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Spyro the Dragon (PlayStation)

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Title Screen

Spyro the Dragon

Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation
Released in JP: April 1999
Released in US: September 10, 1998
Released in EU: October 23, 1998


DevMessageIcon.png This game has a hidden developer message.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article
PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

Careful, you'll lose an eye.
This page or section needs more images.
There's a whole lotta words here, but not enough pictures. Please fix this.

Spyro the Dragon is the first game in what would become one of the PlayStation's best selling and most iconic series. Gnasty Gnorc has crystallised the inhabitants of the Dragon Realms in a fit of rage, and it's Spyro's job to free the dragons, reclaim their stolen treasure, and toast some gnorcs!

Subpages

Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototypes
Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info

Developer Message

A rather cryptic compendium of text, repeated multiple times to fill up leftover space on the disc, can be found in the "DRAGON" file, containing extracts from Shakespeare, Dickens, Melville, Edgar Allen Poe, and other esteemed authors. It reads:

Now is the winter of our discontent...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
Call me Ishmael...
Stately, plump Buck Mulligan...
Call me Jonah.  My parents did...
Gaily bedight a gallant knight...
Beware the ides of March...
Tyger tyger burning bright...
...
I always get the Shemp...

Insomniac also managed to sneak this into the files of the second and third game. The term "Shemp" is an internal joke among the developers, as if something didn't go as planned, or if someone messed up, they "got the Shemp". It is itself found in the name of the boss Dr. Shemp.

Unused Text

Unused Dragon Names

The name listings for all of the dragons and balloonists (as well as Toasty and Jacques) contain a few names which go unused by any of the characters found in the final game.

RASHIDI
JETHRO
FINLAY
GALE
SILVUS

Notably, Silvus was used in demo builds of the game as the name of the cowardly dragon in the Artisans home, which was renamed to Tomas in the final release. The internal order in which the names are listed implies that they would have been used in Jacques (Rashidi), Cliff Town (Gale), and one of the Magic Crafters worlds (Finlay and Jethro).

Miscellaneous Text Strings

DRAGON X

Grouped with the world names, this odd string has no obvious purpose, although it may have served as an error handler for when a world name didn't display correctly to prevent the game from crashing. Initial analysis has shown that this string is loaded directly after the game starts, but is summarily overwritten in memory. It's possible that this string could have been verified by the game for copy-protection/piracy purposes, but there doesn't appear to be any code that does this comparison.

THIGH MASTERS

This... unusual piece of text served as a placeholder for corrupted/non-existent worlds in the prototypes for the game (and possibly the final, although no evidence has been found to suggest that).

An image of the Thigh Masters text on screen in the inventory

Unused Graphics

Hmmm...
To do:
There's possibly more where this came from!
Spyro1-EarlyLifeIcons.png

Grouped in with the graphics displayed on the title screen, 2 unused life icons can be found. The first of these depicts a Spyro's severed head in typical platformer fashion, more closely resembling the counters used in the second and third games than the 3D modelled head used for the life counter in the final game.

The second graphic is the same as the previous, except stretched out and superimposed onto a metal texture resembling a coin with several cavities around its edge. This graphic is briefly seen in early game footage. The cavities seem to hold the same life orbs which orbit the life counter in a similar fashion in the final game.

Unused Sounds

The "WAD" file contains all of the audio resources in the game, but a small number are rendered unused throughout the entire game.

A rather crude "impact" sound, sounding very much akin to a cartoonish "slap". It was found in the files for the Dream Weavers home, and may have been intended for the large feminine druid enemy.

A secondary "death" sound for the Armoured Spider enemy in High Caves, which sounds like it's getting squished or getting hit with considerable force. It may correspond to a scrapped event featured in the June 15th 1998 prototype of the game, where instead of a fairy granting Spyro a "superflame" powerup to dispose of these enemies, the same fairy would shrink the spiders down to half their size, allowing Spyro to defeat them with a normal charge. This feature being changed may have necessitated this sound effect's removal, with the same sound being used regardless of whether you defeated the enemy with the temporary "superflame" power-up or with the supercharge.

