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Proto:Spyro: Year of the Dragon/September 4th, 2000 build

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Spyro: Year of the Dragon.

Hiddenpalace.org logo.png  This prototype is documented on Hidden Palace.

The September 4th, 2000 Prototype of Spyro: Year of the Dragon is a very late review version of the game dated around two weeks prior to the final NTSC-U Revision 0 release version. It was released on April 17th, 2021.

The actual build date of this build is not known with certainty due to the fact that both the modification dates on the files and the primary volume dates seem to have been recorded incorrectly, similar to the final game. The date has been inferred from the game's version string, which is thought to be closely related to the actual build date.

Differences

General Differences

A number of minor changes apply to a variety of levels and scenarios.

  • Instances where the level theme is supposed to change after a minigame or during a sublevel do not behave as such, and instead use the level's main theme instead. It's not known if this was intentional, due to incomplete programming, or due to a bug.
    • Unlike the final game, the music does not change to each alternate character's theme when entering an area where that character is playable. Instead, the area retains the same music as the base level.
      • This has the interesting effect that Sgt. Byrd's Base does not play in the main section of Enchanted Towers - instead, Desert Ruins does, like in the sublevels.
    • Despite being present in the game's STR file, the Belltower theme normally used in Cloud Spires does not play in-game, causing it to go unused.
    • The ice dancing theme in Icy Peak is also left unused, despite being present in the game's data.
    • The bone dance theme in Enchanted Towers is yet another example of where the music does not change as it is supposed to in this version.
  • Despite the fact the credits data is entirely present, the credits are never shown in-game without the use of cheat codes - in both instances where they should appear, they don't.
    • Using the credits cheat, the player can still access the credits, though. By constrast, the credits cheat does not work in the earliest final version.
    • For possibly related reasons, the skill point section of the Atlas does not seem to activate once the Sorceress is defeated as it normally would. All of the data corresponding to the Skill Point entries is present and matches the final, however.
    • Similarly, collecting 10 skill points does not seem to unlock the epilogue as it normally would.
    • In another similar vein, the "THE END" cutscene is never shown in-game without the use of cheat codes. See the Super Bonus Round section for more details.
  • Level-warping and cutscene cheat codes can be input from the beginning of the game, rather than requiring that the player finishes Bugbot Factory first.
  • The Whirligig and Rocket have some difficulty rendering correctly in the loading screen:
    • The Whirligig can lose its textures or turn partially invisible.
    • The Rocket's textures can become completely corrupted.
  • For whatever reason, Hunter has a strange pink patch on his arm in Spyro 2. This still seems to be present both in-game and in cutscenes in this build, only for it to be replaced with a colour closer to Hunter's normal fur colour in the final.
    • He does, however, still appear with the pink patch on his arm in a couple cutscenes in the final.
    • Similarly, his eye colour went from brown to green - while his eyes are still brown in a single cutscene in the final, they're brown in most cutscenes in this version.
  • The requirements to get into Harbor Speedway and Sorceress' Lair differ from the final.
    • Harbor Speedway requires 100 eggs instead of 90.
    • Sorceress' Lair requires 120 eggs instead of 100.
    • Furthermore, the egg requirement text is placed inside the door to Sorceress' Lair instead of in front of it. This causes the text to render incorrectly when viewed from certain angles.
  • In the final, attempting to quit the game will offer the player a final "Quit Game?" option to ensure the option hadn't been selected accidentally. This version does not give you this message, and instead, the game immediately quits.
  • There's a minor graphical glitch on the Insomniac logo screen at the start of the game.
  • The game begins with some text saying "The Adventure Continues", rather than "The Adventure Begins".
  • After watching Sheila's release cutscene in Sunrise Spring, Spyro gets teleported back to the start of the level instead of respawning outside of the Sheila's Alp portal.
    • Oddly, this does not seem to happen with the other characters.
  • In Sunrise Spring, Rocky greets the player when the balloon is ready, instead of Snappy the Seal.
Spyro3-SunnyVillaDoor-Sep04.png
  • In Sunny Villa, the door to Sheila's area is inexplicably missing a polygon.
  • In Buzz's Dungeon, Buzz can occasionally escape the lava, causing him no health loss and making Sheila's AI temporarily play up.
  • Oddly enough, in the Midday Garden Home, characters don't crowd around the Whirligig as each level is completed, nor do they approach Spyro to tell you the Whirligig is completed. All of the dialogue associated with these characters is present, and the mobys associated with these characters appear to be present in an unloaded state, too, so the reason they don't appear may be due to a glitch.
    • As a result, all dialogue and interactions with these characters go unused.
  • Occasionally the rockets will fail to destroy the Sorceress statue in Enchanted Towers. This may be due to the rockets unloading if the player moves away from them.
  • The button that Hunter presses in Evening Lake is not present.
    • Furthermore, the cage he falls into seems to have a slightly different appearance.
  • A number of sound effects are missing or changed:
    • Signs breaking in Spooky Swamp play no sound effect.
    • All of the Sorceress' sounds in both Sorceress' Lair and Super Bonus Round are missing.
    • Scorch's sound effects are completely off-the-wall, which appears to be completely unintentional:
      • The scream sound is played instead of the wing flapping sound.
      • The hurt sound is played instead of the scream sound.
      • The wing flapping sound is played instead of the hurt sound.
    • The Skill Point in Haunted Tomb is missing its sound effect.
    • A number of sounds within the cutscenes are missing.

