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'King's Field: The Ancient City'

A PS 2 Review

The Ancient City is the third 'King’s Field' we received in North America. It was produced by From Software in 2001, but released by Agetec to America in 2002. I have never played the original King's Field, which to my knowledge was only released in Japan, but I have played the North American one and two releases on Play Station, and they are some of the best first person, hack and slash, fantasy games ever, yet they pale in comparison to The Ancient City.

With a new console, we got a great addition to the library, and real quick, I just want to mention that the PS2 is one of my favorite consoles—possibly tied with the SNES.

At any rate, you pop this sucker in, watch a mysterious, intro video with fantastic music and graphics, and then it appears that the idol of sorrow, recovered from a long forgotten city, is responsible for the fall of a kingdom. 

This idol is then brought to a mysterious stranger. You are that stranger, and you begin your quest by entering the city ruins in an effort to return the idol of sorrow to its resting place and vanquish the darkness that has settled over your land.

Unarmed and under-equipped, you meet a soldier of Heladin, the kingdom from which you hail, who has some complaints about the king. 

He gives you a club, and you’re off to beat on some plant monsters. After rummaging through this depressing place, you gain access to deeper areas of the game.

You see, the ancient city was home to the forest folk, but they were thwarted by the dark folk, wicked beasts that resemble the alien from Aliens. Throughout the ancient city, you meet others who are either searching for long lost treasures, seeking out repentance, or even trying to make a buck. With an assortment of melee weapons, bows, and magic, you plow through mazes and baddies to learn that the expedition sent by the king of Heladin has been slaughtered by the snake queen—how she ties into the dark folk is a bit of a mystery, but this whole game is a bit of a mystery…as a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure you are the king of Heladin, and you are seeking your own path towards the light.

The Good:

Well, this is probably my favorite game for the PS2, and everything is good. The game play is smooth and responsive, but a bit slow; this, however, is not news to anybody who has played the previous games. The music is both enchanting and frightening. The graphics are downright astonishing. I mean, this game was released in 2001, and it utilized everything the PS2 had to offer.

If you’re into the dark channels of hidden sorrow buried deep within the soul of the lonely and resolved, this game is for you. It is, in a way, the predecessor of Demon Souls and Dark Souls, so it emanates that sense of black despair. I eat that crap up!

There’s also tons of items to collect, and you can level up your weapons and magic, which although can be a tedious undertaking, it can still be fun to do—watching the different baddies make their moves, listening to the eerie music, traipsing through the dank dungeons, this game offers the fantasy lover everything they need to satiate their sorrowful hunger.

The Bad:

I don’t know…The Ancient City has no real drawbacks. It might have benefited from a new game plus feature, but that wasn’t really a common feature of games released seventeen years ago. An online feature would also have been nice, but a lack of features is hardly a complaint.

I find The Ancient City to be another A+ game that I’ve played through on numerous occasions. I love everything about it.

One thing I want to add is that people who have played this game seem to believe that the final enemy is the uvula in the throat of a giant monster. No it is not.

Yes, I had to pause....

Here’s a picture of the final enemy, and if you look closely, it is a man bound to a throne. Upon reaching this mysterious person, after the idol of sorrow has been returned, this man simply asks: You seek the dark, too? Then, you whack him a couple of times, and everything turns to stone and shatters.

The funny thing is that in Dark Souls 2, which obviously had not even been conceived in 2001, there is an npc, sitting on a throne, who seeks to master the darkness. I believe that the creators of these games have drawn a parallel, but that’s up to you and your imagination. All I can tell you is that if you haven’t played this game, you should, especially if you are a fan of the 'Dark Souls' games.

Thanks for reading. I hope you guys enjoy this game, and if you're feeling generous, drop a donation! Thanks again. Next time, I'll be going back to the age of the Game Boy, so stay tuned!

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