Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Disgaea: Hour of Darkness|
|Developer:||Nippon Ichi Software|
|Publisher:||Nippon Ichi Software (JP)|
Atlus USA, Inc. (NA)
Koei Limited (EU)
|Release date:||January 30, 2003 (JP)|
August 27, 2003 (NA)
May 28, 2004 (EU)
|Game modes:||Single player|
|ESRB rating:||Teen (T)|
|Platforms:||Sony PlayStation 2|
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (魔界戦記 ディスガイア; Makai Senki Disgaea, lit. Netherworld Battle Chronicle: Disgaea) is a fantasy video game for the PlayStation 2, developed by Nippon Ichi Software and released in the U.S. by ATLUS on August 2003 and by Koei in Europe on May 28, 2004. The game follows the adventures of Laharl, a demon prince in the netherworld. Nippon Ichi has also licensed or produced a wide variety of Disgaea merchandise, including a manga.
Disgaea is a tactical role-playing game with an isometric view (overhead at an angle), similar to the more widely known Final Fantasy Tactics. In September 2003, the GameFly rental service reported that Disgaea was one of its top ten rentals for the week. Disgaea is known for its combination of comedy, over the top gameplay, and unique features; the game is filled with gags and parodies. Additionally, the game's audio in the U.S. release is available both in English and Japanese.
The artwork and feel of the game draws heavily from Japanese animation, to the extent that a review in EGM said that it feels like Disgaea was made "by poison-tongued anime nerds hopped up on goofballs". While generally receiving good reviews in EGM and other magazines, Disgaea's graphics are often considered below par for the PlayStation 2, due to its heavy use of sprites. The makers of Disgaea have responded that characters represented by 3D models in other games are often limited by a "set pattern of motions", and they were able to make the characters of Disgaea more expressive with sprites.
Disgaea has many features which differ from those in other tactical RPGs. One of the game's tutorial levels explains the ability of the player's units to pick up enemies or allies and throw them to a different square on the map. Monster units cannot use this ability. The distance that a unit on the map can throw another unit depends on its character class; characters with a rogue class and Gordon are the best throwers in the game. It is possible to capture enemy units by throwing them into the player's entry square on the map. However, bosses and humanoids cannot be captured.
The game also has a "cycles" feature similar to the "New Game+" feature found in some Square Enix games, such as the Chrono Trigger series and Final Fantasy X-2. At the end of the game, the player can begin again while maintaining the characters' statistics and item inventory from the previous game. This complements Disgaea's high character level ceiling of 9999, although level is not the sole determinant of a character's strength or ability. It also gives the player additional chances to see Disgaea's multiple endings without having to start over with characters that have not been leveled up.
Disgaea's configuration allows the player to select the audio and soundtrack in the U.S. release from English or Japanese. The song "The Invasion From Within" by Tsunami Bomb was licensed for the English audio track by ATLUS due to its organ opening and fast pace, and is only played when English is the selected language.
Souhei Niikawa and Yoshitsuna Kobayashi, the game's producer and main programmer, have explained the intended humor of Disgaea; they give the example of Captain Gordon being a satire of American comic book characters. Episodes of the game are separated by previews, parodying such previews at the end of anime series episodes. Most of these have voice-overs by Etna and do not accurately reflect the plot of the next episode; one of the characters refers to these as Etna's fantasies. The game is also filled with prinnies, penguin-like creatures that explode when thrown. More information on their origins is revealed as the game progresses – they contain human souls and labor in the Netherworld and Celestia to atone for their sins. Character designer Takehito Harada described the prinny design as becoming less realistic as development continued.
Laharl's castle acts as a hub, allowing the player to access the other locations in the game. Each episode of the game gives the player access to a new set of maps, which must be completed in order to proceed in the plot. With the exception of the item world and the dark senate, all sets of maps are accessed by speaking to a dimensional gatekeeper. With the exception of some of the tutorial maps, maps can be accessed and played again at any time.
At the other side of the castle, Laharl and the members of his party may appear before the dark senate, an area where various non-player characters may vote on proposals to aid Laharl's party, including proposals to unlock various special maps required for some of the various endings or secret characters. Senators have a visible predilection toward the party that affects their votes. Votes can also be affected by bribes with items from the player's inventory. Each proposal to the dark senate costs "mana", which is built up by characters as they defeat enemies. If a proposal fails, the members of the senate that voted against it may be attacked to "persuade by force". The proposals available to place before the senate depends on the number of examinations completed by a character; these examinations consist of a battle with a handful of monsters.
