Skies of Arcadia is a role-playing game for the Dreamcast, released in Japan on October 5, 2000 as Eternal Arcadia. In the US it was released as Skies of Arcadia on November 13, 2000. It was developed by Overworks (subsequently known as Sega WOW) and published by Sega. Skies of Arcadia: Legends was a port of the Dreamcast version and featured 24 new discoveries, a new sub-plot featuring a character named Piastol, a new bounty system that rewarded the player for defeating typically new optional bosses and a few extra weapons and items.
The story centers around Vyse, a young man who wishes to travel the air as a sky pirate. His father is the captain of the pirate crew, the Blue Rogues. As the group sails through the skies, they run into a warship of the Valuan Empire attacking a young girl's ship, so they decide to take advantage of the distracted ship and raid it. Vyse and his companion Aika board the ship in search of valuables, but they run into Fina, the mysterious girl who was being attacked. They rescue her and the Blue Rogues head back to Pirate Island, their headquarters.
After they land, Vyse, Aika, and Fina see a stone fall to a nearby island and decide to investigate. When they return, they find that the Valuan army has attacked their home in retribution, and have captured many of their friends and family. Now the three companions must find a way to break into the Valuan Empire, rescue their friends, and find out why Fina is so important to their enemies.
Skies of Arcadia offers fairly standard turn-based RPG combat: it has physical attacks, spells, and special attacks unique to each character. Players choose the action they will take before a turn and then watch the characters and the enemies alternate turns attacking each other. Character agility and attack choices effect the order in which the characters will take turns. The gameplay mechanic that sets this system apart from other rpg's is that there is one pool of energy that the whole party can draw upon to perform magic and special abilities. This brings a new dynamic to the fights since you have to think ahead about what moves you are going to use. Alternatively, each player can perform a focus action to add "spirit points" to the group and can more easily access super moves or a special crew attack when you fill up the pool. It is also important to keep your party alive as when a character is unconscious that characters "spirit points" are no longer added to the pool at the beginning of the players turn, limiting player options.
Another aspect that this game shares with other rpg's is the idea that the enemies have weakness to certain elements. In the game you gain access to different crystals imbued with elements as you progress through the story. You are allowed to change the elements of your weapon at any time during the fight without any penalty. This allows the player to change up their strategy on the fly and gain the upper hand when fighting bosses of regular monster. When you finished fight you will get points based on the element set to your weapon at the end of the fight. The characters also get a smaller fraction of points if someone else in your party has their weapon set to a different element. This is the basic magic system of the game, each color corresponds to a certain element.
- Red- Fire, increase strength
- Green-Healing magic, poison
- Blue- Water/Wind magic, increase speed
- Purple- Ice magic, can cast silence to negate special/magic attacks
- Yellow- Lightning magic, can lower enemy defense
- Silver- Life and Death magic
Battles In The Sky!
Skies of Arcadia also features a airship-to-airship battle system, which are a fusion on the turn based combat that is featured in Skies of Arcadia with some interesting elements borrowed from strategy rpg's. These battle are heavily dependent on planning ahead as victory is often dependent on landing multiple attacks to strike at the same time. For example, you could launch a torpedo to hit in three rounds then shoot a gun that hits for two rounds, so on the third round when you shoot your regular guns you also land the torpedoes you fired before, letting you score massive damage on your enemy.
You can also customize your air ship with better weapons as well as gather crew members for your ship which will give it bonus features that can be called upon in combat. Another feature of the airship combat is the ability to perform a special attack. These special attacks can only be called upon once you get your ship into the right position as well as have enough points to perform the attack. This requires the player to out maneuver the enemy to get into position.
These Character descriptions are based upon the Character introductions given in the Skies of Arcadia Legends manual.
Vyse: Young Pirate who dreams of grasping the limits of the skies. The main character of Skies of Arcadia. A young boy of the Blue Rogues. Handles two cutlasses with both hands. Full of curiosity, and very fearless. Quote: "One day, I shall see what lies beyond the clouds, the so-called limits of the world."
Aika: A bright, ever-cheerful girl, who trusts and takes actions with Vyse at any time. A childhood friend of Vyse who rides on the same Pirate ship. Straightforward and frank, she will clearly say whatshe likes and what she doesn't like, but her Pirate friends admire her agility and skill with the boomerang. Quote: "Friends and treasures, which shall I take? Why both, of course."
Fina: A girl from a foreign world. Quiet, but with a strong will and a kind heart. A girl who, with certain events, becomes involved with Vyse and his friends. She is very quiet, but the smile she shows at times makes you feel her kind heart. She wears clothes from a foreign world, not even Vyse knows where she is from.
Cupil: A mysterious creature who is always with Fina. A mysterious creature that can change its shape at will. It appears to be a friend of Fina from her childhood. Normally it is in the shape of a bracelet. But during a battle, Cupil changes its shape to a weapon, such as a sword, to attack the enemies and to protect Fina.
Drachma: An old, lonesome sailor with a vendetta. An old sailor that Vyse meets during his adventure. Long ago he lost his eye and arm to a huge arcwhale called Rhaknam, and ever since he has made capturing Rhaknam his only purpose in life. His experience as a sailor is excellent and he is very skilled at his trade. But with his blunt and cantankerous, he continues to sail alone on his ship "Little Jack." Quote: "My sole purpose is to capture Rhaknam."
Little Jack: The middle size ship that Captain Drachma has sailed with for many years. The ship itself is an old model, but the armor and cannons have been strenghtened to be able to battle against large battleships and, of course, Rhaknam.
