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Activision's Continuity Reboot trilogy of video games based on the Spyro the Dragon franchise. In comparison to the lighthearted tone of classic Spyro, the Legend Trilogy had a much darker atmosphere, including the major changes to characters, story, and gameplay.Whereas the original games usually opted for an Excuse Plot, these games had a complex story spanned over three games. Basically, Spyro is a legendary Purple Dragon, a rare breed that can master the Elemental Powers of every other breed of Dragon. This would be useful in fighting off the Dark Master, a powerful enemy trying to destroy the world, except that the temple Spyro was born in was attacked, forcing Ignitus, guardian of the eggs, to send Spyro's egg down a river. There it was found by a family of dragonflies, who raised Spyro to believe he was a dragonfly, too. A big, purple, dragonfly.Of course, eventually Spyro realizes that he's not really an insect and sets off with his foster brother, Sparx, to find out who he is. That's when he meets Ignitus, and the story kicks in:
The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning (2006) (developed by Krome Studios) Purple dragons are rare and have immense power, so it's no wonder that, when a purple dragon egg is laid, every evil man and his Evil Matriarch wants to get their hands on it. A army belonging to an unseen villain called the Dark Master storm the dragon hatchery, breaking all the eggs - but wise Ignitus manages to save the little purple egg and set it downriver, where a family of dragonflies adopts it. Many years later, little Spyro begins to realize that he's not quite what he thought he was when he figures out he can breathe fire, and he and Sparx set out on a quest to stop the evil Cynder! Late in the game it's revealed Cynder was the only other surviving the dragon eggs, who was taken by the Dark Master's army as part of his plan to release him.
The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (2007) (developed by Krome Studios) After defeating Cynder, she turns back to her true form - a tiny child dragon no older than Spyro. But she has seen the darkness, and is compelled by a shadowy figure named Gaul to try and release the Dark Master from the Well of Souls. He wants to cloak the world in an endless night. Spyro, lead by visions of a strange dragon master, tries to pursue her and stop her from making a horrible mistake. But in the process, Spyro may just be touched by the darkness himself...
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (2008) (developed by Etranges Libellules) Three years after The Eternal Night, Spyro and Cynder wake up from being Dragon Popsicles only to be unceremonious chained together at the neck. Luckily, Hunter the cheetah tracks them down and helps them escape. While they were asleep, the evil master Malefor rose again, and the world is in turmoil. Now, Spyro and Cynder must work as a team to help stop Malefor. But what's this? Both Spyro and Malefor are purple dragons? Maybe they're Not So Different after all...
A movie was planned for this series but was cancelled.This series has also caused a bit of a gap in the Spyro fanbase, and the next Spyro game coming out, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, seems to be following this trend of fan controversy.
This trilogy contains examples of:
Adaptational Badass: Hunter. There's also a case for this to be applied to Spyro to an extent, though he was no slouch in the earlier series.
Apocalypse How: The Destroyer causes either a Class 4 or Class 5. It's kind of hard to tell if almost all life gets wiped out and the remaining life survives or if it's complete extinction and life returns somehow. However, it could also be a Class X, as the world breaks apart in the process but somehow gets restored afterwards.
Award Bait Song: "Guide You Home," from Dawn of the Dragon, and "This Broken Soul", from The Eternal Night.
Beam-O-War: The final battle features one as the deciding move, Malefor tries to kill Spyro and Cynder with his Convexity Breath, only for them to counter with their respective Fury Breaths. After a beam struggle, the heroes finally overpower him.
Beam Spam: Fury-mode breath in Dawn of the Dragon. Watch enemies explode into pretty showers of crystals on contact!
Beware My Stinger Tail - In Dawn of the Dragon Cynder has a blade on the end of her tail that she sometimes uses as a weapon, particularly in heavy melee attacks and her Scorpion Strike (where it is imbued with her Poison element). She also primarily uses this to attack Spyro, when she is temporarily re-corrupted by Malefor. She also does a tail whip when she is fought in A New Beginning, though this seems like more of a Tail Slap.
Big Bad: The Dark Master, Malefor. The Dragons also serve as the villains of the first two games, Cynder in the first and Gaul in the second. Skabb is also the main villain of the Sky Pirates arc of the second game.
Chained Heat: Dawn of the Dragon has this as a mechanic—Spyro and Cynder can't go too far from one another. They can use the chain to their advantage, though.
Chess Master: Malefor, big time. Until the end, pretty much everything goes according to his plan.
Colossus Climb: The Golem boss battle involves wounding it's arm enough to jump on and climb up to it's head and smash it's brain. Answering the question of why they don't just fly up to do it, the Guardians tried that and failed horribly.
The Destroyer is also fought in this manner and plays it much straighter, as the dang thing is bigger than a mountain.
Conservation of Competence: In all three games, the Big Bad is much smarter and more cunning than their minions. Dark Cynder and Gaul are both far more competent than the Apes and Malefor is a skillful Chessmaster leading an army of magically created monsters with no real competence.
Darker and Edgier: Compared to Spyro games that have come before. The first game of this trilogy begins with the Dragon Realms already in the middle of a long war, where Spyro and Cynder's entire generation were slaughtered as eggs. Ignitus burns to death! Yes, he died off screen, but still. Malefor alone is much darker than most of the Classic villains and is an Omnicidal Maniac trying to destroy the world.
Cerebus Syndrome: While Darker and Edgier, the first is still pretty lighthearted with humor coming from Spyarx and the quirky Dragon Elders. The second game, apart from the Breather Episode with the Sky Pirates, is much darker and bleaker, with the threat of Malefor the Dark Master's escape, his frightening origin story, and the inevitability of the Night of Eternal Darkness. The final game, with Malefor free and proving to be every bit of the monster the previous two games spent building him up as and his Near Villain Victory.
In the first game. She becomes a normal Action Girl in the third.
Darkest Hour: The end of Dawn of the Dragon. Ignitus is killed in a Heroic Sacrifice, the Destroyer is marching around the globe and nothing can stop it, and Cynder is under Malefor's control. A Hope Spot comes when the Power of Love frees Cynder, giving them a fighting chance, but it's crushed when the Destroyer finishes it's journey and begins the end of the world. It eventually gets better and Spyro manages to perform a World-Healing Wave and fixes the world, but it was certainly a dark moment.
Dark Is Not Evil: Cynder, once she gets over the evil. In Dawn of the Dragon, she has an array of special powers due to her having been "touched by darkness."
Deadpan Snarker: Sparx. Cynder even manages to pick up some snarky lines at some points.
Death by Irony: Ignitus, guardian of fire, dies in the wall of fire left behind by the Destroyer.
Despair Event Horizon: When Spyro confronts Malefor in Dawn of the Dragon, and Malefor turns Cynder against him.
Cynder: Fight back! ...Why won't you fight back?!
Spyro: ...Because you've left me nothing to fight for....
The Dragon: Cynder and Gaul to Malefor originally. In the third game, the Golem takes over this role.
Dragon Popsicle: To avoid a huge cataclysm, Spyro shields himself, Cynder, and Sparx in a crystal. They wake up 3 years later.
Demoted to Extra: Volteer and Cyril in Dawn of the Dragon. Both were chatterboxes in the first two games, but in DOTD they each get a single line.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Spyro and Cynder managed to kill the Destroyer, an ancient mythological monster that exists to destroy the world, by destroying every dark crystal in its body, including its heart. Sure, Malefor brought it back to life, but if he hadn't been involved, then it would've been dead. And not like it worsened the situation in any way. And it's not even the Final Boss.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Dawn of the Dragon has the Destroyer walking in a massive circle to destroy the planet. It succeeds. Sort of. Interestingly, Malefor boasted all it would do is cover the planet in flames.
Earn Their Happy Ending: Big time. Spyro and Cynder spend the entire story fighting just to stay alive come close to dying at the end of each game, both turned evil on at least one occasion, risked their lives many times, and finally literally stop the end of the world from happening. Just try telling them they didn't earn peace and happiness after that.
Eldritch Abomination: The Destroyer qualifies. It's an ancient mythological monster that has existed since the beginning of time and exists for only one reason; to destroy the world in a cascade of fire and ash. It's also the size of a mountain and nearly unstoppable.
Embarrassing Old Photo: Occurs with Sparx in The Eternal Night when the Chronicler shows a picture of Spyro and Sparx shortly after they were born.
Evil vs. Evil: In Dante's Freezer, the Apes and Ghouls are fighting one another as well as Spyro.
Fate Worse than Death: Malefor does this to the Apes after they outlive their usefulness. He turns them into undead creatures, forever doomed to remain in the shadows with a hunger for the energy of others that can never be filled. Even Spyro and Cynder, who the Apes had been trying to kill for two games, are horrified at this.
Depending on how you view his final scene, Malefor's defeat may also count.
Floating Continent: Dawn of the Dragon has a level of this sort as well. However, the danger of falling to one's death is non-existent, as Spyro and Cynder can actually fly this time around.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: There are two instances in the final battle of Dot D where, it may just be the distortion in is voice, but for all the world sounds like Malefor is saying :Damn it!"
Good Colors, Evil Colors: Sort of in A New Beginning. Cynder is the only black dragon in the game, so naturally, she's the villain, right? Well, sort of. She was actually The Dragon (no pun intended), controlled by the REAL Big Bad and only happens to be a black colored dragon. At the end of the game, she becomes an ally and more of an example of Dark Is Not Evil for the rest of the series.
Happily Adopted: Spyro doesn't mind being adopted by dragonflies, though his parents fade from the picture rather after the intro of A New Beginning. Then again, there really wasn't much time to visit mom and dad between searching for Cynder, getting kidnapped by pirates, and fighting a war.
Also subverted. It seems like Spyro and Cynder make one in the end, even they seem aware this may be their end, but they ultimately are revealed to be alive.
Immune to Fate: Purple Dragons are this, it's stated that they're able to guide the fate of the era into which they were born. This is shown by Spyro's habit of screwing destiny every time he hears a prediction he doesn't like.
Infinity+1 Element: Going into Fury mode in Dawn of the Dragon lets you use a special, "Fury-type" elemental breath. It's very effective on Elite Enemies.
Infinity+1 Sword: Related to the above—equipping all the pieces of "Fury armor" to either Spyro or Cynder in Dawn of the Dragon lets them use the Fury-element breath at any time. Most things die quickly. Unfortunately, so does your Mana Meter.
Knight of Cerebus: Dark Cynder in the first game, as the Apes were at least comical to some degree, but she's completely serious. In the second game, it's Gaul, who comes after the somewhat comical Sky PiratesStory Arc and like Dark Cynder has no real comedy to him, and the Apes are a lot less comedic as well. While Dawn of the Dragon was consistently dark throughout, it was largely due to Malefor being unleashed. As the overall Big Bad, Malefor could be considered this for the Spyro the Dragon series, as he's by far more serious and deadly than previous villains.
Lip Lock: Dawn of the Dragon somewhat suffers. It was made by a French studio (Etranges Libellules), so the English dub sometimes makes conversations seem kind of rushed.
Make Me Wanna Shout: Cynder's "Fear" element in Dawn of the Dragon lets her use superpowered screeches.
Maniac Monkeys: Most of the enemies are this, and usually twice your size.
Moment Killer: Spyro in Dawn of the Dragon, though most likely unintentionally.
(On the way to the Floating Islands)
Cynder: It's beautiful up here.
Spyro: The tower... That must lead to Malefor's lair.
Mythology Gag: Sparx munching on butterflies in The Eternal Night. In A New Beginning, there's also races of fawns and moles, possibly a Shout-Out to Elora and the Professor from the original trilogy.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Dark Master. Though Malefor counts as well, since his name might be a combination of the Latin word for evil and the Greek for "I carry" meaning his name could be translated as "carrier of evil" or "source of evil."
