited might be marketed as a remaster but really it is a complete remake of the original games. There are all new models, level and characters, new animations and even re-recorded voice lines and remastered music, although the original for the latter is still available in the options menu, if you hanker after the original score. The new dragons, in the original, are a delight with each dragon given a unique model and animation when you release them. The first game, which some people call linear, in comparison to the other games in the franchise, I found refreshing simple and direct. I took a lot of satisfaction in being able to 100% a level the first time I encountered it and I ended the game at 94%. Grr… Stupid flight levels. Those were the only levels that I didn’t have the patience to 100% and is completely reminiscent of the originals. As I did back then, I accept those levels as part of Spyro’s charm.
While it is true that the characters and animation peak in the first game with the second and third games looking a little less polished. It is also true that the second and third game would have placed a lot more strain on the resources, available for those assets, as both the second and third introduce level cutscenes and many more NPCs and playable characters. I quickly rediscovered my desire to throttle that stinking Moneybags as he consistently turned up to rob me of my gems. Although, I can’t deny that does feel good to get something for the effort of collecting them. In terms of game design and mechanics, both the sequels have a lot more depth with unlockable abilities and characters, forcing a player to return to many of the levels a second time to get that elusive 100%. Both sequels also have a lot more storytelling, with each new level given its own narrative which makes them overall, richer experiences.
The difficulty of the games fluctuate from easy to challenging, depending on how determined you are to 100% them. Back in the day, I managed one hundred percent and above in all the originals, and doing so again gives me no less satisfaction. In terms of the difficulty for the new generation of gamers, a few of the bosses are a little more frustrating than most, but no more than the originals. Patience is a virtue that a few bosses and levels will certainly instil on any newbies to the franchise, but I still view it as a healthy dose of challenge, in what are otherwise accessible titles. Dr Shemp, a boss in the first game, raised whispers of dread when I saw the portal appear. I soon released why, as that level has some of the most annoying mobs in the game. I remember getting stuck on that boss for a long time, back in the day. He went down quicker this time, but those dogs and shepherds are still damn annoying and each of the games has at least one boss that will raise your blood pressure.
Overall, these games are true master pieces that are bound to capture the imagination of a whole new generation. Without knowing of the originals, you would likely not realise these games weren’t designed with the current console generation in mind as they still stand out as titles near the top of their genre. It’s amazing how these titles have been brought up to date so effectively while preserving the character and feel of the originals and this trilogy have certainly caused me to fall in love with that little purple dragon all over again. Whether you played the originals or not, these games are well worth a play, unless you have the misfortune to be a platform game hater as these games really do fit solidly in that genre. If your interested is peaked then feel free to check out the trailer linked at the top of this article.