TOTALLY with you on that one. I've gone back and played through the original Spyro trilogy multiple times over the years (100% all three twice) and to this day they remain the best of all the Spyro games. I liked his more cartoon-y expressions in the old ones- his new design I honestly think makes him look like he would be a bit unnerving to younger/newer players. Of course, I haven't seen Skylanders' gameplay, so what do I know?
I've been playing the Spyro games recently. There are a LOT of gems in those games... 14000 in the first, 10000 in the second, 20000 in the third. Guess a dragon's got to get a hoard somehow... but 44,000 gems' worth (which is probably at least 15,000 individual gemstones) when they're each bigger than his torso? That's a huge pile of moolah!