The Adventure Begins…

Rumors have been swirling from here to the Dragon Realms about a possible original Spyro the Dragon trilogy remaster coming later this year, on the heels of the successful Crash Bandicoot remaster from 2017. Considering the three PS1 games about a feisty fire-breathing purple dragon are my favorite games OF ALL TIME, these whispers and mutterings have me super excited.

I played the original Spyro the Dragon game constantly as a child (and teen…and young adult), to the point where I had all of the dragons and their dialogue memorized, and the first game will always be my favorite – though, for some reason, a lot of folks consider it the hardest one to beat. I think the first is the easiest and the third is the most difficult. Dino Mines and Haunted Tomb totally kill me on every replay.

Regardless, here’s a list of the levels I am most excited to see remastered in glorious HD hopefully later this year, if the rumors prove true!

1.) Dark Passage (Spyro The Dragon)
This one is actually my all-time favorite Spyro level. An odd choice for most, probably, but I look forward to the size-changing enemies, lantern-wielding fools, obnoxious red devils, and gorgeous color palette every time nostalgia compels me to play through this game. I even consider the little fireball-spitting metallic turtles to be adorable… though they are invincible when the light goes out. It’s also got one of my favorite music tracks from the original game, so hopefully, the OST survives the remaster!

2.) Metalhead (Spyro the Dragon)
With Tree Tops and Misty Bog complete, Metalhead, the “boss” level from the Beast Makers realm in the original game, is kind of a breeze to finish. I like the design of this level – sort of swampy, yet peculiarly pretty – and I appreciate the unique way you have to defeat the giant robot, so I’m curious to see what it will look like when it’s remastered, and if they’ll keep the mechanics the same.

3.) Zephyr (Spyro: Ripto’s Rage!)
It’s got cannons, a birds vs. slugs dynamic, spotted cow-like creatures, and a Romeo and Juliet subplot… what’s not to like? I like all of the orb missions in this level, whereas in most of the other levels in this game, I hate at least 1 quest per level. Like, don’t even get me started on Fracture Hills, that alchemist shit is HARD. As such, Zephyr is my favorite overall level from the second game, and I’m probably the only one who is willing to admit that.

4.) Charmed Ridge (Spyro: Year of the Dragon)
As you can probably tell, I have a penchant for the more “magical” levels from these games, and Charmed Ridge is no exception. It’s got a bright look to it, cat enemies, fairies, some fun egg missions (though the Sgt. Bird one can be a bit frustrating) and when I first played it, it reminded me a lot of the Magic Crafters homeworld from the original game. In a good way, of course. The Jack and the Golden Goose mission is one of the best from the third game, and I can’t wait to play it again!

5.) Crystal Islands (Spyro: Year of the Dragon)
I’ll admit, I probably only like this level because it gives me Dark Passage vibes, and I abhor the slide egg mission with a passion. But I do love the colors, the crystal enemies are fantastically designed, and the flying mission is a lot of fun to do, as is the one where you beat groundhogs over the head with a club. Perhaps my fondness for this level also stems from the fact that it’s the easiest level on Midnight Mountain, and I despise all the other levels in this realm (ESPECIALLY DINO MINES), so I’m a fan of it by default.

6.) Jacques (Spyro the Dragon)
This level is frustrating for some, but it’s also beautiful to look at. It has one of my favorite level designs and a stunning red sky that is going to look amazing with updated graphics.  The whole “fairytale gone slightly wrong” aesthetic from the Dream Weavers realm comes to a head in this level and I look forward to experiencing the timer fools and the jack-in-the-box “boss” in HD.

