Video Game: Spyro: Year of the Dragon

The third Spyro the Dragon game, and the last to be developed by Insomniac Games for the PlayStation. Released in 2000, the actual Year of the Dragon.

In the Year of the Dragon, a rare event that happens every 12 years, mass numbers of new Dragon Eggs are brought to the Dragon Realms. But they're stolen en route by a white rabbit thief who disappears into a strange hole. Spyro follows her and ends up in the Forgotten Realms, where an evil sorceress rules. Now Spyro, with the help of his friends, has to recover all the dragon eggs and make sure the baby dragons get home safely.


This game contains examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Awards you with a new level, Super Bonus Round, which is filled with treasure and ends with one last showdown with the Sorceress.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Many of the baby dragons show this behavior, e.g. wagging their tails or scratching themselves with their paws.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The cat-fairies of Cloud Spires. They have feminine voices and wear dresses, but their faces are masculine. The Spyro Wiki refers to them as males.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Both region boxes have a dynamic cover, but compared to the Bad Ass scowls on the NTSC cover above, most of Spyro's friends have happy or vacant expressions on the PAL version.
  • Ascended Extra: The enemies from Metropolis in the previous game return as Hunter's mortal enemies in this game's speedways, especially the sheep saucers.
    • Ooga and his dancing skeleton friend from Skelos Badlands in the previous game are back, with the lava lizards that stole his bones again in Enchanted Towers. Ooga seems to be sick of his friend's dancing now though.
  • Aside Glance: Both Spyro and Sparx will turn to look at the player with questioning gestures if you stop using the console for a moment.
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: After beating the Cat Hockey challenge in Frozen Altars, Spyro is rewarded with a Dragon egg... which hatches to reveal a Sheep. But then it suddenly splits open to reveal a baby Dragon, which was somehow born wearing a Sheep disguise (but to be fair, many of the other baby Dragons that hatch throughout the game wear glasses and hats). It's also called 'Ba'ah'.
  • Autosave: The game autosaves whenever you're entering a level or the hub.
  • Bad Ass: Why, hello, Gretel... it's nice to see you kick major Rhynoc ass! It's nice to see you too Hansel...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Most of the Spyro's new playable allies present themselves as easy going and composed individuals. Oh and they will all beat the ever loving crap out of Moneybags for imprisoning them of course...
  • Brick Joke: In Sunny Villa, the first level in the game, the mayor gives you an egg he thinks came from one of the world's giant chickens. Once it hatches, though, he apologizes for giving Spyro "the ugliest chicken I've ever seen." Later, in the last level of the game, Dino Mines, the sheriff begs you to take away a dinosaur egg before it hatches. Once it turns out to be a dragon, though, the sheriff says that it's the cutest dinosaur he's ever seen.
    • Also in Sunny Villa, many characters make comments about the giant chickens around the levels, as well as the giant rhynocs all having giant chicken legs as clubs. If you destroy every Rhynoc, one will appear near the exit portal.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Cloud Spires.
  • Bullfight Boss: Buzz.
  • Canada, Eh?: The residents of Icy Peak appear to exhibit this. To top it off, when you opt out of paying Moneybags for an optional side quest, the negative reply is "Take off, hoser!" In case you were wondering, the mission involves protecting a ice skater... from Rhynoc hockey players.
    • The only two residents of the area you meet are named Bob and Doug.
    • Also the ice skater in the side quest. All three of the native residents speak as if they are from the Great North.
  • Captain Ersatz: One of the characters in the Desert Ruins level is one of Lara Croft.
  • Climax Boss: Scorch, the Monster to End All Monsters and penultimate boss comes after plot revelation, has greater build up, and is moderately challenging. He can even create clones of Buzz, the first boss. The only flaw was that the previous boss (Spike) is considered by many to be That One Boss.
    • Spike himself serves as a minor case, since his fearsomeness is recognised by Bianca and the point she truly defrosts and acts openly fearful for Spyro's well being. This is omitted in the US version which for some reason disables Spike's opening cutscene.
  • Cold Flames: In one level, Spyro's fire breath will become cold and can freeze enemies.
  • Copy Protection: Playing a cracked copy of Spyro: Year of the Dragon? Zoe the Fairy appears at the latter part of Sunrise Spring telling you that your copy is hacked and may be an illegal copy, which will lead you to experience "problems" you would not experience on a legal copy.
    And as a Shout-Out to EarthBound, the game recreates the " save file erasure" thing from said game, although in a more subtle manner: instead of just taking you back to an empty "select your save file" screen, it just stops the boss battle against the Sorceress and then a travel-between-worlds Saving-Loading Screen appears, and after it, you return back to the Sunrise Spring Home with your hot air balloon, with the only difference that your save file has been written with a new status - namely, a big fat zero over everything you can collect. To sum it up, instead of erasing your save file, the game resets it back to the beginning. It counts as a Shout-Out as both cases of Copy Protection interrupt the Final Boss Battle. You can even see it here.
