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Champions of Norrath is an Action RPG on the Playstation 2 set in the world of the Ever Quest MMO series, roughly three hundred years prior to the original Ever Quest, making it a prequel, albeit one that is only vaguely alluded to in any of the online installments.
Its plot involves an alliance of orcs and goblins, once enemies, laying seige to Faydwer, the continent of elvenkind at this point in Norrathian history. Leithkorias, King of the Wood Elves, calls out for champions to defend the land. You (and whatever people you're playing alongside if you've selected multiplayer mode) heed this call as one of five customizable race/class choices, each of which are highly customizable. The available choices are Barbarian Warrior, Erudite Wizard, High Elf Cleric, Wood Elf Ranger and Dark Elf Shadowknight. The game is separated into five chapters, and takes a major twist after the first, which culminates in your first encounter with the orc general, Pelys, who isn't what he seems.
Champions of Norrath also received a sequel game, Return to Arms, in which your character (along with any multiplayers) is called into the outer planes by Firiona Vie, champion of nature goddess Tunare, to defend the cosmos against an alliance of evil gods attempting to resurrect one of their number. You have the option of importing characters from the previous installment and it seems as if the game was designed with the assumption that players would be doing this, despite claims to the contrary. This game differed from the original in that it allowed you to defect to the evil side early on, although this changed surprisingly little in regard to gameplay or storyline, the only notable variables being which final boss you fought and which side you're on in an optional dungeon in one of two Norrath-bound regions in the game. Oddly, when placed in the canon of the Ever Quest series as a whole, it's the evil plotline that slots seamlessly into continuity, not the good aligned one like one would usually expect.
Return to Arms was notably rushed as compared to its predecessor. Many of the dungeons recyled graphics from the previous games and the two additional character choices, Vah Shir Berserker and Iksar Shaman, lacked the amount of customization options that other choices had and even the ability to play female characters of said races. The story also suffered, what little there was resting primarily at the start and the end of the game with only sparse developments in-between.
See also Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance; it was made by the same company before they switched publishers.
The games contain examples of:
- An Adventurer Is You: The character class system.
- Barbarian Hero
- Beneath the Earth: The Underworld in Chapter 2 of Champions of Norrath, refered to most commonly as the Underfoot in the online Ever Quest games.
- Big Bad: Pelys, seemingly, but turns out to be just The Dragon to Innoruuk, God of Hate.
- Black Knight: The Dark Elf Shadowknight, which is actually playable, but whom doesn't get to be truly evil until the second game in the series.
- Bonus Dungeon: Kelethin in Return to Arms, where you either help fend off orcish invaders or assist said invaders in taking the city, depending on which side you chose at the start of the game. There is also a large quantity of bonus dungeons in the same game that are unlocked whenever you complete whatever objective you were sent into a new region to carry out.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: One cannot help but wonder whether this is what brought on Natasla's Face Heel Turn in Return to Arms, given her mental state.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite the fact that the online games frequently assume that it is, it's possible for a Shadowknight in both Champions of Norrath and Return to Arms to remain good if they choose to be, with NPC's treating them as such. Though he does express an interest in eradicating the gnomes, but only just says it.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Inoruuk, Cazic-Thule and Rallos Zek
- The Dragon: Pelys in the first game, your character in the second installment if you choose to undergo a Face Heel Turn.
- Face Heel Turn: Natasla in Return to Arms, also your own character if you choose to defect from Firiona Vie's side.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Various, including Malcolm McDowell and Oded Fehr.
- Instant Death Radius: Good luck trying to take any of the bosses with a pure melee class.
- It's a little better in sequel, where a melee class can take on a boss with a bit of strategy. It is still a shame though that the heavily armored classes go down in one or two hits against bosses.
- The bosses are never impossible to defeat in melee. Even Inorruuk is possible to go mano-e-mano, albeit harder than all hell.
- Large Ham: Natasla.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Pelys tricks you into retrieving an artifact for him in Chapter 3 of the original game by disguising himself as one of his own oppressed citizens from a village that his search has brought him to.
- Magic Knight: The Dark Elf Shadowknight character choice.
- Magical Land: The outer planes.
- Min-Maxing: Return to Arms has a new set of items called figurines which provide bonuses to your stats depending on the type of figurine so long as they're being carried in your inventory. The way to make the absolute strongest character possible, regardless of class, isn't to spend points in areas your class would normally use, but rather to simply pump every single one of your stat points you get at level-up into strength. With all of your stat points going into strength, not only do you hit harder physically but you're also able to carry more, meaning you can then collect tons of perfect-type figurines and get a higher number of overall stat points than you would have if you'd spread out your stat growth. Yes, the best way to get make an Erudite Wizard with a huge intelligence score is to boost his melee damage and carrying capacity so he can lug around tons of perfect owl figurines.
- Multiple Endings: In Return to Arms, depending on which alignment you chose near the start of the game.
- Spiritual Successor: To Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance.
- Stripperiffic: Firiona Vie and Natasla's outfits. Kerriel the mermaid isn't "dressed" any different than traditional mermaids, but is possessed with breasts to the same degree you'd expect to see on a stripper. Also, several of the female class choices go this way if you, ahem, unequip their armor in the inventory screen. (Actually, you have the option of playing the game with the female barbarian, for example, wearing little more than a bikini, albeit the lack of armor makes it difficult.)
- The Man Behind the Man: Innoruuk, to Pelys in Champions of Norrath.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: As the Barbarian, activate Critical Hit and Ancestral Cry, then use Slam.
- Tyke Bomb: Pelys, given the blink-and-you-miss-it revelation that he's Innoruuk's first child, centuries before Lanys T'Vyl in the online games.
- Useless Useful Spell: The Dark Elf's "Harm Touch", which is supposed to be his Ultimate Attack which takes up so much Mana and makes you wait a few seconds to cast something else, ends up being surpassed by your standard attack. The problem is that it's a set amount of damage; it never changes due to your strength. Also, the pets are pretty useless as well.
- The Vamp: Natasla and Kerriel the mermaid. Surprisingly, despite being scantily clad (Kerriel is actually topless, though her hair covers her), both possessed large breasts, and played rather sensually by the voice actresses and animators, this was not enough to trigger a sensuality warning on the ESRB T rating.