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, 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.
Call Back: A musical example: every world in Midnight Mountain (excepting Agent 9's Lab and the home world) shares its music with an earlier world: Crystal Islands shares its music with Seashell Shore, Haunted Tomb with Cloud Spires, Dino Mines with Molten Crater and Desert Ruins with the music used in Enchanted Towers for the sidequests. Likewise, Sunrise Spring's theme is also used for Evening Lake and the battle again the Sorceress, and Super Bonus World reuses Lost Fleet's theme.
Not the case for any "Greatest Hits" copies of the game. The songs were reused because they were placeholders for songs that were intended to be used, but weren't finished & implemented into the game yet by the time of its original release. In this case, Crystal Islands, Haunted Tomb, Dino Mines, Evening Lake, and the battle against the Sorceress were changed, while Desert Ruins kept it's music with Enchanted Towers getting a new track, and Lost Fleet's music also being changed, with Super Bonus World keeping it for itself.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Rule of Cool: Sgt. Byrd the penguin being capable of flight.
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.