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It was a long time coming, but the PlayStation finally received a competent, fully 3D platformer in 1998 when Spyro the Dragon touched down on the Sony console.
By providing tight controls, a user-friendly camera setup and countless hours of unabashed fun, Insomniac Games' colourful creation excelled where its genre predecessors had failed.
Spyro, a purple dragon with a firefly friend named Sparx, resided in a Disney-esque cartoon world where a villain named Gnasty Gnorc had imprisoned the rest of his species in crystal.
Players embarked on a quest across six worlds, each containing six levels, to free the other dragons, collecting hordes of stolen treasure and retrieving missing dragon eggs along the way.
Spyro the Dragon was never about earth-shattering innovation, but it was a 3D platformer done right, and these were in short supply on PlayStation back then.
Most levels didn't play out much differently than the ones found in other 3D platform titles, although Spyro did possess skills that set the experience apart, such as fire-breathing and the ability to ram enemies with his horns.
There were also arcade-flavoured flying stages that challenged players to keep Spyro in the air for as long as possible by collecting items within tight time limits.
Insomniac Games really nailed the level design in Spyro the Dragon, providing players with vast colourful playgrounds to immerse themselves in.
Revisiting worlds was encouraged at every turn, as there was a myriad of bonus collectables hidden throughout each level for fans to discover the second, third and fourth time around.
Unlocking all of the bonus levels required players to hunt down every solitary piece of treasure and dragon egg, and there was enough incentive on offer to keep us invested in this daunting task.
Spyro the Dragon was also a treat on the audio front, with in-game worlds brought to life by strong voice acting from the likes of Carlos Alazraqui, Clancy Brown and Harvey Fierstein, as well as an atmospheric soundtrack by former Police drummer Stewart Copeland.
The game took some of its cues from Nintendo 64 classic Banjo-Kazooie, emulating its smooth controls, useable camera and bright cartoony visuals.
However, Spyro didn't quite scale the same heights as Rare's masterpiece or other genre-defining platformers like Super Mario 64, as the challenge was never quite there.
Granted, collecting all of the bonus items was no easy feat and the final boss was hardly a pushover, but for the most part Spyro the Dragon's difficulty setting was tailored for a family audience.
Spryo was more than just another me-too creation hoping to do for PlayStation what Mario and Sonic did for Nintendo and Sega, and the way the character has endured is testament to this.
After spawning a dozen sequels, the Spyro the Dragon series was rebooted in 2006 with the multi-platform release of The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, a game that boasted an all-star voice case spearheaded by Elijah Wood and Gary Oldman.
The character went on to carve out a place for himself in the current generation, with a prominent role in toys-to-life franchise Skylanders taking his popularity to new heights.
So, what does the future hold for Spyro? Following an appearance in Skylanders: Trap Team later this year, the door is open for the purple dragon to feature in another solo adventure.
Sony's Andrew House recenty said that the firm is open to revisiting the Spyro series, and could even reboot Crash Bandicoot down the line. Exciting times for the children of the 1990s!
Do you have any fond memories of Spyro the Dragon? Post a comment below!