Drakengard


Drakengard
Drakengard
Drakengard Coverart.png
North American version cover art
Developer(s) Cavia
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, mobile phone
Release date(s)
  • JP September 11, 2003
  • NA March 2, 2004
  • PAL May 5, 2004
Genre(s) Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)
Media/distribution 1 DVD-ROM

Drakengard, known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon (ドラッグオンドラグーン Doragguon Doragūn?), is a PlayStation 2 action role-playing game developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix and Take-Two Interactive. It was released on September 11, 2003 in Japan, on March 5, 2004 in North America and on May 21, 2004 in PAL territories.

The game was originally developed by Cavia in the Enix name. It was also Square Enix's first game to be rated Mature by the ESRB. Drakengard was scored by Takayuki Aihara and Nobuyoshi Sano.

The game's sequel, Drakengard 2, was released in Japan on June 16, 2005. It takes place 18 years after the events of the original game.

Contents

Gameplay

Drakengard features ground missions, aerial missions, and Free Expedition Mode. It also has two difficulty modes, which are Easy and Normal. The player does not need to erase the game and start over for any reason whatsoever. It is optional to go back to an earlier chapter or verse if the player has missed something. In Drakengard the dragon gains greater attack power as it gains experience and levels up. At certain points of the story the dragon evolves into a different, more powerful form, which enhances the dragons attack powers, magical attacks and allows to lock on to more enemies.

Drakengard is divided into chapters and subdivided into verses. Missions numbered with Roman numerals lead to endings other than the one merited in Chapter 8, and can only be played if the player meets certain requirements. The Game has four additional alternate endings. Each of these endings, along with the canonical ending, are achieved by certain events in the game. The first ending deals with Furiae resurrected by Inuart using a Seed of Destruction, and then the second has Angelus revoking her pact with Caim and fighting him to the death. The last two deal with the Grotesqueries revealing themselves and the "world of the gods", Tokyo, is shown in one of them. These last two are used in the sequel to explain the true nature of the world of Drakengard and the Grotesqueries themselves.

Story

Setting

The game's protagonists are Caim, his best friend Inuart, and their companions. The plot revolves around a war between the Union and the Empire in a somewhat altered medieval Earth. Every playable character makes a pact with a powerful beast, and pays a price for joining the pact. This concept in the Drakengard series is called "pact pricing." In the process of forging such a pact, humans are branded with a mark called a "pact emblem," which appears on a part of their body associated with the price they pay - They either lose use of a physical attribute (Voice, Sight, etc.), or can lose 'intangible' attributes, such as one's joy, or ability to age. However, the bonds that tie a human with the magical creature he/she made the pact with in life, also binds them both in death as long as the creature allows it so.

Characters

Playable

  • Caim (カイム Kaimu?): Son of the Royal family (in the Japanese version, the kingdom is named Caerleon (カールレオン, Kārureon), a location deeply connected to Arthurian legend. In the English version, it remains unnamed), Caim was forced to witness the brutal murder of his parents by an Imperial black dragon. Since then, he swore vengeance on the Empire and Dragons, fighting as a soldier in the army of the Union. Mortally wounded, he encountered the red dragon Angelus, who was near death as well. Though he hated dragons, Caim demanded Angelus to accept his offer of a pact that would save both of them. Since then, Caim lost his voice in the exchange, marked on his tongue, and thus the only human Angelus revealed her name out of their new-found respect for each other to before becoming the new seal. Age 24.
  • Angelus: A Red Dragon that is over 10,000 years old, Caim forced a pact with her in order to live that she reluctantly accepts. Being of a kind revered by others as masters of the natural world, Angelus comes off as arrogant, seeing humans as inferior, careless and defiant. But in time, Angelus made an exception in Caim whom she revealed her name to.
Note: Angelus' name in the Japanese version of Drakengard is "Angel" (アンヘル Anheru?).
  • Arioch (アリオーシュ Ariōshu?): Arioch was a loving elf mother and wife until she was driven mad by the murder of her family at the hands of the Empire. Since then, she has become an insatiable murderer, only a pure joy as her young prey fall victim to her insanity. Formed a pact with Undine and Salamander in exchange for her fertility, marked on her waist. As an ally, Arioch is a threat to herself and others. In the Japanese version, it was implied that she murdered and cannibalized children as a result of her trauma. Age 24.
  • Seere (セエレ Sēre?): Manah's twin brother, he felt it was his fault Manah was neglected/abused by their mother who loved him. Though he shares his sister's magical abilities, he possessed the gift of prophecy. After his village was destroyed, Seere formed a pact with his new found "friend", Golem, in exchange for his "time" (the ability to age), marked all over his body, thus can never grow up. He joins Caim's party to search for his lost sister, only to feel more guilt seeing what became of her. Age 6.
  • Leonard (レオナール Reonāru?): A kind-hearted man who distasted the horrors of war. He was constantly tormented by the knowledge of his faults and past mistakes; blaming himself for the deaths of his brothers enough to attempt suicide upon seeing them dead, but couldn't do it. By then, Faerie appeared and took advantage of Leonard's instability at the time to force a pact upon him, robbing him of his sight that is marked on his eyes. He befriended Seere, who seemed to remind him of his brothers. In the Japanese version, Leonard was at one point a pedophile. He was absent from the massacre that killed his family because he was engaging in pedophilia at the time, a fact which haunts him. Age 32.

