Portals are literally doorways to other worlds in the Spyro the Dragon series. They appear as arches with gold letters indicating the name of the realm they provide access to, and the sky of their specific realm is always visible through them. All portals are two-sided when free standing, but many are located up against a wall and only provide access through one side. As shown in various games, a portal's destination can be altered either through mechanical or magical power.
Spyro the Dragon
Portals make their debut in the first game, Spyro the Dragon.
Spyro encounters portals of all sorts in his first homeworld, the Artisans, and continues to find more in subsequent homeworlds. The portal designs change from homeworld to homeworld, and they follow the theme of the homeworld in which they are found. Some portals are obscured in giant stone dragon heads until a certain objective is reached, like the portal to Toasty and those in Gnorc Gnexus. Return portals (those that return Spyro from a realm to its homeworld) take the form of a whirlwind above a golden pedestal labeled "Return Home" in gold letters.
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!
In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, homeworld portals do not follow the theme of the homeworld in which they are found, but are primarily the same shape throughout the game. But they now feature images of their realm's talisman and its orbs once Spyro has been through the level. The return portals take the same form as the homeworld portals, but are smaller and thinner, and do not vary in design. They have been shown to grow out of the ground while a talisman is being awarded.
In Ripto's Rage!, there exists a Super Portal in the Avalar homeworld Winter Tundra. The Super Portal was a project created by the Professor, and was theoretically able to access any of the worlds in the universe, given the right coordinates. It required many orbs and a special power crystal for power. Experimenting with random coordinates (Hunter's birthday) led to Ripto's entrance into Avalar. In response to Ripto's invasion, the Professor, Elora and Hunter use a modified Super Portal, which appears as a large return portal powered by orbs, to intercept Spyro on his way to Dragon Shores and redirect him to Glimmer (in Summer Forest, Avalar). Ripto arrives at the scene and destroys the portal immediately after Spyro arrives through it. After Spyro defeats Ripto, the Super Portal gives him access to Dragon Shores for a vacation.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Portals continue to appear in Spyro: Year of the Dragon. The homeworld portals are shaped to represent the structures within the level itself (i.e. The stone helmet serving as the portal for Desert Ruins). Return portals follow the same scheme as in Ripto's Rage.
This game also introduced Challenge Portals, which are usually holes in a wall. Challenge Portals also appear as an alternate playable character's home portal. All Challenge Portals appear as a dark void with sparkles in it, as well as swirling blue lines in the center. When entered, Spyro appears in a branch of the level where the challenges resemble side quest missions.
When Spyro, Sparx and Hunter first arrive in the Forgotten Worlds homeworld, Sunrise Spring, they find that some portals fail to function due to the shortage of magic that resulted after the Dragons were banished from the Forgotten Worlds long ago. As such, a few of the realms' inhabitants are trapped in Sunrise Spring because the portals to their respective worlds have closed down. In Year of the Dragon, each portal has a different design corresponding to the theme of the realm that it leads to.
Spyro: Season of Ice and Spyro 2: Season of Flame
In the games Spyro: Season of Ice and Spyro 2: Season of Flame portals appear once again, but this time they appear as golden arches and all look alike.
In Season of Ice the entrances appear as black empty voids when inactive and black/white flimsiness when they are active. The only exception being the exit portals in Sparx levels, which are round holes in the ground and are black voids with a swirly blue pattern.
In Season of Flame the entrances are completely gone when inactive and white light when they are active.
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
In Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, portals are still shown. However, portals do not take Spyro to the different realms in the Dragon Realms homeworld, but do return Spyro to the homeworld from the realms. These portals do not have a sky background like in previous games, but instead have a water-like doorway. Also, a different kind of portals transport Spyro to the mini games within realms. Furthermore, there is a large portal set into the ground of the Dragon Realms that takes Spyro to the Ripto boss battle at the end of the game. There are also many sets of Challenge Portals, which appear as two tall pyramids with energy passing between them. These, however, do not transport Spyro, but simply activate targets in the vicinity that Spyro needs to reach and sometimes destroy in a specified amount of time.
Spyro: A Hero's Tail
In Spyro: A Hero's Tail, portals appear yet again, this time as passages to Sgt. Byrd's mini games. These portals appear as arches, just like portals in the previous games, but instead of a sky background they are simply glowing pink. In A Hero's Tail, there is no need for portals between a homeworld and its realms, because the homeworlds and realms are all connected in a single world. There are, however, local teleporters and for faster travel between a homeworld and its realms, and larger teleporters built by the Professor for travel between homeworlds.
In Skylanders, a portal to Skylands called the Portal of Power is used to transport the Skylanders trapped on Earth as toys back to their world. Under the command of a true Portal Master, portals can connect two points in space dimension, and according to ancient legends, including time. Portal Masters can then send Skylanders and magic to the other side of the portals.
In the main world of Skylands, the portals there are the same design as the Portal of Power, and they serve as means of transportation to areas near and far. This references the use and teleportation of portals from the original Spyro games.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled (Spyro Circuit)
In the Spyro Circuit portion of Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled in the Spyro & Friends Grand Prix, Artisans and Magic Crafters have been rebuilt as a racing track, to which special portals have been set up to connect the two areas. Rather than featuring a long path between locations, these portals would lead directly to the next area.
- The exit vortices from Spyro the Dragon appeared in both an early trailer and an early demo for Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, but instead of reading "Return Home," they read, "Exit" and they didn't feature the signature swirling patterned light. These are assumed to have been used as placeholders prior to the introduction of portals.
- The exit portals in the original game are gold, while in the Reignited Trilogy they are brown with red carpet pieces; and the symbol in the middle resembles the Magic Element symbol from the Skylanders series.
- Super Bonus World in the Reignited Trilogy has an exit portal that cannot be exited through because it was located beneath the starting point of the level.