Dark Chronicle


Dark Chronicle
Dark Cloud 2
Dark Chronicle
Dark Chronicle Coverart.png
Developer(s) Level-5
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Composer(s) Tomohito Nishiura
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s)
  • JP November 28, 2002
  • NA February 17, 2003
  • EU September 10, 2003
  • UK September 12, 2003
Genre(s) Action RPG
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)
Media/distribution 1 DVD-ROM

Dark Chronicle (ダーククロニクル Dāku Kuronikuru), released as Dark Cloud 2 in North America, is a role-playing video game for the PlayStation 2 video game console. It was developed by Level-5 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment on November 28, 2002 in Japan, February 17, 2003 in North America, September 10, 2003 in Europe and September 12, 2003 in the United Kingdom.

It is the sequel to Dark Cloud, and features similar action role-playing and city-building game mechanics. Returning from the original game is the concept of time travel and world rebuilding. Players control two main protagonists, Max and Monica, who come from the present and future, respectively, to stop the main antagonist, Emperor Griffon who is destroying the present from the past.

Contents

Gameplay

The gameplay of Dark Chronicle is of an action RPG with some elements from dungeon crawl games. The player moves through a series of randomly-created dungeon rooms or levels which are periodically interrupted by set rooms where either a cutscene is shown or the players fights a boss. In the dungeons, the player will find various materials to use in item construction and Georama.

Outside of dungeons the main focus is on the Georama system where the player is tasked with rebuilding particular locations to restore the future. By retrieving Geostones from the dungeons the player is given guidelines for the town and plans to make objects (houses, bridges, shops) required for filling those guidelines. After rebuilding the infrastructure, the town must be populated with inhabitants by completing mini-games.

The goal for each Georama map is to complete as many of the ten objectives for each map as possible. While some objectives are requisite for advancing the plot, most are optional and provide bonus items when completed. The theme of rebuilding a decimated world is carried over from Dark Cloud, but this time while using a large machine named the 'Carpenterion'. Completion of each Georama map in the present repairs the future, unlocking new items and cut scenes.

Three of the features of Dark Chronicle are fishing, spheda (a sport similar to golf) and Georama. Players can bring their fish to weigh-in contests, or raise them in a fish tank feature and enter them in races. Other features include NPC recruiting, photography, an invention system and a powerful and customizable robot that can be used in battle.

An example of gameplay inside of a randomly-generated dungeon.

Another notable feature of Dark Chronicle is the focus on weapon growth instead of the traditional focus on character growth. When monsters are defeated, they drop absorption points (ABS), which, when collected, raise the experience of the weapon that dealt the final hit. When a weapon accumulates enough ABS, it will level up and gain Synthesis Points. Synthesis Points are used to infuse a weapon with an item that has been "spectrumized," which results in the weapon gaining specific stats depending on the item(s) that were spectrumized. Almost every item in the game can be spectrumized and synthesized to weaponry. Weapons themselves can also be spectrumized, but the resulting spectrumized weapon will not carry over much of its stats unless it is level five or higher. Weapons also have the capability to be "built-up." To be built-up, a weapon must meet certain criteria. In most cases, a weapon needs to have at least a certain number of several stats to be built-up, while some weapons also require the player to have defeated particular types of enemies. Some weapons can be built-up into more than one new weapon. When a weapon is built-up, it gains strength and starts over at level one. Built-up weapons are stronger than weapons that have not been built-up, and tend to earn more synthesis points when they level up.

Weapons also have durability. When a melee weapon hits a monster, or a ranged weapon is fired, the durability of the weapon decreases. If it reaches zero, the player can no longer use the weapon until it is repaired with an item or for no cost from an NPC.

The player, controlling either protagonist, can recruit non-player characters into their team by performing different tasks. The characters are not controllable and do not appear in battle, but through the 'Characters' portion of the menu, the player can access a party member's special abilities. Some party members also have an influence on the battle, for example increasing item drops or adjusting enemy behavior. Outside of dungeons (in the train and in Georama locations), some of these characters sell items.

Plot

Setting

Dark Chronicle, like its predecessor, is set within a fantasy world. Although never explicitly mentioned, it can be presumed it is also set on the planet Terra by the presence of the same two moons.

The game takes place on one continent of many different settlements, but with the destructive ways of Emperor Griffon, most of the once civilized villages are abandoned and empty.

Characters

  • Maximilian (ユリス Yurisu?) (voiced by Megumi Kubota in the Japanese version and by Scott Menville in the English version) - A young aspiring inventor living with only his father (his mother having disappeared) in the 'present'. Max comes from a wealthy family, but has no interest in privileged living with his father, preferring instead to work with an elderly friend, Cedric (voiced by Paul Eiding), in his mechanic shop. After coincidentally overhearing Flotsam - a homicidal circus ringmaster - pressuring the town mayor to produce a valuable stone, Max is soon caught up in a serious conflict, spanning both time and space. Working with Monica and other characters, Max must 'rebuild' the past to ensure a prosperous future. His weapons of choice are various wrenches, hammers and hand-held guns. He also has the ability to pilot the Ridepod, a steampunk-inspired mech named "Steve". Max has one of three special amulets, or Atlamillia, that enable travel through time, his red amulet allowing movement from the past into the future.
  • Monica (モニカ Monika?) (voiced by Hiroko Taguchi in the Japanese version and by Anndi McAfee in the English version) - A young princess, adept at both swordsmanship and magic, who hails from 100 years in the future. After the murder of her father at the hands of an enigmatic figure named Gaspard, she sets out on a journey through time to search him out. Her travels take her into the past, where she helps Max in a battle against the evil clown Flotsam, who, like her nemesis Gaspard, is a servant of Emperor Griffon. Afterwards, she joins Max on the quest to rebuild time and put an end to Griffon's scheme. Her weapons of choice are various swords and special brassards that enable her to use elemental magic. She also has the unusual ability to change into monsters using special badges, which gives her new combat options, and enables her to talk to other monsters of the same type. Monica has one of three special amulets, or Atlamillia, that enable travel through time, her blue amulet allowing movement from the future back into the past.

Story

An early cut scene showing Max, one of the game's protagonists.

The story centers around Max, a young inventor who lives in the town of Palm Brinks. Max works at Cedric's workshop where he spends time away from his father when he receives a ticket to the carnival. While at the carnival, he is attacked by the ringleader, Flotsam, after overhearing a conversation between him and the mayor about the "outside world" and the Atlamillia stones. Discovering Flotsam has been threatening and bribing the mayor, Max runs from Flotsam and his clowns who try to take the Atlamillia pendant Max has with him. Max escapes, concerned about Flotsam and the mayor's conversation about the outside world, a place he previously had no knowledge of. Max manages to get away from Flotsam's henchmen by hiding in the sewers, where he tells his friend Donny he believes this is the opportunity to see the outside world. By fighting his way through the sewers and escaping monsters, Flotsam's circus troops, and a huge robot named Halloween, Max quickly gathers together his mechanic partners and his mentor Cedric and boards a train out of Palm Brinks. Flotsam chases them down, and attempts to blow up the train, but is nearly killed by a young girl called Monica.

Princess Monica Raybrandt travelled back through time when her father, King Raybrandt was assassinated by the Dark Assassin Gaspard. Monica is much more informed of the situation than the less-worldly Max is at that time. She tells Max an evil emperor is controlling time by using his Atlamillia, the Sun Stone, and is also attempting to destroy the world of the past so that he can rule the future. Together, they journey through many towns, rebuilding each of them and ultimately restoring the past to defeat Emperor Griffon. There are four areas: Sindain, Balance Valley, Veniccio and Mount Gundor. Each area has a "dungeon" the player must defeat and retrieve stones from. Once all the stones have been collected, Max and Monica travel 10,000 years into the past to face Griffon with the timetrain Ixion. After a battle with Griffon in his palace, he steals both Atlamillia from Max and Monica and takes the Moon Flower Palace to Max's time. The only thing that can stop the Moon Flower Palace from destroying the world is the battle palace Paznos, which will not be completed until Monica's time. Max and Monica are able to trigger a chrono-union at the Kazherov Stonehenge, which allows Paznos to travel to Max's time, allowing the two to return to Moon Flower Palace for another battle with Griffon.

Griffon can summon the Star of Oblivion when he has acquired the Sun Stone (which he already possesses) the Earth Stone (Max's Atlamillia) and the Moon Stone (Monica's Atlamillia). The Sun Stone is much more powerful than the Earth and Moon Stones, as it can travel 10,000 years into the past and future, while Max and Monica's stones can only travel 100 years into the future or past, respectively.

Upon defeating him, it is revealed Griffon is a young moon person named Sirus, who has been possessed by the Dark Element. Max and Monica are able to retrieve the pendant, defeat Dark Element and deflect the meteor in time to save the world.

Development

Graphically, Dark Chronicle departs from the style of Dark Cloud completely by using cel-shading. The main characters have a higher polygon count than the supporting characters, composed of 2500 to 3000 polygons as opposed to 1500 to 2000. The game's graphics were created with Softimage 3D. Event scenes utilized the same models that were used in the normal gameplay, both of which were generated in real time. Because of this, even costume changes could be carried over from gameplay to events. Akihiro Hino, a Level-5 producer, stated that "smooth transitions between gameplay and event scenes help increase the empathy for the game." Soft textures were used to create a uniform feel for the visuals and minimize the computer generated appearance of the cel-shading. Texturing was also sometimes used to emulate lighting. The game's production took almost two years. The CG production and game development occurred concurrently.[1]

Audio

The 2-disc Dark Chronicle soundtrack was released to the Japanese market in late 2003. The soundtrack, composed by Tomohito Nishiura, consists of seventy-seven tracks. In 2004, a tribute album was made, "Dark Chronicle Premium Arrange", consisting of remixes of some of the more famous tracks from the game. Many Japanese video game industry composers worked on the recordings, from people like Chrono series composer Yasunori Mitsuda to Nobuo Uematsu's former band The Black Mages.

