Weekly Game Music: Kingdom of Ixataka (Skies of Arcadia)

Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching, here’s a game music themed after the Native American’s (or arguably, African’s) instruments. Here’s the theme from the game, Skies of Arcadia: Kingdom of Ixataka, composed by Yutaka Minobe and Takayuki Maeda. This tune is only one of many drastically diverse cultural tracks the game has.

As you can probably tell from the video below, Skies of Arcadia is an old turn-based JRPG about…sky pirates. The game starts with the Blue Rogue (basically, Robin Hood’s crew) assaulting a wealthy Valuan ship. The captain’s son, Vyse and his tomboy friend, Aika, rummages through this expensive ship to find a shy girl named Fina held hostage. Once rescuing her and stealing a few treasures, Vyse, Aika, and the rest of the crew travels back to their own floating pirate island to learn more about why Fina was kidnapped. Although Fina initially refuses to answer their questions, circumstances forces Vyse, Aika, and Fina to leave their home island. It’s here the Fina reveals her role: she has to collect the Moon Crystals, powerful magical crystals that comes from the six moons before they go into the wrong hands. Vyse and Aika, of course, agrees to help her, and travel across the vast skies in search of of these crystals, bumping into new and undiscovered civilizations.

Skies of Arcadia is a rather complicated for a turn-based JRPG. There’s 3 meters to consider: the health meter, magic meter, and Skill Meter. The latter is a requirement for each character to use magic or special attacks. The skill meter slowly recovers after each turn, or after focusing, so it’s a very disposable unit of energy. In addition, every weapon the character wields has an elemental property, allowing one to switch between 6 different elements. Like Pokémon, each element has it’s strength and weaknesses against each other. In addition, using one elemental property over others causes the player to learn magic affiliated to that element faster. Even more complicated, there’s also a totally different battle system called Ship Battle, where you fight against other pirates and naval forces. On top of it all, there’s plenty of different unlockables, including Discoveries, Wanted List, Moonfish, and more.

Skies of Arcadia is, unfortunately, very confusing. With random enemy encounters, the game also shows its age. Despite the Dreamcast graphics, though, the art style in this game is truly diverse and exciting. Unlike many modern games, where the enemies and allies are oddly segregated and uncooperative, Skies of Arcadia has a lot of different civilizations themed under different culture. Ixataka, as an example, is themed under Native Americans. The Valuan Empire is themed under ye olde gentlemen during the Industrial Age. Perhaps the most exciting civilization is themed under the Japanese/Oriental culture. With so many varied characters, the skies in Skies of Arcadia truly feels vast and wide open to new ventures and exploration.

Skies of Arcadia was originally released for the Dreamcast. It was later ported to the Gamecube as Skies of Arcadia: Legends.

P.S. Also worth noting, Skies of Arcadia also has a really creepy and disturbing final boss.


Extra!

Title: Main Theme
Game: Skies of Arcadia
Composer: Yutaka Minobe, Takayuki Maeda

Title: The Little Jack
Game: Skies of Arcadia
Composer: Yutaka Minobe, Takayuki Maeda


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