Azure Dreams is a roguelike RPG released by Konami in the late 1990s. There are two different versions: one for the PlayStation, which also added elements of town- and relationship-building, and another for the Game Boy Color. The overall plot to both games is the same: you are a boy named Koh, and you live out in a desert village where a giant monster tower looms. Your father, Guy, went into the tower to find a legendary monster and hasn't been seen since, so you enter the tower to search for him, and fight/tame any monsters that get in your way.
Tropes used in Azure Dreams (for both versions unless noted otherwise):
100% Adoration Rating: Besides your seven girlfriends, the rest of the town will eventually treat you with respect and even fanaticism at times. This is best exemplified by the guy who sells shirts with your face on them near the city gates.
Antidote Effect: The hazak herb (which recovers a reduced attack stat,) is completely useless on all floors of the tower that do not contain Vipers, the only monster capable of inflicting that effect. However, try to make it through those floors, and you'll probably be kicking yourself if you don't have any.
They're also useful for any monster from an Arachne fusion, which doubles their base power but does not apply to stats gained in the current tower trip unless their stats are healed.
Awesome, yet Impractical: Some of the lighter monsters (including Kewne, your familiar) can be picked up and hurled at an enemy. This gives your monster a free attack on the enemy in question, even if they would normally strike second and also keeps fragile Koh a few steps back from the monster. Impractical only for two reasons:
The throw damages your monster, too. Given that the entire game is based around resource management, wasting even 1 or 2 HP can be the difference between victory or defeat.
Sometimes you miss and Koh apparently has a pretty good throwing arm and your monsters have a pretty bad case of ADD, leaving Koh to fight the monster alone and your monster to wander about the level randomly until you meet up with it again or go up a floor.
Having two monsters out using the second collar you can find. Great for exploring end-of-the-run floors when you've got a Wind Crystal and plan to go back soon anyway. Not so great when you're trying to push for the top and need every Herb and MP-restorative you can get.
The Dark Sword and Holy Swords respectively. Both have very good starting damage, but both succumb to rust, ultimately making the Gold Sword a better choice.
Awesome yet Practical: U-Boat's Hidden Magic DeRock, when used as Mixture Magic, summons Seiryu, the water dragon, to attack everything in the room. Great for when you're surrounded by 20+ monsters from a trap. And it is awesome.
The same goes for all of the bird monster, Dream, as well, whose Mixture Magic attacks are the most powerful and most impressive in the whole game, perhaps to compensate for the fact that it's otherwise virtually useless as a fighting monster (it can hypnotize other monsters into sleeping though).
Not to mention the Gold Sword and Mirror/Diamond Shield. None of these items rust, make them very useful as long-term equipment. The Diamond Shield has the highest defense rating of any shield to start with, and mirror shields will reflect magic away from you.
The Live Shield deals damage to a monster whenever you are attacked, and you don't have to do anything for it to work. Sadly, it is not immune to rust traps.
However, rust traps only effect equipment you're actually wearing. You can preserve the effectiveness of any equipment from rust traps by taking it off when you're not using it.
The almost-impossible-to-find Trained Wand is immune to rust traps, bolstered by red sand, and improves the power of mixture magic. It's so rare as to be nearly nonexistent unless you feed items to a Barong until you get the right one.
The Life Wand is immune to rust traps and while it only deals 1 HP per hit (and can't be enhanced), it gives you that 1 HP. Best used when Koh also consumes Mahell seed, which boosts his attack speed.
The Acid Rain ball kills ALL monsters in a room dead, no matter how high their level.
Some water and wind monsters on higher levels won't get killed by it, but still take heavy damage, enough to kill them with one more shot with a sword or wand.
Badass: Guy, who is a legendary monster tamer. He also managed to use energy to seal the egg just so Beldo couldn't get it.
Bag of Holding: Koh has one that can hold up to 20 items, monsters and eggs included. It's very small whenever he wears it, but it seems to become much larger whenever summoning or dismissing a familiar.
Bag of Spilling: The monsters keep their experience levels upon exiting the tower. You, however...
The Casino: Funny enough, the church pastor can suggest this. Notable in that it's usually easier to get coins than lose them, making this is a bit of a Game Breaker.
Cerebus Syndrome: This happens when you reach a certain floor in the tower and find out that your father's partner Beldo killed him when he tried to take the Ultimate Egg and is waiting for you on the top floor. After this point, when you wake up in the mornings, only Nico will be there and starts to cry when you head off for the monster tower. This lasts until you beat the game.
