A Role-Playing Fable
Garian: Sounds like an impossible mission.
Jack: Sounds like your type of assignment.
A Sega Saturn
game released in 1996 (1997 in Europe), Dark Savior
was a Spiritual Successor
to Climax' earlier game Landstalker
. It does, however, not have anything to do with it.
Rajeen Bounty Hunter
Garian (Ryu-Ya in the original) is on board a prison transport ship headed for Jailer's Island, transporting the incredibly dangerous creature Bilan, who of course escapes during the journey and Garian has to hunt him down. Depending on how long the player takes to complete the introduction part of the game, they move on to one of three "parallels", taking place in the same world and sharing plot elements, but also having significant differences - for instance, almost every part of the plot on Jailer's Island in the first parallel is directly caused by Bilan's escape, but to get to the second parallel you have to catch up with and kill Bilan already in the introduction, changing the story dramatically. Complicating matters is the Jailer's Island Warden Kurtliegen, who uses prisoners for slave labour to mine the dangerous substance Bilanium. The Lavian ninja Kay is a central character too, and is the one given the most different characterization in the three possible timelines.
The game has an overarching theme of different realities and living different lives, something which comes full circle in the fourth parallel, following directly after the third.
Of interesting note is the fighting system in the game - when any major enemy is encountered, the game shifts into more of a fighting game
, complete with two rounds. A weakened enemy that has been knocked down in the second round can be captured and used in future battles.
Tropes appearing in Dark Savior:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer
- Action Girl: Kay, Tracy, Miranda and Sherry.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: It's said that carbon freeze is this.
- All Just a Dream: It's heavily implied that the "awful dream" both Garian and Jack wakes up from in the introduction actually is parallel 1.
- Already Done For You: In parallel 1, you solve puzzles to get through the Lavian ruins. In parallel 2, both Kay and Kurtliegen goes through the ruins right before Garian enters them, and thus the puzzles in the rooms are already solved.
- Alternate History: A major part of the story. Three wildly different plotlines grow out of nearly the same starting point, and one of them split into two alternate timelines that come together at the end.
- An Axe to Grind: Orion. Uses it with a slightly unorthodox backhand grip and upwards swing. And, with a more traditional axe and swing, Evilsizer. Also, the Commander, also known as "King Lard", who uses a similar style to Orion.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Bilanium.
- Ass Kicks You: One of Meg's attacks.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Bilan at the end of parallel 1, Drizzt after falling into the Bilanium in parallel 2.
- Ax Crazy: Blade is probably this, but appears mostly as a mindless killing machine, while Meg explicitly is one, even saying she does weaker people a favour by killing them.
- In parallel 4, Evilsizer. Literally, in that he both uses an axe and has gone crazy. In parallel 1 and 2, he's actually pretty calm and you can even bargain your way out of fighting him.
- Back from the Dead: Lance, as well as all criminals executed by carbon freeze in parallel 4.
- Big Bad: Bilan in parallel 1, Kurtliegen in parallel 2 ( initially appears to be one in parallel 1 too, but redeems himself if you don't kill him, and becomes an ally in face of a greater threat before being killed in parallel 3), J.J. in parallel 3, Carbon Garian in parallel 4.
- Black Market: Regina.
- Body Snatcher: Bilan. Changes bodies a bit too.
- Boss Rush: The secret parallel 5, Marathon of Death. Reached by losing to Bilan in the Captain's Cabin.
- Bottomless Pits: A bit of everywhere.
- Bowdlerise: In the original version, items that could be used for currency on Jailer's Island were cigarettes, booze and dirty magazines. In the english version, this became chocolate, nondescript bottles and nondescript magazines (still with what definitely is a pixeled bunny girl on the cover, though), and plot-related booze such as the one Garian is forced to drink became "Jalapeno Juice". Places that were obviously bars in the original have become cafés.
- Brother-Sister Team: While there's no confirmation on Sean and Meg's relation (same surname), the most likely explanation seems to be that they're partners in crime as a sibling version of an Outlaw Couple. The biggest hint comes from Sean's line in parallel 5 about how everything exists for him and Meg.
- But Thou Must: Garian really has no choice but to drink the
booze Jalapeno Juice he's offered when entering Jailer's Island.
- Chekhov's Gun: The blue rose.
- "Plan D". Mentioned but canceled in parallel 2, carried out in parallel 3.
- Chekhov's Gunman: J.J. Seen as a corpse in parallel 1, found sulking in one room in parallel 2... and the entire reason there's plot in parallel 3 and 4.
- If you play parallel 1 before parallel 2, Kay is this big time.
- If you play parallel 2 before parallel 3, all the criminals you see in the execution chamber.
- Conflict Killer: J.J. in parallel 3 (though the new conflict is put into effect only after you've killed Bilan, it was decided to happen earlier) and Carbon Garian in parallel 4.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Oh lords, DeBose. Kills Kurtliegen in one hit in the cutscene, but when captured and used in battle, does absolutely pitiful damage.
- Dark Action Girl: Meg.
- Doppelgänger: Carbon Garian. Jack explains the term.
- Down the Drain: The sewers.
- Dungeon Bypass: A lot in parallel 3. You don't even have to go through Deadman's Castle, which is the place where major plot points are kicked off in parallel 1 and 2. And when you reach the point where you'd expect to enter the Lavian ruins, Kurtliegen takes you all the way to the execution chamber, bypassing the ruins, the three remaining castles and the graveyard... only for you to have to go through them all (except for the ruins) in reverse order (and in the case of Deadman's Castle and the graveyard, entirely in reverse) in the following parallel 4.
- The Dragon: Max and Lance both serve as Kurtliegen's Dragons.
- Evil Twin: Carbon Garian
- Exposition Bird: Jack's main job.
- Expy: Blade is Predator in all but name.
- Lance looks an awful lot like Steven Seagal. In fact, his Japanese name -is- Seagal.
- The Faceless: Evilsizer wears a solid white mask on his face (how does he see anything?). Indigo and Kiwi has only their eyes visible. Guardian, Duran and the Lavian Knight all wear helmets with only thin eye slits.
- Four Bad Band: In parallel 2.
- Five-Man Band: When the bounty hunter team is assembled in parallel 4. Not that there's really much teamwork shown.
- Flash Step: Kay makes use of it.
- Foreshadowing: All over the place, especially in parallel 1 if you play parallel 1 first (and you most likely will).
- Game Breaker: Kay in parallel 4. Stronger, faster and with better defense than any other character you could have at that point or get after it, and can easily carry you through the rest of the game. Her knockdown attack is a bit iffy, meaning it's slightly harder to capture with her, but you don't really need to capture anymore at that point.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: With so many bosses, you'd think there'd be one or two. Nope - even if the giant six-legged purple rat named Ducter is a bit unexpected, it still takes place in a sewer, and even the elephant-man is explained by a brief cutscene earlier. With the game taking place on a prison island, which has taken in a lot of strange specimens of criminals, it does a fairly good job of keeping everything consistent. Even across three different timelines.
- The only one that could be argued to be one is when you fight Bruno in parallel 5. A boss rush, consisting entirely of fights against characters you have encountered in earlier parallels. It is possible to get into a fight with Bruno in parallel 1, but by simply not doing what you're told to not do, it doesn't happen, and his sprite does not look at all suited for fighting. Thus, it's possible to beat the game several times without ever knowing it's even possible to fight Bruno, making his appearance in parallel 5 a bit of a surprise.
- Good Bad Bug: If you ask Jack to heal you for 20 points when you have between 10 and 19 points remaining, the action goes through and you end up with over four million points. To put that into perspective, it costs a total of 11600 points to increase Garian's health to the maximum of 200, from the starting point of 80. Upgrades are bought in 10-HP chunks, starting at 500 points and increasing with 100 points each time, and in a normal playthrough you'd maybe get enough points to get over 100 HP. Gaining any points after the glitch has been triggered sets your point total to the normal maximum of "only" 999999.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle with Kurtliegen at the end of parallel 2.
- Tracy in parallel 2 if you leave Kay to die and then lie about it.
- Informed Ability: Bruno is introduced as a "master swordsman" in parallel 5. None of his attacks actually feature a sword.
- Insurmountable Waist High Fence: A lot of them. To make matters even more absurd, there's fences of the same height and sometimes higher that you CAN jump over. Not to mention insurmountable ankle-high bodies.
- Isometric Projection
- Kick Chick: Kay
- Living Statue: Copper, Golden, and Silver Kay.
