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Proto:Spyro: A Hero's Tail

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Spyro: A Hero's Tail.

This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.
To do:
  • More audio differences (SFX and voice clips)
  • Character/item design differences
  • Test levels
  • Unfinished breaths/breath bombs
  • Other unfinished abilities
  • Oxygen meter/Aqualung (cut gadget)

At least two different demos were released for this game, across multiple demo discs.
The early demo was released on the E3 Crash Twinsanity & Spyro A Hero’s Tail demo disc, and also the infamous Playstation Underground Holiday 2004 demo disc.
The late demo was released on demo disc 51 from the Playstation Magazine in Europe, and later on issue 61 as a bonus demo.

They both have the same levels to pick from:

  1. A intro section featuring the first few bits of Dragon Village.
  2. The gliding tutorial in Dragon Village where you retrieve a Dragon Egg for Hunter.
  3. Hunter's section of Dragonfly Falls.
  4. The 4th Sgt Byrd minigame "Lava Palaver".

There are subtle differences in controls and visuals between the two, and a few major level design changes (especially in the normally inaccessible Dragonfly Falls level).


Demo Level Differences
How the game's levels evolved from the demos to the final game.

Map Screen Differences

Level Names

By cycling through the map ID's using hacking it's possible to find early names for the realms, levels and minigames.

Realm names:

Demos Final
Dragons Homeland Dragon Kingdom
Ancient Ruins Lost Cities

Level names:

Map ID Demos Final
135 Gnastys Cave Gnasty's Cave
162 Professors Laboratory Red's Laboratory
146 Critter Camp Critter Calamity
147 Cliff Speedway Island Speedway
148 Cavernous Flight Cavern Chaos
214 Water Rush Outlandish Inlet

Beta Crocovile Swamp Map

Crocovile Swamp's files don't exist within the demos, but by hacking the map screen you can find a beta version of Crocovile Swamp's map. Unfortunately no other unused maps can be found this way.

Beta Final
SpyroAHT-Demo-BetaCrocovileSwampMap.png SpyroAHT-Final-CrocovileSwampMap.png

Music & Audio Differences

The music is completely different from the final game. This is due to the game switching composers only 6 weeks before the deadline. It is unknown who composed the music earlier in development.

(Source: Paul Lawler (Spyro: A Hero's Tail's main composer))

A total of 27 tracks were composed for the demos. The early demo only has 25 of these within its files, while the late demo contains all of them (and a duplicate of the title screen music). Of these 27 tracks, only 8 of them are used in the early demo, and the late demo added a dedicated track for Dragon Village totaling 9 used tracks. Some of the tracks can only be heard by accessing unused areas which have the tracks tied to them (for example the ball gadget level).
When the new composers were put on, all the tracks were merely overwritten with the new music, which means some of the demo tracks were left in the final release. (see Unused Music/Sounds)
Here is a video with all the tracks from the late demo:

Perhaps the most interesting part of the unused music tracks are the ones for the Gnasty Gnorc boss battle (the files labelled with "realm1z"), as they imply the battle music was more elaborate than was seen in the final game.
The only track which was overwritten by the final composers but never used in the final game is realm1z_victory:

Control Differences

The controls in both the demos are quite different to the final game, and they are overall considerably more sluggish.

  • The camera moves a lot slower.
  • Spyro has higher acceleration and deceleration.
  • Whenever you charge, Spyro does his "charge from standstill" animation, regardless if you were standing still or not. In the final game, Spyro only performs this animation if you are standing still first.
  • If you charge while in the air, Spyro will stay still for a bit before charging.
  • You cannot rotate while wing shielding in the late demo, but you can do so in the early demo and the final game.
  • Spyro's double jump has much stricter timing.
  • Spyro's double jump doesn't go as high.
  • Spyro's first person view has the y-axis inverted by default.
  • Hunter's double jump has much stricter timing.
  • Hunter has an extra third hit at the end of his punch combo.
  • As Sgt. Byrd, you have to hold the fly button while boosting, otherwise he won't do anything. In the final game, the boost button works as a fly button as well, and you therefore don't need to hold both buttons at the same time. (Interestingly, the final game still tells you to hold both buttons down, even though you don't need to.)
  • Exclusive to the early demo: Spyro's horn dive takes longer to perform.
  • Exclusive to the early demo: It takes longer for Spyro to start breathing fire when pressing the breath button.