Child Prodigy: Many adventurers are said to only make it up the first few floors before having to give up. Koh seems to easily be able to traverse the tower on his first time, and can easily manage to get to higher floors each time he adventures in, depending on the player.
Continuing Is Painful: Less so than other Rogue Likes, but dying means you lose everything you had on you at the time of death. If you've been spending multiple sessions upgrading a Gold Sword (or any sword, really)...
Continuity Nod: During Selfi's sidequest in the Playstation version, she gives you a Pulunpa egg. In the GBC version, she gets a Wump egg, a baby Catawump (aka Pulunpa), which hatches into Wumpi.
She even seems fine with the fact that Koh has multiple girlfriends, perhaps just a little bit annoyed that they take all of his attention.
Weedy: (In the post-game, when the girls do a dogpile on Koh) It's always the same.
Crutch Character: To an extent, Kewne. While, technically speaking, he never stops being useful, quite a few monsters with the appropriate levels and monsters fused the right way have unique abilities, unique magic, or are otherwise an improvement.
Deadpan Snarker: Fur in both versions towards Koh. She uses this in the Playstation version to tease Koh. It eventually backfires on her when Koh sees Ghosh flirting with her, only for her to deny Ghosh's advances. She admits to treating Koh better, and will admit she likes him, but tries to switch it back to making it seem she only does because she feels sorry for him, even to go as far as mentioning his dead father. Koh gets upset at this and leaves, leaving Fur saddened by what's happened.
Fur: Dunno why, but Koh's lookin' real good to me lately. Better go get my eyes checked out or somethin'.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Subverted. If you get 0 HP in the Tower, you get knocked out and wake up in Town, same as if you used a wind crystal. However, you lose EVERYTHING you had with you except for Home-hatched familiars.
The main reason why to some gamers, Azure Dreams can be as scary as a survival horror game. Just imagine losing all those valuable items!
Disappeared Dad: Koh's father died while Koh's mother was pregnant with Weedy, although some say that his spirit has been seen at the top floors of the tower from time to time....
The Dragon: Both a literal and a somewhat figurative example are the Dragons at the higher floors who are also some of the last monsters you see before the final boss.
Drum Bathing: Available with the default house. You get a legitimate bath once you upgrade it.
Drunk on Milk: Well technically it's Cola, but even that's strong enough to make Koh pass out.
Dummied Out: Several items were coded into the PS1 game, but assigned a 0% chance of dropping on any given floor, although it is still possible for them to be spit out by a Barong. Some, like the Shomuro herb, which was made to cure a status effect that was never implemented, are effectively useless.
Well, technically there are ways for monsters to cause this sort of status effect on you, but unless you actually went out of your way to make such a situation possible, it will never be a problem.
Elemental Powers: Most monsters have them. While most monsters have a set one, others that don't have one can discover new abilities by fusing with one that does have one.
The monsters that do come with powers almost always will transform into another creature once they hit level 20.
Guy: The Fire. The Water. The Wind. And the power of all nature! Born between the fine line of humans and monsters, let this egg be sealed for the sake of my blood. Abra Cadabra!
Fanservice: The main motivation to complete the Water Medal quest and re-open the swimming pool, as whichever of the seven girls Koh has won over are regular patrons (though only one shows up at a time), complete with new character portraits clad in swimsuits. For the Ho Yay, a swimsuit-clad Ghosh◊ is also a regular patron.
Genius Bruiser: Koh, who can dish out damage and take it to given the right equipment, but ultimately he, aka the player, has to use smarts and strategy to defeat stronger monsters, using traps, magic balls, and familiars to advance through the tower.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The expensive Aura Bike is really fun to ride and helps you get around town quickly, but look carefully at it when Koh is riding it sideways.
Not to mention his stationary animation when he faces left or right. Just face Koh to the side, put the controller down, and you'll see what I mean.
At the end, Beldo strikes at Koh, giving him a nasty cut and making his blood spew everywhere, to remove the seal on the Ultimate Egg. Rated E for Everyone.
Glass Cannon: The Killer, who has high attack and critical-hit ratio, but only moderate defense.
Also the Arachne/Ashra, who specializes in double attack power but trades it for low hp and defense.
Good Morning, Crono: Nico often has to get Koh out of bed with a hard kick (until he wins over one or more of the seven potential girlfriends, at which point they take it in turns to wake him up more amiably). In the GBC version, she only does this at the beginning of the game (or if you get knocked out in the tower).