Unused Music

Multiple themes are present in the game which play under unknown and seemingly random circumstances. The only reason they play is due to a glitch in the game's audio looping and streaming. Although these themes aren't actually "unused", it's slightly unlikely that most players would hear them, as they only seem to play after most players will have left the level.

Unique Themes

Many of the themes are unique tracks not heard anywhere else. Some of the following tracks are only present in later releases of the game. The "Versions" column indicates which versions of the game they're present in.

Track Notes Versions
A completely original theme, which sounds like a mix of several Spyro 1 themes (such as the Dark Hollow / credits motif and some of the Peace Keepers level themes), as well as some original elements. All
Sounds similar to Wizard Peak. All
This track is notable in that it appears to have served as the basis of the European variant of High Caves theme. All
Sounds like a mix between Alpine Ridge (the actual composition) and Gnasty Gnorc (the instruments used). All
Sounds vaguely like a more mellow version of Metalhead's theme. PAL, NTSC/J
Has a rather similar feel to Icy Flight. PAL, NTSC/J
Boasts immense similarities to the Beast Makers home. PAL, NTSC/J
Appears to resemble a calmer version of Jacques' theme. PAL, NTSC/J
A slightly altered variant of Blowhard's theme, with instrumentation similar to the PAL variant of High Caves. PAL, NTSC/J
A completely original theme, which sounds like a mix of several Spyro 1 themes (such as the title theme, Metalhead, Dark Passage, Blowhard and Town Square) and some original elements. PAL, NTSC/J

Duplicate Tracks

Several themes are duplicated within the STR files, meaning that a few tracks that are virtually identical to the ones heard in-game technically go unused.

NTSC-U

One such track is a duplicate of the Dark Hollow theme without the silence at the beginning.

There's also a duplicate of the Dream Weavers theme which seems to be identical to the one that is used.

On top of that, in the NTSC-U version of the game, a further six tracks are duplicated in order to fill out the last STR file (PETEXA0.STR) to include 8 tracks. These tracks are copies of the six themes that come immediately before the duplicates, and all four of the unique unused themes listed in the table above are included within this list:

  • Credits Theme
  • Alpine Ridge (Alt)
  • High Caves (NTSC)
  • Wizard Peak (Alt)
  • High Caves (PAL, Alt)
  • Unidentified unused track

PAL / NTSC-J

By the time of the PAL version's final build, the eight duplicate tracks had been removed. These were replaced with the PAL / NTSC-J version of the High Caves track, six entirely unique unused themes mentioned in the table above and one new duplicate track:

This seems to be a duplicate of one of the unique unused themes, but slightly quieter.

Note, also, that the addition of an updated High Caves theme means that the old theme goes unused in the PAL / NTSC-J versions, as the old theme was not removed.

Low-poly Model Oddities

Hmmm...
To do:

Get images for the following:

  • Metalhead has some different platforming at the end of the level in the low-poly model.
  • There's some slight geometry changes in Gnorc Cove.

There are a few notable differences between some of the level models and their respective low-poly variant that suggest the low-poly level models may reflect an earlier version of the level that they derive from.

Blowhard Exit Portal

Prior to the introduction of exit vortices, Spyro would exit the level using a portal similar to the one used to enter the level. These can be seen in some of the game's prerelease materials. By the looks of it, Blowhard's exit portal stuck around in its low-poly model.

Low-Poly Model High-Poly Model
Spyro1-BlowhardPortal-LowPoly.png Spyro1-BlowhardPortal-HighPoly.png

Unseen level geometry

Spyro1-BeastMakersTree.png

In the Beast Makers home is a giant tree whose upper trunk and branches are normally never seen in-game due to this level's short draw distance.

Unused Fly-in

The Artisan home has an unused "fly-in" similar to the one used when going through a level portal, with the exception that here Spyro stops flying close to the ground and just awkwardly flops down, showing that this fly-in wasn't perfectly adjusted to the stage's geometry. In the final game Spyro simply spawns directly on the the ground.

However, it should be noted that the rest of the homeworld realms also have an unused fly-in. As such, one has to consider the possibility that the fly-ins aren't a uniquely programmed and unused feature, but rather simply how the game handles being forced to perform the fly-in animation whilst using the entrance coordinates that the balloons use.

