Mystic Ark is the third game made by Enix and Produce, after Elnard (The 7th Saga) and Brain Lord. It mutated the turn-based combat system and the party system from Elnard, while it inherited the emphasis on puzzles from Brain Lord.
The main characters of the game, they are the only characters able to navigate the Shrine and the only characters able to turn monsters into figurines. They wear heavy armor and are proficient in the use of swords.
The player can choose the gender of the hero, which affects his/her abilities, status, and default name. They most likely came from the Green World.
1) Lemele/Remeer the Hero
The male protagonist is more oriented towards physical attributes. The attack spells he can learn are fire-elemental. (He is similar to Olvan the Dwarf from the 7th Saga.)
2) Ferris/Fellis the Heroine
The female protagonist is more oriented towards magical attributes. The attack spells she can learn are ice-elemental. She can learn more magic than Lemele/Remeer, especially healing and support spells. (She is similar to Kamil the Human warrior from the 7th Saga.)
Spellcasting character classes
3) Meisia the Priestess
A priestess (or White Mage), she is the main healer of the game. She can wear the same light armor as Miriene, the witch. The weapons she can use best are staves, but she should rather focus on magic. (She is similar to Valsu the Human healer from the 7th Saga.)
4) Miriene the Witch
She is a fairly balanced spellcaster, not specializing in anything in particular. She learns a wide array of spells with different effects, and she's especially useful with her support and debuff skills. She can wear the same light armor as Meisia, the priestess. The weapons she can use best are knives, but she should rather focus on magic. (She is similar to Esuna the Elf girl from the 7th Saga.)
5) Kamiwoo the Ogre
This character (a Black Mage) is best used for his offensive spells. His choice of armor is limited. The weapons he can use best are axes. (He is similar to Lejes the Demon from the 7th Saga.)
Physical character classes
6) Reeshine the Grappler
She specializes in strong melee attacks. The weapons she can use best are nunchuks and boomerangs. She can wear her own martial arts suits for protection. (She is similar to Wilme the Alien from the 7th Saga.)
7) Lux the Tetsujin
"Tetsu-jin" is Japanese for "man of iron". A mysterious robot, Lux specializes in heavy attacks. While he shares many of his characteristics with Lux from The 7th Saga, there is no known relationship between the two. He can equip iron fists and iron armor exclusive to him.
8) Tokio the Ninja
A speedy ninja, he gains several useful abilities, like a double hit and a power-boosting yell. He can equip the same heavy armor as the Heroes and he is proficient in the use of most weapons; in particular, he's the only character proficient in the use of sabers and bows. (He is different from any of the seven characters in the 7th Saga.)
Throughout the game, the player acquires magical objects called Arks. The Arks are like fairies, able to impart their powers onto objects, something the player must do to solve various puzzles in the game. They also represent the scattered power of the Goddess The Arks are:
Ark of Power
This Ark is found in the Sand World, in a shrine that can only be reached after the world is flooded. Along with the Ark of Wisdom, the Ark of Power is the only one capable of summoning allies for combat. It can power things that humans cannot, like rusty switches or electrical devices
Ark of Light
A group of beetles in the Fruit World have this Ark, and the only way to get it is to beat them. In battle, it imparts lightning properties to whatever it is attached to.
Ark of Wisdom
After defeating the Chimera that is terrorizing the Child World, Celia gives this to the party. She uses it to give herself powers far beyond her own abilities. Along with the Ark of Power, the Ark of Wisdom is the only one capable of summon allies for combat. Its wisdom allows unreadable texts to become readable.
Ark of Fire
This Ark is found in the Green World, hidden within the underground factory's Hydro Cell. This Ark lights things on fire, obviously. It also gives weapons fiery property.
Ark of Water
This Ark is found in the Dark World. It simply fills objects with water.
Ark of Wood
This Ark is found in the Wind World, given to the heroes after they destroyed the Ancients.
Ark of Darkness
The Darkness gives this to the protagonists after its defeat in the Fairytale World. With it (and the other Arks), they are able to face Black Heart.
A secluded island containing all other worlds, and where the hero's journey begins. Also within this world are figurines of several characters who must be restored to their proper form in their own world. In the back of this shrine is a passage leading to Black Heart, only accessible using the Ark of Darkness.
