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Proto:Spyro: Year of the Dragon/Test Drive Demo

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

Hmmm...
To do:
More images.

The "Test Drive" demo was featured in Toys "R" Us stores, and while the standalone demo disc is relatively rare nowadays, the demo itself was featured on many other PlayStation demo compilation discs. The most notable feature of this demo is that three new levels are playable that weren't featured in any other demo version of the game.

The demo is an NTSC version of the game, and by using EXE dates provided by the discs that contained this demo, we can infer that it was built on August 21st, 2000 at the latest (it may have been built months before this date, though).

General Gameplay Differences

  • The level select screen uses an earlier version of the game's logo, featuring a winged dragon like Spyro as opposed to the eastern-influenced dragon seen in the final design.
  • In the final game, loading a save file shows an image of the homeworld Spyro is in with some text saying "The Adventure Continues". This demo uses the Sunrise Spring screen after choosing a level, despite the fact that the levels to choose from are not from the Sunrise Spring home.
  • Only three levels are included - Icy Peak, Lost Fleet and Agent 9's Lab. Only the Sub Chase area of Lost Fleet is playable under normal means, but the rest of the level can be accessed through hacking.
  • Only three music tracks are included in the demo, all shortened versions of tracks used in the final game. The Greatest Hits Enchanted Towers sublevel theme is used on the level select screen and in Lost Fleet, the Fireworks Factory theme is used in Icy Peak, and Sheila's Alp's theme is used in Agent 9's Lab. The critter sublevels use the same music as the rest of the level instead of switching the music like in the final.
  • The game uses Spyro 2's typeface (the only differences from Spyro 3 being the upper-case letters H, I, J, L, V and W), and a palette that matches neither the one used in Spyro 2 (which was also used in the earliest demo) nor the one used in the final game.
  • The pause menu only contains the options 'Continue' and 'Quit Demo' or 'Exit Area', depending on which area the player is in. This is not uncommon in demos. Other pause menu options are available and functional, but go unused.
  • When collecting all gems or eggs in a given level, or when the "Level Complete" notification appears, there is no shaded window behind the text or icons.
  • When an NPC gives the player an egg, it immediately appears instead of "growing" into view. Also, eggs don't shake when they're hatching.
  • No skill points are available yet.
  • The game over screen is still identical to the Spyro 2 game over screen.

Icy Peak

  • Moneybags has been removed to make the demo more accessible. His model and dialogue still remain in the game, albeit unused.
  • When using the Gondola, the controls lock and the camera follows Spyro down, instead of it cutting to a panning shot cutscene with screen indents.
  • In the egg thief sublevel, the Yellow thief starts on the left and the Red thief starts on the right. These were switched in the final release.
  • When speaking to Nancy, Spyro is presented with the options "Yes" and "No" instead of the subtly different "Yes." and "No.".
    • This is true for all cases where the player is given these options - the first time, after any failed attempts and after any returns to the sublevel.

Eggs

Differences are in bold.

Demo dragon name Final dragon name Demo dragon description Final dragon description
Maynard Maynard A blue dragon that spins in the air and falls asleep A blue dragon that spins in the air and falls asleep
Chet Chet A blue dragon that cries with no sound A blue dragon that cries
Cerny Cerny A blue dragon with glasses that sits and smiles A blue dragon with glasses that sits and smiles
Betty Betty A turquoise dragon with glasses that floats and falls A turquoise dragon with glasses that floats and falls
Chuck Scout A white dragon that moonwalks A white dragon that moonwalks
Reese Reez A blue dragon with bows that wags its tail A blue dragon with bows that wags its tail

Lost Fleet

Sub Chase

Under normal means, the player only has access to the sub chase sublevel.

  • There appears to be a glitch in the sub chase sublevel where dying in the sub causes Sparx to not respawn with the player.
  • When speaking to Crazy Ed, Spyro is presented with the options "yes" and "no" instead of "Yes." and "No.".
  • The text and written dialogue expresses buttons in text form instead of displaying an image of the associated button symbol.
    • The "X" character is used instead of the ✕ button symbol.
    • The word "circle" is used instead of the ○ button symbol.
  • Each line of the controls text that is displayed before each mission is missing a full stop at the end.
  • One of Ed's dialogue strings is missing an audio component:
Okey Dokey, take good care of 'er, y' here?

Inaccessible Areas

Only the submarine chase area of Lost Fleet is accessible without hacking. However, the whole level is present on the disc, albeit relatively unstable.

