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Summoner, developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ, is a third-person RPG. It was released on October 25, 2000 as a launch title for the PlayStation 2 and was subsequently ported to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS.
The player can choose how short or prolonged the abundance of optional quests and side stories they will follow will be, which offer a diversion from the massive main storyline. The game also includes an abundance of spells that are cast in real time. It makes use of the RPG standard spell elemental alignments (Fire, Earth, Water, Wind/Air etc.) as well.
The main character is Joseph of Ciran, a young man personally responsible for the destruction of his hometown. As a boy, Joseph summoned a demon to save his village and watched in horror while it murdered his family, friends and neighbours and destroyed all he held dear. Torn between the grief of his loss and the hatred of his new power, he cast away the ring which a man named Yago had given him and swore never to invoke his powers again. Joseph fled from Ciran with great haste, leaving behind all his memories of demons, death, and horror.
Joseph's goal, achieved through his newly regained powers of summoning, is to defend Medeva from the Orenian invasion and to defeat the evil emperor, Murod, by using rings to summon the ultimate creature. Along the way he teams up with an assortment of characters, each with their own substoryline and optional quests. There are side quests with almost every NPC met in the game. These reveal more of the lore of Medeva, of which there is an abundance. Throughout the game you will experience voyages of many a mile through the use of a world map, similar to that of Final Fantasy VII. Using this completely 3D world map, Joseph can travel to the massive holy city of Lenele, the mysterious monastery on the Isle of Iona and many other exotic locations.
Much of the game revolves around its extremely intricate and interwoven mythology. Early on in the game, the player is exposed to the major religions of Medeva and Orenia. Complete with their own Creation myth and apocalyptic chaos, the player soon discovers that these religions influence almost every character they encounter. Much like the Final Fantasy series mentioned hitherto, it tells the story of gods and goddesses that represent the four major elemental forces: Amasido of Water, Urath of Air, Lahara of Fire, and Vadaggar of Earth. This is explained further and in greater detail in the sequel to the game.
Joseph - The main protagonist in the game. Born in Ciran with the mark of the summoner on his hand. He was given the Ring of Darkness by Yago, and once tried to use it to save his village from attack but unable to control the great power, the demon he summoned razed the village. Joseph was exiled from Ciran and travelled with Yago for a while, before throwing the dark ring down a well and running away to Masad, a sleepy town on the Darhu river. He promised himself he would forget all that happened at Ciran and never use his powers again. When Medeva is invaded Joseph is forced to find Yago, and somehow regain the power of summoning. As well as being able to summon monsters, Joseph is also a good warrior and has access to healing and fire magic. At the conclusion of the game, Joseph reunites all the demons and dragons, and becomes the reborn form of the god, Urath. Or as an alternate ending, players have the option to ignore his destiny and walk away.
Flece - Flece was brought up as an orphan in the "Old City" district of Lenele where crime was prevalent. She is supposedly the illegitimate daughter of a prostitute who was knifed to death in the Alley of Dogs. She now works for Tancred, who has crowned himself "King of Fleas" and controls Lenele's underground. Later in the game, she is revealed to be result of a tryst between Princess Qifeng, and King Bellias, thus making her the heir to the thrones of both Orenia and Medeva. She appears once briefly in the sequel looking for Rosalind of Iona.
Rosalind - Estranged daughter of Yago. She studies Aosi, the language of Creation and is the party's primary spellcaster. She originally joins reluctantly by order of Abbot Laurent, but in the end is the one who compels Joseph to accept his destiny. She plays a minor but important part in the second game and seemingly appears to Maia, the sequel's main character in a dream sequence. Later Maia and her father, Yago, learn that she was consumed by the Destroyer of Eleh aided by its agent Krobellus. The Tempest takes her form and Rosalind is no more.
Jekhar - Joseph's childhood friend whose family was murdered in the massacre caused by the demon unleashed by Joseph. Jekhar is now a soldier living in Lenele working under King Belias VI. He hates Joseph, but is ordered by King Belias VI to join in Joseph's quest for the rings, instead of helping fight off the invasion. As a result, he does not help Joseph as compared to Joseph's other comrades. When Fleece asks Jekhar to help her rescue a one-handed Joseph from life imprisonment, he turns his back and instead decides to stay on Iona guarding the queen of Medeva. He appears once briefly in the sequel alongside Flece, but it is only a cameo and he is left unnamed.
Emperor Murod - The former leader of the Society of the Jade Temple who betrayed the late Orenian Emperor and usurped the throne. He has now enslaved his people and is planning to rebuild the Tower of Eleh and crown himself Emperor of Heaven. Murod was one of the remnants of the Cult of the Nhuvasarim, a group of necromancers, torturers, and despots who were driven to Medeva and Orenia from Galdir by Girthrin I. The reasons for his aggressions stem from his strong belief in the summoner's prophecy, which foretells the summoner, Joseph, bringing an end to his reign.
