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Posted 10/5/08

Drakengard, known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon (ドラッグオンドラグーン, Doragguon Doragūn?), is a PlayStation 2 role playing game game developed by cavia and published by Square Enix and Take Two Interactive. It was released on September 11, 2003 in Japan, on March 5, 2004 in North America and on May 21, 2004 in PAL territories. It was originally developed by cavia in the Enix name. Drakengard was scored by Takayuki Aihara and Nobuyoshi Sano.

The game's sequel, Drakengard 2, was released in Japan on June 16, 2005. It takes place 18 years after the events of the original game.

Gameplay ::
Drakengard features ground missions, aerial missions, and Free Expedition Mode. It also has two difficulty modes, which are Easy and Normal. The player does not need to erase the game and start over for any reason whatsoever. It is optional to go back to an earlier chapter or verse if the player has missed something. In Drakengard the dragon gains greater attack power as it gains experience and levels up. At certain points of the story the dragon evolves into a different, more powerful form, which enhances the dragons attack powers, magical attacks and allows to lock on to more enemies.

Drakengard is divided into chapters and subdivided into verses. Missions numbered with Roman numerals lead to endings other than the one merited in Chapter 8, and can only be played if the player meets certain requirements. The Game has four additional alternate endings. Each of these endings, along with the canonical ending, are achieved by certain events in the game. The first ending deals with Furiae resurrected by Inuart using a Seed of Destruction, and then the second has Angelus revoking her pact with Caim and fighting him to the death. The last two deal with the Grotesqueries revealing themselves and the "world of the gods", Tokyo, is shown in one of them. These last two are used in the sequel to explain the true nature of the world of Drakengard and the Grotesqueries themselves.

Setting ::
The game's protagonists are Caim, his best friend Inuart, and their companions. The plot revolves around a war between the Union and the Empire. Every playable character makes a pact with a powerful beast, and pays a price for joining the pact. This concept in the Drakengard series is called "pact pricing." In the process of forging such a pact, humans are branded with a mark called a "pact emblem," which appears on a part of their body associated with the price they pay - They either lose use of a physical attribute (Voice, Sight, etc), or can lose 'intangible' attributes, such as one's joy, or ability to age. However, the bonds that tie a human with the magical creature he/she made the pact with in life, also binds them both in death as long as the creature allows it so.

Playable Characters ::
* Caim: Son of the Royal family, Caim was forced to witness the brutal murder of his parents by an Imperial black dragon. Since then, he swore vengeance on the Empire and Dragons, fighting as a soldier in the army of the Union. Mortally wounded, he encountered the red dragon Angelus, who was near death as well. Though he hated dragons, Caim demanded Angelus to accept his offer of a pact that would save both of them. Since then, Caim lost his voice in the exchange, marked on his tongue, and thus the only human Angelus revealed her name out of their new-found respect for each other to before becoming the new seal. Age 24.

* Angelus: A Red Dragon that is over 10,000 years old, Caim forced a pact with her in order to live that she reluctantly accepts. Being of a kind revered by others as masters of the natural world, Angelus comes off as arrogant, seeing humans as inferior, careless and defiant. But in time, Angelus made an exception in Caim whom she revealed her name to.

Note: Angelus's name in the Japanese version of Drakengard is "Angel".

* Arioch: Arioch was a loving elf mother and wife until she was driven mad by the murder of her family at the hands of the Empire. Since then, she has become an insatiable murderess, only a pure joy as her young prey fall victim to her insanity. Formed a pact with Undine and Salamander in exchange for her fertility, marked on her waist. As an ally, Arioch is a threat to herself and others. Age 24.

* Seere: Manah's twin brother, he felt it was his fault Manah was neglected/abused by their mother who loved him. Though he shares his sister's magical abilities, he possessed the gift of prophecy. After his village was destroyed, Seere formed a pact with his new found "friend", Golem, in exchange for his "time" (the ability to age), marked all over his body, thus can never grow up. He joins Caim's party to search for his lost sister, only to feel more guilt seeing what became of her. Age 6.

* Leonard: A kind-hearted man who distasted the horrors of war. But he was constantly tormented by the knowledge of his faults and past mistakes; blaming himself for the deaths of his brothers enough to attempt suicide upon seeing them dead, but couldn't do it. By then, Faerie appeared and took advantage of Leonard's instability at the time to force a pact upon him, robbing him of his sight that is marked on his eyes. He befriended Seere, who seemed to remind him of his brothers. Age 32.