  • For some reason, the main level and skateboarding sublevel crashes whenever Spyro:
    • Fires at the ghosts near the beginning of the level.
    • Fires the cannon at the chest behind the ship.
    • Kills the crab at the very end of the level.
    • Begins one of the skateboarding missions.
    • Spits a rocket item at an enemy.
    • Using hacking to instantly teleport Spyro far away from the source of the crash will sometimes allow the player to avoid most of the adverse effects. This method can be used to play through the rest of skateboarding missions without the game locking.
  • Like the previous demo, Hunter's shorts are red instead of purple. His skateboard is missing and there's an unusual purple tinge on one of his arms. He's also standing next to a sign with his face on it - this sign usually appears when Hunter is captured during the game's climax, as opposed to being there at all times. The text associated with this sign is entirely absent from the game.
  • Hunter has no audio dialogue in this demo.
  • Hunter's dialogue expresses buttons in text form instead of displaying an image of the associated button symbol.
    • The word "square" is used instead of the ◻ button symbol.
    • In the green text that appears before starting the challenge, the square button is correctly displayed instead of the word "square".
  • Each line of the controls text that is displayed before the first mission is missing a full stop at the end.
  • The turbo bar that appears in the skateboarding appears in the top-right of the screen instead of the top-middle. No timer appears on-screen in either of the missions.
    • There is no skateboarding skill point, and as such, no timer appears when using a skateboard after completing the egg challenges, either.

Eggs

Differences are in bold.

Demo dragon name Final dragon name Demo dragon description Final dragon description
Willis Craig A blue dragon that snores and wakes up with no snoring sound A blue dragon that snores and wakes up
Carly Ethel A green dragon that scratches its ear A green dragon that scratches its ear
Brenda Dolores A brown dragon that does a backflip A brown dragon that does a backflip
Ichabod Oliver A brown dragon that does a cartwheel A brown dragon that does a cartwheel
Aiden Aiden A green dragon whose shell lands on its head A green dragon whose shell lands on its head
Trevor Chad A green dragon that chases its tail A green dragon that chases its tail

Agent 9's Lab

  • The portal at the start of the level is visually entirely empty instead of using the sublevel portal visual object.
  • The trees do not shake when shot at and bombs cannot be used to destroy the trees. The trees do shake when a bomb is thrown at them, though.
  • The panic button is initially red but turns grey when shot at. In the final, both states are red.
  • If the player jumps into the corner next to the screen near the exit doorway in the first room the player enters, the counter used when shooting the boat rhynocs appears in the bottom right of the screen. This glitch was remedied in the final release.
  • In the same room, there's an unusual glitch where being shot whilst on the platform whilst Sparx is missing and taking enough momentum from the shot to fall off the platform will lock the player in a "Zombie" state, similar to the Zombie glitches from the final game where state changes stop occurring. As a result, Agent 9 does not teleport back onto the platform when the Professor says "Try not to fall off the pedestal!" and it immediately takes this as meaning the player has fallen off, resetting the Professor's dialogue. It is impossible to escape from this loop, although this has been fixed in the final game as well.
  • The Rhynocs in this room can also be seen through the level geometry, and shots at the walls may actually hit them before the platform has been risen. If this happens, the rest of the Rhynocs will start appearing too. If the Rhynocs are defeated before the platform is raised, no Rhynocs appear during the targeting minigame even after falling off the pedestal, and so it is impossible to proceed.
  • Bombs cannot be collected when the player has a non-zero number of bombs in their possession. In the final release, collecting bombs at any time will refill them to 10.
  • When exiting the level through the exit portal, Agent 9 freezes in place and Spyro appears where he was.
  • In the green controls text that appears after the speaking to the Professor on certain occasions, the "L1" and "R1" buttons are displayed in green instead of the regular text color (which is used to differentiate them from the rest of the text).
  • The Professor's dialogue also expresses buttons in text form instead of displaying an image of the associated button symbol.
    • The word "square" is used instead of the ◻ button symbol.
    • The word "triangle" is used instead of the △ button symbol.

Eggs

Differences are in bold.

Demo dragon name Final dragon name Demo dragon description Final dragon description
Fayza Beulah A grey dragon with a bow that scratches its ear A grey dragon with a bow that scratches its ear
Tymoteusz Tony A green with glasses that bounces around A green with glasses that bounces around
Rowan Rowan A green with a bow that does a backflip A green with a bow that does a backflip

Unused Graphics

Icy Peak Rhynoc Head

Spyro3-IcyPeakRhynocAnim.gif
Amongst the graphics used in Icy Peak are five animation frames of a rhynoc's head, probably intended to be used in the ice dancing minigame. In particular the rhynoc matches the ones seen in one early screenshot (in this demo and the final game, the rhynocs wear a full hockey kit including a helmet). Only the first of these frames remain in the final game.

