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Skies of Arcadia & Skies of Arcadia Legends Appreciation....

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Hey guys, I'd like to give a shoutout to one of the most underappreciated and unknown RPGs of all time, Skies of Arcadia. In my opinion its also one of the best RPGs of all time! I first experienced when it came out in 2003 on the Gamecube. Having such a powerful system that was devoid of RPGs at the time, and coming off the RPG-less N64, I saw the review of Skies of Arcadia Legends in EGM magazine and vowed to get it at the first opportunity. Not sure if I got it the first day or sometime within the first week it was released, but it was early. Upon firing it up, I absolutely loved this game, and it perfectly filled the massive RPG void spanning from the N64s release to the GC era. Recently, I invested in a DC, and bought a copy of SOA to one day play thru again and compare to the GC version. I'm currently about 3-4 hours in and loving it.

Although the game apparently didnt sell very well (on DC, not exactly sure of the GC numbers, but I dont think it did much better proportionately), it seems to have a cult-like following on the net for the most part, though love for it is still not exactly universal. I think it more than deserves its cult following and most of the criticisms against it are unwarranted. While not a perfect game, I feel it is a near perfect RPG. To me, this game was a throwback to the golden age of 16 Bit RPGS like FF2/4, FF3/6, and Secret of Mana. Playing it then, and now, I really feel like I'm playing one of those classics in full 3D. Thing is, its simple, easy to get into, and not intimidating like some of the later 128bit generation FF titles. Things I dig about it include:

- The characters. They are charming, Vyse and Aika are probably the most upbeat and positive characters in RPG history, and dont spend a lot of time feeling sorry for themselves when things go south like a lot of characters in other RPGs. I find them to be inspirational and they are the type of characters you want to root for. Other characters are great as well, including the bad guys.

- The atmosphere. I really dig the air pirate/swashbuckling/exploration driven game world. As someone who has done quite a bit of travel by boat, I think I appreciate it even more! Theres always some tale of a new land, an old civilization, some legendary monster, etc. that keeps you wanting to press on. Character progression is also very cool. Starting out as the driver of what basically amounts to a wooden canoe, demoding from that to a deckhand, and from that point methodically progressing to become Captain of a giant battleship is great!

- The Level Up and Battle Systems. The way magic is learned by gaining experienced while equipping your weapons with a stone of a certain color is a simple, yet ingenious way to choose whether you want to develop certain elemental or healing magics at any given time for any character. Also, the way weapons equipped with certain elements can cause more or less damage to enemies based on their weakness, as well as the ability to change weapon elements real time in battle, is just great. I'm also a fan of traditional turn based battles, and the airship battles are also cool as hell and require decent strategy on the players part.

The S-Move system is also novel, allowing the player the choice to open up Super Moves for any character based on the Moonberries you find. This involves strategy on who you want to develop/strengthen first, regardless of experience points. The whole battle/level up system is very simple and intuative.

- The Graphics and Sound. The game gets more hate for its graphics and sound these days than anything, which I think is totally unwarranted. Remember, this game came out circa 1999 for Dreamcast and its graphics were HIGHLY PRAISED back then. Colorful and charming, the games graphics are fine and easily draw huge dungeons and towns. Its no FFX for sure, but the graphics are not bad by any means, certainly not to the point to detract from gameplay in any way. The magic and super move sequences are great in my opinion. The sound is also adequate with music that fits the atmosphere and great (in my opinion) sound fx for S-moves and magic in battle sequences.

- The Fun Factor. The game is simply FUN. This is why we play games, for entertainment. The story is compelling, the characters are likeable, the battle system is great, and the quest is pretty long and loaded with secrets.

I'm running short on time to continue this post, and would like to further discuss and compare the DC and GC versions of the game. Feel free to add your .02.

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The bit I always liked was making my own base, choosing crewmen, finding them. Was a novel idea. I loved the little 'shipwrecked' part too.

Yep, that was great! Its been about 7 years since I played through it, enough for many details plotlines to escape my mind and surprise me when I come upon them again. I highly recommend this game to any retro-gamer that loves RPGs, you wont be disappointed!

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There's very few Japanese RPG's that I've been interested in enough to complete but this is one of them. It has a great combination of amazing areas to explore, satisfying battles and a great story. I could never stomach Final Fantasy or it's ilk but I really enjoyed this. And, yeah, the shipwrecked part was a neat twist.

Tempted to do another playthrough now...

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I don't know where to start with my love for this game. The sense of adventure and upbeat fun rather than the overblown melodrama of a lot of RPGs really clicked with me.The only other game that I felt got close to this was the original Grandia, another favourite of mine. Recruiting crew, the base, looking for discoveries and moonfish, all brilliant.

