The Snowfall Kingdom's majestic palace. Why does it make me shiver more than the cold?
|—Fairytale Detective, Rise of the Snow Queen|
Rise of the Snow Queen is the third installment in the Dark Parables franchise. The game takes place in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. As the Fairytale Detective, we must investigate reports of a beautiful woman abducting all of a village's children during a snow storm.
Welcome to the Bernese Alps, Detective. Two days ago, a massive snowstorm blanketed the region. As the last snowflake fell, the villagers realized all the children were missing. Some say they saw a beautiful woman in the blinding storm. This is the first real report of the Snow Queen, a figure popular in local lore, that we've had in a century. Your guide Noah will escort you to what we hope is the edge of her kingdom. Your mission is to find the children and apprehend the Snow Queen. Good luck, Detective!
WARNING This section contains massive spoilers! (So read at your own risk!)
The game opens with two young children building snowmen together. Suddenly, a blot of light shoots down, stirring up the snow into a cloud. When the cloud dissipates, a beautiful woman is standing there, holding her arm out for a bird that lands upon it. She tells the children not to fear her, for she means them no harm. She holds out a glowing apple and urges the children to look at it, then states that they are coming with her. A hulking beast appears behind the children and the screen goes black.
The Fairytale Detective is dispatched to the scene and given a briefing (see above). Our carriage driver and guide is Noah, a friendly and helpful man who gives us information about the area. He tells us of his son, Kai, who is one of the missing children, and gives us a photo of him so we will recognize him. We discover the site of an ambush on the Frog Prince's knights. Apparently, Prince James put out a decree to capture the Snow Queen centuries ago, a quest that ended terribly for the Knights he sent. In the fog just beyond the site, we briefly see a giant beast.
We gain entrance into the Snowfall Kingdom, what once used to be known as the Mountain Kingdom. At the entrance, we see grand statues of both the Snow Queen and the previous King of the Mountain Kingdom, who went missing when the Snow Queen took over. They seem to be standing in unison, which is odd. There's also a statue of the great beast we saw in the fog earlier. Further into the area, we spot a young girl searching for something in a statue. When we approach her, she runs away.
Following the girl, we find ourselves at an ornate church. Beside it stands a shrine to a young boy, and a locked shed holding two of the missing children. We free them, and the young boy gives us a piece of the emblem needed to enter the Snowfall Kingdom's palace. We hurry to the palace, noticing the weather has taken a turn for the worse.
At the palace, we're confronted by the terrible beast from earlier. He tells us that a mirror foretold him of our arrival and that interfering with their plans will lead to our demise. He summons a Frost Wolf to block our progress into the palace. In the process of trying to find a way past the wolf, we complete the Snow Queen's statue at the entrance of the kingdom. only to have it crumble and fall to pieces before our very eyes. Behind it, we find a secret chamber that contains a burning fire and an inactive teleportation device.
We vanquish the Frost Wolf and begin exploring the castle. Inside, we learn of the Silver Moon (a rare astrological occurrence that happened recently) and find a statue of the Mountain Beast that crumbles to reveal a statue of the Mountain King. Could the two be related somehow?
In our exploration, we find the young girl we saw earlier. She tells us her name is Gerda and she is one of the missing children, but was not taken by the beast. Instead, she saw him take her friends and followed him to the Snowfall Kingdom. She tells us how to tell when the beast is near (the room warms up) and shows us a door she's found that seems to contain something magical behind it. We figure out how to open the door, but Gerda is abducted right before our very eyes by black smoky hands.
We give chase, but we're too late. Gerda is gone. Behind the door, we find the mythical Golden Tree; a tree that is said to grow golden apples that can make someone temporarily forget whatever they were doing. There's also a portrait here of a mythical Golden Child who is immune to all magic. We find a way to see into the throne room, where the Snow Queen has the missing children. We see Noah's son, Kai. The Snow Queen is trying to get him to eat a Golden Apple, but Gerda appears and knocks the apple away. In doing so, the magic drains out of the apple and Gerda begins to glow. The Snow Queen is overjoyed that she has found The Golden Child.
Suddenly, the Snow Queen looks up and sees us on the balcony, watching. She calls for her father and we turn, just in time to see the Mountain Beast knock us out. When we come to, we're inside a jail cell. Judging by the skeleton here, a similar fate will await us if we don't manage to escape. Thankfully, we do, but not before we find a scroll in the cell that tells how the False Mirror shard turned Snow White into the Snow Queen.
We continue on our investigative path and find the missing children in a cell made of ice. One of the children tells us that Kai escaped before the barrier went up. We manage to find him before the Beast does and by activating a portal nearby, we return him to his father.
Back inside the Snowfall Kingdom, we gain access to the inner portion of the church. Inside, we find Snow White's son, Prince Gwyn, resting in a glass casket. Noah finds us here as we leave, telling us to go up to the bell tower and shine a light on the location of the children so that he knows where to meet us. On our way to the top of the bell tower, we learn that the bell rings at a frequency that could break mirror shards if they're close enough.
