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Video Game / The Legend of Spyro

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The second generation — a legend reborn.

The Legend of Spyro is Activision/Sierra'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 dragon egg to survive, 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)
    With Spyro's successful defeat of Cynder, the Dark Master's power over her wanes, and she changes back to her true form — a young dragon no older (or larger) than Spyro. Yet, touched as she is by the darkness, Cynder is compelled by a shadowy figure named Gaul to try and release the Dark Master from the Well of Souls — the aim to cloak the world in an endless night. Spyro, led by visions of a strange dragon master, pursues her in the hope he can prevent her from making a horrible mistake. In the process, however, Spyro may fall victim to the darkness himself...
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (2008) (developed by Etranges Libellules)
    Three years after the events of The Eternal Night, Spyro and Cynder awaken from their crystalline prison, only to be unceremoniously chained together at the neck by vile servants of the Dark Master. Luckily, Hunter the cheetah tracks them down and helps them escape. During their slumber, the Dark 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 that 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. Although the creator mentions he only "scratched the surface" with the trilogy, the Spyro franchise ultimately got rebooted again and spun-off into the far more successful Skylanders franchise. The Legend series wasn't entirely forgotten, though, as several elements from it carried over into the Skylanders lore. Spyro's backstory is based on his Legend counterpart, and Cynder returns as a playable character. The Big Bad Malefor is also mentioned in the backstories of several Skylanders and appears in person in the tie-in comics. Likewise, the Skylanders TV show, Skylanders Academy, has Spyro as the main character, and adds Cynder and Malefor in season 2.

The trilogy as a whole contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Turrets operated by Apes can shoot metal bullets as well as rock spikes, icy jets, electrical surges and, during the first flight level, other apes.
  • Alien Sky: The sky in the Dragon Realms has two moons.
  • All Your Powers Combined: This is a trait common to purple dragons because they are not limited in their elements like other dragons. Spyro does this with his Elemental Powers at the end of The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning.
  • Alternate Continuity: The series has some references and even shares some characters with the Insomniac trilogy but doesn't even try to pretend to be in continuity with it.
  • Ambushing Enemy: Bulb spiders have bodies spotted like the mushrooms of the swamp area where they're found, and legs that resemble leaves. They usually hide head-first into the group to mimic regular fungi, but when Spyro enters the room where they're found they pop out and attack.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: According to Ignitus, dragons don't truly die but merge their spirit with nature.
  • Bag of Spilling: In each game, Spyro begins with no powers of any sort and needs to develop them to full strength; the progress made in previous installments is not carried over. The end of A New Beginning sets up an explanation to justify this being the case in The Eternal Night — Spyro mentions that the battle with Dark Cynder and subsequent escape drained his strength, and he lost most of his powers as a result — but this is not present in the transition to Dawn of the Dragon.
  • Blue Means Cold: Spyro's ice breaths are white-blue in color. Cyril, the Ice Guardian, is primarily light blue with purple wing membranes and belly plates, while ice elemental enemies are the same bright blue as Spyro's attacks.
  • Bottomless Pits: Several areas contain or are surrounded by bottomless abysses. These can be used to the player's advantage, especially in the first game, as enemies pushed into them will be instantly killed.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While Darker and Edgier, the first game is still pretty lighthearted with humor coming from Sparx 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, a story mostly spent in the middle of pitched battles and blaster wastelands, and Malefor's Near-Villain Victory, is decidedly the bleakest of the trilogy.
  • Child Soldiers: Spyro is only twelve when he joins the battle against the apes. Cynder counts too, since she was magically turned into an adult by Malefor's magic and forced to serve as his top enforcer for likely years. Even Ignitus is shown in a cutscene to have a young dragon child by his side on the battlefield, during the earlier stages of the war. This, however, can be explained in Spyro's case being out of desperation, since the guardian's armies are dead and very few are left to fight them off. Plus, Spyro is The Chosen One and the only one strong enough to defeat the dark armies. In Cynder's case, she was forced into this. Ignitus mentions that the Guardians' forces were small, and, given that the dark armies were apparently large enough to conquer the world, it might have been out of desperation that a child like the one in the cutscene with Ignitus was called into battle.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Including all the games in the trilogy, the series has orange-red for fire, blue for ice, green (brown in the third title) for earth, yellow for electricity, purple for aether/fury, deep red for fear, light blue for wind, lime green for poison and black and dark blue for shadow.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In the last two games, the different kinds of spirit gems are distinguished by color — red ones restore health, green ones restore mana, purple ones fill up the Fury meter and blue ones give experience points.
