Skip to main content

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning - hands-on

Every once in a while, an aging series needs a shot in the arm. When Spyro the Dragon originally debuted on PlayStation back in 1998, it was a cute platformer that still managed to be enjoyed by young and old alike. Eight years and over a dozen games later, the series has devolved into something mostly for the kids - who, in fact, largely ignore it.

As the title of the game implies, Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning hopes to reverse all that, taking the little purple guy back to his roots and giving the game a fresh infusion of creativity, both in production value and in gameplay design. Spyro's arsenal of maneuvers has grown to include combos and multiple breath weapons, while the design as a whole is a bit darker, more focused on an epic sense of adventure. Most notably, Hollywood talent has been brought in for the voice acting, with Gary Oldman as Ignitus, David Spade as the ever-present Sparx and Elijah Wood as Spyro himself.

In Legend of Spyro's newlyrevisedbackstory, Spyro turns out to be the last remaining dragon egg, saved from certain destruction by Ignitus. Ignitusfloats Spyro down the river, Moses-like, to be discovered and raised by a family of - appropriately enough - dragonflies. While outfrolicking around in the marsh, Spyro and his stepbrother Sparx are attacked by a roving band of uglies, who manage to get the word back to their ugly friends that a young dragon has survived. Stunned to finally learn what he is, Spyro embarks on a quest to uncover his true heritage, and eventually face down with the Dark Master’s most fearsome creation, Cinder.

Along the way, he'll encounter a number of other new challenges. Spyro's trademark headbutt hasn't been replaced so much as expanded upon - physical attacks can be chained together into three-hit combos. His breath weapons - fire, ice, electricity and earth - affect different enemies in different ways, and not every enemy is vulnerable to every kind of attack, which adds a puzzle element to some of the combat. Spyro can also unleash new Fury attacks, which impact every enemy nearby and which are charged up by collecting the series' signature currency: gems (that's right, collecting gems now actually has a purpose).