    • Genius Programming: In a World where most games are pirated less than a week after release, it took hackers two months to find a workaround for Spyro's crack protection.
    • This article details other things the game can do if cracked incorrectly. While it can crash for seemingly no reason, it also employs another, more devious tactic: it silently removes gems and eggs from the game so that the player can never attain 100% Completion. Think getting that Last Lousy Point is bad enough? How about looking for one that, unbeknownst to you, doesn't actually exist? Oh, and if you're playing a European version of the game, it can change the language at random.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: Sgt Bird is perfectly equipped with high power ammo to escape his prison. He still makes you pay for his escape however. The reason? It's limited ammunition, and he wanted to unload all of it onto Moneybags.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The cutesy visuals remain, but most levels involve sorting out the problems caused by the oppressive rule of The Sorceress.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the two previous games, this one comes off as slightly darker: aside from exploring the aptly-named "Forgotten Worlds" having a relatively unnerving feeling, there's the fact that other playable characters are unlocked with what boils down to a ransom, The Dragon threatening you whenever you access a new world, a Derelict Graveyard made of Saharan Shipwreck-ed ships surrounded by Hollywood Acid, giant snowlems sporting a Slasher Smile, cowboy dinosaurs (not making this up) throwing dynamite sticks - and shooting - at you, Spyro getting Eaten Alive by a whale, and so on. Then there's The Sorceress, who alone turns the dark-and-edgy-ness Up to Eleven.
  • Dating Catwoman: Hunter gets a crush on the Sorceress' Number Two, Bianca. It soon becomes requited.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The appropriately named Lost Fleet, filled with shipwrecks and ghosts haunting the grounds. However, the ghosts turn out to be rhynocs in disguise.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: When you beat up Moneybags at the end and get your gems back, it will only count the gems you actually gave Moneybags. If you manage to skip him at any point, he won't give that amount of gems you didn't pay.
  • Dirty Coward: During the third boss cutscene, the Sorceress searches for another minion to transform. One of the Rhynoc guards, realising she's eying him, starts pushing his kicking and screaming co worker forward to her instead.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The game has this. The difficulty level changes the amount of enemies in the level or how hard the minigames are, decreasing the more times you fail or increasing the more times you succeed, and there are cheat codes that can change the difficulty at will. Playing the game with a low difficulty may prevent you you from obtaining 100% on certain levels due to certain enemies not spawning so you can collect their gems, but on the other hand, playing on the hardest difficulty renders the last two races in the game literally unwinnable (see Fake Difficulty).
  • Easter Egg: The opponent of Bentley's boxing mini game can be controlled with the player two controller.
  • Egg MacGuffin
  • Escort Mission
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bianca's reaction to the Sorceress's rant, Cutscene 12.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Sorceress really chews the scenery in some scenes.
  • Fake Difficulty: Both the seagull race in Harbour Speedway and the yeti race in Super Bonus Round are set up so that on the game's harder difficulty they're literally impossible to win in 1st place and you'll keep losing until Dynamic Difficulty kicks in or you use a cheat code to change the difficulty to a lower one.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: As part of the game's level theming, most levels and characters are Theme Park Version counterparts to some country or world culture.
    • Sunny Villa = Ancient Rome (and some Greece); inhabited by lions
    • Molten Crater = the Pacific Islands; inhabited by walking tiki statues
    • Sheila's Alp = the Swiss Alps; inhabited by mountain goats
    • Icy Peak = northern Canada; inhabited by polar bears
    • Spooky Swamp = rural Japan; inhabited by fireflies who speak in all haiku
    • Bamboo Terrace = Ancient China; inhabited by panda bears
    • Sgt. Byrd's Base = France; inhabited by hummingbirds
    • Frozen Altars = Antarctica (with a hint of Aztec, as far as the structures and soundtrack goes); inhabited by penguins
    • Bentley's Outpost = the Himalayas; inhabited by yetis
    • Fireworks Factory = Ancient China; inhabited by martial artists
    • Desert Ruins = the ancient runes of the Middle East, loosely; inhabited by archaeologist rats
    • Haunted Tomb = an Egyptian tomb; inhabited by dogs with big headdresses
    • Dino Mines = the American Old West; inhabited by... gun-slinging dinosaurs
  • Flunky Boss: Scorch.
  • Fractured Fairytale:
    • Year of the Dragon has a whole level devoted to this, Charmed Ridge.
