|Release date:||: September 29, 2000|
|Genre:||Fantasy Action RPG|
|Game modes:||Single player,|
Multiplayer (presently disabled for internet servers)
|Platform(s):||PC (Windows '95 ~ XP)|
Apsaras (アプサラス) is Koei's first MMORPG that was announced in April 2000 and presented at Koei's booth at the 2000 TGS. So far, it is the only stand alone title from the company that was made exclusively for online play. Its GUI and game structure bare a striking resemblance to Blizzard's Diablo series, yet Apsaras has a distinctive "Oriental flare" and tweaks certain details of its spiritual predecessor.
When the game was first made available, it shared the same network as Nobunaga no Yabou Internet and Sangokushi Internet. Consumers who bought either three titles could log into their three accounts from the same network hub. When the lobby server was disabled on December 31, 2002, Apsaras was moved to the Dynasty Lobby and remained with online options until January 29, 2003. Players can no longer experience the internet Multiplayer Mode for the game.
The character designer and main illustrator is Jun Suemi, who also does portraits for the Zill O'll series. Apsaras won the 2000 AMD Best Writer Award and was accepted by the project head, Masatoshi Hosaka.
In the mystical world of Selestia, its skies are dawned by its two moons: one azure and one crimson. When the azure moon rises, order reigns supreme. As the blue moon dips, the red moon rises and summons chaos in its wake. On land, there rules five dragon deities worshiped by Selestia's people. The populace, if they should they have the talents to do so, has the ability to siphon the powers of one of these dragons into their magic or practice of choice. These crafts are dubbed "dragon arts", skills with no defined state with incomparable avatars.
However, in a strange happenstance decades ago, the crimson moon eclipsed the blue moon and Selestia has been plagued with abnormal monstrosities ever since. The beautiful lands decayed to a shadow of their former selves and vicious beasts now roam the countryside. Only one wielding the powers of the legendary sleeping dragon can revert the effects of the crimson moon.
This fiery dragon of legend is said to have laid to rest at a volcanic mountain. At the foot of this mountain lies a small village, Leonia, the home of the chosen priestess invoking the dragon, or Apsaras. Unfortunately, the Apsaras has been kidnapped and her whereabouts are unknown. For the sake of restoring their home, various heroes arise to find her and restore the blue moon to the sky.
Players can choose to play one of four character classes. Each one has particular traits and an assigned sex (cannot be changed). They are:
- Warrior (Male)
- The brawn character type who specializes with swords or long swords. Boasts the highest defense and physical attributes of all classes with limited spell casting abilities. Weak against magic.
- Thief (Female)
- Possesses flexible equipment set and unique skills to this class. Has traits that make it easier to obtain rare items. Not as strong as the warrior but still has decent fighting capabilities with her daggers and throwing weapons.
- Dragon Sorcerer (Male)
- Mage character who suffers with physical might and defense. Can learn every spell within the game and is speedy to compensate.
- Dragon Priestess (Female)
- The almighty character class with balanced magic and physical capabilities, the middle ground between the warrior and dragon sorcerer. She wields a lance into battle and has no glaring faults.
Apsaras features a mouse-driven and keyboard playing system, allowing customization of the number keys and the left mouse click to the player's preferences. When a player character levels up, their stats and strengths regarding the five elements (fire, water, wood, metal, earth) can be changed based on the allotted points the player earned.
Characters can work their way through six stages of the world based on their level. Therein the player confronts a flood of monsters that will swarm the player's venture through a dungeon. Items, weapons, and various other equipment can be found and equipped during their progress forward. These goods can also be sold for other goods or given to other players on the same server. If a character dies, the player will be returned to town to start again.
Once any stage is completed, the player will be judged based on their performance and automatically rewarded items for their sojourn. A portal back to the town Leonia and a portal to the next level of difficulty appears after players complete a stage. Should the players choose to continue forward, they cannot warp back until they finish another stage. Hence, it's highly recommended by players to choose the rewarding town portal for first time adventurers. Players who teleport back to town may need to clear a stage again in order to reach another portal, as they disappear once a player uses them.
After completing a playthrough, veteran players may want to search for the thirty-three treasures hidden throughout the game. These rare items can only be earned through the harder levels of the game. Regrettably, some of these items included the usage of the now disabled Multiplayer Mode.
This mode can be accessed by internet or Lan. The Lan option uses a local host and is currently the only method available for multiplayer functions.
When a player has completed the entire game once, they will gain access to four distinct difficulty levels:
- Easy - beginner friendly that awards the weakest items in the game.
- Normal - mediocre difficulty featuring more variety than Easy.
- Hard - monsters are much stronger but the rewards are higher.
- Super Hard - the hardest mode in the game that is impossible to beat with only two players. Offers the rarest items in the game. If a group is entirely wiped out in this mode, the participating members will have their levels lowered as a penalty.
The groups can form to a maximum of eight players at any time and can communicate with one another by typing their messages via a chat menu. Responses will appear above their character's head and in a chat window located in the upper left hand corner.
Apsaras has a "Party Life" system to help support players of various gaming backgrounds. When a character loses their health entirely whilst alone, they will be considered dead and will need to start over at the town. However, if they formed a team before their death, players may have a chance to resurrect themselves directly at the spot their character has fallen. Party Life can only be activated if at least one member of the group survives the waiting time needed for the resurrections. If the entire group has fallen, they will need to restart from scratch.
Player killer options (or PvP) are not implemented within the game.
Lets users experience the story mode of the title, including the ending omitted from Multiplayer Mode. It is suggested to complete one playthrough of this mode to unlock some features in Multiplayer Mode.
- Shouma (ショウマ)
- Class: Warrior
- A peerless combatant of great renown, Shōma returned from the battlefield to find his home in ruins. His heart heavy with doubt, he was lead to the village of Leonia by a dream.
- Ren (レン)
- Class: Thief
- Whilst pillaging a ruined town, she pocketed a crimson gem from a fallen general. As if the gem had a will of its own, Ren was forced to wander into Leonia.
- Tinfa (ティンフ)
- Class: Dragon Sorcerer
- Tinfa is the best dragon sorcerer of Leonia but he is also a cowardly young man by nature. Feeling horribly guilty for doing nothing during the Apsaras' abduction, Tinfa swears to redeem himself.
- Resfata (レスファータ)
- Class: Dragon Priestess
- A gaunt figure clad in armor from head to toe, Resfata is on orders to search for a missing Dragon Sorcerer of the Court. During her travels, she hopes to find her comrade in arms, Leefay.
- Lefa (レーファ)
- Class: Apsaras
- The game's heroine character. A priestess of Leonia who acts as support for the player's character. She asks them to rescue the missing Apsaras from their village.
- Lufa (ルーファ)
- Class: Apsaras
- Lufa is Lefa's older sister and a reputed priestess of Leonia. A kind and benign maiden, she is kidnapped at the beginning of the story.
- Leefay (リーフェイ)
- Class: Dragon Sorcerer
- Leefay was an acquaintance of Resfata and Tinfa's previous instructor during his stay at Leonia. For reasons not quite known, he abducted Lufa from the village.
During the closed Beta testing phase for the game (March 5~28, 2000), Koei offered a special monitor frame to fifty participating members. An original desktop theme was also included with the packaged product.
A contest collaboration with Techwin and Koei took place. Users could submit a coat of arms for characters within the game. Winners had their icons available as a download in the game.