The Goomba: Pulunpas show up for the first three floors of the tower, and if you have a familiar and a weapon, you can dispatch them in one hit. The monster called Noise, however, shows up ONLY on the first floor, and is even weaker: a level 1 Koh can destroy them without a familiar easily, using the craptastic weapon (singular) you can purchase in town.
Guide Dang It: Many people don't know that certain places can only be built after you've beaten the game and talked to the right people that will request their construction.
Depending on what you say to Cherrl about where her healing herb came from, she has two different outcomes. If you choose not to tell her that it was you that got it, Cherrl will choose to become a nurse. If you tell her that you got the herb, she will be healed, but continue to stay at home, making dolls of you that she sells. Picking the latter means you don't see her in her swimsuit, as she just chooses to stay home.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Cherrl. Out of all the girls, she is perhaps the most innocent of all, not knowing anything about the outside world and only desiring the basic ability to walk without being fatigued. She is also very young and pretty for her appearance, being the same age as Nico but looking almost Mia's age. She'll even become a nurse with the correct choices, wanting to help others like herself.
Heavy Sleeper: Koh never seems to wake up himself, his girlfriends or his sister usually having to wake him up.
Impossibly Cool Clothes: As well as some of the characters' normal garb, most of the girls' swimsuits, though elaborate, would certainly be impractical as actual swimming garb. Standout examples include Nico's◊ suit, which is fastened by metal clasps that make it look like a pair of denim overalls with the middle section and legs missing, and Selfi's◊ suit, which has an enormous pink bow and a small bell on the front.
Infinity+1 Element: The legendary monster has a special "Shadow" element that nothing else has.
Infinity+1 Sword: Your weapons can be powered up using an item that Randomly Drops in the tower, and gold swords never rust or degrade. It's possible to buff your equipment until you don't even need familiars to clear the tower any more.]
The Trained Wand counts as this, being harder to find than a Gold Sword, but benefiting from both Red Sands and Mixture Magic. Like the Gold Sword, it will never rust.
Kill It with Fire: Wind-genus monsters are weak against fire attacks. Further, most of the offensive spells available to monsters are fire-elemental (wind and water are more centered around buffs/debuffs)
Leitmotif: Most of the tracks in the game not based on the Recurring Riff (see below) are character leitmotifs. All seven girlfriends get their own musical theme (which plays whenever they wake Koh in the morning after being won over), as does Ghosh, and most of the tradespeople (each shop has its own theme).
Lethal Joke Character: Nyuels. They have sucky stats, no offensive magic except for mix magic, their inherent auto-property is poison resistance (which means that they can resist ONE spell in the game, which can ONLY be produced by traps, which Koh is more likely to step on anyway), and even when they turn into upgraded Battnels they don't really improve much. However, their magic is a healing spell (useful for keeping Koh alive), and they get 50 mp (half of their max, worth ~4 heal spells) from any herb. Free healing? Yes please.
Also the dark green Pulunpas on the higher floors, because of their ability to steal monster collars and send your monsters back into your bag.
Let's Play: There's one comprised of screenshots on the LP Archives by Krysmphoenix. It can be found here.
Likes Older Women: Koh, considering that three of his girlfriends (Fur, Selfi, Vivian) are older than him.
Lost Forever: If you don't forgive Kewne for momentarily betraying you in the end, he'll fly away sad. By doing this, you never see Kewne again, and will never find another.
Because getting certain items or eggs is based off the RNG, it's entirely possible that if you die in the tower holding the specific items, they will never appear again.
Marathon Level: The forty floors of the Monster Tower; since you start on the first floor every time you enter the Tower, they must all be beaten in a single sitting to win the game.
It should be noted that you are able to save between floors. To avoid abusing this, once you save, it'll go back to menu. Whenever you activate this save, if you restart for whatever reason, you automatically show up in your bed as if you lost.
A possible outcome in the PS1 version; the fact that, post-Relationship Upgrade, half of the girls (Nico, Selfi, Fur, and Mia) will stop by Koh's house every morning to kiss him goodbye for the day (the others will only stop by if they are the ones actually waking him up) seems to indicate that they do not entirely object to sharing his affections.
In the GBC version, Koh still has two girlfriends: fellow treasure-hunters/monster-tamers Selfi and Atlee (who only appears in the GBC version).
Meaningful Echo: While not exactly a word-on-word echo, Guy's words of wisdom at the beginning are brought up when Nico tells Koh to give her a punch for being dumb, Koh reminding her of what he said. Nico immediately falls for Koh afterwards when she realizes he's calling her a woman, and she's noticeably happy about it too. Could also explain why Koh is such a ladies' man.
Guy: Listen Koh. A man must take good care of women.
