A Real-Time Strategy game by Sega for the Sega Saturn involving war among eight nations of the continent of Legendra. It was localized by Working Designs.Gameplay is split between administrative mode and campaign mode. Each nation starts with five generals, including the monarch. During campaign mode, generals and their troops are organized among castles and sent to capture enemy castles.Combat plays out on a side-scrolling map with free-roaming camera, one army against one army until all generals are defeated on a side. Troops can be given preset attack patterns and generals can use magic skills to affect either army.Administration mode allows equipping of items, strengthening of castles, searching for new items, honoring generals with combat awards (which grant more troops) and persuading captive generals to switch sides.Defeating enemy monarchs causes them to either join as subservient generals or escape to fight another day. Once all nations are defeated, the eight monarchs learn they are the Dragon Force destined to fight the Dark God Madruk. Variations occur through each nation's path, making for excellent replayability.It is a rare gem on the Saturn, and was critically praised for its addictive gameplay. From The Other Wiki: "Dragon Force won Electronic Gaming Monthly's Game of the Month award, as well as their Saturn Game of the Year award for 1996. EGM later ranked the game as #111 on their 'The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time."
This game contains examples of:
Absolute Cleavage - Astea is goddess of creation, but she could be the goddess of this as well.
A more direct example is that the CD itself, when put into a PC, has additional story info in a plain text file going into more detail into Madruk's motivation and the ancient era mentioned in the introduction.
Always Save the Girl - if the player stops by at the Fiend Tower to recruit Vlad, a side story will open up, wherein Ryskim, Vlad's mortal enemy, takes over a random castle and taunts Vlad with his Brainwashed and Crazy girlfriend, Sierra. After you beat him, he comes back yet again, and captures a female general in order to lure out your monarch. For the other monarchs, the female in question is from their starting Five-Man Band, but for Wein? It's Teiris.
Amazon Brigade - to a certain extent. 3 out of Tristan's 5 starting generals (including the monarch) have harpies (the only clearly-female troop type) as their default troop type.
Amazon Chaser - Leon, who in his own words, strong women turn him on a lot.
Due to graphic constraints, Archer and Mage troops could belong to either gender.
Magician, Priest, and Thief generals use the same sprites regardless of gender. This is made worse by the Mook Lieutenant Magician generals, whose portraits are also ambiguous.
Anachronism Stew: Some snippets of dialogue obviously draws from modern history and pop culture. This is very common in English translated Japanese games to give variation to the dialogue. In the case of quasi-medieval fantasy, this trope is Older than You Think.
A Monty Python reference when you unuccessfully attempt to recruit a character: "Go away or I shall taunt you again."
One very agressive female character clearly refers to herself as a Dominatrix.
There's a character named Vlad. We usually associate certain things with this name. He lives up to most of them.
Grudar's references to Christie Love and his attack line "I'm gonna git you suckas!". Somewhat appropriate being that he's also the Token Black Guy.
The chief export of Gongos' kingdom is banannas.
Gongos punctuates some of his sentences with a drawn out "Yesssss!" Much like Megatron in Beast Wars.
If you take away an award or artifact, one character says: "Where I come from, we call that Indian Giver."
When Tieris tries to persuade Leon to join in their common cause, referring to Astea, he responds: "Astea? THE Astea? Never heard of her."
Gayrus's taunt is "You speak with the air of a true idiot. By perchance are you a member of the Lollard League?"
Artificial Stupidity - CPU-controlled Gongos is this. If you attack him with melee troops, he'll often place his own troops in the "breach" formation, where the vast majority will be clustered around the middle rows of the battlefield. If you have a general with Sonic Wave (hits the centre 3 rows), or Sonic Blast (hits the centre 5 rows), you can easily decimate his army with just 1 or 2 spells.
Ass Kicks You - The female beast's version of the Sky Driver and Cross Rush will slam the opponent with her butt, several times in the case of the latter.
Applies as to all commanders. Even a low level mage general, the physically weakest commander, is much stronger any type of troop.
Babies Ever After: Teiris and Leon's endings. There's no offspring to be seen in their love interests' respective endings (Wein and Junon)
Badass - the Fandaria Empire, though played as the Big Bad if only for the first part of the story, is just full of this.
