SnickerToodles (AKA TLOSpyrogirl)
The Forgotten Edit
Does anyone else remember playing the old Spyro games all those years ago? Of course you do—every self-respecting kid born in the late 90's or early 2000's had a copy of Spyro the Dragon. I never got an N64 or Gamecube until I was much older, so half my young life was spent glued to that thing. Even fifteen years and many crappy games later I still love that little purple dragon.
My mom soon got rid of our Playstation after it broke, and eventually got an Xbox for me instead. I only had the chance to play the Playstation whenever I went to my dad's in the summer, as my parents are divorced. Eventually the discs got so dinged up from years of overuse that they became unplayable. I was sad but shrugged and moved on, and a few years later my dad sent me the Playstation and all my games, since he had finally bought a Playstation 3. Year of the Dragon was the only Spyro game that still worked in my tiny collection, but the old console stopped working just as I was about to beat the game. Disheartened, I put it all in the closet, where it spent many years collecting dust.
Four years later, I was sixteen and decidedly bored out of my mind. School had just ended, leaving me with little to do except laze around the house all day. My days were all a cycle of playing the same things over and over again, until I was completely sick of all the video games I owned, and was left with little else to do. I thought I was going to go nuts.
Just as I was on the brink of insanity, I came across a few videos of the old Spyro games while I was browsing everyone's favourite video site. I fondly recalled my days spent playing hours upon hours of the games, and was suddenly hit with a wave of nostalgia. Remembering the Playstation, I dug it and my games out of the closet and hooked it up to the TV. Spyro 1 and 2 were probably broken beyond repair, but since Year of the Dragon was the last to go, I figured that it might be saved.
Grabbing some toothpaste and a cloth, I set to work reversing the scratches that I had inflicted upon the disc. A half hour later, it was looking much better, and I popped it into the dusty grey box. After a few suspenseful seconds as the Playstation logo faded to black, the words "Sony Computer Entertainment Presents" popped up on the screen. I grinned. Success!
The short opening cinematic played, and the catchy, upbeat music typical of a Spyro game played in the background as I opened up the file selection screen. My original game was still there, Spyro's head as the file logo smirking at me with a taunting "92%" plastered in gilded letters below it. Being a perfectionist I was tempted to just finish the old game, but I decided to start a new one instead, figuring I could just rush through and beat the game a second time if it bothered me.
After choosing the Sparx logo for my new file, the game started up, playing the beginning cutscenes where it laid out the story: The Sorceress and her mage-in-training Bianca have kidnapped all the baby dragon eggs, oh no! Now it's up to Spyro to get them back. And steal all the Forgotten Worlders' gems of course.
The game began normally, with only a few hiccups as I ran around picking up gems as per usual. I was just happy that the game was working and didn't mind the lag so much. Spyro ran over to the first egg in the game, and having played the game over so much I remembered the baby dragon's name was Isabelle. A cute animation played, the beige hatchling flying into the air before flopping back down.
But instead of the name showing at the bottom, it was just a messy jumble of symbols and letters, running off the darker patch where the name was supposed to be displayed. It was as if the game had been corrupted. Raising one eyebrow in confusion, I pulled my laptop over and did a quick Google search. I loved glitches, and often would intentionally break my games in order to see the hilarious results. But I'd never seen this happen before, and no one had ever mentioned it happening to them online.
Well, I did just repair my broken disc with toothpaste. The game was probably going to freeze and glitch out every once in a while, and I just had to deal with it until it broke again and I could get a new copy of the game.
Continuing to pick up gems, I made my way to Hunter and did his short jumping tutorial to get an egg. Again the same thing happened: Same baby dragon, same animation, but with a corrupted name. I didn't own a capture card, so I instead found my mom's camera, as I wanted to show my friends the weird glitch later. Once I found another egg, the same thing happened yet again, so I snapped the picture and continued on with my game.
Things were normal for a while after that; I headed to Sheila's Alp after paying the greedy bear we all love to hate. I switched to Sheila the Kangaroo and played through until I got to the first goat I had to rescue. When he gave me his dragon egg, it said "You already have this egg" as the animation played. Confused, I opened up the Atlas and went through the pages, and to my surprise I saw that I already had some of the eggs and gems from the other homeworlds.
