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Dark Cloud PS2 Game cover

Dark Cloud is a series of action adventure games by Level-5 with elements of RPG and simulation games. There are currently two entries in the series: Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle (known as Dark Cloud 2 in the U.S.), both of which are exclusively available for the PlayStation 2. The series has been compared to the action-adventure/simulation hybrids ActRaiser and Soul Blazer. Sony went on the record to state that it was a Zelda "killer". A third title, Dark Cloud 3 was announced at E3 2004, but its current status is unknown. What was originally planned as Dark Cloud 3 is seculated to have become Rogue Galaxy over the course of its development.

Gameplay

  • Dark Cloud is a role-playing game in which the player travels around in randomly-generated dungeons, defeating monsters and collecting items. Inside dungeons, the player also has the option, providing that the correct item and transportation gate are located, of entering a "back room". It is somewhat similar to The Legend of Zelda Series. These special sections house stronger monsters and more valuable items.
  • A large part of Dark Cloud's gameplay involves a special type of item, collected in dungeons from holders called "Atla". These items, once removed from the dungeon, become pieces of geography (such as trees, houses and villagers) that are to be placed in their proper locations on the overworld.
  • The more a weapon is used, the stronger it becomes. However, they will eventually wear out with constant use, and it is necessary to repair them lest they break. If a character's weapon breaks, it is removed from their inventory unless it was their starting weapon that broke. This creates the necessity to increase more than one weapon's level. Many times players will have one supreme weapon and ten weaker weapons. When their strong weapon breaks, they are left with little to go on. When a weapon obtains a certain amount of absorption points, it can be upgraded; an upgraded weapon absorbs any attachments equipped to it, and the level number next to its name (ex: Dagger+1) increases. When a weapon reaches level 5, a "Status Break" is possible. This feature transforms the weapon itself into an attachment, which can then be equipped to other weapons for a sizeable increase in power.

A unique trait that separates it from most RPGs is that the main characters do not level up; rather, their weapons do. (The player characters themselves can only grow stronger with the consumption of certain foods.)

  • Dark Cloud features 6 different main characters: 3 ranged fighters and 3 melee fighters. Melee characters can use many weapons, from generic swords and hammers to such unusual tools as giant cacti and frozen fish. Ranged characters can use magic rings, guns and even slingshots. To navigate the dungeons through various traps and barriers, each character's unique skills must be used at some point.
  • A fishing mini-game is also available at four spots in the game, with "fishing points" awarded for successful catches. These points can be traded in for various supplies and equipment, some extremely valuable.

Story

Prolouge

In a mysterious land of two moons, a king seeking ultimate glory on the battlefield wishes on an ancient dark magic to defeat all his foes. With this wish comes an evil price. Four hundred years into the present, western militants uncover a large ceremonial urn which contains the unspeakable evil. They release its contents by performing a ceremony of old. This reveals that the evil incarnate is a being known as the Dark Genie. Colonel Flag, the person who sought over the ceremony, plans to use the Dark Genie strictly for military conquest. The Colonel’s plans however soon lead to him being disposed of as a temporary puppet rather than the Dark Genie’s master.

While the common folk of Norune Village are celebrating a festival for the bountiful harvest, the Dark Genie starts a rampage to crash the festivities and destroy the village. Toan, the main character of the video game, makes a flying leap to save a friend and all blacks out. We soon discover that the Fairy King, a powerful sorcerer who watches over and protects all, casts a protective spell around the village as well as other locations of the world; that causes the buildings, objects, and people to be only scattered by the Dark Genie's attack.

Chapter 1: Rescurrent of Nature

Toan is bestowed a stone of Atlamillia from the Fairy King and learns that he must travel through dungeons searching for these various people, places, and things in the form of floating orbs called Atla. Toan then goes to the Norune Village mayor, who gives Toan some supplies and the key to the first dungeon, the Divine Beast Cave. The mayor also advises Toan to seek the help of the village's guardian, Dran, who resides in the Cave. Toan then journeys through the cave and collects the Norune Village Atla. When Toan approaches a certain floor, a mysterious white-haired man called Seda, challenges him to a duel. Toan loses and notices a little cat on the ground, which he attempts to protect. The white-haired man throws him a changing potion and tells him to allow the cat to drink from it.

Wondering if the potion is trustworthy or not, Toan takes the risk of giving the potion to the cat. The potion causes the cat to change into a half-human/half-cat form and Toan gains his first ally, an ally which you can switch to in order to jump over large chasms and use sling shot weaponry. When Toan makes it to the final floor he finally meets Dran, who appears as a mythical dog-like beast. However, Dran starts to attack. Toan battles Dran into submission. Toan explains a dark magic had poisoned Dran's mind and caused him to attack. Dran explains that the magic cast by the Dark Genie had been sealed in the urn by a magic tribe called the Moon People, and that only with their help can they seal the Dark Genie’s magic once more. In order to find the Moon People he must venture forth towards Brownboo Village which is found deep in the Matataki forests.

