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-->Long ago... When the world was yet wreathed in chaos... It is said that the heaven bestowed great power upon the earth and brought it unto prosperity. Life on Earth was born... Those with great intelligence, The Holy race of Danans. Controlling the seas, The Mermaids. Proud but arrogant... The Reptiles. And possessing incredible strength, The Giants. However, They did not have the Heavens' favor, and in time, they disappeared. Then... The Heavens gave birth once again. Life, 'tis said, flourished anew.
-->--'''Opening narration'''

Released by Squaresoft in 1996, ''RudraNoHihou'' is one of the last [=RPG=]s written for the SNES. It's often mentioned in connection with two other Japan-only SquareSoft games of the era: ''VideoGame/BahamutLagoon'', and the at times very similar ''LiveALive''. The game's main drawing point is its magic system: the player can literally write their own spells, by combining syllables with prefixes and suffixes or by plain trial and error. ''RudraNoHihou'' is very similar to the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series in terms of atmosphere, game play and complexity.

Every 4000 years, the earth's dominant race (first danans, then mermaids, giants, reptilians, and currently humans) is mostly destroyed by a creature known as the Rudra, to make way for the next species. At the start of ''RudraNoHihou'', humanity has only 16 days left, and the Rudra is about to be born. Four [[LampshadedTrope suspiciously stereotypical]] heroes (a fighter, a wizard, a priestess and a thief) are chosen by fate to save the earth... and all get a PowerCrystal violently lodged into their heads. Each with their own friends and their own separate goals, they set out to save their planet and to discover who is behind the oncoming destruction, lampshading and subverting an impressive number of tropes along the way.

The four main characters are:
* Sion, a young knight who wants to be the world's strongest,
* Surlent, a sorcerer/scholar who tends to fall for absolutely every con trick ever (and who [[spoiler: keeps losing his body in the process]]),
* Riza, a gentle young priestess on a quest to heal the earth, and
* Dune, a cocky thief who keeps popping up in the other three scenarios.

Despite containing many of the standard references to ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' (there's a Cid with an airship, an Aegis shield, four magical stones, etc.) the game has a surprisingly unique and intricate storyline, and no two playthroughs are the same. It's very well-written, features ''great'' music, and takes about as long to finish as a standard ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''. If you like non-standard Squaresoft games such as ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' and ''VagrantStory'', chances are you'll love ''RudraNoHihou''.

The folks over at Aeon Genesis made a very, very nice [[FanTranslation English translation patch]] [[http://agtp.romhack.net/project.php?id=rnh right here]].

'''A warning''' for those about to play it using an emulator: the game relies very heavily on in-game save states. It's vital to use the ROM's actual memory slots, and the emulator's save slots ''after'' saving in-game. You'll also need to reload from the title screen each time you want to switch characters. (And, to be on the safe side, be sure to read up on the game's one GameBreakingBug in the trope list below.) [[note]]Don't use the left portal at Thor Mountain after the forest bridge is broken but before seeing the events at Avdol. Due to a programming oversight, you won't be able to get back.[[/note]]

And by the way, if you leave the title screen running for a minute or so, there's a totally sweet intro movie.

