This Day in Gaming History: Spyro Ushers in the ‘Year of the Dragon’

Spyro YOTD screenshot

October 25, 2000

16 years ago everybody’s favorite purple dragon made his final appearance on the Sony PlayStation. Prior to its release, Year of the Dragon had been built up to be the definitive Spyro gaming experience.

Spyro YOTD screenshot

Not long after Insomniac Games’ second Spyro game Ripto’s Rage had dropped in 1999, the team was already hard at work developing the third game in the series. Fully intending Year of the Dragon to be their last Spyro game, Insomniac pulled out all the stops in terms of content.

The game begins with Spyro and his pals celebrating the titular Year of the Dragon, an event that only happens once every twelve years. The long-held ceremony is used to welcome newly laid dragon eggs to the community. All the festivities are interrupted when a mysterious Sorceress steals all the eggs and scatters them across the dragon realms. Then it’s up to Spyro and his critter friends to rescue the dragon eggs before they are used to make the Sorceress even more powerful than she was before.

Spyro and the critters

Spyro had the ability to breathe fire, glide, charge, and swim to defeat enemies and reach the end of each stage. Helping Spyro on his journey were Sparx the dragonfly, Sheila the kangaroo, Sergeant Byrd the penguin, Bentley the cave monster, and Agent 9 the space monkey. All of these colorful characters were playable at various points in the game. In between missions, players could also participate in numerous minigames.

While retaining most of the dragon-packed gameplay one can expect from a Spyro title, Insomniac dialed it up to eleven by introducing six new playable characters, 37 total levels, and extensive various minigames scattered around the game world. A game with this large variety of features, even by today’s standards, is truly impressive.

So what’s your opinion? Is Spyro as great of a game as our nostalgia remembers? What are some of your favourite titles from “back in the day”? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!

Eric Hall2688 Posts

Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his biweekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.


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