Even the SCENE in which Goldark's BFS's are introduced is badass! upon finding out Gyzzdark's plans, Goldark quickly asks Lyria (a waify nun who, by the way, is one of his inner circle of generals) to hand him a sword. She somehow manages to heft one of the BFS's over to him (a badass feat in it's own right, considering her build). Goldark then somehow cuts himself free,even when both his hands are shackled, picks up the second BFS, and brutally murders his own brotherbefore he can cry for help or fight back. Oh, and did we mention that Goldark's been shackled like that for goodness knows how long? And he pulls off the entire stunt smoothly and flawlessly?
Badass Adorable - Teiris might be the sweetest Elf-girl in Legendra, but is fully capable of decimating an entire army with Dark Vortex (read: a black hole summoned above the battlefield that ONLY affects the enemy).
Berserk Button - Hayate'sDark and Troubled Past. Further elaborated upon when you meet Hayate when playing as Mikhal, because Mikhal was one corner of a Love Triangle, though he didn't win the girl in the end. When Kyoem killed Hayate's wife, the master ninja did NOT take it well. Thankfully, Mikhal's gracious enough to support Hayate's quest for revenge.
BFS - Goldark is probably the only character to dual-wield BFS's in the game, lending further weight to his badassery.
BGM - Each Monarch has their own, most of which fit in very nicely with their kingdom's profile.
Wein's is a rather catchy, brass-and-wind affair, which really brings out the heroic, Knight In Shining Armour spirit that Highland embodies.
Teiris and Reinhart use slow-paced, mystical sounding themes. Teiris's is more orchestral, with strings and gentle percussion, while Reinhart's has a strong xylophone and synthetic organ feel.
Leon's theme is strange in the sense that it doesn't quite match the "zen" feeling of monks...it's predominantly done with harpsichord, and is quite fast-paced.
Mikhal uses a beautiful melody of oriental strings and percussion that conveys Izumo's Wutai theme very well.
Gongos has a very tribal, shamanistic theme with a heavy emphasis on drums, perfect for the beast men.
Junon's theme might sound out of place at first, what with Tristan being a militaristic empire and all, but when you think about how she subverts so many evil tropes, the gentle, orchestral theme kind of makes sense.
Big Damn Heroes - midway through the game, you're prompted to investigate the mysterious Shadow Tower. Inside, you meet Ramda, who helps you by revealing some of the plot. On your way back, you get ambushed by Gaul and Scythe, who simply stand up after you defeat them in battle, and are on the verge of killing the party when Frest and Ramda show up, prompting them to retreat.
Big Red Devil - Madruk is an interesting case, in that he appears to be a Big BROWN Devil.
Bishōnen - the Archer troops (which are Elves, so this is a given), and many, many male generals, especially Scar of Tristan, and Yuri.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard - Duels tend to end in the CPU's favour if both generals are fairly evenly-matched. Made worse when there's absolutely nothing the player can do to control their general during the duel itself. Some players avoid dueling with their monarch at all to avoid this, since the defeat of your monarch means an automatic Game Over.
Cool Mask - Junon, "The Black Knight of Masked Death", although is really a helmet.
Crippling Over Specialization - Archer troops. They're really only good against harpies, and are terrible against almost everything else. Zombies in particular eat them for breakfast. This is made especially egregious by the presence of mages, who are as good as or better than archers in every way (in particular, they absolutely slaughter zombies).
Death By A Thousand Cuts: Using troops against generals typically works like this. Troops do very little damage to generals, and are often killed in one hit by them. However, if you have over fifty troops attacking the enemy general, chances are their individual attacks will eventually defeat the general, unless they run away first.
It varies depending on who you play too. Some leaders will join you willingly, and in some cases will join even without your interaction. Others must be defeated in combat before they're willing to join. However, Gongos and Goldark are unable to utilize the faction leaders until the end when Madruk and his forces begins to cause mayhem.
