The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is the third and final installment in The Legend of Spyro trilogy, as well as the tenth anniversary game of the series. It was released on October 21, 2008 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Wii and PlayStation 2 for North America and Europe. Although Krome Studios developed the previous two Legend of Spyro games, Étranges Libellules developed the console editions of Dawn of the Dragon, while Tantalus Media developed the Nintendo DS version. Both versions were published by Sierra Entertainment along with Activision Blizzard. The game was originally titled The Legend of Spyro: The Darkest Hour.
The gameplay is more advanced than previous titles in the series. This is the first Spyro game that allows a player to fly at any time they want (free-fly mode). The game also features a co-op mode with Cynder. The co-op feature allows players to have the option of completing the game as either Spyro or Cynder, along with giving them the power to switch between Spyro and Cynder, giving them more freedom to explore the world in completely new ways.
The environments are much larger than in previous games and a majority of them have a bit more exploration to them. In previous titles of the Legend of Spyro series, Spyro must travel through the level and defeat enemies in a linear fashion. This time however, the game has more freedom by exploring larger areas and collecting items in order to progress through the game, returning the series' emphasis on free-roaming areas from the earlier Spyro titles on PlayStation.
Spyro retains his command of fire, electricity, earth and ice, while Cynder controls poison, wind, shadow and fear, the powers that were given to her when she was controlled by the Dark Master. Cynder is faster but weaker than Spyro. Along with the standard power ups that gems will bring, Spyro and Cynder can both equip pieces of Dragon Armour that they find. They also have another feature called melee combos. The more times the player hits the enemy the more Blue Gems the players will earn. Blue Gems power up Spyro and Cynder, allowing them to upgrade moves. Along with Blue Gems there are also Red gems, that restore lost health. The green gems give the dragons magic, allowing element attacks. The Fury Gems from previous titles have been removed (replaced by dark crystals that can drain magic if they're not destroyed), and the Fury Meter now goes up depending on the number of times Spyro or Cynder score attacks on enemies. In addition to normal enemies, there are elite enemies, which are enemies that are stronger than normal enemies. Their masks make them invincible to normal attacks. The player must use an element of a designated color that matches that of the mask in order to knock the mask off. Once off, normal attacks and other elemental powers will be allowed.
The game begins with Spyro and Cynder being broken free of their crystalline prison by mysterious enemies. Spyro and Cynder are bound together with mysterious green energy chains created by the Dark Master, and carried away as Sparx is found by Hunter of Avalar, who was watching them from the shadows. Meanwhile, Spyro and Cynder find themselves in a dark, volcano like area. When they try to leave the area, they cannot as they are chained to the platform they awoke on. After several waves of enemies and avoiding a earth monster called the Golem that attacks them soon after, they manage to escape with the help of Hunter, who is with Sparx. He explains the situation to them after they leave the Catacombs, and he shows them what the Dark Master has done since his escape from the Well of Souls during the Night of Eternal Darkness.
Once they reach the Dragon City of Warfang, the dragons and Hunter are separated as the city is under siege by Malefor's forces. After a long and fierce battle that ends in the siege being defeated, Spyro, Cynder, and the Dragon Guardians are reunited. But the victory is short lived as the Golem returns and uses parts of the city to create a new arm (He lost his arm in the catacombs). Spyro and Cynder defeat the Golem by destroying the Dark Crystal in its head. Later that night, the Dark Master, Malefor, sends them a message. He has revived the Destroyer, an ancient creature whose only purpose is to renew the world by bringing about its destruction. As they will be unable to catch up with the creature if they fly after it, Ignitus and Cynder hatch the plan that going underground is the only way to catch up with it in time. Cynder and Spyro manage to open the gates to the underground Ruins of Warfang, which leads the attack forces to the canyon where the Destroyer will complete the Ring of Fire. By destroying a nearby dam, they manage to stall the Destroyer long enough to destroy its Dark Crystal heart, but it was an effort spent in vain. The Destroyer manages to complete the Ring of Fire, and Ignitus orders everyone underground as he escorts Spyro and Cynder to the Ring of Fire. In order to get them to the Burned Lands, which will lead them to Malefor's Domain, Ignitus sacrifices himself in the crossing and Spyro, overcome with grief, tries to go back to find him, but is stopped by Cynder.
After getting through the Burned Lands and Floating Islands, they arrive at Malefor's Domain and confront him. He taunts Spyro by telling him that the destiny of all purple dragons is to bring about the world's destruction.After a long series of battles against Malefor, they reach the heart of the world. Malefor is defeated by the combined efforts of Spyro, and Cynder, and is sealed away by the spirits of the Ancestors, but the world is still falling apart. Ignitus' spirit gives Spyro hope. Spyro tells Cynder to flee while he stops the catastrophe, but she refuses to leave him. As Spyro unleashes a powerful Fury wave, Cynder whispers "I love you". Spyro's magic restores the planet.
After the credits, the Chronicler says that a new era has come and with each new era, a new Chronicler is chosen to record the triumphs and failures of that era. He welcomes Ignitus, who is revealed to have lived, to take his place. Before passing his mantle, the Chronicler informs Ignitus that though he has tried his best, he cannot find Spyro and Cynder in the book that details dragons that have died. As Ignitus becomes the new Chronicler, he wonders where Spyro could be. After the credits, Spyro and Cynder are shown flying together through the air.
While a CD soundtrack has not been released, the ending theme song called "Guide You Home (I Would Die for You)", which is performed by Rebecca Kneubuhl and Gabriel Mann, is available for download on iTunes.
- Elijah Wood as Spyro
- Christina Ricci as Cynder
- Wayne Brady as Sparx
- Gary Oldman as Ignitus
- Blair Underwood as Hunter
- Mark Hamill as Malefor (the Dark Master)
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Terrador, Chief Prowlus, Hermit
- Jeff Bennett as Cyril, additional voices
- Martin Jarvis as the Chronicler
- Corey Burton as Volteer, Mason, additional voices
- Fred Tatasciore as Meadow
The game received mixed reviews. The game received an average score of 62% by Metacritic as of October 2009. Matt Casamassina of IGN gave it a 7.3 and said that "There's no "new generation" style hook and the resulting play mechanics therefore don't feel fresh (especially after two prequels), but the fundamentals are sound and the presentation better than you expect". Gamezone gives it an 8.5 praising the outstanding soundtrack and voice acting but criticizing the multi-player aspect calling it "unnecessary and gimmicky" and the graphics stating that the colours are high contrast, high saturation, almost to the point of blinding. Impulse gamer praised the game for paying homage to the series' roots and taking it to the next evolution.
It was a nominee for Best Voice Acting for the Wii by IGN in its 2008 video game awards.
- IGN Wii: Best Voice Acting 2008. IGN.com (2008-12-18). Retrieved on 2008-12-19