The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.
Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We've got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.
Today, we take flash back to the late 90s and scrutinize the classic platformer, Spyro the Dragon.
Developer: Insomniac Games
Region(s) available: North America, Japan
Alongside Crash Bandicoot, Insomniac Games’ Spyro the Dragon represented the pinnacle of PlayStation platformers in the late 1990s. Okay, so he’s a cutesy purple dragon that wouldn’t look out of place on a Saturday morning cartoon marathon, but looks can be deceptive; beneath its innocent exterior, Spyro the Dragon is actually one of the more competent entries in the genre to date. Sure, there’s been some dodgy outings over the years, but Spyro’s meteoric rise to fame did wonders for Sony’s grey box of tricks and solidified the pint-sized fire-breather as a meaty contender in the platform gaming space.
Spyro the Dragon sees the purple, eponymous hero attempting to extricate his scaly pals from the clutches of the dastardly Gnasty Gnorc, who has imprisoned Spyro’s friends in crystal. Accompanied by dragonfly chum Sparx, our daring Dragon must traverse six worlds, each one packing in six stages to explore. Throughout each stage, Spryo must hoover up stolen treasure and dragon eggs while bumping off baddies and engaging in the typical array of rudimentary, 3D platforming shenanigans.
Of course, Spyro’s got a few tricks up his sleeves, and as you’d expect, one of them includes the ability to breath fire. Well, duh, he’s a Dragon, ain’t he? In addition to deep-frying foes, our hero can also ram them with his horns, as well as utilize his wings to flutter for a short period of time. The latter is essential for some parts of the game, as you’ll have to navigate a number of Prop Cycle-style levels where Spyro must collect various items before the time expires. Each item acquired will bag our fluttering friend with a few precious seconds more air time, allowing you to continue forward.
Interestingly, Spyro lacks the mandatory boss battle that most platform games lumber you with at the climax of each world. While bosses do exist, they are entirely optional, save for the obligatory end-of-game scrap. Believe it or not, one of the game’s most celebrated components is its soundtrack; a moody, atmospheric masterpiece conceived by The Police’s Steward Copeland. This combined with the game’s vibrant aesthetics, which even by today’s standards hold up remarkably well, make for quite an evocative adventure.
Tune in again same time tomorrow for another gander Inside PlayStation Network.