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Title: Spyro the Dragon
Developer: Insomniac
Publisher: Universal Studios
Genre: Platform
Year: 1998
Platform: Playstation
Players: 1

The first in a series of games featuring Spyro, a small purple dragon voiced by Carlos Alazraqui. The plot for the game revolves around undoing the evil caused by Gnasty Gnorc, a vicious creature who has imprisoned all of the elders in the Land of the Dragons in crystal. Spyro's job is to locate each dragon and free it from the trap, of course dodging Gnasty's henchmen all the while. On the way, Spyro must also collect a number of colored gems, which were stolen by greedy Gnasty devotees. He is also responsible for retrieving pilfered dragon eggs from blue-robed thieves.

Controllers
Using either the D-pad or the left analog stick, the player controls Spyro's movement and actions. The square button is used to charge forward, horns down, like a bull; Spyro will stop charging when the button is released. Pressing the X button causes Spyro to jump straight up, the longer the button is held the higher he jumps. When X is pressed twice in rapid succession, Spyro will leap up and then begin to glide forward. If the triangle button is pressed while he is in mid-glide, he will immediately drop back to the ground (if one is there, otherwise he plummets into the void). When Spyro isn't gliding, the triangle button is used to look around while standing still. The circle button causes Spyro to belch out a bit of flame, which is useful to open treasure chests or kill unarmored enemies. The L1 and R1 cause Spyro to do a little somersault to the left or right, respectively. The select button brings up Spyro's inventory and the start button, as usual, pauses the game. Three saved games fit in one slot on a memory card, and the vibration function, if turned on, will activate when Spyro runs into a wall or large object, or drops a great distance to the ground.

Living
In order to keep playing the game, it is essential to keep an eye on Sparx, Spyro's dragonfly friend. Sparx serves as a life meter for Spyro, and can keep up to three hit points before the dragon is on his own. An encounter with an enemy or water (Spyro can't swim) will cause Sparx to change color: he glows yellow when fully charged, shines blue after one strike, and turns green after two strikes - after that he disappears. Sparx will reappear (and then regain color levels) if Spyro charges or flames one of the many edible animals in each level; the first homeworld is populated by sheep, who became the disgruntled stars of early commercials for the game. Sparx is also helpful whenever he's around, as he will dart out to scoop up nearby gems as Spyro passes them. When the dragonfly is gone, Spyro must actually walk over each gem himself to pick them up; this can become tedious and even difficult when gems are on a narrow ledge. If Spyro is attacked while Sparx is out of commission, the little purple fellow keels over and loses a life. Extra lives are found throughout the game in the form of little dragon statuettes; a life is also earned for every hundred gems Spyro collects.

Gameplay
There are five main homeworlds in the game, each with a set of sub-levels, a special flight level, and a boss to beat. There are typically a few hundred gems in each level, and up to five dragons, each of whom will give Spyro a short speech - sometimes with useful information, but at times just a disappointing "Thank you for releasing me!" The blue-robed thieves are not on every level, but many levels have one and some have two. Each homeworld is a bit harder than the one before, but each sub-level is about the same difficulty as the other levels in that world. Travel between homeworlds is done with the aid of a balloonist, who will permit Spyro to take the trip if he has gathered enough gems and freed enough dragons from the current level. Spyro cannot normally fly, but each homeworld has a hidden flight level that is a timed race to hit all the targets (gems are earned for each target hit). After the gems are all collected, the flights can be tried again to beat previous times. The final homeworld in the game is Gnasty's World, where after completing a few sub-levels Spyro confronts Gnasty Gnorc himself. After Gnasty is defeated, if Spyro has collected every gem, freed every dragon, and retrieved every egg, the special Gnasty's Loot level will unlock and allow Spyro to fly around earning extra treasure.

Worlds
(Homeworld - Level 1, Level 2 - Flight Level - Boss)
Artisans - Stone Hill, Dark Hollow, Town Square - Sunny Flight - Toasty
Peace Keepers - Dry Canyon, Cliff Town, Ice Cavern - Night Flight - Doctor Shemp
Magic Crafters - Alpine Ridge, High Caves, Wizard Peak - Crystal Flight - Blowhard
Beast Makers - Terrace Village, Misty Bog, Tree Tops - Wild Flight - Metalhead
Dream Weavers - Dark Passage, Lofty Castle, Haunted Towers - Icy Flight - Jacques

Cheat Codes
Unlock Crash Bandicoot Demo: When at the game slot selection menu, press and hold L1, then press the triangle button.
Level Select: Enter the inventory menu by pressing select, then press square, square, circle, left, right, left, right, circle, up, right, down. When this code is used, the balloonists will take Spyro anywhere anytime he visits them.
99 Lives: Enter the inventory menu by pressing select, then press square six times followed by circle, up, circle, left, circle, right, circle, select.
There are no cheat codes to help with the flight levels.

Sources
http://www.spyrohints.com/spyro1/index.html
http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/file/spyro_the_dragon_c.txt

and my own hours in front of the television

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