Operation Darkness is a tactical role-playing game for the Xbox 360 developed and published by Japanese studio Success on October 11, 2007 in Japan. A North American version was released on June 24, 2008 by Atlus. The game is a fantasy conception of World War II, featuring weaponry and events from that time period, but with fantasy elements such as dragons mixed in.
Operation Darkness follows a squad of British SAS soldiers fighting the Nazis across the European Theater. The story covers much of the real history of the European war, including the battles for North Africa and the liberation of mainland Europe. French resistance fighters, American soldiers, and others appear as non-player characters.
The game diverges significantly from real history in that zombies of deceased Nazi soldiers appear as adversaries, and two of the player characters can transform into werewolves. Other fantasy elements include the appearance of supernatural foes such as vampires, as well as allowing the use of magic spells.
Gameplay consists of a series of tactical battles; between battles, the player may resupply the characters, purchase new items, and select which characters will participate in the following mission. Battles play out in standard tactical role-playing game (RPG) fashion, with turn order based on characters' speed statistics. During a turn, characters can move, attack, use items, pick up items from dead soldiers, and cast spells. The battle system also includes factors like cover and decreased accuracy from movement. Differing from the great majority of games of this genre, long range attacks tend to be far more frequent than close range attacks, and many characters can hit targets with high accuracy from a distance of more than half of the battlefield. Much like games such as Fire Emblem, characters killed in battle remain dead permanently (unless revived by one specific player character before the end of the stage). Generic soldiers can be recruited to replace fallen ones; however, the death of a story character results in a game over.
Characters possess the following attributes: HP, MS (martial spirit), Attack, Defense, Speed, Hit, Luck, Weight, and Move. Each character also has specific weapon-related and other skills, predisposing them to particular weapon types. In addition, characters can carry up to five weapons and five items. Each weapon and item has a weight value as well, and characters who are overburdened receive penalties to movement.
Two player characters can transform into werewolves, which massively increases their speed and attack. However, maintaining the werewolf form costs MS every turn, limiting its use to short durations.
Operation Darkness contains several story-essential playable characters, who participate in battles as well as in event scenes between battles. The official web site for the title lists the following:
Wolf Pack Members
Edward Kyle: A young man seeking revenge after his family and fiancee Alicia were killed in a German air-raid. He enlisted in the army to avenge his family, but was assigned to the Wolf Pack after being saved on the battlefields of North Africa by James Gallant. (English VO: Yuri Lowenthal)
Cordelia Blake (Cordelia Break in the Japanese version): A mysterious young woman who has served in the British Army since the age of 13. While other troops in the Wolf Pack use guns she fights with her fire-starting abilities. (English VO: Karen Strassman).
James Gallant: The leader of the Wolf Pack, James Gallant is a seasoned veteran, especially when fighting the supernatural. He acts as the de facto leader of the Fang Clan, a tribe of werewolves in Scotland who has been in a bloody conflict with the vampires of the Blood Clan for centuries (English VO: William Bassett)
Jude Lancelot (Jude Lancerot in the Japanese version): Edward Kyle's best friend and brother to his fiancee, Jude fought alongside Edward for the same reasons. But later get's captured by the Blood Clan and turned into a vampire. (English VO: Liam O'Brien).
Keith Miller (Keith Mirror in the Japanese version): The squad's fearlessly loyal point man, who has known Gallant since birth. Like James, he is a lycanthrope. (English VO: Kyle Hebert)
Frank Gaunt (Frank Andrea in the Japanese version): Gallant's second-in-command, Gaunt cuts an imposing figure, specializing in close combat. (English VO: Jamieson Price)
Cynthia Rivele: A top-heavy Irish sniper with supernatural marksmenship. (English VO: Mela Lee)
Herbert East (Herbert West in the Japanese version): The team's American-born 'medic', Herbert is versed in necromancy. Inspired by the Lovecraft character Herbert West. (English VO: Liam O'Brien)
Adolf Hitler: The leader of Nazi Germany. (English VO: Derek Stephen Prince)
Heinrich Himmler: The distrustful head of the SS. (English VO: Derek Stephen Prince)
Alexander Vlado: An SS Sturmbannfuhrer (equivalent to major) from a race of ancient vampires called the Blood Clan. Appears pale and ghoulish. (English VO: David Lodge)
Carmilla: One of Vlado's officers, and of his same vampire race. Has little regard for human life. (English VO: Jessica Straus)
The official site lists 18 additional blank character entries, containing the words "Coming Soon." Several non-recruits round-out the Wolf Pack, including
Lewis Canton: A reserve, Lewis puts his talents as a spy to use for the unit, gathering intelligence on the Germans and occasionally joining in the fracas. (English VO: Kyle Hebert)
Jack the Ripper: Though he once misused his powers to terrorize the East End of London, he was rehabilitated by the Wolf Pack, who yet regard him with an uneasy acceptance. Jack can use firearms, but is most proficient with knives. (English VO: Derek Stephen Prince)
Elisa Van Helsing (Eliza Van Helsing in the Japanese version): A professor at King's College[disambiguation needed], Elisa dusts off her Killer Sword and takes up her grandfather's work as a member of the Wolf Pack, when times are dire. (English VO: Jessica Straus)
Max Neuman: The Wolf Pack accommodates their former enemy, a Panzer Daemon, when a malfunction leads him to defect to the Allies.
Leona: A 17 year old Girl belonging to the French Resistance who is serving as a liaison. (English VO: Karen Strassman
Operation Darkness has generally fared poorly with critics, who consistently cite the camera and graphics as fatal flaws. IGN gave the game a 2.5 stating that "Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong".  The Official Xbox Magazine gave the game a 2.0 describing the game as "Tedious". EGM gave the game a 28 stating the game should be "avoided like lycanthropy".
- ↑ Operation Darkness Xbox 360 amazon.co.jp game page (Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved on 2008-02-12.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Operation Darkness Official Web Site. Atlus. Retrieved on 2008-03-25.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Operation Darkness Official Japanese Web Site (Japanese). Success. Retrieved on 2008-03-25.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Operation Darkness Hands-On. IGN.com. Retrieved on 2008-03-25.
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