Review Summary: Twenty years on and this masterpiece soundtrack still holds up as one of the best in gaming.
With Spyro Reignited Trilogy having come out and being a success, My favourite purple dragon is well and truly back and when it comes to the original trilogy of games, a lot of people love the visuals, the controls, and the fact that is was one of the last of a dying breed of platform adventure games. But for me and a lot of people the stand out element is the soundtrack by Stewart Copeland.
Stewart Copeland is most well known for being the drummer in The Police, and has gone on to be a composer for films and video games, his father Miles Copeland Jr. was a jazz musician who brought Stewart up on what he described as "wrong Jazz" which was his way of saying white big band jazz, and it's this upbringing that forms the base of the Spyro soundtrack. People might expect the Spyro soundtrack to be just a stripped down Police album, but it's so much more then that.
The Flight levels in the game are where the music most sounds like The Police, the levels are faster paced and more chaotic so the music reflects that.
The game is made up of five different homeworlds, six if you count Gnasty's homeworld at the end of the game. But the other five homeworlds each have their own style of visuals, dragon designs, and of course musical composition.
The first world in the game is the Artisan's Homeworld which is the least thematic of all the worlds, and being the start of the game, the levels are easier with tame enemies and smaller areas, and the music is more atmospheric in Artisan hub world, Stone Hill and Dark Hollow. the tempo picks up for Town Square, and the sinister sound on Toasty still gives me chills to this day, mixing a full orchestral sound with jazz.
Peace Keepers Homeworld is where the themes of the music really start to come through, as soon as you set foot on the ground and the first few drum beats head into the brass marching orders you know Spyro is heading into battle and it breathes so much life into the experience. Dry Canyon, Cliff Town and the boss Doctor Shemp keep this feeling going, while Ice Cavern changes style to feel that bit colder and the air of foreboding.
Magic Crafters probably has the most ethereal sound in the game and Beast Makers has the most ominous music. But the highlight is the Dream Weaver's Homeworld. This is where the fusion of jazz and rock are definitely at it's most prominent probably in the entire trilogy. The mixture of regulated 4/4 drumming and guitar sound effects and off time jazz sounds most noticeable on the boss level Jacques. really give the chaotic nature of the world where "you must expect the unexpected, and prepare for what is not there". Haunted Towers and Lofty Castle are probably the stand out tracks in the world, both have a real magisterial quality to them.
I grew up with this game and the soundtrack is so ingrained in my head and it gives me goosebumps to hear it now but I still believe that even without the nostalgia giving me rose tinted glasses, that this isn't just a great game soundtrack, it's actually a great composition of music period.