Non-playable

  • Furiae (フリアエ Furiae?): Caim's younger sister. Raised as a royal princess, she struggled to come to terms with her appointed role as the goddess at the time of her parents' death. As her cursed fate unfolded, Furiae began to despair. Living in her brother's castle, sitting quietly and offer silent prayers. She was abducted by Inuart, as she is the Final Seal that keeps the Grotesqueries from appearing in their world. In the Japanese version of the game, it was implied that Furiae harbored incestuous feelings toward Caim. Age 19.
  • Hierarch Verdelet (ヴェルドレ Verudore?): The hierarch whose duty allows him to speak directly with the goddess, Verdelet is a pious man who is always careful of his words and of doing the right thing, but places himself first should the situation becomes dire. When young, he made a pact with a dragon that is now in a petrified state that left a mark on his head, losing his hair and ability to grow more in exchange. In the end of the game, Verdelet performed the sealing ceremony over Angelus. Age 72.
  • Inuart (イウヴァルト Iuvaruto?): Caim's former friend and son of a noble of the kingdom once ruled by Caim's family. Inuart possessed a beautiful singing voice and master of the harp. Though sincere and honest, his heart is weak and relies on his former betrothed, Furiae. But Inuart was taken by the Empire and tortured by them until he swore allegiance to them. He then made a pact with the very Imperial dragon that killed Caim's parents, sacrificing his talent for singing to cement the pact with a mark on his neck. He did this to fulfill his desire to protect Furiae instead of Caim, who was the object of Inuart's envy. He battles his former friend, taking Furiae to the Empire where he believed she will be safe. Age 20.
  • Manah (マナ Mana?): A mysterious young girl who commands the empire as high priestess of the Cult of Watchers. But the truth, Manah was driven insane by outerworldly entities that she refers to as "the Watchers", who are using her body as a means to direct the Empire in the goal to destroy the world by removing the seals that prevent chaos from ensuing. Prior to it, Manah suffered abuse from her mother, which led to her current state of mind. Though released from her benefactors' control, Manah still dared Caim to kill her so she can find peace. But when Angelus revealed that there is no peace for her, Manah soon realized what she had done and was abducted by Caim and shown the suffering that she had caused so she would "never forget." Age 6.
  • The "Grotesqueries": A mysterious otherworldly race that are tied to Manah's possession and would appear once the seals that keep them out of the world are no more. Though they failed to achieve their goal in the canonical ending, they did in the two alternate endings which revealed them to resemble giant human infants with teeth. They are in turn led by a more human adult-like queen. Their true identity is revealed in Drakengard 2.

Plot

Prior to the beginning of the game, Caim's parents were killed by a black dragon sent by the Empire, breeding a hatred in him toward both the Empire and dragons. During the war against the Empire, Caim is mortally wounded, but comes across a red dragon imprisoned by the Empire. Although neither Caim nor the dragon are fond of each other, they cannot deny that they need each other's help to survive but the dragon remains reluctant. After fending off squads of advancing soldiers, the dragon accepts to creating a pact, fusing their souls, healing their wounds. The price Caim paid to enter the pact was his voice, rendering him mute and causing a pact emblem to appear on his tongue. Caim and his pact partner soar into the sky with newfound power, obliterating the Empire's air force and disposing of the rest of their infantry.

