Dark Cloud
Earlier installments:
· Dark Cloud
· Dark Cloud 2
Last seen in: 2003
Publisher: Level 5

Dark Cloud

Dark Cloud

Quoth Anna Marie Neufeld... Dragon Quest, Professor Layton, White Knight Chronicles. It's not hard to find an example of Level 5's work, and plenty don't even realize who has developed the hits they're playing. Strictly a developer with almost no titles published, it's easy to forget that behind the name of Sony and Nintendo lies some incredibly talented teams consistently making quality titles. Sometimes it's easy to forget that Level 5 began with two titles that did surprisingly well on the PlayStation 2, in the form of Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicles (named Dark Cloud 2 outside of Japan).

Dark Cloud, intended to be a PS2 launch title, was held back for a few months and released slightly later. Combining together a dungeon crawling action-RPG with a city-building twist, Dark Cloud had an incredible amount of depth, both strategy and dungeon-wise. The story was simple: the world has been wrecked by a terrible evil, with only pieces remaining within the dungeons guarded by monsters. Driven by hunter and thirst, the protagonist must time their dungeon excursions so that he is not driven to exhaustion. More thought must be put into restoring the villages: while players could simply thrown each building and individual down wherever there was room within the biosphere, taking into consideration the wants and needs of the people saved and returned to their homes will lead to harmony in the world. While the graphics have certainly not stood the test of time, the localization (though a little bland) has aged with grace along with the game mechanics.

Dark Cloud 2 takes the foundation upon which the first title lies and builds up a stronger game with a grander plot and more substance to the building system. With two characters that each focus on different combat mechanics -- Max focuses on close range combat and large enemies while Monica focuses on long-range combat and monster control. Environments which were destroyed in the past must be rebuilt in the present; only then will the future be correctly restored. Though the sequel is inherently more difficult then the original title, that shouldn't stop anyone from giving this title a try. Despite being eight years old, it stands out as superior to many of the current titles available, from the cel-shaded graphics to the puzzling construction of each Georama. While thirst and hunger were abolished, have a care with how hard the two heroes clonk the enemies -- weapon durability plays a large factor in completing a dungeon successfully.

Both are available as part of the Greatest Hits red-banner collection, so grabbing a reasonably priced copy shouldn't be hard. The good news is, a sequel is incredibly likely. Level 5 is alive and incredibly healthy, and though Sony published both titles in Japan, PAL, and North America, comments made by Level 5 imply that the series rights remain in the hands of their studio. In an interview with Kotaku in 2009, Yoshiaki Kusuda noted that interest is certainly alive within the studio if RPGamers express enough interest.

"There are many staff members, including myself at Level 5, who have worked on the Dark Cloud series," he told me through a translator. "There are some who decided to join Level 5 because they love the Dark Cloud series. So, if requests from users should increase in the future, we would seriously consider making it." source.

Time to get writing!

Can a new game happen?

Series Highlights


Dark Cloud 2

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