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* ActionGirl: Foxy Erimia.
* ActuallyIAmHim: Done quite a number of times by Surlent, due to his [[spoiler: body]] being stolen and [[spoiler: having to possess the bodies of two deceased people.]]
* AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent
* AlreadyDoneForYou
** Lampshaded both ways by Dune: he often beats the three main heroes to a MacGuffin, but near the end he's surprised to hear he still has to save the world - he assumed the heroes would have already done it for him.
* Main/ArbitrarilySerializedSimultaneousAdventures: you have to play through the scenarios of three main characters (Sion, Surlent and Riza) before they all converge into Dune's scenario, you could switch between their stories at any time from the loading screen.
* BackFromTheDead: ''Many'' examples, but notably, [[spoiler: Surlent]]. A few times over. ...''Quite'' a few times over.
* BagOfSharing: [[spoiler:only happens after clearing the last scenario of the 3 available]]
* TheBerserker: Sork. [[spoiler: He is also a FailureKnight]]
* BishonenLine: [[spoiler:Mitra, the final boss. First he is a statue-like creature, then a large monster, then finally a humanoid being]]
* BodySnatcher: Most of [[spoiler:Surlent's plot]] is a long series of body snatchings.
* BoldInflation: Giants get the caps-lock equivilant in the most recent English translation.
---> '''Surt:''' You WEEDY little MAN!
* BossRemix
* BrokenBridge: Several, including a literal broken bridge.
** Also a GameBreakingBug: it's possible to get stuck if you do a certain sidequest too early, and again later, if you take the wrong portal out of the Netherworld. Both are due to a BrokenBridge.
*** Seeing as no FAQ seems to list it... '''don't use the left portal at Thor Mountain after the forest bridge is broken but before seeing the events at Avdol'''. Trust us. You won't get back.
* TheChosenOne: Riza.
* CoolAirship: Brasnir (It can also travel underwater and in space). You never get to actually control it, though.
* CoolTrain: The Sky train FAXI.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: [[spoiler: Culgan. He becomes a BodySnatcher in Surlent's Scenario]]
* CosmicKeystone: [[spoiler: The Jades and the 6 Divine Treasures]]
* {{Cult}}: The Rudra Cult.
* CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon: Sork is ''very'' prone to this in the most recent translation, with such gems as "I hackify you, dogbreaths!"
* DarkWorld: The Netherworld.
* DevilInPlainSight: [[spoiler: Curgan, Hausen, and to a certain extent, Gomorrah.]]
* DirtyOldMan: Dr. Muench. [[spoiler: Even when he's dead and just a wandering shade, he still is at it.]]
* EccentricMentor: Zora, she also classifies as the CynicalMentor.
* EldritchAbomination: [[spoiler: The unnamed destroyers that the Four Heroes defeated long ago; they later developed the Rudra cycle of destruction to accelerate evolution in order to create a species strong enough to resist the cosmic destroyers.]]
* ElementalRockPaperScissors Fire<->Water, Wind<->Lightning and light<->dark
* EvilutionaryBiologist: [[spoiler: Hausen, Gomorrah, and Mitra cooked up the whole Rudra scheme to accelerate the evolution of life on Earth in hopes of eventually creating a race strong enough to break the cycle and defend itself against the destroyers from beyond The Breach of Heaven.]]
* EventDrivenClock
* EvolutionaryLevels: [[spoiler: And the one who controls the rate of it as an added twist, because he is just a pawn to TheManBehindTheMan]]
* {{Expy}}: While you may not notice it right away, every single party will always be exactly the same: one heavy-hitter, one magician with poor attack and lots of MP, another magician with slightly less MP but better attack, and one jack of all trades. The four POV characters are divided up likewise.
* EyepatchOfPower: Sion has this after getting the jade in his right eye
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Captain Taurus.]]
* FourIsDeath: Squaresoft really did a number with this: 4 Jades, 4 Heroes, 4 Greats, 4 Rudras, 4 Divine Danans, 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 4 characters per party, etc... also inevitably leading to LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters.
* FloatingContinent: The sky islands. [[spoiler:NiceJobBreakingItHero Until Sion causes them to fall.]]