Caim and the dragon regroup with Inuart, a long time friend of Caim's and talented musician, and his sister, Furiae, the Goddess of the Seals. Inuart proposes that they seek asylum in the elf village that holds the Seal of the Forest. Without protests or delay, they head off, only to find the village invaded and realise that the protection of the seal now is hopeless. Hierarch Verdelet, Guardian of the Seals, speaks through the dragon, pleading with the group to bring the Goddess to the temple that holds the Seal of the Desert. Caim learns from a dying elf, that hostages have been taken by cultists to the Shrine of the Watchers. Caim sets off to rescue them as Inuart heeds the message of the Guardian and sets off to the desert temple with Furiae.

Caim fights through the shrine only to find that the kidnapped elves have been taken elsewhere. Later, within the Valley of the Faeries, Caim meets Leonard, who becomes an ally and is revealed to have a pact with Faerie, sacrificing his sight which is visible by the emblem on his eyes. The dragon reveals that Inuart and Verdelet have been captured, so the group quickly set off to the Seal of the Desert. Arriving at the desert, Caim finds Furiae safe, though realises it was too late for Inuart and Verdelet. Caim heads to the Imperial Prison to rescue them, succeeding only in finding Verdelet, learning that Inuart has been taken someplace else.

They return to the desert, only to find the seal broken. The group then finds Arioch, an elf driven to insanity after witnessing the death of her family by the Empire who sealed a pact with Undine and Salamander, her pact price being her ability to conceive. After Arioch joins the party, Inuart appears, having sealed a pact with not only a black dragon but the one that murdered Caim's parents, demands that Caim allow him to free Furiae by bringing her to the Empire. Caim refuses and the both engage in an intense aerial battle. Caim is defeated, and Furiae is taken by Inuart. Caim, realising his duty, delays the rescue of his sister and the group head to the Seal of the Ocean, only to find that too, has been broken.

Verdelet explains his speculation as to why the Empire wish for the destruction of the seals, stating that the destruction of each and every one marks the birth of the "Seed of Destruction" which is thought to reconstruct a new world. The party arrive at the Imperial Lands and find a young orphan boy by the name of Seere, who explains that his sister was taken by the Empire and plead that they allow him to join the group. It is then revealed that he also sealed a pact, a pact with a golem in sacrifice for his "time" or ability to age. The entire group join the final battle between the Union and the Empire, resulting in the latter's defeat. Celebrations are short-lived however, as the sky turns black and an unsettling evil arises.

Fire rains from the sky and the corpses of the Imperial Army are reanimated. A fortress appears in the sky and so does Inuart, who challenges Caim. Caim is victorious and Inuart returns to the fortress, having learnt he has been possessed, he discovers that Furiae has been killed by no other but himself. In the first ending, the party succeed in stopping Manah, high priestess of the Cult of Watchers and sister to Seere, whose powers are sealed by Verdelet. Having been driven insane, the young girl has been possessed by otherworldly entities that desire the Goddess and the seals that prevent chaos from overwhelming the world and destroying it. Caim and the dragon manage to stop them, though the dragon, whose name is revealed to be Angelus at the game's end, volunteers to become the new seal, despite her inappropriateness as a seal (being a dragon) and Caim's protest, and disappears. This is one of five endings and is the one which leads to the events of Drakengard 2.

The second ending involves Inuart and Furiae after she is killed. Inuart takes Furiae and tries to resurrect her with the Seed of Destruction. Although she is revived she is a monster, now having godly powers and wings. She kills Inuart and Caim engages in battle. After a long and grueling aerial fight, Caim succeeds in defeating his reborn sister. Standing atop a hill carrying what was once Furiae, Caim gazes upon the landscape only to see a myriad of the monster he holds in his arms.

The third ending involves Caim and Angelus. Manah, out of desperation and realisation that all is lost, attempts to summon a dragon but results in the dragon consuming her. The power that once resided in her flows into Angelus, and she now becomes the Chaos Dragon. After becoming this new dragon, the pact between Caim and Angelus is broken. But Angelus, although still having respect and love towards Caim, knows that they must fight for the rising dragons plan on destroying humanity and taking over the world. Caim pulls through and defeats her but hears more dragons coming his way. Accepting the fate of the world, Caim runs outside full speed to battle until his final breath.

