Skies of Arcadia

Skies of Arcadia
North American box art
North American box art
Developer(s) Overworks
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Rieko Kodama
Composer(s) Yutaka Minobe
Tatsuyuki Maeda
Platform(s) Dreamcast, GameCube
Release date(s) Dreamcast
GameCube
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)
Media/distribution 2 × GD-ROM's, 1 × Nintendo optical disc

Skies of Arcadia, released in Japan as Eternal Arcadia (エターナルアルカディア Etānaru Arukadia?), is a console role-playing game developed by Overworks for the Dreamcast and published by Sega in 2000.[1] Skies of Arcadia Legends, a port, was released for the GameCube in 2002. Legends was also in development for the PlayStation 2; however, the PS2 version was canceled shortly before the GameCube version's release.[3] The game was also scheduled for a Windows PC release in Japan in 2004, although this port was subsequently canceled as well.[4] 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.

Contents

Gameplay

Dungeons

Most of gameplay in Skies of Arcadia takes place in dungeons. Controlling the 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 players meet 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 while 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

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 while 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.

Discoveries

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.

Battle system

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

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

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 green means there is no advantage on either side or the enemy is not going to attack.Yellow means the enemy will fire a cannon.Red means the enemy will fire something strong or has an advantage.Finally, C! means critical hit chance.

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. While 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.

Pinta's Quest: The VMU Mini game

Skies of Arcadia included a mini-RPG for the VMU, called Pinta's Quest. The game can be downloaded after the player reaches Sailor's Isle and talks to Pinta, a young boy who expresses a wish to sail all over the world and discover things.[5]

Pinta's Quest is essentially a miniature RPG based entirely on random encounters, and any items and money gained within the minigame can be loaded into the main game inventory. Pinta's Quest was not included in Skies of Arcadia Legends.

Storyline

The story opens with a young Silvite woman named Fina sailing through the night skies in her tiny Silver airship. Not far behind her, Valuan Admiral Alfonso is in hot pursuit under orders from Lord Galcian to capture her. Alfonso opens fire on and disables Fina's ship long enough to capture her before it plummets into Deep Sky, but just as she is being brought onboard his warship, a Blue Rogue vessel arrives with the intent of robbing the Valuan vessel. Vyse and Aika of the Blue Rogues jump from the Albatross onto Alfonso's flagship and fight their way to the rear cargo hold, prompting Alfonso to flee on a lifeboat while leaving Fina behind along with the war beast Antonio, who is quickly defeated by the Rogues. Vyse and Aika bring Fina back to their clan's ship, which Vyse pilots back to their secret hideout, Pirate Island (disguised as a small village).

While watching the sunset, Vyse and Aika see a Moonstone fall from the skies onto nearby Shrine Island. The next day they travel to Shrine Island to retrieve the Moonstone, a concentrated form of airship fuel, leaving Fina behind in the care of their clan. After recovering the moonstone, Vyse and Aika return to Pirate Island to find it obliterated by the Valuan Armada. Fina, Dyne, and his crew have been captured by the Armada and taken to the capital city, with the Albatross destroyed. What starts as a simple rescue mission becomes a struggle for survival amid a looming world war.

Shortly after leaving Pirate Island, Vyse and Aika are shipwrecked by the legendary arcwhale Rhaknam. They are rescued by a callous but good-hearted fisherman named Drachma, who is hunting Rhaknam. They manage to convince Drachma to take them to Valua City and rescue their friends from death row, luring him with the prospect of a powerful "Harpoon Cannon" that is to be found in Valua. Upon going through the catacombs of lower city, saving the Blue Rogues, rescuing Fina from a rail car, and making a miraculous escape from the Grand Fortress (a history-making feat), the Blue Rogues return to Pirate Island, where Fina admits the real reason that the Empire would go to such trouble to capture her.

Fina's mission is to travel Arcadia in search of the Six Moon Crystals, the purest form of moonstones, which can be used to summon living weapons called the Gigas. Created by the Old World, these weapons are very powerful and, with all 6, Valua could control the world, with the threat of unleashing the Gigas to help them. Because of this, Fina is to recover all 6 moon crystals before Valua gains control of them. Fina recruits Vyse and Aika to her cause and together they set off to find the Red moon crystal.