The spirit of Leviathan, Gongos' ancestor (through possession of Gunner), vs Gongos in Gongos' campaign
Dumb Muscle - the Beast Men tend to get this treatment from the other races, especially Gongos in relation to the rest of the Dragon Force.
Dying as Yourself - Gyzzdark. Raised from the dead and manipulated by Gaul into attacking his brother Goldark, by Gaul playing with his feelings of jealousy and vengeance. Defeating him frees him from Gaul's control.
Also Zanon, during his My God, What Have I Done? moment, when he stabs himself with Eclisis to free himself from the sword's addictive power.
Elite Army - Scythe uses hovering...ghost women...things in the final battle, and they're the only troop type not mentioned in the game manual. Said troops seem to have a general advantage over all other types, except high-end ones like harpies and dragons.
Empathy Doll Shot: One is shown in the intro video for the game when Madruk makes his appearance to destroy life on Legendra.
The Empire - Fandaria and Tristan, although the former more than the latter.
Evil Laugh - Some of the only non-cutscene voice acting are Scythe's and Gaul's evil laughs
Fantastic Racism - the Elves and Beast Men really don't get along, probably because of past events concerning the previous Dragon Force.
Subverted when Gongos (lord of the Beast Men) falls head-over-heels for Teiris (the Elf-Queen), going so far as to propose to her in the epilogue of his campaign! he doesn't get her in the end; Teiris marries Wein
Fat Bastard - Borgon. His final words even reference his gluttony!
For the Evulz - the reason why Scar of Tristan is a Shellshocked Veteran (and probably how he got his name) is because Scythe brutally murdered his entire band of bandits when they tried to rob her. Why did they do such a stupid thing? Because she was disguised as a rich noblewoman at the time. Why was Scythe doing that? because she WANTED TO KILL THEM JUST FOR THE EVULZ.
In Junon's campaign, this is the first hint that Scythe is not what she seems to be.
Understandably, The above event forms the basis of Scar's vendetta against Scythe, to the point where he asks Junon to specifically let him fight Scythe if they meet her.
Then subverted when you realize that it doesn't make any difference to the game if you do not pit Scar against Scythe in battle. He still carries on his merry way without even complaining about any missed opportunities.
Worried about generals leaving your army due to lack of recognition? When selecting through them, there is a small box that tells you if a general is worthy of an award or not, so you can use that as a guide. If you don't want to give them a medal, you can also give them an item to keep their loyalty. Additionally, the starting generals for each lord will never leave, so once they join your forces, you can neglect them if you'd like, although it's still a good idea to reward them as medals increase how many troops they command during battle.
Additionally, make sure you use the enemy leaders as much as possible once you acquire them. The reason is that these 8 characters are the ones you use at the end, and if they're not fully geared/leveled, they'll have a tough time against the final bosses.
The Mooks that randomly show up on the map are annoying, especially if they pop up at a remote location that's weakly guarded. However, they're the best source of leveling up for your generals as conquer more lands, and have fewer enemies to fight. Dragon generals/troops take over once you hit end-game, so make sure you have plenty of samurai, mage, or harpy soldiers scattered throughout your lands to combat them.
Happily Married - in the epilogue, Wein marries Teiris, and Leon marries Junon.
In Wein's campaign, Goldark evades capture, but returns a short time later to have it out with you. During this scripted event, there is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) you can do to stop him from marching right up to wherever Wein is and challenging him to a duel. Like any other duel, there's nothing the player can do but to watch as Goldark beats the hell out of Wein (but this doesn't result in a Game Over due to the event script - rather, Wein survives with 1HP) and leaves him with a "Reason You Suck" Speech about how he's too young and inexperienced to lead, before vanishing again.
The Horde - Madruk's army...of Dragons, no less, both mook- and general-types. Once freed from Ruinledge, they will continue to ravage the continent until the Dragon Force marches up the mountain for the final battle. Better put all those Samurai troops to use quickly...
Lady of War - Common, Teiris being the most prominent example.
Lampshade Hanging - of all people, the narrator gets in on this. "However, as with all such tales bordering on morality plays, one lied in wait to cast a dark shadow over the prosperity and tranquility of Legendra."
