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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is the Spin-Off of the popular Baldur's Gate franchise. Unlike its namesakes who were classic computer RPGs, Dark Alliance was an action adventure dungeon crawler game with a heavy focus on combat and co-op gameplay, drawing heavily from the style of the Gauntlet games and can feasibly be credited with paving the way for such games as Champions of Norrath and Marvel Ultimate Alliance.The player is offered the choice of three characters:
Vahn, Human Arcane Archer: archer with weapon-related magical abilities.
Adrianna, Elven Sorceress: spell caster, limited to smaller weapon classes.
Kromlech, Dwarven Fighter: strong melee fighter with limited melee magic.
The plot is simple: Once again something is amiss in the city of Baldur's Gate. A new Thieves' Guild has arrived and has declared war on the existing one — a troubling prospect as this new guild brought scores of monsters with it and has no problems with killing. Our heroes are tasked by a local agent of The Harpers to end this devastating gang war, only to discover that the new guild's agenda is larger than everyone thought...and that they are someone else's pawn.Despite the genre shift, the game was well received and spawned a sequel with new characters.Said characters are:
Dorn the Human Barbarian, a powerful melee fighter who can evolve into a druid.
Alessia the Human Cleric, a balanced character with healing and anti-undead magics. Can become a Paladin.
Borador the Dwarven rogue, tricky warrior who is an expert with his crossbow. Can evolve into a Dwarven Hero
Vhaidra the Drow Monk, a swift bare-handed fighter who can become an Assassin
Ysuran the Elvish Necromancer, an amnesiac wizard who can become a Shadow Adept.
This time around the plot is a bit more complex. News of the Onyx Tower, the Big Bad's fortress from the first game, has spread across Faerun, thus inspiring a wave of heroes to home in on Baldur's Gate for a chance to bring it down and earn their own glory. Unfortunately, by the time they get there, it turns out they've Missed the Call since the Tower has already been destroyed and its owner defeated. Fortunately, there's still plenty to do in Baldur's Gate, ranging from yet another Thieves' Guild, to solving a series of grisly murders, random monster-killing sidequests, and eventually serving once again as an agent for the Harpers—who among other things wish to reconstruct the Onyx Tower for themselves in order to keep it out of the hands of the Zhentarim. What they don't know, of course, is that someone else wishes the Tower too, and is secretly manipulating them all...Though it still has chapters (five instead of three), Baldur's Gate remains the player characters' home base rather than it shifting with each chapter, with each of the many quests, subquests, and sidequests allowing them to range all over the Western Heartlands through numerous multi-level dungeons—in many ways it is literally an expansion of the first game. The ability to customize weaponry, armor, and items with the incorporation of jewels has also been added.
The game contains examples of:
Advancing Boss of Doom: In the sequel Lyran chases you through his mansion using his weak attacks until you find the room where his remains are to destroy them, at which point he switches to his stronger attacks.
A God Am I: Luvia accuses the PCs of being 'heretics' who 'stand on her path to goddom' after they break into her manor and kill her favored servants.
Bonus Boss: In the sequel, at the end of each character's optional specific quest you fight a bonus boss, unique to that character.
Booby Trap: Many in the dungeons, including spikes, blades hidden in the walls and fireball throwers. Xantam's Guild is full of them, as is Lyran's Hold in the sequel.
Boss Arena Idiocy: Lyran chases you through his mansion until you find the room which contains his remains, which when destroyed will destroy him.
Boss Room: Picking out the boss rooms in this game tends to be rather easy. The Orb of the Undead for example has a wide open room (good because hit and run is important in this fight), is symmetrical, and force fields activate when you go through.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The characters you play as will only ever talk with their voice to you and never anybody else, such as when you try to use a spell in town or when you try to use a spell with no energy left, also when you activate a cheat code:
Vhaidra: Cheating? Well about time.
Also Dorn will threaten to disembowel the player if he doesn't act for too long.
Casting a Shadow: Mordoc was very pissed when he found out that, as a Vampire, he no longer had a shadow, so he populated his castle with hordes of Living Shadow monsters.
Check Point: In the first game, each chapter has its own—Bartley in Baldur's Gate, the dwarf merchant in the Sunset Mountains, and Sleyvas in the Marsh of Chelimber. Once the player has entered each new chapter, they are stuck with whatever supplies they do (or don't) have and no other means to restore health until they reach that checkpoint character.
Chest Monster: The sequel has these in the Halls of the Hammer, as well as a few other dungeons.
Clock Punk: Ysuran's unique quest requires him to fight clockwork automatons.
Combat Tentacles: In the sequel during the battle against Illudria, she has a Kraken fight with her against you, which predictably attacks with its tentacles.
