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Video Game / Haven: Call of the King

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"Get ready to use everything you have ever learned."
Quote taken from the back of the box regarding its Gameplay Roulette.

Haven: Call of the King is a 2002 Action-Adventure game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Midway Games and was planned to be the first part of a trilogy. It was released on PlayStation 2, with ports for the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube cancelled.

The game's plot revolved around the titular character, Haven. After receiving a dream about the "Golden Voice", he's become targeted by the evil Lord Vetch. After his friend, Chess, is captured thanks to this dream, Haven sets out to rescue her and find out the secret behind this dream.

The game was notable for its ambitious development, trying to incorporate as many different genres as possible, with Midway even trademarking the term FreeFormer and called it "the next major development in videogaming". What was released was met with mixed reception at best and any plans for a future were crushed.

Haven: Call of the King provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: This game may have the most useless reward for finishing a game to completion. If you get all 12 Rune Stones, which requires finding 8 temples though out all the planets and the 8 black diamonds in them, your reward is... text for sequel baiting and a (now inaccessible) e-mail to the developers for questions, thoughts and suggestions. Yes, that is your reward. Made even worse by the fact a sequel is more than likely to never happen.
  • All for Nothing: Haven trying to stop Vetch and foil his plans ends up being Haven's undoing, as he gets chained to a rock for the rest of his life. Even Vetch lampshades this to Haven at the end.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Vetch succeeds in killing Athellion and leaving the now immortal Haven strapped to a rock as he moves on with his plans. Had the sequel happened, we likely would have seen Haven escape and seek to avert this.
  • Being Good Sucks: All Haven wants to do is be a hero and save his people. He gets repaid by being betrayed by Chess and given a Fate Worse than Death by Vetch.
  • Big Bad: Lord Vetch, the evil ruler who seeks to ensure there is no threat to his plans.
  • Cardboard Prison: Two frankly ridiculous examples:
    • Haven gets captured halfway through the game but all he has to do to escape the cell is jumping on the glass floor!
    • Near the end of the game, Vetch has Haven and Chess imprisoned. Inexplicably, the guards forget to lock Haven's cell.
  • Cliffhanger: The game notoriously ends on an unresolved one, and it's so depressing and bleak that it rivals the ending from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Haven learns Chess was working for Vetch to keep threats to him from happening. After Vetch leaves them both to be imprisoned, Haven tries to stop him from killing Athellion, but fails, and tries to kill Vetch, but fails in that, too. Thanks to the Mount of Sighs, Haven can't die, so Vetch straps him to a rock and leaves him on the planet, where he's doomed to an entirety of mulling over his failure with an unopposed Vetch free to enslave the entire galaxy.
  • Cut Short: It's unlikely we'll ever get a continuation of this game.
  • Downer Ending: Haven fails to defeat Vetch, and Vetch chains Haven to a rock for the rest of his life with no one to save him, made worse by the fact Haven is now immortal.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Haven's dream is a prophetic one, one that Vetch fears will lead to his defeat.
  • Evil All Along: Chess turns out to be a spy sent by Vetch to keep slaves from learning about the Golden Voice.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Haven himself is subjected to this at the end of the game.
  • Gameplay Roulette: This was the game's main gimmick, but also its biggest flaw. It was mostly an adventure game with platforming, but the game tried to incorporate so many genres with so few programmers that it didn't work out.
  • Karma Houdini: Vetch doesn't receive any comeuppance and ultimately wins. Averted with Chess, who Vetch leaves locked up forever having outlived her usefulness.
  • Killer Yo-Yo: This is Haven's primary weapon.
  • No-Gear Level: At one point, you get captured and have to retrieve your Killer Yoyo.
  • Obviously Evil: Nobody would look at Vetch and assume he's a helpful NPC.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Despite Haven's best efforts at defeating Vetch and freeing his people, he ultimately loses and is given a Fate Worse than Death by being tied to a rock for the rest of his life while now being immortal.