Video Game: Spyro the Dragon (1998)

The first Spyro the Dragon game, released on the PlayStation in 1998.

Gnasty Gnorc is a greedy fellow, and he has his eyes set on the massive gem hoard they keep in the Dragon Realms. So he swoops in, steals their treasure, and turns all the dragons to crystal! Well... All but one, that is. A young dragon named Spyro managed to survive the crystalization. Now it's up to him and his dragonfly Sparx to recover the gems, rescue the dragons, and defeat Gnasty Gnorc!

This game contains examples of:

  • 100% Completion: See Endgame Plus.
  • Action Survivor: Of a sort. Spyro only avoids the crystalisation spell that gets everyone else because he's so small, the spell shoots over his head (although the manual states that he was away when it happens, contradicting the game's opening cutscene). He still jumps, however, even if there wasn't an actual call.
  • And I Must Scream: In the first game the dragons are frozen in stone but are still conscious and aware. Since some of the dragons' locations are pretty well-hidden, if Spyro is put in the hands of a less perseverant player... well, try not to think about it too much.
  • Animated Armor: In Haunted Towers, the Blue Weather Wizards there can animate an uninhabited suit of armor called Tin Soldiers. They can only be destroyed by supercharge or superflame.
  • Artificial Stupidity: While designed with diverse personalities, most of the Gnorcs are boiled down to "idle, approach Spyro, pause, attack, gloat, repeat".
  • Back Tracking: With open exploration comes the need to collect them all. Luckily, the inter-world balloonists allow Spyro to reach previous worlds at any time.
  • Bottomless Pits: When it's not liquids, it's this!
    • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: High Caves; in this one level alone, falling into the one abyss with the supercharge ramp will cause a trio of fairies to rescue you and deposit you atop a supercharge ramp.
  • Bowdlerise: In the North American and Japanese versions of the game, the tips of the horns on the bulls in Town Square are red, indicating blood. The blood is absent in the PAL version.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Beast Makers.
  • Bullying The Dragon: Amusingly done by a dragon. The whole plot is triggered when one of them pompously insults Gnasty Gnorc on a live television interview. Gnorc overhears and demonstrates here is hardly "no threat". In the final ending, Spyro makes the mistake of insulting him again, seemingly restarting the plot.
  • Cash Gate: The balloonists ask for Spyro to collect a certain number of gems or eggs, or rescue a certain number of dragons. These goals are balanced to give the player a robust goal without needing 100% Completion right away.
  • Chromosome Casting: The game's vocal characters include 81 dragons, one dragonfly, and several hundreds of enemies — many of them use recycled lines, but none are female. In fact, the only unambiguously female characters in the Dragon Kingdom are the mute fairies.
  • Cool Shades: Spyro wears some in the true ending after clearing Gnasty's Loot.
  • Crapsack World: The Beast Makers world.
    Bruno: Gnasty Gnorc is turnin' our swamp into an electrified junk heap! And it used to be so beautiful...
    Spyro: I'm sure it was...
  • Difficulty Spike: The Beast Makers world has higher completion requirements than the previous worlds (50 out of 58 dragons). It's the second world that you cannot skip without playing through at least one level (the first world is the first). It also contains Misty Bog and Terrace Village, which contain aggressive enemies and few butterflies, as well as That One Level Tree Tops, which contains That One Puzzle. At least Insomniac was fairly generous with 1-Ups in this area.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Gnasty Gnorc enslaves all the dragons because they called him ugly. To be fair, he was probably just looking for an excuse to use that spell anyway...
    • All There in the Manual: The manual gives a more fleshed-out version of the story; Gnasty Gnorc just kind of resented the dragons in general, because they were happy, good-looking, productive members of society, and he didn't care much for their gems either. The intro cinematic kind of gives you an idea of the plot if you haven't read the manual.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Sort of. Fully completing the Artisans' world and the Peacekeepers' home lets you access the Magic Crafters' world directly, completing the first two worlds as a whole lets you skip the third, and so on.
  • Dragonfly Companion: Sparx, while (mostly) mute, is a more helpful companion.
  • Dream Land: The Dream Weavers world.
    Lateef: Welcome to the Dream Weavers, young one. While chasing Gnasty's minions in this world, you must expect the unexpected and prepare for what is not there.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Aside from Spyro's voice, several elements from the later Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon were missing, such as Spyro's hover, extra life butterflies, and persistent NPCs beyond the balloonists and fairies. Bosses had no onscreen health meters when fighting them, and none of them were fought in proper arenas (see Get Back Here Boss below). Enemies were present in the home stages for each world, and there were also no minigames outside of the usual Speedway levels, and said Speedway levels were refereed to as "Flight" instead. Spyro also has Super Drowning Skills in this game.
