Spyro: Year of the Dragon/Characters
"Spyro is the mischievous hero of this tale. He may be the smallest hero in the Dragon Family, but even the Elder Dragons admit he's got gumption! Just ask Gnasty Gnorc - he won't mess with Spyro again! Spyro's always rarin' to go, especially when he can headbash some sheep or flame some frogs. He's so full of energy, he keeps me on the move! Spyro is extremely curious and hardly ever cautious, which sometimes gets him into trouble! That's why I stick around, to make sure nothing too serious happens to him!" -Sparx
Spyro is the main character and thus the most commonly used. He has two main attacks, but retains the special abilities taught in the second game.
- Charge: allows Spyro to run faster as well as ram enemies with his horn. Spyro will bounce off walls if he charges into them, and large enemies aren't affected by charging.
- Flame: Spyro unleashes a fire burst from his mouth to singe enemies. Enemies wearing metal armour or shields are immune to his flame (they aren't immune to the fireball generated by the Superflame Powerup, however).
Sparx does quite a bit more than in previous titles. He return as Spyro's health bar (changing from gold to blue to green then fully disappearing once spyro takes a hit) and is "in charge" of all the speedway levels, asking Spyro through his kazoo voice what Spyro wants to do in these levels.
He also has 4 playable levels of his own which are bird's-eye—view scroll-shooters. In these levels, Sparx must shoot a number of enemies and collect the gems they leave, eat butterfiles which increase his health or give him special powers, collect keys to open gates and defeat the boss at the end of the levels to receive an egg.
After completing these levels, Sparx will unlock permanent special abilities for himself which can be used in normal play such as being able to collect gems further away or having an extra hit point.
As well as Spyro and Sparx, numerous other characters appear in this game.
- Hunter: who first appeared in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, appears in this game, aiding Spyro on his quest to defeat the Sorceress, as well as being playable in a few minigames in the speedway levels.
Numerous new characters also appear as playable characters.
- Sheila: Found in Sunrise Springs, She is an Australian kangaroo with an exceptional jumping ability. She can also kick with her feet. When freed, she kicks Moneybags in the stomach.
- Sgt. Byrd: Found in Midday Gardens, he is a penguin and military soldier with a slow waddle. He can fly as well as shoot homing missiles and launch bombs. When freed, he is questioned by Spyro why he didn't shoot his way out of the cage. He responds that he had 'limited ammo' and promptly shoots Moneybags off the platform.
- Bentley: Found in Evening Lake, he is a smart and strong yeti with a gentle demeanor who wields a club made of ice. He can hit things with this club or rebound snowballs. When freed, he demonstrates his verbose nature by calling Moneybags a stream of wordy insults and hitting him over the head with his club.
- Agent 9: Found in Midnight Mountain, he is a space monkey who carries a laser gun and is obsessed with killing Rynocs. He assists the same Professor from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, who can only be seen in Agent 9's level and in one of the final cutscenes. In an odd exploit of the game, paying Moneybags to free him isn't actually required- because accessing the last boss only requires eggs and not the participation of someone from every realm, Spyro can just ignore his level and he will mysteriously show up to help him anyway in the last fight.
Moneybags returns, hired by the Sorceress to "keep charge" of certain things in the Forgotten Realms. Like in Spyro 2, Spyro must pay Moneybags to get through some levels. As said above, you must also pay Moneybags to release protesters who are blocking their own levels. At the end of the game, he appears in Midnight Mountain. You can then humorously chase him down and butt him repeatedly, getting all your gems back and getting an egg as well. If you complete the six eggs in Midnight Mountain and get Moneybags' egg as well, your atlas will show Midnight Mountain as having '6/5' eggs.
Elora returns, but is only seen in one of the cutscenes after you beat the sorceress.
Just like in Spyro 2, in each realm there are certain characters who are not playable but give you useful information in general and about the level, such as Billy Goats, French Hummingbirds and Canadian Penguins. All residents of a realm are the same species, but a different species to any other realm.