    • The same game also has a mission which requires you to rescue Rapunzel from a tower. It turns out she's there of her own free will and has taken out a restraining order on the man attempting to rescue her.
  • Furry Confusion: The game's inhabited with talking, intelligent animals, yet you also have regular animals running around that you can kill in order to spawn a butterfly for Sparx. Perhaps most notably in a cutscene during Midday Gardens where Bianca, who's a rabbit, practices magic on a normal rabbit.
  • Gainax Ending: The 100% Completion ending. After defeating the Sorceress for good and recovering the final egg, the game cuts back to the Dragon World, showing the baby dragons alongside their presumed parents and playing around. Spyro gives one of the baby dragons to an adult dragon, before it suddenly starts belching, causing the adult dragon to put the baby back down beside Spyro, where it lets out another belch. There's no dialogue at all in contrast to the other cutscenes, and we never see the likes of Hunter, Bianca, Zoe and other supporting characters again. Watch it here.
  • Genius Bruiser: Bentley the Yeti.
  • Genre Shift: One of Sheila's levels is a 2D Platformer and Agent 9 is basically a proto-Ratchet.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Not a boss per se but in your final confrontation with Moneybags, you chase down and attack him until he releases the egg and all the gems he took.
  • Gotta Collect Them All: Gems and dragon eggs.
  • Green Hill Zone: Sunrise Spring.
  • Guilt Ridden Accomplice: Bianca to the Sorceress. Eventually reaches breaking point and leads to a Heel-Face Turn when she realises the plan is to kill all the baby dragons along with Spyro.
  • Haiku: Once you enter Spooky Swamp, you will speak in it.
    • EVERYONE speaks in it. Even Sheila and Moneybags. Gets funny because Moneybags does not like speaking in Haiku (as specially noted when you talk to him after you've paid the fee to open the door to the next area).
      • Ironically, after you chase him down and get back all the gems he took from you, a dragon egg and a big load of satisfaction, after the Sorceress is defeated Moneybags says he's retiring to the swamp to become a haiku poet.
  • Hand or object underwear: Two of the baby dragons exhibit this trope when hatched, one of which is appropriately named "Modesty".
  • Heel-Face Turn: Bianca, once she realizes what the Sorceress plans to do with the baby dragons once she's brought them to her world.
  • Here There Were Dragons: The Forgotten Worlds were once inhabited by Dragons, but the Sorceress banished them to the other side of the world, ignorant of the fact that dragons were the source of the worlds' magic, and thus magic is slowly dying out.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Sparx could count. He collects all jewels you encounter for you, keeps track of your health, and, when you finish the Sparx bonus worlds (unlocked in a world when you've defeated the following boss), he gains new, useful abilities such as pointing in the direction where you might have missed some jewels, and even breaks open treasure pots and vases for you, which is pretty impressive when a dragon has to put in some effort to open them.
  • Interspecies Romance: Hunter and Bianca (a cheetah and a rabbit) at the end. Doubles as Carnivore Confusion.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Molten Crater.
  • Life Meter: Sparx.
  • Meaningful Release Date: This game was released in Year 2000, the actual Year of the Dragon.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Bianca tries repeatedly to threaten Spyro to vamoose, always failing due to her bumbling demeanour. As the story progresses her facade slowly breaks, to the point she is practically begging him to leave the Forgotten Worlds so he won't provoke the Sorceress' wrath down onto him.
  • Mooning: The coal-throwing Rhynocs in Frozen Altars turn around and lift their Loin Cloths if you destroy their coal piles. You can freeze them in this position.
    • Which is a reference to some of the enemies from the first game.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bianca's reaction when the Sorceress reveals her intention to kill the baby dragons for their wings.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. It's actually the Sorceress' intentions to kill the baby dragons that prompts Bianca's Heel-Face Turn
    Sorceress: Here's a spellbook. Whip up a monster, and eliminate him.
    Bianca: *hesitantly* Uhh... kill him?
    Sorceress: I don't care what you do, you useless brat! As long as you get rid of him!
    • Averted again much more comically by Bianca following the Sorceress' rather detailed reveal of all the horrid ways she'll trample and squash the baby dragons:
    Bianca: Buuuuuut....won't that kill them?
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Forgotten Worlds live up to their name beautifully- there are very few inhabitants in the home worlds excepting animals like sheep and lizards, and once each world is cleared, there's almost nobody there. It can get extremely eerie at times.
  • Obvious Beta: The Non-Greatest Hits/Platinum versions of the game are very glitchy due to being rushed so that the game would be released on the Year of the Dragon.
    • Not to mention 8 music tracks missing.
  • Palmtree Panic: Seashell Shore.
