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September 26, 2014

Bonus Review: Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter (DS) – THE FINALE, Part 1

Drawn To Life Month
Drawn To Life - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3
The Next Chapter (Wii) - Part 1 - Part 2

Hello, and welcome again! Time to close Drawn To Life Month with the final game in the series!

But wait, wasn't there a Spondebob Edit-”

The final game in the series!

What about that special edition with Spong-”


So, as the preceding review of the Wii version of Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter has proven, the original Drawn To Life game is a tough act to follow. Great on almost every aspect, from the story to the platforming. As such, 5h Cell was better not making any mistakes in the sequel, which had to be even better. This was going to be the last game, it had to end in a memorable way. But before the ending, we need a full story! Since I don't actually own the game, I decided to just look at the plot. I can't really judge the game as well as I could judge the other two, but I wanted to close Drawn To Life Month with the series' finale.

And since I'm covering the entire plot – in less detail than usual, but still from beginning to end – I don't think I need to say that there are major spoilers in this review.

As you could have guessed, the game starts with another plea to the Creator, except this time the game asks you a few questions.
P.S. I am using a Let's Play made by user SuperIanGamerHD on Youtube. It's
alright, but each video starts with an "Intro" made of bits from other games...
and I personally dislike this sort of thing, but at least the rest of the videos is
pretty good. I'm taking the pictures from his LP, so watch it to get the full
story of DtL: TNC(DS).
"What do you remember about that day?"
-It was dark and raining
-We were near a forest
-I was wearing the coat
What else?”
-A dark monster
-Thick black smoke
-We were alone
What were you doing when it happened?”
-I was holding on to him
-I tried to look away
-It all happened so fast
Then the game asks you to draw a picture of what happened, though you can't really tell what these answers will be for. Yet. You probably answered with the presumption that this was a fantasy setting, and I can't blame you for that; it IS a fantasy setting, after all.

We then open on the Raposa world once more, fully animated in 2D! Wow! These cutscenes look GREAT! (Kinda sad it's the only one like this, though...) We see Heather going towards Mari and Jowee, who are picnicking. But the two turn evil! Jowee becomes Wilfre! The darkness reaches for Heather! ...And she wakes up screaming. She gets up, but everything scares her at the moment. A red pendant around her neck starts glowing. She goes outside to look at the starlit skies.

These scenes have proven to me that a Drawn To Life cartoon
series would be totally possible and awesome. Look:

The young Raposa walks towards the beach, where she sees a chest. She opens it, and finds a treasure... and a scepter with a red stone, which she grabs. However, moments later, she gets surrounded by darkess, hinting that this scepter is more than it appears.

You probably can't see it, but darkness is emanating from
the scepter. I smell a Wilfre here! But wait- he's dead!

Please! One at a time, everyone! Mari can't handle all of your
problems at once! Rookie Mayor, remember?
In the morning, Mari wakes Jowee and asks him to search for Heather, who has disappeared. As the two go outside, they meet many villagers who wonder what is happening. Everyone has a problem this morning! Mari finds she cannot do all of this alone and feels she needs to ask the Creator for another Hero. But this time, the creation doesn't work – and the puppet loses all of its color instead! The entire Creation Hall is turning white! The other villagers run away from the Creation Hall, leaving Mari and Jowee behind... and Wilfre shows up, using a portal. He says that the Raposa cannot count on a Hero this time around, and that he cannot be destroyed as long as the Raposa world exists. ...Uh oh... Oh, also, he believes to be a savior. ...Sorry to be so rude, but: Savior, my ass.

So you'll die only if we all die? ... There has to be another way.

The Creator speaks directly to Wilfre, and the black Raposa says the Creator doesn't care for the Raposa, only for “him”: One character in the game, but we can't tell which one yet (I'm betting on Crazy Barks). Wilfre pulls out the red scepter, which creates a portal near many Raposa and sucks them into other parts of the Raposa world. It turns out Wilfre had taken control of Heather's body for this speech, and when he leaves, he leaves with her; but her red pendant stays behind. Hurray for the miraculous, unlikely dropping of magical artifacts! Luckily, some Raposa, like Piratebeard, Crazy Barks, Isaac, and the human Mike, are still around. But everything around them starts turning white too! The Raposa flee to the docks, where Piratebeard's ship has gone missing. Mari asks the Creator for help... so a giant turtle appears to bring them away from their village and serve as a ship of sorts. Wow, there's an entire village on this turtle. It even has a Creation Hall!

