Cover art of Dark Savior
|Mode(s)||Single-player (limited two player mode in Parallel 5)|
Dark Savior (ダークセイバー? dāku seibā) is an isometric 3D mixed genre game for the Sega Saturn created by Climax Entertainment. It was referred to by GameSpot as a sequel to the developer's game for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole, even though the games' storylines are unrelated, their gameplay is considerably different, and an official sequel to Landstalker (Lady Stalker: Challenge from the Past) had already been released. Climax never marketed Dark Savior as a sequel.
Dark Savior is a combination of three different gameplay genres: a platform jumping game, a puzzle adventure game, and a fighting game. Aside from one or two sections which blend platform jumping and puzzle elements, these three gameplay types are kept distinct and separate. The fighting game sections actually run in an entirely different gameplay mode; unlike the rest of the game, which features full 3D movement, the fighting sections use isometric graphics but are played entirely in two dimensions.
Plot and parallel system
The protagonist of the game, Garian is a bounty hunter tasked with escorting a dangerous monster named Bilan to a prison island where it will be interred. During the voyage to the prison, Bilan escapes and Garian races to capture the monster before it reaches the captain's cabin. The time taken for Garian to reach the cabin determines the course of the game.
Parallel I: The Hunt for Evil
Should the player take more than four minutes to reach the captain's cabin, Bilan will kill the captain, escape and head towards the prison. Something of a disaster scenario, this parallel sees Garian pursuing Bilan who leaves a trail of carnage in his wake. After destroying Bilan at the parallel's conclusion, Garian ponders how things might have turned out differently.
Parallel II: A Hunt for the Heart
Reaching the cabin between three and four minutes, Garian finds Bilan threatening the captain. After defeating the monster, it goes through a surprising transformation. With Bilan no longer a threat, the game's plot comes to focus on the conflict between an organization of rebellious prisoners, the corrupt warden Kurtliegen, and a ninja woman, Kay. The longest scenario; it runs roughly twice as long as Parallels III, IV, and V combined.
Parallel III: A Hunt for the Lies
Accessed by reaching the captain within three minutes. Garian gets to the cabin before Bilan and locks the creature out. Bilan, again makes its way to the island and Garian pursues it. While quite similar to the first scenario, parallel 3 is not quite as bleak. It does however make a major divergence at its conclusion, where Garian makes a startling discovery.
Parallel IV: A Hunt for the Truth.
Parallel 4 begins when parallel 3 ends. This scenario has a stronger science fiction element to it, as it revolves around the conflict between parallel universes. Conflicting realities cause the island to become unstable, and leave Garian in poor condition. In this scenario, Garian must rescue his friends to affirm his existence, escape the island and confront the source of the chaos, though he must do it within a time limit and without the aid of save points. This is also the only scenario where the source of the game's name, Dark Savior, becomes apparent.
Parallel V: Marathon of Death
This scenario splits off from II. If the player encounters Bilan at the captain's cabin, but is defeated by him, then Parallel 5 begins. Garian is put through a sort of purgatory, where he must fight through a tournament, the competitors consisting of his allies and enemies from the other scenarios. Unlike the other parallels, this one has no quest component, only battles. Completing this parallel once and re-entering it unlocks a two-player mode(the second player can take control of Garian's opponents).
Most critics found Dark Savior a mixture of interesting innovation and poor design. GameSpot commented on its "monotonous" platforming sections and unique combat style, while other reviewers noted its well-designed but occasionally frustrating puzzles, the possibility of using a large cast of characters for fighting, and its 3D effects and backgrounds. Gamespot rated the game with a modest 6.7/10