Most gamers have that one game that they know inside and out. One game they always go back to and will always have fond memories for. For example my older brother knew everything there is to know about the incredibly expansive Final Fantasy IX. I, however, haven’t gotten as nearly an impressively large game, but I don’t think that takes away from just how much I love it. My go to game is Spyro 3: Year Of The Dragon. This is one of my favourite games of all time and was one of the first games I remember playing on the PlayStation.
It’s just a plain, simple and fun game to play. Each hub world and level are fantastic and colourful and each are completely different and recognisable in their own right. The platform genre is one that hasn’t gotten a lot of love for a long time, but hopefully the release of Yooka Laylee brings it back in a big way. So, having established that I have major nostalgia for this game, how’s the villain?
The Big Bad
I think ‘The Sorceress’ is a great villain. ‘The Sorceress’ used to live in conjunction with the dragons a thousand years before the games occur. One day she and the dragon elders had a disagreement and she banished them across to the other side of the world, leaving her side of the world to only her and her minions, the Rhynocs, to rule this now Forgotten Realm. Over the years she noticed however that the magic from the Forgotten Realm began to slowly disappear and it was then she realised that the dragons were the source of the world’s magic. So using her new apprentice rabbit, Bianca, with the promise of making her an all-powerful sorceress, she has a plan to bring magic back to the Forgotten Realm. And this plan involves stealing all of the dragon eggs from the dragons while they’re sleeping off the year of the dragon celebration.
Now I think this is one evil bitch! On the outside she does come off as a bit of a Saturday morning cartoon, moustache twiddling, evil but think about what she’s doing for a moment. ‘The Sorceress’ is kidnapping all of the dragon eggs so that she can take their wings for a spell to revitalise the magic of her land. She wants to mutilate dragon babies! She’s powerful, abusive to her subordinates (turning them into horrifying creatures) and is also entirely manipulative of Bianca. She convinces Bianca that she simply wanted to repopulate the dragons to revitalise the magic but then Spyro showed her the ‘The Sorceress’’ true colours.
Now obviously, I’m reading into all of this, because on the outside this is a bright and vibrant game full of fun characters. ‘The Sorceress’ is a dinopotomus, so she is half dinosaur, half hippo… you can’t entirely take her seriously. So after exploring wonderful worlds, liberating them from Rhynoc control and rescuing all of the dragon eggs, you find yourself at the steps of ‘The Sorceress’’ castle ready to take her down!
Burst Her Balloons
Enter the doors and you find yourself in a lava surrounded arena face to face with her. The space age, hyper intelligent monkey you rescued earlier, Agent 9, tells you that he will assist you by shooting down the balloons carrying turrets above the arena.
So the battle starts and straight away you find out conventional attacks are completely ineffective and you need the turrets to do anything. My first major gripe with this battle is that the first portion where you can only use stationary turrets is incredibly awkward to aim and can become so frustrating. However the second stage of the fight becomes very relieving when you get mobile turrets making you feel more powerful than you’ve ever felt in this game and you can start wrecking shop on ‘The Sorceress’. Shoot her enough and then stage three swings in and you get the flying saucer and while the flying controls are a little awkward you can just hail down a constant string of laser blasts on her. Let me make this clear this is not a difficult fight and while I say the fight has different stages, there is no definitive cut between stages, and new turrets just appear.
After defeating her, she gets knocked into the lava and that’s the end of it… or is it? After all is said and done, the camera goes back the arena and you see a blue stump come out of the lava. Now, when I was a young’un, I never had the focus or skill to collect all of the eggs and all of the gems to unlock the super, secret final door. Only 3 years ago did I go back and complete this game. When you go through the super, secret final door you are introduced to a number of mini-games to collect more gems to unlock the super-duper final door, which has the final battle with ‘The Sorceress’! This battle is a one on one dog fight in flying saucers over a pool of lava and this is a much better battle than the previous one. It’s a simple mid-air combat and finally defeating her is entirely satisfying, especially after waiting most of your lifetime to take her down.
She’s the first villain I ever remember in a video game that seemed genuinely intimidating and while that intimidation didn’t last the years, the memories of her dastardly deeds have stuck with me. It also helps that it took most of my lifetime to take her down.