There’s one game in particular that I’ve associated with Bonfire Night for years now, and that’s Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer (or Ripto’s Rage, in the USA and later remastered into part of Spyro Reignited Trilogy). One of my earliest memories is playing this game on the 5th of November, and somehow managing to get to the final boss for the first time. Even more miraculously, my four-year-old self was able to win that fight. Just after thwarting Ripto, my family went outside to watch a ludicrously large bonfire that had definitely been fuelled by petrol. When I returned after watching the fire for a few minutes, I found that my parents had turned off the PlayStation to save energy. My progress had been extinguished, much like a bonfire once the crowd gets bored.
Another great level is Fireworks Factory, which as the name suggests is full of explosions of all shapes and sizes. And ninjas, which were of course a crucial part of the Gunpowder Plot.
My own memories aside, it’s strange how well some of Spyro’s settings fit in with Bonfire Night. Spyro 2 is home to Autumn Plains, which perfectly encapsulates the sense of autumnal magic in the air during this time of year. As far as hub worlds go, it’s without a doubt one of the best I’ve seen in a platformer, full of secrets and just a really relaxing place to walk around. Another great level is Fireworks Factory from Spyro: Year of the Dragon, which as the name suggests is full of explosions of all shapes and sizes. And ninjas, which were of course a crucial part of the Gunpowder Plot.
One thing that both the original PS1 trilogy and its remake have in common is that the gameplay is tremendously satisfying. Spyro is a joy to control, with his charging, gliding and fire breath making for a very satisfying moveset befitting of a dragon. The other characters in the third game all control well enough, though you can tell they weren’t given the time to polish their movesets like with Spyro.
Something that it would be criminal to not talk about when speaking of the Spyro series is the music. For all three games in the classic trilogy, the music was composed by Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police, with some assistance in the third game. In all the classic entries in this series, the songs are consistently incredible, high-energy and memorable. Each level has its own identity and the music only enhances this. The sound effects are also great too, with the gem collecting sound and NPC voices like monks chanting on Colossus being burned into my brain. Sadly, unlike the option to toggle the original soundtrack in the Reignited Trilogy, you can't toggle these iconic sound effects, but that's a minor nitpick.
The Reignited Trilogy is available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC, so it’s a lot more accessible than the original games on the PS1. Although there are some issues regarding character designs being a bit less good in a couple of cases and some dodgy physics for the vehicle sections, as far as remakes go it’s a brilliant attempt at bringing the polygons into HD and making this fantastic series available to new audiences. Let's hope Spyro's fire burns bright for many years to come!