Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord
Over the years, there have been a few Final Fantasy games. Perhaps you’ve heard of the franchise. Over the numerous highs and lows, there have been spin-offs in many different genres, including some unpredictable cross-over games tapping into the Disney universe. Then there’s the Crystal Chronicles sub-series, exclusively tailored for Nintendo consoles. But for every game which solidifies their spot in some future developer’s hall of fame, there have also been some pretty uninspired titles.
Perhaps Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord isn’t so much uninspired, though, as it is misleading. The gameplay is a departure from its predecessor, My Life as a King. It’s probably for the best that the two couldn’t be any more different from one another. Whereas My Life as a King attempted to remove the player from the typical proceedings of a Final Fantasy game by putting them in charge of coordinating adventures, My Life as a Darklord operates differently. This time, your goal is to prevent the adventurers from succeeding as they attempt to scale your tower.
Players assume the role of Mira, heiress to the thrown of the Dark Lord. Her ambitions, albeit slightly over-ambitious and misguided, are purely evil in intent. Even if she doesn’t know quite how to be evil, her father’s humble servant Tonberries provide some assistance in the form of short anecdotes and by doing some of Mira’s dirty work, while she’s occupied with keeping her tower protected. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord answers the age old question of what evil bosses do while the heroes are distracted by quests and lengthy plot developments. In an attempt to replicate the concept of placing gamers in the backseat, only to watch as their minions fulfill their orders, the tower defense genre was a clever choice for My Life as a Darklord.
Never before has the term “tower defense” been taken so literally. The heroes are after Mira’s dark crystal, which she keeps perched on top of her tower at all times. Thus, they’ll have to climb ladder after ladder, making it up to the top and if that happens – it’s game over. It seems unfair to end on that note though, as they have no way of getting down from what could be a pretty large tower by that point.
With the Wii Remote held horizontally, there’s a minimal amount of face buttons available. The D-pad changes which floor is being viewed. Whichever floor you’re viewing is elongated slightly. This way it’s easier to get an up-close glimpse of the action. On the bottom-left portion of the screen is a tower key. It handily displays the locations of any present adventurers, as well as their ability type, and the status of each floor, also.
When each of the floors are placed, there’s an artifact automatically added on the right-hand side. These are used to gauge the health of the floor and each one has a specific function. If an artifact dies, the floor dies. Using artifacts in conjunction with monsters, there are strategic advantages brought on when both the floor and the monsters residing on it are able to target an adventurers weak spot.
By exploiting these weaknesses, and killing off adventurers, negative points are earned, which allow for more floors and monsters to be summoned and leveled up within each game. After the battles, karma points are tallied up based on in-game performance. Karma can then be spent on raising each of your monster’s level caps. New monsters and floor types are unlocked pragmatically with victories in specified locations.
The length of My Life as a Darklord is considerable, with additional missions, as well as monsters, floors, items, etc. made available through Downloadable Content. As with My Life as a King, the overall cost for the full load of content might end up costing more than the game itself. For that price, My Life as a Darklord certainly isn’t worth it, but for the vanilla package, it’s a pretty easy recommendation to make. After all, it’s a Final Fantasy tower defense game. How much could really go wrong?