Arc the Lad (アークザラッド, Ākuzaraddo) is a series of RPGs that were released for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Several of the games were published by SCEI in Japan. The games were never released outside of Japan until Arc the Lad Collection was released by Working Designs in 2002. An anime TV series based on Arc the Lad II was also made. The game series started with tactical RPGs but branched out to other genres with Arc the Lad: End of Darkness, which still features RPG elements. Each of the games also feature recurring characters, such as the main character, Arc, who appears in several of the games.
Arc the Lad was developed by G-Craft and published by SCEI in Japan on June 30, 1995. The game features tactical role-playing game battle elements, which would become a staple for the series. Arc the Lad introduces several characters that appear in all three games in the collection. Arc, the lead, is a boy from the small town of Touvil who is fated to fight corruption. Characters like Kukuru, Iga, Poco, Tosh, and Chongara also make future appearances.
Arc the Lad II, developed by ARC Entertainment and published by SCEI, was released in Japan on November 1, 1996 and was re-released twice. This game continues to use the tactics style battles, featuring much more complex statistics than its predecessor, a more interactive world map and a longer game length. A new feature are the guilds, which allow the player to take jobs as side quests. The characters of Arc the Lad reappear alongside new ones. Elc, a young hunter, joins the fight against the corrupt government. He and his fellow hunter Shu meet up with several other characters involved in the mess, including Arc and his friends, and bring Andel and his followers down.
Arc the Lad: Monster Game with Casino Game, developed by ARC Entertainment and published by SCEI, was released in Japan on July 31, 1997 and was re-released twice. First as part of Arc the Lad Collection (where it was known as Arc Arena: Monster Tournament), and second time when it was released on the Japanese PlayStation Store as a PSOne Classic in December 12, 2007.
Arc the Lad III, the final Arc game for the PlayStation, was released on October 28, 1999. It was the only game in the collection to feature two discs. Similarly to the first two, this Arc game uses tactics battles and basic RPG elements. The explorable maps of Arc II return. However, unlike the first two, the game is strictly job driven; the story only progresses as the player takes and completes jobs from the guilds. This game introduces Alec and Lutz, two small-town boys looking to become great Hunters and who battle a new, corrupt entity known as the Academy. Characters from previous games make cameo appearances and occasionally fight alongside Alec.
For their US release, Working Designs published Arc the Lad I, II, III and Monster Tournament as part of a compilation of Arc games (Arc the Lad Collection) on April 18, 2002 in North America. The collection as a whole received mainly positive reception.
Arc the Lad: Kijin Fukkatsu (Arc the Lad: Resurrection of the Machine God) is a Wonderswan Color game developed by Bandai and released in 2002 in Japan. Set after the main series, this game features similar combat and gameplay to the previous installments. Elc, from Arc the Lad II, returns as the main character as he discovers a girl sent from the past to his time because of a hostile robot takeover. Finia, the girl, Elc, and several of his friends return once again to save humanity.
Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits was the first PlayStation 2 game in the Arc series. It was developed by a group called Cattle Call, and published by SCEI. It was released in Japan on March 20, 2003 and in North America on June 25 of the same year by SCEA. This was also the only Arc game to date to come out in Europe, released by SCEE the following year. The battle system in this installment allows characters to move freely in circular ranges across fields during their turns as opposed to the grid-based fields of its predecessors.
Arc the Lad: End of Darkness is the final Arc game and the second to be released on the PS2. Developed by Cattle Call and published by SCEI, the game was released in Japan on November 3, 2004. Namco then published the game for its North American release. This game does not follow the tactics battle style of the previous games, instead using action RPG combat. Online multiplayer is also included.
When the Arc games were originally released in Japan years before a North American release, SCEA hardly considered bringing them to the U.S., thinking that the RPG market was not an important one. Working Designs, then known in the U.S. for publishing RPGs, actually tried to license Arc the Lad, but Sony of America turned them down. Years later, SCEA came under new management, and with the popularity of other RPGs like Final Fantasy VII, Working Designs was able to publish all three games at once with the Japanese release of Arc the Lad III.
Arc the Lad Collection was released in 2002 and boasted four separate games--Arc the Lad I, II, III and Monster Arena, a side-game that allows players to take captured monsters from Arc the Lad II and use them in combat. The collection also featured a making of CD, Dual Shock controller thumb pads, a memory card holder, character standees, a hardcover instruction booklet, and a glossy box (omake box) to hold it all.
Each of the Arc games has received decent reception. Arc the Lad Collection has a 7.8 out of 10 on GameStats.com. The compilation is often praised for its ambitious packaging and game content, which could last over 150 hours. When the collection was released, the first two games' graphics seemed a bit outdated, although some critics find the graphics acceptable. Critics mostly agree that the take on tactical battles was refreshing because the battles are generally fast-paced. Although the first game in the series is much shorter than the other two, it is believed to be only a prologue to the second game.
Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits also received similar reviews. It has a 75% on GameRankings.com. Arc the Lad: End of Darkness, the second Arc game for the PS2, is generally rated much lower than the other games, receiving a 57% on GameRankings.com.
The Arc the Lad anime series ran from April 5, 1999 – October 11, 1999 in Japan. The series ran on the WOWOW network for 26 episodes as part of the Anime Complex omnibus series. A North American release was produced by ADV Films and aired on the Anime Network. The series was directed by Itsuro Kawasaki and written by Akemi Omode.
The story follows the story of Arc the Lad II, the second game in the series. The world is also similar to the game, full of technology, but with magic and beasts as well. An evil corporation secretly controls this world and produces powerful monster (sometimes human) creations called chimera. Elc gets caught up in this mess when he rescues a young female beast tamer from the corporation. Her name is Lieza. Together with Shu and the rest of their companions, they fight to save a corrupt world.
- The Boy With a Flame
- Beginning of the Destiny
- Feeling in the Rain
- Pale Goddess
- The Criminals
- Beyond the Sound of Waves
- Ancient Guardian
- Friend Who Was Left Behind
- The Crusade With No Name
- Lonely Brave Man
- White House
- Smiling Holy Mother
- Shrine Maiden of the Spirit
- Blaze has Stood
- Scarlet Castle
- Chimera Tower
- Confrontation of Two Great Men
- Meet Again
- The Place Where the Truth Is
- Hiding in the Shadows
- Frozen Eyes
- Quickening of the Darkness
- Holy Arc
- Shining Boy
- Thom Moyles (2002). "Arc theLad Collection at GameCritic". Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- "Arc Arena for PS". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "アーク ザ ラッド® モンスターゲーム with カジノゲーム". PlayStation.com(Japan). Sony. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- "Arc the Lad Collection at GameStats". 2002. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- "Kijin Fukkatsu at RETROBASE.NET". 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- "Anime Digital News". 2002. Archived from the original on November 17, 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Christian Nutt (2005). "Arc the Lad EoD preview". Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- David Smith (2001). "Arc the Lad Collection preview". Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- Mickey Shannon (2003). "Arc the Lad Collection review". Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- "Arc the Lad Collection review". 2003. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- "Twilight Spirits at GameRankings.com". 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- "End of Darkness at GameRankings.com". 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- "Arc the Lad (TV) - Anime News Network" (php). Animenewsnetwork.com. 07-November-2009. Check date values in:
- Arc the Lad at TV.com
- Official Site (Japanese)
- Arc the Lad (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia