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Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

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JDThePrecursorLegacy

The American cover.

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is the first game in Jak and Daxter series. It is the first game on Playstation 2 and considered to be one of the best games on this console and one of the best platformers. developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America and is the first video game in the Jak and Daxter series. It was released exclusively for the Sony PlayStation 2 on December 4, 2001 for America and for Europe and Japan in the same month. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy spawned three sequels, Jak II, Jak 3 and Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier. A spin-off title, Jak X: Combat Racing, and a midquel, Daxter, were also made.

In this game player is given an opportunity to explore the big world with some interesting physical effects like becoming wet after getting into the water, having the overview of the world from high points and active changing of day and night, fighting enemies, solving puzzles and completing minigames.

Story and plotEdit

The story begins with Samos the Sage, the master of Green Eco, speaking cryptically of the Precursors, the masters of the universe and creators of all life on the planet. As he still has questions of their existence, Samos is searching for answers. He elaborates on two young boys, the fifteen-year-old Jak (who refuses to gain Samos' teachings) and his best friend Daxter. The two decide to make their way to Misty Island, the one place Samos told them not to go.

They arrive on the island just in time to witness a large gathering of Lurkers before two twisted figures looking for Artifacts hidden within the village and also preparing to attack the village as well. Jak and Daxter, worried by what they are seeing, try to escape the island, when they find a pool of Dark Eco. While approaching the pool, Daxter discovers a small Eco barrel after tripping on it. Daxter tosses it to Jak, and it lights up in his hands. A Lurker commander (who heard something when Jak and Daxter tried to escape) suddenly shows up, and attacks them.

Both of the boys panic and Jak throws the Eco barrel at the Lurker, which explodes, the force of the explosion throws Jak backwards into Daxter. Daxter falls into the pit of Eco below. Jak is devastated for a minute, believing that his best friend is dead, but Daxter is spat back out unharmed. Jak looks at him strangely, and Daxter realises he has a tail. He screams in fright; Because of his short exposion to Dark Eco, he had been changed into an Ottsel.

They return to Sandover Village and seek help from Samos, but he proclaims that he couldn't help Daxter, even if he wanted to. He adds that only Gol Acheron, the Sage of Dark Eco, can help change Daxter back, but they would have to travel far north, to where Gol lives. He also tells them that he could have teleported them there, but that the Teleport Rings doesn't work, as the other Sages haven't turned theirs on for quite a while.

The route they have to travel is blocked by the Fire Canyon, and to traverse it Jak and Daxter need a Zoomer vehicle powered by powercells. In order to power up the Zoomer's heat shield, Jak and Daxter need to find a certain amount of Power Cells. Keira, Samos' daughter, is mecahnically adept and had built one.

After a training part, They begin their adventure into the dangerous parts of the land in search of the Power Cells. They soon recover enough to power the heat shield and journey through Fire Canyon aboard their Zoomer. At the end of the canyon is Rock Village, which is being destroyed by a giant Lurker named Klaww. In addition to this, the Blue Sage who watches over the village has mysteriously vanished.

Jak and Daxter find themselves in search of more power cells to power an anti-gravity device that will unblock the way to Klaww's lair. After opening a path up the mountain, they defeat Klaww and ride down the mountain to the Volcanic Crater. Jak then makes his way to the Red Sage's laboratory, where he learns that all of the other sages have been kidnapped by the same figures who command the Lurkers.

The kidnappers turn out to be Gol and Maia. Jak must recover more Power Cells to fuel an upgraded form of Keira's heat shield. Their task complete, Jak and Daxter use the Zoomer to navigate the Lava Tube to the Yellow Sage's laboratory, where they activate the warp ring so that Keira can come through. Once she arrives, she tearfully regales that Samos has been captured as well. Journeying through Gol and Maia's citadel, Jak and Daxter succeed in freeing the Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green Sage, and then travel up an elevator to the top of the Dark Eco Silo. There they confront Gol and Maia who have pieced together the ruins of a Precursor Robot in order to open the silos and release the Dark Eco inside. Jak battles the pair, but only defeats them with the help of a White Eco source. Daxter realizes that the White Eco would change him back to normal, but instead decides to allow Jak to save the world with it. Jak channels the White Eco through his body, and beams the energy towards the robot, disabling it and ruining Gol's and Maia's plans.

