Have you ever played a game that almost nobody knows about, and yet it’s so good you can’t understand why it’s not titled ‘The Best Game Ever’? Well, mine is Threads Of Fate.
Also known as ‘Dewprism’ in Japan, Threads of Fate was released in the summer of 2000 under Squaresoft’s’Summer Of Adventure’promotion, alongside Legend of Mana and Chrono Cross. Unfortunately, despite being a fantastically written and fun game, it was terribly overshadowed by its siblings and could only become a cult classic at best.
At the time, Dad worked as a manager at Electronics Boutique and brought it home for my brother and me as a gift (this was back when we had a decent amount of money and could afford buying new games every other week), along with the sample soundtrack CD that showcased five tracks of beautiful music. If I recall correctly, this was the first game soundtrack CD I ever owned; I didn’t even know video games could have soundtracks until that day!
Anyway, we started up the good ol’ Playstation and were greeted by cute, polygonal characters in a very upbeat and anime-esque opening that made my heart race with excitement. When we finally started up the game, my excitement tripled when I saw that you could choose to play one of two characters: Rue, a mysterious boy, and Mint, a ‘spunky’ girl. Of course, my brother played the Rue storyline and I played Mint’s. Personally, I think I had the better experience.
Rue’s storyline was a classic plot: a mysterious orphaned boy is taken in by a kind girl, and they live together peacefully in a cabin until one day, and equally mysterious man arrives and murders her. In order to bring her back to life, Rue seeks a sacred relic that will grant his wish and embarks on an adventure.
Mint’s storyline, however, was almost a parody of cliche fantasy stories: as a selfish and spoiled princess, Mint lounges around eating all day until her little sister uses the family heirloom, a relic called the book of cosmos, to banish her from the kingdom and seize the throne for herself so that she may rule responsibly. Aggravated and vengeful, Mint seeks a relic even stronger than the Book of Cosmos for payback even though she’s a pretty terrible person. By the end of the game, she casually shrugs off and adds that she’ll defeat the big bad villain in the name of justice since her revenge kind of falls short.
The best part of this game was that it really was two stories in one disc. As I said before, Rue is the kind young man who tries his best to help everyone and it is reflected in his dialogue with the other characters and with how the story unfolds. Mint, however, does everything for selfish reasons (even though several levels are the same as Rue’s) and makes the story a whole lot more comical.
Early on in the game, the protagonist meets a relic researcher named Klaus as well as the protagonist you did not pick. They work together (although Mint repeatedly tries to hinder Rue so that she gets the relic first, and Rue is unbelievably oblivious to her ill intentions) and towards the middle of the game, split up to take on different dungeons. If you’re playing Mint’s storyline, you get to go to the forest level. If you’re Rue, you play through the ghost temple; you can only experience both levels by playing both storylines, which again is more than worth the second playthrough. The best (and yet most unfortunate) part was that if you beat the game with one protagonist, and then continued with that save file to beat it with the second, you’d get a special video at the end of the credits that hinted to the plot of an exciting sequel–that never came about.
The story wasn’t over. Sure, Rue and Mint each reach their respective goals by the end of the game, but suddenly there’s a brand new plot point (that doesn’t feel forced!) and now we’ll NEVER know what it meant! It’s heartbreaking, really. I wish there was some way in the future for the game to get updated and remade, or the sequel to be made. Hell, if I ever had the chance to take up the project myself or at least have a hand in it, I’d jump on the opportunity in an instant!
Someone recently brought to my attention, however, that Threads Of Fate was available on the Playstation Network. I understand that the game’s colorful cartoony style and humor may not be for everyone, but fantastic storytelling and quirky dialogue aside, the gameplay itself is fun and simple. It’s very hack-and-slash when you’re using Rue’s strange axe-like weapon or Mint’s high-kicks and chakra-smacks as melee attacks, but you’ve also got an array of spells for Mint and shapeshifting abilities for Rue to use in combat and solve simple puzzles. The game itself is very near and dear to my heart, and it’s not become a cult classic for nothing!
If you think you’d be interested in playing the game, check it out on PSN or at least find a couple let’s plays on YouTube. I promise you won’t be disappointed!