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- See Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (series) for the entire series
|Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance|
|Publisher(s)||Vivendi Universal Games|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance|
|Release date(s)|| PlayStation 2:|
NA December 3, 2001
EU December 14, 2001
JP September 26, 2002
NA October 22, 2002
EU March 21, 2003
NA November 20, 2002
EU April 25, 2003
Game Boy Advance:
NA February 10, 2004
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
|Rating(s)|| ESRB: T (Teen)|
This article is written based on the PS2 version with Gameboy Advance differences listed below
In the beginning the player must choose between one of three characters:
- Vahn, human arcane archer: archer with magical abilities
- Adrianna, elven sorceress: spell caster
- Kromlech, dwarven fighter: melee fighter
If you have played through the game at least once you have unlocked (and may also select):
Gameplay is quite different for all characters: the human relies on ranged attacks and stealth, the elf character can cast magic spells, and the dwarf is an all-round fighter for those who prefer a head-on approach. Additionally, each character has unique side-quests, allowing for replayability.
The battle system in the game is simplistic, but allows for customization[attribution needed]. The human archer, for example, can assign experience points to enchanting arrows rather than to strength, which will result in more powerful arrows. Character statistics at the game's beginning are preset, and the player may only customize his or her character's statistics through gaining experience points.
The game begins with the player character's arrival in the city of Baldur's Gate whereupon he is attacked, robbed, and left for dead. He is brought to an inn by guards to recover. There, the first hints about a great evil hiding in Baldur's Gate are revealed.
The player begins by clearing the inn's cellar of rats and vermin, and later discovers a thieves' den in the sewers where it's learned that one of the guests at the inn has been captured by thieves. Delving further into the sewers, the player may find an entrance to the crypt of the local temple where the dead are being reanimated. The player may then destroy the artifact which is allowing the reanimation which leads to meeting Jherek, leader of the Harpers, who tells the player that the thieves' guild is only one "part of a greater whole", and that the guild must be destroyed. The player must then infiltrates the guild's secret lair, defeats Kharne (the leader of the thieves and associate of the Zhentarim who had ambushed the player at the start of the game) and meets Xantam, a beholder who reveals that he is controlling the thieves' guild on behalf of some greater power. After defeating Xantam, the player finds a portal which transports him away from Baldur's Gate.
This leads the player to the Sunset Mountains, where he faces the treacherous Wind's Walk, with yetis, ogres and gnolls. At the end of this mountain path, lies a Dwarven Village. The dwarves have been driven from their mine by drow, and have sent a party to light a signal fire to request reinforcements, but that party has not been heard from. Torregir, a dwarf who is also a member of the Harpers, charges the player to scale Burning Eye Mountain to discover the fate of the signalling party, and to light the signal. The player finds that the dwarven signalling party was ambushed and scattered by Ceraxis, a powerful white dragon, but the player is able to light the signalling fire and retrieve the key to the mine. The player enters the mine and engages the drow forces therein. On the lowest level of the mine, he combats the valsharess, the drow queen, who again refers to herself as a servant of another power. The drow queen's defeat leads the player to a cave in a nearby forest where he defeats Ceraxis, who had ambushed the dwarven signalling party. Ceraxis guards another portal which transports the player to the Marshes of Chelimber.
The hero emerges in a ruined sunken cathedral filled with undead, but is able to fight to the surface where he meets Sleyvas, a humanoid lizard who explains that the local lizard tribes are being controlled by an Onyx Tower that dominates the landscape. The tower has no visible entrance, but can be accessed via the water stair; a conduit to the elemental plane of water. The path to the water stair is blocked by the local lizard tribes, and only the defeat of their chieftan will cause the tribes to scatter. The player travels through the swamps and the remains of an ancient human castle to defeat the chieftan. He reaches the water stair and gains access to the Onyx Tower.
At the penultimate level of the tower, the player meets a number of ghosts of fallen soldiers who explain that their general, Eldrith, once served Baldur's Gate, and fought a crusade against dark forces who intended its destruction. Upon her victory, she was betrayed by the elders of Baldur's Gate and sent to the Marshes of Chelimber where her armies and herself were drowned. Her rage brought her back to life, caused the tower to come into being, and gave her the power to open portals between distant locations. Seeking revenge, she has orchestrated the attacks against Baldur's Gate and its allies, and created a dark alliance between the thieves' guild, mountain creatures, drow, and lizardmen.
The player learns that defeating Eldrith will destroy the tower and the portals, and will free the ghosts to pass to the afterlife, but will trap the player. The player proceeds to the roof to join combat with Eldrith. He finds Eldrith alone on the roof of the tower with another portal. She again reiterates her plans for the destruction of Baldur's Gate, and attacks the player. Eventually, the player defeats Eldrith, who repents for her rage. With the tower crumbling around him, the player has no choice but to enter the remaining portal.
In the final cutscene, Sleyvas' true motives are revealed: he has manipulated the player to defeat Eldrith so that he and his comrades can gain control of the tower. He also expects the hero to have died in the tower. The player emerges in an unknown forest surrounded by nightshades and nightwalkers, and the game concludes on this cliffhanger.
The PS2 Game EngineEdit
The Dark Alliance engine (2001) was built for this game and is the foundation for other games on the PS2 including Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and The Bard's Tale. The Dark Alliance engine is a drastic improvement over the Baldur's Gate series that debuted on the PC, which utilized the Infinity Engine (1998), only able to render 2D sprite characters and static environments. The Dark Alliance engine makes use of Sony's PS2 platform, allowing for such improvements as dynamic lighting, real-time shadowing and 3d models of characters and environments. The graphics, in particular, were considered a highlight of the game by many critics, which says more for the creation of the engine than the game itself.
The Gameboy Advance (GBA) version of Dark Alliance featured some noticeable differences from the console versions.
- There can only be one save at a time, although it can be saved anywhere.
- Addition of the "Elf Fighter" class, which combines some middle to high level spells and abilities of the other 3 classes.
- Players cannot import a character to play through the story again, so they must restart at level 1 every time.
- No multiplayer mode.
- The town of Baldur's Gate is much more interactive. Players are now able to talk to people, enter houses, and use weapons (to break barrels, etc).
- The town is split into two sections: North and South. The southern portion cannot be entered at the beginning of the game.
- New side-quests.
- Lack of recall potions.
- Players can no longer jump.
- Players can switch between melee and ranged combat using the "R" button.
- Larger enemies will sometimes get trapped behind doorways, allowing the player to shoot them with the bow while staying out of harms way.
- The white dragon Ceraxis (who was the final boss of Act II in the console version) was absent in the GBA version.
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