In a terrible mishap, Spyro, Sparx, and the Professor have inadvertently torn a hole in the fabric of space between the Rhynoc and Dragon Realms. Now, at the command of the elusive Ripto, droves of Rhynocs are pouring into the Dragon Realms in yet another attempt to make life miserable. Spyro must help the Professor close the hole quickly before both the gate and Ripto's giant ego get too big and the two realms fuse together permanently!
This game contains examples of:
- Alternate Continuity: The world of this game has the characters of previous games all living in the same world and working jobs they never had before or since. Sgt. Byrd for example works with a platoon of other penguins, not hummingbirds as originally shown in Year of The Dragon.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Most of the late-game upgrades are powders than change Spyro's color pallete. The earliest one could give Spyro all of the possible colors based on which colored gem he had just collected.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The charge abilities just take too long to charge in order to be practical outside of puzzling. Too bad that's how you have to defeat Ripto.
- Big Damn Heroes: Butler preventing Ripto from killing the Professor at the end of the game.
- Bragging Rights Reward: You unlock Pvt. Bird's levels for co-op and competitive multiplayer by getting 100% Completion. You need to collect every gem just to get Moneybags' Heart (not that one).
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the credits, Ripto is being cared for like a baby by Butler.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The ultimate objective of the game is to collect all the Hearts of the Realms. And in most cases, in order to get a Realm's Heart, you need to collect a number of other items so that the current keeper can either retrieve it from wherever it's kept, or be able to spare it from whatever task it's being used for. And in some cases you have to complete a pair of rescue mission subquests (One each for Sergeant Byrd and Agent 9) to get the key to the chest in which an item you need to acquire a Heart is found, making it a three layer deep Fetch Quest.
- Homage: The Rhynocs n' Clocks world is an obvious yet rather obscure reference (considering the intended audience demographic) to Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory.
- The walls in the Sgt. Byrd mission in Chateau Ripto also contain famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa and The Scream defaced with Ripto's face.
- Market-Based Title: Spyro Adventure in Europe.
- Memento MacGuffin: You receive the heart for the Rhynocs n' Clocks realm halfway through the adventure, after defeating Ripto in a mid-game boss battle. Also serves as foreshadowing.
- Metroidvania: Instead of the hub and level formula of previous GBA Spyro games the game takes place in an open world that Spyro must open up with new abilities while still being a isometric platformer.
- Safecracking: The Master Thief locked the Heart of his Realm into his safe, and needs his tools to get it out. He ultimately ends up destroying the safe completely in his efforts to open it. When you consider the fact that it's his safe to begin with, this seems really odd, as he should have already known the combination.