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Skies of Arcadia : Legends

“Skies of Arcadia: Legends” for the Nintendo Gamecube is a remake of the game “Skies of Arcadia”. It takes place in a world that floats in the clouds. There are islands of rock that float in the air, where people have made their homes and villages. To get from island to island, airships were made, using the power of the Six Moons. The Six Moons are each different colors: Red, Yellow, Purple, Blue, Green, and Silver. They represent, respectively, Fire, Electricity, Ice, Wind, Life, and “Void”. The Moons drop moonstones, which can be used to power things, like airships and weapons. Each Moon has a continent that represents it, and the continent uses the power of the moon to their best advantage. The Nayr people live under the Red Moon, and they are a desert culture. The Valuans have established a great technological empire from the electricity of the Yellow Moon. There is a lot of unexplored space, and nobody really knows what lies beyond his or her little realms.

The game opens with a small, sleek, shiny ship being chased by a giant metal Valuan battleship in a scene reminiscent of the opening from Star Wars. The person on the smaller ship is a young woman. The captain of the larger ship, Alfonse, seems to be a rich pretty-boy. He says that the girl is from the “Silver Continent” and orders that concussion shells be fired at the smaller ship to knock the young woman unconscious. The sailors do so, and she is taken aboard. Suddenly, the bigger ship rocks from an explosion! They’re being attacked by Air Pirates! The main character, Vyse, a boy who uses two cutlasses in battle, swings down from the Crow’s Nest of the pirate ship and challenges a group of soldiers. Then his best friend Aika, a girl with a boomerang, jumps over, too. They battle the soldiers, then when the rest of the pirates come, run off to search for the captain. While Vyse and Aika fight some more Valuan Soldiers, the captain gets away. The Air Pirates bring the girl (Fina) onto their ship and tell her they are Blue Rogues, who only attack armed ships, unlike the Black Pirates, who attack defenseless ships. The pirates all go back to the very creatively named Pirate Island, where they celebrate their victory. Vyse and Aika introduce Fina to all the people of the island, and then go off exploring for a day. When they come back, the island has been attacked, and the Valuan Armada has taken Fina and all the Pirates away. Then Vyse and Aika decide to go rescue their friends from the evil Valuan Empire’s clutches.
The graphics in this are good, as RPGs go. It is an enhanced version of an older game, so the graphics are nothing like, say, Final Fantasy 10. The sound and music are very nice, as with most RPG games. Where this game is the character, world, and gameplay design. The characters range from Vyse, the average do-gooder anime-style RPG character, to Drachma, a sailor done in the style of Captain Ahab, who lost his arm to a giant Arcwhale (a whale that swims in air) called Rhaknam. Unlike Ahab, however, Drachma was able to get a mechanical metal arm. The world in this is pretty big, though some things in it (like walls of air that prevent you from going places) don’t make a lot of sense. The airships are cool, though, and you can upgrade your ship with armor and cannons, to fight in ship-to-ship battles. The overall effect of the towns, including people in them, buildings, and surroundings, are pretty neat. Also, the detail in the gameplay and battles amaze me. Unlike many RPGs, in Skies of Arcadia: Legends, characters will fight in the background (but not do any damage) while they wait for their turn. Last, there are less “Random Encounters” than in Final Fantasy, which means you can walk quite a bit without running into an enemy. Overall, this is an incredibly good RPG. 10/10.

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