And then there were the mini-games. Oh, the time I spent on them. They elongated my playing time to roughly 120 hours
including the main story. Playing Spheda (the Dark Chronicle version of golf) in a dungeon area, for example. It was tough to get a medal for extra costumes and stuff, but it was a great distraction, and it provided a perfect excuse to return to a dungeon. Fishing was also back, and had two mini-games connected to it. Feed your fish to race, or simply hang your heaviest three on a hook for a prize.
After completing it, I was happy. I made a resolution; if Level 5 could keep a similar amount of quality running through their other RPGs, then I would have to get them. I loved RPGs ever since a copy of Mystic Quest Legend (AKA ‘My First RPG’) for the SNES. But even the Final Fantasy series, when I came across them in their PSOne stages, didn’t hold me with a vice-like grip upon casual plays. I had found the game I loved, and I wanted more of it. Hell, I even got a PSP after I heard that Dark Cloud 3 may have been coming out for it (it didn’t, by the way).
Ultimately, I got Dragon Quest VIII (it was programmed by Level 5; Square-Enix did the QA and localization work) and Rogue Galaxy. Whilst Dragon Quest stuck to the old school gameplay formula, I stuck with it to the end. The presentation was fantastic, with the orchestral music and cel-shading especially of note. Rogue Galaxy, however, was proper Level 5 stuff, a continuation of what made the Dark Cloud series so good. It included character levelling along with weapon-combination evolution. It had another addictive mini-game called Insectron, which made me want to play the game more after I had completed it. It had pirates in space
, for crying out loud. There was nothing I hated about it.
I owe Level 5 a debt of thanks for introducing me to a set of games that have reminded me why I love gaming. I may have came across the Burnout and Road Rash series in my time, but they didn’t catch my attention again after I crossed the finishing line with the bodywork in pieces. If you love someone and believe they are your soulmate, your feelings then shouldn’t stop straight after you’ve tied the knot and did the wild thing. The same thing applies with games. If you have tried everything the game has to offer, and you still want to play again, then that is your rightful companion for life and beyond.
And I will get round to purchasing Jeanne D’arc one day.