Skies of Arcadia, released in Japan as , is a console role-playing game developed by Overworks for the Dreamcast and published by Sega in 2000. Skies of Arcadia Legends, a port, was released for the GameCube in 2002. Legends was also in development for the PlayStation 2; however, it was canceled shortly before the GameCube release. The game was also scheduled for a Windows PC release in Japan in 2004, although this port was subsequently canceled as well. The game's story focuses around Vyse, a young pirate in a Jules Verne-inspired fantasy world, and his friends as they attempt to stop the Valuan Empire from reviving ancient weapons with the potential to destroy the world.
Most of gameplay in Skies of Arcadia takes place in dungeons. Controlling the protagonist, Vyse, from a third-person view, players must traverse and defeat these dungeons in order to advance the storyline. Dungeons comprise of a network of pathways with treasure chest, puzzles, and ubiquitous monsters. Completing the dungeons is usually a matter of exploring each of the possible pathways presented to the player until the correct one is found. Treasure chests are commonplace and contain some of the most powerful items in the game. Throughout the dungeon gameplay the player meets compulsory random encounter. If the entire player party is defeated, progress is reset to the beginning of the dungeon. In the Dreamcast version, it was possible to slightly foresee these random encounters by noticing a loud spin-up of the console's GD-ROM drive. This gave the player time to open the start menu and prepare for the battle.
Travel between the numerous dungeons is accomplished by piloting an airship through the overworld, a three dimensional sky with massive floating rocks forming islands and continents. Some islands are completely uninhabited, while others are filled with sprawling towns and cities. All dungeons are located on these islands and continents. There are two exceptions to this, where a dungeon is traversed whilst piloting the airship. This form of dungeon contains floating spherical objects instead of treasure chests, and vortex-like tunnels in place of corridors and doors in one case, and a single series of tunnels in the other.
Overworld travel takes place entirely on the player's airship. The world is at first divided by impassable "sky rifts" which bar the player's passage. Throughout overworld travel, unavoidable random encounters occur as in the dungeons. These battles take place on the deck of the airship and are otherwise identical to their dungeon-based counterparts. Later in the game, however, an advanced mechanism is discovered for the player's ship which allows it to rise above the upper cloud layer and sink below the lower cloud layer of Arcadia, presenting two ways to avoid these encounters, and also provides the player the means to pass through sky rifts. In addition, ship-to-ship combat can occur whilst traveling through the overworld; however, the majority of these are unavoidable boss fights which advance the storyline. Random ship-to-ship battles can occur, but they are rare and avoidable.
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Official Site: Sega
Links: SoA Character's Wiki Article Skies of Arcadia World RPG Dreamer