Spyro the Dragon has been one of PlayStation's iconic characters since his first game's release in 1998. The original trilogy was produced by Insomniac Games, also known for developing other PlayStation mascots like Ratchet & Clank. Since then, the series has changed hands numerous times, and each iteration on the franchise has taken a slightly different spin on the Spyro formula.
Many Spyro games have certain elements in common, such as the reappearance of Spyro's many allies and enemies and a focus on collecting certain items to advance the game. They also tend toward platforming adventure games. But as we'll see, some entries have diverged from these Spyro staples with... mixed results. Keep reading to find out which Spyro games are the best, and which are the worst.
10 Worst: Spyro: A Hero's Tail
A Hero's Tail was the first game in the series to be developed for all three major consoles, the Xbox alongside the GameCube and PlayStation 2. It sees Spyro and a handful of his allies (all playable) facing off against a new antagonist named Red, a corrupt dragon elder who was banished some years before.
Reviews for the title were mostly indifferent toward this new entry into the franchise. It was generally criticized for not innovating on the Spyro formula what was established in the original trilogy. The greatest additions are Spyro's new ability to grab ledges, and a number of boring minigames acting as filler.
9 Best: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
Some people might question whether Skylanders' really counts as a Spyro game. The main draw of the series was the sheer number of playable characters, all unlockable via interaction with physical toys that could be purchased separately. Spyro is only one of the thirty or so Skylanders you could play, though he did come with the game along with two others.
Despite its questionable pedigree, the first Skylanders game was generally well-received and praised for its family-friendly tone. It was criticized for the cost of buying new characters but otherwise was considered a fun game for its target audience: children.
8 Worst: The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
Another multiplatform title, this is the first in a franchise reboot published by Vivendi Universal Games. It completely reimagines the world of Spyro and opens with a dragon tending to a clutch of eggs, from which an important purple hatchling is foretold to be born; when the temple is attacked, Spyro's egg is sent downriver and adopted by a family of dragonflies.
The game also makes a change from the platforming and exploration focus of earlier titles to a more combat-focused experience. Most fans and critics felt the game introduced some interesting ideas but didn't manage to find a satisfying balance of gameplay, leaving it feeling bland and mediocre.
7 Best: Spyro the Dragon
Unsurprising to most, one of the best games in the Spyro franchise is the one that set the standard for all following games. Spyro the Dragon was the introduction of the soon-to-be popular mascot as he went on a quest to free his fellow imprisoned dragons and face off against the villain Gnasty Gnorc.
The gameplay mostly involved exploring a number of levels to locate collectibles like gems, dragon eggs, and the aforementioned imprisoned dragons contained within crystal statues. It was almost universally praised, compared favorable to other 3D platforming titles like Crash Bandicoot and Banjo-Kazooie.
6 Worst: The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
This is the third and final entry in the Legend of Spyro reboot series. It brings two entirely new elements to the table: Spyro can now fly at any time in the game, allowing greater exploration, and it introduces drop-in co-op, which lets players join the adventure as Spyro's enemy-turned-ally Cynder.
It maintains the combat focus of previous entries in the reboot. Most critics praised the graphics and the story, but the gameplay fell woefully short, resulting in players getting bored, lost, or annoyed with the game. A Game Informer critics advised even the "most devout Spyro fans" to avoid it.
5 Best: Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!
Ripto's Rage! is a direct sequel to the original Spyro the Dragon and finds Spyro transported from the Dragon Realms to the world of Avalar. He was summoned by three new characters named Elora, Hunter, and the Professor who were searching the many worlds for a dragon capable of defeating Ripto, who is slowly conquering all of Avalar.
It follows a similar formula to the first game, with Spyro collecting talismans and power orbs from various levels, along with gems. It was widely praised as being an improved version of the wildly popular first game, with cute graphics, more worlds to explore, and a better story.
4 Worst: Spyro: Shadow Legacy
Shadow Legacy was a roleplaying game released only on the Nintendo DS and takes place following A Hero's Tail. The plot follows Spyro after the worlds of the Dragon Realms, Avalar, and the Forgotten Realms are absorbed by a dimension known as the Shadow Realm.
Abandoning the platformer's roots, the game focuses on battling enemies and completing quests to gather experience points, enough of which allow Spyro to level up and learn new skills. It was criticized for its repetitive gameplay and boring story, generally offering nothing for new or old Spyro fans.
3 Best: Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Year of the Dragon was the last of the original trilogy published by Insomniac Games and has the best aggregated reviews of all three. It sold more than two million units in the United States. It doesn't offer too much variation on the tried and true Spyro formula, but it did add several new playable characters, better graphics and voice-acting, and a wide variety of minigames.
The game was a worthy successor to its predecessors. Instead of rescuing adult dragons, Spyro is locating stolen dragon eggs and many of his old friends make an appearance to aid his quest.
2 Worst: Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
Almost universally considered the worst entry in the Spyro franchise to date, Enter the Dragonfly was a huge disappointment for fans. It was originally released on GameCube and PlayStation 2 and was intended to be ported to Xbox and Windows, but they were canceled due to the widespread negative reception.
The game features the return of Ripto and his cronies as they steal all the dragonflies intended to partner with young dragons. It was a very short game, rife with bugs, glitches, framerate drops, and bad controls, making for an overall unpleasant gaming experience.
1 Best: Spyro Reignited Trilogy
A remaster of the first three games in the franchise, Spyro Reignited Trilogy was met with excitement from long time fans of the series. The graphics were dramatically overhauled, making the game look the way fans remember it through the lens of nostalgia, but keeping the placement of enemies and obstacles the same.
It's an incredibly accurate remake of the original games, allowing people to dive back into their childhoods with fresh eyes. Essentially it took all the best games in the series, faithfully recreated the tone and feel, and slapped a fresh coat of paint on it. How could it not have come out on top?