Dragon up the past

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENT -

Not for the first time, Crash Bandi­coot changed ev­ery­thing. Last year’s re­make tril­ogy is still rid­ing high in the charts, prov­ing we can’t get enough of the warm, bur­bly nos­tal­gia that comes with re­play­ing games from our child­hood. And just like on PS1, Spyro is fol­low­ing in the or­ange fur­ball’s board­ies. Can the dragon set the charts alight like PlayS­ta­tion’s other mas­cot?

Of course he can. Spyro Reignited Tril­ogy, a re­made col­lec­tion of the first three In­som­niac-de­vel­oped games on PS1, is shap­ing up to be an­other sharply recre­ated slice of nos­tal­gia. Cre­ated us­ing Un­real En­gine 4, the re­made Spyro’s lev­els and an­i­ma­tion look im­pec­ca­ble. The tiny dragon scam­pers and dashes around the colour­ful open-ish worlds like a manic splash of pur­ple fun. But the charm lies in the de­tails, such as the way Spyro preens him­self and stretches, cat-like, if you leave him idle. There’s an air of Pene­lope Pussy­cat about how Spyro springs from plat­forms, his lit­tle feet dan­gling in mid-air.


Part of the draw of these re­made games is see­ing how the de­vel­oper can fill in the gaps the ag­ing PS1 tech­nol­ogy couldn’t – 20 years ago our imag­i­na­tions pa­pered over the polyg­o­nal cracks.

This re­make is awash with ju­ve­nile charm: breathe fire near small Rhynoc fod­der, and rather than stand


and fight, they run in panic. Watch­ing these big bads lose their cool, charge around like head­less chick­ens, and col­lide com­i­cally like two Looney Tunes char­ac­ters al­ways raises a smile. And that’s the heart of Spyro, right there. Of course, en­e­mies vary in size and tac­tics; while smaller Rhynocs can be rammed larger ones need to be burnt to send them scur­ry­ing away. But now re­made on PS4 ev­ery­thing feels more alive, like a mov­ing car­toon. It’s how our grey cells re­mem­ber the game.


If the an­i­ma­tion and vi­brant vi­su­als are Spyro’s im­me­di­ate hook, it’s the level de­sign that stands the test of time, re­gard­less of vis­ual splen­dour. Perched high on a ledge in Sunny Villa we can see all around. Shiny gems tease us for col­lec­tion; dragon stat­ues and eggs can just be made out. But how do we get there? The world build­ing per­fected on PS1 is back, and play­ing in it as ad­dic­tive as ever.

If you think Spyro is ‘for the kids’ then re­mem­ber how tricky some of the worlds were. Peter Kavic, se­nior pro­ducer at Toys For Bob, points us in the di­rec­tion of Tree Tops, the level found in Beast Mak­ers Home­world from the first game. “It’s known as one of the more chal­leng­ing lev­els in the game and it just looks beau­ti­ful,” he says. “Set in a vil­lage built high up among mas­sive trees, Spyro must use su­per­charge ramps to make his way around the var­i­ous huts, all the while at risk of fall­ing into the abyss be­low.”

Aided by re­worked con­trols, these re­made worlds feel like they were de­signed for PS4. Spyro is dy­namic and re­spon­sive. He turns and spins with a new-found agility, the cam­era eas­ily keep­ing pace with the tit­u­lar dragon’s on-screen an­tics.

Whether run­ning or glid­ing through the Dragon and Avalar Realms, the game plays with the kind of mod­ern flour­ishes that you’d ex­pect from a new PS4 re­lease. It cer­tainly makes the end­less ex­plo­ration, col­lec­tion, and dis­cov­ery pitch of the tril­ogy as en­joy­able as your old head re­mem­bers. There’s a clear pas­sion for the source ma­te­rial that breathes fiery life into these re­made clas­sics. “We wanted to cre­ate a love let­ter back to the fans with this re­mas­ter and un­leash the dragon in a sig­nif­i­cant way that re­minded fans why they fell in love with gam­ing in the first place,” ex­plains Kavic.


This pas­sion feeds through into ev­ery as­pect of the game. Even the mu­sic has been re-recorded, with ex-The Po­lice drum­mer Stu­art Copeland hit­ting the stu­dio again. Tiger Train is a new ti­tle track for the tril­ogy that “blends recog­nis­able mu­si­cal mo­tifs from the first three games into a mem­o­rable, or­ches­tral­rock score,” says Kavic. But like much of the game, the fun is in the de­tail. If you tire of the new mu­sic you can switch be­tween the re­mas­tered and orig­i­nal Copeland sound­track as you play.

All the in­gre­di­ents are here for an­other retro takeover, and if the suc­cess of Crash Bandi­coot N. Sane Tril­ogy is a fore­shad­ow­ing of what’s to come, we’ll all be fans of the pur­ple dragon come Novem­ber. Kavic is will­ing to go a step fur­ther for his love of Spyro: “I would dye my hair pur­ple if we go to num­ber one,” says the de­vel­oper with con­fi­dence. His em­bar­rass­ment is in your hands.


While the level de­sign is iden­ti­cal, the rest of the game has been re­made from the ground up. We love the ’90s.

Above Look at his lit­tle face. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to click pre-or­der. Right. Now. [ Milf,that­mean­syou– ed.]

Above Be­fore Kratos got there, Spyro was do­ing the Norse myths thing. Cloud Spires re­turns and looks stun­ning.

Above Vol­canic world Magma Cone looks fan­tas­tic ren­dered on PS4. Surely a dragon’s not scared of a lit­tle heat?

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