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Video Game: Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance

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.
  • Amazon Brigade: Oddly, the Zhentarim and Karne in the sequel tend to use women for their purposes, including Luvia Bloodmire, Arogazia/Aizagora, The Red Queen and Illudria.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Ysuran has forgotten his past as a terrorist.
  • Animated Armour: In the sequel Lyran has his own army of these, which seem to be ghosts.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: In the sequel we have Luvia Bloodmire, Arogazia Firewind and Mordoc.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Vhaidra in the sequel.
  • The Atoner: Ysuran, in the sequel was previously involved in the Eldreth Veluuthra, an elven supremacy group that wants genocide against humans.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: In Lyran's Hold you can get attacked by animated chairs, desks and even floating scrolls.
  • An Axe to Grind: Kromlech's Axe, which you can obtain later in the sequel when you free them. Also the cleric of Tempus outside Dragonspear Castle.
  • The Berserker: Kromlech and Dorn.
  • Big Bad: Eldrith in the first game, Mordoc in the second.
  • Big Foot Sasquatch And Yeti: In the Elemental Plane of Water (which is basically a flooded ice cave).
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Argesh, the grotesque.... creation from Luvia Bloodmire and leader of the Hands of Glory.
  • Blade on a Stick: Divided in Staves, Spears and Halbeards. They require the Long Weapon Focus feat to be used effectively and will knock back enemies.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Spanish version, to the point that Baldur's Gate and any other English noun is directly translated into Spanish even if it was intended to be a proper noun.
  • Body of Bodies: Several of Luvia's pets are either this or Flesh Golem.
  • 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.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Ciraxis' boss fight.
  • 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.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The first boss in the first and the first two bosses in the sequel.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Ysuran can drain the life out of his foes and summon skeletons, but he's one of the kindest guys in the series. Even after gaining control of his Shadow Magic he's still good.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are enemies in the game, and Ysuran can summon them as allies as well.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Eldrith
  • 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.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Xantam.
  • Downer Ending: In the first you escape the Onyx Tower straight into more danger. In the sequel they can be found in a dungeon and can even be freed.
  • Dual Boss: Luvia's lackeys from the sequel.
  • Dual Wielding: Dorn starts with this (but any character can do it) and later he can dual wield two-handed weapons with the right skill.
  • The Dragon: Karne, to Xantam.
    • 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.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Played with in the sequel—if while in Firewind Manor you choose to hang back in an alcove and listen in to Arogazia chastising Karne instead of bursting in on her, the conversation is extended to provide more Exposition on the plot, all of which is accurate and important information. But then it turns into something of a Just Between You and Me moment...because after she finishes talking to Karne, Arogazia reveals she knew you were there the whole time, taunts you about being too late to stop her, reveals her true form, and escapes, leaving you in a burning, collapsing manor. Quite the Magnificent Bitch.
  • Expy: The Halls of the Hammer are reminiscent of Moria.
  • Eye Beam: The Basilisk main form of attack, will slowly turn Borador to stone.
  • Fallen Hero: Eldrith.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: To fight the final boss in the sequel you must enter the Plane Of Shadow.
  • Flaming Sword: Weapons with garnets inside will set ablaze near enemies. Also the weapons used by the monsters in the Halls of the Hammer.
  • Flunky Boss: The only "attack" the Orb of Undead has is to summon an army of skeletons.
    • In the sequel many bosses will have enemies supporting them. In the Third Chapter all bosses are escorted by a large number of Zhentarim mercenaries.
  • Giant Mook: Ettins and Hill Giants.
  • 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.
  • Glass Cannon: Adrianna.
  • 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.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Eldrith.
  • Inescapable Ambush: Happens twice in the sequel, presumably to suggest verisimilitude, when the player gets randomly attacked on their way to a quest location.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: In the sequel Illudria has a Kraken fight by her side, It is immune to all damage, but dies once Illudria is killed.
  • Jack of All Stats: Vahn, who has average HP, the 2nd largest selection of weapons, and an average mix of melee and ranged skills.
  • Jerk Ass: Vhaidra is quite a bitch and cares only for her revenge.
  • Jiggle Physics: Alyth the innkeeper, to the point of distraction.