Non-Playable Characters ::
* Furiae: Caim's younger sister. Raised as a royal princess, she struggled to come to terms with her appointed role as the goddess at the time of her parents' death. As her cursed fate unfolded, Furiae began to despair. Living in her brother's castle, sitting quietly and offer silent prayers. She was abducted by Inuart, as she is the Final Seal that keeps the Grotesqueries when appearing in their world. Age 19.

* Hierarch Verdelet: The hierarch whose duty allows him to speak directly with the goddess, Verdelet is a pious man who is always careful of his words and of doing the right thing, but places himself first should the situation becomes dire. When young, he made a pact with a dragon that is now in a petrified state that left a mark on his head, losing his hair and ability to grow more in exchange. In the end of the game, Verdelet performed the sealing ceremony over Angelus. Age 72.

* Inuart: Caim's former friend and son of a noble of the kingdom once ruled by Caim's family. Inuart possessed a beautiful singing voice and master of the harp. Though sincere and honest, his heart is weak and relies on his former betrothed, Furiae. But Inuart was taken by the Empire and tortured by them until he swore allegiance to them. He then made a pact with the very Imperial dragon that killed Caim's parents, sacrificing his talent for singing to cement the pact with a mark on his neck. He did this to fulfill his desire to protect Furiae instead of Caim, who was the object of Inuart's jealousy. He battles his former friend, taking Furiae to the Empire where he believed she will be safe. Age 20.

* Manah: A mysterious young girl who commands the empire as high priestess of the Cult of Watchers. But the truth, Manah was driven insane by outerworldly entities that she refers to as "the Watchers", who are using her body as a means to direct the Empire in the goal to destroy the world by removing the seals that prevent chaos from ensuring. Prior to it, Manah suffered abuse from her mother, which led to her current state of mind. Though released from her benefactors' control, Manah still dared Caim to kill her so she can find peace. But when Angelus revealed that there is no peace for her, Manah soon realized what she had done and was taken off by Caim and shown the suffering that she had caused so she would "never forget." Age 6.

* The "Grotesqueries": A mysterious otherworldly race that are tied to Manah's possession and would appeared once the seals that keep them out of the world are no more. Though they failed to achieve their goal in the canonical ending, they did in the two alternate endings which revealed them to resemble giant human infants with teeth. They are in turn led by a more human adult-like queen. Their true identity is revealed in Drakengard 2.

Story ::
Prior to the beginning of the game, Caim's parents were killed by a black dragon sent by the Empire, breeding a hatred in him toward both the Empire and dragons. During the war against the Empire, Caim is mortally wounded, but comes across a red dragon imprisoned by the Empire. Although neither Caim nor the dragon are fond of each other, they cannot deny that they need each other's help to survive and become pact partners. The price Caim paid to enter the pact was his voice, rendering him mute and causing a pact emblem to appear on his tongue.

Together, Caim and the dragon fight against the Empire with the help of allies they meet along the way, including other humans, elves, and other pact creatures. Together, they eventually discover that the Empire is led by a six-year-old girl named Manah, high priestess of the Cult of Watchers. Having been driven insane, the young girl has been possessed by otherworldly entities that desire the Goddess and the seals that prevent chaos from overwhelming the world and destroying it. In the end, Caim and the dragon manage to stop them, though the dragon, whose name is revealed to be Angelus at the game's end, volunteers to become the new seal and disappears. This is one of five endings and is the one which leads to the events of Drakengard 2.

The second ending involves Inuart and Furiae after she is killed. Inuart takes Furiae and tries to resurrect her through evil. Although she is revived she is a monster, now having godly powers and wings. She kills Inuart and Caim must now kill his own sister. After doing so you see that although he has killed his own sister, the world is now filled with these creatures that look like Furiae and all is lost.

The third ending contains Caim and Angelus. After Manah sees that things are lost for the empire she tries to summon a dragon but the dragon eats her. All her evil power goes into Angelus, and she now becomes the Chaos Dragon. After becoming this new dragon the pact between Caim and Angelus is broken. But Angelus, although still having respect and love towards Caim feels that if he is not killed all of humanity will be lost. After this fight Caim pulls through and defeats her but after killing her he hears more dragons coming his way. Happy for more killing and fighting you see Caim run outside full speed to battle until his final breath.