The player enters this world through a model ship. Although barren and dry upon entering, by the time the player leaves, it is flooded with water. Two groups of cat pirates, the Bloodhooks and the Gumbos, are waging war, and it is the player's duty to resolve this conflict. This requires working for both factions, taming a large mole monster, and enlisting the help of a cat witch to settle the conflict once and for all.
This world is found within a green pumpkin in the Shrine's kitchen, and all the towns in this world are in fruits themselves. The player must rescue the citizens of the Gourd Bridge from mimicking foxes and restore various towns by planting their seeds near a river and watering them. This world's Ark is in the hands of a group of beetles who torment the citizens of Fruit World. However, after being beaten the first time, a crow steals it from a beetle holding the Ark and retreats to a forest in the north. The player gains the Ark of Light after beating a fox who was masquerading as a beetle to gain the Ark for himself.
Entering this world requires using the Ark of Light on a music box in the Shrine's windmill. For a significant amount of time, the player is stuck in a small town called Blind Alley; it is only after they have played with the children that they are able to leave this town. Until the player visits Candy Mountain, there are no monsters to be found, and the entire world is populated almost entirely by children. In fact, the only adult not in the player's party is Celia, a woman who takes care of all the children in a mansion southwest of Blind Alley.
However, after the player restores the mansion's plaza, Celia starts behaving weirdly; she won't let any of the children play outside or speak with any of the heroes. It is up to them to find out what is causing her to act this way. After exploring her secret lab underneath the mansion, the protagonists find out that Celia is actually a witch and that she is the reason why monsters infest the World. She was working with the Chimera, and in exchange for a perfect body, the Chimera's master would rid their world of monsters. Coincidentally, the Chimera reveals that its master is the one able to turn people and objects into figurines.
Found within a clock on the Shrine's second floor, everything in this world is, at first, completely colorless. Thomas Edison lives in a nearby town, but his only his heart remains. The player must bring it back to the shrine, infuse it into Edison's figurine, and bring it back to town. Soon after, the player must acquire gold wine to give to Capone so they can pass through his checkpoint. However, he traps them in a cave because he thinks the wine is fake. After escaping the cave, Capone, confident in the party's abilities, asks them a favor: find his missing daughter. After doing so, he rewards them with gold, alcohol, and permission to pass through the checkpoint.
Upon reaching the top of the mountain Capone was guarding, they discover that the other half of the world has color, but no sound. In nearby Duplo Town, the protagonist finds out that the people all speak sign language, and one of them teaches it to the player so they can speak with everybody in town. Soon, the party finds themselves aiding an artist named Pablo with his work. While helping him, they discover a secret passage that leads to a remote town with both color and sound. Einstein is living here, and he has been working on a machine. Although the precise purpose isn't known, it is know that the machine is broken, and can only be repaired with a certain tree sap. Much to Einstein's chagrin, Edison has put himself in charge of the repairs.
Eventually, Einstein gathers the strength to challenge Edison's role, somehow leading to the repair of the machine. Finally, it is revealed that the machine is an elevator to an underground society/factory. Many of the people in the town are sick because they all work in the nearby factory. While exploring the factory, it is revealed that the factory is responsible for the lack of color and sound in certain parts of the world. Later, the party finds the Chimera, who then unleashes three knights against them. The heroes are victorious, and upon winning the battle, are rewarded with an upgraded key card. This allows them access to the Hydro Cell area of the factory, which holds the Ark of Fire. When they take it out of its chest, color and sound return to the areas of Green World from which they were absent.
Upon touching a sand-filled flask in a nearby cave, the hero is warped to an altar in this world. People praying by the altar at the time of their arrival believe him to be their savior, sent to repair their winds. Of course, they'll receive the Ark of Wood upon completion of this task. The task: rescue somebody from a cave. They do so, but upon further exploration of the cave, the group discovers a stone with a message in another language (that they can read with the power of the Ark of Wisdom). It reveals that the wind is generated by a sleeping giant, something the townspeople take hard. The night after this discovery, the giant wakes up, going on rampage and stopping the flow of the wind. On their journey to find the giant, the party travels to the top of a mountain, only to arrive at a nearby town mysteriously. All they know is that a man named Curtis is missing.
