Video Game: Spyro: A Hero's Tail

The ninth Spyro the Dragon game, released on the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Xbox in 2004.

There's a new dragon in town named Red, and he's not exactly happy with the other dragon elders. He and his army of Gnorcs and other baddies are planting Dark Gems in the Realm—horrible things that radiate dark energy, warping the world around them! It takes a dragon with tough horns—like Spyro—to break them and return the land to its splendor. There's a bunch of kidnapped dragon eggs, too! By now, Spyro's just gotten used to the whole "world-saving" thing—now if only he could figure out what Red's problem is!

This game contains examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Played with. Unlike past games, gems replenish after a certain amount of time, or when you get knocked out, which means Moneybags has far more items and upgrades to offer than in past games. However, his main shop is located in the first hub world, with other shops setup in the other areas costing more gems to purchase certain items, and gets increasingly expensive the further you go on. However, the teleport pass always cost 100 gems regardless of where you are, so it's often cheaper to buy a teleport pass and warp back to Moneybag's main shop, buy want you want at the baseline price, and teleport back to the area you once were.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Collecting all ten pink or red dragon eggs allows you to replace Spyro's character model with either Ember's or Flame's, respectively. (Alternatively, you can use a Cheat Code to unlock them earlier) The different model has no baring on the gameplay or story at all, and can lead to some rather weird situations like Ember hitting on Ember or Flame thanking Flame for rescuing him.
  • Arrows on Fire: Hunter's limited supply of fire arrows can be used to destroy strong chests and breakable walls.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Not only are there butterflies surrounding the arenas (with more appearing depending on your death count), but the game will actually save your progress in the middle of the fight when you hit the boss enough times, so if you die, the boss' health remains one third or two-thirds gone. The only time the game expects you to finish the boss in one go is with the final boss.
  • Boss Corridor
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Ember asks Spyro if the dark gem next to her would make a good engagement ring. Spyro then turns directly to the audience with an Oh, Crap look.
    • In response to a particularly indecipherable line from a Surfer Dude, Spyro will look at the camera and tell the audience to "just say no".
    • After narrowly avoiding having to listen to a long story from an Elder Dragon who "takes a really long time to tell stories", Spyro looks at the camera and says "Whew, close one."
  • Breath Weapon: Available in Fire, Electric, Water and Ice flavours.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Crocovile Swamp.
  • Bubble Gun: Water breath has a Secondary Fire which shoots a gravity affected bubble. This bubble can only damage two enemy types, both of which are small and float high in the air. It's about as useless as it sounds.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Cloudy Domain.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: There's one in Hunter's section of Dragonfly Falls.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Unlocked by collecting all of the white dragon eggs
  • Cunning Like a Fox: The Ice Princess is an anthropomorphic fox.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Spyro talks to the Ice Princess while on a mission to heat up the Ice Citadel:
    Ice Princess: Please heat this place up! It's colder than a witch's-
    Spyro: I'm on it.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: In this game the charge and breath attack buttons (which were the same throughout the previous four games) are switched for no reason at all.
  • Degraded Boss: Gnasty Gnorc: Final boss in Spyro the Dragon, the very first boss in A Hero's Tail. ...Well, he takes more hits to kill in the latter. Heck, there are mooks on the very first HUB who take more hits to kill.
  • Dem Bones: The skeletons in Gloomy Glacier which can't be harmed by Hunter's arrows.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Blink and Spyro meet Spyro asks Blink if he knows the Professor. Blink pretends to get mad and says if Spyro thinks all moles know each other, though Blink then says the Professor is his his uncle.
  • Door To Before: Appears often, sometimes multiple times in a level.
  • Dynamic Loading: This game ditches the portals and "Spyro flying through the air" loading screens in favour of slow moving lifts, long tunnels and other dynamic loading tricks. A more conventional Loading Screen is used when travelling between Realms.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Red has one.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: Healing Butterfly Jars can be bought ar Moneybags' Shop.
  • Eternal Engine: Dark Mine and Red's Laboratory.
