For those of you who don’t know me (which is literally all of you), I really like the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy on the original PlayStation. Year of the Dragon remains, to this day, my favourite game of all time. I can almost breeze through that game blindfolded at this point, finding every egg and gem easily. It’s gotten to the point that it’s almost like putting together a jigsaw puzzle for me. It’s not so much fun, as it is
I didn’t really pay attention to what games came out during the PS2 era, so the Spyro games on that system passed me by. The PS3 was a different story, though. That’s when I really started getting clued in. I still remember my reaction when the first Skylanders game got announced. I loaded up the announcement trailer with much excitement. Once I saw what the new Spyro looked like, though, much of that excitement left me. Once gameplay appeared on screen, I realised that I never had to pay attention to this game again, since it clearly wasn’t aimed at me. The Skylanders series has since gone on to make huge money for Activision and has six games in its main series – and now, a Netflix show as well! That I watched the first episode of, for some reason. Usually when I complain about something I try and make some legitimate points; but this time I’m just going to give out about a show that isn’t aimed at me.
The show starts, and I am immediately triggered by Spyro’s ability to fly. I know he’s been flying for at least ten years, but it still just doesn’t sit right with me. There is also something about the way that the intro scene is cut. It’s jarring for reasons I can’t explain. Before I can get too annoyed by the odd camera-work, though, I’m thrown into the opening credits. Cue weird auto-tuned pop music. It was at this moment that I began to think that I had made a serious miscalculation. Less than five minutes in and I was already cringing so much that my face was folding in on itself.
Once the show proper begins, we get the setup. Spyro is a super talented student at Skylanders academy coming up on his graduation, and he’s egotistical due to his natural talents. This is demonstrated to us by him taking a selfie of his ass for a fan. Comedy. He has two friends called Stealth Elf and Eruptor. Stealth Elf doesn’t actually go invisible: she either teleports, or can run really fast. The show isn’t very clear about this.
There is also some great unintentional humour in the show when Spyro says how handsome he is multiple times. He obviously didn’t learn the meaning of the word “irony” at the academy, since he is by far the most stupid looking incarnation of Spyro. I also got a lot of unintentional comedic joy from the show’s main villain, Kaos; he’s a tiny little guy with a bald head and big ears, so he actually looks pretty funny in his own right, but that was only enhanced for me by the fact that he’s voiced by Richard Horvitz. Horvitz voiced Daggett in The Angry Beavers back in the nineties, and is using the exact same voice here for Kaos. Due to this fact I actually enjoyed far more of the show than I thought I would due to spending time fondly remembering The Angry Beavers. Note to Activision for season two: add a talking beaver (anger optional).
About halfway through the episode there was a very frustrating moment during which Kaos has stolen a book that he can use to kill all the Skylanders. Some of the good guys attack him one by one, like good sportsmen, and get rebuffed. Throughout the engagement, Stealth Elf looks on from the side-lines. Regardless of whether she can teleport or just run super-fast, her power is movement based. She could have easily zipped over and whacked Kaos on the head. As far as I’m concerned, Stealth Elf is the real villain here.
If only because I truly am a masochist, I also skimmed through parts of the penultimate episode in the series, mainly because I found out that it was centred on Crash Bandicoot. In this show, he has an odd Australian accent, but I kind of liked it. The story of the episode is the team and Crash trying to find a relic to get him home. Spyro thinks Crash is super cool and starts dressing up like him (he stops short of jhorts). There is a genuinely fun moment where Crash jumps on a load of goblins’ heads as his theme tune played – very nostalgic. I also scrubbed through the episode to find out if he does his spin attack. Just when I was starting to lose hope, I found a bit where he throws out a futile spin against a magical forcefield. Good enough for me!
As much as I’m giving out about this show, it’s only because I’m a bitter old man who sees it as a symbol of Activision holding the Spyro series hostage. I imagine that, if you’re a child, this is actually very funny. Also, if you didn’t enjoy this write-up, don’t worry: next issue I should be back on form. I’ll probably talk about Christmas games or something. I love Christmas.