The Four Riders -They are (in order of appearance) the Ghost Rider, Phoenix Rider, Serpent Rider and Tiger Rider. No one but Murod knows the origins of these warriors, as they could be either warriors or beings made by Murod's dark magic. Each Rider has unique attacks and skills. When first encountered, they are mounted on their respective horses. After a brief combat encounter, they dismount to continue fighting, before fleeing. Later in the game, two Riders must be fought simultaneously. At an even later point in the game, through a side quest, all four Riders must be fought at once to claim Joseph's final Dark Summon; 'Spirit of Lahara'.
Yago - A former member of the Order of Iona and Rosalind's estranged father. Yago left the monastery to seek a boy born of the Mark. Yet his efforts to teach Joseph the power of summoning failed and resulted in the destruction of Ciran. After Ciran was destroyed, Yago moved to Lenele, and became one of the King's advisors. He is a playable character in the sequel who seeks Rosalind, who vanished from the Iona Monastery.
King Belias VI - Wise ruler of the Kingdom of Medeva, who has been its ruler for sixteen years. Unbeknownst to most, Belias was in love with the daughter of Orenian Emperor Goadi III, the Princess Qifeng. Qifeng was presumed dead, having been assassinated by Tancred under orders from agents of Murod. Belias officially married Queen Galliene, the daughter of the Duke of Talimud. Belias, unfortunately, was later murdered and his throne usurped by Galliene and his own brother, Sornehan, who were both members of the Nhuvasarim.
Ferenic of Moano- Hierophant of Urath in the Temple of Lenele. Joseph can visit him and learn the mythology of the game. Later he is replaced by Krobelus as Hierophant in Summoner 2.
Abbot Laurent -The head monk of the Priesthood of Iona. He has spent his whole life reading Aosi. According to him, Ghuval IS Aosi, and that his banishment by his children was imprisonment in the language of Creation. Should Ghuval be freed, the world will end.
Aoqi - A mysterious "woman in white", head of the Jade Temple Society. Aoqi reveals herself to be Quifeng, the daughter of the legitimate Emperor Goadi of Orenia. She and Belias are Flece's mother and father. Later, while Flece is searching for Rosalind, the Queen-Mother acts as regent of Medeva-Orenia.
Machival - The Demon of Darkness and also the final boss in the game. He is the demon that destroyed Ciran. He is also the strongest of the demons and even possesses Yago in order to trick Joseph into releasing the rings' demons at the Temple of Urath.
Luminar The Demon Of Light, who destroys the monastery of Iona.(Luminar makes a cameo as the loudmouth in the kitchen during the Dungeons and Dragons sketch extra).
Titus The Demon of Earth destroys Medeva and the armies of the duke. He takes over Ikaemos as Machival's de facto lieutenant.
Pyrul The Demon of Fire destroys part of the Khosani vaults and is fought in the salamanka pit.
Ciran -The home of Joseph that he destroyed unwillingly when he used the Ring of Darkness to deflect an attack by raiders. The Demon Machival was ultimately responsible, yet Joseph was blamed and exiled.
Lenele -The capital city of the kingdom of Medeva. Lenele holds the castle of King Bellias, as well as the Temple of Urath. Lenele is believed to be the site of the ancient city of Ilaosi, for Lenele means "city of the gods." Lenele is divided into four major sections: The Outskirts contain the harbor and entrance to the city proper. The Marketplace comprises both the Avarum, where merchants set up temporary trading posts, and the Craftsmens' Island. The Old City is the residence of Lenele's working class and criminal elements. The original castle Keep is here, now used as a state prison. The Crown district contains a park and other hangouts for nobles. The Plaza leads to the Temple of Urath and the Castle.
Iona -The island home of the Order of Iona. Here monks care for the Great Library built by Sir Carados. The books in the library contain Aosi-the Language of Creation, which Ghuval used to make Khosos and Urghal. Because of the extreme nature of these glyphs, no monk of the Order can ever return, should they leave the Library. The Island is also home to the catacombs which house the tombs of the first thirteen kings of Medeva.
Saanavarh -Called the "Mountain of the Wise," it is the home of the Khosani, who made the Rings of the Summoner. Here, they fled after Amasido destroyed their home in vengeance over the death of Iona. The Khosani mine precious metals in their cities underground.
Ikaemos -Once a sprawling ancient civilization, Ikaemos was destroyed when the River god Ikaemos became angry that the Priest King Aruman V refused to sacrifice humans to him. He sent a flood to kill and damn all the population, but the Priest King turned everything to stone before he could.
