Release: Sep 11, 2011 - Author: Motoko - Translator: DaxRider123
In 2002 the 3D-RPG "Arx Fatalis" was released for PC and later on also for Microsoft's Xbox. It was programmed by the French Arkane Studios which are also known for programming the game "Dark Messiah of Might and Magic" in 2006.
In a world whose sun has failed, the game tells the destiny of the city Arx which was moved to an old dwarf-mine just before the surface of the world completely iced up. All races (humans, orcs, trolls, goblins, and rat people) allied in order to be able to survive. However, after a while, old conflicts seemed to rekindle and the peace was coming to an end. A secret cult took use of this chaos to summon the god Akbaa so that he could reincarnate in the world of Arx. As a reward, Akbaa promised to lead them to the promised land where the sun will shine again. You now have to play the role of an involuntary hero named Am Shaegar who wakes up inside a goblin-prison and completely lost his memories.
At the beginning of the game you have to create a character and have to set priorities on those skills you want him to have. Skills like strength, intelligence, dexterity, and so on can be increased; then you can specify you character on magic, handling a sword, and so on and so forth. The magic system of "Arx Fatalis" is based on runes - you have to collect 20 runes to be able to cast about 50 spells. To do that, you will have to draw the runes in the correct order with the mouse/controller. You control the character from a first person perspective.
Censorship in the European Xbox Version:
Blood effects were reduced and you're no longer able to cut body parts off. The body of a small girl doesn't "explode" during the sacrifice. Additionally, several body parts were censored out which were placed here and there in the game. This censorship unfortunately concerns all the European Xbox-versions..
This is a comparison between the German PC-Version, which is identical to the European Xbox-Version and the uncensored UK PC Version.
Whenever you hit an enemy, there are blood splatters, however, the amount of blood was reduced for the Xbox version. The color of the blood differs from character to character (back in the days studios often colored the blood differently in order to make the game seem less brutal - this is not the case for "Arx Fatalis"): spiders, zombies, lichs and mummies have green blood, while goblins which were turned into stone have grey blood. Humans, goblins, trolls, snake-women, demons, and several animals have regular red blood.
Only in the uncensored version a hit that results in a blood splatter also results in blood stains on the floor. After a short while they start to shrink and sooner or later they completely disappear. In the Xbox version there's no blood on the floor whatsoever.
In the uncensored version, there are five types of enemies that allow you to make a critical hit on some of their body parts which then are cut off. However, the severed limb is only visible for roughly a second and then disappears even before hitting the ground. The nasty sound whenever you cut something off can only be heard in the UK version. At the beginning of the game the splatter effect happens rather rarely because you're not yet skiled enough to use strong weapons like swords. Since you're able to cut off different limbs for each character, here's an overview of the enemies. It also has to be mentioned that the little girl doesn't "explode" during the sacrifice.
The head as well as arms and legs can be cut off this creature with a strong hit. You can also split the goblin in half horizontally - if you do so, only the lower half of the goblin falls to the ground and can be searched for items.
1.) Goblin - Head
2.) Goblin - Arm
3.) Goblin - Leg
4.) Goblin - Split in Half
The second most common type of enemies in the world of "Arx Fatalis" are the orcs. Unlike the goblins you can't split an orc in half; the only thing you can do is cut off head, arms and legs.
1.) Ork - Head
2.) Ork - Arm
3.) Ork - Leg
These fast little ceatrues (who are also able to teleport away from the danger zone) can't be decapitated. However, they lose arms and legs after critical hits. It's not possible to split them in half.
1.) Rat People - Arm
2.) Rat People - Leg
Those characters which are more or less "human-like" are pretty much spared from the splatter effects, however, you can cut off the Ylside's head, arms and legs and even split them in half. However, this only happens when your character is very skilled in terms of fight abilities. For the sake of simplicity you can also form the letters "M A X" with your mouse; this increases your skill points immensely and you can pull of critical hits which almost always result in a splatter effect during a fight against Ylsides.
1.) Ylside - Head
2.) Ylside - Arm
3.) Ylside - Leg
4.) Ylside - Split in Half
To call this dog an enemy would be quite an overstatement. He never really threatens you in any way and even actually even gets trustingly when you feed or stroke him. Only if you attack him, he gets angry. Another hit already kills the animal and its head gets chopped off. In the censored version the dog simply falls to the ground and the tongue comes out of the mouth. All the other animals (mice, rats, bats, chicken, pigs) can't be dissected in any way.
Am Shaegar meets the shopkeeper Maria who tells him that she lost her daughter Shany. Of course, the hero immediately looks for her inside a mine of a group of priests. He follows them and soon hears the little girl screaming for help. She's lying on an altar - completely tied up - and is about to be sacrificed. If Am Shaegar's reaction is too slow, Shany is killed during this ritual and a demon appears. In the uncensored version the little girl's body shortly glows red and then "explodes" - you see little red splashes here and there. If you play the German/European version, you only see bright lightning and then the girl's corpse - you can even search it for items (quite macabre, isn't it?). However, Shany doesn't carry any items. This type of "splatter effect" can also be seen when the Ylsides die, however, there they didn't censor it.
Altered Level Design
As a little "decoration" of the world of "Arx Fatalis" there are three places in the game where you see human body parts which were censored out of the European version. The same goes for a mutilated corpse which can (in its original version) only be seen in the UK version. The censorship only concerns these human extremities. Body parts of dwarves or their mutilated corpses are also shown in the European version. You can seven see some decapitated chicken and a decapitated bard (who apparently didn't really entertain the Ylsides in their fortress). The bards head is nowhere to be found in both versions (so it's no censorship).
Right at the beginning of the game you have to walk through a goblin dungeon and come across a torture chamber. Next to a stretching bank you can see a severed leg and on the other side of the room there are four buckles - next to them you see an arm on the floor. Apparently, the goblins even used the guillotine - you can see the head of a guard of Arx. You are able to pick the head and the arm up to carry them around.
The human outpost was raided by three Ylsides. At the right sight of the gate there's a torso as well as an arm on the floor. Inside the fortress you see a severed leg next to the campfire. A fews steps later you find out who the owner of the fortress was. The poor guy was impaled on the wall with 3 spears. The missing arm can be found on the nearby steps of a staircase. The body parts are not included in the censored version and the guard's corpse doesn't even look scratched.
In the mushroom-forest (the place where the rat people live) Am Shaegar has to defeat a giant worm in a tunnel. After a few attacks the screen is colored completely red and in the next moment, the walls of the tunnel are bloodbesmeared. The worm's stomach contents are spread all over the floor - apparently he ate a guard of Arx but he hasn't digest the head and a leg, yet. The only thing that makes you wonder what the worm might have eaten is a sword.