Gilder: Easy-going Pirate in chase of "the good life." Captain of the Pirate ship "Claudia," with free life as his motto. He wanders the skies in search of vast treasures, beautiful women and of course excitement. He is a light-hearted soul whose not afraid to crack jokes in the most dire of situations. But in reality, other Pirates and the Valuan forces recognize his skills as a warrior and a leader. Quote: "Only four of us against a hundred of them, huh... Sounds like fun. Count me in!
Claudia: The speedy Pirate ship under the control of Captain Gilder. By unfurling sails on both sides of the gunnel, it is able to sail faster than a normal boat.
Dyne: Cool and self-possessed captain of the Pirate ship "Albatross." He is also the head of the Blue Rougues, who makes Pirate Isle as his base, and is also Vyse's father. Has the trust of his crew and serves as the mayor of the island along with his duties as captain.
Baltor: An evil an d atrocious Black Pirate. Captain of the Pirate vessel "Blackbeard" he attacks merchant ships with no mercy. He is the first foe that Vyse must conquer in a "ship battle"
Crew: When Vyse forms his own base of operations, people he scouts can become members of his Pirate crew. There are various occupations for the crew members, such as "Helmsman," "Engineer" and "Gunner." Crew members can give your ship various buffs or abilities that the player can use during battle, and also establish shops on Vyse's base.
Teodora: Self-righteous Empress of the Valuan Empire who wishes for the World to kneel before her might. The Empress of the Valuan Empire. With a strong lust for conquest and exclusive possession, she has the ambition to conquer the Skies of Arcadia.. Self-righteous and often hysteric, she cannot stand anything that goes against her wishes. Quote: "All the Nations of the world shall kneel before me!"
Enrique: The Prince of the Empire, a man with a strong sense of justice. The son of Empress Teodora, the Prince of the Valuan Empire. In the militarily obsessed nation of Valua, he insists on maintaining friendly relationships with the other nations of Arcadia. He has a very strong sense of justice, but is fainthearted when confronting his mother, the Empress. Quote: "Mother, the course of this country is wrong!"
Galcian: Self-possessed, merciless and invincible Lord of the Empire. The Lord of the Empire who commands the entirety of the Valuan armada. Always self-possessed, he has an excellent ability to command. With an armada and skilled Admirals full of personality under his command, he is simply invincible. He crushes all that oppose his authority, he is feared by nations and Pirates alike. Quote: "I am not tolerant enough to give you a second chance."
Ramirez: A taciturn swordsman who strikes at the speed of light. As Vice Captain, he has sworn absolute loyality to Lord Galcian. A taciturn individual, he rarely shows emotion both on and off the battle field. Skilled with both sword and magic, his lightning quick sword handling is powerful enough to defeat an enemy in one strike. Quote: "...Slay the enemy. That is all."
Alfonso: An arrogant young Admiral obsessed with his noble upbringing. The Admiral of the First Fleet of the Armada. Within the privileged classes of the Valuan Empire, he is from a distinguished aristocratic family. He considers anyone who is not of noble birth to be less than human. Quote: "Consider yourself honored to be in my presence."
Gregorio: Loyal Elderly Admiral of the Valuan Armada known for his "Iron Defense." The Admiral of the Second Fleet of the Armada. Eldest amongst the Admirals of the Valuan Empire, he has served the Empire from the time of the previous Emperor, Enrique's father. His loyalty to the crown is absolute. Quote: "I, Gregorio shall not let you pass!"
Vigoro: Whether in the heart of battle or attempting to woo a woman's heart, he is a tenacious foe till the end. The Admiralof the Third Fleet of the Armada. A man of very large stature, nearing seven feet tall, his motto is "Offense is the best defense." He takes great pride in having the ship with the greatest firepower in the Armada. He is fond of women, and is willing to employ any means to win the heart of a beautiful woman whenever his path crosses the path of one. Quote: "Should I fire my big cannon, baby?"
Belleza: A beautiful Admiral who prefers cleverness and espionage over force. The admiral of the Fourth Fleet of the Armada. The only female Admiral of the Armada, she is known for her skill in using magic on the battlefield. She despies battles that rely on force and strength of arms, preferring to use information and careful planning to achieve her goals without bloodshed. "You're already playing my game, handsome."
De Loco: A Mechanical Freak who retaliates against any damage to his precious inventions for the Empire. The Admiral of the Fifth Fleet of the Armada. A mechanical freak who loves to create cruel weaponry for the Valuan empire. He rides on his flagship with numerous anomalous cannons, as he has absolute confidence in the weapons he has developed. Therefore, if anyone would dare damage his beloved machinery, he would chase him to the ends of the world. "Heee Heee.... I'll kill you with my improved ship!"
The Dreamcast version of Skies of Arcadia made use of the built-in modem of the system, featuring three pieces of downloadable content. The first download added an airship battle with a giant version of a looper. The second download placed a new island in the game, where the last cham in the game was found. Only those who had the downloadable content to get this cham could unlock the final form of Fina's pet, Cupil. The third download added two new weapons to the game, available from a merchant. These were the Tuna Cutlass for Vyse, basically a sword that looked like a fish, and the Swirlmerang for Aika, a boomerang with the Dreamcast swirl logo. All the downloadable content was included in the Gamecube version, Skies of Arcadia: Legends.
In the Dreamcast version of Skies of Arcadia, one could download a mini-game to a Dreamcast VMU called "Pinta's Quest" after meeting the character Pinta in the game. This VMU game could be played independently from the main game. Pinta's Quest included various random encounters, requiring players to complete mini-game objectives for experience, points, and items. The VMU game could be synced back into the full game for gold and the chance at rare items. The experience points gained would then level up the ship used in the Pinta's Quest. This mini-game was not included in the Gamecube version, Skies of Arcadia: Legends.