Contractual Boss Immunity: In the case of the player, there is a boss whose ability is mind control. You can see its victims and fight them, yet the best its abilities can do to the player is stun (and harm) them.
Also Borador is resilient to the Basilisk' gaze, though he'll take damage and get slowed down instead of being turned to stone right away.
Decapitated Army: As soon as the boss dies, all of the boss's minions that were fighting alongside the boss will drop dead instantly.
Degraded Boss: In the sequel the first boss is a goblin riding a huge spider. These appear as enemies much later in the game, but are much easier to take out.
Also the second boss is a hobgoblin warrior.
Dirty Coward: Habdazar Doomwing, a gnome wizard hired by the Zhentarim in the Elemental Plane of Air. He's followed by a lot of Zhentarim, rides a huge Manticore, and runs away to Karne when he's defeated. Unsurprisingly, Karne runs him through with his sword, in a rather delicious instance of enforcing the Exact Words of an oath he had sworn to guard the Air Foundation with his life.
And in the sequel Xanhast to Mordoc, Argesh to Luvia and the Red Queen to Arogazia.
Elemental Powers: It's possible to enchant weapons to have them deal fire,cold, electrical or acid damage. In the sequel gathering artifacts corresponding to the four elements is a plot point, as you have to use them to activate the four elemental foundations and summon the Onyx Tower.
The End... Or Is It?: Twice. In the first game, our heroes defeated Eldrith and stopped the Onyx Tower.... only to be captured by Mordoc. In the sequel your heroes managed to slay Mordoc and destroy the dark soulstone in the Plane of Shadows and stop the Onyx Tower once again...... only to find out in The Stinger that now a mysterious man in a large sarcophagus inside a pyramid (presumably in Mulhorand) has heard of Mordoc's fall and now wants the tower for himself. Jeez......
Enemy Mine: Near the end of II, Karne and the Harper's agent Jherek will ally with the player to storm Mordoc's Castle.
Ethereal Choir: During the final boss music from the first game. And it is both epic and heartbreaking.
Giant Space Flea From No Where: Illudria and Habdazar Doomwing and their companions (a Kraken and a manticore), as well as the chimera in the Halls of the Hammer and Ulchalothe in the deepest dungeons of Dragonspear Castle.
Giant Spider: Often encountered as enemies. In the second game, the first boss Bile-Tooth rides an humongous spider.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: Twice over in the sequel—collect the four elemental artifacts, then use each of them to activate the four Elemental Foundations.
Gravity Barrier: Averted. If the player accidentally comes too close to the edge of a deep hole, cliff, or other drop-off, they fall, and after a long pause you hear them "oof" as they land. Game Over. Some areas, particularly underground cavern dungeons, are designed precisely to make this a constant danger for the unwary (or accident-prone).
Holy Hand Grenade: Alessia's Turn Undead spell is really useful, and it can wipe out undead enemies on higher levels.
Instant Death Radius: On Hard, nearly every enemy in the game will kill Kromlech in two hits tops. Most will kill him before he can swing his weapon.
Infinity+1 Sword: Before the final boss there is a mini-boss who, once defeated, will drop the Onyx Sword: a powerful sword, making the next fight a bit easier.
It's Personal: Later in the sequel your character can go on an optional quest that is unique to them. At the end of the quest they fight a boss which is almost always this trope, as they are a boss from the character's past or someone who has a great meaning to them, the process of fighting them enables vengeance for a great wrong, or the quest allows them to fulfill a personal oath (such as Borador repaying his clan's debt).
Except for Dorn, who has to slay a Green Dragon for a druid priestess and has nothing personal against the beast.
Averted in the sequel, where Alessia's assets stay still despite their size. It must be the armor...
Karma Houdini: Sleyvas in the first game (but you get to kill him in the sequel). Karne in the second game.
Kill It with Fire: Arogazia Firewind, aka Aizagora the Red Death, a dragon, tries to pull this on the party leaving them to roast in her falling mansion. Fire weapons and spells are also the only sure-kill way to make troll stay dead.
King Mook: The first boss is just a strong version of the bugbears (strong brute creatures), a chieftain to be precise. Oddly despite being a chieftain of bugbears, he has kobolds (tiny lizard-like creatures) as his minions instead of the creatures he's chieftain of. Also later in the game, Sess'sth, who is king of the lizard men.
Lizard Folk: These are common in the marsh. There are also several hostile troglodytes in the sequel. Sleyvas is a friendly aversion at first.
Long Song, Short Scene: In the sequel, the final boss music from the first (it's a very epic song) returns but it can feel like a wasted song when The Dragon you fight before the final boss is the one who gets the song for his battle... yet the final boss has no boss music, so you end up feeling like the Final Boss should have had the music.