After traveling to the port city of Maramba, Drachma leaves them there to acquire the Crystal while Drachma, again, leaves to find Rhaknam. There the party meets a young dancer named Belleza, who loans them a ship to get to the Temple of Prynn. After recovering the Red Crystal, Belleza reveals that she is actually the commander of the 4th fleet of the Valuan armada, steals the Red Crystal, and awakens the Red Gigas, Recumen. Luckily, the Little Jack arrives just in time to rescue Vyse, Aika and Fina. The party then tries to fight the Gigas, but their attacks are to no avail. Instead, they attack Belleza's ship and convince her to call off the Gigas.

After the fight, the Little Jack acquires the Magic Cannon (allows the ship to shoot spells such as Pyri, Crystales, etc.) and a new engine that allows the Little Jack to cross the South Ocean into the land of the Green Moon, I'xa Taka. The crew then learns that the Green Crystal lies within the Lost City of Rixis. They then head to the Hortekan King's Hideout to find more about the city, but is interrupted by Admiral De Loco, who is burning the forest to look for the Lost City. After defeating him, the crew heads to Moonstone Mountain to rescue one of the High Priests. After escaping Alfonzo and Antonio II, they eventually find Rixis, but the crystal had been stolen by the king and used to awaken the Green Gigas, Grendal, to drive the Valuans away from I'xa Taka. Finally, they manage to lure Grendal into a chasm and recover the Green Crystal.

Next, Vyse heads to Valua to recover the Yellow Crystal. Unfortunately, the gate is sealed and Ramirez, the 6th Admiral of the Armada and somehow close to Fina because of her knowledge about him, ambushes the Little Jack. They manage to escape, but Rhaknam is found and Drachma is bound to catch him. Then, Ramirez's flagship attacks the Little Jack, and sets it on fire. Vyse, Aika, and Fina manage to escape on lifeboats, but are blasted off course. Drachma, however, remained on the ship, now attached to Rhaknam via the Harpoon Cannon. Vyse lands on a deserted isle, while Aika and Fina are rescued by an Air Pirate named Clara and dropped off in Nasrad, the capital of Nasr. Both parties find halves of a map leading to Daccat's Isle, where it is rumored that all treasures of the legendary Air Pirate, Daccat, lie. Vyse, now accompanied by another rogue named Gilder, head to Daccat's Isle, while Aika and Fina go there also, but they land on different sides of it. After the two groups find each other and escape the island, they head back to Nasrad to find it destroyed by the Armada. Then, they are captured yet again by Ramirez into the Grand Fortress.

The party then defeats Admiral Vigoro and escapes to the harbor, but luckily Prince Enrique, troubled by his mother's corruption, hands over his flagship, the Delphinus, to the party. Then they blast a hole in the Grand Fortress itself with the all-powerful Moon Stone Cannon. They then head back to the deserted isle, which is actually named Crescent Isle. They then meet a few men who promise to both construct a base there and create improvements to the Delphinus, which allow it to pass through stone reefs and sky rifts. They then set out to the lands of the Blue Moon, but is impassable because of a large sky rift called the Dark Rift. After battling with the 2nd admiral, Gregorio, they find a hole in it and pass through it into Yafutoma. The party then ventures into the great mountain and recover the Blue Crystal, but are betrayed by the king's brother. They then escape to Tenkou Island and recover both the Delphinus and the Blue Crystal, and also defeat the Blue Gigas. They also get a scroll, which when built by Braham, will allow the Delphinus to fly much higher and lower. Also, they discover that the world is round by flying east of Yafutoma and ending up into I'xa Taka.

They then take a tour of their newly constructed base and then go to the Lands of Ice, in the far south. They then, after navigating the lost city of Glacia, they discover that Rhaknam is the Purple Gigas, and find Drachma and the Little Jack there too. Rhaknam then dies, but gives off the Purple Crystal too.

With their new upgraded engine in place, Vyse and his crew rush off to retrieve the last remaining crystal from within the Maw of Tartas. Submerging below the clouds and carefully sailing through a maze-like tunnel, they find themselves deep in the underbelly of Yeligar the Yellow Gigas. After waking the Gigas, the Delphinus does battle with the enraged monster and defeats it. With the five Crystals in hand, the party's long crystal hunt is finally over. However the group discover that the only way Fina can return to her home is to retrieve her Silvite pod ship that fell into Deep Sky after Alfonso attacked her. Vyse and co. travel to Dangral Island (Valua's secret base in Deep Sky)after getting a tip from Gilder that they have developed a new type of engine and reinforced layers capable of safely descending into the darkness below the clouds. Successfully stealing the schematics from De Loco, the crew make their escape only to be stopped by Lord Galcian and Gregorio. Prince Enrique prepares to battle with his uncle once more, but Gregorio reveals that he is not here to fight him. Challenging Galcian on his own, he allows the pirates the time needed to escape with the Prince safely off Dangral Island. With a heavy heart, Enrique leaves Gregorio to his fate and flees.