Orenia -A large kingdom to the north of Medeva. Orenia is ruled by Emperor Murrod, who has threatened war against Medeva unless the Summoner is turned over to him. Orenia is ruled from the Jade Temple, where the Seers prognosticate the future to Orenia's rulers. Also in Orenia is the lakeside village of Wolong, and the haunted forest of Liangshan.
Part I. Medeva
The game begins in a small village besieged by the forces of Orenia under command of Emperor Murod, who is looking for the one born with the mark of the Summoner. After fending off solidiers and escaped by river from the place, Joseph escapes to the capital of Medeva, Lenele. Joseph attempts to get to the castle to speak to his former companion, Yago (now an advisor to the King), but is taunted and rebuffed by the guards. A shady person notices his difficulties and offers her assistance, introducing herself as Flece, an agent of the local crime lord, Tancred. They end up infiltrating the palace by means of the sewer.
Flece uses her stealth to reach Yago, who sends the two to the island of Iona, where the Abbot of the Monastery holds the ring of light. Yago gives Joseph the ring of Darkness, and sends them to the island. There, ironically, they meet Yago's daughter Rosiland. She is an acolyte who has hated Yago her whole life for abandoning her and her mother for his search of the Summoner. Reluctantly she accompanies Joseph into the Catacombs where the first kings of Medeva are entombed. Inside the half-cave, half-fossil sepulchre, they find Sir Carados, a long lost knight and builder of the Great Library. Having gone mad with delusions that he is Vadagar, the god of the Earth, he attacks them. After his defeat they find the ring of Light at the tomb of Iona, the dead consort of Vadagar.
After returning to Lenele, King Belias sends them to find the other rings while Murod's forces under General Pijian lay ready to siege Lenele. They go to Saanavarh, the stronghold of the Khosani people who made the rings after their original home was flooded by Amasido's vengeance. They test the Summoner's party which nets them the ring of Fire. Afterwards, they travel to the swamp of Ikaemos. Once an ancient empire, Ikaemos was destroyed by their namesake god's anger. The Priest King froze them in stone before they could die. Joseph gets the ring of Stone after defeated the reanimated statue of the Priest King. However, they find that Lenele has been overrun by the Orenians after it was betrayed by the king's corrupt brother, Sornehan. The party splits up and Fleece and Joseph head to the temple of Urath alone. There they find the king dead and Sornehan crowned by the Hierophant. In the main twist of the game, Yago then instructs Joseph to put on all four rings and place his hand into the Forge of Urath. This action destroys Josephs hand, along with the rings, releasing the demons that had been bound within by the Khosani hero, Rhukha. Yago reveals himself to be possessed by the demon of darkness that destroyed Joseph's village. The demon, Machiaval then tells Joseph that he plotted this with the help of Fleece, and Yago and Sornehan promptly turn over Joseph to Murod as prisoner.
Part II. Orenia
Flece, realizing that she had been tricked as well by the demon of Darkness, travels to Orenia to find Joseph. She finds that Murod is using Orenian slaves to construct a replica of the legendary Tower of Eleh. Originally made by the Children of Ghuval to siege Khossos, Murod likewise wishes to storm heaven and become lord of all creation. Using her clandestine skills, Fleece finds Joseph imprisoned in the very bottom of the tower. Fleece and Joseph escape and flee to the lakeside village of WolonWolong recently had been attacked by founder Generjian, who is chasing the forces of the Jade Temple led by Aoqi-the woman in white who killed Tancred. The town healer in Joseph that only then of the lake can heal his injury. They meet up with Rosiland and journey into the caverns under the city. There they find the plant they seek and the healing pool where Joseph's hand is remade. Jekhar and Aoqi meet em outside in Wolong's citadel with her Jade Temple troops. They then battle the forces of Pijian and retake the city once the generalain. Aoqi then reveals that she is the missing daughter of Emperor Goadi who was usurped by Murod. Shin love with King Belias and they had an illegitimate daughter, who t
The next ring is in the forest of Liangshan where a mighty demon was killed by the dragon and thus poisoned and damned the place. Once a village, it was taken over by [ and a power poison miasma. In the center, they find a shrine where the guardian keeps the ring. They defeat more of Murod's solidiers and take the ring. Finally, they return to the Jade Temple where battle against Murod, who is a member of the Nhuvisarum. After his destruction, Qifeng takes the throne as the daughter of the true Emperor of Orenia.
- After completing the game and viewing the credits, a computer animated version of the Dungeons and Dragons sketch titled "Summoner Geeks" plays. It was circulated on the internet as a promotional video before the release of the game. It featured characters from both Summoner and Red Faction.
- Summoner for the PS2 received a 74 out of 100 from 16 different reviews at Metacritic.
- Summoner for Windows received a 78 out of a 100 from 14 different reviews at Metacritic.