I sat back, confused. This made no sense to me at all. I knew there were some hacks that could give you eggs and gems from worlds even if you haven't played them yet, but I didn't own a Gameshark and there were no official cheats to do this. Besides that, I hadn't activated any cheats.
Despite them being greyed out as they should be, I was able to go to their pages in the Atlas, so I clicked on Midnight Mountain. I noticed right away that Desert Ruins and Haunted Tombs, the levels I hadn't played on my other file, were the only ones that didn't have any gems or eggs. As a kid I had been too terrified of the enemies to even go in them, and didn't want to confront the Sorceress without finishing all the stages, which is why I had never beat the game. I concluded that somehow the game must not have been able to fully recognize which save file was which and became confused. This explained the corruption at least.
With my curiosity sated, I happily finished the rest of the levels in Sunrise Spring over the next hour. Besides the dragon's names corrupting and the occasional lag, the game didn't do anything strange. Finally having one-hundred-percented the first realm, I headed to the balloon the leaders of each portal's world had built for me. Despite the fact that they only said something along the lines of "Hop on the balloon", I still liked to talk to all of them before I went.
That was when I became convinced that this wasn't just a glitch.
I spoke to Sheila first, since she was closest to me. I couldn't remember what she usually said, but this time she definitely didn't deliver her usual line.
"Spyro? Is that you?" she asked, and that was all she said. I tried talking to her again but she just asked the same thing. Strangely it was all voice acted by the original actor, but I knew she wasn't supposed to say that. I'd even used the sound test cheat once, and there wasn't a line like this anywhere in there.
It was the same for all of them, saying, "Spyro?" another, "How could you?" and one simply, "Why?" But then I came to Snappy the Seal, and a shiver ran down my spine as he spoke.
"It can't be. Spyro is dead."
This couldn't just be a glitch; it all had voice acting! I tried to think back and see if they had ever said this before, and that the dialogue had just been switched somehow, but I couldn't remember them saying this anywhere else. Especially for the seal's dialogue... Why would they think that at any point in the game? I was totally baffled, but even after running another search, I couldn't pull anything up. Was this some sort of morbid secret the developers had put in, something that no one was supposed to discover?
I suddenly felt thrilled. In a game almost as old as I was, I had found something that no one else had found before! Dark as it was, I was curious to see if all the characters said something different, and excitedly hopped onto the balloon. I just had to get through the boss first.
Another cutscene played, this time showing the creation of the first boss, Buzz, then throwing me into the small arena surrounded by lava. When I finished talking to Sheila, who helps you defeat Buzz, I nearly dropped my controller. Usually the round green monster only stood a little taller than Spyro, but now he was just gargantuan. Besides this, Spyro was completely glitching out, flickering between the black skin you can access through cheats and his normal purple colour. I stared in consternation at the screen for a few moments, wondering if this was a part of the Easter Egg or a cause of my shoddy repair work.
Tentatively I picked up the controller and began running around the arena. Buzz was no faster luckily, but his large size made it easier to catch up to me, and a few minutes later I had no life left and Buzz was still at full health. Occasionally a few sheep would get thrown my way, the butterflies inside eaten by your dragonfly companion Sparx and used to replenish your three hit points. It wasn't enough though, and after a few rounds I had zero lives and one chance. Of course I could just restart the battle with three lives again, but I was determined to beat this on my first try. My pride was quite wounded, considering that this was usually a laughably easy boss.
Intent on winning, I powered through the fight and finally managed to push Buzz into the lava. I breathed a sigh of relief as the cutscene played showing Buzz drowning in the lava and the egg popping out. I wasn't expecting what I saw then. The "You already have this egg" text was just as messed up as usual, but the name itself said, "You left us". Instead of disappearing, the cutscene ended and both Spyro and the hatchling were left standing in the arena. Usually the balloon came down and took you to the next homeworld, but there was nothing.
I ran around the arena, trying to figure out what to do, but nothing happened. When Spyro approached the baby dragon, he just walked through him like he wasn't there. I tried pausing and exiting to the homeworld, but it played the sound effect and did nothing. At this point I was getting sick of all these glitches and decided to just kill myself and delete the old file once I was booted back to the title screen.
Walking to the edge, I jumped into the lava. Spyro bounced around until Sparx was gone, then fell into the lava. Instead of doing the usual animation where he turned to a black crisp and fell onto the surface, he instead was doing the drowning animation, much like the one in the original Spyro game.