Dran offers his assistance to Toan by allowing him to ride on Dran’s back to any location he desires. Dran first drops off Toan at Matataki Village and suggests that he seek the help from a giant tree called the Great Treant before heading to Brownboo.

Chapter 2: Spirit of the great warrior

While entering the village Toan is yet again challenged with a duel by a robust and hotheaded boy called Goro. Goro runs back up to his tree house and drops magical earrings which allow you to understand what the creatures of the forest, such as Treant, are saying. Goro eventually joins Toan adding an ally with the abilities to wield heavy axes and hammers that can pound down nearly anything.

Toan finds the clearing where Treant resides and the Fairy King suddenly appears beside him. The Fairy King explains that in order for Treant to speak and move once more his water supply from the river must be restored as Toan collects Atla from the next dungeon called Wise Owl Forest. As Toan makes his way through the forest he is able to collect enough Atla to reconnect the river in order to restore Treant’s speech and motor functions. Treant thanks Toan for his work and sets him on his quest with words of warnings as well as a sword (the Serpent's Sword) to add to Toan’s inventory to wield in an upcoming battle. When Toan reaches a certain floor he ends up being pitted against by a large ferocious snake called the Killer Snake. Toan eventually makes it to the final floor and faces the giant primate called Master Utan, who was also once the guardian of the forest.

After defeating Master Utan, Toan learns once more that the guardian was also under dark magic. After Toan and Utan finish exchanging words he hurls away a massive boulder that was covering the entrance to another destination of Toan’s. Toan walks past and enters Brownboo Village. The village residents are the magical Moon People tribe that Toan is looking for but ends up getting not so warm a welcome. The residents see him as suspicious and sneakily cast down a giant chestnut on his head. When Toan wakes up he is bounded and questioned. Toan struggles to explain his quest to save the world and defeat the Dark Genie. His captors first disregard what he is saying until they receive news that a vision of the Dark Genie has been seen in their crystal ball. They release Toan and devise a plan on how to defeat the Dark Genie’s magic permanently but they require the use of the Moon Orb, to use to call upon the Moon Ship, to do so. In order to find the orb Toan must travel to the seaside village of Queens as he collects his Atla to restore the town.

Chapter 3: Curse of the Cathedral

Toan arrives at Queens and finds a sole merchant remaining. After questioning the merchant he learns of a Shipwreck (the next dungeon) whose sunken treasures may contain the Moon Orb. When Toan restores a mansion of one of the Queen's wealthy residents he gets the ally addition of Ruby, whose abilities include being able to shoot magic blasts by the bands on her forearms and opening doors with magic gems embedded in them. Toan continues to collect the necessary Atla to restore Queens, and learns in between, a tale about a bride of the village who was left waiting for eternity unintentionally at the altar by her love, along with a rumored orb that grants eternal life for the holder in exchange for their most treasured possession. These tales and the necessary items needed to access the final floor connect when Toan gains a key to a music box and triggers the spawning of the bride’s lonely altar. With anger at her tragic past the bride lashes out at Toan and becomes La Saia, the boss of the Shipwreck. After defeating La Saia her sadness is finally left to rest as her love, who turns out to be the lone merchant at the beginning of the Queens level who lost La Saia in his deal for eternal life with the orb, keeps his promise and finally arrives at the altar, Toan is able to gain the Moon Orb.

Toan returns to Brownboo Village but the Moon People, even with the aid of the Moon Orb, are unable to summon the Moon Ship. To find out what might be stalling the ship from appearing they ask Toan to next travel to the desert village of Muska Racka and journey through the Sun and Moon Temple dungeon to locate the ship.

Chapter 4: The Spirit of the desert

While journeying through the dungeon to collect Atla to restore the village and locate the ship, Toan befriends a desert warrior called Ungaga. Once Ungaga regains his confidence, he becomes an ally of Toan whose abilities include the use of various staffs and creating mini-cyclones to blow away dark mists and thick fog. Ungaga’s abilities come in especially handy when Toan reaches the final floor and faces a boss, that appears as a thick man-shaped fog, known as The King’s Curse.

Once Toan is able to defeat the King’s Curse a passage opens up that leads to the Moon Ship. Toan goes through many leaps and jumps in order to reach the ship safely. With the help of the Moon People the ship is finally able to be activated with the Moon Orb and they set their destination for the moon city of Yellow Drops.

