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Spyro the Dragon is a platform video game developed by Insomniac Games, and released at September 9th, 1998 in North America for the PlayStation. It stars the titular protagonist, Spyro the Dragon, a young purple dragon saving the elder dragons, collecting gems, and defeating enemies. It is the first game in the Spyro the Dragon series.

On October 29, 2007, the game was made available for PlayStation 3, PSP and PS Vita in the PlayStation Store. Originally only in America and Japan, it has since been made available in Europe.

This game is remastered as part of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy along with Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon.


The game takes place in the Dragon Realms, a sprawling world of much topographical and biological diversity, ornate structures and abundant treasure. It contains six homeworlds, the first five of which are named after the dragon clan that resides there:

Spyro can navigate from one homeworld to another by completing a specific task given to him by one of the balloonists of that world. For example, collecting a certain number of gems or freeing a certain number of dragons will grant him access to the next world.

Each homeworld has its own set of realms which can be accessed via portals in archways scattered throughout the homeworld. Once in a realm, Spyro may return to the homeworld by finding and entering that realm's unique "Return Home" whirlwind platform or by pausing the game and selecting "Exit Level."




The adventure begins in the Artisans homeworld in the Dragon Realms (presumably Spyro's home) in Stone Hill on the day where the elder dragons, Astor and Lindar, are being interviewed for a video documentary about their world. Little do they know, Gnasty Gnorc (pronounced Nasty Norc), whom they previously banished from the Dragon Realms long ago to the Dragon Junkyard, somehow overhears their derogatory comments about him and becomes quite upset. While in exile, Gnasty Gnorc has experimented with magic and on this fateful day, he decides to unleash two of his most powerful spells vengefully: one which freezes all the unsuspecting dragons inside crystalline statues and another which transforms a portion of the dragons' treasure into an army of gnorcs.

However, Gnasty Gnorc misses imprisoning the youngest dragon in the realm, Spyro (who was seen chasing sheep in the background during the dragons' documentary shoot), because of his small size. Seeking to set things right, Spyro sets out to free all of the dragons. Traveling across the Dragon Realms, Spyro faces various adversaries and eventually manages to release all the dragons, who give him advice in return.

Spyro finally reaches the Dragon Junkyard, where Gnasty is waiting. After a battle, Spyro defeats Gnasty, putting an end to his evil plot once and for all.

Gameplay Controls

  • × - Jump
  • × + × - Glide
  • - Stop in midair
  • Hold - Look around environment
  • - Breath fire
  • - Charge
  • and × - Skip/Quick Charge
  • L2 or R2 - Move the camera
  • L1 or R1 - Side roll
  • Start - Pause
  • Select - View inventory


Like most platformer games, there are nearly certain unfortunate events that can lead to Spyro's death. Sparx the Dragonfly follows Spyro around and indicates Spyro's health. Every time Spyro is hit, Sparx changes color:

  • Yellow: Full health (same as three hits left)
  • Blue: Two hits left
  • Green: One hit left
  • Gone: No hits left

To replenish Sparx back to yellow, Spyro can defeat fodder, which will spawn a butterfly. Sparx will then eat it, causing him to regain one level of health. Small silver statues of a dragon can help back up extra lives (also known as 1UP's) that will revive Spyro. If Spyro dies, then don't fret! You will either go to the beginning of the level or the pedestal of the last saved dragon. If Spyro doesn't have any lives, Spyro will have to start the level over from the beginning of the world (in Beast Makers and Dream Weavers worlds; at any point Spyro is in a realm other than the home world, the starting point is right outside the entrance to a specific realm). Remember, Spyro may have more lives than a cat, but keep an eye on his life count. One wrong move could send you to the game over screen, where you will have to start the level you were on from the beginning.

Death Types

  • Regular: If Spyro gets hit by a normal, heavy, or explosive attack, he will spin to face the player on two legs, lose his balance, and fall over backward.
  • Flattened: If Spyro gets squashed flat by a slam attack of some sort, he will flip over and float down like a piece of paper. He will land gently on his back, still in his flattened state.
  • Drowned: When Spyro falls into water, he splashes about and spits out water, desperately trying to prevent himself from drowning. When Spyro is completely submerged, he dies, but he can save himself by jumping out if he still has Sparx. However, it is instant death if the dragonfly is not present.
  • Falling: Spyro will do his regular falling animation except for the fact he won't land. The screen will fade to black like all other death scenes.



The very first homeworld in the game, it is a peaceful country where dragons can enjoy simple lives as artists, poets, chefs and other such professions.