  • Fireballs: Fire breath's Secondary Fire. Some of the enemies also shoot them.
  • Genre Savvy: Spyro and Hunter both hang a lampshade on common game cliches.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: After meeting the Surfer Dude otter, Spyro gives a deadpan Aside Glance: "Just say no."
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Gnasty Gnorc reveals his red polka-dot boxers when he's goaded into swinging so hard that his staff/club sticks into the ground. More humiliating is the fact that this is his weak point.
  • Giant Spider: A type of enemy in the game. They turn around and shoot bits of web at you. Occasionally you encounter webbed areas which will spawn an infinite amount of them.
  • Green Hill Zone: Dragon Village.
  • Homing Projectile: Electric breath's Secondary Fire.
  • Hub Level: Each of the first three Realms have one; the final Realm is just a succession of levels in order.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys
  • Jump Physics
    • Double Jump: Spyro, Hunter and Blink. Spyro needs to be taught how to do it, though.
    • Wall Jump: Spyro learns the Wall Kick Move from a Dragon Elder late in the game, but it only works in very specific areas. Blink can do this by default.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Molten Mount and Magma Falls.
  • Level-Map Display
  • Lighter and Softer: Arguably THE most lighthearted Spyro game in the entire franchise, Classic, Legend, or otherwise. The plot is more tame, the characters and environments are more colorful and Looney Tunes-esque, the dialogue is much more humorous, and so on.
  • Man-Eating Plant: A few enemies like this appear in the first Realm. For some reason, they can shoot Fireballs.
  • Metroidvania: Has some pretty heavy elements of this. Unlike the classic series, all the worlds in the game are interconnected, and right from the bat there's a good amount of areas to explore. Some areas require certain powers obtained in other areas to be explored, and said areas are more so based around exploration than solid objectives or follow a linear path like the Classic trilogy, with dark gems, dragon eggs, and light crystals often being in fairly well hidden places that, again, sometimes requires certain abilities obtained in other places to get.
  • Minecart Madness: Magma Falls, except you're in the Ball Gadget instead of a minecart.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Light and Dark Gems. Light Gems need to be collected, Dark Gems need to be destroyed.
  • Money Multiplier: You can temporarily double the value of gems... by purchasing an item using gems. Seems kind of pointless in the long run, really.
  • Mook Maker: There are some which will spawn an infinite number of spiders.
  • No Fourth Wall: The fourth wall is particularly lacking in this game, with several characters often addressing the player directly, or hang lampshades on specific video game clichés.
  • Palette Swap: Flame is basically Spyro with red scales instead of purple ones though he is not a direct swap. There are some subtle differences (a wider snout on Flame, for example) but they're still really similar. Without going into the Model Viewer, it's hard to notice.
  • Palmtree Panic: Coastal Remains and Stormy Beach.
  • Secondary Fire: All breath types have a longer ranged, ammo limited, secondary fire. Using this feature is completely optional and it's not difficult to beat the game without it.
  • Shockwave Stomp
    • A couple of the bosses have release shockwaves as an attack
    • You can buy an item to make Spyro create a shock wave when he does a Horn Dive.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The entirety of Icy Wilderness (Frostbite Village, Gloomy Glacier and Ice Citadel).
  • Smart Bomb: Usable in the Sparx minigames.
  • Surfer Dude / Totally Radical: Dude, Otto the surfer dude uses "dude" as pretty much every second duding word. Dude.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Ember. In addition to being pink, she has a necklace and a heart-shaped tail.
  • Underground Level: Gloomy Glacier and most of Volcanic Isle. Blink's levels are also always set in caves.
  • Underwater Ruins: Sunken Ruins.
  • Unique Enemy
    • A random ice elemental appears only once in Ice Citadel.
    • There's a hostile farmer in Dragonfly Falls that will send goats to attack you. He doesn't even respawn when you die or revisit the area.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Red's final form.
  • Wall Crawl: Hunter and Blink can climb certain walls.
  • Warp Whistle: You can buy a Teleport Pass at any shop location, allowing you to teleport to a shop you have already visited in the current Realm. It's one of the cheapest items you can buy (only 100 gems) so there's not much of a limit on their use.
  • Whole Costume Reference: The ermine-trimmed gown the Ice Princess wears is based on an actual gown Ann Boleyn once wore.
  • Winter Royal Lady: The Ice Princess.
  • You Have Failed Me: Red has a habit of killing off his Mooks without a second thought for failing him.

Alternative Title(s):

Spyro A Heros Tail
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