Chapter 5: Power of the Sun

When Toan makes it to Yellow Drops he meets a Moon person called Osmond. Osmond explains to Toan that this time around the Atla he will be collecting would be used to restore their giant battle robot. With the use of the robot the Moon People believe they can destroy the Dark Genie for good. Osmond also decides to join Toan as an ally whose abilities include the use of a helicopter hover pack that allows him to float over chasms and gun/laser weaponry.

Toan makes his way through the Moon Sea (the dungeon for Yellow Drops) and collects Atla to restore the giant battle robot called the Sun Giant. The last piece Toan requires to finish rebuilding the robot is called the Sun Sphere. To obtain the Sun Sphere Toan faces a giant Minotaur called Minotaur Joe in a coliseum-like battle. After Toan defeats Minotaur Joe he receives the Sun Sphere as a prize and gives it to Osmond to complete the building of the Sun Giant. Toan along with Osmond and his crew man the Sun Giant and sets its course to the location of Dark Heaven Castle, where the Dark Genie now resides.

Characters

Playable Charaters

It is notable that all of the playable characters in Dark Cloud can be renamed, however, the names listed below are the ones that the game sets as a default selection.

  • Toan of Norune Village is the silent protagonist of Dark Cloud, a village boy with a pure heart and an unnatural courage who is charged with the restoration of the world due to these reasons. The Fairy King grants Toan the "Atlamillia", a magical blue crystal with the power to restore the parts of the world that have been destroyed. Scattered throughout various dungeons are Atla stones, which contain pieces of the world. Toan must gather and reassemble them to restore order.

Toan has the unique power to open the Atla stones, and is the only character that can be controlled outside of dungeons. He fights with daggers, knives, and swords. His most powerful weapon, the Chronicle 2, can only be acquired by completing a difficult post-game subquest called the Demon Shaft.

  • Xiao is a stray cat that Toan first encounters in the Divine Beast Cave. He runs into her several times as he descends the cave's many floors, but she quickly flees every time they meet. Later, Toan meets Seda, and is drawn into a sudden duel. As the skilled Seda is about to gain the upper hand with a magic blast, Toan notices that Xiao has wandered into the room behind him. He sacrifices a chance to dodge in order to protect the hapless animal. Impressed, but deciding not to waste any more of his time, Seda leaves. Xiao then turns into a piece of Atla, and Toan takes her back to his house to recover. Later, when Toan receives a Changing Potion as a reward from dueling Seda, Xiao takes on the form that she holds for the rest of the game: as an energetic young catgirl, who takes an instant affection to Toan. It is at this point she finally joins the adventure.

For most of the game, Xiao is the only character who can cross large gaps and pitfalls in the floor, using her feline agility to hop onto tiny footholds. She is the first party member with a long-ranged attack, able to pelt opponents with her slingshot. In addition, she can equip a rare talking slingshot called Steve, who offers amusing comments and advice on defeating enemies.

  • Goro is a brash, aggressive boy from Matataki village, who initially refuses to trust Toan and duels him the first time they meet. His father was the village's legendary warrior, but long ago he disappeared on a mission to eliminate the Killer Snake in the Wise Owl Forest. When Toan completes the Wise Owl Forest and defeats the Snake, the young woodsman grudgingly agrees to join forces with him.

Goro's great strength enables him to push large switches and open doors for his teammates. He wields hammers, clubs, and other heavy weapons, including a large frozen tuna.

  • Ruby is an alluring genie fresh from the bottle. Once Toan restores the King's house in the seaside city of Queens, the King rewards Toan with a mysterious lamp from which Ruby was released. Grateful for freedom, and taking a liking to Toan on sight, the powerful magician joins his party.
  • Ruby is the only character whose default attack, a magic blast generated by the bands on her forearms, can open doors with magic gems embedded in them. She can change the elemental nature of these blasts at will (to Fire, Ice, Wind, Lighting, or Holy) in order to suit the situation or enemy. (All weapons in the game have the ability to gain elemental natures, but Ruby is unable to deactivate them.)
  • Ungaga, a humorless young man who holds the duty of defending the ancient Sun & Moon Temple. The Dark Genie's rampage destroyed his desert village of Muska Lacka, forcing the Fairy King to transform its inhabitants into Atla. Toan finds the town hero at the temple, crushed at his inability to protect Muska Lacka and his girlfriend, Mikara, from their fate. When Toan rescues and revives Mikara as he has already saved many others, Ungaga's faith and confidence is restored, and he agrees to lend his considerable skills to the group.

Ungaga, a warrior of incredible height, has the longest attack range of the melee fighters. He slashes at enemies from medium range using spears, halberds, tridents, and even a giant nail. He has limited ability to control wind, which he can use to damage enemies or sweep away poisoned air.