The two are then locked into the silos and said to be destroyed by the Dark Eco's power and to have died, but Samos has his doubts about the two being completely destroyed and dead, hinting that they might return.

After the adventure has ended, our heroes find an ancient Precursor Ring near to the silo where Gol and Maia were imprisoned that is explained more in the sequel, Jak II.

GameplayEdit

Jak and Daxter holds similarities to platform games such as Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64 in that the objective is to gather items to progress through the levels. The player has access to super-human abilities such as double-jumping, a rapid spinning kick, and sustaining only limited damage through falling from great heights. Injuries are accounted for by way of a life meter, which decreases as the player character is hit by enemies, falls long distances, and makes contact with hazardous surfaces.

The game revolves around the collection of Power Cells, which can be earned by fighting enemies, paying for them via Precursor Orbs, accomplishing platforming challenges, and other ways. The player character "Jak" has punch and kick attacks, and can also utilize various Eco energies to complete tasks, or defeat enemies in gladiator-style arena matches.

Being a platformer, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy offers several collectibles for the player to gather. The main objects are "Power Cells", used to energize machinery for use in reaching new levels. Egg-shaped "Precursor Orbs" function as currency, and can be traded in for Power Cells at several locations in the game, while collecting all seven "Scout Flies" in any level rewards the player with a Power Cell. While Precursor Orbs are present in all Jak and Daxter games, Power Cells would not make a reappearance until Jak 3, where they appear in artifact collecting missions.

The game contains a number of bosses, whose defeat earns the player Power Cells or some method of progressing further in the game. One such enemy is not mandatory, and is only defeated in order to gain a Power Cell, and to cause spiked tentacles across the jungle to wither away, no longer posing a threat to the player. Another boss, a cyborg named Klaww, must be defeated in order to leave the mountain area. To do so, players must collect enough Power Cells to utilize a levitation device and unblock a path, allowing access to him. Once he is defeated, the areas beyond his lair are accessible.

A large part of the gameplay revolves around "Eco", a type of colored energy which comes in six different forms. The player is able to utilize Eco by way of glowing particles which bestow a small amount, or Eco vents which grant a fully-charged burst of Eco energy. The Green Eco, the most common, restores health. Blue Eco increases Jak's speed, attracts some object towards him, and activates certain machinery. Rare Red Eco increases attack power,[4] while Yellow Eco allows the player to fire bursts of energy.

The other two types of Eco only make appearances, and are not actively used by the player during the main game. Small amounts of Dark Eco cause damage upon contact with the player, and falling into a pool of Dark Eco results in instant death. White Eco is seen and used only during the final boss battle, and is a combination of all other types of Eco with the exception of Dark.

LevelsEdit

In this game there are various locations to visit. All this posses it's own enemies, traps and missions.

