Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: Kharg and Darc the two main characters of “Arc the Lad: Twilight of The Spirits.”
Okay, so why am I breaking the rules and doing two characters at once? Cause it’s freaking anarchy man! I do what I want! I’m joking, I really do have a reason for doing two characters together. Kharg and Darc are characters that are foils to each other. If you don’t know, foils are characters in literature who are similar to each other but also have contrasts that make certain things about the other stand out. Darc and Kharg are both foils to each other and you play the game from both of their perspectives. As such, I think you have to talk about both of them.
So, the story to “Arc the Lad.” This game follows the story of Kharg and Darc, two brothers on different sides of life. There are two kinds of people in this world, the deimos and the humans. Deimos and humans hate each other and constantly compete for a type of energy source called spirit stones. This hatred causes deimos and humans to often kill each other and battle. Darc and Kharg are brothers who are both deimos and human. Darc was born looking like a deimos, and Kharg like a human.
Darc and Kharg were born apart from each other and, as such, never met. Kharg was brought up as the son of a queen. His mother was the queen of a small town and because of this, Kharg had a fairly good life. Darc, however, was split off with their father Windalf, who died. As such, Darc was brought up as a poor slave. This is a hard contrast between the two brothers, marking the first sign of their differences. Kharg was raised up with love and is a kind person. Darc, however, had things very hard and has a heart full of hate. Darc gets his teammates through the deimos way of living, where power is all that matters. Kharg’s teammates are all on his side because he befriends them. You watch how the two characters do things and it is clear that they have very different methods. It seems like their objectives are also very different at first, but as things go on you can see that they have basically the same objective: to save their race from the other. It’s one thing to watch a struggle from one side or the other, but to actually play both sides of the table really makes you stop and think about who is right or wrong. The big similarity between them is they both have a drive to gain power to protect their people. Kharg wants to be strong so he can defeat any deimos, and Darc wants to be strong to prove he is the greatest deimos and become king. It seems different, but then you realize that Darc becoming king and Kharg being a warrior is both a goal of protection.
And of course, these two have to meet at some point.
When the two of them meet each other, things don’t really start with brotherly embrace or a concern for one another. Things basically start with swords. Darc hates Kharg for being human and having an easier life and Kharg hates Darc for being a deimos and hating their mother. The two don’t even try to listen or understand one another, they go straight to hate because that is what everyone else does. The real big importance to Darc and Kharg is that they symbolize the main theme in the game, racist blind hatred. Many humans and deimos that you talk to say that they hate the other side, but none of them have a reason why. Darc and Kharg are the leaders of this idea. When the two meet all they do is talk about how much they hate deimos or humans and don’t question it. Darc and Kharg have a bit more reason for hating each other personally, but no real reason for hating the entire race, at least no reason of their own. Everyone is simply raised to hate the other side and accept it as fact. The two brothers are the symbols used for this idea. Now, of course, these two aren’t just symbols and leaders, they are their own characters so how are they as characters themselves.
As stand alone characters, I think is where they fall a little flat. Beyond being part of the main theme of the game and being foils to one another, they are fairly simple. Visually, I would say Darc is much cooler looking than Kharg. Kharg’s outfit is kinda silly looking. Beyond visuals, they aren’t super deep, most of the time. They become more interesting at the end of the game, but they don’t hugely change. They accept each other as brothers, but that is the biggest change. I guess I wanted a bit more moral struggle or something from the two of them. It is kinda hard to say what I didn’t like. What I do know is that as stand alone characters, I liked all of the other characters.
My verdict for Darc and Kharg is Good. I think that they could have been made to be better solo characters. As for the symbols and main idea of the games, they were very well done and because this theme is a huge part of the story to the game it works. If you took the two of theme out of this setting and analyzed them separately, and they would be fairly simple, but they fit nicely where they are. This is similar to like what I said for Yukiteru from “Future Diary” and for Sora from “Kingdom Hearts.” I also would like to add that this game is high on my list of great RPGs and I recommend it to any major RPG fans.