Translation Errors

Hmmm...
To do:
There's possibly more, try giving the German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese versions a look.

In the french version of the game both Delbin and Magnus refer to Sparx as "Étincelle", which would be the french equivalent of his name, "étincelle" meaning "spark". However this name is never used anywhere else, be it in this game's manual or any other Spyro game to come, including the game's remake. It's unknown whether the localization team originally intended to localize Sparx's name (only to drop the idea due to a lack of appeal / for simplicity sake) or if it was simply the result of miscommunication (the person responsible for translating the dialogue not knowing that this character's name was supposed to be left unchanged).

Regional Differences

Japanese Version

In a similar vein to Crash Bandicoot, the Japanese version of Spyro the Dragon was drastically altered to make it more "suitable" to Japanese audiences, both cosmetically and in certain game mechanics. Considering that the third game wasn't released in Japan, and most subsequent entries followed suit, it seems these attempts at localization were largely unsuccessful.

(Source: JoshKall)

Audiovisual Differences

  • Spyro is slightly more expressive in Japanese versions, making a small high-pitched grunt every time he jumps, charges, loses a life, when left idle or collecting all gems in a level.
  • Sparx always appears as green, regardless of how many hits Spyro has sustained. The shade of green dulls each time Spyro gets hit. The reason for why Sparx is always green in the Japanese version is because in the Japanese version you can obtain other dragonflies that have different colors by finding dragonfly eggs scattered throughout the game.
  • The typical "Spyro" font is altered slightly to accommodate Japanese text, losing the accompanying metallic sheen and sliding animation, consequently appearing far plainer relative to English text and numbers. However, this change does not only apply for gem totals and Portal names, which appear as they do in English versions.
  • Level names are marked with numerical signs in addition to names in a world-level format (for example Stone Hill would be labelled as 1-1, and High Caves as 3-2). Bosses are marked as the fourth level in a world, and flights are marked as the fifth, with the normal levels taking up slots 1 through 3. Also, as expected, level & world names are different (with examples like "Artisan Homeworld" being renamed "Green Garden" and so on...).
  • Some dragon names have been changed or shortened.
  • Certain enemies with swords have been censored to remove the red, blood like tips present in the US release. However, the far LOD model of swords can still include red tips.

