This generation of hardware has allowed developers to combine
genres in new and interesting ways not possible before. Often
the results of this can be disastrous (I won’t name names), but
occasionally these diverse elements will just “click” and come
together to form a good game. Such is the case with Kya:
Dark Lineage, an adventure game that manages to combine
elements from several other genres into a cohesive and enjoyable
The adventure starts out as cliché as possible though. Late one
night Kya and her brother stumble upon their deceased (or so they
think) father’s laboratory. Before they know it, they’re whisked
away to a strange and lush world. Two main races occupy this world:
the oppressive Wolfens and the meek Nativs. Wolfens are actually
Nativs transformed by the evil wizard Brazul to do his bidding. And
of course, to make it personal the Wolfens have also captured Kya’s
brother. Thus, Kya must set out to find her brother and exorcise
the transformed Nativs along the way.
This is an adventure game through and through, largely borrowing
from the concepts found in Nintendo’s Zelda series. Nativ
City acts as the hub, with Kya returning there to purchase various
upgrades and items needed for each leg of the journey. These items
are purchased with Nooties (the game’s currency) found throughout
the world. Certain items are specific to certain stores, and the
only way to gain access to those new stores is to exorcise Nativs.
Once freed, those greedy Nativs return to Nativ City (where else
would they go?) and provide the animal power necessary to build
shops stocked with items Kya will need to succeed. There are also a
variety of mini-games found in the city, offering the chance to
compete for extra cash and take a break from all of the
adventuring. Using items and upgrades to open up new areas of the
world is of course a Zelda staple, going all the way back to
the original The Legend of Zelda. There’s even a flying
animal to provide helpful hints and tips throughout the journey.
Kya’s primary weapons are a boomerang (or “boomy” in this case), her
hands and feet, and several types of bombs. Kya can use a variety
of moves in hand-to-hand combat, which are learned by purchasing
magic bracelets. There are over 30 of them in all, and they string
together to form some impressive fight scenes. While the combat
system is polished, enemy A.I. isn’t. Although Wolfens are very
smart in combat (they’ll pick up on repeated moves and start
blocking them), they will occasionally run themselves right off the
side of a cliff. This is annoying because the player must leave the
area and return before that Wolfen will return, and of course the
Wolfen has to die (and not just disappear over the side of a cliff)
before the Nativ can be freed.
This alternate world is big, so Kya has several modes of
transportation at her disposal. Jamguts are basically this world’s
wild horses, and while riding one Kya can jump greater distances and
trample foes underfoot. Brisk winds blow throughout the world,
which Kya can use to soar to new heights and areas. There are also
a variety of slopes Kya can surf down, which feel very reminiscent
of the recent Sonic Adventure games. When traveling on foot,
Kya will alternate between busting up Wolfen, solving puzzles (like
kicking bombs into obstacles), and using stealth tactics to sneak by
and distract enemies.
Given that Eden is a French company, it should come as no surprise
that the world looks a lot like something out of the Rayman
series. The world is lush, with some jungle areas full of huge
green plants and colorful flowers and other areas with their own
unique flora and fauna. Most of the texture work is basic and many
areas have a minimum amount of objects in them, but the large levels
and gorgeous art direction make up for it. Nativs look a bit
disjointed as they move, with weird floating eyes and huge heads.
Wolfens look better, with shaggy coats and hilarious animations.
For example, if Kya strikes one from a distance with her boomy it’ll
start accusing nearby Wolfen of doing it. Hilarious stuff that
reminded me a lot of the humor found in Fur Fighters.
Unfortunately the collision detection isn’t as polished as it should
be, as on several occasions Kya and her enemies passed right through
and/or got stuck inside of objects. The camera can also get very
wild when backed into a corner, swinging to and fro before finally
getting reoriented a couple seconds later.
Sound wise, there’s some good and some bad. Both the sound effects
and musical score are passable. The music is typical organic jungle
stuff, although it’s subdued and not as “in your face” as one would
expect. The voice acting is very good in some areas (Kya), and very
bad in others (almost all of the Nativs). It’s obvious that the
Nativs are intended to sound humorous, but Eden failed in making
them sound “so bad it’s good”. Instead it’s just plain bad.