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“Sgt. Byrd; 90068. Awaiting orders, sir!”
    —Sgt. James Byrd


Sgt. James Byrd (バード軍曹 Bādo gunsō in Japanese) is a character, first appeared as a playable character in Spyro: Year of the Dragon. He was also playable in Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs and Spyro: A Hero's Tail. He is a flying penguin native to Sgt. Byrd's Base. He was raised by hummingbirds (which is where he learned how to fly) and always carries his rocket launchers and wears an army helmet. At some point he exchanged his weaponry for a Rocket Launcher Jetpack.

Appearance

In his debut game, Spyro: Year of the Dragon, Sgt. Byrd only partially resembled a proper penguin. Official artwork depicted him as an emperor penguin (albeit with dark blue feathers instead of black) with a grey, metallic army helmet, and a rocket launcher on each shoulder. His eyes in this artwork appeared very stern and serious.

In the actual game, however, he appears significantly different. He lacks the characteristic markings of an emperor penguin and instead has a light blue-grey belly. His eyes look somewhat dopey, and never blink, due to them being modeled onto his face as opposed to simply textured. Additionally, his feet and beak are closer in appearance to that of a duck than a penguin. His attire is oddly enough, much more reminiscent of the US Army, despite him being British. He wears an army green helmet with two downward-facing chevrons on the front. His launchers are attached to his shoulders by a harness which in-turn is attached to an army green utility belt.

In future games, his in-game appearance would be modified so as to appear closer to the artwork presented. This wouldn't have a very adverse affect on his appearance until A Hero's Tail, where his artwork and in-game appearance were overhauled. In this game, he appears much closer to that of an actual penguin. His utility belt is replaced by a simple belt strap. And his method of flight is now solidified as a jet pack. His missile launchers are now attached to said jet pack's wings instead of Byrd's shoulders.

In the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Sgt. Byrd's blue feathers are more darker, and his rocket launchers are shown on his back, plus his helmet has a card sticking up.

Personality

Sgt. James Byrd is a spoof of James Bond and other secret agent archetypal characters from movies, books, and video games, right down to his introduction ("Byrd, James Byrd"). Byrd speaks with a British accent, like James Bond, and always carries rocket launchers; however, Sgt. Byrd prefers to conserve ammo for the right moment. The Year of the Dragon manual gives this as his introduction:

“Meet the world's only flying penguin. Sgt. Byrd was raised by hummingbirds who taught him how to get airborne. Then he flew the coop and joined the Air Corp. He developed the first BAM (Bird to Air Missile). BAM Launchers are mounted on his shoulders. Sgt. Byrd can also pick up items and drop them with superb accuracy”
    —Year of the Dragon manual


From this quote, we can also assume that Byrd was a weapons designer as well.

Abilities

Sgt. Byrd does not excel in melee combat, so he relies on his BAM Rocket Launchers. These are always mounted on his shoulders, and can fire at the drop of a hat. From what Byrd said in his introduction in Year of the Dragon, we can infer that Byrd has limited ammunition in his BAM Rocket Launchers, but when playing as Byrd in all three games, he appears to have infinite. This continuity issue has not been addressed, however it can be inferred this is simply done for gameplay reasons on the player's behalf.

Byrd also can pick up bombs and drop them. He has the ability to look down while holding a bomb for a precise hit. He can also pick up other items and drop them, for example, weights to a pressure sensitive door.

Story

History

479px-Byrd

Sgt. Byrd as he appears in Year of the Dragon

Sgt. Byrd lived in the Forgotten Realms, more than likely in Sgt. Byrd's Base. As a child, he was adopted by hummingbirds, who raised him until he joined the Air Corps. The hummingbirds also taught Byrd to fly, though now it appears that he no longer relies on his wings because of his jet pack. Once he was of age, he joined the Air Corps and rose to the rank of Sergeant. While leading an uprising against the Sorceress, Byrd was kidnapped and held prisoner by Moneybags. He could also be seen in the cutscene when Bianca turned a Rhynoc into Buzz.

Spyro: Year of the Dragon

After Spyro defeated Buzz, the balloon took him to Midday Gardens. In the centerpiece castle of the Homeworld, Spyro met Moneybags once again, who was holding Sgt. Byrd prisoner within a cage. Moneybags agreed to sell Sgt. Byrd to Spyro for a couple hundred gems. When Moneybags released Sgt. Byrd, Byrd promptly fired on Moneybags with his BAM Rocket Launchers, sending the bear flying. When freed, he returned to his homeworld and assisted the hummingbirds who were kept captive. Byrd released the five hummingbirds from their captors, and then cleared his base of Rhynocs. This was a crushing blow to the Sorceress's war machine, as Sgt. Byrd and his army of hummingbirds began to strike back at the Sorceress in full force.

After ridding his base of Rhynocs, Byrd went to Enchanted Towers, in order to free the denizens from the Sorceress's cruelty. Unfortunately, by the time he got there, Spyro had already taken care of the Rhynocs and the statue built of the Sorceress. Byrd then decided to patrol the Towers, in the event of a counterattack, but took out the Gargoyles in the process. Byrd also ended up collecting bones for a caveman of Skelos Badlands, so he could bring back his friend.

After ridding the Towers of Rhynocs and collecting the bones, Sgt. Byrd took a brief rest at the Tiki Lodge in Molten Crater. The vacation did not go as planned, however, as he was begged by a potential Tiki Lodge member to help him gather the heads of the other Tikis which had been scattered around the inside of the Lodge. Sgt. Byrd succeeded and was rewarded with two Dragon Eggs - One which was given to him (leftover from the Tiki Lodge party the night before) and another that was hidden in a wall (which, undoubtedly was also from the aforementioned party).

