I spend a fair amount of time playing older video games. Partly because new games are expensive, and partly because nostalgia and I get on like a house on fire. In this series, I’ll test out some games I have fond memories of, and see how they hold up compared to today’s sequels or alternatives. I’m European, so the names will be different sometimes. Some are nineties, some may be from 2009, because games age quickly, okay?
It’s summer, and summer always makes me feel like a little kid again. My brother and I went to my grandparents’ house for lunch, and sitting there eating burger’s in her dining room, I could’ve been seven again. I wanted to be sat in the front room, arguing with my brother because he wouldn’t let me play the SNES. Since this has happened and I haven’t made a blog post in some time, I thought I’d start a new feature.
Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer (Ripto’s Rage)
This game inspired this feature on my blog. A few years ago, a week before my GCSE exams began, I rescued my brother’s Playstation 2 from being thrown away, along with a couple of games. One of which, was Spyro 2 for the Playstation 1. Naturally, my friend and I played it for seven hours straight rather than revising for our maths exam. I recently revisited the game with Miriam again, so read on if you’d like to know how that went. I grew up playing this game because my brother stepped on the original Spyro The Dragon, so only the first ten minutes would play. Still, it’s often regarded as being better than its predecessor, as it had a ground-breaking-for-the-time flying mechanic and a ridiculous amount of unique NPCs with complete voice acting.
When I was a kid:
I was obsessed with finding every one of the secrets, and collecting the orbs not because I wanted 100% completion, but because I genuinely wanted to help the characters. However, one level in particular always stood out as my least favourite: Fracture Hills. Unskippable cutscenes, annoying bagpipe music, the undefeatable Earthshapers and some unrewarding, frustrating orb quests. One of my fondest memories of this game is the orb quest of retrieving the professors pencil, as it involves trading different objects by interacting with different parts of the level. I remember thinking for ages about the logical thing to do to progress in the game. However, I never finished the game as summer probably ended with the disc lost to my grandparents’ front room
Fracture Hills is still horrible – I didn’t even finish it because I can’t do it. Some of the game is tricky and frustrating. Miriam and I were screaming at each other and snatching the controller at times. I’m not sure how I got to the final homeworld, because it took us hours. The challenging but fun aspect is sort of gone, it’s just frustrating and all I had any drive to do was to beat the game. The orb quests are still fun bonuses, but the enemies, bosses and your first trip through the level are quite easy. The pencil quest was easy, because I’m an adult. Still pretty fun to pass the time though. I finished the game, and the ending is way more rewarding than most games because you get a funfair bonus level. The characters are still memorable, and some of the game is kinda-sorta funny? It’s a pretty charming platformer that I was desperate to beat and find every gem, which is something lost to the nineties.
Bonus: Miriam’s Review
“Stressful as fuck. However, I appreciate the game’s simplicity – you don’t have to spend ages in a tutorial. It’s all on instinct you just know what you’re doing and you don’t really have to care about a plotline that makes sense. Because you’re a fucking purple dragon.” – She played the game with me and one time she made me stay in school when I was sick just so that she wouldn’t be alone.
Compared To Spyro Today:
My little cousins play Skylanders, but is that really Spyro? This game can be more directly compared with the recent Legend of Spyro series. The Legend games had a complex plot, lore and a less ‘excuse me, princess’ protagonist. But I question whether the game needed this direction? Sure, there’s no nineties mascot war and there’s less call for mainstream platformers, but Spyro never needed to be an RPG. It lost its fun aspect when it became open-world. It needs levels with secret areas and bonus quests, scattered gems and enemies that don’t respawn. In the new Spyro games, you lose that drive to collect everything and complete everything. I don’t need a deep plotline to be invested, because yes, you’re a fucking purple dragon.
The 90s versions hold up way better than the more recent games.
I’d love to hear about your video game nostalgia in the comments!