Days later, Vyse's crew finishes the upgrades and the Delphinus is finally able to submerge into Deep Sky. As they prepare to leave, Enrique announces that this will be his last voyage with Vyse as he must return to Valua to tell his mother of Galcian's treachory as well as try to convince her once again to abandon her campaign for world conquest. With that, they travel below the clouds and recover Fina's ship, but is ambushed by Admiral De Loco and his newly upgraded ship. After a heated battle, the Delphinus destroys the Chameleon and put an end to De Loco's insanity. Returning to the surface, Vyse and the others drop Enrique off at Sailor's Island and bid him farewell and a safe journey home. The entire crew decide to throw Fina a going away party and celebrate into the night. Out of nowhere, Crescent Isle is bombarded by canon fire forcing the group to run for shelter. Vyse, Aika and Fina rush out to investigate and are confronted by Ramirez, whom demands they surrender and relinquish the 5 crystals in the pirate's possession. The group do battle with Ramirez and are unable to touch the immensely skilled Admiral. The group suffers their first major defeat and lose the crystals to the Silvite warrior. Aika points out though that they haven't won until he has all 6 but Ramirez scoffs at her remark and reveals the secret to the life force of all Silvites; the silver crystal. All Silvites have a silver crystal embedded in their bodies, only through death can it be removed and utilized. With this said, he attempts to force the silver crystal within Fina out but is stopped when Captain Clara's ship canons distract him long enough for Vyse and Aika to come to Fina's defense. Ramirez is forced to retreat and leaves the crew to burn in the fire's of what was once their new home.

Even while left with almost nothing, the crew doesn't lose heart and spend the entire day salvaging whats left of their island and begin to rebuild. After taking some time to rest and think, Fina comes to a decision and asks Vyse and Aika to accompany her to the Great Silver Shrine to meet with the Elders and ask for their guidance. Gilder, overhears and decides to tag along as well as he believes things are about to get interesting. Using Fina's small ship, the four travel beyond the sky towards Fina's home hovering over the world of Arcadia. Traversing through the odd shrine, the group meet the Elders and their leader Elder Prime; Fina's father figure. Vyse, Aika, Fina and Gilder then learn the truth about Arcadia from Elder Prime. Long ago, the Silvites used their Gigas (Zelos) to call down the Rains of Destruction to essentially "reset" the world. After the Rains, they created a magical seal around Zelos and sent Soltis (the Silvite's lost continent) into Deep Sky. The 6 crystals combined could break the seal containing Zelos and allow the owner of the Crystals to call down the Rains at will. Vyse and the others are appalled by this horrible truth but before the Elder's could defend their decision, Ramirez and Galcian arrive and murder Elder Prime to gain the much needed Silver Crystal to complete their plans. Vyse and co. give chase and follow the evil men to Dangral Island.

Meanwhile, Enrique confronts his mother on Galcian's traitorous actions but finds that Alfonso has already beat him to the punch. However, she doesn't realize that Galcian is much more crafty than she believes and refuses to give up on the path to domination. Enrique resolves to strike Queen Teodora and Alfonso down but is knocked out by Belleza and taken away. Back on Dangral, the group descends to deep sky on the platform elevator, but Vigoro catches up and challenges them to a battle but falls to the party's teamwork. The giant Admiral tells them where to find Galcian and decides to give up the military life for a life of pirating. Vyse and the others finally catch up to the Admirals but are attacked by a sentinel. The crew defeat the sentinel but it does its job in stalling them long enough for Galcian and Ramirez to awaken Zelos and raise the lost continent of Soltis. Vyse and co. are forced to retreat and are just barely able to reach the surface. The whole world can feel the winds change as Soltis raises from the depths of darkness with an impenetrable shield surrounding it. Lord Galcian decides to give Valua "a little rain" and unleashes the Rains of Destruction from the Yellow Moon. Belleza safely guides Enrique to safety, but Admiral Alonso and Queen Teodora are killed by falling debris inside the castle. When the Prince is awoken by his savior, he is heartbroken to see that Valua has been wiped completely off the map.

