Drakan: The Ancients' Gates

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Drakan: The Ancients' Gates
Drakan - The Ancients' Gates Coverart.png
Developer(s) Surreal Software
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Designer(s) Alan Patmore
Composer(s) Erik Aho
Engine Riot engine
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Drakan: The Ancients' Gates is an action-adventure PlayStation 2 game with RPG elements by Surreal Software. It is the sequel to the 1999 PC game Drakan: Order of the Flame.

Plot[edit]

See also World of Drakan.

This game takes place sometime after the events in Order of the Flame. Rynn and Arokh answer a call from the city of Surdana. Lady Myschala of Surdana asks for Rynn and Arokh's assistance. An evil race of three-faced beings known as the Desert Lords have begun rallying the monsters from around the world (similar to how the Dark Union did in Order of the Flame) and have begun enslaving humans. Around the world there exist four gateways that lead to the world where the dragon mother, Mala-Shae, and her brood have been slumbering since the Dark Wars. Only a Dragon of the Elder Breed can open the gates and this is why Rynn and Arokh (more specifically, Arokh) are needed to open these gates, so that the humans can once again bond with dragons and fight back against the Desert Lords. Along the way, the two of them must go on various side quests to accomplish goals leading them to the ultimate goal.

Main synopsis[edit]

The story begins with Rynn, the protagonist, returning to her village and finding it destroyed and all the inhabitants killed. Arokh, her dragon friend, tells her that voices speaking in an ancient language are calling them to Surdana. Arohk leaves for Surdana, while Rynn catches up later after burying the dead in her village.

In Surdana, Rynn meets with Lady Myshala, the city's ruler, who tells her about Mala-Shae and the Spirit Dragons. She then shows Rynn the gateway in Surdana they will use to return. Rynn is tasked with opening four other gates throughout the land of Drakan, which will allow the Spirit Dragons to return.

Over the course of the game, Rynn and Arokh manage to open three of the gates. The fourth is guarded by a golem known as the Pain Golem. The golem is aided by Jasaad Duthane, leader of the Desert Lords, who has worked to impede Rynn in her quest throughout the game. Rynn and Arokh defeat the golem, which falls on Jasaad, crushing him. After Rynn opens the final gate, Mala-Shae and her Spirit Dragons return to Drakan and help rid the land of Desert Lords and evil beasts.

Characters[edit]

"Drakan: The Ancients' Gates" stars a large cast of characters.

Playable characters[edit]

The plot of "Drakan: The Ancients' Gates" revolves mainly along the bonded pair of Rynn and Arokh

Rynn: Rynn returns in Drakan: The Ancients' Gates and still retains her athletic and impetuous personality. She is a very attractive young woman who is capable of wielding all kinds of melee and ranged weaponry. She is often reluctantly forced into side-quests to complete larger goals.

Arokh: Rynn's Dragon Companion returns and serves as an important asset in their mission to open the Gateways, for only a Dragon of the Elder Breed can open the gates. He is a living legend, a dragon who defeated Navaros centuries ago and retired to eternal sleep after his human companion, Heron, died. When Rynn first met him, he was impressed enough by her courage to agree to help her in her journey. Throughout the game, he becomes Rynn's most powerful weapon and a true friend. He may appear intimidating and cynical at first, but deep inside he is noble and good-hearted.

Allies[edit]

Our heroes will find a number of friends and allies along the way.

Lady Myschala: The ruler of Surdana who knows many secrets of the Order of the Flame. Because of her position in power she is constantly tormented by Jasaad, the leader of the Desert Lords.

General Dehrimon: The General of Myschala's knights, he and his troops work hard to defend Surdana and keep peace. It is said he was a dashing man in his youth and defeated the necromancer, Khossa Vole.

Jade the Sorceress: She is the one who called Rynn and Arokh to Surdana with her magical powers. Her people in the Desert of Tears were among the first to be enslaved by the Desert Lords. She is able to teach Rynn new magical abilities for the right price.

Quaalus the Alchemist: An alchemist that lives in Surdana, he sells you potions. He also asks for Blackwing Dragon Eggs, paying 50 gold for each egg that is brought to him.