The fourth ending consists of Caim, Angelus and Seere. After the death of Manah at the hands of her brother, what order is left in the world is lost and absolute destruction is imminent. Grotesqueries, what appear to be huge babies that consume and destroy everything in sight, fall from the sky. Arioch becomes obsessed with the image of children and runs towards them as they crush and consume her. Leonard sacrifices himself by self destructing to clear a path for Angelus, Caim and Seere. Soon after, the Queen Grotesqueries (a massive woman with a stone complexion and no hair), rises from the ground. Angelus and Caim desperately weigh out their limited options, finally deciding on what must be done. Seere, with his significant pact sacrifice, has the ability to stop time, at the cost of his life. Caim, Angelus and Seere fly towards the Queen Grotesqueries, dropping Seere onto her. Angelus and Caim, having achieved their final task, are killed by the overwhelming number of Grotesqueries. Finally, Seere asks his sister to forgive him as he releases bursts of light from his body as black fume surrounds him, covering the Queen Grotesqueries and Grotesqueries, forever frozen in time.

In the fifth and final ending, Caim and Angelus travel across a dimensional boundary to fight the Queen Grotesqueries, and in a strange twist end up flying over modern Tokyo. After defeating the Queen Grotesqueries in an unusual battle, Angelus states, "It is done, at last", before being shot down by a pair of fighter jets when finally a radio transmission is heard, "This is Bravo 1, unidentified target has been neutralised. Over and out". The final credits roll silently as the sounds of a typical urban area in Tokyo is heard, the end of which scrolls down to a dead Angelus impaled onto Tokyo Tower. This ending and final setting leads to Nier, another game by Cavia.

Development

Jun Iwasaki, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix USA, described Drakengard as a "perfect hybrid of genres" due to its blend of action, character growth influenced by role-playing games, and a "solid story that binds it all together". According to him, the game is intended to appeal to gamers looking for a "deeper action game".[1]

The Japanese version of Drakengard, Drag-On Dragoon, featured such taboo plot points as incest and pedophilia. However, this was toned down or outright removed from all western versions, but not completely (Angelus: Because you are brother and sister? What manner of excuse is that?).

The Japanese version of the game featured several very adult oriented themes, and many characters had more than questionable sexual orientations and/or perversion. Leonard, in the Japanese version, is actually a paedophile, and Furiae feels sexual desire for her brother. Arioch, who has lost her womb from her pact and gone mad, enjoys killing children. While all of this isn't reflected in the actual game play, it is inside cut scenes and conversations between characters. Most of these were removed in the American version of the game, making certain cut scenes very difficult to understand. For example, when partly possessed by "The Watchers", Furiae chooses to kill herself, rather than reveal her feelings for her brother, but the censorship makes the reasons for her actions very unclear.

Audio

Soundtrack

Drag-on Dragoon Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Nobuyoshi Sano & Takayuki Aihara
Released October 22, 2003 (Vol.1)
November 21, 2003 (Vol.2)
Length 1:03:14 (Vol. 1)
1:15:50 (Vol. 2)
Label Marvelous Entertainment
Producer Square Enix
Professional reviews

The reviews parameter has been deprecated. Please move reviews into the “Reception” section of the article. See Moving reviews into article space.

Vol.2

The Drakengard soundtrack was edited as a twin album, under the names Drag-on Dragoon Original Soundtrack Vol.1 and Drag-on Dragoon Original Soundtrack Vol.2. The disc were released in Japan only, and use the game's Japanese title, but they are sometimes referred to in English as "First Attack" and "Second Attack".[2] They were released on October 22, 2003 and November 21, 2003, under the catalog numbers MJCG-80125 and MJCG-80137.

The soundtrack were composed by Nobuyoshi Sano (佐野信義?) & Takayuki Aihara (相原隆行?). Although each track on the album is credited to one artist only, they were said to have worked together on multiple tracks. The music is usually described by critics as experimental and that it wouldn't please everyone. Most of the tracks present repetitive 2 second sounds/samples, that repeat during the entire song, as would an old scratched vinyl disc. During the course of these tracks, those sounds may vary sightly and/or others may be added or removed. The overall result, while not being praised for its musical quality, was highly appreciated for its integration within the game, and its overall corrupt and broken atmosphere.[3][4]

Tracklist

The titles to the songs are unusually straightforward, merely being the name of the chapter in which they appear. If a chapter has more than two songs, then they are just referred to as 1 and 2. The game's main theme, which is present on the game's trailers is "Route B Staff Roll 'Exhausted'". It is interpreted by Eriko Hatsune. Vol.2 Features two songs which were not present in game.

