CONFRONTING GNASTY GNORC… AGAIN
I’m writing these words at 6:41 AM on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, but — given that my desktop computer is currently somewhere in the Czech Republic being repaired, and that my laptop bit the proverbial dust a day or two after it left — I have no idea when I’ll publish them. I had considered waiting until the aforementioned desktop returns to put this one together, but it turns out I simply can’t keep it in, so I’ve taken to my iPad, and the WordPress app — hesitantly, because I haven’t had much luck with said app in the past… but we’ll see how it goes.*
Last July, in post detailing my initial experiences with Crash Bandicoot’s N. Sane Trilogy, I mentioned that Crash is one of the reasons I’m still playing games to this day, but that he doesn’t bear that distinction alone — that he shares it, in fact, with a certain purple dragon. A few paragraphs later, I closed said post with the following: All that’s left now is for that certain purple dragon to be given the same treatment.
Yesterday, it was finally reported that it’s probably going to happen — and far sooner than I expected.
That ‘certain purple dragon’ is, of course, Spyro, and though Crash Bandicoot is a foundational part of my gaming history, Spyro just manages to edge him out in terms of importance. So, rather than waste everyone’s time getting into it at the beginning of the post I’ll inevitably write a few months down the line, I thought I’d go ahead and take that particular walk down memory lane now.
First, though: the details.
It’s important to note that, for now, Spyro’s return resides very much in the rumour department, but with said rumour coming from Laura Kate Dale, who — though I am, personally, firmly against leaking stuff when there isn’t some nefarious element to it — has a solid track record with this sort of thing, it has an air of credibility.
Writing for Kotaku UK, Dale states that Spyro’s return — in development at Vicarious Visions, said to be announced next month, and released at some point around the original game’s twentieth anniversary this September — will see the first three titles, Spyro the Dragon, Ripto’s Rage, and Year of the Dragon, given improvements similar to those seen with last year’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Interestingly, she also notes that the release might feature some content cut from those original games, much like Crash Bandicoot’s Stormy Ascent (which I still haven’t worked up the courage to attempt, even though my Trophy completion for Crash Bandicoot having dropped to 88% is a source of constant anxiety).
Needless to say, I am thoroughly excited by all of this. I’ve mentioned before that, though my first experiences came from the Amiga, my gaming career really began with Sony’s PlayStation, and Spyro — as you might’ve guessed — has been a constant presence throughout. His original adventure is the first game I can remember having been truly, bouncing-off-the-proverbial-walls excited to own. In an early version — since replaced — of my thoughts on Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, I mentioned having been introduced to Lara, and her infamous freezer, on an uncle’s PlayStation; that same uncle also owned Spyro, and his daughter and I spent countless hours running around its world.
Naturally, when I finally got a PlayStation of my own, Spyro the Dragon was the first game I asked for. I have a very clear memory of the day I got it, of getting up at the previously unheard of time of 7:00 AM so I could try to chase down one of those speedy blue creeps with their pink eggs before heading off to school.
There was magic in Spyro in those days, and those that followed — even now, all these years later with my childhood long behind me, revisiting his adventures (or even just listening to the wonderful soundtrack of the first) brings it back. Despite having been slightly tarnished by the profoundly strange The Legend of Spyro trilogy and utterly brutalised by his atrocious representation in Skylanders, that magic still lingers. It’s what gives Spyro that edge over Crash. The Bandicoot has magic of his own, don’t get me wrong, but it is considerably less potent.
I have quite a few hopes for these remastered games — that they’ll both look and feel as great as Crash’s N. Sane Trilogy does; that they’ll feature a familiar-looking Spyro rather than the Skylanders monstrosity; that the reworked soundtrack will be just as great as the original — but, more than anything, I hope they pack some of that old magic. I hope that, when I boot up that first adventure, I feel as I did at 7:00 AM on a morning many, many moons ago.
Until proven otherwise, I have faith that I will. The Dragon Realms await.