Chief Ranwulf: The Chief of the Northmen and Ravenshold, his people are at war with the Half-Men. He guides you to the first gate and gives you some insight into the war.

Zeggoro the Wizard: A wizard that lives in Ravenshold. Through his link to the spirit world, he is the only living soul who knows how to get through the barrier around the territory of the Half-Men and agrees to help you if it promises to get rid of the hated Half-Men.

Brekk the Blacksmith: Brekk is the blacksmith of Surdana, he sells weapons and armor for Rynn if she is at the appropriate level for them. At the beginning of the game he puts a reward out for anyone who can get their hands on Toadfist's crown.

Mala-Shae: The Dragon Mother, she is the leader of Spirit Dragons that have gone into a deep slumber in the Dragon World since the Dark Wars. Although she doesn't appear in the game, she plays an important role, Rynn and Arokh must open the four gateways that lead to her world in order to summon her and her brood to help them gain the upper hand in the war with the Desert Lords.

Enemies[edit]

Unfortunately for the last remaining warriors of the Order of the Flame, many enemies await to bring them down.

The Desert Lords: The evil, three-faced beings come from the demon world of Sessool. It is believed that they themselves were thrown out of power and the few remaining Desert Lords, under the leadership of Jasaad, have invaded Drakan. With their evil magic, fertile land becomes barren desert. The Desert Lords believe their rule is right and just and think of human beings as nothing more than servants who can only survive by their guidance and authority. Now they have rallied many races of monsters such as the Grull, Wartoks, the Half-Men and the Undead for their cause. Their headquarters in Drakan is the series of floating islands in the sky called Stratos. They seem to have some connection with the Dark Union.

  • Jasaad Duthane: The merciless leader of the Desert Lords. According to Jade, Jasaad has less concern for humans than "a farmer has for his donkey." Jasaad pops up every so often in the game to discourage Lady Myschala and Rynn from resisting.
  • Brother Yedeen and Sister Indja: These Desert Lords were sent by Jassaad to assist the Half-Men in protecting the second of the Ancients' Gates. They are stubborn and place all blame on either Maulgak and his forces or their own incompetent assassins. They are found in Shiverbane scolding Maulgak for his faults.

Yutaji The Flesh Mage: Possibly the most disturbing character in the entire game, the Flesh Mage is a sorcerer, said to be even more powerful than the Desert Lords themselves. He is skilled at creating Golems, as his palace, the Necropolis, is filled with them, and possibly skilled at necromancy as well since his palace is also inhabited by the undead. The Flesh Mage was put under a spell by Jasaad that made him lose his mind and placed his soul in a magical urn. Because of this, the Desert Lords themselves fear him and have sealed him up in his own palace. To appease him, the Desert Lords send slave girls, his "brides", into the palace where the Mage strips them of their flesh and wears it as a cloak. The Flesh Mage was the one who created the Pain Golem, the most powerful soldier in the Desert Lords' army, and holds the only key to defeating it, the Golem Staff. If Rynn is to defeat the Pain Golem, she must confront the mage and claim the Golem Staff.

Golems: Demons of stone (and in the Tundra, ice) that were created by the Flesh Mage and serve the Desert Lords. These creatures are highly resilient to Rynn's weapons and require a lot of punishment from Arohk's dragonfire before they are bested.

  • The Pain Golem: A nightmarish being, the Pain Golem is the most powerful of the Desert Lords' soldiers. This colossal monstrosity was created from misery itself by the Flesh Mage who bound part of his own soul to the creature. The Desert Lords used this beast to attack the farmers in the Desert of Tears and have placed it in charge of guarding the final gateway in the Golem Palace. Only its creator knows how to defeat it and holds the only key to stopping it.

Djinn: Floating demons that dwell in the Desert Lords' city of Stratos. They are among the toughest enemies in the game, along with the Soulless.

  • Grotus: This particular Djinn is the one who produces the potion that acts as an antidote to the mind-destroying spell put over the Bridal Hall, allowing workers safe passage. If Rynn is to enter the Bridal Hall and get to the ferry into the Flesh Mage's palace, she will have to navigate through Grodus' compounds to find a spare potion and confront this cranky djinn.

