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Video Game / Gaiapolis

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Gaiapolis: Sword of the Golden Hawk (ガイアポリス 黄金鷹の剣) is a 1993 Konami arcade game. It is a rare example of an overhead Hack and Slash title, and is also notable for its RPG Elements and Sci-Fi setting. It featured character designs by Shujiro Hamakawa (best known for the TwinBee series).

The Prince of the Kingdom of Avalon, Gerard Himerce, seeks out the fabled land of Gaiapolis after the invading Zar Harc Empire lays waste to his governed lands in preparation of the conquering of the known free world. He is joined in his quest by the half-human fairy martial artist Elaine Shee, and the dragon knight Galahad, the exiled duke from the land of the dragons. The party is directed in their quest by a mysterious ethereal Warrior of Flame, who tells Gerard to seek out the legendary Sword of the Golden Hawk.

The Zar Harc's leader, the King of Darkness, also holds a vested interest in finding Gaiapolis, wanting to claim its immeasurable power and further utilize it to call down an ancient demonic horror.

The arcade had an extremely rare and limited release among three regions, but its solid gameplay, excellent graphics and soundtrack, and story have made it a Cult Classic amongst those who have discovered it.


This game contains examples of:

  • After the End: It is revealed near the final stages of the game that the game's events are taking place in the far future after a massive world war has blown humanity back to medieval levels of technology. It is also implied that all of the game's non-human creatures are actually the descendants of mutated people.
  • Assist Character: Eggs can be collected which provide access to familiars called Guardian Beasts that can aid you in battle: An armadillo-like creature, a goblin in armor, equipped with a hammer, and a small dragon.
  • Cat Girl: Elaine is described as being a Fairy, but with her long ears and lack of wings, tends to resemble these more.
  • Degraded Boss: The first stage's boss actually becomes the most common enemy in the game. Weaker versions of the second boss also show up later.
  • Disney Villain Death: Multiple:
    • The final fight against the three generals ends with the last one sent flying off Gaiapolis' edge.
    • The Big Bad also appears to die this way, only for his Dragon to catch his corpse, which it immediately dumps anyway.
  • Evil Counterpart: Zar Harc's three generals parallel the heroes in build and armament.
  • Expy: Gerard resembles Adol Christian.
  • Fairy Sexy: Elaine goes light on the clothing, which is lampshaded by Galahad during a cutscene.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Many lands and bosses in the game are modeled after real-world cultures possibly due to the fact that the game takes place on Earth long after a massive war has devastated it.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The cutscene after completing Aleista shows Gerard threatening a Mook with a sword he only gets in the very next level.
    • Lader and the Angels appear at the beginning of the "Highway" level regardless of whether you met them earlier. And given how obscure the method to do so is, most players won't.
  • Guest Fighter: Elaine shows up as a hidden unlockable character (alongside fellow Konami heroine Pastel) in the 1998 Fighting Game Battle Tryst.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Completing Maharishi gets you one of three items. The one that lets you go to Koban requires you to destroy an out-of-the-way monument that doesn't look destructible at first glance. With the other two, it seems to be purely luck-based.
    • Getting the Infinity +1 Sword is rather counter-intuitive, you have to destroy the Big Bad's throne while in the middle of fighting him.
  • Password Save: The game is fairly long, so if players lose, they are given a password to restore their progress in future playthroughs. This may be the only arcade game in its genre (besides Gauntlet Legends) that does this.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Interestingly enough, this game contains one.
  • Plot Coupon: Most of the story concerns itself with the heroes' quest to find three keys that will open the path to Gaiapolis.
  • RPG Elements: Characters can level up to increase their damage and receive a small health boost, as well as equip new weapons and shields found in secret chests, similarly to Shadow Over Mystara.
  • Related in the Adaptation: A rare one-shot manga that was published in Comic Gamest magazine, drawn by none other than Shujiro Hamakawa himself, establishes that the King of Darkness is none other than Albert Himerce, Prince Gerard's older brother.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: As per most 90s arcade games, the English translation is lacking. The most obvious error is the heroes' guide being called the "Fire Worrior"
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The party is directed by the Warrior of Flame to what is essentially the bombed out ruins of Los Angeles and are told of Gaiapolis' true purpose by a robotic guardian.
  • Schizo Tech: Though the first stage puts on a pretense of a typical medieval fantasy, the Empire brings in tanks and a mech as early as the second, there's a reason for this.
  • Shout-Out: The graphics for the lightning and dragon sword magics are taken directly from Lightning Fighters, a Konami Shoot 'Em Up. In addition, one bonus level is directly inspired by a stage from Konami's earlier Beat 'em Up, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.
  • Story Branching: Some stages can be skipped based on where you go or what buildings or scenery you destroy or enter, which affect the plot in a small way (and can also result in missing a weapon upgrade).