Arc the Lad Collection is a compilation of the Arc the Lad RPGs for the PlayStation. The games were localized by Working Designs. Plans to localize the games had been fostered by Working Designs since the late 1990s, but the compilation was not released until 2002.
The games form a trilogy with a continuous story throughout each. Although Arc is the primary protagonist, each game features a new lead character. Arc the Lad sets the stage for the next two games and follows Arc and Kukuru as they discover a plot to restore the Dark One. Arc the Lad II introduces Elc, a young Hunter that becomes tangled in the plot and eventually joins the battle against the Dark One. Arc the Lad III features Alec, a young Hunter with a mysterious past.
Each game expands on the previous one. Arc the Lad II features a much larger and less linear world than its predecessor, and it brings back the cast of the first game in addition to featuring a new group of characters. Arc the Lad III features an upgraded graphics system, replacing the sprite backdrops of the first two games with three-dimensional backgrounds.
The battle system is, however, not all melee-based. Each character has a plethora of abilities available, ranging from magic spells to special techniques that either deal damage to enemies, heal ally characters, or augment statistics. These abilities are selectable though the ability wheel in Arc the Lad, however in later titles, a list interface was created for easier use. As in most RPGs, abilities and spells require MP to use. If the character does not have enough MP, certain techniques become unusable. However, MP can also be absorbed, restored and depleted using spells or items. The power of a character's spell depends on a character's magic statistic, and higher experience levels increase this statistic. As the magic statistic increases so will the effectiveness of characters' spells.
Other options in battle include the use of items. The range a character can throw the item depends on the character's throw level. As this ability increases, so does the distance the character can throw an item. Characters may also equip items during battle, or the player may check a character's status in the status menu. Once it is the enemy's turn to attack they may perform actions similar to those of the player's characters. How much damage a character takes from the enemy depends on the character's defense rating; the higher the defense, the less damage the character will receive. When the player's characters are attacked, they have a chance to counter the enemy. The chance of a successful counter increases as the character's counterattack level increases. When an enemy uses an item against a character, there is a chance the character may catch it and keep it or throw it back. This chance increases as the character's catch level increases. When a character is hit his or her HP will decrease. Once the hit points of a certain character reach zero, the character is removed from combat. No characters are permanently lost by being felled in battle.
Throughout the Arc the Lad series, the equipment system changes from its very simple beginnings to a full-blown equipment system in later titles. In Arc the Lad, only accessories can be equipped, and can only be chosen at the start of battle. Accessories boost statistics in various ways, and can be dropped by defeated enemies, received from opening chests in battle, received from NPCs, or found in the few explorable areas the game presents. The weapons and armor a character uses cannot be changed. Despite some accessories bearing the names of weapons or armor, such as the Phantom Set of items (gauntlet, ring, shield, and sword), there are no weapon or armor systems.
Arc the Lad II boosts the gameplay by including a revamped weapon system. Weapons, armor, items, and accessories can now be equipped on characters. Items, armor, and weapons can be bought in stores, found in battle, found in explorable areas or created in the combination shop. The combination shop requires that ingredients be brought and assembled. Each character has several types of equipable weapons. For example, Shu can equip battle shoes or fire arms such as assault rifles and shotguns. Weapons can also be improved, and can gain a +1 beside their name to indicate their increased parameters. This new equipment system also improves the battle system, as some weapons, such as guns and spears, have further range than swords and other short-range melee weapons.
Lieza, one of the principal characters in Arc the Lad II, can also tame monsters, which can sometimes use human equipment. These monsters can be used in battle as well, as party selection is variable in Arc the Lad II, based on the number of characters the player has recruited and whether certain characters are usable at certain times in the game.
A similar system is found in Arc the Lad III, however the synthesis guild replaces the combination shop, and, to many fans, the synthesis guild is far more in-depth than the combination shop. Recipes must be found by the players, unlike in Arc the Lad II where the shop would tell them exactly what to use. The monster system is limited to a card system, where monsters can be trapped in cards and later used for attacks.