Dragons: Sadly, not all of the dragons in Drakan are noble, as some have remained loyal to the ethics of the Dark Union and have gone feral, attacking anything they see.

  • Blackwings: A common aerial enemy from Order of the Flame (although in the previous game they were known as Crow Dragons), these highly territorial dragons roam the skies in search of prey. They are covered in black feathers and have sword-like forearms. Their eggs are coveted by potion makers and alchemists.
  • Bone Dragons: Yet another enemy, the Bone Dragons are the remains of dead dragons brought back to life by black magic. They shoot powerful blasts of lightning and are a force to be reckoned with.
  • Mezzidrel: A large two-headed sea serpent who was part of the Dark Union long ago, she now serves Bonegrinder and the Desert Lords. One of the first bosses you meet in the game. Being a former member of the Dark Union, she has a deep hatred of Arokh and it is revealed that the two of them had fought each other in the past with Arokh being victorious but being a merciful dragon, Arokh spared the serpent's life.
  • Shaza and Tora: These two dragonesses served the Dark Union long ago as skilled assassins and were encased in stone in the area that is now the Valley of the Fallen. Long ago Arokh killed their brother, who he claimed was a traitor the order and an "eater of children". Now, like Mezzidrel, they share a deep hatred towards the hero of the Dark Wars.

Wartoks: These primitive beasts make a come back in Ancients' Gates. They have a grudge against all of humanity and seek to wipe the entire human race off the planet of Drakan. A group of Wartoks known as the Stormhowlers has taken a pair of magical gauntlets to make themselves invisible to raid their neighboring humans in the Northern Tundra. (their name is probably derived from "warthog" because of their pig-like appearance.)

  • Snotmaw: Because of his enormous size and strength, Snotmaw was made leader of the Wartoks and is the leader of all the monster tribes around Surdana and is responsible for their collaboration and maintains order between them. As an optional sidequest, Rynn and Arokh are asked by General Dehrimon to go to Kragmoor and to defeat this Wartok. He wields a powerful weapon known as Snotmaw's Cleaver.

Grull: Another notable enemy that makes a comeback is the Grull (although in the first game they were called Orcs). Although they are smaller and weaker, the Grull share the same resentment of humans as the Wartoks and are often seen working and fighting alongside them. The Grull are pagan in nature, and in the snowy mountains of Ravenshold, the Frost Grull have altars where they hang their victims from hooks and drain their blood.

  • Bonegrinder: One particular Grull Shaman named Bonegrinder uses evil magic bestowed upon him by the Desert Lords. He has lived for at least a hundred years and is responsible for the storms around the Andrellian Islands. In order to pass the storm, he must be stopped. He uses a magical scepter known as Bonegrinder's Staff.

Scavengers: Another enemy from the previous game, Scavengers are nasty, dog-like beasts with long limbs and a taste for human flesh. They are seen in many parts of Drakan, mostly in places where freshly strewn dead bodies are found, such as Daemog's cave and the Flesh Mage's palace.

Giants/Yeti: One more enemy from the previous game, the giants are an enormous race of subhumans that are often employed by the Grull and Wartoks. Giants are determined to kill Rynn, hurling any object they can get their hands on, even their Grull and Wartok allies. The Yeti are a differently colored version of these mammoth beasts that lurk in the cold expanses of Ravenshold, the Northern Tundra and Shiverbane and tend to hurl large snowballs that can freeze Rynn and cause a great deal of damage. The Yetis also exhale icy gas from their mouths that can be quite a threat to Arokh while in the air.

  • Daemog: A particularly dangerous yeti, Daemog is much larger than other yetis and his hide is supposedly as strong as steel. The northmen of Ravenshold have had a great deal of trouble trying to terminate this menace. None who pursue Daemog have returned thus far. The shopkeeper in Ravenshold asks that Rynn discover the fate of his cousin, Sebborna, who went after Daemog and to possibly retrieve his journal in exchange for the key to the Forgotten Tomb.

