Ranulf & The Black Knight
Posted August 5, 2008on:
It’s been awhile since I posted a real article, but I have been busy so I kind of have an excuse. I have promised to wrote 2 articles…one about the winner of the Most Mysterious Character” poll, and one about one of Radiant Dawn’s biggest flaws. Of the two, I decided to go with the later.
A lot of people will tell you that they don’t like Radiant Dawn. When GameSpot says it’s only for hardcore fans you know there’s a problem somewhere…and its not in the rating system. There are several reasons why Radiant Dawn is considered inferior to the other games of the series…but I believe the biggest reason is because of two characters: Ranulf and The Black Knight.
If you recall in Path of Radiance, the prequel to Radiant Dawn, The Black Knight was almost like the main antagonist. Covered head-to-toe in black armor, he was like a question with no answer. Upon killing Ikes father, Greil, he is revealed to have once studied under Greil long ago. This is a clever way of giving answers without giving away who he really is.
After the death of his father, Ike swears to get stronger and kill The Black Knight. If THAT doesn’t make him the main antagonist I don’t know what will. Through the entire game The Black Knight makes several appearances…most of which you are allowed to commit suic-I mean engage him in battle. In time you learn that his armor is blessed by the goddess, and that only weapons also blessed can so much as scratch him.
When you finally obtain the blessed sword Ragnel, Ikes chance to defeat The Black Knight finally arrives. However, The Black Knights is the only battle you are allowed to 1.) Fight , 2.) Flee , or 3.) Wait out. To add to this, Mist will always come in this would be one-on-one battle, giving you a healer should Ike get squished by Luna. So there you go; a foe so powerful you are given 3 different options to get past and a healer. Only one of them is the right way to do it, which is to battle him, but your odds of actually defeating him on time are very slim. Regardless of what you do, The Black Knight eventually falls, and the story moves on.
Fast forward a year or 3, and we are taken to the time of Radiant Dawn. Now….despite what the case, book, and first 10 chapters tell you, this isn’t a game about Micaiah and her quest to free Daein. Its about Ike again, duuuuh! One thing of note though about those first 10 tutorial chapters is who helps Micaiah save Daein…Mr. Black Knight! [Sarcasm]And here we thought he was dead [/Sarcasm] . He hints at a few things about himself in these chapters…namely how Micaiah reminds him of “her” .
Alright, now lets introduce Ranulf. Hes a cat, hes blue, he used to be peppy and sarcastic, but now he mostly grovels at Ike’s feet. He has a high status in the Beast Laguz army, and usually leads large missions. In Path of Radiance he actually meets The Black Knight on several occasions, even battling him once. In Radiant Dawn he leads a group of Laguz in the war against Begnion, directly challenging its military’s leader, Zelgius. Bad idea however, since Zelgius is just as much the challenge as The Black Knight, and Ranulf gets whooped by yet another large clunky general.
He later gets the chance to challenge The Black Knight again , but atleast this time he’s not rigged to lose. Upon starting the battle he says he can recognise The Black Knights fighting style, as well as his scent (gross x-x ). So he knowswho The Black Knight is! That’s something no one else has been able to do! Now, hes probably not going to say anything until Ikes next chance to defeat The Black Knight comes up, right? After all, that’s some big information hes got…that kinda stuff only leaks out AFTER its useful…otherwise the plot just kinda dies…..
A few chapters later and one ginormous mistake later.
Ranulf: Hey Ike! The Black Knight is really Zelgius! Be careful around him! Well I gotta go now! *leaves* .
Hit and run…THAT is what we call a spoiler! IN its own game! Now every time “The Black Knight” makes a big dramatic appearance…your laughing inside because its like hes wearing a transparent mask. Hes still hiding his identity…but you know who he is, Ike knows who he is, and obviously…so does Ranulf. So from this point on, The Black Knight is virtually pointless. When he hints about his “master” and such, there is hardly any room for the imagination to work. If they had just waited until HE chose to reveal his identity, so in other words, waited until the third from last chapter, he could have remained as one of the main plot points, given the player something to think about, and kept the plot moving smoothly until it was about to come to an end anyways.
So of the many reasons I dislike Radiant Dawn, I believe that mistake to be the biggest one.
–Saint of Swords
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