  • Coming of Age Story: Spyro's adoptive parents knew his draconic nature would become apparent as he got older. This prompts him to leave the house to find out more about himself and stakeout a role in the world.
  • Continuity Reboot: We now have a solid planet instead of a Portal Network of realms and worlds of unclear geography. The dragons are now far fewer in number and purple is rare and legendary, rather than rare but otherwise dismissed. Dragonflies and young dragons being in a relationship is now considered odd. We could go on.
  • 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 intelligence of their own.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Most of the bosses in the trilogy are this way, especially in the first game. While later games give the bosses more distinct patterns, the general strategy for most of them remains "Attack them while they're vulnerable; back up when they're not".
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • In general, the series is this compared to the original Spyro games. 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, and the series afterward follows a long, difficult quest to prevent the return of an ancient, monstrous evil.
    • Dawn of the Dragon is this compared to the series as a whole. It drops the first two games' cartoony art style for a much more realistic and detailed one, uses far less humor than its prequels, gives much closer attention to the war and devastation caused by the villain, and Ignitus burns to death — yes, he dies offscreen, but still. Malefor alone is much darker than most of the Classic villains and is an Omnicidal Maniac trying to destroy the world.
  • The Dragon: Cynder and Gaul work for Malefor to bring about his release; they carry out his will, order the lesser evil creatures around and provide tough physical challenges for Spyro.
  • Double Jump: In the first two games, Spyro can flap his wings to achieve some extra height and air time during jumps. In the third game, he and Cynder simply fly.
  • Dying Race: Heavily implied to be the case with the dragons. Given the fact very few members of the race are seen in the trilogy, no army or society of theirs (beyond Warfang, which is partially in ruins) is seen, as well as the purges conducted by Cynder and the apes, its all but stated they are on the rapid decline. Further hinting at this point is the fact Gaul placed a bounty on all dragons in the second game, which is akin to what a group would do when conducting a genocide or systematic killing of a group or species. Background dragons outside of the main characters are seen fighting in the background of Dawn of the Dragon but there don't seem to be a whole lot of them. What further cements this trope is the fact the eggs smashed at the beginning of the first game were stated by Ignitus to be vital to the survival of their species.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: 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 literally stop the end of the world from happening. Just try telling them they didn't earn peace and happiness after that.
  • Eldritch Location: Convexity is an Afterlife Antechamber described by Ignitus as a Void Between the Worlds, populated by flying jellyfish monsters with crab-like legs and other nightmarish creatures.
  • Elemental Dragon: All dragons in the setting have control over at least one element, with the four primary elements most commonly featured amongst the dragons' power repertoire being fire, ice, electricity, and earth. Cynder, a unique dragon corrupted by the Big Bad, also has access to wind, fear, poison, and shadow. Dragons are colored in accordance with the elements they wield (Ignitus the fire dragon is fiery red and orange, Cyril the ice dragon is an icy blue, Volteer the electric dragon is bright electric yellow with blue highlights, and Terrador the earth dragon is a dark forest green with brown highlights). Purple dragons are a very rare breed that can learn to control every element. Only two are known to exist, Spyro and Maelfor, and they are said to only be born once every ten generations. The game developers originally planned to include wind and water dragons as well, but these were ultimately absent from the final game outside of Cynder's ability to manipulate wind.