Large and in Charge - generals tend to have bigger sprites than their troops, and then there's Katmando and Madruk, who are big enough to occupy several squares on the battlefield map (when even generals only take up one square each).
Leave Him to Me - used during the Final Battle against the Apostles of Darkness, so that your monarch can hurry on to face Madruk. The basic pattern is: Junon & Leon vs Scythe, Mikhal (thank God for Samurai) & Reinhart vs Gaul, and Wein, Teiris, & Gongos vs Katmando. If you're playing as any of these 7, Goldark will substitute them when they go on to fight Madruk.
Lightning Bruiser - any general who can use the skills Cross Flash and Cross Rush (which take a solid chunk out of the enemy general's HP) may qualify. While it's quite logical for monks wearing simple martial arts clothes & beast men wearing loincloths to be able to pull these off, it's quite another thing to see warriors in full plate armour doing it.
Love Triangle - a possible one between Wein, Teiris and Gongos. it's one-sided on Gongos' part, though
Luck-Based Mission - the battle with Madruk can sometimes be this, since he has over 100 MP, and may sometimes spam spells (that cost only 1 MP apiece!) at your monarch. Each spell takes off a good chunk of HP, so even at max HP (127), your monarch won't be able to take more than a few hits before you see the dreaded Game Over screen...
The Man Behind the Man - Gaul. While he seems like just another evil sorceror at first, in Goldark's campaign, it's revealed that he's using Madruk's power to bankroll Fandaria, in an attempt to tempt Goldark over to Madruk's side. When Goldark betrays him by refusing to execute the other members of the Dragon Force, Gaul (with Scythe) deserts, showing his true colours.
Noble Demon - Happens a couple times, notable Uryll and Vlad.
There isn't much especially noble about Uryll. She outright spells it out from the get go (and Reinhart's general Sophie also mentions it) for players that she's in love with Reinhart and that's pretty much the one reason why she decides to side with the good guys in spite of punishment. While she does risk her life by refusing to betray him, it's for an entirely selfish reason. Other than that she couldn't care less about the Dragon Force OR Madruk and is in the whole thing for personal amusement, not goodness of heart.
In a way, this makes Uryll a Shotacon. Reinhart may be the son of the god of war, but his age is never explicitly mentioned, so it may be reasonable to assume that he averts the Really 700 Years Old trope.
Official Couple - aside from Wein/Teiris and Leon/Junon in the epilogue, we also see Ardor riding away from Trandor together with Uryll.
Also, from Izumo's epilogue, Mikhal and Shione, although the subtext was already present during their cutscenes together.
One-Man Army - within certain limits, all the generals can be this (see Authority Equals Asskicking above), but those that stand out are the heavy, combat-oriented ones like Knights and Dragons. For the Dragon Force, Leon, Gongos, Junon, and Goldark are known to hold their own relatively well in battle.
One-Winged Angel: Madruk gets a particularly spectacular one after you defeat him the first time, complete with an FMV. Also, Gaul and Scythe
Out-Gambitted - in Goldark's campaign, it's revealed that Gaul is using Madruk's power to seduce Goldark over to the dark side (and thus potentially ruin the Dragon Force), and Goldark shows signs of giving in, what with his merciless continent-wide war and all. However, when Gaul asks Goldark to execute the captured monarchs, the latter laughs in his face, and reveals his Well-Intentioned Extremist plan to unite Legendra into a single, massive army AGAINST Madruk, and that he was merely using Gaul, Scythe, and all their power to help him achieve that goal. The magnificent combination of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and Unwitting Pawn really does a good job of driving the two of them into a seething rage.
Quirky Miniboss Squad - The Apostles of Darkness: Scythe, Gaul, and Katmando. Unlike some other examples, they are a very palpable threat, and it takes 7 out of 8 Dragon Force members (the last being the monarch you chose, who fights Madruk) to bring them down during the final battle.
Goldark himself gets one in his campaign, courtesy of Gaul, who's trying to use the offer to bribe Goldark over to Madruk's side. Predictably, all of them desert together with Gaul & Scythe in the second part of the game, only to reappear later to challenge the Dragon Force as they try to obtain the ancient artifacts.