7.) Cliff Town (Spyro the Dragon)
It might be a weird thing to point out, but the sky design from this level is my favorite in all of the games, as is the whole color scheme for this level. It is going to look stunning when it’s updated, I’ll bet.  It’s got a superb design, the dragons are fun to get, and there’s some good gliding experience and unique enemies to destroy in this level. Though, I hate getting slapped around by those ladies with the wooden spoons…

8.) Alpine Ridge (Spyro the Dragon)
A magical adventure with some adorable (if deadly) enemies, this level from the Magic Crafters homeworld features some tricky glides and paths to figure out, but that just makes it all the more rewarding to rescue the dragons. Besides… any level from this realm is a blast compared to Wizard Peak and High Caves. Those metal spiders still give me nightmares…

9.) Winter Tundra (Spyro: Ripto’s Rage!)
Oddly enough, my second favorite level from the 2nd game is a hub world. I struggled a lot with all of the sublevels in this realm during my initial playthrough, but I remember being blown away at how beautiful the homeworld is, and how calm and peaceful the music makes it feel. So no matter how frustrating the individual levels are, it’s a lovely place to come back to after collecting some orbs!

10.) Tree Tops (Spyro the Dragon)
I know, I know… why would I put the (arguably) most difficult level from the original games on this list? Because I am very curious to see if it’s difficulty and the frustration-level will survive an HD remaster. Will the monkey demon enemies still be annoying as all get out? Will the red and yellow thieves still be obnoxious to follow? Will the super-charge still be a creative, yet irritating twist to figure out? I really, really hope so – this is one of the most infamous Spyro levels of all time, and I cannot WAIT to attempt it if these remaster rumors prove true.

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Recruiting New Members for “The Watch”

WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for all 7 seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones, all 5 ASoIaF books, and other related material/speculation.

Last year, right before season 6 began its run, I assisted my parents along the journey of watching Game of Thrones after they expressed an interest in finally seeing what the hype was all about. Now, over a year later, they’re both caught up, they both own shirts, we went to the Game of Thrones: Live Concert Experience together this past March, and we all look forward to Sundays during the season because it means sitting down together for a new episode.

Now, my older sister, likely weary of hearing me (and others) ramble and rave about Game of Thrones for the past few years, finally decided to make the leap, so she and her fiance have been working through the series (at a very respectable pace) for about a month. My parents were semi-spoiled for a lot of major events, but my sister has gone into it totally blind, and her reactions to the most “memorable” moments have been pretty great so far, so I thought I’d share a few of them here.

At the start, I’d worried the gratuitous sex/violence would turn her off of the show, but they made it to the end of season 1 in about a week. Her reaction was understandable, as she expressed a disdain for a certain boy king with a sadistic streak…

 

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So she expressed an initial hatred for Joffrey, Cersei, and Littlefinger, and a dislike of Sansa, which I think is pretty typical for a lot of fans. Also, like many, she thought Dany’s name was “khaleesi.” But that’s like, the same as 50% of the people who watch the show, and it is a much easier title to remember than “Daenerys,” so I can’t fault anyone for that if they haven’t read the books beforehand.

We had a few scattered phone conversations after this where I answered some questions and we discussed some of the character logic and other miscellaneous info, but the real moment I was waiting for was her reaction to “The Rains of Castamere.” My parents more or less knew it was coming because they’d seen some post “Red Wedding” episodes before embarking on a full watch, so I couldn’t wait for my sister to react to the (arguably) most shocking moment in the show’s history. She also told me over the phone that one of her favorite characters was Talisa, Robb’s wife, so I figured she would take the episode pretty hard. And I was not disappointed!

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Pretty much as glorious as I expected! I also laughed pretty hard at “the burned face man,” which I assume meant The Hound. I was actually a little worried they would give up on their watch after the Red Wedding, since it’s often a major, devastating shock to non-book readers, but they forged on ahead, and I was pleased to get a reaction to Season 4 episode 2…

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I actually spoke to her and her fiance in person about it last week, and they’ve already plowed through season 4 and are midway through season 5. I’m anticipating a GREAT reaction to some season 6 moments (not sure if either of them have picked up on a certain jarring revelation), and to basically all of season 7,  so I hope I get more of these types of texts in the future. Recruiting new members for “The Watch,” has been a rewarding experience thus far, and it saddens me to know that after season 8, we will be forced to say “our watch has ended.” But until then, bringing new followers into the “Light of the Seven” will never get old!

Next Friday, I’ll publish my last (planned) GoT-themes post for the season, which will be a general discussion about season 7 and my observations of the high and low points, as well as speculation of what’s to come for season 8. Stay tuned!

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