The Forgotten Realms, A Look Back At The Worlds Of Spyro Year Of The Dragon: Sunrise Spring
Spyro 3's Homeworld Hub's are a bit strange. I say that not as some kind of an insult or put down to the four, time of day based, levels that serve as the hubs in the game. More as an observation of the hub worlds in this game wanting to have it both ways in the senses of the hub worlds from Spyro The Dragon, and Spyro 2 Ripto's Rage.
Spyro The Dragon, notably, had enemies in the hub worlds. Even though they ultimately only there to facilitate travel to the normal levels, the fact threats existed changed the feel of those hub worlds in a big way, largely by making them feel dangerous. Spyro 2 went very far in the other direction, not only taking out the enemies out of the hubs, but going as far as having Stewart Copeland compose some borderline mediation chic music to let everyone playing know that nothing could, or would, hurt you in these areas.
So why do I think Spyro Year Of The Dragon wants to have it both ways? It all comes down to the music. Copeland returned to compose the soundtrack for Year Of The Dragon, but when it came time to score the home worlds, "relaxing" is obviously not the musical feeling he went for. The music is upbeat, fast, and based largely around short loops. It feels like it resets just as soon as it begins, and as a result, keeps up an energetic pace that the calming sounds of, say, Summer Forest in Spyro 2, did not facilitate.
It wouldn't be a Spyro Hub World without a big body of water somewhere in the mix!
But enough about that table setting and music, what is Sunrise Spring really like? To that question I say, without an ounce of irony or double meaning, it's pleasant. Like the time of day it's intending to evoke, Sunrise Spring has a sort of slower paced vibe to it's design and visual sensibilities compared to the other home worlds in Spyro 3. For instance, there's still snow on the castle roofs and the little mountain peaks that enclose the area. Imparting the feeling that the day hasn't yet begun enough for the snow to fully melt. you can also take note that the trees are autumnal, almost seeming as if they themselves have not quite woken up for the day, let alone the season.
Even the architecture seems to be in something resembling it's early morning stages. Like pretty much every Spyro hub world, there's a fantasy castle, unlike most of the others though, it's not the center focus. You can see it's towers early on, but it only fully comes into view nearer to the "end" of the level. Then, when it does, you can see that it really only serves as a place to house the means to travel to the different hubs. In that sense it feels like a place where the castle stands to expand it's visual influence on the rest of the level, but simply hasn't yet. Owing further to the idea that this level represents the earliest parts of the day. Like a world that's just now getting started with forming it's visual identity.
So, strange or not in the context of the rest of the series, Spyro Year Of The Dragon's hub worlds/ home worlds are bursting with personality of their own. This is embodied even better as we get further into them, and each one has an equivalent to Sunrise Spring's sort of "Unfinished" feeling as it reflects the idea of a day beginning. I'd argue the further hubs embody that idea even better, and I'm very excited to talk about Evening Lake in particular. For now though, I'll just remember Sunrise Spring as the promise of a fresh new adventure, just like the start of this series of posts! I hope y'all enjoy reading them as much I as enjoy writing them.
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