Cutscene Differences

The content of the cutscenes seems to have been one of the final things that was worked on during development. As a result, there are a number of subtle audiovisual differences in this version's cutscenes.

  • As mentioned above, Hunter's appearance more closely matches his Spyro 2 appearance for the mostpart in the cutscenes.
  • In the first cutscene, "An Evil Plot Unfolds...", particles similar to the ones Sparx produces when he's gold are seen coming out of Bianca's left hand for some reason.
  • In "A Desperate Rescue Begins...", Zoe's wand particles are not present.
  • The portal to Sheila's Alp, as seen in the cutscene played shortly after freeing her, uses the minigame sublevel portal instead of showing the actual portal to Sheila's Alp as it would appear in-game. This was also seen in at least one pre-release screenshot of an unknown origin.
    • The portal to Bentley's Outpost also appears like this in his corresponding cutscene.
    • Agent 9's portal, in his cutscene, is a bizarre hybrid of both styles - both the sublevel effect and the usual portal can be seen.
    • "An Apology And Lunch" also seems to feature a sublevel portal moby, behind where Bianca is standing - in the final, this portal was removed entirely, and Bianca simply walks into a black-coloured wall.
  • In "Bianca Strikes Back", there's a brief moment where the Sorceress closes her eyes but her pupils are still visible.
  • "THE END" is accessible with cheat codes, but is not shown during normal play.
  • Several cutscenes feature issues rendering the level model correctly, and so large holes in the scenery appear at certain points:
    • In "No Hard Feelings", a hole emerges towards the very end.
    • Bentley's release cutscene, "A Duplicitous, Larcenous Ursine", consistently features rendering errors and holes in the ground throughout.
  • A number of sound effects are missing throughout most of the cutscenes.
    • In "A Desperate Rescue Begins...", the sound that plays when Hunter gets stomped is missing.
    • In "Hunter's Tussle", Sparx's eating noise is not present.
    • In "One Less Noble Warrior" Sgt. Byrd's missiles are missing their sound effects.
    • "THE END" is missing its burping sound effects.

Super Bonus Round

Spyro3-ZanJayna-Sep04.png

The level with perhaps the most noticeable differences is the final level, Super Bonus Round.

