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The ARC Legacy
"Nuclear warfare in the midst of magic"
Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Gaming Hunk: Rydar
The year is 2085.
The world was destroyed by a nuclear war, killing off all ways of modern
life. The remaining survivors were forced underground, where they would
prosper for centuries. It wasn't until the radiation cleared, and people
forgot about science and technology, that man reclaimed the earth.
A few people, called
the Archaeologists, were curious about the world that used to live above.
What destroyed them? How can we benefit from the technologies that this
past civilization had developed? They will soon learn too much about the
weapons of self-destruction that brought humanity to its knees...
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
|The ARC Legacy sometimes boasts nice,
original graphics that make reviewers like me happy, like the character
design for the ARC Legacy's four main characters: Rydar, Kalrin, Bokk,
and Malcolm. Kalrin's dress in particular is nice, not because she's showing
leg but because the way she looks is different from the typical armored,
skirted valkyries that have taken over most QB and console RPGs.
But every time I find a new appreciation
for the extra time put into full-screen graphic demos and original artwork
(which is not great but was a pretty average job), I get bombarded by unoriginal
and sometimes ripped artwork from popular video games and cartoon shows.
One time I met a popular Final Fantasy character, ripped sprite and all,
in the prison. The fact that there was this short, Japanimation character
in the middle of a world where everyone was drawn to be real-looking really
threw me off. Then, the final straw was when I was attacked by Eric from
South Park. Look at the screenshots above and just imagine how Eric clashes
with the rest of the game's graphics.
While I'm addressing South Park though,
I should mention that the excessive blood in this game is one of the main
reasons why this game gets an "M" rating. Every enemy spatters blood when
they die in this game. Even the snowmen bleed excessively when they die.
It's not gruesomely animated, but it certainly makes ARC Legacy more than
just kiddie material now.
If you're a major speaker against blood
and profanity in video games (which occurs in bushels in the uncut version
of this game), you can download the "edited" version of The ARC Legacy
from Abstract Productions. You can go to their site by clicking
here. The edited version of the ARC Legacy would receive a
rating by V Planet's standards.
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
|At first, this score seems inaccurate.
After all, a majority of The ARC Legacy does not have PC sound effects
or Sound Blaster music. In fact, during most battles you won't hear a single
tune or even a single PC beep, with a few rare exceptions. But then, sometimes
it isn't necessarily how many sound effects were used. Sometimes how you
use the few sounds you have can make a real impact on game's feel. The
following is true of this QBRPG.
For the ARC Legacy, Abstract Productions
invested in PC sound effects to help give some of their full-screen graphics
demos some flavor. The sudden shock value of having a PC sound effect suddenly
jolt in the middle of a demo while you've playing for two hours can really
wake you up and get your focus back into the game. A few objects, usually
later on in the game, also make sound effects when your party touches them.
This helps to give the last part of the game some life.
|Gameplay (n.)The precision of control
and involvement of character within its universe
|Gameplay is another component that improves
as The ARC Legacy progresses. Part of the gradual increase in gameplay
is due to the game's unusual menu system. For example, if you wanted
to cast Recovery Blast to heal one of your party members while you were
at town, you would have to first press a number indicating who will cast
the spell, use the directional keys and press the space bar to pick the
spell, and then press a number to indicate who needs to recover. This alternation
between numeric choices and scroll boxes makes the menu somewhat clumsy,
but after a while you can get used to it.
As far as the actual game goes, expect
your typical overhead RPG with turn-based Dragon Warrior battles. Yet the
ARC Legacy isn't a town-to-town game either; oftentimes the game's story
arc will take you back to a town you've previously visited. Sometimes you'll
even notice that changes take place whenever you come back to a town after
surviving a criitical part of your quest.
It does get kind of lulling because the
ARC Legacy doesn't have battle sound effects for most of the game. Fortunately,
there were quite a few bells and whistles that Abstract Prouductions included
to help the gameplay out. An effective save feature allows you to save
anywhere on the field map or in a town, making it easy to take a break
and continue the quest later on. Another feature I liked is the extensive
use of gold. In the ARC Legacy, you buy all your items, weapons, armor,
and spells (a la Final Fantasy I). That means there's always something
for you ro buy, giving you more incentive to participate in battles. You
won't be disappointed either; armors are especially useful and I've a lot
of uses for the moderately vast magic spell library built into this game.
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
|People seeking a serious, dark and clever
RPG plot better steer clear of the ARC Legacy. The game's apocalyptic plot
brings forth just one too many shadows of the SNES RPGs Breath of Fire
II and Paladin's Quest. It was nice to see the story of how our weapons
of mass destruction combined with medevil times (which was the theme of
ARC) but the game was trying just a little too hard to make me laugh for
me to take some of the game's more critical parts seriously. Some music
during the game would have helped to set the mood.
The dialogue throughout the ARC Legacy
also lacks the personality and panache of an RPG with a high-calibur storyline.
While all the villagers and characters looked different, they acted like
two or three allegorical Junior High kids. The love story thrown in this
game's plot was particularly strange.
ARC Legacy's Story strength will come from
it's full-screen demos. Not too many RPGs try to insert this kind of demo
(which was popularized by Sega Genesis and the Phantasy Star Series) in
the middle of their game. And, for what it's worth, ARC's demo sequences
seem to come at just the right times.
If there's any consolation, the game's
ending is pretty good and it really looks like the extra time spent to
make sure that the 7-10 hours spent playing this game was worth it paid
off big for Abstract Productions. I dare even say that the ending did something
that no other QB game has done before... what the heck am I talking about?
This is yet another incentive for you to beat the game yourself and find
|Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience
can be repeated again and again
|With this game, the amount of play value
you have depends on the number of spells that you have. That makes ARC
Legacy most fun during the end of the game, because Malcolm has an incredible
list of spells to choose from (and thus many ways to wittingly char and
This, of course, is a two-way street. While
the end of the game is replayable because of a larger spell library, the
beginning of the game is replayable because the mazes aren't so long. The
last few dungeons in ARC Legacy are huge and winding, and the enemies are
really too weak at that point to be much of a threat. But the beginning
of the game offers some challenge that'll keep the fingers busy. The long
and short of it? Replay Value varies throughout the game, making it a little
hard to play through the ten hour quest again.
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought
|Average. The enemies start off at a medium
difficulty and get gradually easier as the game wears on. The exception
are the game's bosses, which tend to get more heinous than the last even
if your train your party thoroughly.
The key to ARC Legacy is to always make
sure that your party is well equipped with armors and healing spells. With
great armor, it's usually tough for enemies to penetrate you. Combine that
with some healing power and you can develop a party that can get a lot
of gold quickly and efficiently for weapons and offensive spells.
|Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
|ARC Legacy gas that old-school feel that
QBRPGs had during the days of Konrad the Warrior, Elysian Fields, and Hellpit
Trilogy. What made ARC less fun for me was the constant, unneeded cameos
that tarnished the game's medevil aspect. Also, the game's enemy frequency
feels high, or maybe it's because battles in the ARC Legacy don't have
the special effects that make me proud to smother my foes. Still, if you're
looking for an RPG that indeed gets better as you go on, you might want
to hop on a boat to the ARC Legacy.
||Genre: Role Playing Game
||To solve: 7-10 hours Final Rating: 11/35
To download this game, click here.
you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
play The ARC Legacy, run "ARC.EXE".
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