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Arc the Lad II

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Arc The Lad II (アークザラッドII?), is a tactical role-playing video game developed by G-Craft for the PlayStation and is the second game in the Arc the Lad series. It was released in November 1, 1996 in Japan, and released in North America on April 18, 2002, as part of Arc the Lad Collection. The Japanese version was published by Sony Computer Entertainment International, while the North American release was published by Working Designs.

The story continues from the first game, although the focus shifts from Arc to Elc. It expands from the gameplay of the first instalment, with a larger world and a more diverse cast. An anime was made based on this game.

Plot

(This section reflects the events that take place in the anime of Arc the Lad and not the events of the video game version of Arc the Lad II. As such, the events described in this section, while similar, disclose a dissimilar unfolding of events and ending.) Arc the Lad II begins with a flashback of one the last surviving members of the fire tribe. Soldiers fire on a man, killing him. The boy, Elc, screams and cries about his family's deaths and manages to summon fire to attack the killers. Elc eventually passes out and is taken to the "facility" by the soldiers, along with the Fire Guardian. Elc awakens from his nightmare to find his good friend Lynx. Lynx tells Elc to get ready to undertake a job. Elc is a hunter, a person who takes on small jobs for money, who lives in the city of Prodias.

Elc ends up at Aldia Skyport, where a crazed mutant ninja named Alfred takes a woman hostage. Elc busts through the window, and tries to subdue him with his fire abilities, but Alfred ends up running through a plane. While on this cargo plane, Elc hears a noise coming through a room, and there he meets Lieza, a country girl, and her wolf beast, Paundit. She proceeds to explain that she can "talk" to monsters, and not to tell. Elc, then runs off, only interested in capturing his quarry. Albert, upon seeing Elc, summons bats to help him fight off Elc, but Lieza and Paundit have their own ideas, and help the rogue hunter succeed in taking down the crazed mutant. As soon as they do, members of the local mafia, the Cabal, appear, not to pay Elc, but to kidnap Lieza and Paundit. After firing their guns and shooting Lieza, Elc escapes with an injured Lieza and heads to Indigos, to ask his friend and fellow hunter, the wind ninja, Shu, for assistance.

Shu, who is busy doing another job, decides to lend Elc his apartment, and tells him to look up Dr. Lado, a freelance doctor, to give medical assistance to Lieza. Elc finds him in the ruined city, where, Lado is about to meet his demise at the hands of an ex-patient, who somehow has become a mutant. Elc stops him and asks the Doctor to give medical assistance to Lieza. Lado accepts, and heals her. Elc then tells Lieza to get rest, meanwhile, as he sleeps, he has another dream, depicting him in this lab with a girl named Mariel, with powers opposite his, those of ice.

Lieza wakes Elc and he explains his past to her: after the army took him, he has no memories until Shu stumbled upon him in the Aldian Desert five years ago. Lieza and Paundit decide to stay with Elc for protection. After taking on some jobs at the local Hunter's Guild, they meet Shante, who helps them escape the police, Elc and Lieza being fugitives now. Shu also decides to stay with Lieza now, to find out more about the group that tried to kidnap her.

The game cuts to Gallarno's office, the leader of the Cabal who has been trying to catch Lieza and now Elc. The next scene then shows Arc, Poco, and Tosh running through a Romalian lab. A scientist reveals to them how Andel plans to use a mind control device on Prodias. With the Goddess Statue, which is to be revealed to the public of Prodias, Romalia will enact their plan.

The unveiling ceremony is about to start. Elc learns that Lynx has a spare ticket so they travel to his Skyport, which holds the Hien, to get the ticket from Lynx. Just as the threesome get to the ceremony, the statue starts to emit a blue light. Citizens start to feel drowsy, but then the Silver Noah, Arc's airship, appears, and Gogen uses his magic to destroy the statue. Elc recognizes the ship as the one that destroyed his village and goes to get revenge.

Rushing to the Skyport, Elc takes the Hien to pursue the Silver Noah. Elc, however, pushes the Hien to its limits and the ship explodes, throwing the party onto Yagos Island, home of Vilmer, a scientist. Elc has another flashback of him and Mariel and then awakens to find himself in Vilmer's home, with his party, all but Shu. A villager runs in to tell Vilmer that his granddaughter, Lia, went into the nearby Ruins. Elc and Lieza decide to look for her. They find her along with a strange robot-like artifact. In exchange for the robot, Vilmer fixes the Hien. Elc has more flashbacks of his childhood at the facility, explaining that children are taken there to be "studied" and are given control medicine. The robot reveals its name to be Diekbeck. Elc gets the robot a power pack and Vilmer begin to fix it. At the same time Vilmer, after finished the repair on the Hien, bid them farewell for both Elc and Lieza are leaving for Prodias in search of Shu's whereabout.

In Indigos, Elc and Lieza, while in search of Shu, enlist the help of Sharte in solving the mysteries surrounding the city. Sharte promised the two to lead them to Gallarno since this whole thing started from the Cabal leader. When they sneak into Gallarno's mansion, they ran into Shu, who survived the crash and also been investigating the Cabals for some time. It turned out that Sharte has been a double-agent for the whole time, luring them to the mob's hideout to assassinate them. Elc and his parties were forced to face his fellow "captive" friend Genie in battle. It appears that the serial killer wanted by the police was Genie, after being brainwashed in the white house and become the "Slasher".