Upon returning to Crescent Isle, the crew try to come up with a plan to stop Galcian and Ramirez but with the death toll of Valua and their failure to stop the return of Soltis weighing heavily upon them, the stress is finally getting to Vyse. Before Vyse is ready to throw in the towel, Drachma returns to remind him of his pledge never to give up. One by one, Vyse's friends and even some foes turn up to offer their support. Baltor, Gordo, the Yafutoman Navy, Dyne, Clara, even Belleza shows up with the Prince of Valua alive and well. Before he knows it, Vyse has assembled a fleet of pirates under his command to combat Galcian's forces. Belleza visits a restless Vyse in the middle of the night to tell him that she will not be participating in the battle against her own men and says she has something important to take care of. Leaving him with a kiss, the busty Admiral wishes him luck. Vyse notices that both Aika and Fina are still up and talks with the both of them to put them at ease. After sharing a touching moment with both of them and easing their anxiety they all go to sleep and rest up for the destined battle.

The next day, the Delphinus leads the charge against Galcian's massive armada and flying airbase, the Hydra. Galcian instructs Ramirez to retreat back to Soltis in case he needs to use the Rains again. Although worried, Ramirez does as his respected superior commands and awaits further orders inside the shielded continent. After taking care of waves of warships, a standoff between Vyse's ship and Galcian's airbase ensues. After enough damage is done to the base, Vyse and his friends board the ship to fight the Lord of the Armada face to face. After navigating through the massive airbase, the group finally arrives at the bridge and take on the battle hardened Lord Galcian. After they defeat the evil Lord, he escapes into the Bridge and declares that they'll all perish in the Rains he'll soon call upon. All hope of victory is seemed lost until Belleza arrives in her ship and approaches Galcian's bridge in ramming speed. To stop the man she admired and loved, she rams her ship into the surprised villain's Bridge and dies with him in the ensuing explosion. Vyse and friends are saddened by her sacrifice and retreat back to the Delphinus. Meanwhile Ramirez, distraught after witnessing the man he most admired and respected die, holds Vyse and the world responsible and summons the Rains to destroy them all. Unable to retaliate, all the young captain and his crew can do is watch as Zelos sends a ray to the Silver Moon to ensure their demise. To Fina's and everyone's surprise, the Elders of the Great Silver Shrine send their home plummeting to Arcadia and blocks the ray from reaching the moon. Saying goodbye to their beloved child Fina, the Elders resolve to repent for their sin of calling the Rains long ago and allow the new world to decide its own fate. The Silver Shrine rams into the tip of Soltis Tower and vanish in an explosion of light, successfully breaking the impenetrable shield and allowing Vyse to take the fight to Ramirez himself.

The party wastes no time in entering Soltis through Shrine Island, now revealed to once be a remaining piece of Soltis. Vyse and friends traverse the inside of the massive continent and reach a saddened and enraged Ramirez. The Admiral promises to kill Vyse, Fina and everyone else for Galcian's sake and engages them in battle. Ramirez isn't as focused as before, therefore making him more vulnerable and more of a match for the party to handle this time around. After being defeated the crazed Silvite sacrifices his life to Zelos to give it the power needed to destroy his enemies. Fina pleads with him to stop, but Ramirez declares that the man she knew is long dead and disappears into the shapeless monster. The crew retreats as the silver Gigas grows to enormous size and destroys Soltis tower when it reveals its monstrous new spherical form. Fina points out that it is not finished transforming and they must attack it now while its still vulnerable. If they let it reach its final form, Zelos will become invincible and no one will be able to stop it. The Delphinus then engages the Gigas in battle for the fate of the world and just before it reaches its final form, the Delphinus delivers the killing shot and the pirates succeed in defeating the final, strongest Gigas.

Their victory is short-lived however as a piece of Zelos lands on the deck of their ship and reveals itself to be Ramirez, now horrifically merged with the Gigas. Driven to madness, Ramirez attacks the crew in his last attempt for revenge, but is eventually defeated by the combined efforts of Vyse, Aika and Fina. The Ramirez-Zelos hybrid disappears in a blinding light and leaves behind the silver crystal once embedded in the Silvite's hand. Vyse honors Ramirez with Fina's permission by giving the fallen sailor a pirates funeral by returning his crystal to the skies. Soltis sinks back into Deep Sky never to be disturbed again and the victorious army of Air Pirates sail back to Crescent Isle for the feast of a lifetime. After some time, Enrique marries Moegi and the two gather up the survivors of the Rains and oversee the reconstruction of Valua under their peaceful rule. Vyse, Aika and even Fina become full fledged Air Pirates with decorated Captain Vyse commanding a new ship as they sail off into the sky.

