Skies of Arcadia
From Sega Retro
Skies of Arcadia Legends (Eternal Arcadia Legend (エターナルアルカディア レジェンド )), an enhanced remake, was released for the GameCube in 2002. Legends was also in development for the PlayStation 2 and Windows. however, it was canceled shortly before the GameCube release. The game's story focuses around Vyse, a young pirate in a Jules Verne-inspired fantasy world, and his friends as they attempt to stop the Valuan Empire from reviving ancient weapons with the potential to destroy the world.
In Japan, there were also special Dreamcast releases of the game. Eternal Arcadia Limited Box bundled the game with a bandanna, three keychain figures, a mobile phone strap, a necklace with leather strap, and a glossy 64-page 'Visual Book' A4 artbook. There is also an "@barai" version, which for a small fee would allow the player to access a small portion of the game. The rest could be unlocked after payment via the Dreamcast's online service.
Most of gameplay in Skies of Arcadia takes place in dungeons. Controlling the male protagonist, Vyse, from a third-person view, players must traverse and defeat these dungeons in order to advance the storyline. Dungeons comprise of a network of pathways with treasure chests, puzzles, and ubiquitous monsters. Completing the dungeons is usually a matter of exploring each of the possible pathways presented to the player until the correct one is found. Treasure chests are commonplace and contain some of the most powerful items in the game. Throughout the dungeon gameplay the player meets compulsory random encounters. If the entire player party is defeated, progress is reset to the beginning of the dungeon. In the Dreamcast version, it was possible to slightly foresee these random encounters by noticing a loud spin-up of the console's GD-ROM drive. This gave the player time to open the start menu and prepare for the battle.
Travel between the numerous dungeons is accomplished by piloting an airship through the overworld, a three dimensional sky with massive floating rocks forming islands and continents. Some islands are completely uninhabited, while others are filled with sprawling towns and cities. All dungeons are located on these islands and continents. There are two exceptions to this, where a dungeon is traversed whilst piloting the airship. This form of dungeon contains floating spherical objects instead of treasure chests, and vortex-like tunnels in place of corridors and doors in one case, and a single series of tunnels in the other.
Overworld travel takes place entirely on the player's airship. The world is at first divided by impassable "sky rifts" which bar the player's passage. Throughout overworld travel, unavoidable random encounters occur as in the dungeons. These battles take place on the deck of the airship and are otherwise identical to their dungeon-based counterparts. Later in the game, however, an advanced mechanism is discovered for the player's ship which allows it to rise above the upper cloud layer and sink below the lower cloud layer of Arcadia, presenting two ways to avoid these encounters, and also provides the player the means to pass through sky rifts. In addition, ship-to-ship combat can occur whilst traveling through the overworld; however, the majority of these are unavoidable boss fights which advance the storyline. Random ship-to-ship battles can occur, but they are rare and avoidable.
The player can also find Discoveries hidden throughout the world while flying their airship. Information about discoveries can be sold at Sailor's Guilds located in cities throughout the game; the value of a discovery is determined by how well-hidden it is and how much time has elapsed since it was possible to find. When finding a new land, a discovery is recorded automatically, as these Discoveries are part of the storyline.
Combat occurs frequently, especially during the overworld travel. It is not until late in the game that it becomes possible to avoid combat during overworld travel. Combat comprises two vastly different settings: those encountered in ship to ship combat, and character to monster combat. Ship to ship combat occurs relatively rarely compared to the common character-combat. This encounter rate was reduced for the GameCube re-release.
Character combat occurs between one to four player characters and one to eight monsters or NPCs. Combat comprises seven main options: Run, Items (which can be used to change the characters' equipment as well), Guard, Attack, S.Move (Super Move), Magic and Focus. An eighth option, Crew Special, becomes available later in the game by meeting certain criteria (which replaces the Run command). After an action has been chosen for each character, the round will commence.
Ship combat is used when battling other ships and the extremely powerful gigas that are summoned throughout the game. Ship combat follows the same framework as character combat, however there are a few distinct differences. Each round in ship combat is divided into either three or four turns depending on how many characters are currently in the party. During each round, neither team has more than a single turn advantage over the opposition. Ship battles use a color-coded grid system to show each turn in the following two rounds, and the amount of fire the ship will come under during each turn.
The same actions used in character combat are used here, albeit with small differences. The 'Attack' option now has the player pick between four different cannons that have been equipped to the ship. Cannons come in three different types - powerful main cannons, multi-firing secondary cannons, and delayed-effect torpedoes - and each one can only be used once per round. This same stipulation carries over to the S. Move command, which now uses a large, front-mounted cannon. In addition to the standard actions, the ship's crew can be called upon by one of the characters in the party. Whilst each of these can only be used once in each ship battle, the diversity and power of the crew's abilities can be very useful.
Game saves can keep track of game progress.
Gamecube Memory Card Features
Game saves can keep track of game progress.
Sega Europe, Ltd.
Associate Lead Tester: Daniel Slater