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Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice

There have been so many video games to come along with anime tie-ins. They’ve spanned pretty much all genres with beat ‘em ups, RPGs, shoot ‘em ups, adventure games, fighting games, platformers, you name it. Some have been quite good, but many more have been quite bad. When Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice appeared on the Dreamcast, it was much more the former than the latter, albeit far from perfect. Record of Lodoss War was the sort of anime that just cried out to have video game adaptations, and for the most part it delivered. Of course, the game was an RPG, but what came as a surprise to many was that it wound up being a Diablo-like action RPG. Players controlled their hero and explored countless dungeons, fighting hordes of monsters, all the while collecting loot. It was a very enjoyable if somewhat overlooked release for the Dreamcast.

Players control a hero who has been resurrected by the wizard Wart for an inevitable encounter against the evil goddess Cardice. Story is light with the emphasis much more on combat and exploration. However, as one progresses more and more hints are given as to just who this resurrected warrior actually it, and fans of the anime may be surprised by the result.

While exploring the various areas, players will quickly notice that they are fairly large. There’s a good amount of ground to cover in search of enemies, treasure, and other assorted goodies. Moreover, the number of settings is quite high. As one progresses through Record of Lodoss War, it’s easy to see that there is a lot of content here and it really lends a sense of being on a grand adventure.

Players’ character gets stronger through a couple of ways. First, there’s the straightforward RPG element of gaining levels and getting a bigger hit point pool out of the deal. Second, players must gather mithril and plaques while on their journey. These can be collected and traded with a blacksmith who can then enhance weapons and armor. Plaques teach the blacksmith new abilities and stats that are added to his repertoire, while mithril is the actual currency to pay for having these stats and whatnot applied to a piece of gear. It’s worth noting that these can be continually stacked provided that players have enough mithril on them.

With all of the monsters to slice up, it’s nice that the controls handle so well in Record of Lodoss War. The character is responsive, and access to items, menus, and the like is smooth and intuitive, all very important things when the action picks up with enemies really starting to fill up the screen. About the only thing players new to the game might have to get used to is the somewhat more sluggish feel of the action compared to modern games. This is largely thanks to the evolution of the genre over the last 20 years. Hack and slash RPGs were generally slower when Record of Lodoss came along.

Visually, the game looks decent, but it’s by no means on the same level as the prettier games on the Dreamcast. Environments aren’t terribly detailed, and there is a noticeably subdued color scheme in use for much of the game. That being said, there are some fun enemy designs that appear from time to time to keep things interesting. However, due to the game going for a polygonal graphical style, it couldn’t achieve the same level of detail as some if its sprite-based contemporaries were capable of.

Further holding back the experience was how sparse music in the game was. There are plenty of moments where the soundtrack kicks in, but just as many if not more where there’s no music whatsoever. These areas wind up feeling dead and not at all engaging as a result. This is especially disappointing given how good the soundtrack is in the Record of Lodoss War anime. Presumably, there were licensing issues, which would explain things, but ultimately the music, or lack thereof, in this game is disappointing.

Nevertheless, Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice is a very fun action RPG. The exploration, action, and weapon customization are a ton of fun, and the connection to the anime is interesting. Unfortunately, this came out around the same time as Diablo II, and Blizzard’s juggernaut gobbled up most people’s attention with regard to games in this genre circa 2000. As a result, Record of Lodoss War has become a bit of a hidden gem on the Dreamcast. In any case, it’s a very solid action RPG well worth trying for fans of the genre and the anime alike.

- IroIro
November 3, 2019
Platform: Dreamcast
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Neverland Co.
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
Released: 2000

Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice Image 1
Box Art

Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice Image 2
A battle ensues

Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice Image 3
A brief respite from monsters

Record of Lodoss War: Advent of Cardice Image 4
This game has a lot of items