Meaningful Name: Koh's hometown of Monsbaiya is a place that was named because people bought monsters from that city.
Also Patti Pan the waitress, whose first name can reference a meat patty, and whose last name can reference the cooking utensil, or the Japanese word for bread.
And the monster called Killer which has high attack stats, and an even higher critical hit ratio, and they love to come in multiples.
The monster called Naplass. It tends to have a habit of falling asleep at random points... even in the middle of a fight.
The "Block", which is well known for having the highest potential defense in the entire game thanks to its double defense trait.
To the point that she will charge Koh for the privilege of looking at her in her swimsuit if you talk to her at the swimming pool. (That said, of the seven girls, Fur does wear the most revealing swimsuit.)
Monster Compendium: Weedy has a monster book that will give some background information about monster's you have encountered. You must either meet them in the tower, hatch pre-evolutions/evolve for certain monsters, or make various buildings and play the mini-games in them to discover new monster types.
Oh Crap: Beldo whole dialogue when Kewne betrays him and Koh starts attacking him with with his father's sword.
Older Than They Look: Several characters qualify for this given the game's art style, but Cherrl really stands out considering that she is actually 15 and around the same age as Koh, even though she looks like she's 12, and even younger than Mia, who's 13.
One Head Taller: Koh to Cherrl and Mia, granted because they're very short.
Open Minded Parent: Wreath. Understandably, because Guy was always hunting in the monster tower himself.
As an additional reward, you also get to keep your father's old sword. While it is only slightly stronger than most other weapons that drop during gameplay, it can be upgraded like every other blade and has a unique sprite.
Recurring Riff: In the PS1 version, half the tracks in the game are based on one riff. Its most straightforward appearance is on the bottom four floors of the tower, but the other seven tracks which play in the tower as well as the themes for the town and Koh's house (and their various subtle variants) and several other tracks are also based on the same melody.
Simple Staff: Carrying a wooden stick isn't very useful for bashing stuff with on its own (unless it's a highly tempered trained wand), but they increase the effectiveness of your mix magic.
Skippable Boss: On the second floor of the tower, sometimes Ghosh would challenge you to a duel. If you accepted, you could fight him, or walk away from him as he followed you, and hop on the elevator to the next floor, leaving him behind. Or you could always just decline.
Sleepy Head: The Naplass, who will fall asleep at random intervals, even in the middle of battle, unless you combine it with a Dreamin, a familiar that never sleeps.
This is actually inverted with The Rival Ghosh, and his sister Selfi, who really have no similar physical looks to the point where you might think they aren't actually related.
Super Reflexes: Whenever an attack is about to land on Koh, he'll sometimes side step entirely to dodge the blow. Happens mostly with Bow Trolls, where Koh can dodge their arrows much easier from a longer distance.
This and That: In the PS1 version, a post-Relationship Upgrade Nico uses this phrase when reminiscing about her childhood interactions with Koh. "I remember that even when you were a little kid, you would get me and we would do this and do that."
Title Drop: Done by Cherrl after completing her sidequest... and screwed up by the localization crew when they translated the line as "sky-colored dreams".
Took a Level in Badass: Koh. The once annoying kid who everyone looks down upon eventually becomes a celebrity, going to higher floors than anyone else (aside from Guy). He even gets popular enough to have people freak out by his presence, and later on they make T-shirts with his face on them. He can even potentially get SEVEN different girlfriends, some of which looked down upon him before. They're even fine with sharing him.
Underboobs: Nico is sporting an impressive pair in one group picture◊ of the instruction manual, and on the cover◊ for the music CD.
Unstoppable Rage: Koh at the end when he's defeating Beldo, who just tried to kill him AND told him that it was he who killed Guy.
Unwinnable: If you beat the game and made it to the top floor without a way to escape the tower, you're pretty much screwed because there's no other way out from the top floor. I hope you have a Wind Crystal, because it's going to suck if you don't.
Vendor Trash: Cursed weapons? They usually come with negative modifiers and you can't unequip them, but they're worth keeping because the shops will inexplicably buy them for MUCH more than an uncursed weapon is worth.
Also the eggs of some of the weaker monsters.
Vitriolic Best Buds: In a strange way, Ghosh towards Koh. While Ghosh spends most of his time acting like a Jerkass towards Koh, Selfi reveals that he talks about you all the time, making up weird rumors about you, and he seems to appear wherever you go.
Zerg Rush: If the player sets off a Monster Room, several monsters will suddenly appear, which can easily swarm and destroy the player if they aren't strong enough for the monsters of that certain floor.