  • Easter Egg: If one waits long enough in any level, a new song, often a slow remix of another level's theme, plays in the background. This is to prevent musical monotony.
  • Endgame Plus: Defeating Gnasty Gnorc lets Spyro unlock Gnasty's Loot once all the treasure, eggs, and dragons are accounted for.
  • Follow the Money: The gems. Except Moneybags hasn't been created yet, so some of the balloonists are the best equivalent.
  • Gem Heart: Every enemy drops gems upon death, leaving their corpse to poof out. If you've already killed them, then die or leave the area and come back to kill them again, they'll contain pearls instead. Justified by the manual explaining that Gnorc turned much of the dragon's treasures into enemies with his magic.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Every boss, to some degree at least. The most prominent examples are…
    • Jacques, who spends most of his time hopping away from Spyro.
    • Gnasty Gnorc, whose fight is essentially four chase sequences, one after the other. First Spyro has to chase down a thief holding a key. That key unlocks the door to another thief with a key, and that key lowers Gnasty Gnorc's platform so that finally he can be chased. After he's hit once, he's chased again across retracting platforms.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: The large Gnorcs in Gnorc Cove who defend themselves with barrels are left in heart boxers and a tank top after you blow off their protective clothing.
  • Gotta Collect Them All: Gems, frozen dragons and dragon eggs.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Artisans world.
  • Grimy Water: There is purple stagnant water (possibly tar or oil) in most levels attached to the Peace Keepers home and there is a whole lotta green goop in Beast Makers home and its levels.
  • Here We Go Again: After 100% completion, although the game refers to it as 120%.
    • During the final cutscene, Spyro even says it word for word.
  • Hollywood Natives: Kamikaze Tribesmen, Doctor Shemp, Strongarms and Banana Boys. Just add an extra bone in a makeshift orifice and it just might be considered offensive somewhere.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: There are fools in the Dream Weavers levels that are unkillable and don't attack, but turn into clocks for a few seconds when hit, temporarily opening up a platform. Dark Passage's fools temporarily disappear into their own lanterns this way.
    Mazi: The fools you'll see in this world are invincible. But that does not mean they shouldn't be attacked.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: After mocking him as simple and unable to threaten them, it is being called "ugly" that finally drives Gnasty Gnorc to retaliate.
  • Just Eat Him:
    • Misty Bog had evil trees that did just this.
    • Not to mention the hellhounds in Dark Passage.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook: In two varieties. Giant Mooks can't be charged, and armored ones are immune to fire. So, of course, a couple areas have giant, armored enemies, though there are still ways to deal with them. The armored giant spiders in the High Caves, for example, can be taken down with a supercharge.
  • Life Meter: Sparx the Dragonfly takes 3 hits before leaving Spyro to his own defenses. Health denoted by bright yellow, color-sparkle blue, and plain green. Sparx also lets Spyro pick up gems adjacent to Spyro, so his absence would make Spyro's job harder.
  • Money Spider: All the enemies release gems shortly before poofing away. See Gem Heart above for the game's explanation for why this happens.
  • Mooning: The Soldier Gnorcs in Peace Keepers Home will turn around and drop their pants if cornered in a tent (or just cower in fear; it's a 50/50).
  • Nitro Boost: Supercharge ramps (introduced in Magic Crafters) are placed on downward slopes. Charging allows Spyro to move faster and jump farther, reinforcing the idea of exploration.
  • Notice This: Gems can sparkle, even at far distances, making the aforementioned Back Tracking easier.
  • Not Quite Flight: For most of the game, Spyro can glide in place of a typical Double Jump. Attempted to be justified in-story by virtue of Spyro being a young dragon not yet able to fly unassisted, although this falls apart when taking the Flight stages into consideration. The real reason is likely that the designers didn't want people to be able to fly wherever and whenever they want, making the game too easy.
  • Off Model: A subtle example. When a Dragon conversation is played out, Spryo's cheeks become an odd shade of yellow, then return to purple once gameplay resumes.
  • One-Hit Kill: Classic, baby. Both charging and flaming. Some enemies don't go down as easily, though, including every boss.
    • ... every boss, that is, except for Jacques, the boss of the fifth world, the Dream Weavers'. He makes up for his squishiness by being extremely mobile, forcing you on an extended chase sequence before you finally corner him.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Never before had there been a game with a dragon kingdom and a cute dragon protagonist.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Every save point is guarded by a fairy. Stationary fairies occasionally show up to give Spyro a supercharging kiss. They're all helpful to Spyro, though.