The fourth ending consists of Caim, Angelus and Seere. After Seere had to kill his own sister, Manah, the world comes crashing down and all order is lost. Giant babies, also called Grotesqueries, come falling from the sky. They are eating and destroying everything in sight. Arioch sees all these children and becomes obsessed with them. She run towards them and they eat her. Then Leonard sacrifices himself by blowing himself up to clear a path for Angelus, Caim and Seere. After doing this, the Queen Grotesqueries, which looks like a giant woman with no hair, comes up from the ground. Angelus and Caim know that their world is lost without a miracle when they realize what to do. Seere, whose sacrifice for a pact was time, has the ability to freeze time, but he must sacrifice himself. Caim, Angelus and Seere fly towards the Queen Grotesqueries and let Seere drop on top of her. Angelus is then bitten by the Grotesqueries and you see Caim's sword fly through the air as if to say they are both dead. Seere asks for Manah to forgive him and send bursts of light out from him. You then see that the area with the Queen Grotesqueries and all her children are covered in a thick, black fume and time is frozen in the black gas.

In the fifth ending, Caim and Angelus travel across the dimensional boundary to fight the grotesqueries, and in a surprising twist end up flying over modern Tokyo. After defeating the grotesqueries, they are both killed by a fighter pilot that shoots them out of the sky.

Development ::
Jun Iwasaki, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix USA, described Drakengard as a "perfect hybrid of genres" due to its blend of action, character growth influenced by role-playing games, and a "solid story that binds it all together". According to him, the game is intended to appeal to gamers looking for a "deeper action game".[1]

The Japanese version of Drakengard, Drag-On Dragoon, featured such taboo plot points as incest and pedophilia. However, this was toned down or outright removed from all western versions, but not completely (Angelus: Because you are brother and sister? What manner of excuse is that?).

Soundtrack ::
The Drakengard soundtrack was edited as a twin album, under the names Drag-on Dragoon Original Soundtrack Vol.1 and Drag-on Dragoon Original Soundtrack Vol.2. The disc were released in Japan only, and use the game's Japanese title, but they are sometimes referred to in English as "First Attack" and "Second Attack". They were released on October 22, 2003 and November 21, 2003, under the catalog numbers MJCG-80125 and MJCG-80137.

The soundtrack were composed by Nobuyoshi Sano (佐野信義, Nobuyoshi Sano) & Takayuki Aihara (相原隆行, Takayuki Aihara). Although each track on the album is credited to one artist only, they were said to have worked together on multiple tracks. The music is usually described by critics as experimental and that it wouldn't please everyone. Most of the tracks present repetitive 2 second sounds/samples, that repeat during the entire song, as would an old scratched vinyl disc. During the course of these tracks, those sounds may vary sightly and/or others may be added or removed. The overall result, while not being praised for its musical quality, was highly appreciated for its integration within the game, and its overall corrupt and broken atmosphere.

Mobile Version ::
A Europe-exclusive mobile phone adaptation of Drakengard was co-developed and co-published by Square Enix and Macrospace. The game is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.[10] It features four different locations and two battle modes: a side-scrolling ground mode and an aerial dragon-riding mode. Achieving high scores unlocks hints and tips for the PlayStation 2 version of the game.

Censorship ::
The Japanese version of the game featured several very adult oriented themes, and many characters had more than questionable sexual orientations and/or perversion. Leonard, in the Japanese version, is actually a pedophile, and Furiae feels sexual desire for her brother. Arioch, who has lost her womb from her pact, as gone mad, and enjoys killing children. While all of this don't reflect in the actual game play, it is inside cut scenes and conversations between characters. Most of these were removed in the American version of the game, making certain cut scenes very difficult to understand. For example, when partly possessed by "The Watchers", Furiae chooses to kill herself, rather than reveal her feelings for her brother, but the censorship makes the reasons for her actions very unclear.

Posted 10/5/08
I just love this game! So much blood! Hahahahaha. I still need to pass the fifth ending, >.<
But I love it nonetheless! XD
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