Oh, and the soundtrack! What a soundtrack!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzPK4c4YbpE :wub:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht_GzNtzOvY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5Qdcf6mIJg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYP17nZixdc

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Played the US DC version through a couple of times years ago and enjoyed it immensely. So those happy memories recently prompted me to get the GC version. I fired it up quickly on the good old GameCube and fuuuuk it looked terrible (on a CRT mind). I don't think time has been very kind to it. Well I guess that goes for most old games really. I can't really see me playing it again. Ever.

But at the time it was brilliant! Minus the insane amount of random battles off course... gggrrrrr.

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Skies is sadly one of the titles on my annoyingly long list of "got a fair way in and need to go back to it". For ages I was stuck on the first boss thingy... well not so much the first boss, but having a ship battle straight after it. I remember I'm through that and going to some place that's really windy.

It absolutely sucked me in during the times I've played it... although I could never really identify the enemies colours vey well or really if equipping the right coloured weapon actually made that much of a difference.

I must get a new RGB cable for my DC and finish this bugger off.

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I don't know where to start with my love for this game. The sense of adventure and upbeat fun rather than the overblown melodrama of a lot of RPGs really clicked with me. The only other game that I felt got close to this was the original Grandia, another favourite of mine. Recruiting crew, the base, looking for discoveries and moonfish, all brilliant.

Oh, and the soundtrack! What a soundtrack!

Exactly my thoughts. These guys always deal with adversity in a very positive way unlike characters in a lot of other RPGS. Part of what I love about it, along with the great adventure aspect.

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Played the US DC version through a couple of times years ago and enjoyed it immensely. So those happy memories recently prompted me to get the GC version. I fired it up quickly on the good old GameCube and fuuuuk it looked terrible (on a CRT mind). I don't think time has been very kind to it. Well I guess that goes for most old games really. I can't really see me playing it again. Ever.

But at the time it was brilliant! Minus the insane amount of random battles off course... gggrrrrr.

The GC version was the first I played and is the best (though in many ways identical) for someone who has never played. One thing that disappointed me about it was the lack of progressive scan support. WTF? Sega releases SA2B and SMB earlier and they both support the systems ultra-crisp 480p mode, yet it releases this title a year or so later and no progressive support. I was looking on the back of the Dreamcast case the other day though, and it shows to support VGA box. I dont have one of those (and my retro gameroom is using a non progressive or vga capable CRT), but I bet it looks sweet.

From what Ive seen on both games, the graphics are identical, right down to the very visible levels of mip-map detail on floors and walls when running. Pretty much only the title screen and gamepad button widgets are different. Same for the sound-- not sure if the Cube has some extra tracks (it may, with the Piastol content etc.)

One clear advantage the Cube has over the DC though in terms of graphics, is lack of any slowdown. Just 3-4 hours in, Ive hit several places in the DC version (usually on the airship, flying near walls of fog and cloud) that slow to 20fps pretty good in some areas, and have seen brief drops even in battle sequences. I dont recall ever seeing the GC version slow down, and since its probably some 3-5 times more powerful than the Dreamcast, I wouldnt expect it to.

Graphics aside, the GC has added missions and battles (like Piastol), and these alone warrant the GC version superiority over the DC version. Its basically like a special edition. Ive also heard that the GC version cut down on the rate of random battle encounters over the DC version, but from what I remember playing the GC several years ago vs. what Im seeing now on the DC version, if they did reduce it, they didnt do it by much. You still fight a hell of a lot in the GC version.

Whats sad is, this game will probably never see a sequel. I think a sequel for the Wii would be incredible, and the game would be perfectly suited for the Wii. I envision a SOA sequel to not need photo-realistic graphics, but just to expand significantly on the first ones good looking cartoon-fantasy theme. The Wii (even the GC for that matter) has PLENTY under the hood to greatly improve on the visuals of the first game while keeping a similar art direction and style. At this point its just wishful thinking though, its very sad but this great game will probably never see a sequel.

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I love this game. Played it twice, the second time through I kept a list of everything and managed to collect everything. Definately one of the best JRPGS of all time, and one of the best games.

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I'd like to play this one day. I understand the GC version has slightly dodgy sound compared to the DC though, can anyone confirm? Also, aren't the extra mission on the GC version also available as Seganet (or whatever it was called) DLC, which these days can easily be bodged on using a PC-connectable memory card?

Memory serves, Reiko Kodama (Phoenix Rie, Phantasy Star fans) produced this one, and while I haven't played it it's always looked like a more truthful heir to the original Phantasy Star games than the whole PSO series.