  • Pass Through the Rings: 5 of the 6 worlds have a timed full-flight level (the 100% bonus Gnasty's Loot only employs the same full-flight ability with no time limit).
  • Portal Door: Archways are how Spyro gets from a homeworld to one of its levels. Spyro exits through them after reaching an exit platform.
  • Precious Puppies: Subverted in the Dark Passage level, some of the enemies look like sweet, adorable puppies at first but once the lights go out they turn into massive, frightening hell hounds.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The melody for the Lofty Castle level was reused from the 1996 comedy/drama film The Pallbearer (specifically, the track ("Bill is Dead"). Stewart Copeland composed for both properties.
    • The Wizard Peak track was used for the theme melody of The Amanda Show merely a year later.
    • The Town Square track is using the bassline from the bridge of Copeland's 1978 song "Office Girls".
  • Regional Bonus: In the NTSC version, the background music of the High Caves level is a slow remix of Tree Tops's tune, but the PAL version gets a completely different song. In addition to this, the PAL version also receives a new song, one of the songs that does not play in one particular level, but occasionally plays in levels when the level's default song finishes.
  • Respawn Point: The dragons' platforms act as save points, watched over by fairies when the dragon is rescued.
  • Running Gag: Dragons with decidedly badass names like Thor, Conan, and Asher failing to live up to the implied image.
  • Shall I Repeat That?: The dragons' platforms also give Spyro the option to replay whatever the conversation was after being rescued.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The desert world of Peace Keepers, including the sublevels Cliff Town, Dry Canyon, and Doctor Shemp.
  • Shout-Out: "Ya gotta believe! Heheheh..."
  • Shrug Take: Considered subtly whenever story hints are dropped.
    Gunnar: Well done, Spyro! Keep up the good work, and I know you'll fulfill your destiny.
    Spyro: Destiny? I just wanna kick some
  • Springs Springs Everywhere: No springboards here, but there are plenty of platforms everywhere (powered by fairy dust) that lift Spyro to a high platform or gliding target.
  • Stingy Jack: Toasty wears a dark-brown cloak and a pointy hat, has a Jack o'lantern for a head/mask and carries a god damn scythe.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Spyro can die from falling in a shallow aqueduct.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: The game gives you an unusually large number of 1-Ups in the Beast Makers area and levels, including four in Tree Tops (few levels have more than two). Clearly, the dev team expected players to die a lot in this area.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: There is an available cheat code that lets you skip to any level in the game, including the last hub. However, Gnasty's Loot will remain locked until every collectible in the game is found, code or not.
    • In addition, the locked chest in Gnorc Cove can be either unlocked with a key or blown up with a knocked barrel. Both are valid, and both will render the key gone.
  • The Overworld: Artisans, Peace Keepers, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers and Dream Weavers. Gnorc Gnexus too, I guess.
  • Time Trial: The flight levels. The best rewards, however, are dictated by first clearing in the given time rather than just fastest time.
  • Too Dumb to Live / Unique Enemy: Most egg thieves take off once Spyro comes near him, but there is a single egg thief in the game (in the Wizard's Peak level) that will just stand still and taunt Spyro, even when Spyro is right up in the thief's face!
  • Treasure Room: Gnasty Gnorc was "sloppy" with hording the exposed gems, so some levels could be considered prone to such a layout. Most notably, the top-most room of Gnasty's Loot has a gratuitous arrangement of fireworks that fill the room with purple gems.
    • The entirety of Gnasty's Loot counts. All other levels have a mix of different colour and value gems, mostly at the low end of 1, 2, and 5, and have a level gem total of around 300-500 each. Gnasty's Loot deals exclusively in gold and purplenote , the purple ones are more common, and has a level total of 2000.
  • Video Game Flight: Self-explanatory flight levels. Outside those levels (and Gnasty's Loot), see Not Quite Flight above.
    • Oddly enough, Gnasty's Loot imposes a flight ceiling incrementally raised by collecting keys and jumping off higher platforms.
  • Warp Whistle: The balloonists let Spyro travel between worlds he's visited before (and possibly the next world).
  • When I Was Your Age: Dropped by a couple older dragons. Most notably, the dragon that introduces the (first exposed) flight level portal. Spyro responds with "gotta go".
  • Witch Doctor: Doctor Shemp
  • World in the Sky: Virtually all the Dream Weavers levels (aside from Icy Flight). Some of the Peace Keepers and Magic Crafters levels may arguably also go here.