Unlike many other RPGs, the world of Disgaea has only one set of stores where items may be purchased, consisting of an armor shop and a weapons shop directly within Laharl's castle itself; a hospital where characters may be healed in exchange for payment is also present. These shops are described in-game as the Netherworld branch of the Rosen Queen Co. The overall quality of the items sold in these shops can be changed through proposals to the dark senate, and proposals to add certain types of items to the shops are also available.
Laharl's party may also enter the Item World from the Castle, going inside an item from inventory in order to increase its attributes. The associated item world contains up to 100 randomly generated levels. Inside the Item World, monsters called Specialists raise the statistics of the item they are in when defeated. Every ten levels has an item boss – 10, 20, 40, 50, 70 and 80 have Item Generals, 30, 60 and 90 have Item Kings, and 100 has an Item God. The strongest of each type of weapon and the three ultimate items – the Yoshitsuna, the Super Robo Suit, and the Hyperdrive – each contain an Item God 2. Defeating these bosses also increases the attributes of the item. The three items are always Legendary. The Item World can only be exited at the end of a level through defeating an Item Boss (be it Item General, Item King, or Item God/2) or by using an item called Mr. Gency's Exit, a play on the word Emergency Exit.
Main article: Disgaea characters The antihero of Disgaea and son of the late King Krichevskoy, Laharl, lives in his castle with his vassals. Although he is mistaken as a child along with Flonne and Etna by the human characters, he is actually A 1313 year old demon. Takehito has explained that Laharl's antennae and billowing cape are intended to make him look larger than he really is.
Among Laharl's vassals, Etna is the only one at the beginning of the game that is a playable member of the party. It is revealed in her diary that Etna is driven throughout the game by a deep loyalty to King Krichevskoy. She has hired a prinny squad to aid them in their quest. Among them, Big Sis Prinny appears in some early episodes, and eventually becomes a focus of the plot in the reincarnation episode, when Laharl attempts to stop the Prinnies from atoning for their sins at the red moon so he doesn't lose his vassals.
Shortly after beginning their adventure, they meet Flonne, an angel trainee sent from Celestia (the land of angels). She focuses heavily on the concept of love, and joins Laharl to determine if demons are capable of feeling it. She was sent by Seraph Lamington – the leader of Celestia – to assassinate the already deceased King. He is occasionally seen discussing Laharl and Flonne's progress with an unseen character. Archangel Vulcanus, a high ranking angel who reports to Seraph Lamington and calls the netherworld "abominable", believes that he should have been sent on Flonne's mission instead.
Laharl and the others faces a variety of challengers to his throne, including Maderas, a vampire that attempts to kill Laharl in order to become the new overlord, and Hoggmeiser, a pig-like demon with a self-proclaimed love of money. One of these, Vyers (called Mid-Boss by Laharl and other characters, refers to himself as The Dark Adonis) is the first demon that Laharl confronts in his quest to reclaim the title of overlord and appears periodically throughout the game.
Later, they meet several humans from Earth. This includes Captain Gordon, the 37th Defender of Earth, his assistant Jennifer, and the robot Thursday. Gordon says at one point that Jennifer has a Ph.D. in every subject, and she states that she built Thursday when she was only five. Gordon is treated as a rival by Kurtis, who considers himself to be more worthy of the "Defender of Earth" title. He had 70% of his body destroyed by an explosion caused by anti-space development terrorists, and also lost his wife and daughter in the explosion. Gordon and Kurtis are both working for General Carter, the leader of the Earth Defense Force.
Secret characters can also be found in Disgaea. Priere from La Pucelle: Tactics is the overlord of an alternate netherworld. Marjoly from is the final boss of the Beauty Castle; she has items equipped that come from other Rhapsody characters — Myao's Ears, Gao's Guts, Crowdia's Beauty, and Nyanko's Soul. Both Marjoly and Priere become playable members of Laharl's party when defeated. Another secret character is Baal, the Lord of Terror; he does not join the player's party when defeated, but is instead reincarnated as a prinny.
The story of Disgaea opens with Laharl rising out of an open coffin in his room. Etna, one of the castle vassals, is standing next to him, surrounded by various weapons. She explains that he has been sleeping for two years, far longer than he intended, and his father, King Krichevskoy, has died. Laharl vows to reclaim the throne, and, after consulting with Etna and his other vassals, goes to Vyers castle.