  • Geyser Rock - a place where the game begins. It's an island not far from Sandover village and used by Samos as a training ground. No enemies are here.
  • Sandover Village - a village where different characters live, including Jak, Daxter, Samos and Keira. Here Jak and Daxter find many people, who want them to do something for a Power Cell.
  • Sentinel Beach - a place lying west of Sandover village. It's full of Lurkers and contains many Precursor orbs and Power cells.
  • Forbidden Jungle - a jungle placed east of Sandover village. A big Precursor building known as the forbidden temple stands at the center of it.
  • Misty Island - an island, situated east of Geyser Rock. Daxter was turned into an ottsel here. This is dark and scary place, with a lot of bones of some big animals. There are lots of lurkers here. A big arena made of precursor metal can be found here as well.
  • Fire Canyon - a canyon full of lava, which can only be crossed using the A-grav zoomer. Keira put some balloons with cold air here, which can be collected to cool off the zoomer. Some lurkers on the cooler patches of ground can be found too.
  • Rock Village - a place where the Blue sage's hut is situated. It was attacked by Klaww.
  • Precursor Basin - a place where you can find a lot of things made of precursor metal. This place can only be traversed via the A-grav Zoomer.
  • Lost Precursor City - A city made by the precursors long ago. It is situated mostly underwater. It hides a lot of mysteries and traps. You can find lurkers here too.
  • Boggy Swamp - a swamp situated north to Rock Village. There is a large zeppelin floating above it.
  • Mountain Pass - a pass in the mountains leading to the Volcanic Crater. To get here you have to power up the blue sage's machine with power cells and defeat Klaww. After defeating Klaww the mission must be completed on the Zoomer.
  • Volcanic Crater - a place where Red sage's hut is situated. It's rather empty as there are only miners and the Oracle here.
  • Spider Cave - a scary cave full of lurker-spiders and dark eco. Gol and Maya are trying to remove a Precursor Robot from the rock here.
  • Snowy Mountain - a mountain where the lurker's fort is situated. To get here you have to collect some power cells.
  • Lava Tube - a big tube full of lava which takes you to Gol and Maia's Citadel. Once again the A-Grav Zoomer must be used. There are also balloons with cold air. While crossing you can see dark eco crates being transported (most of which you must try and avoid).
  • Gol and Maia's Citadel - the final location in the game. Jak must rescue all the sages here and defeat Gol and Maia's precursor robot in order to finish the game. Lastly, at the conclusion of the credits there is an alternate 'secret' ending - however this is only revealed if at least 100 Power Cells were acquired.

ItemsEdit

Being a platformer, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy offers many collectibles for the player to find throughout the game, including:

  • Power Cells - The main source of power allowing the player to advance to the next area in the game. They are small and circular, orbited by four outer spheres and a fifth smaller one, making them look something like an enlarged atom. Power cells are obtained by performing various tasks throughout the game.
  • Precursor Orbs - Egg-like objects that are found floating slightly above the ground in unexplored areas. These are used as the currency throughout the world, allowing the player to purchase Power Cells during the course of the game.
  • Scout Flies - Small fly-like creatures trapped in red and silver boxes which are found in each area. Collecting all seven scout flies in each area yields a power cell.
  • Eco - May show up in vents or as floating spheres. Different types of Eco enable Jak to perform different feats. Includes Green Eco, Blue Eco, Yellow Eco, and Red Eco.

TravelEdit

There are several ways to travel between locations in this game:

  • On foot - the common type of travel. Most of locations in this game can be traveled only in such a way.
  • By Teleport gate - this gates can be found only on the Geyser rock (and the only way to travel here is this), sage's huts and near the entrance to the Gol and Maia's citadel, and you can easily use it. However, to travel to each Teleport Gate you will have to turn it on.
  • By transport - there are several locations which can be travelled using A-grav Zoomer (such as precursor basin). There are several places in some locations where you can use A-grav Zoomer or Flut-Flut (such as Misty island). Also there are Olie's boat, which is the only way to get to the Misty island.

TransportEdit

  • A-Grav Zoomer - A zoomer invented by Keira. It's flown by a propeller and cannot withstand a lot of heat. It can be driven in the Misty island, Fire Canyon, Precursor Basin, Mountain Pass and Lava Tube.
  • Flut-Flut - A large predatory bird, which is used as transport. It's little wings do not allow it to fly, but it can glide a little with them. It can only be ridden in Boggy Swamp or Snowy mountain.
  • Ollie's boat - A boat which is unlocked as you complete Ollie's fishing minigame. It's the only way to get to Misty Island.

