Dark Chronicle - PS2
It starts as another normal day. You go to work at the repair shop sporting a new pendant that your Dad gave you and that evening you pop to the circus that’s recently arrived in town from “the outside”. Then your run-of-the-mill existence is turned upside down when you overhear a conversation between the Mayor and ‘Flotsam’, the evil circus boss.
You are Max, a young boy with a keen eye for an adventure and you’ve just got yourself mixed-up in the greatest adventure of your life. For as long as you can remember the town gates have been closed and the only train that used to carry folk in and out of town has long since rusted and seized. But why?
Spurred on by Flotsams’ circus troupe of scarily evil looking clowns, and the fact that you miss your long lost Mother, you decide to leave the town via the underground water channels and so it begins…
Guiding Max around the interactive environments is a straight forward, pleasant experience. The scenery and all the cartoon-like characters are nicely presented and most town-folk will have a chat.
As you navigate through the series of levels, which is easily done using the schematic layouts for each level, you collect weapons, keys and the inevitable magic powders and potions that one tends to collect in games like this. There are various puzzles to keep you amused, as well as countless enemies ranging from frogs and clowns to bats and bizarre one-eyed creatures. You also have the ability to “spectrumise” items that you collect using synthesis points - this enables you to build-up a unique arsenal of restorative medicines and super-wrench weapons to name but two. If you progress well and complete all the tasks given to you, which it has to be said are not too taxing, you are awarded medals. If you can accumulate enough of these medals will give you a “special surprise!”
This game is really more about having the patience to keep going, rather than finding yourself baffled by an overwhelming challenge. That said, it is good at what it does and would definitely keep youngsters occupied for hours - unless the infernal background music forced them to throw their PS2 against the nearest solid object…mind-numbing!