Who knew? That science-fiction film Evolution was right:
There really are creatures big like islands!

Now you can draw the Hero. This time, you can even give it more limbs than a human character has. Pretty cool. Once the Hero has appeared, Jowee realizes he has lost Heather's pendant on the turtle, so the avatar's first task is to retrieve it. Meanwhile, Piratebeard explains to Mari how to pilot the turtle thanks to a Map Room located near the head. The retrieved pendant burns an image of an island onto the map. And thus, the turtle sails towards the first town in the game, Watersong. Also, this time, you can choose which weapon the Hero will use! There are a few tutorial levels on the turtle, one which explains to you something similar to the Action canvas from the Wii game.

On the Village Turtle, everybody sings
a slow version of the song YMCA.

Funny how a villain centered around black somehow turns
everything completely white... 
Thankfully, the other Raposa weren't killed; only sent to other islands of the world. Most of the story from now is the Raposa on the Turtle Town Ship venturing from village to village, trying to discover Wilfre's motives and stop his plans. Color starts missing in Watersong as well. The Raposa of that town have found a bottle of “full color”, which they can use to restore the colors to places that have lost theirs. You pay “color drops” to restore houses and items to their natural coloration. And in each level you play, you're basically looking for color drops used to restore everything in each village you're visiting. Each level ends when you find a full bottle of color.

You know, I don't think we can trust this Salem guy. Too ghastly.
In Watersong, you help Mayor Rose retrieve her voice, as she also happens to be the place's opera singer, and if the notes on the ground are any indication, Watersong takes music VERY seriously. In fact, each of their Mayors, all of whom were Rose's ancestors, had an incredible singing voice. While the main characters visit the village and restore its color, the Hero, Mari and Jowee meet the young Miles, the Mayor's son, and an odd gray-haired Raposa wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask whose is Salem. And I think he takes his Phantom role very seriously. Just what is he hiding under that mask?? They also meet Sock, a Raposa who wears an oversized sock as a hat and seems kind of bizarre and childlike... At first, Sock is scared of the Hero. The Rapo says he's been sucked into a white portal. He wants to retrieve his village, so Mari decides to let him come with them on their adventure.

To be fair, Cindi was scared of the Hero at the start of the
first Drawn To Life game too. Except Sock is... odd.

Quick note: My God, the worlds in this game are GORGEOUS. Watersong is impressive, it looks amazing. And it's amazing without color; imagine what it's like with color. Graphics have always been a strong point of the series, and here it shows. All the worlds are extremely detailed, the villages are stunning, beautiful.

No, Mayor Rose! Don't do that! Only Raposa with large egos would get into
a wager like this! Like Wilfre! Unless... No. No, impossible. It can't be.
As for why Mayor Rose can't speak? She made a bet with Salem on which of them was the best opera singer; the loser would be unable to speak ever again. And Rose lost. Damn. He used a magical item (a Promise Conch) to achieve this goal, though. You can guess where this is going: The Hero will have to find the conch and break it to restore Mayor Rose's voice. And they have to hurry, as it's not just her voice; every day she spends mute, part of her life force is leaving. She might die soon...

The Creator's avatar eventually finds the promise conch underwater and brings it back to Mayor Rose, after which the Creator frees her from the curse. After speaking with the heroes, Rose then sings to her son Miles, in what is one of the most saddening moments of the game. This song's purpose was to transfer the power of song to Miles, making him the next Mayor of Watersong... And this ritual is said to kill the person who has transferred said powern to another person... but now? Really? I doubt Miles would do a good job as Mayor, as he's still a child. Thankfully, the Creator ultimately decides against it and lets Rose live instead, letting her keep her voice.