  • Elemental Personalities: Volteer, the guardian of electricity, is upbeat and vivacious, and has a notorious Motor Mouth. Cyril, the guardian of ice, is intelligent, calm and haughty. Terrador, the guardian of earth, is stoic and thoughtful. Ignitus, the guardian of fire, is the primary exception, as he's the most mild-tempered of the group.
  • Elemental Powers: Being a purple dragon, Spyro can learn and master all the elemental powers of dragons, while in Dawn of the Dragon Cynder, thanks to her exposure to darkness, can use four elements of her own. Spyro has Fire (allows him to burn enemies, spit lava bombs and perform a fiery charge), Electricity (stuns enemies and leaves them vulnerable while they're being shocked), Ice (freezes mooks solid and attacks with sharp fragments of ice) and Earth (blasts enemies away with powerful blasts of wind, green energy flails and shockwaves, as well as encasing himself in rocks). Cynder instead has Wind (implied to be her natural element, blasts foes with whirlwinds and gales), Shadow (attacks with dark flames and from the shadows), Fear (attacks with high-pitched fear-inducing screeches) and Poison (shoots balls of venom or venomous attacks).
  • Elite Mook: In the first two games, both Apes and Skavengers can be summarized into three types of enemies: small, fast-moving mooks, bigger and stronger mooks with weapons and better stamina and finally even bigger and stronger enemies which are harder to beat and can endure much more punishment, sometimes being even harder to stun.
  • Fire Is Red: Spyro's fire attacks burn bright red. Ignitus, the Fire Guardian, is also a duller red in color, while fire elemental enemies are the same vivid red as Spyro's attacks.
  • Fungus Humongous: The dragonflies' swamp is filled with gigantic glowing mushrooms, ranging in size from regular toadstools to ones the size of trees. A few have branched stalks.
  • Genre Shift:
    • While the original trilogy and the games between that and this trilogy are light-hearted, very plot-light collect-a-thon platformers, this trilogy is a much more plot-heavy Action-Adventure Beat 'em Up. Only The Eternal Night has a serious amount of platforming and the combination of Sparx guiding the player and dragon time mean it's still not too hard.
    • Within the trilogy, the third game is more of a co-op game where each partner has to stick together, rather than the more relatively free-roaming style of the first two games. The change in developers probably played a part in this.
    • The Nintendo DS versions of the trilogy themselves have a completely different gameplay style from each other; the first one is basically a Spiritual Successor to Spyro: Shadow Legacy with its top-down perspective, the second one is a 3D platformer with puzzle elements, and the third one is a side-scroller.
    • Ironically, the mobile versions avert this; all three games are side-scrollers on mobile. Some argue this actually makes them the most consistent version of the trilogy.
  • Giant Spider: Bulb Spiders are humongous arachnids disguised as mushrooms which live in the swamps around the Temple. In the second game they have an edgier appearence and in several cutscenes they're shown pouncing on the apes and devouring them.
  • Glowing Flora: The gills of the giant mushrooms of the dragonflies' swamp glow purple. This isn't particularly visible by day, but it's much more obvious at night.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: You can and are in fact encouraged to do this. The first two games have a knockback move that exists specifically to allow you to kick one enemy into another, dealing damage to both (A New Beginning teaches this move in the tutorial, not letting you move on until you get it exactly right), and the third game takes it up to eleven by allowing you to grab one enemy and either bash it repeatedly into the ground and any other enemies in the way or swing it around you in a circle, effectively creating a living, screaming, damage-dealing shield around the Player Character.
  • The Hero's Journey: Rather than a call to adventure, Spyro decides to set out on his own volition. Otherwise most of the associated tropes apply, such as venturing into the unknown world (of dragons), supernatural aid in learning from the dragons, the Abyss (the Darkest Hour in Malefor's lair) and then the return.
  • Idle Animation: Spyro will stand up and look around himself if left idle for a while and, in the first game, will begin dancing if left alone for long enough.
  • Immune to Fate: Purple dragons are specifically said to be able to guide the fate of the era they are born into. In particular, whenever someone predicts a destiny he doesn't like, Spyro tends to Screw Destiny.
