The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is the final chapter of The Legend of Spyro trilogy for the Playstation 3, Playstation 2, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS. In old online listings, it was originally called The Legend of Spyro: The Darkest Hour. While Krome Studios developed the previous two The Legend of Spyro games, Étranges Libellules developed the console editions of Dawn of the Dragon, with Tantalus Media handling the Nintendo DS version.
In the final chapter of the trilogy, players find Spyro teaming up with an unlikely ally - Cynder, his former enemy, to face his most challenging mission to date. As the evil of the Dark Master, Malefor, envelopes the world like a plague, Spyro must fulfill his destiny and unlock the true power of the purple dragon within him to stop the Dark Master in his tracks.
The gameplay is more advanced than previous titles in the series. This is the first Spyro game that allows a player to fly at any time they want (free-fly mode). The game also features a co-op mode with Cynder. The co-op feature allows players to have the option of completing the game as either Spyro or Cynder, along with giving them the power to switch between Spyro and Cynder, giving them more freedom to explore the world in completely new ways.
The environments are much larger than in previous games and a majority of them have a bit more exploration to them. In previous titles of The Legend of Spyro series, Spyro must travel through the level and defeat enemies in a linear fashion. This time however, the game has more freedom by exploring larger areas and collecting items in order to progress through the game.
Spyro retains his command over fire, electricity, earth, and ice, while Cynder controls poison, fear, wind, and shadow, powers that were given to her as a result of her corruption by the Dark Master. While Spyro is stronger but slower, Cynder is faster but weaker than Spyro. Along with the standard power ups that gems will bring, Spyro and Cynder can both equip pieces of Dragon Armour that they find. They also have another feature called melee combos. The more times the player hits the enemy, the more Spirit Gems players will earn.
The blue Spirit Gems power up Spyro and Cynder, allowing them to upgrade moves. Along with the blue Spirit Gems there are also red ones that restore lost health. The green Spirit Gems give the dragons mana, allowing them to use their element attacks. The Fury Gems from previous titles have been removed (replaced by dark crystals that can drain magic if they're not destroyed), and the Fury Meter now goes up depending on the number of times Spyro or Cynder score attacks on enemies. In addition to normal enemies, there are elite enemies, which are enemies that are stronger than normal ones who are powered by the masks they wear that make them invincible to normal attacks. The player must use an element of a designated color that matches that of the mask in order to knock the mask off. Once off, normal attacks and other elemental powers will be allowed.
Due to the game being developed by a different game developer besides Krome Studios, Spyro and Cynder have undergone a small makeover to make them seem larger and older, but they strangely remain the same size as their younger selves in The Eternal Night.
The game starts with a mysterious set of enemies who enter the ruins of the Mountain of Malefor, where Spyro and Cynder remain frozen in crystal after their fight with Gaul. These enemies break open the crystal, releasing the two dragons, and shackle them together with glowing green snakes, whose effects are to keep Spyro and Cynder together at all times with an energy chain. Afterwards, the enemies take them away, leaving Sparx, who awakens moments later in the palm of Hunter of Avalar. Hunter had followed the enemies to where Spyro and Cynder were and had observed the whole scenario unfold from the shadows.
Meanwhile, Spyro and Cynder awaken in a dark area, wondering what has happened to them. Spyro notices that Sparx is not there with them, but has no time to dwell on this as he and Cynder are sent straight into battle. Attached to a peg on the stone platform, they are unable to escape when a massive Golem attacks them. While they are able to lift the peg, they remain tethered together as they fight off the creature. When they are unable to defeat it completely, Hunter rescues them by distracting the Golem with an arrow to its eye.
Spyro, Sparx, and Cynder are reunited, then proceed after Hunter, who introduces himself and reveals that Ignitus had sent him when Spyro did not return to the temple three years ago. They manage to escape the Catacombs, tangling with the Golem and removing its arm in the process. After getting though an area called "Twilight Falls", Hunter reveals to them that the Dark Master had been resurrected, having escaped from the Well of Souls shortly after Spyro's disappearance, and has covered the land in darkness ever since. But before he is able to explain more, Hunter and the others are mysteriously hit by sleep darts, knocking them out. When they awaken, they discover that they have been taken captive to the Valley of Avalar by Hunter's tribe, whose leader, Chief Prowlus, blames the dragon race for the clan's misfortunes. He soon accuses Hunter for bringing the dangers of the outside world with him to the village, but Hunter defends his actions and reminds Prowlus that the dangers were already around them.