Samples

Besides the original Song "Growing Wings" performed by Kay Jemsen ("Tsukiru" performed by Eriko Hatsune in the Japanese version), Drakengard featured samplings from Antonín Dvořák (Othello, Op. 93; Carnival Overture, Op. 92; Symphony No. 9 "From the New World"), Béla Bartók (The Miraculous Mandarin), Claude Debussy (La Mer), Gustav Mahler (Symphony No. 5), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Le Nozze Di Figaro), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (The Swan Lake; Capriccio Italien; The Nutcracker Suite; 1812 Overture Solennelle; Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture), Ottorino Respighi (Feste Romane), Richard Wagner (Götterdämmerung; Die Walküre; Tannhäuser), Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Capriccio Espagnol) (credited twice, once without "Nicolai"), Modest Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition) and Gustav Holst (The Planets).

Voice cast

Japanese actor Shinnosuke "Peter" Ikehata voiced both the Dragon and the protagonist Caim. He expressed his affection for the story of the game and the relationship between the two characters.[9]

Character Japanese Voice actor English Voice actor
Caim Shinnosuke "Peter" Ikehata Charles Rubendall
Angelus (Angel) Shinnosuke "Peter" Ikehata Mona Marshall
Furiae Eriko Hatsune Kari Wahlgren
Seere Sota Murakami Mona Marshall
Leonard Koichi Yamadera Paul St. Peter
Fairy Yuko Miyamura Wendee Lee
Verdelet Iemasa Kayumi William Frederick Knight
Arioch Megumi Hayashibara Michelle Ruff
Salamander Richard Epcar
Undine Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
Inuart Toshiaki Karasawa Charles Rubendall
Manah Natsuki Yamashita, Daisuke Gori (possessed) Sherry Lynn, Daran Norris (possessed)
Fighter Jet Pilot Kirk Thornton

Reception

Drakengard sold more than 122,000 units in its first week of release in Japan, taking Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space's place at the top of the sales charts.[10] By the end of 2003, the game had sold 241,014 copies in the region.[11] In 2010, UGO included the game as the #5 in the article The 11 Weirdest Game Endings.[12]

Mobile version

A Europe-exclusive mobile phone adaptation of Drakengard was co-developed and co-published by Square Enix and Macrospace. The game is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.[13] It features four different locations and two battle modes: a side-scrolling ground mode and an aerial dragon-riding mode. Achieving high scores unlocks hints and tips for the PlayStation 2 version of the game.[14]

References

  1. ^ Dunham, Jeremy (2004-01-14). "Drakengard Announced for March". IGN. News Corporation. http://ps2.ign.com/articles/463/463008p1.html. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  2. ^ "Amazon Soundtrack Name". http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1215342896/ref=sr_nr_i_1?ie=UTF8&rs=&keywords=drag-on%20dragoon&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Adrag-on%20dragoon%2Ci%3Apopular. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  3. ^ a b "RPGFan Drag-on Dragoon OST Vol. 1". http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/drag-on1/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  4. ^ a b "RPGFan Drag-on Dragoon OST Vol. 2". http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/drag-on2/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  5. ^ "Video Game Music Database Drag-on Dragoon OST Vol. 1". http://vgmdb.net/db/albums.php?id=1215. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  6. ^ "Mythos Japanese page on Drag-on Dragoon OST Vol. 1". http://mythos.jp/nyackts/cd/dod_1.html. Retrieved 2008-07-07. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Video Game Music Database Drag-on Dragoon OST Vol. 2". http://vgmdb.net/db/albums.php?id=1216. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  8. ^ "Mythos Japanese page on Drag-on Dragoon OST Vol. 2". http://mythos.jp/nyackts/cd/dod_2.html. Retrieved 2008-07-07. [dead link]
  9. ^ IGNPS2 Staff (2003-07-24). "Drakengard Voice Actors". IGN. News Corporation. http://ps2.ign.com/articles/430/430285p1.html. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  10. ^ IGN Staff (2003-09-22). "Drag-On Dragoon Flies off Shelves". IGN. News Corporation. http://ps2.ign.com/articles/450/450977p1.html. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  11. ^ "GEIMIN.NET/2003年テレビゲームソフト売り上げTOP300" (in Japanese). Geimin.net. http://geimin.net/da/db/2003_ne_fa/index.php. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  12. ^ The 11 Weirdest Game Endings - UGO.com
  13. ^ "Square Enix and Macrospace Team Up For Mobile Content". Square Enix Mobile (Europe). Square Enix. 2004-07-08. http://mobile.square-enix-europe.com/news/news-detail.asp?nid=105. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  14. ^ "Game Details: Drakengard". Square Enix Mobile (Europe). Square Enix. Archived from the original on October 7, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071007001517/http://mobile.square-enix-europe.com/games/games-detail.asp?gid=38. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 

External links


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