Re(?)Considered | Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs

With Spyro set to return, our new column looks at one adventure that won't be getting remastered.

With the Re(?)Considered column, Stuart Gipp — friend to unpopular games that are in all honesty a bit crap — looks back at the games no one else cares about and tries to find the joy in much-hated (or just plain ignored) critical duds. You can enjoy his rehabilitative efforts every other Tuesday.

I hate tidying up. As I write this my desk is littered with garbage. A two-year-old copy of Viz, my phone from three phones ago, some headphones (broken), and a spindle of never-to-be-used CD-Rs. I hate tidying up and I will not do it ever, mom. However, when it comes to videogames, I'm like Mr. Clean. There will be nothing left on the planet by the time I'm done.

Anyroad, my proclivity for in-game spring cleaning was recently given a kick up the arse by the announcement of Spyro: Re-Ignited Trilogy (a pleasantly upscaled collection in the manner of the recent Crash Bandicoot re-release, including the original Spyro the Dragon as well as its faintly crap sequels). Games entirely focused around trotting through expansive stages almost entirely untroubled by enemies, collecting colourful baubles that cause a number to go up until you have collected all of them. Tidying up!

The compilation's existence reminded me in turn of the similarly extant Spyro's Adventure (called Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs in the U.S., where you people apparently don't even know what an adventure is), released for Game Boy Advance in 2003. It's an isometric adventure game— actually the third in a series that began with Spyro: Season of Ice and continued with Spyro: Season of Flame. Evidently they ran out of seasons, even though I can think of at least two more.

You tool around pretty isometric worlds utilising Spyro's breath of the wild to flame, ice and, er, wind things. That last one seems impolite. It's using said breath that you advance through the game's plot, which is some nonsense to do with collecting Hearts and the space-time continuum. I don't know. Whatever. Who cares? The entire game is just collecting things. It's tidying up. Gems. Colourful gems everywhere. Hundreds of them. Sometimes they're not accessible until you've done some tidying up in another level. Sometimes you'll get to the end of a long climb and find a locked chest that you don't have the key for. It's almost derisory in its padding. It's great, I love it. It just makes that last little bit of tidying up even more satisfying.

There are side-scrolling minigames, too; you take control of “Sgt. Byrd” (a penguin) and “Agent 9” (a chimp) in order to do things that while not tidying up, are crucial to accessing further tidying up. Sgt. Byrd's stages are similar to Choplifter in that you must pick up prisoners and bring them back to base, while Agent 9's are rudimentary stealth sections. I don't know why someone thought it would be a good idea to include them, but they did. I've played worse shoehorned-in gameplay changes, but none that felt quite so arbitrary.

Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs, in closing, is the perfect video game and I urge you all to give it a try. It will bring you order in a world where chaos reigns. With three save files, so you can do it three times!

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