Whether for nostalgia or game preservation, looking at a full list of Spyro games in order reveals just how influential the franchise has been for gaming.
Hailing from the days when every company wanted its own mascot platformer, the series spans two trilogies, one remaster, and a handful of spin-offs.
To celebrate the iconic character’s legacy, we’ve compiled a list of all Spyro games in order of release date, breaking down the story, gameplay, and critical reception of each entry.
With that out of the way, let’s look back on the many adventures of this wise-cracking purple dragon!
Table of ContentsShow
Original PlayStation Trilogy
Spyro the Dragon
Release Date: September 9, 1998
Created by Insomniac and published by Sony, the original Spyro the Dragon introduced the world to a young purple dragon by the name of Spyro, and his dragonfly friend, Sparx.
The story opens up with the pair journeying across the Dragon Kingdom to save the five dragon homeworlds from Gnasty Gnorc and his army of minions.
Gameplay centers on 3D platforming in open-ended environments packed with collectibles and enemies that require Spyro to use his firebreath, charge attack, and glide abilities.
Upon release, Spyro the Dragon was met with universal acclaim and is widely considered one of the best 3D platformers of all time.
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!
Release Date: November 2, 1999
Ripto’s Rage is the follow-up to Spyro the Dragon and sees the titular hero taking a vacation to Dragon Shores with Sparx a few years after their run-in with Gnasty Gnorc.
However, his relaxing getaway takes a sudden turn when his portal brings him to the world of Avalar, where a sorcerer named Ripto is wreaking havoc on the townsfolk.
To save them, Spyro must travel across the world collecting Talismans with help from friends and new abilities that allow him to swim, climb, and head bash.
Like the original, Spyro 2 was critically well-received and remains fondly remembered by fans today.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Release Date: October 10, 2000
Serving as the third and final entry in the Spyro PlayStation trilogy developed by Insomniac, Year of the Dragon gets its name from the Chinese zodiac symbol.
In it, Spyro travels to the Forgotten Worlds to reclaim dragon eggs after they’re stolen by an evil sorceress and her Rhynoc army.
The game is best remembered for introducing new playable characters like Sheila the kangaroo, as well as a host of new minigames.
Yet again, Spyro received glowing reviews praising Year of the Dragon for its improved graphics and music.
The Legend of Spyro Trilogy
The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
Release Date: October 10, 2006
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA, Nintendo DS, Mobile
It would be six years before Spyro’s next appearance in The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, a reboot of the franchise developed by Krome Studios and published by Vivendi Universal.
Taking on a much darker tone than its predecessors, the story follows Spyro as he sets out to battle the mysterious black dragon Cynder and unlock his true potential.
Gameplay is more action-focused than previous outings, with Spyro leveraging traversal and combat abilities, including four elemental breath attacks: fire, electricity, ice, and earth.
A New Beginning received mixed to generally positive reviews regarding its presentation and graphics as well as criticisms for its repetitive gameplay and poor voice-acting.
The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Platforms: PS2, Wii, GBA, Nintendo DS, Mobile
Despite getting off to a rocky start, Krome and Vivendi would return a year later with a sequel titled The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night.
Continuing A New Beginning’s storyline, it sees Spyro waging battle with Gaul the Ape King, a new evil leader who’s risen to power and plans to resurrect the Dark Master.
Gameplay is largely the same as the previous game with the addition of a new Dragon Time power that allows Spyro to slow down time momentarily.
Following its release, The Eternal Night was met with mixed reviews that were more critical of its gameplay and difficulty compared to A New Beginning.
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Release Date: September 24, 2008
Platforms: PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Wii, Mobile
Dawn of the Dragon is the final chapter in The Legend of Spyro trilogy and sees the titular character teaming up with an unlikely ally, his former enemy Cynder.
Together, the pair hatches a plan to unlock Spyro’s true power and use it to stop the Dark Master Malefor before he plunges the world into darkness.
Compared to previous titles, Dawn of the Dragon is a lot more ambitious, allowing the player to fly at any time, switch between Spyro and Cynder, and explore larger environments.
In spite of this, it only managed to achieve mixed or average reviews, serving as an indicator of the franchise having run its course.
Spin-Offs and Standalone Games
Spyro: Season of Ice
Release Date: November 7, 2001
Spyro: Season of Ice is a unique footnote in the series’ history as it’s the first game not developed by Insomniac as well as the first entry to appear on the Game Boy Advance.
Instead, Digital Eclipse was contracted to create an alternate sequel to Year of the Dragon in which a Rhynoc named Grendor users the Sorceress’ spell book to become powerful.
This leads Spyro on a magical adventure to release Grendor’s fairy prisoners from their ice prisons located in each realm before confronting the villain himself.