At the top of the bell tower, the Mountain Beast confronts us. He's about to attack when we ring the tower bell, which breaks the mirror shard he wears. He cringes back and leaps from the tower. We pick up the False Mirror Shard from the ground and shine the bell tower light to let Noah know where to meet us. We see he's ready to go down below.
We go to meet him, freeing the children from the icy cell they're in. With the children safely in Noah's carriage, he gives us an enchanted axe passed down through his family that should clear away the vines blocking our way elsewhere in the castle. Using the axe, we find an area of the castle where Snow White's Evil Stepmother resided. There's mention in her diary of a curse upon her, and that she has fled from the kingdom.
Exploring further, we find Prince Gwyn's bed empty; the Beast must have taken him away somewhere! We uncover a beautiful secret realm accessible through the castle's solarium. Here, we find Snow White, Gerda, the restored Mountain King and the False Mirror.
Snow White is trying to get Gerda to shed a tear, which she does. The Mountain King pleads with his daughter to stop this madness, but she doesn't listen to him. She drops the tear on the False Mirror, which removes the cracks on it and restores it to its full power. The Mirror boasts about how powerful it is and tells Snow White that her father was right: it doesn't intend to restore her son, it only intends to use Snow White's sorrow to blanket the world in ice and misery.
We escape with the Mountain King, who tells us we must go and find the items needed for him to forge a hammer that is capable of breaking the mirror once again. We bring him the pieces and he forges a Sacred Blacksmith Mallet for us. He urges us to go and break the mirror immediately!
It takes us three swings of the mallet, but we succeed in fracturing the False Mirror. It breaks apart, breaking the hold it has over Snow White and reverting her back to herself. She laments the things she's done and regrets having ever listened to the evil Mirror. Her father consoles her, telling her that she only did the things she did for her son, and that her heart was pure. Gerda hears all of this, and sheds a tear for Snow White's sadness. The tear falls on Snow White's son, waking him from his curse and his eternal slumber.The Mountain King and Snow White thank us for our work here, for returning their Kingdom to normal and destroying the mirror. They thank Gerda for waking Prince Gwyn and tell us to bring her straight home; her parents must be worried.
You rescued the missing children, destroyed the evil False Mirror, freed Snow White from the mirror's curse and saved the world from a deadly snowstorm. With Snow White's son awakened from his coma, Snow White and her Father, the Mountain King, can finally journey forth in their new life together.
As you leave the Snowfall Kingdom, Noah meets you at the mountain pass along with his son Kai and Gerda, the brave Golden Child. You hold out your arms and watch the snowflakes melt on your gloves, only to notice the sky is beginning to clear, making way for the morning sun.
Rise of the Snow Queen
Centuries ago, before the legend of the Snow Queen flowed from the first teller's mouth, there was a Princess as pure as the driven snow and beautiful as the day. They called her Snow White. As a young maiden, Snow White was sentenced to death, but the Frog Prince saved her from that eternal slumber. The two fell madly in love, married, and had a son. One day, the boy snuck out to play in the meadow and a monster attacked him. The Prince's guards were not fast enough to protect him. Snow White fed the remains of a magic apple to her son to place him in a dreamless sleep. Though she saved the boy from the imminent death, the best doctors and sorcerers could not wake him. Snow White is ravaged by sorrow and blames her husband, the Prince of the Forest, for not sending his guards sooner. With nothing more than the will to save her child, Snow White steals the boy away to the Mountain Kingdom, where her father rules. It is in this castle among the peaks where Snow White will become the legendary Snow Queen whose sorrow leaves the kingdom in ruins.
The Mountain Beast
The Mountain Beast was once a noble man, the last King of the Mountain Kingdom. Before his curse, his daughter, the Snow Queen, gave the Mountain King a magical necklace. He gladly donned the gift, not knowing it was created from the shard of the evil False Mirror. The False Mirror spellbound the king and in turn reflected the worst in him, a temper like a volcano. As the months went by, the Mountain King could feel the anger boiling up inside, until one day it consumed him, turning him into a hulking beast. The King's council blamed his daughter, the Snow Queen, and arranged her execution. Blinded by dark magic and the love for his daughter, he turned his rage on the council, killing most of the them. The inhabitants of the kingdom soon fled in fear of the monstrous King. The Mountain Beast, as he is now known, will forever be by his daughter's side. Although he hasn't shed blood in centuries, if his daughter is ever in danger, the King will strike swiftly and mercilessly.