MacGuffin Guardian: An unusual one in the Hammer Hall: the secret vault you can unlock contains a singular keeper: a sentient, moving giant pick-axe that will mercilessly attack anyone who steps into the room. What's more, it can't be killed, as it will always fly back up.
Repeatable Quest: In the sequel, the areas of Skull Gorge and the Wood of Sharp Teeth can be revisited in different chapters, fully restocked with new monsters and treasures but otherwise identical.
Respawn Point: For both games, in a two-player game, if one player character dies they can be respawned by having the living character return to the nearest Save Point.
Rewarding Vandalism: Crates, barrels, jars, etc. The sequel gets particularly creative about this, with chunks of ice in the Plane of Water, chunks of stone or gems in the Plane of Earth, and chunks of hardened magma in the Plane of Fire which can all be broken open.
Royal Rapier: Mordoc wields one. Curiously, it's a unique weapon in the game.
Schmuck Bait: In Mordoc's fortress in the second game, there is a treasure room where the chests magically spawn when you play an organ (enemies also spawn, but they're not that hard to beat). On the next level of the fortress there is a similar room, complete with playable organ. Well, it worked so well the first timOH CRAAAAP!!!
Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: In the sequel we have an interesting case with Alessia and Vhaidra. The former is probably the most virtuous and righteous of the playable characters, all her suits of armors are concealing and even without armors she wears a caste-looking tabard and shirt. Vhaidra is basically a Villain Protagonist and most of her armors are skimpier, baring her midriff and cleavage.
Spoiled By The Manual: The instruction booklet for the first gives away the backstory of Eldrith nearly word for word and confirms that she is the Big Bad.
Stationary Boss: The Orb Of Undead is sort of this. The only time it ever moves is to get out of your reach until you kill all of its minions, as it'd really rather stay away from you, but it can only summon minions while on the ground.
Tactical Suicide Boss: The Orb Of Undead is fully capable of staying in the air as long as it likes, and the player is incapable of aiming up to shoot it while it is only a few metres above the ground. The Orb of Undead can only summon minions while on the ground, but the player is sealed in its boss room because of the force fields that only disappear once the boss is dead, so the Orb Of Undead could probably wait for the player to get bored and exit the game. But then again, where's the fun in that?
Taken for Granite: The Basilisk boss in the sequel keeps a lot of petrified statues in his lair. Despite its collection of various different statues, it is incapable of petrifying the player and can only stun him/her.
Theme Naming: Because the Onyx Heart can only be activated by the four Elemental Foundations (with the heart itself associated with Shadow, naturally), the four artifacts needed to activate them are also elemental in name and nature—the Oceanic Urn, the Orb of Thunder, the Brazier of Eternal Flame, and the Jade Octahedron.
Eldrith: And so it has come to pass that I must die twice, and this time, shall be my last. I... The tower will not hold! You must leave this place! I ask your forgiveness. I let anger cloud my vision... I harmed those who had sworn to serve me... In all these things, great harm has been done. Let Baldur's Gate have its peace... I shall not rise again to challenge it, though it will doubtlessly need others such as you to defend it, from others who wish to do it harm. Now go. This tower shall be my tomb.
You All Meet in an Inn: To be precise, you all go to an inn after being mugged in the streets. You're even asked to clear the giant rats out of the cellar.
You Have Failed Me: In the sequel there are three times when a boss retreats after being beaten, but the first time this happens that boss reports back to her master, only to be choked to death and be called a coward. The second time a boss retreats he is impaled by his master.
In the first one, after what feels like the Very Definitely Final Dungeon infiltrating Xantam's Guild, evading countless traps and mooks, taking out Karne, and finally Xantam, you discover he was only part of a sinister scheme of triumvirate villains you must also take out. In the Sunset Mountains what seems to be a drow plot isn't the true enemy, it's the white dragon on the mountain top. And in the Marsh of Chelimber, taking out the king of the lizard men simply opens the way to a temple where there is an entrance via the Plane of Water into the true final dungeon.
In the sequel, Argesh and the Red Queen of the Hands of Glory turn out to merely be fronts for Aizagora; the Zhentarim are made out to be the enemy when in fact it is Mordoc (and as soon as you recover all the elemental artifacts, in fact, Jherek "discovers" that the Onyx Tower the Harpers were trying to raise to keep it out of the Zhentarim's hands has been taken control of by Mordoc); and one quest, for the Oceanic Urn, has this happen twice—you defeat the pirates only to discover the Urn has been taken into the Sea Temple, and then after you recover it and head back to Baldur's Gate one of the men with you turns out to be The Mole for the Zhentarim and steals it so you must chase him down in Hill's Edge to recover it.
Zombie Apocalypse: Mordoc causes this in Baldur's Gate when he summons the Onyx Tower in the town.