The Definitive Ranking of Playable Characters in Spyro 3
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When you think of platformers, there are many great titles that come to mind, and one of the most beloved is everyone’s favourite purple dragon, Spyro. Fans are hoping for a Spyro 4, and the original trilogy recently got a remake, with Spyro Reignited Trilogy coming out in 2018. All three of the Spyro games within it are fantastic, but perhaps the best of those is Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon. It applies so many fun and cool mechanics, and even allows you to play as other characters! You can get Spyro Reignited Trilogy at 50% off here (consoles) & here (PC).
So, without further ado, here is the definitive ranking of all the playable characters in Spyro 3.
Coming in at position 7, it’s Hunter. Now, I should clarify that coming in last place doesn’t necessarily mean that something is bad, however in this case, it kinda does. When it comes to NPCs, Hunter is one of my absolute favourites. He’s charming, funny, and incredibly spirited. However, when I face challenges where I have to play as him, I inwardly groan. The problem is that all the challenges involving Hunter require either clunky targeting, awkward movement, or flying through a series of rings. In these challenges, the controls are often less smooth than in the main game, and require rapid movement of the analog stick which tends to hurt my thumb. Also, a lot of his challenges either involve tricky physics such as being on a jetpack or aiming a blaster whilst the AI does the steering, or otherwise the camera angle itself moves weirdly such as the log flume challenge in Honey Speedway. All in all, playing as Hunter tends to be a frustrating experience.
Ah, Bentley. The eloquent Yeti is a fun addition to Spyro 3, and it pains me to have to place him so low on the list. I love his loquacious manner of speaking, and he has a really neat visual design. However, the reason he doesn’t rank higher is that he’s just so painfully slow! Each laboured movement with him feels like it takes a lifetime, and even though his levels are often spaced over a short distance, it takes quite a while to get from beginning to end. He also can’t jump very high, presumably due to his cumbersome body weight. This can be frustrating when you have to walk all the way round a ramp to get up to a ledge that Spyro could easily make in a single hop.
When it comes to attacks, though, Bentley brings a lot of power. He has a huge club that he brings down upon the heads of enemies, crushing the opposition. Plus, in the original game, if you whack Bentley’s brother Bartholomew with the club, his whole body squishes down for a few seconds, before popping back up like a spring! Bentley can also swing the club super fast, creating a windmill type effect that can blow items away, which also creates a brilliant sound effect. Even though he’s not my favourite, I am still glad that the developers included Bentley as a playable character, and he adds fun variety to the game.
5. Agent 9
Agent 9 may not be top of the list, or even particularly close, but if I were to rank the voice acting, then he would place first. Agent 9 is a crazy monkey with so much personality, and I love how over the top he is. His voice is so iconic, especially in the original game, and I will always be able to hear him in my head saying “A rhynoc?! Let me at ‘em, let me at ‘em!”
He’s certainly a colourful character, and he’s one of the few that move at a decent speed, however the reason he doesn’t rank higher is that his movement is a bit clunky. He runs in a very skittish manner, and it can be difficult to steer him. I do love his weapon though, a powerful laser gun that shoots down the enemies in his path. The aiming is a little hard to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, then it’s very convenient to be able to shoot in whichever direction is needed. There’s also an interesting mission in Haunted Tomb where you play as Agent 9, and have to control him from an almost top-down camera angle, a decidedly odd experience.
Sparx is Spyro’s faithful dragonfly companion who’s been with him throughout all the games. I was so excited the first time I played Spyro 3, and realised that we’d finally be able to actually play as Sparx! Usually he’s just used as an indicator of Spyro’s health; his colour changes as Spyro takes damage, until he disappears completely, indicating that Spyro is one hit away from losing a life. But in Spyro 3, Sparx becomes part of the action, and is needed to rescue eggs that have been swept away underground.
The Sparx levels are only accessible after you beat The Sorceress in the main game, and then you get one Sparx level for each of the homeworlds. The levels are played from a top-down viewpoint, and Sparx moves in any of 8 set directions, with the movements less fluid than most of the other characters. The movement style really works for the level designs, though, and you also have the ability to strafe so you can fire in one direction whilst moving in another. Sparx can eat different coloured butterflies that appear in the level, and these provide power-ups such as enhanced firepower, invincibility, or extra health. The levels are equal parts fun and challenging, and a great addition to the game.
Sheila the kangaroo is coming in at a very impressive number 3 on this list. Sheila is the first unlockable character in Spyro 3, appearing in the Sunrise Spring homeworld. She’s being held hostage by Moneybags on behalf of The Sorceress, and we’re able to free her for 300 gems. Her original design was sleek but very basic, and I personally really liked her design upgrade in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, where they gave her a cool hairstyle and a park ranger’s outfit.
Sheila moves by bouncing, just as you’d expect for a character based on a kangaroo. She can also do a double jump by doing a small extra hop once she’s already in the air, which is useful for clearing ledges that are just higher than her regular jump. She also has a really high jumping ability which you can do by timing the jump so that you press the button just as she hits the ground from her previous jump. This is useful for reaching high ledges, which often store extra gems. She attacks by kicking firmly with her legs, or by doing a headbash on her way back down to the ground. Sheila makes an appearance in several levels throughout the worlds, and it’s always a delight when she does.
2. Sgt. James Byrd
I love Sgt. Byrd. This military penguin is only ever focused on his mission… Except of course when he’s courting fairies in Charmed Ridge. In his original design he looked delightfully dorky, whereas in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, he was given a much more sophisticated design to look like a proper military soldier. He is the esteemed leader of his own hummingbird regiment, and he takes his job training them very seriously indeed. I also like the nod to James Bond that the developers do with his name, and some of his dialogue.
The best thing about Sgt. Byrd, though, is that he can fly. With Spyro we get to glide, but to be able to fly with unlimited movement is really exciting. It means you can fully explore the levels in all their 3D glory, and it’s a fantastic experience. James Byrd is also surprisingly agile given his small size, and so we’re able to move through the levels quite quickly and effectively. His weapon is a highly sophisticated missile system that has slight homing capabilities as long as you fire in roughly the right direction. It makes it super easy to take out the enemy rhynocs. Sgt. James Byrd is unlocked in the Midday Gardens homeworld, and it’s always a thrill when you get to play as him in any of the levels.
It’s hardly a surprise that Spyro comes in first, he is the protagonist after all. With his quips and can-do attitude, Spyro is a great character in his own right even during cutscenes, but playing as him is an entirely different experience. Not only is Spyro the best playable character in Spyro 3, but in my opinion he’s the best playable character in any platformer ever.
He can charge down his enemies, he can glide between ledges, and he can even breathe fire! Not to mention all the cool skills that he picks up throughout the trilogy, culminating in him having a whole arsenal of talents at his disposal in Spyro 3. He can swim underwater, which proves useful on several occasions, even though I’m not a huge fan of underwater levels. He can also climb ladders to reach high places, and use headbash to crush enemies or rocks below him. One of the coolest parts about Spyro’s gameplay specifically in Spyro 3 is the fact that he can ride a skateboard! I adore the skateboarding challenges, especially the ones where we race against Hunter to see who can get the most points from doing cool tricks. It’s such a unique aspect of the game, and the developer who came up with that idea is a genius.
How About You?
Do you agree with this list? Who’s your favourite playable character in Spyro 3?
By the way, my co-writers and I are having a little contest to see which is the best loved platformer, and you can help Spyro win! The winner will be crowned at the end of the week based on the number of views. So, make sure to share this article with your friends so we can get as many views as possible, and prove to the world that Spyro is the best platformer of all time!