Just as Spyro's head was nearly swallowed up, the game froze and emitted a terrible squeal. I dropped my controller and covered my ears, grimacing at the awful noise. My old Gameboy had made a noise like this when I took out a cartridge while the game was running, but I'd never heard a console doing it. I fumbled for the remote, trying to find the mute button, but my hands were shaking—and then the squealing stopped. I looked up and the game was still frozen with Spyro just barely above the lava, but the game was silent and a text box was on the screen.
There was no name on the text box or any voice acting, just the words "Do you think you can get out of this so easily?"
Slowly, I reached for the controller and hit X to advance the text.
"Why did you leave us alone? How could you just forget about us? Don't you understand what she did once you disappeared? Even the ones you saved, the ones that had been hidden away, she found them all! Why, Spyro, why didn't you come back for us?"
I gawked at the screen. Whoever this was, what on Earth were they talking about? Who was "she", and who was it that had been forgotten? Before I could move to press X again, the text advanced on its own.
"It isn't too late."
The moment the words finished typing themselves out, the Playstation shut itself off, leaving only a blue screen. I stared at my reflection on the TV for a full minute before getting up and turning it off. Heart pounding, I quickly rolled up the controller and dashed for the living room. My legs shook as I collapsed on the couch and I took a moment to catch my breath. I didn't know why I was so frightened, but that game was seriously skeeving me out.
I decided to just take a little break and get some lunch before returning to the game—hopefully whatever the hell that was, it was just a one-off and the game would be back to normal again. I didn't even know that consoles could shut themselves off. Maybe the weird Easter Egg had overheated it?
About an hour later, I felt I had calmed down sufficiently and headed back into my room to try again. The game started up normally, with no lag unlike last time. I tried to my new save again, but when I attempted to load, it just said it had been corrupted. Sighing in annoyance, I decided to try my old save and see if it had been corrupted as well, and if not, if it was just as broken. To my surprise, it began loading up fine.
"The Adventure Continues..." and a low-res picture of Midnight Mountain, the last homeworld, appeared on the screen. I leaned back against my bed where I was sitting on the floor and sighed as the minutes dragged on. Playstations were usually pretty loud but this thing was whirring, clicking, and chugging louder than a machine in a factory. I could barely hear my own thoughts, which were along the lines of "Why is this taking so long?" It was like it was having a hard time loading whatever was in there.
Raising my head I stared at the screen, wondering if it had frozen, and almost immediately noticed something that shouldn't be there. Usually the loading screens of each world were devoid of any gem, egg, or character, but I saw something small and brown on the far island. It was so pixellated and blurred that I could barely tell what it was at first. I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture just in case, but I immediately realized what it was as the screen faded.
The little brown blob... that had to be Isabelle, the first dragon you rescue in the game! At this point I wasn't that shocked, considering everything else that had happened, but I definitely knew that she wasn't supposed to be there... staring at you... It looked like this save was bugged too... Though I was interested to see more, I was still a little creeped out. I looked down at the camera and saw the charge light was flashing; too invested to find the charger, I shut it off before it could die.
The level began with Spyro hopping out of the rocket that later replaced your balloon as a means of transportation. Immediately I noticed a startling change in the music: instead of the usual perky orchestral hits that comprised most of the song, it was led by a slow violin instead. Usually the instruments switched to a loud warbling tone of an instrument I couldn't identify later in the song, but once it reached it, a soft flute was played instead. It was sad somehow, such a contrast to the upbeat music that had once been here.
Thinking that I would try to beat the game, I charged over to the Haunted Tombs portal located inside the building on the largest floating island, but the portal was gone. The arch still remained, but there was nothing inside. I checked all the other portals, but they were blocked off as well. There was nothing I could do but go back to the rocket and try another homeworld. I planned to head to the third world, Evening Lake, but all the choices except Sunrise Spring and Buzz's Dungeon were greyed out. Well, after what happened last time I certainly wasn't fighting Buzz again, so I headed to the first homeworld instead.
I was dismayed by what greeted me when I got there. The floor in the building your rocket lands in was cracked and grey, caked with dirt as if it hadn't been tended to in years. When I headed outside, I saw that the small lake was completely dried out, leaving nothing but a hole in its wake. The portal to Seashell Shores was active, but it was too far to glide and I didn't want to take a chance falling into the hole and having no escape. Instead I glided to land and continued my exploration of the new Sunrise Spring.
