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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a Dark Lord Impressions

Videos and hands-on gameplay impressions of Square Enix's latest WiiWare title.


Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a Dark Lord may have a name that's similar to predecessor My Life as a King, but the two games are nothing alike.

Although not immediately apparent, Dark Lord feels like a unique take on the tower defense genre. Like a tower defense game, your goal is to strategically position troops to make sure that advancing enemies aren't able to make it from a starting point -- the base of your tower -- to an end point -- the top of your tower.

Different from tower defense titles, you have the added element of having to add new floors to your tower in real time in order to house your troops. The floors themselves have gimmicks, which can be used to attack enemies or heal monsters depending on the floor type. They also have HP and can be destroyed if directly attacked by the enemy multiple times.

To the left, the stage select map. To the right, heroes (here, the main character of My Life as a King in a cameo appearance) enter the tower from the bottom floor.

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Your enemies -- actually the heroes -- begin their trek up to the top of your tower by running in from the bottom. They climb a flight of stairs to reach the first floor, then begin attacking. If you've positioned monsters on the floor, they will exchange blows with the monsters until a timer runs out. Then, they'll climb the stairs to the next floor. If there are no monsters on a floor, they'll exchange a single blow with the floor itself, then climb up.

Things heat up when multiple enemies start appearing simultaneously. Each floor can only hold one enemy at a time, and if there's no space, incoming enemies will skip over floors, giving them shorter paths to your tower's peak.

This screen shows two floors of your tower. On each floor a hero (to the left) is facing off against multiple monsters (center) and the floor itself (to the right). You can place up to three monsters on a floor at a given time.

Here are a couple of videos to show how the game flows.

The first clip shows the level select map (which has a poorly implemented cursor that I hope will be fixed in an update) followed by the start of the fourth stage. Each slot on the map represents a stage. While on the map, you can trade Karma Points to power up your troops and add maximum floor capacity to your castle (this is the maximum number of floors your castle can grow to -- you always start off a stage with no floors).


Things start off slow in the fourth stage, allowing you to add floors and monsters without hurry. Pretty quickly, the heroes start coming out in twos. Later in the clip, a new form of enemy emerges, capable of doing damage to all the monsters that you've placed on a floor.


I've only played through a few stages, but My Life as a Dark Lord has managed to grab my interest more than its predecessor. The mix of adding both troops and floors has made for some intriguing strategy so far, and while I'm not sure if I'll fork over cash for all that download content, I do foresee myself experiencing a lengthy life as a dark lord.

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