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Gnasty Gnorc is a greedy fellow, and he has his eyes set on the massive gem hoard they keep in the Dragon Realms. So he swoops in, steals their treasure, and turns all the dragons to crystal! Well... All but one, that is. A young dragon named Spyro managed to survive the crystalization. Now it's up to him and his dragonfly Sparx to recover the gems, rescue the dragons, and defeat Gnasty Gnorc!
This game contains examples of:
- Hundred-Percent Completion: Unlocks Gnasty's Loot, which then increases the percentage further.
- Action Survivor: Of a sort. Spyro only avoids the crystalisation spell that gets everyone else because he's so small, the spell shoots over his head. He still jumps, however, even if there wasn't an actual call.
- And I Must Scream: In the first game the dragons are frozen in stone but are still conscious and aware. Since some of the dragons' locations are pretty well-hidden, if Spyro is put in the hands of a less perseverant player... well, try not to think about it too much.
- Bottomless Pit Rescue Service - High Caves; in this one level alone, falling into the abyss will cause a trio of fairies to rescue you and deposit you back on terra firma.
- Crapsack World: The Beast Makers world.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Gnasty Gnorc enslaves all the dragons because they called him ugly. To be fair, he was probably just looking for an excuse to use that spell anyway...
- All There in the Manual: The manual gives a more fleshed-out version of the story; Gnasty Gnorc just kind of resented the dragons in general, because they were happy, good-looking, productive members of society, and he didn't care much for their gems either. The intro cinematic kind of gives you an idea of the plot if you haven't read the manual.
- Dream Land: The Dream Weavers world.
- Easter Egg: If one waits long enough in any level, a new song, often a slow remix of another level's theme, plays in the background. This is to prevent musical monotony.
- Frogs and Toads: The attack frogs. They really are cold blooded killers!
- Get Back Here Boss: Every boss, to some degree at least. The most prominent examples are…
- Jacques, who spends most of his time hopping away from Spyro.
- Gnasty Gnorc, whose fight is essentially four chase sequences, one after the other. First Spyro has to chase down a thief holding a key. That key unlocks the door to another thief with a key, and that key lowers Gnasty Gnorc's platform so that finally he can be chased. And chased again across retracting platforms.
- Goofy Print Underwear: The large Gnorcs in Gnorc Cove who defend themselves with barrels are left in these and a tank top after you blow their clothes off.
- Gotta Collect Them All: Gems, frozen dragons and dragon eggs.
- Green Hill Zone: The Artisans world.
- Grimy Water: There is purple stagnant water in most levels attached to the Peace Keepers home and there is a whole lotta green goop in Beast Makers home and its levels.
- Just Eat Him:
- Misty Bog had evil trees that did just this.
- Not to mention the hellhounds in Dark Passage.
- Precious Puppies: Subverted in the Dark Passage level, some of the enemies look like sweet, adorable puppies at first but once the lights go out they turn into massive frighenting hell hounds.
- Regional Bonus: In the NTSC version, the background music of the High Caves level is a slow remix of Tree Tops's tune, but the PAL version gets a completely different song. In addition to this, the PAL version also receives a new song, one of the songs that does not play in one particular level, but occasionally plays in levels when the level's default song finishes.
- Running Gag: Dragons with decidedly badass names like Thor, Conan, and Asher failing to live up to the implied image.
- Shifting Sand Land: Cliff Town and Dry Canyon, as well as the Peace Keepers homeworld.
- Super Drowning Skills