Before I entered kindergarten, a family friend of ours — we called her an aunt for how much she did for us — had Spyro the Dragon, and I played it for hours whenever she babysat me. I may have only been four-years-old at the time, but I still had a blast trying to collect gems and saving all the dragons from the evil Gnasty Gnorc.
Almost two decades later, I came face to face with that very familiar purple dragon when I walked into the South Hall Lobby at E3 2018. The first thing I saw was a massive stone arch straight out of Spyro's homeworld, featuring an awesome hologram of the iconic purple dragon in action, flying through the air and breathing fire. This marked the entrance to the Spyro Reignited Trilogy booth, where E3 attendees had the chance to play the game before its release on September 21, 2018.
After I walked through the arch, I was treated to a demo of the game that included the levels Tree Tops and Toasty, which both originally appeared in the first Spyro the Dragon. This demo was nostalgia-fueled fun as I re-experienced some of the memories I had as a kid, while having a blast completing those two levels in this completely remastered edition.
As soon as I loaded into Toasty, I instantly felt like I was back at my aunt’s house trying to collect every gem I could get my claws on. It did not take long for me to learn the game’s controls because it triggered the same muscle memory — like riding a bike or toasting a few Shepherds with my fire breath.
I blazed a path towards Toasty, the level’s giant pumpkin-headed scarecrow boss, and took him down after getting squashed by his guard dogs a few times. I smirked when he revealed his final form — a sheep on stilts — knowing that as a kid, I was giggling over the fact that this almighty boss was really just an angry farm animal.
I then tackled Tree Tops, where I was completely blown away by the game’s graphics. I wasn’t good enough to get to this level back when I was a kid (again, I was only four), so I took some time to soak in the tiny tree houses, the dimly-lit torches, and the nighttime sky that complimented the whole environment.
In fact, these graphics took me so far out of the gameplay that I forgot how to use the Supercharge ramps to progress further into the level. Fortunately, after plummeting to the ground a few times, I remembered how to glide between islands and returned to the homeworld on my last life.
Overall, this game is just like the old-school Spyro with some brand-new tricks and graphics that bring the game into the current generation. It looks like what that pre-school kid imagined back in the day when he thought about playing the game over and over again at his aunt’s house, and it feels as good as it looks.
I will definitely be returning to the Dragon Realms in September to put an end to Gnasty Gnorc’s schemes once and for all.
James Mattone is a paid writer for Activision, and has grown up playing video games from the moment he could fit his hands around a controller.