* ForgottenFallenFriend: Subverted. Rostam and Huey, Sion's best friends, are killed off on day one. They're immediately forgotten and never mentioned again... or so it seems. Not only do they get a gorgeous optional cutscene all the way at the end of the story [[spoiler: in which they give Sion one of his best weapons]], they also [[spoiler: get used by Surlent as his temporary host bodies for a ''huge'' chunk of the plot]].
* FromBadToWorse: Surlent's plot. [[spoiler: First, he dies. Then his body is stolen. Then he gets to use someone else's body instead. ... which dies. So he uses someone ''else'''s body instead until he can get his own back. Which works for a while, until - wait for it - he dies and his body is stolen. And then, depending on the final actions you take during the end game, a main villain can subsequently kill and and steal his body.]]
** [[spoiler: Not only that, Surlent can be fused with the Rudra that SURLENT HIMSELF CREATED through the Lago Stones if you do not give Sion the Apocalypse Blade (It's Thunder Element, which makes the final battle against Hausen easier but can change the Rudra's properties in Sion's scenario so that the Sigmund Sword does not effect it as much normally)]]
* GeniusBruiser: Sion is arguably the brightest character in the game.
* AGodAmI: [[spoiler: Dune]], at the end.
* GreenAesop: Sort of. The world being polluted to the point where all water is tainted is a major theme of the game, but the focus is on the pollution being a side effect of the evil rather than the evil stemming from pollution.
* HeroBall: Oh Surlent, will you never learn?
* HeroesWantRedheads: Both Sion-Foxy and Riza-Garlyle.
* HolyHandGrenade: Most of the Light Mantras.
* HumongousMecha: [[spoiler: Meifa]]
* InterfaceSpoiler: You can name four characters before start the game. You have four people in your party. There are three characters in the story-selection screen, but there's room for a fourth. Put those together and you see why Dune being playable isn't in spoiler-text.
* ItsAllUpstairsFromHere: The Tower of the Giants and the Garal Clock Tower.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Each character has their own unique theme, which is remixed for overworld, boss battles, and flashbacks.
* LoadBearingBoss: [[spoiler: Mayura, Capt. Taurus, and Mitra]]
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Interestingly, there are more villains and/or supernatural beings than actual playable characters.
* LostForever: One of Riza's sidequests can be permanently missed if you [[GuideDangIt don't pray at a certain statue that's difficult to find at the very beginning of the game]].
* LoveableRogue: Dune. Cid, too. And Garlyle. Quite a bunch of them, actually.
* ManaDrain: "PULMORA". It drains so little that it's practically useless, though. [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard Except when the enemies use it, that is]].
* TheManBehindTheMan: A new one gets revealed approximately every hour. Of course, it all makes sense in the end.
* MultipleEndings: Played with; there's only one final ending, but Surlent's scenario can conclude--depending on whether you decide to [[WhatAnIdiot give away]] the SwordOfPlotAdvancement as Sion or not--either with a traditional boss fight, or with Surlent [[spoiler:dying.]] '''[[spoiler:Again.]]'''
* MythologyGag: Don't call Dune and Cid thieves. They're [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI TREASURE HUNTERS]].
** It's even in the flavor text for Dune's best dagger, Freedom. "Call me a treasure hunter or..."
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Often. ''Very'' often.
** Probably most notably when Surlent [[spoiler:manages to unleash the Rudra of Humans using his Jade and undo the seal on the Apocalypse Blade which he himself gets trapped in because of a safeguard. Thanks for ''speeding up the death of all humans,'' dude.]]
* OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler: Hausen and Saizou are fought later on but in transformed states.]]
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Avdol was hit hard when [[spoiler: Hausen broke through a netherworld gate, flooding the entire town with Netherworld spirits turning everyone who lived there into the walking dead save the innkeeper. You could talk to them safely as Surlent when he is in Huey or Rostam's Body though.]]
* PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling: At the beginning of Surlent's scenario, you have access to Sakkara Desert, which has powerful monsters which give about 50 times as much EXP and money, and also randomly drop a weapon which is much stronger than anything you could get for a while.