  • Osmond is one of the Moon People of Yellow Drops. This town, safe in its airborne sanctuary, escaped destruction -- but their prototype battle robot did not. At Toan's arrival, the Moon People are busy building another robot with which to destroy the Dark Genie. Once this mechanized monster is completed, with Toan's help, Osmond sees fit to team up with the other heroes. He cuts arguably the most unusual figure with his stocky build, enormous goggles and strange fashion sense.

Osmond's futuristic equipment includes a small propeller (contained in his backpack) that allows him to hover and fly. This ability can be used to traverse pits that even Xiao cannot cross. His advanced Yellow Drops weaponry includes machine guns, lasers and flamethrowers, making him an extremely effective fighter from a distance; unfortunately, he tends to run out of ammunition very quickly. His strongest weapon, the Supernova, fires large energy shells that can be powered with different elements -- much like Ruby's magic. Osmond makes a cameo appearance at the Luna Lab in Dark Cloud's sequel, Dark Chronicle.

Unplayable Characters

Seda

The former ruler of a great kingdom, he made a contract with the devil to kill his enemies during a war. When his fiancé, Sophia, was murdered, his hatred gave birth to the Dark Genie. After the destruction of his kingdom, he traveled forth in time to seek out the bearer of the Atlamillia: Toan. When he found him in the Divine Beast Cave, the Dark Genie took control of Seda, leading to a duel between him and Toan. Later, he is found at Dark Heaven Castle where he gave Toan the task of traveling through the Gallery of Time to change the past so that the Dark Genie would never have been born (although it turns out that your interference in the past is what caused Sophia to die in the first place). The Dark Genie possesses him, and Seda impales himself to buy time for Toan to escape to the Gallery of Time.

Simba, The Fairy King

An ancient and powerful fairy who bestows Toan his Atlamillia and gives him the mission to rebuild the world and defeat the Dark Genie.

The Chief (Norune's chief) He is the governer of Norune Village living in a submarine-like house. He was the only one not sealed in Atla after the Dark Genie's attack. After Toan's return, he gives him instructions as well as supplies. He will perpetually give him supplies until Toan has restored the Gaffer's buggy as well as the Gaffer himself.

Dran
Dran is the God of all beasts. He is the guardian of Norune Village, found at the end of the Divine Beast Cave and at the start of the Dark Heaven Castle. Dran was first met in the Divine Beast cave while in control by the Dark Genie and became a boss level. But later his bad side vanished and became Toan's friend. But, when Toan and Osmond and their crew go to the Dark Heaven Castle after the Sun Giant is destroyed, Dran saves only Toan and Osmond but says the rest of the crew are dying by falling down in the Dark Cloud. After Dran drops Toan off at Dark Heaven Castle, he tells Osmond and Toan to defeat the evil inside the castle once and for all. And after then, Dran doesn't appear in the rest of the game. You can also see Dran when Toan receives the windmill attack from Dran.

Demon Shaft

A hidden dungeon becomes available after beating the game, a 100-level tower called Demon Shaft, which reaches to outer space. An elemental shift every twenty floors. On the final floor, the player must fight the Black Knight, the hidden boss of the Demon Shaft. After defeating the Black Knight you obtain the chronicle 2 sword(the most powerful sword in the game).

Trivia

  • A Playable Demo version of this game was distributed with the Playstation 2.
  • The supposed "main" antagonist of the game -- Flagg -- may be a reference to Randall Flagg, the "supervillain" of Stephen King's many stories.
  • "Xiao" literally means "little" or "small" in Chinese (小).
  • Due to a programming error, the back room key to the Gallery of Time in the American version, the "Flapping Duster", is extremely rare compared to the other backroom keys. Many people even doubt its existence.
  • After defeating the boss of the Shipwreck, the merchant from Queens will show up, and thank you, calling you Toan, despite what you put for your name.
  • The other distinction between the Japanese and American versions of Dark Cloud is the Demon Shaft; this location does not appear in the Japanese version.
  • Two NPCs in Norune Village, the bodybuilding brothers Macho and Komacho, are a possible reference to boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho.
  • Dark Cloud is notable for having relatively bad Japanese translation. Many of the monster's names are put together (Masterutan, Kingprickly, etc.), as well as many items, such as georama parts (Anticurseamulet, Leaningtower). Some names and items are even misspelled (Corsae, Auntie Medu).
  • All mentions to attacking a monster are put as if you attacked with the circle button, instead of the "X".
  • In the anime series Ghost Stories, the only video game the characters ever play is Dark Cloud. However, in the revamped English version they call it Grand Theft Auto.
  • Dark Cloud has very notable similarities with the ActRaiser and Soul Blazer series of games by Quintet, as well as Chunsoft's roguelike Fushigi no Dungeon 2: Furai no Shiren, such as referring to Christian religion.
Ps2 This article is part of an ongoing project to give detailed descriptions of all games created for the PlayStation 2 gaming console.

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