Near Villain Victory: Malefor comes very close to winning. At the climax of Dawn of the Dragon, he's unleashed the Destroyer and the only hope of stopping it is defeating Malefor before it completes the Ring Of Fire. Spyro and Cynder fail to stop him in time and it finishes. Malefor's boss battle with the heroes after that point pretty much amounts to stopping him once and for all. The only thing that stops him from winning is Spyro performing a World-Healing Wave and undoing the Destroyer's power.
Non Sequitur Thud: After crashing upon escaping from Convexity, Sparx says "Mommy, fluff my pillow".
No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: The very first game was like this, being an extremely linear beat 'em up—to the point of not even having level select options! The second game eased up a little, and the third game finally featured free-roaming worlds with proper hidden secrets.
Oblivious Adoption: Spyro was raised by dragonflies, and more or less believed he was a dragonfly until the whole "breathing fire" thing set in.
Ominous Floating Castle: Malefor takes over the Dragon Temple and turns it into one of these in the three years between Eternal Night and Dawn of the Dragon. For added omniousness, there's a massive volcano erupting underneath it that the Destroyer emerges from. It gets destroyed when the Destroyer completes it's path around the world, triggering the volcano to erupt.
Outside-Context Villain: Dark Cynder served as this for the Dragons during the war. They were winning in their long battle with the Apes, then she showed up and singlehandedly turned the tide of the war. Not only was she just that powerful, it's easy to guess they had no one of guessing a Dragon would show up leading the Apes.
The Power of Love: Plays a rather large role at the end of Dawn Of The Dragon. Cynder manages to break Spyro out of his Dark Spyro form with it following Ignitus' death. He then returns the favor by freeing her from Malefor's control with his own love for her.
Punny Name: In the first game, the Manweersmals. Say it out loud—slowly—if you don't get it. (For the record, they're about the same size as Spyro, though given he's a 12 year old dragon, he's small anyway.)
Upon meeting one, Spyro even says, "Man, they are small."
And, Mount Boyzitbig. At the very beginning of the level, Spyro says, "Boy, it's big."
Triumphant Reprise: Notice "Guide You Home" sounds a bit familar? Anything like, say... the music in the Enchanted Forest? And the Valley of Avalar?
Two-Part Trilogy: The Eternal Night left many issues unanswered to be dealt with in Dawn of The Dragon.
Ultimate Evil: Malefor. In the first two, he's not seen apart from murals depicting his past (and isn't even referred to by name) but treated with fear and dread by the Dragons and described as an evil so terrible, his sheer malice created a mountain. He's finally seen at the very end of Dawn of the Dragon, and actually manages to be everything he was built up as.
Villainous Breakdown: Malefor has one in Dawn Of The Dragon when Cynder breaks free of his control thanks to the Power of Love. He reacts by getting enraged for the first and only time in the entire series and instantly cutting straight to the Final Battle.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Sparx's parents, Flash and Nina, get a few lines at the start of A New Beginning and are never mentioned again. Seems odd with Sparx's habits of missing his mommy. Though given the pacing of the games, this might be for the best...
World-Healing Wave: Spyro unleashed one at the end of Dawn of the Dragon to stop the world from breaking apart and thankfully, he and Cynder survived it.
World-Wrecking Wave: If the Destroyer completes it's march around the planet, one of these is unleashed.
You Can Not Fight Fate: Played straight in Eternal Night when Spyro is told by the Chronicler that there's nothing he can do to stop the Night Of Eternal Darkness and Malefor from being freed. Given that said event is a celestial alignment, Sypro can't stop it. Subverted in Dawn of the Dragon, though the only opinion we have on the world's destruction being fated to happen is from the one trying to destroy it.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Dawn of the Dragon, Malefor does this to the apes by rewarding them with a Fate Worse than Death for freeing him from his prison. Since he quickly replaced them with the Grublins, it's rather clear his intention was to do this from the get go.