The village soon comes under attack by the mysterious creatures from before, now known as Grublins. After defending the cheetah village, news arrived that one of the vllagers, Meadow, went upriver before the attack and hasn't returned. After an argument with Chief Prowlus, Spyro and Cynder volunteer to find Meadow, rescuing him from a troop of Grublins. However, his leg has been broken, and since the dragons returning to the village without Meadow would spell disaster, they are forced to go to an old hermit across the Valley in order to get a key needed to retrieve a raft for a nearby supply cave. When they get there, the Hermit fully gets under Cynder's skin with his words that she hasn't changed since she was under Malefor's control, and that "her eyes give everything away".
Spyro and Cynder leave the Hermit's area after Sparx pickpockets the key they need. They then guide the raft over to Meadow, and escort him back to the village where Chief Prowlus realizes his error. The cheetah leader releases Hunter and allows him to lead Spyro and Cynder to a place called the Forbidden Passage, and from there, to the Dragon City of Warfang, an ancient settlement that the Moles crafted before Malefor caused the Dragons to be feared. When they arrive, the City is under attack, and Hunter is separated from Spyro and Cynder, forcing them to go their separate ways. After putting out a building fire and rescuing a group of Moles, the city comes under a fierce attack. Spyro and Cynder help to defend the City, before the gates are breached by a massive Troll. Once the Troll is defeated, the army of Grublins retreats to allow the Golem from the Catacombs to attack the City, reforming his missing arm from parts of the city in the process. The Guardians, Ignitus, Terrador, Cyril, and Volteer, lead the attack on the Golem, with Cyril and Volteer falling behind to grant Spyro and Cynder time to defeat the creature. After it is finally killed, the Guardians and Spyro are finally reunited after three long years.
Later that night, the Dark Master, Malefor, sends them an omnious message. He has revived The Destroyer, an ancient creature that's only purpose is to renew the world, by bringing about its destruction. When it completes its circle around the world, known as the Belt of Fire, everything as they know it will end. Unable to catch the creature if they pursue it, Ignitus hatches a plan to go underground in order to intercept the Destroyer before Malefor realizes the City is left unguarded. Spyro and Cynder are sent to the Ruins of Warfang to open the exit doors to Warfang from the other side to allow the troops to enter.
After both Spyro and Cynder open the gates to the Ancient City, the attack force proceed through it. Ignitus calms Spyro's fears that he will turn out like Malefor, just as they arrive where the Destroyer will finish its circle. Cynder gets the idea to flood the canyon with water from the nearby dam. Climbing to the top, the Dragons destroy the Dam, flooding the canyon and halting the Destroyer's progress. Ignitus leads the attack on the Destroyer as Spyro and Cynder go into its heart, taking out its Dark Crystal. But it is a losing battle, as it is able to complete its circle anyway. With no options left to turn to, Ignitus orders the others underground as he escorts Spyro and Cynder through the Belt of Fire into the Burned Lands. But before they can complete the crossing, Ignitus sacrifices himself to get Spyro and Cynder across. In his grief, Spyro nearly loses himself to the darkness he fell into in The Eternal Night. Cynder's words bring him back to his senses, and they make their way to the Floating Islands, near where Malefor is waiting for them.
After a few final fights, Spyro and Cynder confront Malefor in his lair. He messes with their heads, first by telling Spyro that the destiny of the Purple Dragons is to destroy the world, then saying that Cynder has led him into a trap the entire time, by luring him to the Well of Souls to free Malefor. Cynder denies it, but her doubts allows Malefor to unlock the darkness within her, bringing her back under his control. She attacks Spyro, only to come to her senses when he refuses to fight back. Angry at the turn of events, Malefor attacks them, and during the battle, the Destroyer completes its journey, initiating the end of the world.
The battle between the two dragons and Malefor rages to the core of the world, where Spyro and Cynder blast him back with a Fury attack. As Malefor proclaims that they will never defeat him, five spirits surround him and take the evil dragon down into the world crystal. Even though Malefor is finished, the world is still being destroyed. Spyro tells Cynder to flee after Ignitus' spirit grants him hope, but she refuses to leave his side as he prepares to unleash a powerful fury wave, with the last words the player hears from her are "I love you" to Spyro. The world is rebuilt from Spyro's magic, and we last see the remaining Guardians, Hunter, Sparx, and the survivors coming back into the sunlight as stars in the sky form into the form of a dragon, signalling the start of a new age.
