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.
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.
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. If you destroy every Rhynoc, one will appear near the exit portal.
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.
Climax Boss: Scorch, the Monster to End All Monsters and penultimate boss comes after plot revelation, has greater build up, and is moderately challenging. The only flaw was that the previous boss is considered by many to be That One Boss.
Cold Flames: In one level, Spyro's fire breath will become cold and can freeze enemies.
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.
Crapsaccharine World: The cutesy visuals remain, but most levels involve sorting out the problems caused by the oppressive rule of The Sorceress.
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.
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.
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.
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: One level has a lake full of piranhas that eat you if you don't get out fast enough.
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.