Arc the Lad was released in Japan for the PlayStation on June 30, 1995. It and the sequel Arc the Lad 2 were originally intended to be one game but were apparently broken up into two games for some reason. The first installment is generally regarded as a short (~10 hours) game while Arc 2 is a fairly mammoth game.

Arc the Lad was a commercial success in Japan and spawned two sequels on the original PlayStation and two further games on the PlayStation 2 as well as an anime series. One pioneering feature in the PSX games is the ability to save your game after completing Arc 1 and then load this data into Arc 2 to unlock extra content then save your game after completing Arc 2 and load it into Arc 3. I’ll certainly be doing this to see what happens.

Working Designs apparently wanted to bring the Arc the Lad games to the United States for years but were unable. They eventually did acquire the license and released the Arc the Lad Collection on April 18, 2002. You can read more about it at Mobygames or Wikipedia.

The Arc the Lad games are also noteworthy for taking a lite strategy-RPG approach to battles similar to the Shining Force games. While apparently not the deepest of battle systems, this will definitely be a nice change of pace from the last two games I played.

One last thing to comment on is the Arc the Lad Collection packaging by Working Designs. I was fortunate to snag a complete copy off Ebay for around $45 and it’s quite a package. There’s the game discs themselves, a Making of Arc the Lad Collection disc, the hardcover manual and then something called an Omake box with little stand-up figures inside. I have no idea what to do with those. All in all a very lavish set for the three PSX games. I can’t wait to get started.