Trogs: A new enemy in the Drakan series are the Trogs. These vile, frog-like creatures dwell in the Shadowmire on the outskirts of Surdana. They are relentless and bloodthirsty, enjoying the taste of humans and decorating their dwellings with their bones and severed heads. Rynn must fight her way through them in order to claim an important item to complete her journey.

  • Toadfist: Toadfist is the impatient chief of the Trogs. He prideful and intolerant of trespassers in his swamp, especially humans. Brekk the Blacksmith offers a reward to get Toadfist's crown.

Half-Men: A strange race of half human/half beast creatures that dwell in the snowy regions of Drakan. The Half-Men are notorious for their ugliness - one villager in Ravenshold stated that they are enough "to put you off your food". The second of the Ancients' Gates is found in their territory in Shiverbane. The Half-Men are not familiar with using magic, relying solely on their primitive technology. The Desert Lords have rallied them to their cause to guard the second gate in return for their support and knowledge with magic, as well as in conquering the Northern lands. The Half-Men believe that the Northlands belong to them and have been at war with the Northmen.

  • Maulgak: The chieftain of the Half-Men, Maulgak thinks little of humans and has formed a tense alliance with the Desert Lords. He believes that the spirits of Earth and Metal aid him in battle. His weapon of choice is Maulgak's Maul.

Undead: Not only do monsters rally up to serve the Desert Lords, but also the deceased remains of humans have risen from the grave, under the direction of dark magic.

  • Gothraul: He is called the "Prince of Ghouls", the ruler of the undead, and is the one responsible for the dead rising from the grave in the world of Drakan. He was a former member of the Dark Union and wishes to bring back its ideals once more. He calls his forces the "Sons of Navaros".
  • Soulless: As their name implies, these are the empty vessels of powerful warriors bound by evil spirits in service of the Desert Lords. They are among the most powerful enemies in the game.
  • Khossa Vole: A necromancer who was thought to have been killed by General Dehrimon a long time ago, his disembodied spirit now seeks rebirth in a new body. He is in possession of an artifact crafted by the magi of the Dark Union known as the Gravestone, which grants its user greater skills in the Necromantic arts (and is how he conjures up the dead). Rynn must reclaim the Gravestone if she is to ease the population of the undead.
  • The Inquisitor: Another ghostly being that haunts Surdana. He kidnaps innocent civilians during the night and takes them to his underground lair where Wartoks stand guard and ask them questions concerning people that lived during the time of the Order and the Dark Wars six hundred years ago. If his prisoners are unable to answer, he tortures them to death. The knights of Surdana have placed a large bounty on the Inquisitor.

Giant Chicken: This is possibly the most ridiculous enemy in the game. Basically it is an abnormally large chicken hiding in a cave with several disembowled corpses. It is surprisingly hard to kill in close quarters. When it is killed you receive a golden egg worth 1000 gold.

Special weapons[edit]

There are many weapons in the game but some are more powerful than others. These swords are unique and are found only once in the game.

  • Elemental Blades - These are found throughout the game and each one has its own unique ability. The Earth Blade is found in the Shadowmire, this can summon a pillar of stone from the ground and hit the enemy where it hurts the most. The Ice Blade can be found in Shiverbane, this can put an ice barrier around Rynn for a short time and any enemy within that barrier will eventually freeze. The Lightning Blade is in Kragmor and can shoot electricity from the hilt to all directions. Finally, the Fire Blade launches a ring of fire. This is found in the Desert of Tears but to get to it you must first place three stones on their correct altars.
  • Mournbringer - Bought from the blacksmith when all four elemental blades are found. The single most powerful weapon in the game, can steal any health from the enemies to regenerate yours.
  • Lestat's Blade - Similar to the Mournbringer, this blade, found in the City of the Damned, also drains the life of the enemies.
  • Rynn's Dagger - The only weapon in the game that is unbreakable. It's also the weakest weapon in the game and the only one you can't sell. The only way to get rid of it is to not pick it up when you find your weapons again in Shiverbane.
  • Clineschmidt's Blade - Found in the sealed water cave in Ravenshold.
  • Character Weapons - A few weapons can be stolen from bosses. Bonegrinder's Staff can launch a lightning ring around Rynn. The Flamestrike Sword is found among the skeleton leader in the catacombs and has the same properties as the fire element blade. Snotmaw's Cleaver is a giant axe obtained when killing Snotmaw in Kragmor. In Shiverbane you can obtain Maulgak's Maul, a large hammer that can launch a ring of ice.
  • Tempest - A purple sword shaped like a lightning bolt, doesn't really have any special properties.
  • The Chicken - Probably the most unusual melee weapon in the game, as powerful as the Mournbringer but doesn't drain life. This is a random acquisition in the game, potentially found in any merchant's shop. If you hear a chicken squawk when you enter the merchant's inventory, look at the last slot available, and you should find the Chicken.
  • Hoarfrost - A bow which shoots icicle-shaped "hoarfrost arrows" found in a grull cave in Ravenshold.