After the battle ensued and Elc's team emerged victorious, Genie's consciousness return and he converse Elc's a moment before his death. It was later found out that Sharte was betraying them to save his brother, Alfred, from the Cabal's grip. When it turned out that the Cabal has actually assassinated his brother, Sharte decided to help Elc to storm the "White House", as they thought that they could get clues of anything behind all the mysteries surrounding the Cabals and Elc's vague past.

When they arrive at the "White house", they learn that it was actually a facility used by Gallarno to gather children of special abilities around the world and transform them in to mutants, or in this game is called "Chimera". It was proved when the children they found playing in the playroom later transformed into monsters and attack them. Elc also discovered that his childhood friend Mariel is still alive and was about to be turned into Chimera. He then rescued her and both of them join the others in the playroom. But Gallarno had everything planned and throw both Elc and Mariel into a basement room via a trap door and spare the others while he set the "White House" to detonate within a time limit.

Inside the basement, Gallarno brain-controls Mariel into fighting Elc against her will. Elc is forced to fight her twice before at last Mariel is able to contain the mind control for a brief moment and ask Elc to kill her. Elc has no choice but to unleash his firepower on her and by doing so, cause the basement room to blow and send him to a comatose condition. When his friends tried many futile attempt to save him, Arc's group arrive and Arc opens a hole in the ground with his "guardian magic" in order to save Elc. They are taken inside the Silver Noah and is heading to the Sabatico shrine in order to ask Kukuru to heal Elc.

Kukuru heals Elc. She tells the party that Elc will pull through only if he wants to pull through. Shu, shocked to see his longtime friend in this condition, vows revenge. He wants to go Romalia. However, the Silver Noah needs repairs and cannot be used. So Shu, along with Shante, travel to Palencia. They eventually learn there's and airship that is about to head to Romalia. With help, they sneak on the Airship. They reach the escape ships, however, some Romalians fight them and Shante falls out of the large airship while Shu takes an escape ship and heads to Romalia.

Shante falls from the airship and lands on Clenia Island. She is found on the beach by a young, blind girl and her father, Gruga. They take her back to their village for her to be healed. Shante is healed and asks Gruga if she can take an airship to Romalia. However, no ship will be going in or out of the skyport until after the fighting tournament in the village is completed. Gruga is actually the favorite is the tournament. While fighting in the tournament, some Chimaeras from Romalia capture Gruga's daughter, Elena, and hold her hostage as a trap to capture Gruga and turn him into a chimaera. However, Shante and Gruga eventually rescue Elena. Gruga reveals to Shante that Elena is not actually his daughter. Elena's actual parents were killed in the war of independence between Clenia and Niedel, in which Gruga was a key figure in. Filled with guilt, Gruga adopted Elena and loved her and cared for her for years. Gruga decides to join Shante's adventure to Romalia because the Romalians tried to harm his daughter.

Meanwhile, while Shu and Shante are heading to Romalia, Kukuru tells Lieza that she has some things to settle in her home country of Holn. She travels to Holn on the Silver Noah (with the repairs being done) and is dropped off their while the Silver Noah returns to Sabatico. Lieza tries to go back to her home village of Forles, but a giant rock lies in the way of the entrance to the village. She travels to Ramul, a large city on the continent, and asks the townspeople for information on the rock. However, the police arrest her and throw her in jail. They explain they sealed off Forles to keep the "freaks" separated. In her jail, Lieza meets Gogen from Arc the Lad I and finds he has also been imprisoned. They escape from the jail, and Gogen agrees to help remove the rock to Forles. Gogen blows up the rock using his magic. As they reach Forles, the whole town is gone. They reach Liezas old house, and some Chimaeras appear. After they are defeated, he reveals that there is a chimaera lab in a mountain on the East side of the country, and that is where all the townspeople are. As Lieza and Gogen defeat the Chimaeras lab, Lieza reaches her Grandfather and the townspeople and rescue them. After they are rescued, Lieza and Gogen teleport to Romalia.

Reception

Critics cite Arc the Lad II as the best of the original trilogy. David Smith of IGN praised the game's expansion over the first game, writing that "Arc II grafts a bigger world map, more detailed dungeons, more complex character development, a far larger cast, and most of all a longer quest onto a combat system that remains pretty familiar."[1] Alex Makar of Gaming-age.com noted that the addition of the Hunter's Guild to the gameplay added an element of nonlinearity. He also commented on the cast, saying that the characters were more likeable and had more personality, and that the "story is also a lot darker than it is in Arc 1, and has some pretty angst and melancholy ridden overtones".

Smith's major complaint with the game was its graphical representation, saying that the game looks almost identical to the first game. In contrast, Bethany Massimilla of Cnet.com called the character sprites "more vibrantly coloured and better detailed", although she admitted that the "dungeons remain largely monotonous".

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