Characters

Party

Throughout the game the protagonist, Vyse, is the character that is actually controlled by the player. Vyse and Aika, the female lead, are permanent members of a four character party. At various stages, the player can pick up one, and only one, of the secondary characters. At some points the player has a choice which of these to use, but often it is compulsory for the party to contain a certain secondary character. A short way through the game, Fina changes from a storyline-only role to a playable character and a permanent member.

At one point in the game the four character party is split in two, with Vyse and Gilder, and Aika and Fina being the pairs. This part of the game presents an unusual challenge as the various strengths and weaknesses of the characters are unable to complement each other. The two primary damage dealing characters (Vyse and Gilder) are paired together, with little magical ability, and the two primary magic characters (Aika and Fina) are paired, with little damage ability.

At various stages in the game Gilder, Drachma and Enrique are added and removed from the character pool. This is usually done forcibly, however near the end of the game the player can choose which of the three characters to use for the final moments of the game.

Main player characters

  • Vyse: A 17 year old Blue Rogue (air pirates that only attack armed vessels larger than their own ships, in particular those of the Valuan Armada). Vyse has an upbeat, optimistic and determined personality. Sometimes, he is the one who keeps the entire party's spirit up. He is also the character the player controls when not in battle. Vyse fights with twin cutlasses, one used for offense and one used for defense.
  • Aika: Vyse's close friend since childhood and fellow Blue Rogue. She is also 17 years old, like Vyse. Aika has a strong and energetic personality; she is deeply and fiercely loyal to those around her, and has a bit of a firey temper, yet has weaknesses such as obsession with treasure and fear of swimming. She also was orphaned at an early age, and was cared for by Vyse's family. Aika fights using an oversized boomerang. She also happens to be left-handed.
  • Fina: Fina is a "Silvite" (survivor of the ancient, defunct Silver Civilization). She is also 17, like Vyse and Akia. Fina is beautiful, sweet-natured and demure, but hides an iron will. She is initially a little naive of customs and the Arcadian way of life, but proves to be a quick study. She forms a strong bond with Vyse and Aika (and an even stronger, almost sisterly bond, with Aika). Fina's pet, a silver ball-like creature named Cupil, fights for her. Cupil can morph into various shapes, and gains power by eating Chams, Moon Stone shards that are hidden throughout the game. His most powerful form is Final Cupil, although it required a download in the Dreamcast version in order to get the final cham. When not in battle, Cupil takes the form of a bracelet that Fina wears.

Secondary player characters

  • Drachma: A 55 year old maimed man, Drachma lost his right arm, right eye, and only son while fighting the giant arcwhale Rhaknam. He now has a mechanical right arm which he uses as a weapon during battle. His obsession with hunting Rhaknam leads him to search the skies. Drachma is the captain of the small fishing airship, Little Jack. He travels with Vyse and the others for part of the game, and pretends not to care about them, but he shows up just in time to save them quite a few times. With his artificial limb and vendetta against a strangely colored, deformed whale, he seems to be based on Captain Ahab in Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick.
  • Gilder: A rakishly handsome 32 year old man, Gilder wears a pince-nez and uses pistols as his weapons. He found and rescued Vyse from Crescent Island when Vyse was stranded, and joined him in his travels. Gilder is the captain of the light, swift pirate vessel Claudia. He has a parrot named Willy, who can be helpful when Gilder needs to break out of jail cells. He is a very laid-back individual, and loves good times and women. However, he seems to be constantly looking over his shoulder and running away from Clara, a Blue Rogue obsessed with Gilder.
  • Enrique: At 25 years old, Enrique is the Crown Prince of the Valuan Empire, but disagrees strongly with the imperialist policies of his mother, Empress Teodora I. The name of his father is unknown. Enrique uses rapiers as his weapon in battle. He joins the party and gives Vyse his flagship, the Delphinus, when he escapes Valua with Vyse, Aika, Fina, and Gilder. His frank nobility and chivalry are in direct opposition to the attitudes of most of the higher Valuans, and it is his infectious goodness that ends up saving the entire party later on.

Antagonists

The Blue Rogues' sworn enemy, the Valuan Empire, continually hunts Vyse and Aika throughout the game. The Valuan Empire is ruled politically by the Empress Teodora I, but the real military power lies with the Lord Admiral Galcian. Galcian's five deputies - Alfonso (First Admiral), Gregorio, Vigoro, Belleza, and De Loco (Fifth Admiral) - each have a distinct personality, personified by their highly unique flagships. Amongst themselves they are each silently competing for promotion at the expense of the others, especially Alfonso, who thinks he should be Lord Admiral instead of Galcian. Galcian's Vice-Captain Ramirez later becomes the Sixth Admiral of the Valuan Armada and has a mysterious connection to Fina.

In addition, a significant number of lesser adversaries confront the player throughout the game. These are mostly 'Black Pirates,' a faction of unscrupulous criminals who lack the Blue Rogues' self-restraint and hence have earned the Rogues' ire. Notable Black Pirates include Captain Baltor, a bandit from Nasr airspace who pursues a small vendetta against Vyse, and Gordo the Round, an obese pirate whose plundering is driven by his lust for unique food. In the Gamecube rerelease, several more of these Black Pirates appear and can be hunted for bounty rewards, including a trio of criminals who resemble Vyse, Aika and Fina in appearance and poison Vyse's reputation unless defeated during an optional sidequest.

Guest appearances in Valkyria Chronicles

Two optional characters named "Vyse Inglebard" and "Aika Thompson" appear as members of Squad 7 in Valkyria Chronicles, and are listed on each other's Like list, indicating that they are friends. Differences in uniforms and weaponry aside, their appearances are otherwise identical to their Skies of Arcadia counterparts. Some of the dialogue spoken by the two contains subtle references to Skies of Arcadia, such as Aika's line when rescuing a fallen comrade "If you die on me, then I'm taking all your treasure!", or the line for her Nocturnal ability "I ain't scared of the dark! ...just ghosts...". Fina also appears as one of several identical sisters who serve as the squad's (unplayable) Medics.

The characters' profiles in the game allude to Skies of Arcadia. Vyse's profile states he is from a far off land, and once you complete the game his profile is updated to indicate the he and Aika left Gallia in order to seek adventure and treasure. The character profile for Alex Raymond, a good friend of Vyse's in the game, indicate that Alex was captivated by Vyse's tales of flying and that he accompanies Vyse and Aika on their adventures once the events of Valkyria Chronicles conclude.

In the Valkyria Chronicles anime adaption, Vyse makes a cameo appearance as a member of Squad 5 during the Liberation of Fouzen (episode 13), and the medic who tends to Rosie (episode 18) and Alicia (episode 21) has the appearance of Fina and her "sisters". Aika has not appeared in the VC anime. In the 2nd OVA of Valkyria Chronicles 3, Vyse makes a cameo as a member of Squad 7.

Soundtrack

On October 5, 2000, the game's musical soundtrack was released on CD as a double album.[6] Composed by Yutaka Minobe and Tatsuyuki Maeda, it features 67 original tracks from the game and has a runtime of over two hours and twenty minutes.[6][7] The album is named after the Japanese version of the game, Eternal Arcadia.[6] Four tracks from the game (Clara's Theme, De Loco’s Theme, Dark Rift music, Blue Moon Crystal tune) are omitted from the official soundtrack release.[7] A small number of copies were imported into the US.

Eternal Arcadia OST
Soundtrack album by Yutaka Minobe (Composer), Takayuki Maeda (Composer)
Released Japan October 5, 2000
Recorded 2000
Genre Soundtrack
Length Disc One: 71:10, Disc Two: 71:00
Label Enterbrain
Disc One Disc Two

01 - Opening Theme
02 - Main Theme
03 - Air Pirate Isle
04 - Galcian's Theme
05 - Theme of Reflection
06 - Air Pirate Secret Base
07 - Blue Rogues' Theme
08 - Blue Rogues' Ship (Nasrad, Ixa'taka, Valua)
09 - Dungeon of Searing Heat
10 - Ruins Dungeon
11 - Battle 1
12 - Vyse's Theme
13 - Kingdom of Nasrad
14 - Dungeon Cave
15 - Black Pirates' Theme
16 - Bombardment
17 - Let's Go!
18 - Sailor Town
19 - Kingdom of Ixa'taka
20 - Ancient Temple Dungeon
21 - Legend
22 - Sudden Storm
23 - Uninhabited Island
24 - Theme of Loneliness
25 - Drachma's Theme
26 - The Little Jack (Nasrad, Ixa'taka, Valua)
27 - Imperial Theme
28 - Valua City
29 - Tension
30 - Military Facility Dungeon
31 - Armada
32 - Boss Battle (Crisis, Opportunity)
33 - Victory in Battle

01 - Headquarters
02 - Fina's Theme
03 - Everyday Life
04 - Gag
05 - Gilder's Theme
06 - Nervous Crisis
07 - Tragedy
08 - Hatred
09 - Delphinus (Nasrad, Ixa'taka, Valua, Yafutoma, Ice Continent, Temple Island)
10 - Yafutoma Dawn
11 - Eastern Air Pirates
12 - Ice Dungeon
13 - Nervous Crisis 2
14 - Battle 2
15 - Rejoice
16 - Town of Ice
17 - Dimming Lights
18 - Giga's Theme
19 - Bombardment 2
20 - Bombardment Victory
21 - Remote Town
22 - Great Silver Shrine
23 - Ramirez's Theme
24 - Armada Battle
25 - Battle Defeat
26 - Enrique's Theme
27 - Final Dungeon
28 - Zealous
29 - The Final Moment
30 - Final Battle (Opportunity)
31 - Emotional
32 - Legendary Sinking Continent
33 - Epilogue
34 - Credits

Reception

Skies of Arcadia was well received by most game reviewers. IGN gave the game a 9.2, praising it for its "solid overall visuals, lively and appealing characters, excellent use of camera angles, and some of the coolest mechanical designs for the airships".[14] GameSpot gave the game a 9.2 as well, also praising the visuals, stating that they were "some of the most painstakingly detailed ever seen in a role-playing game". As a whole, GameSpot concluded that the game "lives up [to] the high expectations".[13] Game Informer also listed it as one of the top 10 Dreamcast games.[18]It sold nearly 100,000 copies on the Dreamcast in Japan and 10,000 abroad. Gamecube sales were lower, selling 70,000 copies worldwide.[citation needed]

One major complaint about the game was the high rate of random encounter-based battles, which made traveling a test of the player's patience. This was fixed to a degree in Legends, the enhanced port for the GameCube. The game was successful enough that it was re-released in Q4 2002 in Japan, which vouched for a similar release in North America on January 27, 2003.

Skies of Arcadia Legends

North American box art

On December 26, 2002, an enhanced port, Skies of Arcadia Legends was released in Japan for the GameCube. It was subsequently released in North America on January 27, 2003, and in Europe on May 23, 2003. Legends features slightly enhanced graphics, shorter loading times and some additional content. The game also includes the Dreamcast's downloadable add-ons, and some new scenes, some of which tell stories of events that happened prior to the game.

Differences

Legends is unable to make use of the Dreamcast's external hardware, such as the VMU, to let players know when many treasures or events were near. For example, in the Dreamcast version the official Sega VMU would start to beep whenever there was a Cham in the area. Cupil would also appear on the VMU screen to guide players to the Cham's exact location. Since the GameCube version has no VMU, Cupil would instead start making a "Pyu!" sound and appear in the corner of the screen as an icon when the player was on top of a Cham. Finally, the rate of random encounters is slightly lower in the GameCube version but experience points earned are higher per battle to make up for this.

There are not many significant graphical differences between the two versions; even the texture level of detail bias remains the same despite the GameCube's more powerful texturing abilities, however, the majority of character models have gained some additional polygon counts, which are especially apparent on most characters hands, heads, and torsos. In addition, framerate drops that occurred on the Dreamcast while sailing in certain areas or performing certain super moves or magic have also been largely reduced or eliminated. The GameCube does makes use of its improved hardware to reduce game saving and loading times as well as battle sequence loading times. Also, the GameCube version does not require the use of a second disc, whereas the Dreamcast version does. However, in order to fit on the single GameCube disc, the music in Legends is of a lower quality than the Dreamcast version.

Legends, as well as the original English-language Dreamcast version, have stronger censorship of mature content.[19] All traces of cigarettes are removed, shops serve Loqua juice instead of alcohol, and one female character's attire is altered to be less revealing.[19]

New content

24 new discoveries are in Legends. These are scattered throughout the game and reduce the difficulty somewhat as they act as a very large source of income for the player. In addition a potential lookout, Domingo, can be recruited earlier. Another alteration between the two versions is the inclusion of Moonfish and a ship flying near Sailor's Island flown by a doctor, Doc, and a young girl named Maria. Maria has a pet bird, which turns out to be a Hamachou. Moonfish, fish which are invisible to the naked eye, are placed throughout the game for the player to collect. When prompted by the distinctive sound Moonfish make, Vyse is able to see Moonfish with a special adjustment to his headgear. When returning these Moonfish to the Doc, Maria's bird begins to grow, and eventually it turns into a fully grown Moon Hamachou and is added to the journal as a Discovery.

Another addition to Legends is Piastol, a woman who hunts air pirates under the nom de guerre "Angel of Death". Piastol is after Vyse because she mistakenly believes that he killed her father, Admiral Mendoza of Valua, seven years before the story began. One night, her father's ship, the Aquila, caught fire. Dyne's Blue Rogues saw the ship aflame and staged a rescue mission to find survivors. However, Piastol thought it was they who set the ship alight and attacked the first person she saw, which was Aika. Aika came unarmed thinking it was a rescue mission, so Vyse defended her from Piastol's throwing knife and received a scar on his cheek which remains to this day. When Mendoza's corpse was found and examined, it turns out it was a sword wound that killed him instead of the fire. From then on Piastol planned to avenge her father's death by hunting down any and all air pirates. It is later revealed that Piastol is Maria's older sister, who was traumatized by the same incident and believed her sister to be dead. Piastol is armed with a scythe and Eterni spells, along with a Deathhound at her side. She has an attack called Tempest Dance, which becomes longer and more deadly each time Vyse and company fight her.

A third major addition to the Legends version is the inclusion of a wanted list, with large bounties to be rewarded when the player defeats any of these foes. While some of the NPC's on the wanted list are present in the original, most of them are entirely new to the GameCube version. As with the new discoveries, the "Wanted List" provides another source of income for the player. The "wanted list boss battles" are markedly more difficult than the rest of the game (including the other boss battles), partly because they level up when the player characters do, meaning that they will be consistently difficult regardless of the player's current level.

Also added were the three secrets which could be unlocked by getting most of the requirements for Vyse the Legend. A new discovery, a new music track for Nasultan and post-attack Nasr, the best set of swords for Vyse, and a murderously hard battle against an old "friend."

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Skies of Arcadia". GameFAQs. http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/dreamcast/data/197237.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  2. ^ a b c "Skies of Arcadia Legends". GameFAQs. http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/gamecube/data/537506.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  3. ^ Giancarlo Varanini (2002-08-01). "PS2 Skies of Arcadia canceled". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/rpg/skiesofarcadia/news.html?sid=2876256. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 
  4. ^ "[SEGA]家庭用ソフト:ソフトデータベース:セガPC". SEGA. 2004-07-01. Archived from the original on 2004-07-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20040701193225/http://www.sega.co.jp/pc/. Retrieved 2004-07-01. 
  5. ^ "SKIES OF ARCADIA MINI-FAQ: PINTA'S QUEST-VMU GAME". GameFaqs. 2001-03-08. http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/dreamcast/file/197237/9894. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  6. ^ a b c Jason Walton (2002-01-24). "Eternal Arcadia OST". RPGFan. http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/ea/index.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  7. ^ a b John Kahler (2002-09-18). "The Skies Of Arcadia (/ Eternal Arcadia) Page". http://member.telpacific.com.au/trat2422/soa.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  8. ^ "Game Rankings review compilation". Game Rankings. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/197237.asp. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  9. ^ "Metacritic review compilation". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/drm/skiesofacradia. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  10. ^ Edge (E93). 
  11. ^ "Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast)". 1UP.com. http://www.1up.com/do/gameOverview?cId=3130419. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  12. ^ Game Informer (168): 118. April 2007. 
  13. ^ a b Brad Shoemaker (2000-10-17). "Skies of Arcadia". GameSpot. http://uk.gamespot.com/dreamcast/rpg/skiesofarcadia/review.html. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  14. ^ a b "Skies of Arcadia". IGN. 2000-11-14. http://uk.dreamcast.ign.com/articles/165/165110p1.html. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  15. ^ "Skies of Arcadia". Official Dreamcast Magazine (UK) (19): 73. May 2001. ISSN 1467-6265. 
  16. ^ "Readers' Picks Top 100 Games: 51-60". IGN. 2006-10-20. http://top100.ign.com/2006/051-060.html. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  17. ^ "Top 100 Games of All Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 2003-06-11. Archived from the original on 2003-06-11. http://web.archive.org/web/20030611191341/http://http%3A//gamers.com/feature/egmtop100/index.jsp. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  18. ^ Game Informer (166): 116. February 2007. 
  19. ^ a b Robert Greene. "Hardcore Gaming 101: Skies of Arcadia / Eternal Arcadia - Dreamcast / Gamecube (2000)". Hardcore Gaming 101. http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/skiesofarcadia/skiesofarcadia.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 

External links

Dreamcast

GameCube


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