It only got worse as I continued on. All the portals were either broken and crumbling. The leaves on the trees were gone, leaving only dark trunks with what looked like char marks, their naked branches sticking like a dagger into the grey sky. The grass was brown and dead, the stream near where you start the game was dried up as well, and there was no sign of life anywhere. Even the rabbits that served as life fodder were gone. The music was similar to before; the same song with slower, sadder instruments playing it. It only made it all the more depressing.
It looked like every last drop of magic had been sucked out of this world, leaving behind only a hollow shell and a memory of what had once been. What could have happened here to reduce it to such a state? Was it because of Spyro disappearing as the strange speaker had said? But where did Spyro go, and why did he leave?
The portal to Sunny Villa was the only one in good shape, so I headed there, having little other choice. The once bright place was now in a similar state to Sunrise Spring: the sky was colourless and the whole place was filled with a dreary haze. Most of the buildings in towers were crumbling and the tiles in the plaza were scuffed and cracked. Not a lion, the usual animal inhabitants here, was in sight. Instead my screen was filled with dozens upon dozens of rhynocs.
They acted normally for the most part, raising their weapons whenever Spyro drew near, but some ignored him totally. When I tried to attack them, Spyro's flames just sputtered out and he bounced off them while charging, as if they were walls. I gave up and just tried to avoid them, navigating through the level. There were no gems or eggs to pick up, so the place just felt bare. Even the music had abandoned this desolate place, leaving it dead quiet except for Spyro's footsteps and the enemies' noises. The silence held dread in it, and I felt that perhaps the inhabitants were not dead but in hiding, enslaved by all the rhynocs here and afraid to even leave their houses. I could almost feel them watching Spyro, watching me as I headed through the level.
Finally, just as I reached the home portal, I saw the mayor standing exactly where he usually was. I approached him and he automatically began to speak to me.
"Spyro? Could that really be you?"
To my surprise, Spyro responded, "What happened here?"
The mayor took on a more hostile tone. "The Sorceress took over everything after you abandoned us... Can't you see that? There is nothing left here for you. Please just go home, whatever is left of it." There the conversation ended. I tried to speak to him again, but there was only a blank box.
There was nothing left to do here, as the rhynocs were all unkillable and I couldn't go into the skateboarding minigame, so I decided to see if any other worlds had been opened. As the homeworld loaded, I pondered on what he had said. No wonder the worlds were all abandoned and dead, most of the portals in ruins. The Sorceress must have destroyed them all. I was beginning to piece together the story of what had happened to this place, but I still had so many unanswered questions.
When I landed back in Sunrise Spring, I saw something in the distance, where you spawn at the beginning of the game, that wasn't supposed to be there. Going over to investigate, I saw that it was a hole in the ground. Curious, I jumped inside, and the game immediately began loading. The screen was different than the normal scene of Spyro flying through the sky, instead totally black with only Spyro's eyes and a brief outline of him visible in the darkness as he walked through the tunnel.
When the game loaded, it looked like I was in the cutscene at the very beginning of the game, when all the dragons are sleeping in the field. But this time, there was no one in sight. Despite appearing just as abandoned as everywhere else, this place didn't seem to be dead; the sky was a typical blue and the grass below Spyro's feet was lush. There was no music again, but it wasn't the same terrifying silence as before, and was instead replaced by a gentle ambiance of chirping birds and the rustling of wind. I had been on edge since I started up the game, but here I finally allowed myself to relax.
I walked around for a bit, hitting a lot of invisible walls, as this area was clearly never meant to be played in-game. I did a lot of running against the walls trying to find a spot to get through and was about to reset the game when I finally broke through. It was like a small hallway, with the invisible walls on both sides, so I was unable to head any direction but forward. There was nothing in sight but an endless field, but I continued on anyway.
As I walked along, Spyro's speed began to slow to a crawl, until I was only able to walk despite pressing the analog stick all the way up. I felt dread spike my heart as the sky began to get dark, ugly grey clouds rolling in and covering the sky. After a few moments it began to rain in torrents, the sound of thunder, rain, and roaring wind replacing the previous peaceful sounds. I didn't want to know what was up ahead, and I tried to turn back, but the invisible wall had closed behind me. I had no choice but to continue on. Something was stopping me from simply reaching over and pressing the power button. It drove me on and forced me to keep playing this to the end.