After the credits roll, The Chronicler is seen reading the end of Spyro's book. He then speaks to someone, saying that each new age has a worthy dragon chosen to write down the many triumphs and failures of that age. His time is over, but the time of the new Chronicler, Ignitus (whose spirit was summoned by The Chronicler) has just begun. Before he takes The Chronicler's place, Ignitus asks what has become of Spyro. The Chronicler responds that he does not know, but shows Ignitus the book that records the deaths of dragons, and says that he has tried his best, but he was unable to find Spyro among the pages. Ignitus then becomes the new Chronicler, and we are finally shown that Spyro and Cynder are wheeling through the sky in the Valley of Avalar together, but their fate is left open to interpretation.
- The Catacombs
- Twilight Falls
- Valley of Avalar
- Dragon City
- Attack of the Golem
- Ruins of Warfang
- The Dam
- The Destroyer
- Burned Lands
- Floating Islands
- Malefor's Lair
- Elijah Wood as Spyro
- Christina Ricci as Cynder
- Wayne Brady as Sparx
- Blair Underwood as Hunter
- Mark Hamill as Malefor (the Dark Master)
- Gary Oldman as Ignitus
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Terrador/Chief Prowlus/the Hermit
- Corey Burton as Volteer/Mason/Additional Voices
- Jeff Bennett as Cyril/Additional Voices
- Martin Jarvis as The Chronicler
- Fred Tatasciore as Meadow
- Chris Wilson as Additional Voices
- Michael Graham as Additional Voices
After the release of The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night, the Sierra producers turned to Estranges Libellules for Dawn of the Dragon, enduring a lot, but they were determined to do whatever they could to make the best game possible. Sierra producer Michael Graham stated that they 'were really fortunate to have Étranges Libellules on board, because their passion and desire to make a great Spyro game was much needed to refuel their efforts.'
The development team knew that previous Spyro games and most other games aimed at younger audiences have a very cartoonish visual style. While that certainly has some appeal, they felt that it didn’t necessarily fit the tone of the game they wanted to make. Rather than continuing down that path, they opted to immerse players into a rich fantasy world with the terrific detail and vibrant colors to give younger players a new experience. There were a lot of tough decisions that had to be made during the development of Dawn of the Dragon. The producers and Étranges Libellules were trying to complete the game in the midst of a company merger between Vivendi Games and Activision, which resulted in a lot of restless nights for the Spyro team.
The Sierra producers of the trilogy challenged Étranges Libellules to come up with an updated look for Spyro that still felt like the same character. They wanted Spyro to be able to fly, so a broader wingspan was a must, but the real challenge was trying to match the character to the new art style without making it feel like a different character altogether.
Story producer, Christopher Wilson, stated that they took the opportunity to explore different looks and "ages" for both Spyro and Cynder. "We also had to make some changes to allow for the new gameplay features, such as needing larger wings to work with the flight feature and to allow the characters to block with their wings. The team came up with a variety of concepts and we settled on what you see in DotD. We didn't want to change it too much, but it was a good opportunity to allow the characters to grow up a bit (just like many of the fans were growing up too). It was also a good time to make this change given that it was the 10 year anniversary for the Franchise. Had we made the game with Krome, it's difficult to say what would have happened, but I'm sure there would have still been some changes. Since this was the first time Spyro was on the next-generation consoles, we had to update the model to take advantage of the new technology on the PS3 and Xbox 360."
Overall, the game has received generally mixed reviews upon its release, earning an average score of 62% by Metacritic. Matt Casamassina of IGN gave it a 7.3 and said that "There's no "new generation" style hook and the resulting play mechanics therefore don't feel fresh (especially after two prequels), but the fundamentals are sound and the presentation better than you expect". Gamezone gives it an 8.5 praising the outstanding soundtrack and voice acting but criticizing the multi-player aspect calling it "unnecessary and gimmicky" and the graphics stating that the colours are high contrast, high saturation, almost to the point of blinding. Impulse gamer praised the game for paying homage to the series' roots and taking it to the next evolution.
It was a nominee for Best Voice Acting for the Wii by IGN in its 2008 video game IGN Wii: Best Voice Acting.