Lost Fleet Alternate Superflame Sprite

For some reason, an unusual sprite of what appears to be a flame is loaded into VRAM instead of the standard superflame icon in the sub chase sublevel. This is never seen to the player as the superflame powerup is not used here. It's possible that this is simply a VRAM glitch, but it certainly doesn't occur in the final game.

Unused Dialogue

There's an extra line of audio dialogue for Crazy Ed in the main section of Lost Fleet in this demo.

Has anyone seen my pick?


This dialogue cannot be found in the final game and neither this version or the final game feature any text dialogue for this audio. Since Crazy Ed leaves the level immediately after finishing it, he never has an opportunity to actually use this dialogue.

Unused Text

  • Each demo version contains some kind of version number. All demos except for the first one contain the following number, which instead uses a slightly different number.
    • The string is actually located in two places in memory - both on the level select screen and in the save game information. In the (NTSC-U versions of the) final game, "BASCUS-94467SPY3_1" takes the place of this string, indicating that this may have been used as a save file identifier for this version.
    • One may also speculate that this is an indication of the build date of this particular version - July 27th 2000 - as other information from the game's development points towards this build being from around July.
SPYRO_3-v.7.27.a
  • The Atlas Contents entry for the "Super Bonus Worlds" has a small typo. This may have been an intentional joke, as Insomniac were known for their quirky sense of humor.
    • Despite this, the level name Super Bonus Round is spelled correctly.
Super Bogus Worlds
  • One can access the transport menu through hacking, to find that instead of being called "WHERE TO?" it's called "HUB2HUB", like in the earlier demo.
    • Spike's Arena, Scorch's Pit and Sorceress's Lair are called "Boss 2", "Boss 3" and "Boss 4" respectively.
  • Despite skateboarding trick names not being used in this demo, all of them are present. The tricks that were missing from the earlier demo have now been added, though a couple of their names changed later in development.
Demo Name Final Name
Quint Spin Left Big Gulp
Quint Spin Left Orange Crush
Quad Roll Left Dr. Shemp
Quad Spin Left Gulp
Quad Roll Right Toasty Twist
Quad Spin Right Crush
Double Twisted Lemon Twisted Lemon x 2
Triple Twisted Lemon Twisted Lemon x 3
  • The Atlas text for a number of different egg challenges was changed between different versions of the game.
Prototype Name Final Name Level Comments
Race Race the butterflies Mushroom Speedway Just a placeholder name.
I dunno, ask MJ Hunter's dogfight Mushroom Speedway "MJ" is referred to twice in Hunter mission names, likely referring to former Cerny Games designer and producer Michael "MJ" John. Probably suggests that the egg was incomplete.
Missing string Race the pigs Country Speedway The game probably reuses the "race" from the previous speedway, just as it does with "Time attack" in the final game.
Missing string Hunter's rescue mission Country Speedway Once again, the Hunter missions were probably incomplete. Most likely just reuses the "I dunno, ask MJ" string.
Race Race the bees Honey Speedway Yet another placeholder name. For some reason the string is a duplicate rather than re-using the other "Race" string.
Missing string Hunter's narrow escape Honey Speedway Another Hunter mission.
Missing string Egg for sale Midnight Mountain Home The egg obtained from Moneybags after defeating the Sorceress. It probably wasn't implemented yet, seeing as how this is the only instance of a homeworld containing 6 eggs.
Close your eyes and press X twice Leap of faith Dino Mines Maybe the name was too long.
The Bailey gang's last stand Take it to the bank Dino Mines This one is an oddity. In the final game, "Take it to the bank" is simply a hidden egg in Agent 9's section of the level. This doesn't seem to match up with its prototype name, and given that in the final game there is an unused sub-level of Dino Mines which was probably used in an early egg challenge, this text string could be referencing that removed egg challenge. It should be noted that this string actually switches positions with the string above in the final game, with "Leap of faith" coming before "Take it to the bank" in the final game, whereas in the prototype, "The Bailey gang's last stand" comes first. This is the only instance of egg names switching between versions, and so it further supports the idea that this egg was removed and the final egg was added afterwards.
Missing string Race the blue footed boobies Harbour Speedway Once again, probably used the "Race" placeholder.
Ask MJ Hunter's pursuit Harbour Speedway Another Hunter mission featuring MJ.