Sgt. James Byrd YotD

Sgt. Byrd at the Fireworks Factory

Upon return from the vacation, the hummingbirds had determined that the Sorceress was going to ambush Spyro as he was in transit between Midday Garden and Evening Lake. Sgt. Byrd went on a reconnaissance mission, along with several type of ammunition, and met Spyro before Spike could ambush him. Spike used his laser blaster to attack Spyro, but Byrd dropped ammunition from the sky in order for Spyro to use against Spike. Eventually, Spike was defeated by their combined force.

Finally, Byrd snuck away from the army to meet up with his fairy girlfriend, Isabelle, in Charmed Ridge. Unfortunately, when he had arrived, Cat Witches had attacked, and it was up to Sgt. Byrd to stop them. Eventually, they were subdued, and Byrd recovered another Dragon Egg.

Sgt. Byrd is later seen at the Fireworks Factory, after the initial defeat of the Sorceress. He put on a fireworks show for Hunter and Bianca, while Spyro watched in horror as "another noble warrior falls to love." Elora then joined Spyro, as they watched the show.

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly

Although Sgt. Byrd didn't appear in the game, one of the balloons in the opening cutscene is shapped liked him.

Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs

Byrdaotr

Sgt. Byrd in AotR

Sgt. Byrd returned, and fought off the Rhynoc swarms once again, this time, serving as reconnaissance to save captured creatures. First, he saved penguins in his army captured by Rhynocs, then proceeded to save hostages and captured hummingbirds. After the three groups of hostages were saved, Sgt. Byrd continued to train his army at his Dragon Kingdom branch of the Air Corps.

It is unknown, however, if the Air Corps were involved in the counterattacks against Ripto's army of Rhynocs, or if Byrd attempted to face Ripto himself.

Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy

After Ripto was defeated and banished, the diminutive sorcerer teamed up with Dr. Neo Cortex, and threw the Dragon Castles and Wumpa Jungle into siege. Spyro and his friends responded to the attack, as they met with Crash Bandicoot and his gang as well. Sgt. Byrd held down the fort at the Arctic Cliffs, attacking Riptocs and Scientists, and giving Spyro advice and moral support.

It was at this time that Byrd began to use his jet pack.

Spyro: A Hero's Tail

As Red, Gnasty Gnorc, and Ineptune set into motion their plan to dominate the Dragon Realms, Sgt. Byrd returned to the call of duty, and formed a Band of Five with Blink the Mole, Hunter the Cheetah, Sparx the Dragonfly, and Spyro the Dragon. Byrd assisted Spyro in collecting the stolen Dragon Eggs and Light Gems that were hidden by Gnorcs in Speedways.

It is unknown if the Air Corps were involved when Red terrorized the Dragon Kingdom, or if Sgt. Byrd did work on his own and cleared some of the realms of Gnorcs himself.

Character Development

Sgt. Byrd was originally designed to be a pig with a jetpack. However, it was Insomniac's Ted Price that urged the development team to make Byrd a flying penguin as opposed to a flying pig.

International Voice Actors

Language Voice dubbing actor
Dutch (unsure) (YOTD)
Stan Limburg (AHT)
French (unsure) (YOTD)
Jean-Claude Donda (AHT)
German (unsure) (YOTD)
(unsure) (AHT)
Italian Massimo Marinoni (YOTD)
Marco Balzarotti (AHT)
Spanish (unsure) (YOTD)
(unsure) (AHT)

Gallery

Sgt. James Byrd/Gallery

Trivia

  • Sgt. Byrd is the only playable character other than Spyro and Sparx in Spyro: Year of the Dragon to have two realms where he can be controlled freely, as he is able to wander around Enchanted Towers. This makes Enchanted Towers the only known realm in the entire series to have more than one playable character without restrictions.
  • Sgt. Byrd has two slightly different models in Year of the Dragon. One of the models is the one that is used to play as Sgt. Byrd. However, a different one is used in the cage that he was captured in. This model doesn't have the belt worn by Sgt. Byrd when playing as him and has a helmet that resembles the one that he wears in A Hero's Tail.
  • It is hinted that Sgt. Byrd has fought in war, as he has mentioned his medals in Cloudy Domain as he gives you the Light Gem from Cloudy Speedway.
  • Sgt. Byrd is the only playable bird in the original Spyro series.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, when Sgt. Byrd is hit by an enemy AI, he makes a similar sound to the fodder in the Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! level Colossus.
  • The name "James Byrd" is a reference to "James Bond," an MI6 agent from a series of movies and books by Ian Fleming. He also presents himself by saying, "My name is Bond, James Bond," much like how Sgt. Byrd says "My name is Byrd, James Byrd."
  • In Year of the Dragon, Sgt. Byrd refers to his shoulder-mounted artillery as DBX9 rocket launchers. This is a possible second reference to James Bond, as he famously drove a DB5 in the third film, Goldeneye. Ironically, while Aston Martin retired the DB name in the mid-70s, they revived it for the DB9 car, revealed three years after Year of the Dragon's release. James Bond would use a DBS, a car based on the DB9, in 2006's Casino Royale, the 21st Bond film.
  • He is voiced by Tom Kenny, who also provides the voice of Spyro. This double-casting is carried over into A Hero's Tail, where he is voiced by Jess Harnell, who also voices Spyro in the game.