In Arc the Lad, the world is only explored in a limited capacity. The player selects an area on a world map and then proceeds through the events and battles present in that area. Sometimes after a battle is fought, the player can explore the area in a limited capacity. By contrast, Arc the Lad II has a fully explorable world. The world map is richly coloured and detailed, where characters can roam freely, instead of having a simple overhead view map. Cities and dungeons also allow the player to freely explore, though some battle maps are only for combat, and nothing else. Arc the Lad III expands even farther on this concept and every place in the game is explorable on foot and can be explored during normal gameplay.
Early in 1997, North American fans of the series started a petition on IGN's PSX Power for a Western release of the first two games of the series. In 2000, Working Designs hinted that they would be localizing all three of the Arc games for a North American release in a bundle called Arc the Lad Collection. On April 18, 2002, after a series of unmet release dates, the Arc the Lad Collection was released in North America. This was the first time North American gamers were able to play the popular then-Japanese-exclusive series. The collection encompasses six discs and four games: Arc the Lad, Arc the Lad II, Arc Arena: Monster Tournament, and Arc the Lad III.
Arc the Lad Collection garnered positive reviews from critics, with aggregate scores of 81% on GameRankings and 78 out of 100 on Metacritic. Critics were quick to point out the "typical" Working Designs packaging of the series. David Smith of IGN gave the extras included with the games "two thumbs up" and wrote that the "collection does a particularly good job of accenting one of the more unusual aspects of Arc the Lad as a series, which is its continuity." In a review from Gaming-age.com, Alex Makar noted that Working Designs "know how to please their fans", listing all the extras packaged with the games and admiring the fact that North American gamers were treated to the extras that only appear in Japan. Play US gave it three stars out of five and said, "Hardcore RPG fans should add another star to the score and reserve a copy immediately."
Released in 1996 in Japan exclusively for the PlayStation, it was later published, after a tumultuous licensing and translation process, by Working Designs in 2002 along with Arc I, Arc III and Arc Arena, exclusively in the United States. It was later released in the PlayStation Network, where it reached Europe along with the US and Japan.
Waking up from a nightmare, memories of his abduction by the Romalian Army after the destruction of his home of Pyrenia still stinging, Elc'kowala'pule, Elc for short, decides to take a job at the Prodias Hunter Guild as obtained by his friend Lynx (ビビガ, Bibiga). Taking the job of stopping the terrorist Alfred at the Aldia Skyport, he meets a young Monster Tamer named Lieza and ends up escaping from Gallarno's cabal with her, after taking Alfred to justice goes wrong and he ends up getting killed by the mafiosos. Confiding in his best friend and guardian Shu to take care of her as he searches for Dr. Lado while avoiding the police who assume he has kidnapped the girl.
Meanwhile, Arc Eda Ricolne and his party are working on avoiding Andel as they plot their next move. First off, to destroy the mind control mechanism that Gallarno plots to place on the statue of the Goddess outside of Prodias. As they continue to foil the plots of the Four Generals and Romalia, Elc and Arc's destinies will intertwine as the two work to stop Romalia's plots and deal with power and evil beyond their comprehension.
Instead of movement from area to area being dependant entirely on menus, actual maps are used when applicable. Submaps for intra-country travel and full blown maps for towns and dungeons have been added, alongside a currency system, using the currency of Goz (ゴッズ).
The equipment mechanics have been further fleshed out, replacing the four accessory slots with a weapon slot and two equipment slots. Levelling armor has also been added and the level cap has been increased from Lv60 to Lv999, with late game enemies reaching the early 100s (roughly 125 for the final boss).
An item synthesis shop also exists, also serving as a sort of reward for collecting the four Romancing Stones in the first game, allowing one to merge them into one single stone with all effects. The stats and levels of the Arc I characters and their inventory can also be transferred to Arc II through the Convert option. All that is required is an Arc I save in your memory card. 781b155fdc