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The sound was compressed in the GC game to fit it on one disk. The only music that remained intact is the title music, everything else suffers from the compression.

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I own both and I have read the above elsewhere, but in my opinion its a myth that theres an audible difference. I can discern absolutely no difference in sound quality between the DC and GC versions, and I'd love to hear from someone who claims to be able to and exactly what track they can tell the difference on.

The GC disc has about 1400 usable MB, two GD-ROMs get you about 2000 MB. I have a very hard time believing all the content was difficult to squeeze onto a single GC disc, when games like Twilight Princess and Wind Waker only utilized a single disc. I can maybe believe the audio on the two GDROMS was straight PCM, and perhaps SOME compression was used on the GC version, but it must be a very high encode rate like 256Kbps MP3 or so.

I'm glad you brought this up, I'm going to try again to see if I can tell a difference.

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I'm surprised that Sack Man hasn't made an appearance in this thread as he's full of praise for this game, even owning the Limited Edition release of this for the DC.

I didn't get very far into the game and really do need to revist it - since I found it very fun. I have both the DC and GC versions. The game made fun use of the VMU with the DC incarnation even if it was relatively simple.

Didn't the GC version cut out 'that' scene with the two girls in bed with one another? I couldn't see what all the fuss was about really...

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Really liked this game and got very far but I just couldn't stomach the horrendous loading on the DC version. The fights were so frequent and took so long to load it made me groan everytime one happened.

Is the GC version any better in that respect?

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Picked this up for £5 on the Dreamcast back in the day and loved it (although I seem to recall being stuck on one the ship battles for bloody ages). Bizarrely, my main memory is the fact that I was heading out one evening to meet some friends, couldn't find a save point and I'd just done something relatively tough so left my Dreamcast on all evening so I wouldn't lose my progress.

Something I really liked was the race to discover things (or however it worked) against the other Sky Pirate or whoever (it was about eight years ago when I played it). Felt a real sense of victory whenever I beat him to something - I should perhaps get out more.

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For all the extra content you get in the Gamecube version, and the tweak to the random battles, the Gamecube version is the best. I still have my DC version, but I recall it isnt vga compatible.

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I'd like to play this on my DC, but i dont think my 10yr old console can stand the strain...

The amount of disc accessing in this game is frightening, after an hour my nerves gave out and i put it away....im convinced this game will break my DC's GD drive... :huh:

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I'm surprised that Sack Man hasn't made an appearance in this thread as he's full of praise for this game, even owning the Limited Edition release of this for the DC.

I didn't get very far into the game and really do need to revist it - since I found it very fun. I have both the DC and GC versions. The game made fun use of the VMU with the DC incarnation even if it was relatively simple.

Didn't the GC version cut out 'that' scene with the two girls in bed with one another? I couldn't see what all the fuss was about really...

What is this "limited edition" DC version you speak of? Whats strange is, a while back I looked at a list DC VGA Box compatible games and SOA was shown to be NOT compatible, yet on the back of my SOA case it clearly has an emblem for VGA Box compatibility.

Also, since I cut my teeth on the GC version some 6-7 years ago, not sure if 'that' scene was cut out since I had not played the DC game to compare it to. Which part of the game does this scene occur? I'd like to document some of the differences between the versions at some point and post them here.

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What is this "limited edition" DC version you speak of? Whats strange is, a while back I looked at a list DC VGA Box compatible games and SOA was shown to be NOT compatible, yet on the back of my SOA case it clearly has an emblem for VGA Box compatibility.

Also, since I cut my teeth on the GC version some 6-7 years ago, not sure if 'that' scene was cut out since I had not played the DC game to compare it to. Which part of the game does this scene occur? I'd like to document some of the differences between the versions at some point and post them here.

I believe he has the Japanese Big Box version that came with a Pirate flag and artbook as well as the OST - can't recall exactly now.

As for the scene I refer to it involves Aiko and Fina being in bed with one another.

This is a good site to read as it points out some of the differences between the DC and GC versions:

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/skiesofarcadia/skiesofarcadia.htm

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I'd like to play this on my DC, but i dont think my 10yr old console can stand the strain...

The amount of disc accessing in this game is frightening, after an hour my nerves gave out and i put it away....im convinced this game will break my DC's GD drive... :huh:

You guys are right about the disc accessing in this game, and while it does access disc every time you enter or exit a door and possibly every time you enter and exit a battle, it seems to me that many DC games seem to access the disc a lot. Currently, I only have SOA, SFIII: Double Impact, Virtua Tennis, Vigilante 8 Second Impact, and Toy Commander, but I seem to notice the DC accessing the disc quite a bit on just about all those games!

