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In the Year of the Dragon, a rare event that happens every 12 years, mass numbers of new Dragon Eggs are brought to the Dragon Realms. But they're stolen en route by a white rabbit thief who disappears into a strange hole. Spyro follows her and ends up in the Forgotten Realms, where an evil sorceress rules. Now Spyro, with the help of his friends, has to recover all the dragon eggs and make sure the baby dragons get home safely.
This game contains examples of:
- One Hundred Percent Completion: Awards you with a new level, Super Bonus Round, which is filled with treasure and ends with one last showdown with the Sorceress.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Many of the baby dragons show this behavior, e.g. wagging their tails or scratching themselves with their paws.
- Bubbly Clouds: Cloud Spires.
- Bullfight Boss: Buzz.
- Canada, Eh?: The residents of Icy Peak appear to exhibit this. To top it off, when you opt out of paying Moneybags for an optional side quest, the negative reply is "Take off, hoser!" In case you were wondering, the mission involves protecting a ice skater... from Rhynoc hockey players.
- The only two residents of the area you meet are named Bob and Doug.
- Also the ice skater in the side quest. All three of the native residents speak as if they are from the Great North.
- Captain Ersatz: One of the characters in the Desert Ruins level is one of Lara Croft.
- Copy Protection: Playing a cracked copy of Spyro: Year of the Dragon? Zoe the Fairy appears at the latter part of Sunrise Spring telling you that your copy is hacked and may be an illegal copy, which will lead you to experience "problems" you would not experience on a legal copy.
And as a Shout-Out to Earthbound, the game recreates the " save file erasure" thing from said game, although in a more subtle manner: instead of just taking you back to an empty "select your save file" screen, it just stops the boss battle against the Sorceress and then a travel-between-worlds Saving-Loading Screen appears, and after it, you return back to the Sunrise Spring Home with your hot air balloon, with the only difference that your save file has been written with a new status - namely, a big fat zero over everything you can collect. To sum it up, instead of erasing your save file, the game resets it back to the beginning. It counts as a Shout-Out as both cases of Copy Protection interrupt the Final Boss Battle. You can even see it here.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to the two previous games.
- Egg MacGuffin
- Escort Mission
- Even Evil Has Standards: Bianca's reaction to the Sorceress's rant, Cutscene 12.
- Flunky Boss: Scorch
- Fractured Fairy Tale:
- Year of the Dragon has a whole level devoted to this, Charmed Ridge.
- The same game also has a mission which requires you to rescue Rapunzel from a tower. It turns out she's there of her own free will and has taken out a restraining order on the man attempting to rescue her.
- Gotta Collect Them All: Gems and dragon eggs.
- Green Hill Zone: Sunrise Spring.
- Haiku: Once you enter Spooky Swamp, you will speak in it.
- EVERYONE speaks in it. Even Sheila and Moneybags. Gets funny because Moneybags does not like speaking in Haiku (as specially noted when you talk to him after you've paid the fee to open the door to the next area).
- Heel Face Turn: Bianca.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Bianca's reaction when the Sorceress reveals her intention to kill the baby dragons for their wings.
- Obvious Beta: The Non-Greatest Hits/Platinum versions of the game are very glitchy due to being rushed so that the game would be released on the Year of the Dragon.
- Palmtree Panic: Seashell Shore.
- Piranha Problem: One level has a lake full of piranhas that eat you if you don't get out fast enough.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Bentley the Yeti.
Bentley [to Moneybags]: Why, you brazenly avaricious, duplicitous, larcenous ursine!
- Shifting Sand Land: Desert Ruins.
- Shout-Out: Say no to Moneybags when he tries to do the "Magical Extending Bridge Trick" in Crystal Islands, and he will threaten to turn you into "a blue hedgehog or something."
- In Haunted Tomb, one of the possible answers to one of the riddles is a bandicoot.
- Totally Radical: Hunter
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: In Evening Lake, there is a whale swimming in the deeper regions of the lake. You can let the whale eat you which leads you to an egg. The dragon inside the egg is called "Jonah." On the other hand, a lot of these dragons have joke names.