Gameplay Differences

  • The Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped demo isn't present.
  • Spyro is overall far slower, his walking speed receiving a notable decrease, and his charge velocity being roughly on par with his walking speed in international releases. This change was also present in the sequel's Japanese version. Strangely, a Director's Cut of the Japanese release included a bonus feature if one completed the game at 120%, which would restore Spyro's speed to its international variation after holding down L1 & R1 on the file select screen. A little notice informing the player about this feature also exists.
  • The camera is zoomed out considerably when compared to the US and European versions of the game, keeping a fixed perspective as opposed to following Spyro directly. In addition to this, the camera fades in and out when Spyro walks into a whirlwind, when he falls down a hole the camera isn't directed towards, and when he enters a level, replacing the "U-turn" animation which pertains to the last action. However, the camera in the "Flight" levels remains identical to the other versions.
  • The triangle button is used to re-center the camera, when it's done you can use it to have a closer point of view (just like the international versions). Also, there's no "Active" nor "Passive" camera option.
  • Multicolored signposts are scattered very liberally throughout the game, providing textual "hints" if flamed, something which is actually used as a placeholder for unfinished dragon cutscenes in early versions of the game (minus the signposts). However, their frequency, combined with how easily they can be inadvertently activated, renders them as more of an annoyance than anything else.
  • You can't jump while charging (the jump was really small in other releases so it's not much of a loss...).
  • In the US version, Spyro can charge the Shepherds in Toasty without being knocked back (while this isn't the case with the Shepherds in Stone Hill). This inconsistency / glitch has been fixed in the Japanese & PAL versions (though in Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, there's no knock-back whatsoever).
  • There's the possibility to rewatch a dragon cutscene just after saving your progress without exiting the "fairy menu" (or you can re-saving if you really want to...).
  • If you connect the PocketStation device to a PlayStation, a total of thirty dragonfly eggs will appear throughout the game. Each level and each homeworld contains a dragonfly egg hidden within it, with the exception of the flight challenges and the Gnorc Nexus hub world (as it is too small to hide one properly, as a result Terrace Village is the only level with two eggs in it). Successfully hatching a dragonfly egg through the PocketStation device will let you have various types of dragonflies, and some of them even let Spyro take more damage from enemies. The dragonfly eggs are also present in the Japanese version of the sequel.
(Source: CrystalFissure)
Level name Location of the Dragonfly eggs Pictures
Artisans Realm Located on the platform in the central area (the one facing the small hill). Spyro1-NTSC-J-Artisans-DragonflyEgg.png
Stone Hill Found floating in mid air near the end portal. Spyro1-NTSC-J-StoneHill-DragonflyEgg.png
Dark Hollow Located on the platform to the left when facing the stairs (the one where the 1-UP Chest is). Spyro1-NTSC-J-DarkHollow-DragonflyEgg.png
Town Square Located on the edge of the grassy platform on the path you take when chasing the Egg Thief. Spyro1-NTSC-J-TownSquare-DragonflyEgg.png
Toasty Located right next to the end portal. Spyro1-NTSC-J-Toasty-DragonflyEgg.png
Peace Keepers Realm Located behind the portal to Night Flight. Spyro1-NTSC-J-PeaceKeepers-DragonflyEgg.png
Dry Canyon Located on the isolated platform where the locked chest is found. Spyro1-NTSC-J-DryCanyon-DragonflyEgg.png
Cliff Town Located behind the building in which you start the level. Spyro1-NTSC-J-CliffTown-DragonflyEgg.png
Ice Cavern Located on the platform where the three 1-UP Chests are found. Spyro1-NTSC-J-IceCavern-DragonflyEgg.png
Doctor Shemp Located on the isolated platform with the purple gem on it. Spyro1-NTSC-J-DrShemp-DragonflyEgg.png
Magic Crafters Realm Located behind the portal to Crystal Flight. Spyro1-NTSC-J-MagicCrafters-DragonflyEgg.png
Alpine Ridge Found floating in mid air behind where you start the level. Spyro1-NTSC-J-AlpineRidge-DragonflyEgg.png
High Cave Located on the platform where the Egg Thief is found. Spyro1-NTSC-J-HighCaves-DragonflyEgg.png
Wizard peak Located on the last one of the group of platform you can access by using the Supercharge. Spyro1-NTSC-J-WizardPeak-DragonflyEgg.png
Blowhard Located on the wooden platform right next to where you fight Blowhard for the first time. Spyro1-NTSC-J-Blowhard-DragonflyEgg.png
Beast Maker Realm Located on the pyramid facing the electrical floor at the beginning of the level. Spyro1-NTSC-J-BeastMakers-DragonflyEgg.png
Terrace Village The first egg is located on the platform where the fireworks are (near the electrical floor) while the second one is found floating in mid air next to the left pillar near the end portal. Spyro1-NTSC-J-TerraceVillage-DragonflyEgg-1.png Spyro1-NTSC-J-TerraceVillage-DragonflyEgg-2.png
Misty Bog Located at the end of the alternative path at the end of the level. Spyro1-NTSC-J-MistyBog-DragonflyEgg.png
Tree Tops Found floating in mid air next to the wooden ramp next to where Lyle is imprisoned. Spyro1-NTSC-J-TreeTops-DragonflyEgg.png
Metalhead Located on top of the pyramid at the end of the level. Spyro1-NTSC-J-Metalhead-DragonflyEgg.png
Dream Weavers Realm Located behind the portal to Ice Flight. Spyro1-NTSC-J-DreamWeavers-DragonflyEgg.png
Dark Passage Located at the end of the alternate path at the end of the level. Spyro1-NTSC-J-DarkPassage-DragonflyEgg.png
Lofty Castle: Located on a platform close to where Baruti is imprisoned. Spyro1-NTSC-J-LoftyCastle-DragonflyEgg.png
Haunted Towers Located at the end of the alternate path in the room where the fairy gives you unlimited Super Flame. Spyro1-NTSC-J-HauntedTowers-DragonflyEgg.png
Jacques Found floating in mid air at the end of the far left path (where the whirlwinds are). Spyro1-NTSC-J-Jacques-DragonflyEgg.png
Gnorc Gnexus Realm Located behind the portal to Gnorc Cove. Spyro1-NTSC-J-GnorcGnexus-DragonflyEgg.png
Gnorc Cove Found floating above the water right next to the end portal. Spyro1-NTSC-J-GnorcCove-DragonflyEgg.png
Twilight Harbour Located in the corner of the room you access by using the Supercharge. Spyro1-NTSC-J-TwilightHarbour-DragonflyEgg.png
Gnasty Gnorc Located on the path that leads to the shrinking platform room. Spyro1-NTSC-J-GnastyGnorc-DragonflyEgg.png
Gnasty's Loot Located on one of the highest platform (the one facing the end portal). Spyro1-NTSC-J-Gnasty'sLoot-DragonflyEgg.png