Eventually I could just make something out in the distance, though at this point it was so dark that barely anything was visible in the storm. Soon I hit what looked like an iron fence and walked along the walls until I reached an open gate. As I entered the small fenced off area, the storm cleared up just enough. And even in the dark, I could tell what the object just a yard away from Spyro was: a gravestone.
Cautiously I approached it, Spyro still walking at a slow pace. As he drew near, "Press Triangle to Talk" appeared above it as if it were a person. I complied, and a text box appeared.
"In memory of the forgotten."
The moment I exited out of the text box, my heart leaped and I swallowed. Standing a few feet before Spyro was Isabelle, the hatchling that had been stalking me. There was no indication that she could be talked to or interacted with, and stood there unmoving and unblinking, staring up at Spyro. I tried to move, but no matter what button I pressed, Spyro refused to do anything. I knew the game hadn't frozen, as the rain still poured and Spyro's idle animation continued. As I stared, I noticed that Isabelle's wings were only little stubs.
After several suspenseful moments, Isabelle began to slowly float forward, lacking any animation. The closer she got, the quieter the game got, until the sound of thunder was barely even there. The moment the little dragon touched Spyro, the screen flashed and a cutscene began. Like most cutscenes in the game, it began with an oil-painting like picture, this one a close-up of Isabelle's face.
The music in the cutscene was just ambient white noise, and it began with the same close-up of a frightened Isabelle. An adult dragon with the same beige scales as her appeared, her colours faded and washed out, and picked up the young dragon. She said nothing to her, and merely ran outside of their house. Around them was littered debris from the Artisans' castles and flames reaching up to the sky, a thick smoky haze covering the ground. Isabelle choked and coughed, clinging to her mother and closing her eyes tight. As they ran I caught a glimpse of a few dragons and rhynocs laying still on the ground.
The scene seemed to skip forward a few minutes. Isabelle's mother clung tightly to her daughter, facing off against a group of rhynocs that blocked the only portal that hadn't been destroyed in the chaos. There were no dragons to come to her aid—those who hadn't escaped were laying at her feet.
She fought valiantly, sending waves of fire at her attackers in an attempt to drive them back, but soon they had her backed against the wall with nowhere to run. The rhynocs raised their spears and swords, expressions unreadable behind their helmets. The scene faded before her inevitable death could be shown, but a baby's plaintive wail pierced the darkness.
As the screen faded back, Isabelle was now unconscious in a grey, bleak room. She lay on her stomach on a cold metal table, her little legs chained to it so she couldn't get away. The brown hatchling awoke within a few moments, drowsily laying there before fully coming to. She thrashed around, trying to break free, then resorted to chewing on the iron chains and blowing pathetic puffs of fire and smoke at them. When none of her tactics worked she slumped against the table and began to cry.
At the moment, the Sorceress walked in. She shut the door behind her and said aloud, "If only my rhynocs weren't such incompetent fools. Such menial work is beneath me. Oh well, I suppose I must be sure this is done correctly," and sighed haughtily. She strode over, grabbed a short knife, and examined Isabelle. "What an ugly creature. I'm glad I won't have to deal with your kind for much longer."
Isabelle thrashed as the Sorceress approached her and grabbed her wing, holding it out. Sighing, the blue dinosaur shoved Isabelle's neck onto the table, holding it down with a massive paw. "Now, now," she said sweetly, "we wouldn't want these pretty little wings of yours to get torn."
I stared in horror at the screen as the Sorceress held the knife up to Isabelle's wing and, with no hesitation at all, began to cut into it. The little dragon's screams ripped through the air, while she fought and struggled with all the strength in her tiny body. But the Sorceress held her down, and in just a minute, the wing severed from her body. Cartoonish blood leaked from the stub left on her shoulder, staining her scales and the knife red. There was only a little, as I guessed the wings would be made of cartilage, but it was enough to make me sick. I knew the Sorceress was evil, but how could she be so sadistic to torture a baby dragon?
As the Sorceress began to remove the next wing, Isabelle just gave up. She cried, her sobs wracking her whole body until the job was finished and the disgusting dinosaur dropped the bloody scalpel on the table. At this point the little dragon was unresponsive, her screams and wails having ceased, and seemed to be going into shock.
The cutscene switched into Isabelle's point of view now. She watched the Sorceress as she picked something else up off the table and walked over. I couldn't tell what it was, but it was big and she held it in both hands.