Dark Chronicle Original Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "Never-ending Adventure (Rush's Theme)"    
2. "The Dark Battle"    
3. "Prologue"    
4. "Premonition of Something About to Happen"    
5. "Carnival Night"    
6. "The Circus"    
7. "Red-haired Boy"    
8. "Secret Conversation"    
9. "It's Showtime!"    
10. "Moonlight Tango"    
11. "Palm Brinks"    
12. "At the Station"    
13. "Underground Water Channel"    
14. "The Battle"    
15. "Fading Consciousness"    
16. "Dim Light"    
17. "Menu"    
18. "Halloween"    
19. "Around the World"    
20. "Shop"    
21. "Crazy Buggy"    
22. "Holy Prayer"    
23. "Sindain"    
24. "Rainbow Butterfly Woods"    
25. "Calm Moment"    
26. "Firbit's Theme"    
27. "Tree Spirit Jurak"    
28. "Butterfly Dance"    
29. "Rainbow Butterfly"    
30. "Peace of the World"    
31. "Fish On!"    
32. "Balance Valley"    
33. "Shifting Windows"    
34. "Starlight Valley"    
35. "Unfulfilled Wishes"    
36. "Fire Approaches the Lighthouse"    
37. "Starlight Temple"    
38. "Turning Toward Hope"    
39. "Veniccio"    
40. "Calm Moment, Part 2"    
41. "Ocean's Roar Cave"    
42. "Fish Race!"    
43. "Lunatic Wisdom Laboratory"    
44. "Dr. Jaming"    
45. "Tutorial"    
46. "Launch! Time Train Ixion"    
47. "Battle for the Future"    
48. "Time is Changing"    
49. "Secret Energy"    
50. "Heim Rada"    
51. "Time of Separation"    
52. "Mount Gundor"    
53. "Flying Warship Death Ark"    
54. "Gundorada Workshop"    
55. "Mother"    
56. "Flame Demon Gaspard"    
57. "Memories"    
58. "Ancient Mural"    
59. "Locked Palace"    
60. "Sun"    
61. "Kazarov Stonehenge"    
62. "Flower Garden"    
63. "Moon Flower Palace"    
64. "Garden of Memories"    
65. "Premonition"    
66. "Unknown History"    
67. "Paznos' Launch!"    
68. "Giant Looming Shadow"    
69. "Dark Ruler, Emperor Griffon"    
70. "Sad Fate"    
71. "Spiral of Dreams"    
72. "Dark Element"    
73. "Zelmite Mines"    
74. "Dark Genie (Dark Cloud Main Theme)"    
75. "Beyond the Aurora"    
76. "Time is Changing (Japanese Version)"    
77. "Time is Changing (English Version)"    
Dark Chronicle Premium Arrange
No. Title Length
1. "Owaranai Bouken (Never-ending Adventure (Rush's Theme)) - Yasunori Mitsuda"    
2. "Gekka Kyuuden (Moon Flower Palace) - Shinji Hosoe"    
3. "Dark Element - Motoi Sakuraba"    
4. "Sun - Yoko Shimomura"    
5. "Moonlight Tango - Noriyuki Iwadare"    
6. "TenbinDani (Balance Valley) - Kenji Ito"    
7. "Hana no Teien (Flower Garden) - Yoko Shimomura"    
8. "Stella Mahou Jiin (Starlight Temple) - Kenji Ito"    
9. "Honoo no Majin Monster Gaspard (Flame Demon Monster Gaspard) - The Black Mages"    
10. "Ankoku no Tatakai (The Dark Battle) - Motoi Sakuraba"    
11. "Majin (Demon (Dark Cloud Main Theme)) - Noriyuki Iwadare"    
12. "Time is Changing - Shinji Hosoe"    

Reception

Dark Chronicle sold 235,917 copies in Japan by the end of 2002.[2] The game has been widely praised by reviewers. At the time of its release, IGN said "Dark Cloud 2 is arguably the best looking PS2 game out there, period".[3] The game has an aggregate review score of 88 at GameRankings[4] and 87 at Metacritic.[5] Total PlayStation gave the game 8 out of 10.[4] Gaming Target gave the game a 9.5 out of 10.[6] Gamespot gave the game a 9.0 out of 10.[7] Gamespot would also go on to name Dark Chronicle as the Best PlayStation 2 Game of 2003.[8]

See also

References

External links


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