  • Despite the fact that all of the game's final audio dialogue is present in this build, Bianca's final speech does not yet exist in text form. In fact, she doesn't appear at all in the final Sorceress encounter.
    • As a result, her audio dialogue here goes unused.
  • The final egg - normally named "Yin Yang" - is instead named "Zan Jayna" here. This is the only instance of a changed dragon name in this build.
    • The dragons are presumably named after the DC Comics Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna.
  • Once the egg is collected, normally the final cutscene would play and the credits would roll. However, this does not happen - instead, the player is free to leave the sublevel and re-enter the main level.
    • As a result of this, the final cutscene, "THE END", never plays under normal conditions in-game, nor do the credits. Both this cutscene and the credits can, however, be viewed with the game's cheat codes.
  • The Contents page in the Atlas for the Super Bonus Worlds claims Super Bonus Round has 6 eggs, rather than 1. This seems to be intentional but does not necessarily represent that the level was going to have 6 eggs at any point:
    • The max totals cheat works by summing up the number of eggs in the array corresponding to how many eggs the Atlas claims each level has.
    • Since Midnight Mountain has a secret egg, it's marked in this array as having 5 eggs instead of 6.
    • As a result the sum of all the egg totals in this array is 149, not 150 - this would mean the cheat falls slightly short of its intended value.
    • To make up for it, it seems Super Bonus Round was deliberately given an extra five eggs in the Atlas array - although this would result in a sum of 154 eggs, this is still displayed to the player as 150 due to the egg counter capping off at 150.

Cheat Codes

Decompilation of the code reveals that there is a function which handles the effects of all different cheat code types. The function references 14 different cases in this version, all representing different cheat codes. The cheats are also in a slightly different order within this code when compared to the final game, though this is not something that the player would ever notice regardless.

Type 0 - Permanent Invincibility

The first cheat type is for permanent invincibility, presumably in the game for debugging reasons. This cheat code type is not present in the final game, and was not present in Spyro 2 either.

Circle, Circle, Circle, Circle, X

Type 1 - Max Gem and Egg Totals

The next type of cheat will set the total gem and egg counts, as well as the number of gems and eggs per level, to their maxima. All levels are also marked as visited.

Due to the Sorceress Lair egg being collected by this cheat, all instances of Moneybags will be instantly be disabled in all levels the player is not currently in, aside from his final encounter in Midnight Mountain. All end-of-level NPCs are marked as having left their respective levels, as a result of their respective eggs being marked as collected. Although the number of collected gems per level is maxed out by the cheat, the actual in-game gems are not marked as collected, and so the player can continue to collect gems after using the cheat. This cheat was likely included for the sake of QAing and debugging the game, and can be activated by inputting the following code at the pause menu:

Square, Square, Square, Square, Circle

This cheat code variant is not present in the final game, nor was it present in Spyro 2.

According to the array of eggs per level - which is the total number of eggs refenced by the Atlas - Midnight Mountain has 5 eggs (due to the 6th egg being a "secret" egg). In this build, Super Bonus Round has 6 eggs, rather than 1 - this seems to be a purposeful decision due to the way this cheat works.

As the total eggs and gems after the cheat is input is determined as the total sum of the eggs and gems that are marked as collected per level, and two of the levels do not match their actual egg totals, using the cheat actually increments the total collected eggs to 154. This is displayed to the player as 150, due to the egg counter capping out at that value. If the Super Bonus Round total was correct and said "1" instead, the total eggs after using the cheat would only be 149.

Type 3 - Credits

The player can warp to the credits using the following cheat code - in fact, this is the only way to access the credits in this version.

Version Code
Sep 04 Square, Circle, Square, Circle, Square, Circle, Left, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right
Final Left, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right, Square, Circle, Square, Circle, Square, Circle

This code is identical to how it appears in Spyro 2. In final builds of Spyro 3, the code seems to only get used in the PAL versions of the game (though the code is still present in each of the NTSC-U versions), and does not match the code used in this build.

When the credits finish, the text that appears on-screen during the loading appears, briefly, to be corrupted.

Type 4 - Permanent Superflame

The next cheat enables the permanent superflame the player would receive at the end of Spyro 2.

R1, R2, L1, L2, R1, R2, L1, L2, Circle

As superflame only works in levels where superflame was intended to work in Spyro 3, activating the cheat and superflaming somewhere where the action isn't allowed can result in the game crashing.