Trailers and Interviews
- The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is the only game in The Legend of Spyro series to have Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Norweigan voice-dub tracks; it is also the first ever Spyro game to be available with those dub language tracks.
- The game uses a heavy amount of bloom.
- Even though Malefor is the main antagonist of The Legend of Spyro trilogy, he makes his only full appearance in this game.
- The game's powerup menu is very similar to God of War 2's own powerup menu.
- The game is notable by fans for having story plotholes because of the game's rushed production time and abrupt change in art direction, such as the sudden appearance of Cynder's jewelry at the beginning of the game when they were completely absent in The Eternal Night, and the teenage appearance of Spyro and Cynder due to the game being developed by a different game developer.
- Dawn of the Dragon also has several cutscene errors, such as certain characters floating, freezing, and inconsistent character placements.
- Although the game mechanic of Free Flight lets you fly at anytime, it is exaggerated by fans as being very restrictive, not exactly letting you fly freely as indicated, but instead restricts you to only letting you fly inches or a few feet above the ground.
- The function of the air downdrafts in certain areas also prevents the player from flying up to sections that let you advance further into the level, including high points that contain Spirit Gems or armor, forcing the player to climb up cliffs and walls using the Climbing Zones to reach the areas, or fly up to the areas from a higher point before the downdrafts pushes you down.
- In the Nintendo DS version, the story varies differently from the console versions: Spyro and Cynder aren't tethered together by snake collars, Hunter frees them from the time crystal, the Golem fights Spyro and Cynder at the entrance to Dragon City and is defeated, the Destroyer is defeated but Spyro and Cynder still had to confront Malefor, Dark Spyro and Volteer do not appear in the game, and Malefor himself intiated the world's destruction through his power instead of the Destroyer.
- Dawn of the Dragon is the first Spyro game to be on the seventh-generation consoles of the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
Due to the change in game developers from Krome Studios to Étranges Libellules, a lot of story details became inconsistent with the previous Legend of Spyro game titles, creating story plotholes.
- Instead of Hunter finding Spyro, Cynder and Sparx in the post-credits scene in the previous title, Étranges Libellules had the Grublins find the three imprisoned heroes instead with Hunter following them.
- While Krome Studios originally had Spyro, Sparx and Cynder remain the same inside the time crystal when Hunter discovers them, the art direction by Estranges Libellules aged them at the request of Sierra Entertainment, who wanted to update Spyro and Cynder's looks to take advantage of the next-generation consoles of the PS3 and Xbox 360.
- Despite appearing older, Spyro and Cynder remained the same size as they were in The Eternal Night.
- Cynder's scale color was suddenly changed from story-wise permanent black to bright purple due to the decision made by the Dawn of the Dragon game director through unknown reasons. This clashes with the lore surrounding Purple Dragons, who are born once every ten generations.
- Cynder suddenly wears platinum jewelry in this game despite previously not wearing them before she, Spyro and Sparx were encased in the time crystal in The Eternal Night. One of the producers of The Legend of Spyro trilogy, Michael Graham, revealed that Cynder wears the jewelry as a way of facing her fear of becoming Malefor's servant again. There was originally going to be a cutscene for Dawn of the Dragon involving her actually putting the jewelry on, but there was no time in creating and adding the scene in because of the game's budget and rushed production.
- (Un)Official News Released.
- Spyro and Cynder Development in Skylanders
- INTERVIEW WITH SPYRO DEVELOPER MICHAEL GRAHAM
- THREE SPEECH TOP TRUMPS - SPYRO
- “Regarding your question, when we began working with the new team at EL, we took the opportunity to explore different looks and "ages" for Spyro and Cynder. We also had to make some changes to allow for the new gameplay features, such as needing larger wings to work with the flight feature and to allow the characters to block with their wings. The team came up with a variety of concepts and we settled on what you see in DotD. We didn't want to change it too much, but it was a good opportunity to allow the characters to grow up a bit (just like many of the fans were growing up too). It was also a good time to make this change given that it was the 10 year anniversarry for the Franchise. Had we made the game with Krome, its difficult to say what would have happened, but I'm sure there would have still been some changes. Since this was the first time Spyro was on the next-generation consoles, we had to update the model to take advantage of the new technology on the PS3 and Xbox 360.”
- —Christopher Wilson, closed-down Sierra Community Forums (mostly inaccessible)
- The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
- The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
- Spyro Dawn of the Dragon
- Michael Graham, Sierra Community Forums, The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (closed down)