Upon release, Season of Ice received mixed reviews but performed well commercially, selling over a million copies by August 2006.
Spyro 2: Season of Flame
Release Date: September 25, 2002
About a year later, Spyro 2: Season of Flame was released as a direct sequel to Season of Ice.
The story sees the villainous Rhynocs traveling to the Dragon Realm to steal fireflies, causing all the dragons to lose their fire-breathing abilities.
This calls Spyro into action as he sets out to recover the fireflies and sleuth out the culprit behind the evil plan, who turns out to be none other than Ripto.
While Season of Flame is generally considered an improvement over Season of Ice, the game is frequently criticized for its tricky controls.
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
Release Date: November 5, 2002
Platforms: PS2, GameCube
Next on our list of all Spyro games in order is Enter the Dragonfly, the fourth game in the series and the first to appear on the PS2 and GameCube.
Set in the Dragon Realms, the story sees a group of dragons and dragonflies celebrating a rite of passage when Ripto appears to cast a spell that misfires and scatters them across multiple realms.
Spyro is tasked with saving the dragonflies by traveling to each realm and manning vehicles such as the Manta Ray, UFO, tank, and Spitfire plane.
At launch, the game received mixed or average reviews due to numerous bugs and glitches, with speculations of it having a rushed development cycle.
Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs
Release Date: October 29, 2003
Known as Spyro Adventure in Europe, Attack of the Rhynocs is yet another isometric platformer in the Spyro series released exclusively for handheld.
In it, the titular hero is tasked with rescuing the Professor from Ripto in order to seal a hole in the fabric of space using magical objects known as Hearts.
Gameplay is largely similar to previous handheld iterations while placing a bigger focus on RPG concepts and mechanics.
In the end, Attack of the Rhynocs fared much better than its predecessors, receiving generally positive reviews at the time of its release.
Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy
Release Date: June 3, 2004
Another interesting footnote in the Spyro release timeline, Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy is one half of a crossover sequel that released alongside Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto’s Rampage.
Taking place shortly after Attack of the Rhynocs, the game sees both mascots teaming up to defeat their arch-nemeses Doctor Cortex and Ripto, who have recently joined forces.
This plays out across a series of side-scrolling platforming levels created by Vicarious Visions, best known as the lead developer of the Crash Bandicoot series.
Although generally regarded as a step up from Spyro’s other handheld adventures, The Cortex Conspiracy received relatively low ratings compared to Ripto’s Rampage.
Spyro: Ripto Quest
Release Date: November 2004
The only mobile-exclusive Spyro game ever released, Ripto Quest features yet another storyline set after the events of Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs.
In it, Spyro must recover scattered parts of the machine used to seal away Ripto after he breaks free and begins building an army of henchmen.
Aiding him in his quest are the Professor and Sparx along with familiar powers that let Spyro breathe fire, cast spells, teleport, jump, and fly.
While Ripto Quest reviews are far and few between, gaming outlet IGN gave the game a 7.9/10 back in 2004.
Spyro: A Hero’s Tail
Release Date: November 9, 2004
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube
The first Spyro game to release on an Xbox system, A Hero’s Tail sees Spyro facing off against his first enemy, Gnasty Gnorc, after he’s brought back to life.
Joined by his Gnorc minions and the Red Dragon, the evil villain harnesses the power of Dark Stones to draw power from each of the Dragon Realms.
To stop him, Spyro must collect Dark Gems from each realm using returning and new abilities that allow him to grab ledges, kick walls, horn dive, tail swing, and breathe water.
Although widely considered an improvement over Enter the Dragonfly, the game still faced criticism concerning a lack of innovation, leading to mixed reviews.
Spyro: Shadow Legacy
Release Date: October 18, 2005
Platform: Nintendo DS
Positioned as a sequel to A Hero’s Tail, Shadow Legacy is the final game to take place in the original Spyro continuity prior to The Legend of Spyro reboot trilogy.
The story sees Spyro embarking on a new adventure to master the martial art of dragon-kata to save his friends from the all-consuming Shadow Realm.
In contrast to previous games, Shadow Legacy features action RPG gameplay wherein the player gains experience points for defeating enemies and completing quests.
Following its release, the game received mixed reviews as critics praised its presentation but took issue with its technical problems and lackluster gameplay.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Releasing a decade apart from the last Spyro game, Reignited Trilogy is a full-fledged remake of the first three PlayStation Spyro games.
Developed by Toys for Bob, it features entirely recreated levels and character models based on a proprietary emulation tool aptly named “Spyro-scope.”
As such, the graphical fidelity of each game is noticeably better while maintaining the look and feel of the original versions.
With that said, it’s no surprise that Spyro Reignited Trilogy received generally positive reviews praising its upgraded visuals and faithfulness to the beloved trilogy.