This cheat code variant is not present in the final game, nor was it present in Spyro 2.

Type 5 - Level Warp

The level / cutscene warp code is present in this version in identical form to its final version. Unlike the final game, however, this cheat will work from the very beginning of the game, rather than requiring that you beat Bugbot Factory first.

Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Square, ?, ?

The last two button presses represent the ID of the level one wishes to travel to - simply concatenate the number corresponding with the first button to the second button to get the level ID:

Button Number
Circle 0
X 1
Square 2
Triangle 3
Right 4
Down 5
Left 6
Up 7
R1 8

Type 7 - Big Head Mode

Big head mode still uses the code from Spyro 2.

Version Code
Sep 04 Up, Up, Up, Up, R1, R1, R1, R1, Circle
Final Up, R1, Up, R1, Up, R1, Circle, Circle, Circle, Circle

Type 8 - Flat Mode

Flat mode still uses the code from Spyro 2.

Version Code
Sep 04 Left, Right, Left, Right, L2, R2, L2, R2, Square
Final Left, Right, Left, Right, L1, R1, L1, R1, Square, Circle

Type 9 - Colour Change

The colour change cheats still use their codes from Spyro 2, which do not match the final codes:

Version Code
Sep 04 Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Square, R1, R2, L1, L2, Up, Left, Down, Right, Up, ?
Final Up, Left, Down, Right, Up, Square, R1, R2, L1, L2, Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, ?

The final button press determines the colour:

Button Colour
X Blue
Circle Red
Triangle Green
Square Pink
Down Black
Up Yellow

All other button presses will instead revert Spyro to his usual colours.

Type 10 - Extra Hit Point

The next cheat type once again uses its Spyro 2 code:

Version Code
Sep 04 Square, Up, Square, Down, Square, Left, Square, Right, Circle
Final Circle, R1, Circle, L1, Circle, R2, Circle, L2, Circle

Other Cheat Modes

The squidboard, dialogue test mode, difficulty setting, minigame difficulty setting and 99 lives cheats are all present and all match the final version.

The only cheat code from Spyro 2 that is not present in this version of Spyro 3 is the "all abilities" cheat - the abilities are all unlocked from the beginning of the game, as in the final game. One cheat code - the treasure finder code - is still missing from this version.

Save Information

A string similar to the ones found in some of the demo builds can be found in this version.

SPYRO_3(pal)-v.9.4

Like the demo versions, the version number looks an awful lot like a build date - given how late in development this version is, a date of September 4th is a close match for what is seen in this version's differences. This string actually relates to the information that is saved to the save file:

Info Sep 04 Sep 14 Final
Title SPYRO3 SPYRO3
Product Code YRO_3(pal) SCUS-94467
Identifier -v.9.4 SPY3_1

The product code is missing part of the string as the first two characters correspond to the game's region. A standard NTSC-U copy would begin the save string with "BA", whereas this version begins the string with "SP", resulting in a nonsense region code being saved to the memory card.

Curiously, this string says PAL, when in fact it's an NTSC-U version. This may indicate that the string was not updated from a previous version and this build is actually dated slightly later. Originating discs have September 11th written on them, though this date seems a bit too close to final to be the true build date.

Dongle Protection

Dongle protection is present in this build, which can stop the game from running on real hardware and certain emulators. The game will reach the Universal logo screen before halting. There's a couple unseen strings which correspond to the protection:

BASLUS-99999SPYRO3

This string indicates what save data would be present in the dongle.

Bad Dongle

Should no dongle be detected, this string is output to the console.

The dongle protection can be bypassed using a patch, or by setting the int at address 0x80078CD0 to zero. However, patching the dongle will result in the game's anti-crack protection being triggered. An alternative - whilst using emulators - is to use the .mcd file available here.

Unused Text

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck - out of memory for book vram - %d bytes.
fuckety fuck fuck

Some profanity. Interestingly, one of these strings had previously only been seen in the final game, whilst the other had previously only been seen in the demo versions!