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay of Drakan: The Ancients' Gates is fairly identical to its predecessor. It consists of two parts - in the air and on the ground. While in the air, the duo is superior to any kind of non-aerial foe but to defeat flying enemies takes a great deal of maneuvering and aiming. On (and under) the ground, Rynn has to fight alone unless Arokh can find a way to follow her, which usually isn't the case since the only places where they cannot fly are narrow dungeons.

The Lands of Drakan: The Ancients' Gates[edit]

In their quest to open the four gateways, Rynn and Arokh must journey through many treacherous lands where beasts and demons crawl and allies hide, awaiting salvation.

  • Surdana: The main overworld interconnecting almost all the rest, Surdana was once a backwater region for the Order of the Flame. The main headquarters of the Order was on the Southern Continent, however all was laid to waste during the Dark Wars and even the air there is poisonous. The city is ripe with hidden underground tunnels beneath the castle and in the cellars. Surdana is where you meet important characters such as Lady Myschala, General Dehrimon and Jade the Sorceress. The city is under siege by many monster races, feral dragons roaming the skies, and gangs of Grull lurk outside the city's walls, waiting to ambush the unwary and pick their pockets. The vile Trogs from the Shadowmire chop their victims to bits, the ghostly Inquisitor emerges from the deep tunnels to snatch up people in the night, only to interrogate and torture them to death, and the undead rise from their graves to kill their living brethren, and now the Desert Lords themselves have made their way to this place. Rynn and Arokh must move quickly before the castle is overtaken. Fortunately Surdana is where the Mother's Eye can be found, an ancient gateway connected to the other four gateways all over Drakan. If all can be opened, reinforcements can be dispatched and entry to the realm of the spirit dragons is possible. Several sidequests that Rynn can take upon herself is investigating The Inquisitor's Lair to slay the undead fiend, to navigate the Monastery of the Brotherhood of the Eternal Word's catacombs to find the source of the evil that is bringing the dead restlessly from the grave and to slay the Necromancer, Khossa Vole, in The City of the Damned.
    • The Shadowmire: This dank place was once a forest, but due to some unexplained circumstance, it was flooded and became a swamp. There is a mine here that is used to dig up a special kind of powder that can be used to make explosives known as Blasting Pots. There is also an ancient memorial here known as The Tree of Mourning, where friends and families of the deceased honor their dead by placing jewels and many other valuable items within the chamber below the tree. Here is where you must find the Cypher Rune, the key for Arokh to open the Ancients' Gates. But the journey into the mire is perilous, for in recent years the blood-thirsty Trogs have made the swamps their home and the Tree of Mourning is now the territory of the Trog Chieftain, Toadfist. The Trogs massacre any humans who enter the swamps and then decorate their homes with the remains. Because of Arokh's immense size he cannot fit through the dense trees so Rynn must sneak her way past the Trogs to get the Cypher Rune...and if she's lucky, she may find a valuable weapon from the Order of the Flame here as well.
    • Kragmoor: This wasteland is home to many different monsters and beasts that patrol Drakan. Black Wings and Bat Dragons make their nests in the mountains while Giants roam the valleys, and packs of Grull and Wartok make their camp here. The Wartok Captain, Snotmaw, has made this barren place his headquarters and has gathered his forces to prepare to invade Surdana. If she can keep her eyes open while slaughtering beasts, Rynn may find a weapon of the Order here too.