"Let's make this clean, shall we? I'd rather not have to make any more mess than I have to." Her words were cold, but she sounded bored, as if she hadn't just ripped off a baby dragon's wings. She leaned over, her hideous face getting closer and closer, until the object she was holding covered up Isabelle's view, pressing against her face, and the screen went black.
I gaped as the cutscene ended, taking me back to the graveyard with that poor dragon. Almost everything made sense now. It was the baby dragons that had been haunting Spyro, begging for his help. This is what they had meant by "she found them all"—despite the dragons' best efforts, the Sorceress had located all of the hatchlings and murdered every last one! I remembered a cutscene in the game where the Sorceress had explained her reason for wanting the dragons: she needed their wings to make an immortality potion.
And Isabelle... poor Isabelle was the first to be killed.
Once I came out of my thoughts, I looked at the screen and saw a text box again, with Isabelle standing before Spyro.
"Four years ago, you disappeared, leaving the Sorceress undefeated and all of us at her mercy. Do you understand?"
Four years ago? Suddenly it all made sense. Four years ago, the game had broken just before I had beaten it! It was my fault, my fault that all of this had happened. It wasn't Spyro who had abandoned and forgotten the hatchlings—it was me.
"Please don't leave us again," the next text box said.
Not even thinking of how crazy it was, I said aloud, "I promise I won't."
"If you defeat the Sorceress, then her reign of terror will end. We can finally sleep peacefully knowing that the world is safe. Kill her, Spyro. Do it for me, for all of us."
Yes or No? The choice was obvious... killing the Sorceress was the least I could do now, to avenge the poor hatchlings' gruesome death at her hands. Determined, I pushed the X button, and the game immediately began to load. I waited, anticipation growing with every moment, until the game faded in. In the background the Sorceress' boss theme was playing, and before me the monster herself was sitting regally in a shiny golden throne, gripping her egg-tipped scepter in one hand.
Instead of the lava-filled arena where you originally fight her, we faced off in what I assumed to be her throne room. It was much like a chapel, with large windows set high into the wall. The sunlight that streamed in only illuminated the small room a bit, and it was the only source of light.
From across the room, the Sorceress began to speak, her tone sarcastic and dismissive. "Look who's finally returned after four years. I have to admit, I was getting a little bored, but this fight will just be laughable! You dare challenge my in my own castle? You're not serious! ...You're really serious, aren't you?" The Sorceress jumped off the pedestal her throne had sat on, the ground shaking as she landed. "Foolish little dragon—do you really think you can defeat me?!"
The battle began then, and in many ways it was much like the original final boss fight. The Sorceress' AI was the same; she would chase Spyro around or shoot balls of magic from her staff, but instead of one of your companions shooting cannons or UFOs down from balloons, the Sorceress summoned and used them herself. I soon found myself dodging cannon shells, unsure how to proceed, since Spyro's normal attacks did no damage.
Finally, I figured it out: all I had to do was run up to the Sorceress and flame her; this did no damage but knocked her off the cannon. Things went well for a few minutes, but I noticed the fight was much more difficult than normal. She had what seemed like double the health, and the magic she used that created shockwaves on the ground had a bigger radius. Besides this, there was no fodder in sight and I'd already been hit twice.
Finally the Sorceress began summoning the UFOs, but this was a nightmare for me, as I now had blasts of magic flying at me from all sides. I struggled on a few minutes, dodging blasts and being whittled down to only one hit point left. I didn't know what would happen if I lost this fight: Would I respawn as normal, or would it be over for good? I didn't want to find out, and I had a feeling it would be the latter. I knew this was just a bunch of pixels on a screen, but somehow... somehow it felt real to me. As if if I failed, Spyro would really be dead, and the baby dragons would never get their revenge on the monster who had murdered them.
While dodging the magic, I accidentally double-tapped the X button as I was jumping away. Instead of breaking into a glide, Spyro instead began flying and breathing fireballs, as if I had jumped through a super portal. I breathed a sigh of relief, finally understanding how I could win this battle, but I didn't relax for long. I needed to concentrate; avoiding the Sorceress' attacks would be much harder on four planes.
