A special series deserves special treatment, and no game sounds quite as special as Eldorado Gate, Capcom’s seven-part Dreamcast RPG epic that began in October 2000 and ended exactly a year later. Somehow it avoided most of the common pitfalls that plague such grandiose projects: Every volume released on time, always contained the chapters they said they would (it’s easy to confirm this as they were always listed in the back of the manual of the preceding volume), and never resorted to setting walls of text set against hastily-scanned concept art as an emergency stand-in for a planned event. I’m not sure exactly who was responsible for keeping the project on track, but they deserve a medal for making something as complex as this – something bigger and better funded projects have spectacularly failed at – look so easy.
With sprites able to give Breath of Fire IV a run for their money and Yoshitaka Amano’s incredible illustrations gracing every battle from beginning to end (not to mention those gorgeous covers too) virtually every moment looked like a masterclass in 2D art, and the engaging simplicity of its battle system coupled with some pleasant storytelling surprises along the way gave that style the substance it needed to keep players engaged for the long haul. Eldorado Gate doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it has given it a full service by skilled hands and a fresh coat of paint.
One thing I didn’t mention much (if at all) in the articles linked to below was the series’ online capabilities, which according to the manual took the form of downloadable files containing unique in-game shops selling rare equipment. As this feature no longer exists (and I don’t have a broadband adaptor for my Dreamcast even if it did) I really can’t say much more about them than that, but I can at least say with confidence that whatever wasn’t available to me had no tangible impact on the game. I’m sure they’d have been a fun additional bonus at the time, but as someone coming to Eldorado Gate decades late it’s something of a relief to know the games are complete exactly as they are.
As with the game itself, you can choose to read these pieces in order or dip in and out as you like. Please also remember that there’d be nothing here to read if Ko-fi supporters hadn’t helped me pay for volumes I was missing, so if you like the idea of someone sharing fresh first-hand experiences of untranslated games most places won’t dare touch, please consider leaving a small tip: https://ko-fi.com/kimimi
- Eldorado Gate Volume 1: “The beginning of an epic adventure”
- Eldorado Gate Volume 2: “Free from filler, fetch quests, and flabby storytelling”
- Eldorado Gate Volume 3: “Old friends, new friends”
- Eldorado Gate Volume 4: “That awkward middle bit”
- Eldorado Gate Volume 5: “The calm before the storm”
- Eldorado Gate Volume 6: “The beginning of the end”
- Eldorado Gate Volume 7: “All good things…”