- Mad Scientist: Doc
- Mega Manning: Garian can capture weakened opponents and use them in future battles, and gains some to use through plot-related reasons. Doesn't get overly useful until in parallel 4, since Garian doesn't get any weapon upgrades for himself in parallel 4, and the single one you're given in parallel 3 doesn't carry over. (Plus, Garian is weakened due to plot reasons.) In earlier parallels, with the equipment you get, Garian will almost always be the strongest, at least numberwise.
- Minecart Madness: In full 3D, with four different awkward camera angles to choose from. Happens in parallel 2 and 3, with different courses.
- Mini-Game: Love Love Mini Racer, which isn't a racing game at all, but rather a puzzle game with timed stages.
- Mirror Match: If you pick Garian to fight Carbon Garian, which might not be the best of ideas as Carbon Garian is much stronger.
- Possibly a mild case of Fridge Brilliance , as the two big differeneces between the two are that Carbon Garian doesn't hold back and has been covered in diamond (the carbon coating)
- Never The Selves Shall Meet: In Parallel 4, the two Garians from different timelines existing at the same time will cause one to be forcibly erased from existence, unless they strengthen their ties via their friends. (In the case of Carbon Garian, killing them and drinking their blood. Naturally, Garian wants to prevent this.)
- Ninja: Kay.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Kaiser. Yes, he can fly, but he still shows up in places he really shouldn't be able to have reached when Garian and Jack gets there. Lavian Ruins, anyone?
- Palette Swap: Jack/Kaiser/Regina, Butch/the Terrible Trio, Matt/Dunbar, and most bizarrely, Duran/the Lavian Knight.
- Penal Colony: Jailer's Island.
- The Reveal: At the end of parallel 2, Kay is revealed to actually be the Silver statue.
- Romance Arc: Parallel 2, A Hunt for the Heart.
- Skippable Boss: There's a number of enemies you can skip fighting for a cost of 100 points. Both Vacanes can be skipped by just running past them, but they can move unpredictably and force you into battle - while you're carrying either Kay or Drizzt, meaning your jumping is severely compromised as your extended hitbox will hit its head on the ceiling. Despite the fact that the battles take place outside, on open walkways, with no visible ceiling above them anywhere.
- Super Drowning Skills: Falling into water affects Garian in the same way as falling into lava or bottomless pits. Justified by that Garian wears a heavy chest plate.
- Taken for Granite: The prisoners executed by carbon freeze.
- That One Level: Silver Castle, in parallel 2 and 4 (in 1, you go through another part of it, and 3 ends in the execution chamber right before). Moving, floating platforms above a bottomless pit, several small platforms, and there's even a few leaps of faith required! And in Parallel 4, you have a timer!
- Not to mention the minecart when you ride it in parallel 3. Awkward camera angles give you very little time to react to a few of the jumps.
- Timed Mission: Two of them:
- The introduction. You can't run out of time, but if you want to see more than one parallel, you have to hurry: Finishing under three minutes and thirty seconds takes the player to parallel 3, finishing between 3:30 and 4:30 kicks off parallel 2, and taking any longer than four minutes and thirty seconds starts parallel 1.
- Parallel 4, following directly after parallel 3. Garian has one hour to find and destroy Carbon Garian, else the current universe collapses. More time is gained through unskippable plot, though.
- Too Dumb to Live: Bruno in parallel 3. No, you can't bargain with Bilan.
- Unwinnable by Design: In Parallel 2, it is possible to completely avoid saving Kay in the prison, and continue on with the game A new(ish) character is introduced to take her place even. However, this can lead to an unwinnable situation in the future depending on one action the player can take, which involves lying to Kay's sister, Tracy, and having to fight her with infinite life, but telling the truth results in time-travel back to before you meet Kay in the prison.
- Wakeup Call Boss: A late one, but one nevertheless: Sean in parallel 4. He's essentially the first enemy you face in the whole game that Garian is much too weak to handle on his own, and the rest of the bosses continue this trend bigtime.
- Fighting Bilan in the intro when going for parallel 2 could be seen as this compared to Fake Bilan when going for parallel 1, although most folks will have already been through the game on parallel 1 at that point, so it's not that much of a shock.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Bilan's secret weakness, which turns out to be being hit in the back.
- What If?: What if Garian had killed the child instead of Kay preventing him from causing any harm? Carbon Garian, that's what.