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Skylands (Currently)
Featured in: Spyro the Dragon, Legends of Spyro, Skylanders, etc.
Voiced By: Elijah Wood (Legend of Spyro) Josh Keaton (Skylanders)

I’m sure that there isn’t a video gamer out there that hasn’t heard the name of Spyro the Dragon. He was, and still kind of, a staple character for the Sony Playstation systems now that a certain bandicoot has gone to the wayside. Whereas Nintendo has Mario, Sega has Sonic, for the longest time, Playstation had Spyro. Up until more recent years at any rate but that’s neither here nor there.

Contrary to Mario, whom has never truly had a straight up storyline from game to game beyond Bowser’s obsession with Peach and locking her in a variety of towers, Spyro does in fact have a storyline and, like Sonic, has more than one to his name.

The first generation of Spyro consists entirely of the games that premiered in my generation, otherwise known as the PS1 to the younger masses. In those particular games, Spyro was simply a dragon whose circumstances allowed him to combat against the various evils attacking his world. In essence, far more like Mario insomuch that little to nothing made sense in the grand scheme of characters and monsters never mind the actual storyline.

Out of everything that came from the original series, the one thing that I remember most above all others was the constant joy one had with sheep. Sheep, in most Spyro games, are a source of income or health depending on the game in question. The one thing that is constant throughout is that they are so far down on the bottom of the totem pole they might as well be sitting under it. Seriously, I played most of the original Spyro games and the only thing that I can remember at all about any of them was how much fun it was chasing those fluffy things down and burning the ever-loving sheepskin out of ‘em.

However, much like Sonic the Hedgehog is currently undergoing, Spyro received a serious makeover/reboot in the form of a trilogy known simply as The Legends of Spyro. Here is where most, if not all, of Spyro’s true character comes to shine and where we get a full understanding as to why he and no other dragon, is capable of combating such great evils.

To put it simply, it’s because he’s purple.

Nope, nothing else, it’s because he’s purple as a grape. Dragons, in the Legends trilogy and in Skylanders are all aligned to certain elements based primarily upon the colors of their scales. Red for fire, blue for ice, green for earth, etc. In the case of the exceedingly rare purple-scaled dragons, they are the essential culmination of all these elements made whole in the form of pure, raw, magic.

Basically, whereas most dragons are only ever capable of learning one particular element and its variety of uses, Spyro can learn and use them all with the only limit being his own experience and stamina. It is even mentioned, and a major plot point, that Spyro can even learn to bend the very sands of time to his bidding, a feat that no one thought possible.

The Legends trilogy is often proclaimed as being the most tedious and unimaginative as far as gameplay is concerned but its story is never doubted as being one of the greats. The voice acting is superb and the story itself is one that I shan’t spoil for anyone beyond saying that it is truly a game trilogy that could have been made into a film. No, seriously, they were plans to make an actual Spyro animated film based on the second generation of games but it eventually fell through when Activision decided to go in an entirely different direction with Spyro.

This of course leads to the current incarnation of Spyro seen in the Skylanders game series. Now, I’m not going to lie, I both love and hate these games. I love them for their original character designs and playability that is, overall, both fun and distinctive. I hate them though because they have made far too many of those little guys for me to keep track of and please forbid any one of them having a name that isn’t something of a pun towards who/what they are.

Spyro himself is both changed and unchanged insomuch that his design is made to fit in with the rest of the characters, making him look more childish but a heck of a lot more draconic in my opinion, but his backstory is… Not really touched upon. All that we learn of it is what can be read either in game or in a game guide, both of which only tell the bare necessities of the events that transpired in the Legends trilogy. Nothing in the games outright indicates anything of Spyro’s character beyond him likely being a favored Skylander to the Portal Master Eon.

That’s another element that I dislike in the Skylanders games frankly. What’s the point of having such a wide variety of character to play as when they are just carbon cutouts in the games? There is nothing, and I mean nothing that ever occurs to make the gameplay distinctive based on the chosen Skylander.

I’d settle for someone shouting, “You the dragon, Spyro!” at this point.