Not sure about how the GC version compares to the DC version in this regard. The GC drive is so quiet its hard to tell what its doing unless your sitting right on top of it. Another question to address in the comparison!

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The US SOA version is compatible with the VGA box. I know couse I played some of it on a monitor :P. It's RGB that doesn't work. Caused me quite a headache to begin with I'll tell you. Not having a TV that could do NTSC over S-VHS. But a nice Sony soon sorted that out. Ahh those were the days.

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What is this "limited edition" DC version you speak of? Whats strange is, a while back I looked at a list DC VGA Box compatible games and SOA was shown to be NOT compatible, yet on the back of my SOA case it clearly has an emblem for VGA Box compatibility.

Also, since I cut my teeth on the GC version some 6-7 years ago, not sure if 'that' scene was cut out since I had not played the DC game to compare it to. Which part of the game does this scene occur? I'd like to document some of the differences between the versions at some point and post them here.

http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-55-49-en-70-8wh.html

pa.11537.1.jpg

pa.11537.4.jpg

pa.11537.3.jpg

The limited edition contains the game and some other nic nacks along with a wonderful (and only way to obtain) art book. All enclosed in a cardboard mock book. Skies of Arcadia is one of my fav games ever, i think i own about 4 versions of it (DC English, DC LE, US GC and Pal GC) No idea why although i picked up the GC versions cheap knowing they'd be worth a bit at some point in time. I used to own two DC Pal copies but sold one when the price was at a peak.

I did actually do an appreciation thread on this back in 2003/2004 whilst i was playing through it. It's on the original version of the forum long gone although i think i also posted about it on NTSC-uk.

http://soaworld.silvite.com/ - This site is FULL of info about SOA.

Check out the high res screen shots page, i've included a couple of my faves here.

SoA_026.jpg

SoA_178.jpg

SoA_337.jpg

SoA_396.jpg

SoA_570.jpg

SoA_678.jpg

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Sweet. Those screenshots look great! I need to get a VGA box and VGA compatible TV for my game room (I been wanting a flat screen anyway) to play this in full glory.

Played a little last night, tried the Pinta Quest thingy, it seemed to not work properly/ it recalled Pinta immediately? Granted I didnt spend much time messing with it at all, but I'll give it another shot when I get more time.

One last question since you seem to really be on the up and up on this game. Do you personally find the music on the GC version inferior to the DC version, and if so, can you explain why/where? I was reading up on it and found its not necessarily compression of sound on the GC, but slightly different sounding midi samples or something? I have both systems side by side with composite connections to the same TV, and I want to do a side by side comparison of graphics and especially sound, but I would like to hear your thoughts.

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While I fully support the views of everyone in this thread. I'm surprised more hasn't been said about just how bloody frequent the random battles were towards the end of the game. I mean, they were soul crushingly frequent, to the point where you were punished for going off the track even slightly. I never played the GC version, so I can't be sure if they ever got around to changing the rate at all. To this day, I've yet to be able to find a copy for a reasonable price as I'd love to play it again on the wii.

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While I fully support the views of everyone in this thread. I'm surprised more hasn't been said about just how bloody frequent the random battles were towards the end of the game. I mean, they were soul crushingly frequent, to the point where you were punished for going off the track even slightly. I never played the GC version, so I can't be sure if they ever got around to changing the rate at all. To this day, I've yet to be able to find a copy for a reasonable price as I'd love to play it again on the wii.

Yeah, I was about to complain about the battles. I played the GC version and they were still far too frequent - it wasn't the battles themselves that were massively annoying, more the 20 odd seconds of sitting with nothing really happening at the start/end of the fights. It was better later on when you could go under/over the sky to avoid them.

Still great game, the locations were incredibly varied and the music was fantastic. It made my GC sounded like the drive was going to explode, I'm glad I got to the end before it did

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Everything i've ever read about SOA has always mentioned the random battles. But to be honest i never really noticed it, at least not that i can remember... It was during the time when i was playing a lot of JRPG's though. So i guess i was either used to it or the other JRPG's i was playing were 10 times worse :P

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The random battles were insane. I used to play it really, really stoned so I would often forget where the hell I was going. Resulting in so many random battles I think I would have gone insane if I hadn't been fucked up.

Still fun though.

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What is this "limited edition" DC version you speak of? Whats strange is, a while back I looked at a list DC VGA Box compatible games and SOA was shown to be NOT compatible, yet on the back of my SOA case it clearly has an emblem for VGA Box compatibility.

The PAL version is RGB compatible but not VGA box compatible. The NTSC versions on the other hand are not RGB compatible but do work with the VGA box.

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