However, they find/rescue him in a nearby tower. He was studying the artifacts in the tower when a monster attacked him. When the party finds two books at the bottom of the tower, they bring them back to Curtis for him to translate. One of the books mentions a mirror that seals away magic hidden somewhere in the sands of the world. The group finds it in a nearby cave and, upon retrieving it, show it to Curtis. He speaks of its uses, and the party then travels to a nearby factory. Inside is a clone, who they are able to beat with the help of the mirror. However, after the battle, the mirror breaks. Upon further exploration of the factory, they find the switch that shuts down all the machinery. After turning the machines off, Curtis relays to them the message of the Black Book: that there is a race of Ancients still living, and that the Giant is actually one of their creations.
The book also allows them entrance to a nearby tower which helps them stop the Ancients from polluting the world. At the top of the tower is a device which seems to control the Giant. When activated, the Giant knocks down the tower, turning it into a bridge to a nearby island. On the island is an underground cloning facility full of Ancients. After fighting through the relatively few awake Ancients, the group meets Kuga, leader of the Ancients. He not only plans to pollute the skies, but to eliminate light from the world. After his defeat, the Ancients are no more, the Giant sinks into the ocean, and wind returns to the world. As thanks, the people give him the Ark of Wood.
Only the hero is allowed to enter this world (through a painting in the Shrine), and once they enter, they cannot leave until they complete the world. Through diaries scattered throughout the world, the hero learns that others have entered this world, but were driven to madness by being trapped in it. Since the Hero is the only (visible) character in this world, there is little story to it; the Dark World is a confusing mess of puzzles and brain-teasers. The Ark of Water is found here. However, after finding it, the Darkness escapes from the world with the hero and reveals that it grew up there, writing the entries in the diaries and slowly becoming insane.
This world is populated by many famous characters from fairy tales, including Hansel & Gretel, Cinderella, and the Big Bad Wolf. In fact, the King is looking for people to hunt down the Big Bad Wolf. But while hiring the protagonists to do just that, a woman interrupts the King to inform him that Little Red Riding Hood and her grandma have been captured by the wolf. With the help of Geppetto, the group reaches the Big Bad Wolf, defeats him, and rescues the girls. Oddly enough, Little Red Riding Hood reveals that the Big Bad Wolf inadvertently saved her from the Darkness.
When they return to tell the King of their exploits, a little girl interrupts the King (again) and tells him that the Goblin of Kuru Forest has been terrorizing Tinkle Town again. Again, the King asks the hero to take care of the problem. In the Kuru Forest, they discover that the Goblin was actually a cowardly lion lion. He is searching for a tower in the forest because he heard a wizard in the tower will grant him courage, but finds out that he's in the wrong forest. When the heroes tell this to the King, he allows them audience with the wizard, a recluse who can grant them any wish they desire. However, the wizard reveals that the Darkness stole his powers, and that it is a threat the King should not take lightly. In addition, he reveals that Gretel knows where the Darkness is.
She reveals that it is in the waterfall to the south of Tinkle Town, and that they need an invisibility cloak to reach it. However, the only tailor capable of making such a cloak is nowhere to be found, mainly because he sends the group on a pointless fetch quest without them knowing it. Once they reveal that the King sent them, he's happy to oblige, under one condition: that the heroes give Cinderella a dress for the upcoming ball. They also give her glass slippers they received from a shoe-bearing tree. Everything occurs according to the original story until the Darkness turns several people into figurines, and captures the rest, taking them to the aforementioned waterfall.
On their way to rescue the people of Tinkle Town, a Keaton Fox appears and challenges them to a fight. After beating him, they must face a Water Dragon, and then, finally, the Darkness. After its defeat, the Darkness reveals that those who faced it in the past became its slaves. Being the only people to have beaten it, the Darkness gives them the Ark of Darkness.
Mini Game World
A secret world only accessible through a tree behind the Shrine, the only things here are two card-flipping mini games; one of them involves flipping cards until the player hits the demon card, another is a simple card matching game. Both of these games garner prizes depending on the player's performance.
This world is contained within an immovable sword on the beach behind the Shrine. Here, the player can trade in monsters for special items, bet on monsters in fights (much like Dragon Quest III), or pit the monsters the player owns in combat.
Since this game was never released outside of Japan, there has never been an official translation or localization. Due to the complexity of rewriting this game's script and hacking it back in, the fan translation took 10 years to complete, making this one of the last SNES-era RPGs to receive a translation. It was finally released in 2010; oddly enough, a second - completely different translation from a different group was released mere weeks later.