The PS1/PS2 era Insomniac Games really knew how to do bonuses right. They included whole spaces for cut-content in the Ratchet & Clank games, hid demos for Crash Bandicoot in their Spyro games, and the reward for completing those Spyro games was always a special world for their most dedicated players to enjoy. “Dragon Shores” from Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage was the first bonus world I ever unlocked, something that would spoil me for awhile and cause disappointment every time 100%-ing a game didn’t unlock some kind of hidden bonus.
(Video by YouTube channel: FourSwordsLord)
To this day, Dragon Shores remains one of my absolute favorite bonus unlocks in gaming. I mean it’s literally a theme park made specifically for you to goof around in! How does it get any better than that? Answer: it really doesn’t. In this theme park, Spyro can enjoy a shooting gallery, a crazy mix between a roller coaster and a target game, an all-too-silly tunnel of love, and a dunk tank. I’d say the roller coaster and the dunk tank were the best offerings of the park. Something about that coaster was just so challenging as a kid, and frankly the idea of a coaster mixed with a shooting game sounds awesome to me. I’d be first in line if there was a real-world equivalent! As for the dunk tank, it’s not all that much fun as a mini-game, but there’s something that’s just so very satisfying about watching the minor enemies of the game get dunked. I dunno…probably shouldn’t read too much into that. The icing on the cake was the permanent, that’s right, PERMANENT super fireball upgrade. Not much reason to use it since everything is already done, but fun enough to blaze through a few levels regardless.
It’s really a shame that we don’t get to see things like this anymore thanks to development costs and the “need” for DLC. Still, I guess that just gives us one more excuse to hang onto our old games and consoles. They quite literally offer us things that modern gaming won’t.
What is your favorite retro unlock? What would you say is so special about it?