|Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment America|
|Series||Jak and Daxter|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is a platform game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released exclusively for the Sony PlayStation 2 on December 2001 and is the first video game in the Jak and Daxter series.
The game follows the protagonist, Jak, as he tries to help his friend, Daxter, after Daxter transforms into an ottsel (a fictional hybrid of otter and weasel). With the help of Samos the Sage, the pair learn that they must save their world from the antagonists Gol and Maia, who plan to flood it with Dark Eco. The game offers a large range of missions and mini games as well as puzzles and platform elements that the player must complete to proceed.
The game was positively received by critics and has sold 4.2 million copies.
Jak and Daxter holds similarities to platform games such as Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario 64, and the Ratchet and Clank Series in that the objective is to gather items to progress through the levels. The player has access to abilities such as double-jumping, rapid spinning kick, glide punching, and sustaining only limited damage from falling down 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 methods. The player character "Jak" has punch and kick attacks and can also utilize various Eco energies to augment his skills temporarily.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy offers several collectibles for the player to gather. The main objects are "Power Cells", which are used to energize machinery to reach new levels. Egg-shaped "Precursor Orbs" function as currency and can be traded in for Power Cells at several locations in the game. Another collectible, "Scout Flies", appear on every level. Collecting all seven "Scout Flies" per 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 three bosses whose defeat earns the player Power Cells or allows the player some method of progressing further in the game. However, not all bosses are mandatory. The boss called the Dark Ego Plant is only defeated in order to gain a Power Cell and to remove the hazard, spiked tentacles, from the jungle area in the game. Another boss, a cyborg named Klaww, must be defeated in order to leave the mountain pass. 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 that comes in six different forms. The player is able to utilize Eco powers by either collecting small amounts of glowing Eco particles or fully charging through Eco vents. The Green Eco, the most common of the six types of Eco, restores health. Blue Eco increases Jak's speed, attracts Precursor Orbs and small clusters of Blue and Green Eco towards him, and activates certain machinery. Red Eco increases attack power, while Yellow Eco allows the player to shoot bursts of energy through the hands.
The other two types of Eco only make appearances throughout the game and are not actively used by the player. 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. It is a combination of all other types of Eco with the exception of Dark Eco.
The game is set on a fictional planet created by Naughty Dog specifically for the game. It has different areas that have various themes such as snow, swamp, jungle, beaches, and volcanoes.
Like all subsequent games in the series with the exception of the PlayStation Portable game Daxter, the main character is Jak, a silent protagonist who is 15 years old. His best friend is Daxter (voiced by Max Casella), a loudmouth who is transformed at the beginning of the game into a fictional hybrid of an otter and a weasel, called an ottsel. The two boys live with Samos Hagai, the Sage of Green Eco, and father of Keira, who is Jak's self-decided love interest. She builds the flying Zoomer vehicle that Jak and Daxter use multiple times during the game.
The antagonists of the game are Gol Acheron (voiced by Dee Snider) and his sister Maia, researchers who have been turned evil by the effects of the Dark Eco they studied. Their goal is to open a giant silo full of Dark Eco and use it to shape the universe to their liking. Other characters are the Blue, Red, and Yellow Sages, all of whom are masters of the Eco they take their name from. Along with Samos, they are captured by Gol and Maia near the end of the game in order to power a giant robot, which they hope to use to open the Dark Eco silo.
The story begins with a narration by Samos the Sage, master of the Green Eco. He speaks cryptically of the Precursors, the masters of the universe and creators of all life on the planet, and the powerful substance known as Eco. Meanwhile, Jak and his mischief-making best friend, Daxter, are making their way to Misty Island, against Samos' warnings. After arriving, they see two people plotting with an army of evil creatures known as Lurkers. The duo, worried by what they are seeing, prepare to leave, but are attacked by a large Lurker. Jak manages to destroy it using a barrel of Eco, but the explosion throws Daxter into a pool of Dark Eco. Daxter flies back out of the pit, transformed into an ottsel (a hybrid of an otter and a weasel), but otherwise unharmed. Returning to their village of Sandover, they seek help from Samos who states that only Gol Acheron, the Sage of Dark Eco, could change Daxter back.