European Version

Audiovisual Differences

  • The title screen music starts slightly later on the PAL version of the game.
  • In this version, under "START GAME" is an option that allows the player to change the game's language to either English, French, German, Spanish or Italian.
  • The level "Twilight Harbor" was renamed "Twilight Harbour" to fit the spelling of the word in British English.
  • The color of certain dragons were altered for some reason, and some have also seen their voice being changed.
  • The font used in menus and dialogue windows is smaller in the PAL version of the game.
    • The text displayed when speaking to the balloonist is also centered when, in the NTSC-U version, it would be left-aligned.
    • Similarly, the text displayed at the bottom of the screen upon freeing a dragon is smaller, and there is no difference between the size of "RESCUED" and the dragon's name.
  • Like the Japanese version, swords have been censored to remove red tips. Unlike the Japanese version, however, horns, and the distant LOD model of swords is correctly censored in this version, despite the Japanese version being a later build of the game. The PAL pre-release demo still retains the red tips in Dark Hollow, suggesting this change was not initially planned for the PAL region.
  • The theme for High Caves was changed. The US version uses a marginally altered, slowed down variant of Tree Tops' theme, whereas the European and Japanese versions use a completely original theme, which sounds curiously similar to a few "unused" themes within the game.
US Europe / Japan
  • The track for Terrace Village is louder in PAL and NTSC/J in comparison to NTSC/U.
  • Unusually, the game contains six extra unique "unused" tracks compared to the US version, replacing six of the duplicate tracks within the game's audio. Just like the obscure themes documented above, the circumstances in which they play are incredibly difficult to decipher, and they seem to occur almost at random, although many report hearing them more frequently upon completing a level and staying there until the music repeats multiple times. These can be heard in the unused music section above.
    • Additionally, one of the unused tracks from the NTSC-U release has inexplicably been duplicated in this version. The duplicate seems to be slightly quieter than the original mix.

Gameplay Differences

  • Five gems were moved in Metalhead, from a hard-to-glide-to ledge to easier-to-access places.
NTSC PAL
Spyro1-NTSC-Metalhead-MovedGems.png Spyro1-PAL-Metalhead-MovedGems.png
  • In the NTSC version, Spyro can walk on a small pool of goo in Dark Passage without drowning. This oversight has been fixed in the PAL version. Curiously, this pool of goo has been replaced with a regular surface that can be walked on in the Spyro: Reignited Trilogy.
  • In the US version, Spyro can charge the Shepherds in Toasty without being knocked back (while this isn't the case with the Shepherds in Stone Hill). This inconsistency / glitch has been fixed in the Japanese & PAL versions (though in Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, there's no knock-back whatsoever).
  • The frame-rate difference between the PAL and NTSC version seems to make the moving targets in the flight stages go faster, most noticeably the trains in the level Sunny Flight.
  • Inexplicably, the green gnorc found next to the last dragon in the PAL version of Ice Cavern only needs one charge in order to get knocked off of the surface, while in the in the NTSC version the enemy requires two charges. This change may be the result of the enemy being placed differently in the PAL version.
  • Spyro appears to charge, glide and fly faster in the PAL version. This is likely due to the difference in frame-rate, though.
    • Similarly, the Gnorcs in the Beast Makers home that electrify the floor seem to have a shorter time period between attacks.