If you’re old enough to remember the Spyro the Dragon games from the first time around, you may remember them in a tricky way. It’s sort of like that great movie from when you were a kid that's hard to rewatch nowadays because it’s so dated. The jokes are offensive, the effects are silly, and you can’t quite explain to your younger friends why it was so meaningful to you. It is, though. It makes you grin just thinking about it. Platformers are the same way sometimes. It’s easy to forget the things that frustrated you as a kid, and remember the world it let you imagine in your head. When given an update, however, you get to actually see that world.
There are things in Spyro Reignited Trilogy (which includes 1998's Spyro the Dragon, 1999's Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage, and 2000's Spyro: Year of the Dragon) that will wow your senses. The updated graphics are beautiful and the updated dragon designs make you want to watch an animated series based on this game. They have personalities and props now, and when the ones you free only say thank you, you’re a bit disappointed because they look so cool that you want to get to know them. The return of voice actors like Tom Kenny as Sypro are going to give you all the nostalgic shivers, as will the little naked sheep you just torched. You’re also going to love the new sound design and soundtrack, though you can use the pause menu to access the old one if you really need a bit more of an old-time-y kick.
There are definitely some frustrations here that haven’t gone away with time. Camera angles are still going to drive you bonkers. There are moments like the hula girls challenge in Ripto’s Revenge where you have to rely on controls that aren’t much better than they used to be. Remember when hours of gameplay were added on to a game because of the infinite number of times you had to do the same damn thing? Or when load times were so long that you could get up, go to the bathroom and get a box of Cheez-Its before you got to the next level? Okay, they’re not that long, but they’re far longer than they should be. In Spyro the Dragon, you can’t enter the water, and if you forget that (because you can swim in the other two games), you’re going to be waiting for a lot of reloading. You’re going to see things you know you could jump over but the game won’t let you, or doors that you should be able to open that you can’t. That stuff doesn’t get any less frustrating over time. Still, you know what type of game you came here for, and if you need endless detail and short load times, there are thousands of other games you can play. This all goes with the territory. There is also a great sense of satisfaction in beating something you’ve tried over and over again with no luck. You did it! You freed the prisoner! Finally! Older gamers who played these way back when are going to understand this satisfaction in a way that younger gamers might not.
There is also something joyous about a collection game. Modern gamers might experience the same thing with mobile collection games. You get all the gems and you feel like you accomplished something. There is also something very soothing about their simplicity. There isn’t much to discover that the average gamer won’t get. You don’t have to read guides to find all the Easter eggs that you would in more modern games. In a way, that’s why mobile games are so popular. They can be pretty mindless while being beautiful. They can challenge your brain without taking up all the space in it. Though younger gamers might find the lack of challenges frustrating, all they have to do is conquer a hard part, and feel the thrill of something so shiny and hard candy-like being under their control to be won over.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is going to remind you of the reasons you threw your controller through the window that one time, but it’s also going to remind you of the satisfaction of bumbling through a world as a sass-talking little purple dragon who saves the day. It’s definitely worth a play.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is available right now for PS4 and Xbox One.