4E Campaign Background: Doppeleffect

June 12, 2009

The recent English-language release of Doppeleffect on WiiWare finally allows American audiences to enjoy one of the classic German console RPGs. Doppeleffect was originally released as Untervolkstum II: Doppeleffekt (lit. “Underfolklore 2: Twin Effect”) in 1995, itself a sequel to the 1992 classic Untervolkstum, which we can only hope is also released on WiiWare at some point.

The Original Game

The plot of Untervolkstum revolved around a group of underfolk — dwarves, gnomes, and elves — who were attempting to rescue their queen from the evil sorcerer Mordock. Mordock himself had prophesied that the queen’s child would destroy the underfolk kingdom of Svartalfaheim, so the pregnant queen secretly ran away in an attempt to save the city. Soon after, the king’s personal sorcerer declared that Mordock was wrong, that the queen’s child would save Svartalfaheim, so the king asked the characters, his most loyal servants, to bring the queen back home, fearing that Mordock might destroy the city without the queen’s child to save it.

Screen shot from Unterfolkstrum.

The original game ended with the characters bringing the queen back to Svartalfaheim where they confronted Mordock. However, just as Mordock seemed defeated, the queen gave birth to conjoined fairy twins: one good, one evil. The evil twin instantly started destroying the underground kingdom while the good twin struggled to save it. Both prophesies, it turned out, were actually true. The game ends with the characters fleeing the chaos, back to the surface world, where they watch sadly as the tunnels into Svartalfaheim collapse behind them.

The Sequel

Untervolkstum II: Doppeleffekt takes place several thousand years after the finale of Untervolkstum, following some of the surface-dwelling descendants of the original characters as they venture back down into Svartalfaheim in an effort to find and destroy the source of an evil sickness that is seeping up out of the ground and corrupting their crops, animals, and even family members.

Screenshot from Doppeleffekt.

The graphics of Untervolkstum II were a big advancement on the original game and the game itself received a number of awards in Germany, though, like it’s predecessor, it was unfortunately never released in English or Japanese editions. Since I’m sure a number of you are in the midst of playing through the game right now, I won’t spoil the plot for you. However, I can definitely say that, even without knowing the background of the Untervolkstum series, you should really enjoy Doppeleffect, which deserves a place alongside Secret of Mana and ChronoTrigger as one of the true classics of console RPGs.

4 Responses to “4E Campaign Background: Doppeleffect”

  1. Eric Says:

    I love you so very much.

  2. […] that we were doing to play as if the campaign was a long-lost mid-90s console RPG, so I wrote up a few paragraphs of background with that in mind and Untervolkstum II: Doppeleffekt was born. I hacked the desert map from Link to […]

  3. Hans Otterson Says:

    I think that last screenshot is from Seiken Densetsu 3…

  4. Hans Otterson Says:

    Oh, ha ha, this is all made up. Woops. I thought it was so from your post on S-G, but with your fake report about its release on Wiiware you had me fooled.

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