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What I Played This Week – Spyro: Gateway to Glimmer

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With the recent release of Yooka-Laylee, a throwback to 90s platformers, the urge to reconnect with Spyro the Dragon grew.

That adorable dragon in his brightly coloured world is a fixture of the childhoods of many people and, with the questionable remasters for the Playstation 2 and Spyro’s current home with Skylanders, the original games are a nostalgic return to greatness.

I remember owning a Playstation 1 that would only work for a few hours at a time before completely dying and needing to be restart, and with it comes the memory of the only game that I owned – the Legend of Spyro. I wasn’t very good at it and I don’t actually think I got passed the second world, but I was seven and it was exciting to even have the ability to play in the first place.

So Spyro became a distant memory – until last year, when Sony released a few old ports of their games on the Playstation Network, including Crash Bandicoot and all three Spyro games.

Graphically, you are very much aware how much time has gone by. Spyro is all jagged and foggy at the edges where the pixels aren’t quite smooth. But for the time, the amount of expression that little dragon’s face holds are pretty incredible. And, it goes to show, a game doesn’t need to have the most up to date graphics to hold a player’s attention.

The game is simple, as they used to be.

Collect jewels. 

Save your friends. 

Defeat the bad guy.

And each jewel you pick up treats you to that delightfully satisfying sound of accomplishment. It rings to the perfectionist in all of us.

I found the boss strangely difficult in places, although a lot of it had to do with the camera controls, which hadn’t been updated in the ports.

Those of us who have been gaming for a while will remember the ye olde inability to have full control of your camera. Spyro was no exception. You could twist and turn that analog stick as much as you wanted but all you were going to get was a close-up view of the back of that purple scaly head.

So, the old issues arise - like the difficulty of platforms when you can’t turn the camera far enough to see the platform. You will spend what feels like forever angling up a shot only for you to have completely misjudged it and fall short – in which, you get treated to Spyro’s panicked face as he falls into the abyss.

With the enemies, it’s hard to run and aim at things that keep disappearing beyond the camera, and you have to do a quick rotation to find them before they get you.

But Spyro is a game that you want to play. It makes you want to keep going until you’ve collected every jewel, opened every world, played every side mission with its strange cast of characters.

Still just as entertaining as I remember it to be.

With Yooka-Laylee and the soon-to-be-released remaster of Crash Bandicoot, not to mention last year’s incredible Doom remaster, I can only hope that the return to this games is going to continue to be a good one.

 

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