Argh, I promised myself not to cry... By the way, this video doesn't come from the game... but the song definitely does. And the series of pictures here gives a pretty accurate depiction of what's happening in the game - with the added bonus that you can see all of the emotions of the characters even better than you could with the DS game's sprites, which were already good. But this... Wow!

No, Wilfre! You're not going to cause any more trouble here,
in Watersong! And when you get to the next village, we'll
be there to stop you too!

Of course, Salem comes to put a stop to this, but gets cornered by the heroes. He takes off his mask and reveals himself to be... Wilfre! (Though, by this point, it was getting kind of obvious.) He talks about his plans, and then leaves after unleashing Bakibeard, the ghost Baki pirate on Watersong! After the Hero defeats it, the Raposa from the original village go back to the giant turtle... and Sock follows them.

On the next day, Jowee searches for Mari but doesn't seem to find her anywhere. Jowee fears she's been taken by Wilfre, so the crew goes to the next location, Lavasteam.

It's a mining village, not a place of lava and fire. But King Miney controls everything there thanks to his Robosa guards! (Yes. Raposa robots. I thought this was a fantasy setting?) In order to free the villagers who have been trapped in this village, they must go to the King, but that prick is too full of himself. They need to find crystals and bring them to him first. Unless they can find Mari before any of that... By the way, word goes that Miney was a benevolent Mayor until Salem showed up. Wilfre is the reason Miney has become insane! And he's using the robots as guards to enslave all the other Lavasteamans! To turn them off, the Hero must flip a switch, but in order to do that, they need a key... which is owned by Miney. Oh Rapo.

No dungeon can keep a hero inside forever!
Unless you're Fix-It Felix, who can't break a damn thing.

You know what happens when you give too many orders at
once to a robot? They go friggin' nuts! Haven't movies
taught you anything?
Oh right, movies don't exist in this world... 
Eventually, Miney locks the Hero and a few Raposa from Lavasteam in a dungeon, from which they escape. The “King”, surprised, has no idea what to do and overloads the Robosa with commands, causing them to go haywire and attack him. Impossible to get the original key, but it's possible to recover the mold from a nearby location, which is the next level of the world.

By the way, I've watched the Let's Play of this game, and I gotta say... the levels in this one seem a lot shorter! It feelss like they chose to make shorter levels because they knew they had a lot of plot. And they probably chose to have more levels in each world instead. It's pretty cool. There are also many new game mechanics; each level includes a special section in which the Creator must draw platforms so that its Hero can reach another door. It works similarly to the Action Canvas from the Wii version of The Next Chapter, except a lot better. Plus, it happens once per level, and only in special “puzzle” rooms. It's not extended to the entire level. Also, the Avatar can transform into many things. It can turn into a blob of goo, which gives it the ability to slip into small cracks, or into a spider-like monster that can then walk on ceilings and fling web. Spider-Man would be proud.

Thanks for telling me it's dangerous! I couldn't have guessed myself!

Eventually, the puppet returns with the mold for the key, and so a raposa named Key makes the key. The Robosa are turned off. However, in Salem's plan, the largest Robosa could not be turned off with that switch. In other words, there's a giant robot coming to destroy Lavasteam. Whoop-dee-doo. Still, that encounter with Salem causes Miney to realize the error of his ways, so there's that.

...You've caused a situation that went far beyond your own capabilities, and
therefore you have lost control and sent your village into destruction, leading
you to utter the sadly famous phrase "What Have I Done?", which has been
said to death already.

We don't require your race at all
We don't think you've a place at all
The Creator's puppet defeats the giant Robosa, which looked awesome. But this is only the first stage of the fight, as the second stage takes place inside its body, where the avatar has to destroy one of its eyes and its heart. Once it's defeated, the people of Lavasteam celebrate. The main cast goes back on the giant turtle ship towards their next destination.

I have a feeling I'm going to have to continue this review next week... I had no idea there was such a big story in this game! I'm very impressed. Still, that means I'm going to have to use a second part. But I'll make good use of it. See ya Monday!