Minutes passed. I had no health left, so if I got hit once, I was done for. So I played the defensive, keeping out of her range and getting in hits whenever I could. My heart leapt with every close call, and the Sorceress seemed to get more and more frantic, until I felt as if I was in a bullet hell game. Waves of magic kept coming and coming, but finally, I managed to get one last shot on the Sorceress.
"Noooooooo!" she screamed as the UFO crashed to the ground at full speed, shattering and sending bits of metal into the wall and glass skittering across the floor. Sparks danced from the wreckage. It was amazing how such a small thing could cause so much carnage...
As Spyro landed on the ground, the whole room seemed to fade to a vast black void, leaving only the purple dragon himself and the remains of the UFO. Still in control, I padded over to investigate, and saw a blue arm sticking out of the chunks of metal. A cutscene began, and another arm appeared, pulling the Sorceress out of the wreckage. Her Elizabethan collar, the only thing she wore, was in tatters and her necklace had been snapped off. As well, there were low-res gashes on her body where the glass and flying debris had cut her.
She didn't have her scepter, but despite this, she lunged at Spyro with wild abandon, tripping over the wreckage. Somehow I could see insanity in her eyes, mixed with pure seething rage. I jiggled the analog stick but was unable to move, so I was forced to stare in horror as the crazed dinosaur sprinted at Spyro. Was this where it would end—here, after all I had been through?
But just as the Sorceress reached Spyro, she suddenly halted in her place, and struggled as if she was stuck. "What is this?!" she screeched.
Several moments passed, the quiet only permeated by the blue dinosaur's frenzied screaming, until I saw something in the void. Eyes. Pairs and pairs of them—there must have been hundreds of dragons in the shadows. I could tell that most were the hatchlings, but I could see the silhouettes of adult dragons standing there too, some clutching their long dead children to their chest. Perhaps they had been killed in the raids along with the babies, and wanted revenge just as much as they did.
Isabelle stepped out of the crowd that surrounded Spyro. A text box popped up. "Do it for me, Spyro," she repeated. "For all of us."
I finally regained control again, but I didn't move at first—I just stood staring for a while, turning around to see them. All these dragons, young and old, who had been brutally murdered just because of the greed of one person. I wasn't sure what to believe... Could this really just be an Easter Egg? At the same time, I knew this wasn't possible... Video games weren't real, of course. But at the moment, I couldn't help but believe that all of this was true. These people had suffered four long years, all because of me. I hadn't known of course, but it made no difference. I wasn't able to give them their lives back, but the least I could do was end their pain in the only way I could.
I turned towards the Sorceress and approached her, her struggles becoming more wild as I did so. She screamed and screeched madly, but it was to no avail. With only one last glance at the group of wounded people before Spyro, I pressed the attack button. The screen immediately cut to black and the cries died away. I slowly put down the controller and breathed a shaky sigh, staring at my hands. It was over.
But not quite. After a few moments I looked up again, and was greeted with something new. An oil pastel picture of a few baby dragons in a row, with Isabelle at the head. A dialogue box appeared at the bottom of the screen, "Isabelle" in the name tab and only a simple question, "Don't forget me, Spyro?"
A weight lifted off my chest then and I was finally able to relax, for the first time in hours. Reaching over, I picked up the camera, held it up, and snapped one final picture. I couldn't help but smile to myself as the camera died moments later.
It's been a few months now. School has started up again, leaving me little free time or space in my head for anything but my classes, but even so, the same question plagues my mind every night: What really was that? A few days after the incident I started up the game again. My new file was no longer corrupted. Upon loading the old one, it just took me to Midnight Mountain on a full 115% save file with the doors to the Sorceress' Lair closed. When I entered the Super Bonus Round and made my way to the final battle with her, Bianca just told me I had already defeated the Sorceress and gave me the last egg, before sending me back to the homeworld. Normally you can fight both boss battles as many times as you like, but that was the only oddity; everything else was back to normal.
So what could it be? A strange secret left by a developer? Had my dad hacked the game as a prank? Or... could it be possible that those little dragons were all real? Can just the power of someone's imagination breathe true life into something like a string of code? Honestly, I really can't say. I suppose what to believe is up to each of us individually. But me, I'm never going to leave a game unfinished ever again. If I have to I'll just delete my save. You never know who could be in there, living, breathing, and suffering. You really are the hero of the games you play, but if one day the hero disappears... who knows what could happen to the people who are forgotten?
I won't forget, Isabelle. I promise I won't forget.