Peace Keepers

A harsh wasteland where dragons can hone their skills in battle, becoming honored veterans.

Magic Crafters

A snowy tundra high in the mountains where dragons can practice the arcane in solitude.

Beast Makers

A vast swampland abundant with various creatures where dragons can create new forms of life.

Dream Weavers

A fantastic kingdom floating in the sky where dragons manipulate the fabric of dreams.

Gnasty's World/Gnorc Gnexus

Gnasty Gnorc's personal country where he reigns supreme with army of vicious Gnorcs.

Japanese Port

In the Japanese ports of Spyro the Dragon, there were many issues that was the result of the game's localization. When the game was showcased to the Japanese public in 1998, there were numerous reports of headaches and "3D sickness" because the game was too fast, so changes had to be made in the game's localization. The changes included making the charging speed match the walking speed and the camera not follow behind Spyro.


According to Insomniac Games on the television series Icons, sales on Spyro the Dragon were initially slow at the game's launch but quickly picked up following the holiday season. In the week of November 29, 1998, it was the 3rd best-selling game in the UK, behind Tomb Raider and FIFA 99.[1] By December 1999, the game had sold a million copies in North America.[2]

The game was also praised for its tight control and highly memorable soundtrack. Although the game may be too easy for some, it is considered to be a great place to start in either the Spyro series or video games in general. GameSpot rated the game as 8.3, describing it as having very good graphics for its time, and being one of the first well-received full-3D platformers for the first PlayStation. IGN's Craig Harris hailed it as the most fun 3D platformer he had played since Crash Bandicoot, writing "Two claws up. Way up."[3]



  • Carlos Alazraqui, the voice actor for Spyro in the game, is also the voice of the chihuahua in the old Taco Bell commercials as well as Rocko from Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Ex-Police drummer and co-founder Stewart Copeland composed the soundtrack of the game.
  • Two Dragon families, the Machinists and the Aquifiers, were intended to be in the game, but were scrapped.[4]
  • Clancy Brown, who voiced some of the dragons in the game, voices Mr. Eugene Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants and played Captain Hadley on The Shawshank Redemption. Also, he was the voice of Dr. Neo Cortex and Uka Uka in the Crash Bandicoot franchise at the time of the game's release.

"Papa Dragon"