** You can also go there as Riza as the sandstorm disperses later on.
* PointOfNoReturn: Used many times over.
* PublicDomainArtifact: [[spoiler: The 6 Divine Treasures; but the 3 most known are the Holy Grail, The Sigmund Sword, and the Holy Robe.]]
* {{Railroading}}: An odd example. You're generally free (and even encouraged) to visit places you're not supposed to go yet, but only once in the game do you get a choice of doing things in a slightly different order. You never get to control any of the game's vehicles, either. Of course, it's all because of ''destiny'' (and because the three concurrent scenarios have to match up, of course.)
** For Example, in Surlent's Scenario, if you play that first, [[spoiler: you can choose between Huey's and Rostam's Corpses]], but if you play Riza's story and reach Sodom Castle before [[spoiler: choosing the first corpse]] in Surlent's. [[spoiler: You will only be able to choose Rostam's Corpse first, and Huey's second.]]
** Exploring too far can result in several {{Game Breaking Bug}}s.
* RareCandy: Magic Leaves and Life Leaves, which increase your maximum MP and maximum HP, respectively.
** And if you play it right, you can find an infinite amount of them in the final dungeon. Yay!
* RealityEnsues: A few days after the other heroes have already received their jades, Surlent is still lacking his. Being a scholar, he finds it inside an ancient artifact he's set out to research. It promptly flies towards him to merge with his body... and [[spoiler: the impact kills him. Instantly.]]
* RecurringBoss: Culgan remains a persistent nuisance in all three storylines, [[spoiler:despite - and sometimes, ''because of'' - dying repeatedly.]]
* {{Reincarnation}}: [[spoiler: All living things are born from the same spring of life (Gafu), and return to it after their death.]]
* RobeAndWizardHat: Surlent. His master Solon, too.
* SealedEvilInACan: The Grail, the Lago Stone of Humanity... actually, all of the Lago stones qualify.
* SpellCrafting: The Mantra system lets the player turn any combination of letters they can think of into a spell for use by the party.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Although the two games are very different, much of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'''s dungeon/castle layout system is seen in ''RudraNoHihou''.
* StandardStatusEffects
** Fire Mantras: Burn
** Water Mantras: Freeze
** Wind Mantras: Float
** Lightning Mantras: Confusion
** Light Mantras: Regeneration
** Dark Mantras: Pollution (Silence)
** Void Mantras: Madness (Berserk)
* StatusBuff
* StatusBuffDispel: The mantra "MOONLIGHT".
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement
* TakeYourTime: 15 days left before the end of the world. How many times can you stay in an inn? ... infinite times, apparently.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Rostam and Huey. Subverted to hell and back again. [[spoiler:literally]].
* UnderwaterRuins: [[spoiler: Also where the Lago Stone of the Mermaids is kept.]]
* VerbalTic - Each race has one. Mermaids say "glub," the Reptiles have {{Sssssnaketalk}}, the Danans have a tendency to say "Hmmm hmmm hmmm," and the GIANTS talk SOMEWHAT like {{BRIAN BLESSED}}.
* WaifProphet: Solon
* WarpWhistle: The Heg Ocarina.
* WaveMotionGun: [[spoiler: Sodom]]
* WeaponsGradeVocabulary: The magic system is set up so that you can actually create spells with words ("FIRE" becomes a fireball, "HEAL" becomes a healing spell, etc.). However, if you create a spell with a word that isn't in the game's magic dictionary, you'll instead attack your enemy with the word you created.
* WeirdMoon
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler: Captain Taurus, Gomorrah, and Mitra.]] It turns out [[spoiler: the Great Cycle was a way of making life strong enough to survive on its own: a race that could prevent its own destruction, and prevent being replaced by a new race, is strong enough not to ''need'' the cycle. Of course, breaking the cycle involves killing the ones who made the cycle in the first place, who happen to be the very beings who wanted the races to become strong enough to break it - essentially making every villain death a HeroicSacrifice]].
* WhatTheHellHero: [[spoiler: Riza calls Dune out when he wants to take over Mitra's evolution scheme.]]
* WorldSundering
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Surlent has greenish blue hair, Foxy has pink hair.
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