Tale of the Two Mirrors
Once upon a time, a powerful blacksmith forged two magical mirrors: the first spoke nothing but the truth and the second magnified and reflected the worst in others for all to see. He named them Truth Mirror and False Mirror. The king bought the Truth Mirror as a gift for the wicked Queen. She renamed it to Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, and belabored it three times a day to report who was the fairest of them all. The blacksmith realized the False Mirror was too dangerous, so he hid it in the Mountain King's palace and broke it into pieces. Only the tear of the Golden Child can mend the mirror and only a most magical hammer can destroy it. The False Mirror did not appreciate being shackled in the King's chamber and was slowly consumed with hatred for his human captors. It swore to destroy the entire earth. If the False Mirror is ever restored, it will project the rawest and basest emotion within its owner to the heavens, and then rain it back down on earth tenfold. If the owner is consumed by hatred, the sky will rain fire. But if the owner is consumed by sorrow, snow colder than death will fall.
The Golden Child
The ancient calendar depicts an astrological event occurring every century called the Silver Moon. It is believed that on that eve, the chosen child is bestowed celestial powers and will henceforth be known as The Golden Child. The Golden Child will appear as plain as any other child but will be especially curious and intuitive. During adolescence, a golden aura will manifest to protect the child when he or she comes in contact with a magical object. Because of this child's resistance to magic, it is said he or she can also restore or remove magic from an object by shedding a single tear onto it.
The Snow Queen Tale
When Snow White arrives at the Mountain Kingdom, the King places the boy in a protective tomb. He summons his best sorcerers and doctors, but none could wake the slumbering child. Snow White overhears the servants speak of a False Mirror locked up in the palace- they say it is powerful enough to grant a wish. Desperate to save her son, Snow White sneaks into the rumored chamber. The mirror, tarnished and in disrepair, speaks to Snow White in a weak voice: I can bring your child back from the brink of death if you wear this shard and put the other around your father's neck. Fashioning the shards into necklaces, Snow White and then the King chained themselves with pieces of the False Mirror, who projects the worst in its owner out into the world. The Mountain King was first to succumb to the mirror's curse. The guilt that plagued him for not protecting his daughter from her wicked stepmother slowly morphed him into a hulking beast who would forever guard Snow White. The False Mirror projected Snow White's sorrow as winter and her constant tears began to fall as snow. The air turned so cold around Snow White that time seemed to crawl to a halt. The servants began calling her the Snow Queen. Scared witless by the king's and Snow White's transformations, most of the kingdom's inhabitants fled. Soldiers loyal to the King stayed on, though each eventually succumbed to the deadly cold. Snow White saw that her son was still in a coma so she visited the False Mirror a second time. The False Mirror spoke: I am still in disrepair. Heal me with the tear of the Golden Child, and I will heal the child in kind. Enshrouded in coldness, Snow White is now known as the Snow Queen and rules the kingdom with an icy hand. On the eve of every Silver moon, she casts a heavy snowstorm in search of that special child. Centuries have passed and the Golden Child is as elusive as the Snow White of old fairy tales. Though the Mountain Kingdom has been forgotten by history, the villagers in the valley below carry on its legacy with folklore. Adults warn the children about the evil Snow Queen who snatches children who wander off in storms.
- The Snow Queen gave the Order of the Red Riding Hood Sisters the Truth Mirror for saving her son from the Mist Wolves.
- We see a decree from Prince James and the remains of an ambush on the Knights of the Underground Kingdom, who were sent to capture Snow White.
- A frog stands at the site of the ambush, reminiscent of the frogs in The Exiled Prince.
- When Snow White returns to herself at the end of the game, her appearance changes back to the way she was portrayed in The Exiled Prince.
- At the very end of the standard game, we see a snippet of a scene in the Mirror Room of the Snowfall Kingdom palace. Within the False Mirror's reflection of the room, we see an ominous female figure in a bright red robe, surrounded by black wolves with glowing red eyes. It's a teaser for the next game, The Red Riding Hood Sisters.
- Many characters like Gerda, Snow White, and Kai appear in the seventh Dark Parables game, Ballad of Rapunzel, most of them playing a larger role in the plot of the game and again in Thief and the Tinderbox.
- Rise of the Snow Queen was referred to as Snowfall Kingdom for some time.
- The plaque underneath the statue of the Mountain King in the castle courtyard says something about the King being ill and passing rule of the kingdom on to his daughter when you click on it. However, the image of the plaque actually contains words from a Vampire Knight fan poem: "Built a barrier around yourself / Got nothing left to say or show / That's a lie in itself"
Creative Director: Steven Zhao
Production & Art Leads: Gavin Wong & Karla Wong
Game Designer: Steven Zhao, Gavin Wong
Artists: Snix Cheng, Lee Wai Sum, Suyi Ma, Evelyn Tsang, Teresa Tse, FCP, Chen Ka Fai, Alejandro Dini, Suet Yu Wan, Gloria Lok, Mandy Wong, Ricky Siu
Game Architect: Chan Ho Yuen
Programmers: Gindi Khangura, Timmy Kwok
Audio Production: SomaTone Interactive Audio
Scripting: Keely Alexander, Elliotte Lau