The route north towards Gol is blocked by Fire Canyon, which can only be traversed with Keira's Zoomer (essentially a hoverbike) equipped with a heat shield fueled with enough Power Cells (spheres of energy). After Jak and Daxter collect enough Power Cells they make their way back to the Blue Sage's village. The village at the end of the canyon has been mostly destroyed by a giant cyborg Lurker named Klaww, while the Sage of Blue Eco who watches over the village has mysteriously vanished. Jak and Daxter find themselves in search of more Power Cells to energize an anti-gravity device and unblock the way to Klaww's lair at the peak. After opening a path up the mountain, they defeat Klaww and ride their Zoomer down the mountain to the Volcanic Crater.
Jak makes his way to the Red Sage's laboratory, where he learns that all of the sages except Samos have been kidnapped by the same people who Jak and Daxter saw speaking to Lurkers on Misty Island. The people turn out to be Gol Acheron and Maia Acheron, Gol's sister, who wish to flood the world with dark eco. Jak recovers more power cells so Keira can upgrade the Zoomer heat shield in order to navigate a lava-filled tunnel.
On the other side of the tunnel, in the Yellow Sage's lab, Keira declares that Samos has been captured as well. Journeying through Gol and Maia's citadel, Jak and Daxter successfully free all the sages, saving Samos last. He tells them that Gol and Maia are using all the sage's energies to power their robot, which is powerful enough to break open the Dark Eco silos. Jak and Daxter then travel to the top of the Dark Eco Silos to confront a reactivated Precursor Robot controlled by Gol and Maia. Jak battles the robot, but only disables it by destroying the robot's weapons. After this, 4 mini-silos, that are attached to the large silo, which each contain a different eco type shoot beams of light towards the middle of the silo in the air above, clashing and forming a pyramid-like shape. This combines all the ecos and forms into light eco. Daxter realizes that the Light Eco would change him back to normal if he were to absorb it, but ultimately allows Jak to use it and disable the robot.
Trapped in the robot, Gol and Maia sink into the Dark Eco silo, which then closes and traps them inside, presumably killing them both; Samos, however, is not certain that this is the case. The group's attention is then directed toward an immense Precursor Door, which can only open with the energy of 101 Power Cells. With the cells, the door opens to reveal an ambiguous large object enveloped in a blinding light; the details are explained in the next game.
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. 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 to create the exact characters they wanted. Naughty Dog stated in several interviews that "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.
|Jak and Daxter Reviews|
|GameRankings||90/100 (based on 70 reviews) |
|Metacritic||90/100 (based on 34 reviews) |
|Official PlayStation Magazine (US)||10/10|
The game received positive reviews from critics. 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. GameSpot gave a score of 8.8 out of 10, praising its tight execution and heavy action elements which "ensure that things never become dull" and continued, "Next to Rayman 2, Jak and Daxter is the best 3D platformer available for the PlayStation 2." Game Informer gave the game a high score of 9.25 out of 10, and also offered praise to its graphics and the absence of load times, saying "On several occasions, I found myself staring in awe at the little details Naughty Dog so meticulously included."
IGN listed the game 8th on their list of "The Top 25 PS2 Games of All Time".
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.
See also 
- Cnet Jak and Daxter review
- Eco information
- Gamesfirst Jak and Daxter review
- Gamersmark Jak and Daxter review
- Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy: Gol: Light Eco! It DOES exist! Maia: They must not be allowed to get it!
- Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy: Daxter: LIght Eco?! That could be the stuff to change me back! Or... it might stop that robot. Hmmm. Stay fuzzy, save the world. Choices. Okay, fine, we'll save the world! But do it quick before I change my mind!
- Arnold K. "Interview with Naughty Dog staff". Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- Computerandvideogames.com Naughty Dog interview
- "Game Rankings's collection of Jak and Daxter reviews". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- "Metacritic's collection of Jak and Daxter reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- プレイステーション2 - ジャック×ダクスター 旧世界の遺産. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.70. 30 June 2006.
- Game Informer Jak and Daxter review. 2002. p. 76.
- Shane Satterfield. "GameSpot Jak and Daxter review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- Barak Tutterrow. "GameSpy Jak and Daxter review". GameSpy. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- David Zdyrko. "IGN Jak and Daxter review". IGN. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- Official U.S. Playstation Magazine Jak and Daxter review. 2002. p. 124.
- IGN Staff. "IGN Jak and Daxter preview". IGN. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- Game Informer Jak and Daxter review
- IGN PlayStation Team (August 10, 2009). "The Top 25 PS2 Games of All Time - PS2 Feature at IGN". IGN.
- "US Platinum Videogame Chart". The MagicBox. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
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