Anthony's Film Review
Throne of Darkness
(Video Game, 2001)
An engrossing and exciting action role-playing game that is almost perfect...
Throne of Darkness is an action RPG developed by Click Entertainment in 2001. It's like any other game in the genre. You play a set of characters who fight monsters, collect weapons, use magical items, and survive until the final nemesis is defeated. This game is almost always compared to the RPG called Diablo, developed by Blizzard Entertainment. In fact, Click Entertainment was founded by former Blizzard employees who decided to bring the concept of Diablo into their own game. I will say right now that I've played both Diablo and Throne of Darkness and do like both games equally.
The most striking difference between the two games is the setting. Throne of Darkness takes place in mythical Japan. The story, according to the game's manual and introduction video, goes like this. After years of warfare, the land has become more peaceful. Maybe a little too much, because the new shogun named Tsuranayoshi spends his time living a decadent extravagant lifestyle. This angers the gods, who curses him with imminent death. Desperate, Tsuranayoshi demands that someone prevent him from dying. One day, a monk brings him an elixir of immortality. Tsuranayoshi drinks it, but at a terrible price. It opens a gateway into his soul, and he becomes possessed by the Demon Warlord named Zanshin. Tsuranayoshi/Zanshin brings forth an army of undead that terrorize all of Japan.
You play a clan of seven warriors who are the only hope to stop Zanshin. They include a leader, an archer, a swordsman, a strong brick, a wizard, a ninja, and a frantic beserker. You control four of these characters at a time, picking the warriors among your clan as you see fit. Your clan Daimyo, or master, gives you objectives, such as clearning out the castle, visiting the other castles, and gaining access to portal gates guarded by Zanshin's forces. The entire game is very lengthy and takes place in four castles, the forests in between, four slopes of a mountain in the center, and Zanshin's castle at the top.
You fight all sorts of enemies, including skeleton archers, monster commanders, dark priestesses, turtle-like monsters called kappas, dark horsemen, and many others. Many times, you are dealing with so many of them at once. This and the massive land area you are covering makes Throne of Darkness a challenging but very fun game. You do pick up gold, new weapons, new armor, and magical items. The best part is the ability to have the blacksmith combine the magical items with the weapons and armor into even better weapons and armor. After all, role-playing games are about becoming stronger over the course of the game.
But there's just one thing that prevents me from calling this a perfect game: the ending. Believe it or not, the ending is one of the most anticlimactic disappointing game endings I've ever come across, if not the worst. Instead of a great sense of satisfaction, there is the sense of getting absolutely nothing for all the trouble of fighting monsters in a vast geographical landscape. Otherwise, if you can ignore this type of ending, Throne of Darkness is a very fun game to play.
For more information about Throne of Darkness, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.