  • In Name Only: Despite the fact that it stars a purple dragon named Spyro, this series couldn't be further than the classic series that inspired it — it's very story-driven where the classic games have strictly nominal plots, greatly emphasizes combat while deemphasized platforming, and only includes three characters from the original games in an otherwise entirely original cast. Even Spyro himself doesn't really act like his Classic self; while Classic Spyro is snarky, mischievous if well-meaning deep down, this Spyro starts out as a well mannered, respectful and near Paragon level hero.
  • Kid Hero: Spyro, Sparx and Cynder are all twelve when the series starts. Due to the art change in Dawn of the Dragon, they evolve into Kid Hero All Grown-Up where they're now fifteen.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: At various points throughout the games, Spyro enters areas where the way forward — and often the way backward as well — becomes shut off by heavy stone doors descending or an Elite Mook summons an Elemental Barrier, which will only be lifted by killing several waves of foes. In some cases this is justified, as with the Dragon Temple being said to automatically seal itself in response to being invaded and only unseal when all intruders are removed, or when the obstacle is a magical barrier created by an enemy who needs to be defeated to dispel it. In other cases, no explanation is provided.
  • The Legend of X: The trilogy is billed as The Legend of Spyro, which is used to differentiate it from the previous continuity and emphasize its greater focus on story and worldbuilding.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Enemies killed while frozen by Spyro's ice breath shatter into pieces.
  • Mana Meter: Spyro and Cynder's elemental attacks are powered by an energy meter represented by a green gauge below the red health meter in the HUD. Refilling it requires absorbing green gems dropped by defeated enemies or green energy gem clusters, although in Dawn of the Dragon some armor pieces allow it to passively regenerate. In addition, the powerful fury attacks are powered by a separate, purple meter that fills much more slowly, and which in DotD the two dragons share instead of each having their own.
  • Maniac Monkeys: Most of the enemies are apes, and usually twice Spyro's size.
  • Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: There are only male characters except for Cynder, who first appears as a villain in A New Beginning. You don't get to see any other female dragons (or female characters in general) besides her, as if she is the only female in the world. You do get to see a little of Sparx's mother Nina, but since she appears too little in the first game, she doesn't count. There are no female cheetahs in Hunter's village or female moles in Warfang in Dawn of the Dragon, making this trope even more true.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • The Death Hounds are a mix between dogs, lizards and armadillos.
    • Scratch and Sniff, the two pirate parrots, have bat wings and lizard tails.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • This continuity's version of Hunter hails from the Valley of Avalar. Avalar is the setting of Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, the game where Hunter first debuted, and consequently his homeland in the original continuity as well.
    • Spyro and Cynder's eggs are laid on the Year of the Dragon, named after the third game of the original series.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified in that Spyro, as a purple dragon, can master the elements of fire, ice, electricity, and earth, and in order to defeat Malefor he has to master all four of them.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Dark Cynder, Gaul, the Destroyer, and Malefor's themes all have Latin chanting for the evil atmosphere.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons are the central focus of the setting, are of the quadrupedal, winged modern European kind, and have strong connections to the elements. Different scale colors tend to represent a dragon's element and they are usually only privy to one. The extremely rare purple dragons are the exception, as they can form connections to all elements.
  • Pattern-Coded Eggs: Purple dragons hatch from eggs of the same color. Because of their unique power, the birth of a purple egg is cause for much excitement and/or trepidation. This is a change from the source material, in which all dragon eggs were off-white and patterned with irregular pink-and-blue shapes (to emphasize the cuteness of the baby inside).
  • Powder Trail: The first two games have an occasional case of powder trails leading to massive stashes of explosives set there by either the Apes or the Skavengers, depending on the game. Spyro can ignite the powder with his fire breath to cause a massive explosion.
  • Power Crystal: Spirit gems — clusters of quartz-like crystals growing from the ground — serve as the source of the dragons' magic; by breaking and consuming them, dragons can restore their internal magic reserves. They're a major element in all three games, as they serve as the primary means by which Spyro recharges his health and Mana Meters and gains experience points.
