Nostalgia is a powerful thing in deed and there is something special about remembering the things you loved growing up from TV shows and films, to books and video games. But on occasion when you return to the originals they do not always stand up to the test of time and you can end up noticing little things that almost spoil the very thing you loved about them and in some instances, the very thought of someone taking something you cherished and giving it the Hollywood or TV reboot treatment often makes me cringe with worry however, when a video game I loved growing up is announced as getting the remastered treatment I am hopeful. Now following on with the massive success of the recent Crash Bandicoot remastered collection, the one hope I had was for a certain young purple dragon to be given a chance to return, and so very happily I finally got to play Spyro once again with the Reignited Trilogy.
I will immediately start of by saying that this collection is a must have in your gaming collection, more so if you remember the original games but also if you have never had the good fortune to play the originals. This is right up there as one of the finest remakes of a classic game series in recent years. I said remake not remastered for a very good reason as the original game code for the Spyro series was not available to be remastered unlike Crash Bandicoot, instead the original games had to be replayed and then scanned for their code in order to bring this new collection to life. Just knowing what it took to make this collection happen just makes feel more thankful for it and more admiration for the team at ‘Toys for Bob’.
This collection features the three games that helped make Spyro a platform legend for an entire generation of gamers on the original PlayStation. For many Crash Bandicoot holds the title of iconic platformer but for me, it was always Spyro just because I never felt as though it punished me for messing up but instead had gameplay that encouraged me to not only practice all the jumps and glides but also developed in me the need to find every collectible and secret in a level that even to this day will have me working hours on end to hit that magical 100% in a game I enjoy. The fondness I have for Spyro made replaying the games with this trilogy collection become more then just a blast of nostalgia but working through each level and having the sensation that new players are discovering them for the first time is truly joyful.
The big reason is that these games have never looked better, in fact you could be forgiven for thinking these characters all came from a Pixar film because throughout each of the games the visuals and animations are incredible showcasing the power of modern gaming can do to bring classics back to life in a new way that enriches the originals. What makes this collection work is that just as much detail has been put into the gameplay which still holds up decades later and is such a great nod to the golden age of platformers. The combat, jumping and flying are still as solid as they were originally but have been improved without losing the core gameplay which made the series such a classic. By refining and not changing such gameplay, players are left able to appreciate all the improvements in visuals and audio which is exactly what a remade or remastered game should do
The games themselves are still amazing to play and to be reminded about how different the sequels tried to make the story is just a super fun way of breaking the old school style of just rinse and repeat the same game. The first game in Spyro the Dragon, puts our young sassy and courageous hero against the evil Gnasty Gnorc who has transformed all the Dragons into crystal statues. Spyro must find them all and return them to normal as well as finding dragon eggs and searching for all the gems stones. What made this game so amazing was that is blended so many mechanics of 90s platformers together with fun combat and a dip in and out flow to the levels so if you got stuck or couldn’t find that final gem for the level 100% you could leave and return whenever you wanted so you never really get too frustrated or stopped from progressing. The open space style was also refreshing in that you had quite a big area to explore in each level instead of following a linear a to be style such as in Crash as the goal is to find everything and not get to the end as fast as you can. The special flying levels where Spyro does have a limited amount of time to complete all the objectives and earning extra time from each one passed still requires such precision that working out the best route and order of objectives which in my mind I remember me being so brilliant at back in the day but now, it took me 30 minutes to complete ‘Sunny Flight’ which had the viewers on my stream just taunting me constantly throughout each time I crashed or failed but that is the joy of this collection now, to share those moments with others via streaming or Youtube videos.
The second game in Spyro the Dragon: Ripto’s Rage has our hero taking a well deserved holiday after his heroic adventure in the first game, which by the way I remember actually loving back on its original release as a story, I mean it makes sense right if you have spent an entire game rescuing your friends and putting your life on the line that once you have saved the day you take a well deserved holiday. The same gameplay is present from the first except new side characters will provide additional objectives to complete and is just as much fun as the first game with a fun story and main villain to go up against.
The third is probably my least favourite of the series and Spyro: Year of The Dragon is where I left the series behind as it added new playable characters to the game which for me was not something I needed or wanted from the series. The story sees Spyro and his new friends searching to recover the 100 dragon eggs stolen by the evil Sorceress and her assistant Bianca, such a great name for an evil sidekick. Whilst I did not enjoy this entry in the series back in the day, thanks to this collection and that I am just happy to be back in Spyro’s world that I am a little more forgiving for the new characters and giving it a chance just because the games are so pleasant to be in.
It is amazing to revisit classic games like Crash Bandicoot and now with Spryo the Dragon after so many years which only served to remind me that whilst I feel I have become a far more skilled gamer in all these years, that these classic games can still be challenging and humbling when you still make the same mistakes you did back in the day such as failing a simple glide because I got the timing wrong so kept missing it or that boss fight where you suddenly remember how to beat it despite it being years since you last had that fight. Though there are a few things that have not aged well such as the camera position being so close to Spyro that years of playing third person view games with the camera being a little further back at times can make the one in Spyro feel a little too close to the hero and some of the hit detection for Spyro’s fire breath can be a little off in the first two games but these are more personal niggles then heavy criticisms of this collection.
Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy is the best example of remastering/remaking classic games so far this year and it is a testament to the passion and attention to detail from Toys for Bob that it still plays as great as I remember but looking like a very current 2018 set of games. Having all three games makes this full of brilliant content and games to enjoy and even now the price for it with a good internet look will put in firmly in the £20-30 range making it a real bargain to pick up and enjoy and even more so if you like me, remember having the originals but get to introduce new players to them especially a younger gamer you might now.
These remakes stay faithful to the originals and are a true celebration of the series and Spyro as a character that deserves a place in your collection and I really hope the same team are given a chance to work on more classic games in the future.