  • The Andrellian Islands: This is a small group of islands with rocky shores that often make a risky place to land while sailing. However, those who have come here are held prisoner. The Desert Lords have sent their assassins here to lie in wait for the Dragon Rider and have bestowed great power on the Grull shaman, Bonegrinder, who now uses his newfound power to trap sailors in his storms. One of the small islands features a mine containing mana crystals, which the Grull and Wartoks use at their leisure. Rynn and Arokh must find a guide here to lead them to Ravenshold, but with the storm around the islands trapping everyone within, they must find a way to ease the storms if they are to proceed.
  • The Northlands: According to Arokh, the ancient city of Meridia used to be in this cold expanse. The icy wilderness of the Northlands are treacherous, and have a way of "weeding out the unwary".
    • Ravenshold: Ravenshold is the main fortress of the Northmen, and here you will meet Ranwulf and his men. They will point you in the direction of the Gateways in the Northlands. Here you will also meet the wizard, Zegorro, who knows of the barrier around the Half-Men's land and will agree to help you if you bring him the right ingredients. The wilderness of Ravenshold is the territory of the enormous Yeti, Daemog, who has killed all hunters who have gone after him, and even a few who haven't. Ravenshold is also the stomping ground of the pagan Frost Grulls, who have set up altars to drain the blood of any unfortunate human victims they capture. Rynn and Arokh must also search out the Ancient Forgotten Tomb if they are to collect an important ingredient for Zegorro's spell. You will find the first of the four Ancients' Gates here.
    • The Northern Tundra: The Tundra to the north connects to Ravenshold, as well as the land of the Half-Men, which now has a barrier around it. The Tundra's wilderness is just as perilous, where a band of Wartoks, under their leader Stormhowler, have made their camp and rob from the Northmen camp nearby. Not only that, but a magical portal nearby leads to a hidden valley crawling with deadly Ice Golems who freeze their victims to death with their deadly gaze. The second half of Zegorro's ingredients can be found here.
    • Shiverbane: This is the land of the Half-Men, forced to live here because of their war with the Northmen. The Half-Men seek to expand their territory and have allied themselves with the Desert Lords to make it happen in return for guarding the second of the Ancients' Gates which can be found here.
  • The Valley of the Fallen: The Valley of the Fallen, also known as The Desert of Tears, has become a barren desert as a result of the Desert Lords' evil magic. There was once a prosperous system of farms here that became the first victims of the Desert Lords. When the farmers and villagers resisted, Jasaad sent the Pain Golem to crush nearly all opposition. Now the Wartoks have made the valley their headquarters and guard the third of the Ancients' Gates that stands here. According to Arokh, the Valley was the site of great bloodshed during the Dark Wars. A testament to the Dark Union rests in the deserts, the Sanguinade ("the walk of blood"), also known as the Devil's Mouth Ruins. The forces of the undead seem to be amassing in this horrid place. Deep within the Ruins there is a piece of land, a floating island that acts as an elevator that takes its riders high into the clouds to the floating fortress of Stratos.
  • Stratos: Stratos is the main headquarters of the Desert Lords in the world of Drakan. It is a series of floating islands, and Jasaad's elite forces are found here in the forms of Djinns, Golems and Desert Lords. The fourth and final of the Ancients' Gates is found in the Golem Palace, a temple in the heart of the islands where the Pain Golem stands silently on guard. If Rynn and Arokh are to get past the golem and open the final gate, Rynn must make her way through the well-furnished interiors of Grotus' headquarters and the Bridal Hall and enter the hellish pit that is the Flesh Mage's Palace, the Necropolis. in order to find the one key to getting past the Pain Golem and to the Final Gate.

Reception[edit]

The game received an aggregate score of 78/100 on Metacritic, based on 31 critic reviews.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]