  • On the old official website for the game’s Dragon News Network and the game’s instruction manual, there is an adult purple dragon. The DNN website refers to this dragon as “Papa Dragon”.[5]
  • In this game, there are no female adult dragons because the lack of female voice actors, the limited hired voice cast and the lack of technical hardware that could allow differences between male and female dragons.[6]
  • Within the game, there are six dragons from the five regular homeworlds that get rescued twice. This is because they went to confront Gnasty Gnorc, but failed. Despite rescuing a total of 80 dragons in-game, the fact that six of the dragons are rescued twice technically counts as 74 dragons (not including Spyro or the six free dragons being rescued a second time).
  • Artisans and Gnorc Gnexus are the only Homeworlds that block off the boss until a certain requirement is met.
  • The only Boss Battle that is mandatory in this game is Gnasty Gnorc's. While the other bosses are optional, they are still required for 100% completion.
  • Each of the flight realms features chests, excluding bonus level Gnasty's Loot.
    • However, Gnasty's Loot does have normal chests.
  • A few of the dragons share their names with the Dragon Elders from Spyro: A Hero's Tail, but they don't share the same origins and colors despite the implication that they might be the same characters.
    • A dragon villager in Spyro: Shadow Legacy also shares a name with an Elder from this game, named Conan.
  • Unlike the other games, pressing triangle causes Spyro to stop in midair while gliding. In future games, it gives him an extra boost in height.
  • This is the only game in the series that features Spyro's stop, duck, and roll move.
  • Production of the game began shortly after the first Crash Bandicoot game was released.
  • The title screen in this game is the only one in the original trilogy that takes place at a point that can't be accessed in the actual game.
  • During the development of the game, Spyro was originally going to be green. However, developers thought he would blend in with the grass, so they made him purple instead. Additionally, they did this to make him look different from traditional dragon designs.
  • In 2002, the game was re-released, along with Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, as a collector's edition trilogy.
  • Several early builds of the game have been released with a variety of differences from the final game.
    • Two early demo builds were released on demo discs during the 90s. In these demos, only the Artisans home, Stone Hill and Dark Hollow are accessible, with the remaining levels being blocked off from the player. Of particular note in these versions is that Argus was removed from the Artisans home (presumably to avoid confusing the player) and all the artisans dragons feature different voice acting and dialogue. All dragons in the other Artisans realms display a text box with dialogue instead of using cutscenes.
      • Three additional demos were also built after the final game's release. As a result, none of the differences in these demos are attributable to early builds of the game. In these demos, however, only Town Square and Sunny Flight are accessible, with Town Square being accessible through Stone Hill's portal, for some reason.
    • A prototype dated June 15th 1998 was released in February 2020. Much of what is taken for granted in the final game is still incomplete in this version, and several levels are still in incredibly primitive stages of development.
    • Another prototype also dated June 1998 was revealed in 2012, but has not yet been released. This prototype is somewhat more playable than the previous version, with all levels now featuring in-game, but there are still a wide variety of differences from the final game.
    • A third prototype dated July 18th 1998 was released in March 2020. This build is fairly late in development with missing dragon cutscenes being the main notable difference, though of particular note is an earlier name for Gnasty's Loot - "Gnasty Booty".
    • A localization prototype dated August 27th 1998 was originally released under the belief it was a final version of the game in around 2007. After being re-discovered and recovered many years later, it was released in March 2020. Unlike the other prototypes this build is from after the final NTSC-U version of the game but still before the final PAL version, meaning that there are a number of differences in the game's translation and in areas that changed between the NTSC-U and PAL final releases.
  • This is the only Spyro game to have Spyro's tail spike on the "Y" in the logo rather than the "S."
  • In the Japanese version, you can access one of the Pocket Station Mini Games if you plug in the Pocket Station accessory. In the minigame, you train your very own dragonfly.
  • Spyro's Japanese voice was done by a female actress named Akiko Yajima, who did the original voice for Shinnosuke Nohara from Crayon Shin-chan.
  • At the beginning of the Japanese game, there are signs scattered across the level, which are typically instructions on how to control Spyro.
  • At the end of the credits, it says "No sheep were harmed during the creation of this game. A few gnorcs, but no sheep." This is a most likely nod to the commercials for the game, where a disgruntled sheep was protesting the game for Spyro's supposed violence towards sheep.
  • The home-worlds may be based off the Hindu caste system. Early, lower levels are based on artisans, while spiritual people (dream weavers) are higher. Warriors (beast makers) can be found in the middle.
  • The Japanese version of the game was released on April 1, 1999, seven months after the North American release. The Japanese release was delayed because of massive localization for the Japanese market.
  • In the European PlayStation Store, the game has been released to the NTSC version. This is due to the glitches with the PAL releases, as explained here.
  • At the title screen, if you press L1 and Triangle on your PlayStation controller, you can access a secret demo to Crash Bandicoot: Warped.


Spyro the Dragon
Spyro the Dragon - Sparx the Dragonfly
Fairies - Balloonists
Gnasty Gnorc
Toasty - Doctor Shemp - Blowhard - Metalhead - Jacques - Egg Thieves
Artisans - Peace Keepers - Magic Crafters - Beast Makers - Dream Weavers - Gnorc Gnexus
Stone Hill - Dark Hollow - Town Square - Dry Canyon - Cliff Town - Ice Cavern - Alpine Ridge
High Caves - Wizard Peak - Terrace Village - Misty Bog - Tree Tops - Dark Passage - Lofty Castle
- Haunted Towers - Gnorc Cove - Twilight Harbor - Gnasty's Loot
Sunny Flight - Night Flight - Crystal Flight - Wild Flight - Icy Flight
Boss Realms
Toasty - Doctor Shemp - Blowhard - Metalhead - Jacques - Gnasty Gnorc
Dragons - Treasure - Dragon Eggs
Console Games
Spyro the Dragon - Ripto's Rage!/Gateway To Glimmer - Year of the Dragon - Enter the Dragonfly
A Hero's Tail - Reignited Trilogy
Handheld Games
Season of Ice - Season of Flame - Attack of the Rhynocs - Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy - Shadow Legacy
The Legend of Spyro series
A New Beginning - The Eternal Night - Dawn of the Dragon - Cancelled 3D Movie
Skylanders series
Spyro's Adventure - Skylanders Academy (TV series)
Mobile Games
Spyro - Spyro: Ripto Quest - Spyro the Dragon
Skylanders: The Machine of Doom - Skylanders: Spyro versus The Mega Monsters
Skylanders: Gill Grunt and the Curse of the Fish Master - Skylanders: Lightning Rod Faces the Cyclops Queen
Skylanders: Cynder Confronts the Weather Wizard - Skylanders: Stump Smash Crosses the Bone Dragon
Skylanders: Trigger Happy Targets the Evil Kaos - Skylanders: Return of the Dragon King
Skylanders: Spyro & Friends