I have been so fricking excited for this game ever since the Crash Bandicoot remake came out (we always knew they were going to do a Spyro one, I mean come on) and now it's finally here and I have it... and I'm playing it!... and I want to do nothing but collapse in a tear stained ball of pure joy and nostalgia.
I say that when I was growing up I never properly played any kind of video games, but there were in fact two titles that I was utterly infatuated with. One was The Sims 2, and the other was Spyro the Dragon on the PS1. So you can imagine my sheer delight when they finally announced that the remake of the original trilogy was officially going to happen, as it really felt like something I could truly be excited for. This is a game that I have my own personal connection with, something that I formed totally on my own throughout my formative years. No, I wasn't the best at the actual game itself and yes, I did keep repeating the same levels over and over again and no, I guess I never finished it, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy every second I had whilst playing. I was also one of those weird kids that was obsessed with dragons so it's not hard to see why I loved Spyro as a character so much and wanted to play it in the first place. (For the record, I'm still kind of obsessed with dragons...)
So I picked up a copy of the remake yesterday and instantly began to play through the first one. I seriously could not wipe the smile from my face as that same twinkly music from the Artisans World started to play through my TV, and it felt like I'd fallen into one of my many etherial childhood memories. The level of detail they've put into the remakes has already completely blown me away and I've only seen a fraction of the worlds that the trilogy has to offer. Everything looks so fresh and bright and lush - I know it's a bit of a one-horse-race when comparing it to PS1 graphics but I'm already feeling like the developers have properly knocked it out of the park. The in-game universe has much more of a visual presence and personality now too; buildings have details, there's actual scenery that doesn't just fade off into a mash of colours and the little creatures that you set on fire for Sparx to eat are all adorable and hilarious. I love, love, love that each of the individual dragons you rescue have their own little quips and hobbies (one's a painter, one's a chef, another is a strong-man etc.) so you get a better sense of who they are, even if it is just for a split second. I'll admit it's a very odd sensation hearing lines I'm used to hearing out of these blocky lumps of pixels all of a sudden being spoken by these fully realised characters. Spyro himself also has more sass than ever before too - again with the same lines but the way that his face and body language are animated now show him off as this 'rude-dude teenage dragon,' which is what I believe they were always going for, but are now able to portray that better than ever before. Technological advancements rule!
Reece was sitting with me as I was playing through the first few levels or so and he actually made a pretty profound point that seems to have stuck with me:
"The best thing about this is, is that this is probably how good the game looked to you as a child when you were playing it on your PS1."
I really liked that and it gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling inside. More often than not people revisit games they enjoyed as children only to be disappointed when it's not at all like how they remember it. I know, I've been there too. There have been a few instances where I've gone back to play my original copy of Spyro and, it's not that I'm disappointed, I just find it harder to 'relate' to nowadays. When the games you have connections with as a child are tenuous at best it can often be hard to revisit them with such vigour, and even though Spyro was one of my favourites, in the grand scheme of things I never really played games that much as a kid at all. I'm very grateful for this opportunity to connect with it again in such a way; it will forever be heralded as a classic (at least in my books) and the beauty of remakes like this is that you get to experience that exact same joy and wonder you did as a child without having to adjust the rose-tinted glasses too much. It also opens up the game to a whole new generation, and I'm very excited to see how people of all ages are going to react to this crazy little reptile and his glowing bug friend.
So this is going to come across as quite controversial for someone who says they love the Spyro games, but I've never, ever played Ripto's Rage or Year of the Dragon. EVEN THOUGH everybody says YotD is the best one of the three because you get to ride a SKATEBOARD, I still haven't played it yet. But it's not through lack of trying, I swear!
With all three games coming in the same package, it essentially means that I get one favourite game as well as two brand new ones, which if I'm not wrong is possibly one of the greatest deals to happen ever. I'm very much looking forward to playing them, and eventually writing about them, because with the last two I am going in completely blind. All I know is that if they look and play anything like the first one then I am in for a very good time.
So my current mission is to 100% the first game and then just enjoy the other two however I like. I'm seriously having one of the best emotional gaming experiences I've had in forever and I'm very thankful that Toys for Bob decided to remake the series. They seem to have done so in such a beautiful way that it clearly succeeds the originals, but doesn't forget to sign a love letter toward it as well. It's the same super fun, super great game that it always has been, just with a bit of a much needed facelift.
I am happy, my heart is happy, and now if you'll excuse me I must be off to play some more. If you need me, you know where I'll be...