Serial Escalation- The average fighter-type general gets somewhere in the order of 10 MP or less by end-game, with casters seldom reaching 20. Even Reinhart, Child Mage and son of the god of war, will probably have somewhere between 20 and 30 MP by end-game, and that's if the player pumps him full of MP-boosting consumables. During the final battle, the Quirky Miniboss Squad and the Big Bad have somewhere between 100 and 200 MP. Thankfully, they aren't prone to spamming spells at every last opportunity they get.
Shmuck Bait - so you've just thrashed an enemy Priest's army, and your troops are in his/her face, negating the usefulness of Resurrection (since most Priests command Mages, which get ripped apart in melee combat). Victory, right? Hello, Holy Shield!
To elaborate: Holy Shield is a cheap (2MP to cast), mid-tier spell available to most Priests. It surrounds the Priest with blue streaks of light that spiral outwards, clearing out nearly every enemy troop in the vicinity.
And just when you thought you could catch the Priest in a duel and snatch victory, he/she retreats! Have fun!
Subverted by Gaul after he reveals his allegiance to Madruk. To put it simply, spell damage (on generals, since every Mook is a One-Hit-Point Wonder) depends on the caster's intelligence. After revealing his true colours, Gaul (and Scythe) gets a huge boost, making this spell of his truly deadly. Coupled with his huge MP reserves, this makes Gaul the deadlier of the two when compared to Scythe.
Technical Pacifist - CPU-controlled Teiris automatically allies herself with Wein and Junon when you approach Palemoon territory in their respective campaigns without a fight, but she is fully capable of thrashing an enemy army when deployed in battle (see Badass Adorable above).
This is also a good thing, gameplay-wise, for Junon, as the player would be VERY Harpy-heavy so early in the game. What troops does Palemoon have an abundance of? Archers.
Wacky Marriage Proposal: Before the final battle, Leon asks Junon to marry him in the clumsiest way you can ever imagine. She accepts, and if you're playing as Leon, in the ending, they have a son.
Warm-Up Boss - of a sort. Each monarch (save Reinhart) starts out having to deal with a minor antagonist and their cronies, most of whom will end up joining their forces. The nice thing is, they will remain "extra" loyal throughout the game (i.e. more loyal than the average Mook Lieutenant, but not as much as the members of the starting Five-Man Band).
Wein has, by far, the largest story development in this area. First, he has to deal with Rock and Hilga, two vigilante thieves who attack him because they mistook him for a commander of Travan. Once Wein sorts out the mistaken identity, he goes on to face the Flash Knights of Travan, Ogredd and Lone, before offing its tyrannical ruler, Borgon.
Teiris has to contend with Laine, a jealous Elf who has her eyes on Palemoon's crown.
Goldark faces off with Talon, the son of his brother, Gyzzdark, who wants revenge for his father's murder.
Leon has to deal with Dayne, a renegade monk who's thrown in his lot with mercenaries.
Mikhal's case is interesting, in that it involves the blood feud between Hayate and Kyoem, though the former is not strictly needed for the story to progress.
Gongos is challenged by Gunner, an ambitious beast man (he even starts with an item called an "Ambition Ring") who wishes to usurp his position.
Junon is confronted by Gustav and his mercenaries, who have been hired by Fandaria (probably Gaul) to assassinate her.
Well-Intentioned Extremist - Goldark. After usurping his brother, he finds out that Gyzzdark had already set an epic, continent-spanning war into motion. Unable to avert the war, Goldark instead decides to use it as a ploy to unite all of Legendra against Madruk...by forcefully conquering all the other kingdoms to create a massive, united army.
Wise Beyond Their Years - arguably, Wein, king of Highland at age 17. While he does have a very capable advisor in Nolun, he seems to have gotten the hang of ruling his kingdom very well, to the extent that he is genuinely loved by the populace. Reinhart has the excuse that he's the son of the god of war.
Zerg Rush: A viable tactic in most cases. However, keep in mind that Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors is also at play here, and sending out your large army of troops, perhaps a hundred dragons, that are weak to the enemy general's troops, such as samurai, will quickly turn them into a Red Shirt Army.