Mini gamesEdit

There are three challenges which can be actually called the mini games, however, all the game is built on such a things:

  • Fishing - while first talking to the Ollie in the forbidden jungle, he will ask you to catch 200 pounds of good fish and catch none of poisonous. There are two types of good fish - 1 pound and 5 pound.
  • Rat shooting - this can be played in Boggy swamp by talking to the Boggy Billy. In this you should shoot the swamp rats, looking through your goggles, before they get to the mushrooms. You can move the aim horizontaly only.
  • Zoomer race - this is located in the precursor basin. Here you have to get to the finish as fast as you can.

BoxesEdit

Like the previous Naughty Dog game franchise, Crash Bandicoot, and unlike the next Jak games this game has different types of boxes:

  • Normal chest - This can be broken using any attack and have different eco inside.
  • Strong chests - This can be destroyed only when charged with red eco, shooting a fireball, from a cannon or on the zoomer. They have precursor orbs or even power cells inside.
  • Red boxes - These can be opened with the dive attack and have scout flys inside.
  • Dark Eco boxes - Boxes, containing deadly dark eco. If you touch them, you lose health. There are even large dark eco boxes, transported in the Lava Tube.

EnemiesEdit

Lurkers are the only enemies besides the bosses in the game.

BossesEdit

  • Dark Eco Plant Found in Forbidden Jungle (mini-boss, optional)
  • Klaww Found in Mountain Pass
  • Gol and Maia's Precursor Robot Found in their citadel, trying to open a Dark Eco Silo

DevelopmentEdit

Development on Jak and Daxter began in January 1999. As the rest of the Naughty Dog team were working on Crash Team Racing, only two programmers were allocated to the project. The rest of the team began work on Jak as well after the release of the PlayStation 2, when Naughty Dog handed Crash Bandicoot to Subsidiary Of Universal, Universal Interactive's Sierra Entertainment. Because of the PS2's status as a new console, Naughty Dog felt they had to create a unique character for it. Before the main development of Jak and Daxter, Naughty Dog confirmed the idea with Sony Computer Entertainment, and after showing them a character they dubbed "Boxman" to demonstrate their animation engine, they came up with Jak and Daxter.

The game was in development for almost three years, and throughout this time numerous changes were made to almost every aspect of the game, while the various engines used in the game were all tweaked to optimize their performance. The engine tweaks allowed Jak and Daxter to have no loading times or fogging and be able to display high quality textures in a seamless, multi-level world.

The main characters also went through changes. Originally there was going to be a third main character that would develop as the game was played in a Tamagotchi style. Instead Naughty Dog concentrated their efforts on two main characters in order create the exact characters they wanted. On the website Computerandvideogames.com Naughty Dog stated "The character inspiration was more Joe Madureira who did Battle Chasers, the comic book, than anything else..." in an interview. After the release of Jak and Daxter, Naughty Dog was prepared to create a sequel as long as the first did well enough to warrant it. After the game did go on to sell admirably, development of Jak II was begun shortly thereafter.

ReceptionEdit

Before its release SCEA gave IGN a demo build of Jak and Daxter. Douglass C. Perry, a member of IGN’s staff said that "...Jak and Daxter is a breath of fresh air, a funny, light-hearted, but no less epic action-adventure game all its own..." after reviewing the demo build for twelve hours. Game Informer gave the game a high score of 9.25 out of 10, highly praising its graphics and the absence of load times.IGN ranked the game 8th best PS2 game ever.

After its release in late 2001 it went on to sell over 1 million copies promoting it to "Greatest Hits" and reducing the price. To date, Jak and Daxter has sold almost 2 million copies (1.97million) in the US alone. Two sequels followed in 2003 and 2004 respectively along with two spin-off games, Jak X: Combat Racing in 2005 and Daxter in 2006. In 2006 a Jak and Daxter Trilogy Movie DVD was a prize at an official website which also features a trailer to the DVD. It contains movie scenes from the series telling the story up to the end of Jak X: Combat Racing.

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