  • Power Nullifier: There are several artifacts specifically created to drain a dragon's ability to use their elements in this continuity. Dark Gems are the most common, although Gaul has a staff that can do this too, which he quickly uses on Spyro just before he fights him.
  • Primate Versus Reptile: Dragons against Apes (which are actually monkeys), and this is a central conflict in the second game. But the morality roles are reversed, since our heroes are dragons while the Apes are villains.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Purple dragons' coloration marks their legendary power and ability to learn all Elemental Powers, not just one.
  • Reformulated Game: The handheld versions tend to be quite different from their console counterparts, and for reasons beyond their technically inferior hardware. The DS version of one game in the series includes a whole minigame of Light and Mirrors Puzzles not found anywhere in the console versions. The Game Boy Advance version of the second game also features a more platforming and exploration-oriented game than the console versions, and, in fact, got higher reviews than every other version of the game despite being on the least-advanced system.
  • RPG Elements: All games utilize an experience system where gems representing points are obtained from defeated enemies, as well as certain large gem clusters found around the game world. Once enough of these have been gathered, they can be spent to upgrade and strengthen Spyro's and, in the third game, Cynder's attacks. In addition, the last two games allows Spyro, and later Cynder, to permanently increase their health and mana bars by collecting special items, and Dawn of the Dragon introduces an equipment system where Spyro and Cynder can put on various pieces of armor found through the game that grant different buffs and abilities if worn.
  • Smashing Survival: Wiggling the analog stick will free you from being frozen.
  • Smash Mook: In contrast to the swarms of weak Mooks and the more elite foes that gain various tricks and special attacks as enemy levels and the game progress, the rock brute family of enemies never develop any tactic beyond stomping over to Spyro and hitting him with the big rock they have for a right arm. They get away with this chiefly by having a great deal of health, and because if they do land a hit Spyro will be left dizzy for a while.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Cynder and Nina are the only females in the entire trilogy with speaking roles (many other unnamed dragons and moles are shown in the background, but you don't get a chance to chat with them).
  • Squashed Flat: Knock an enemy up high enough in the first two games and this will be what happens when they finally hit the ground. This isn't always fatal to them though. In the second game you must do this to finish off certain monsters, especially the scorpion riders.
  • Spin Attack: The bulb spiders in the first two games and the crystal ball spiders in the second often attack by raising their legs into the air and spinning across the ground in an attempt to hit Spyro.
  • Tail Slap:
  • Turns Red: All the bosses, after losing one healthbar to Spyro, change their pattern and skills and usually become more aggressive in combat.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The Eternal Night leaves many issues unanswered to be dealt with in Dawn of the Dragon, which in turn largely plays out as an extended climax to the events in the earlier game.
  • Variable Mix: The soundtrack will shift from the level's normal music to epic horns or fast drums when enemies appear, and then back again when all the enemies are dead, using a quick sort of fade for the transition. Anyone well-versed in music will hear the break quite clearly, but to most people it's almost completely seamless.
  • Yellow Earth, Green Earth: Earth Breath and its many variations across all three games are associated with the color green (while yellow is for lightning). This is more evident in the first two games, where Earth Breath includes power over soil, nature and wind, while the third game Spyro's attack are more earth/rock related and are a mix of green and brown. Terrador, the Earth Guardian, is also primarily forest green in color, with brown plates, horns, wings, and claws, while earth elemental enemies are the same vivid green as Spyro's attacks.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Spyro's electric breaths take the form of crackling yellow bolts of electricity. Volteer, the Guardian of Electricity, is primarily bight yellow in color, with blue spines, claws, horns, wing fingers, and belly plates. Electric elemental enemies also glow yellow.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: In the GBA games, Spyro has to discover Dragon Artifacts in order to learn certain skills. This includes being able to climb walls and even charge.

Alternative Title(s): The Legend Of Spyro Trilogy


Malefor's fate

After being defeated, Malefor is seized by the spirits of deceased dragons and dragged away to an unknown fate.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / DraggedOffToHell

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