    • 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.
  • Let The Past Burn: In Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, a dragon torches Firewind Manor in a bid to kill your character. This coincidently wraps up the sub-plot concerning the Ghost of House Felldane, who wished to see the Manor destroyed to hide the evidence of the depravity his descendants have succumbed to.
  • Life Drain: Ysuran and Xanhast have this.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Vhaidra is very fast and with her unarmed attack she can wipe out many enemies with ease.
  • Living Shadow: Zarad and Mordoc both have an army of these.
  • 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.
  • Mad Scientist: From the sequel, Luvia Bloodmire.
  • Make My Monster Grow: Eldrith more and more as she is damaged.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Karne is under Xantam, who works for Eldrith.
  • Mind Control: A boss from the sequel has this ability. Like the Basilisk example below, it can only stun you, but it's also highly damaging.
  • Multishot: An ability of the Arcane Archer. Ysuran does the same with his magic bolts.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Up until chapter 5 of the second game, the heroes, Harpers and Zhents are all playing Unwitting Pawns in Mordoc's plans.
  • Not Quite Dead: Karne is pretty clearly killed off by the player characters during the first game, but pops up again in the second with barely a Hand Wave.
  • Ominous Harpsichord: In Bloodmire Manor in the sequel, a Secret Passage to her laboratory is opened by playing a spooky melody on this out-of-tune instrument (after finding all the pages of the sheet music).
  • One-Winged Angel: Once you defeat Luvia Bloodmire in the sequel she turns into a big black monster that pulls little monsters out of herself to throw them at you among other attacks.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Adrianna is a high elf; the game also features Drow as enemies.
    • In the sequel you can play as Ysuran (a moon elf) and Vhaidra (a dark elf). The latter's unique quest has drows monks as enemies and their master as a boss.
  • Power Fist: You can enchant Vhaidra's fist attack by enchanting her gauntlets.
  • Prestige Class: Vahn's class, Arcane Archer, is one in the tabletop game.
  • Puzzle Boss: In the sequel, Lyran, where you must destroy his remains. He's the only boss who requires a different way of damaging him besides just hacking away at him.
  • Rat Stomp: Played perfectly straight.
  • Recurring Boss Template: In the first game you fight an ice dragon; in the sequel you fight a green dragon, and later a red dragon. Each fight with a dragon tends to be quite similar.
  • 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.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Vhaidra is after the Dark Ravens, a guild of assassins who exterminated her clan.
  • The Renfield: Xanhast.
  • 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!!!
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: A classic example, only the selected PCs ever appear.
  • 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.
  • Teleport Spam: Ilivarra does this.
  • That Man Is Dead: Ysuran, after recovering from his Amnesiac Dissonance.
  • 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.
  • Thieves' Guild: One in the first and one in the sequel.
  • Tragic Monster: In the sequel You fight Randalla Brasshorn, who has been turned into a vampire by the The Dragon.
  • Tragic Villain: Once you learn Eldrith's backstory, it is very hard not to feel sorry for her. Even the fact her scheme involves colluding with a beholder, a white dragon, and lizardfolk, as well as wiping out the entire population of Baldur's Gate all in Revenge for what the dukes of the city did to her doesn't completely mitigate this, especially when the final boss music is so heartbreakingly tragic. And after defeating her, Eldrith realizes the full magnitude of her fall from grace, repents, thanks the heroes, and urges them to escape. See also Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    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.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Karne. And thankfully Randalla when you slay Xanhast.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Luvia has a brief one when you slay her two creations.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Eldrith, at least at the start.
  • Wicked Cultured: Xantam. This should surprise no one, considering who provides his voice. Also appropriate considering the nature of his species.
    • Also Luvia Bloodmire and Arogazia Firewind. And maybe Mordoc.
  • Why Won't You Die?: According to Mordoc, Karne is known for being "extremely difficult to kill".
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Eldrith, at least of Baldur's Gate.
  • Worth It: If you finish the second game, you can play as Drizzt Do'Urden and Artemis Entreri!!
    • You can also unlock Drizzt in the first as well.
  • 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.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Repeatedly in both games.
    • 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.

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alternative title(s): Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance
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