Sound in Games: Spyro the Dragon

After constant pestering from my girlfriend claiming that I am not a true gamer until I have experienced Spyro the Dragon, I finally decided to give this game a go via PSN. After being pleasantly surprised by the solid gameplay, the charming environments, and Spyro himself, I decided to look up the game on Wikipedia to see if there were any interesting tidbits of information.

And lo and behold; it turns out Stewart Copeland, the drummer for the band called The Police, was the composer.


Spyro the Dragon

When I first heard the music for Spyro, it was essentially quite a letdown – game music involving dragons should involve more mysticism and grandeur; something that involves the orchestra, maybe a grand and triumphant melody to help symbolize the power of the dragons. Instead, I got this:

Totally not what I was expecting. Yes, you play as a young, spunky dragon named Spyro as he saves his elders and reclaims treasure to defeat the main villain, Gnasty Gnorc. The music does lend to his quirky nature and the charmingness of the world around him, but I still expected some more epic dragon brouhaha. I guess I was expecting too much after listening to the Skyrim soundtrack…

But anyway, after finding out that Stewart Copeland was the composer for the music of this game, my opinion and listening style changed. I started listening for the things that Stewart Copeland was most famous for – the offbeat fills, the syncopated rhythms, his love of reggae and masterful control of the rims and hi-hat. By doing this, I was able to better appreciate the music for the game.

You have to love the gentle bells that accentuate a 12/8 rhythm over the 4/4 of the entire song. The drum work is beautiful and balanced, while still being interesting and intricate. Although virtually all the music share the same basic I to IV to I chord progression, I am still impressed by the amount of variety he could pull off with the instruments he has limited himself into, and the textural work he puts into each track.

You gotta love how working in a band has inspired his music here, though. Consistent bass lines, a hard rock guitar kicking in, keyboards for the extra flourish, and a typical rock band chord progression for all the music. I gotta hand it to him; he does an excellent job creating different tracks with the same formula.

Spyro the Dragon

By no means is this a good soundtrack fitting the game, though. All the chord progressions are the same, the music really doesn’t fit the game, and I don’t think the music itself is particularly memorable or catchy. I will say this though; for what it is, it is actually quite neat and interesting to listen to. If anything else, you should play the game and listen to the music to learn how to create more from having little to begin with.

…Besides, Stewart Copeland is one of my favourite drummers..



About finsofair

Felix is an avid gamer, amateur composer and a rather spontaneous dancer. Living in the Great North he creates music for indie games, practices martial arts and enjoys the lovely evening chats with friends. View all posts by finsofair

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