  • Papa Wolf: Though he isn't actually the dad Spyro acts in this way when Moneybags reveals he found an egg and has no intentions of giving it to you. After putting up with him the whole game, you literally beat the gems out of him.
  • Piranha Problem: Spooky Swamp has a lake full of piranhas that eat you if you don't get out fast enough. The water itself is safe to swim in, but the piranhas are relentless and turn up almost as soon as you fall over the edge.
  • Post Final Boss: Unlike the previous two games, the area after the final boss has another boss in it: A rematch with the Sorceress. YMMV on whether or not this is a True Final Boss or Post Final Boss; the Sorceress isn't all that stronger this time and arguably weaker.
  • The Quisling: Moneybags was just a nuisance who charged you to access areas in the second game. Here he outright helps the villains imprison heroic forces, and then uses them to blackmail Spyro for gems. A clever gambit, that is if each of the livid prisoners didn't submit him to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown the instant they were freed.
  • Rule of Cool: Sgt. Byrd the penguin being capable of flight.
  • Save the Villain: In a cutscene in Midday Gardens, Hunter saves Bianca from getting eaten by a creature she made using her magic. Acts as Foreshadowing for her eventual Heel-Face Turn (and hooking up with Hunter.)
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Bentley the Yeti, despite his brute strength and outward appearance, actually has a very colorful vocabulary.
    Bentley [to Moneybags]: Why, you brazenly avaricious, duplicitous, larcenous ursine!
  • Shifting Sand Land: Desert Ruins.
  • Shoot the Mage First: In the Charmed Ridge level, there are cat mages who'll hinder you in many ways, one of them is enlarging the Rhynoc Mooks, making them invincible in the process. Hit the cat mage to make the mooks return to normal and killable.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Say no to Moneybags when he tries to do the "Magical Extending Bridge Trick" in Crystal Islands, and he will threaten to turn you into "a blue hedgehog or something."
    • if you turn down Moneybag's offer to free Sgt Byrd, Moneybags remarks that the bird really ought to be let out; he's probably pining for the fjords.
    • In Haunted Tomb, one of the possible answers to one of the riddles is a bandicoot.
      • In the same level, one of the riddles is "I am a box without hinges, lock or lid | yet, within my walls, a golden treasure is hid." Readers of The Hobbit might recognize this riddle as one of the riddles that Bilbo asked Gollum.
    • In a bonus level in Enchanted Towers, an inhabitant asks you to retrieve his pet wolf to him. He then tells his wolf to "never cry, wolf..."
      • The wolf's name is Farley and the owner is named Mowat. The author of the book "Never Cry Wolf" is Farley Mowat.
    • Agent 9 has two missions in the Fireworks Factory, both of which are entirely in first-person shooter mode. The mission name? "You're Doomed."
    • The first time Bianca threatens Spyro, she warns him if he doesn't beat it she's going to be very angry...and you won't like her when she's angry... Sadly a gargantuan green Bianca does not follow.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Icy Peak.
  • Squishy Wizard: Literally! Could be seen here.
  • Swallowed Whole: Happens to Spyro the first time he swims too close to the whale's mouth in Evening Lake.
  • Talking to Himself: Neil Ross voices both Moneybags the Bear and Bentley the Yeti. Which makes the scene between them also a case of "beat the crap out of yourself with a giant club."
  • The Wild West: Dino Mines.
  • Totally Radical: Hunter.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Most prevalent here out of all the games. Between all the different characters and many minigames, gameplay can switch to skateboarding, first person shooting, sidescroller platforming, boxing, etc.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The Sorceress.
  • Visual Pun: In Sunny Villa, the mayor gives you an egg, thinking it's from a giant chicken. Out pops baby dragon Sanders, who then does the Chicken Dance.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Bianca is merely doing her master's bidding and stealing the dragon eggs in order to bring magic back to the Forgotten Worlds. She explicitly doesn't want Spyro or Hunter to get harmed from intervening and even has every intent of caring for the newborns. She finally breaks when she realises the Sorceress is a not so well intentioned despot whose methods will involve killing all the dragons so she can make a spell with their wings, and promptly makes a Heel-Face Turn.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While the baby dragons are returned to the Dragon Worlds, it is not mentioned whether the problem of the Forgotten Worlds' fading magic has been solved. Since the Sorceress banished the dragons in the first place (and Hunter offered to talk to them about the problem), it can be implied the dragons could revive it to it's former glory upon her defeat, but never stated outright. Even later games never clarify as Bianca moves to the Dragon Worlds with Hunter afterwards.
  • World Tour: Spyro visits several worlds based on a variety of a variety of historical lands and cultures.
  • Wutai: Fireworks Factory.