(Pocket-lint) - Spyro the Dragon will be more familiar to younger gamers as one of the Skylanders - indeed, the first Skylanders game was subtitled Spyro's Adventure. However, he started out as the star of his own 3D platform series in the 90s and early 2000s, with the first trilogy on PlayStation One only.
Several other games followed, but the first three - Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon - have long been considered the best. They were developed by Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Marvel's Spider-Man) and any player of a certain age will happily mention that trilogy in the same breath as Crash Bandicoot, Ray-Man and, even, Mario 64.
That's why Activision is no fool in remastering the trio for release as Spyro Reignited Trilogy. It is coming for PS4 and Xbox One, reaches 4K HDR on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, and is simply stunning from what we saw at both E3 2018 and, more recently, Gamescom.
Development duties on the remasters have been handed to in-house studio Toys For Bob. It previously worked on the Skylanders games and you can see some of that DNA in the completely rebuilt graphics. But the love and attention put into retaining the exact gameplay from the originals ensures that nothing has been lost under the fancy paintwork.
It will therefore appeal to new players and old Spyro fans alike. It is pretty enough to attract kids while evoking fond memories for their parents.
The Spyro trilogy games play similarly. They are 3D platformers, but with fairly linear paths and simple goals. At least with the first couple in the trilogy. The third introduced more verticality, but still follows fairly simple paths - a refreshing change to many modern platform equivalents.
The second and third also brought in mini-games, such as a skateboard section in Year of the Dragon - another refreshing addition.
While easy in concept though, they are not necessarily in play. Several attempts at leaping a chasm in "Sunny Villa" from the third outing ensuring we didn't leave looking smug. It's not Crash Bandicoot levels of difficulty, but you will find some challenge there.
You will also find some much needed tweaks that make use of modern gaming techniques. The DualShock 4 controller, for example, has thumbsticks whereas the original PSOne DualShock did not - it used a directional pad. This means the game camera can now be controlled on the right thumbstick rather than the top bumpers, which makes it much easier to follow the action.
And there are now save points in the game, with fairies ensuring checkpoints are logged automatically rather than you having to save manually and hope for the best, as before.
One last, geeky change is that Tom Kenny, the voice actor of Spyro 2 and Year of the Dragon, was brought in to completely re-voice the first game from scratch, so the dragon's dulcet tones are the same throughout. We love that.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is not just looking superb, our gameplay sessions prove that great games are eternal. The trio undoubtedly needed more than a lick of paint to cut it in today's market, but Toys For Bob has outdone itself with the makeover.
If you do have a TV with HDR you'll get an even better-looking game, but it is beautiful regardless. And even if you finished the games the first time round, we suspect you will not regret given them another whirl.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy will be released on PS4 and Xbox One on 13 November - slightly delayed from its original September launch for extra polish.