After defeating the demon Vyers, who refers to himself as the "Dark Adonis" and is renamed "Mid-Boss" by Laharl, he meets the angel trainee Flonne, who has been sent by the Seraph of Celestia to assassinate the late king. Shocked by Laharl's lack of remorse at his father's death, Flonne joins Laharl's party to determine if demons are capable of feeling love.
After Etna demands that Laharl pay the salary of the Prinnies that she has hired, he decides to attack the demon with the most money in the vicinity. This is Hoggmeiser at Dinero Palace. After defeating Hoggmeiser, Laharl is about to kill him, until Hoggmeiser's Son rushes out and gets in the way. Flonne convinces Laharl to spare them. Laharl lets them keep some of the money. In response to this act, Hoggmeiser joins the party.
At one point, Flonne and Etna discover a photograph of Laharl in an embarrassing situation. Laharl refers to this as a "paparazzi shot", however, it is never explicitly revealed what Laharl was doing in the photo in the game. There are many theories, including the two popular ones - the first being that he was doing something sexual, and the second being that he was doing something nice. The back of the photograph contained a threat stating that copies of it would be distributed if Laharl did not accept a challenge to fight for the overlordship; thus Laharl was blackmailed. One of the demons in Laharl's castle, upon learning about the photo, says "I didn't know you were into that sort of thing ♥".
Responding to this challenge, Laharl meets Maderas, a Vampire. He was banished by King Krichevskoy, for stealing the King's favorite snack, Black Pretzels. Maderas takes advantage of Laharl's two biggest weaknesses – optimism and women with sexy bodies. Maderas was also controlling Etna by holding her memory. He had instructed her to kill the prince, but she had put him to sleep for two years by poisoning him instead. Etna eventually betrays him, and along with Laharl, Flonne and Mid-Boss, defeats Maderas.
Waking up later at night, Flonne discovers that several prinnies are chanting and leaving the castle. Laharl, worried that his reputation will be tarnished if it's discovered that he let his vassals escape, chases after them the next morning. Eventually, he runs into Death, and learns that Big Sis Prinny is actually his mother; she became a Prinny because she gave her life to save him.
After Laharl is the undisputed Overlord of the Netherworld, he meets a group of humans from Earth, including the "Defender of Earth" Gordon, his assistant Jennifer, and the robot Thursday. Gordon has been led to believe that his mission is to assassinate Laharl due to an impending attack on Earth by the Netherworld. Laharl promises not to invade Earth if Gordon defeats him, on the condition that Gordon becomes one of his vassals if he wins; Gordon is embarrassed by his ensuing loss and servitude. After the Earth Defense Force appears in the netherworld, it is revealed that Gordon was actually sent to secure a path for an invasion of the Netherworld by the humans, who have been tricked by the Archangel Vulcanus.
General Carter sends Kurtis to the Netherworld, and eventually goes there himself on the Space Battleship Gargantua. Kurtis abducts Jennifer, and Laharl engages the EDF fleet of spaceships in a rescue attempt, destroying all of them but the Gargantua by himself. Upon arriving at the Gargantua's bridge, several angels from Celestia appear. After being defeated, General Carter escapes, only to have Mid-Boss appear to give him a message.
In response to this turn of events, Flonne and the rest of the party decide to go to Celestia to confront the Seraph. Vulcanus describes this as an invasion to Seraph Lamington. They encounter Vulcanus, who reveals that he intends to rule over the three worlds as a god.
Disgaea is separated into 14 episodes, or levels.
- Prince of the Netherworld
- Enter Flonne
- A Hint of Kindness
- A Gift from an Angel
- Etna's Secret
- Laharl's Challenge
- Of Being an Overlord
- Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth
- Angels, Demons, and Humans
- Hero's Will, Overlord's Way
- War of the Netherworld, Part 1
- War of the Netherworld, Part 2
- What Lies Beyond the Battle
- Bettenhausen, Shane (Oct. 1, 2003). Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Electronic Gaming Monthly.
- GameFly, Inc. (Sept. 29, 2003). GameFly offers a weekly 'Top Ten' list of its most popular video games. Press Release.
- Lindquist, Tim (2003). Disgaea: Hour of Darkness – The Official Strategy Guide – Special PDF Free Edition. DoubleJump Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0974170003.
- Maragos, Nich (Sept. 1, 2003). Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine.
- — (Aug. 27, 2004). In Character: 01 – The Art of Takehito Harada (Interview). Retrieved Jan. 30, 2005.
- PlayStation.com Staff (April 23, 2004). Disgaea's Creators Explain It All. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2005.
- Strippin Heat. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness – Game Info. GameFAQs. Retrieved Jan. 26, 2005.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details