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Video Game: Dragon's Crown

The motif within Dragon's Crown is all the fantasy works that have affected me until now: the PC RPG Wizardry that I first came into contact with when I was a student; Ian Livingstone's gamebooks; games like Tower of Druaga, Golden Axe, and The King of Dragons, that I was constantly going to arcades to play. If I were to take the time to mention every title, the list would never end. Because I had the time, I was able to inlay Dragon's Crown with such glittering treasures both as homages, and as an essence within it.
George Kamitani

Dragon's Crown is a 2D Action RPG developed by Vanillaware and published by Atlus for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. While Vanillaware's first game for an HD console, Crown is actually a spiritual successor to the 1994 arcade Beat 'em Up Dungeon Crawler, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom.

The game's premise is fairly simple: a group of heroes come to the kingdom of Hydeland in search of adventure, eventually uncovering the mystery of the eponymous Dragon's Crown and why so many want to possess it.

The game emphasizes Co-Op Multiplayer, with up to four players or CPUs at once venturing through the game's levels. Along the way players uncover weapons and other items to customize their heroes. Playable characters include:

  • The Amazon: A nimble, high damage berserker that wields two-handed weapons, but has low defense and starts a fight with long attack wind-ups.
  • The Dwarf: A Dual Wielding Pint-Sized Powerhouse that can pick up and throw objects or enemies with his massive strength, but has low range, bad aerials, and slow movement.
  • The Elf: An Archer with an assortment of special skills to help her adapt to any situation, but low offense and defense.
  • The Fighter: A fully armored high defense warrior that can shield himself and the rest of the party. Also has a fast swinging sword, albeit with limited range.
  • The Wizard: Specializes in powerful offensive magic, but moves slow, casts slow and has to heavily rely on his mana pool for nearly every one of his skills.
  • The Sorceress: Support character that uses dark magic to control skeletons, turn enemies into frogs, and make food for allies.

These six are joined by Rannie, a thief who'll open chests and doors for you, and Tiki, a fairy friend who will help lead the heroes to possible secrets and point them in the right direction.

For similar Beat Em Ups and Action Adventure games set in a High Fantasy world, see Gauntlet, Golden Axe, The King of Dragons, and Guardian Heroes.


Tropes in Dragon's Crown include:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Averted until recently as you are limited to level 35 until you beat the final boss which raises the cap to 65 and later 99, and bosses increase in level on higher difficulties. Played straight in a recent update where you can unlock Ultimate Difficulty and a 255 level cap after beating the bonus dungeon.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The long, messy fight with the Wraith, and the Red Dragon if you choose to exit its chamber.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: One level has you escaping down a river of lava from a giant wall of lava flying towards you.
  • Alien Lunch: Some of the ingredients for the cooking minigame come from slain bosses, allowing you to prepare all sorts of savory meals from your fallen foes, such as Killer Rabbit Stew, Red Dragon Steaks, and Sauteed Demon Heart.
  • All There in the Manual/World Building: The art gallery has flavor text that provides additional backstory to the game.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Several quests involve well-meaning folk who try to domesticate or otherwise communicate with baby monsters raised away from the influence of their monstrous parents. Pretty much all of them end up getting eaten.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Unlike other Vanillaware titles, the characters lack animations for switching hands when they turn while idle.
  • An Adventurer Is You: All the standard classes are available for your dungeon adventure.
    • The Tank: The armor and shield equipped Fighter
    • The Scrapper: The dual hammer wielding Dwarf.
    • The Archer: The Elf, firing arrows from afar.
    • The Status Effect Guy: The curse casting Sorceress
    • The Nuker: The giant elemental spell casting Wizard
    • The Blademaster: The two-handed axe wielding Amazon.
  • Ancient Artifact: The eponymous Dragon's Crown supposedly has the ability to control dragons. It turns out the power of the crown was only metaphorical.
  • Anti-Grinding: Loot that you receive is roughly equal to your level, regardless of the difficulty setting it was acquired on. The Ancient Dragon always gives nine S Rank items and can be killed incredibly quickly, especially on normal, once a player knows the fight. To prevent abusing these facts, you need to reacquire the nine talismans after every kill before you're able to fight the Ancient Dragon again.
  • Ass Kicks You: An unarmed Amazon replaces her downward slam with a downward butt smash, which, all things considered, is not at all surprising.
  • Asteroids Monster: Large Myconids will split into two smaller Myconids when killed. Take care of them quickly, or else they'll grow large.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Ancient Dragon and the Demon King, the latter is so big you don't even see his whole body.
  • Author Appeal: If previous Vanillaware titles such as Odin Sphere and Muramasa The Demon Blade had you questioning whether or not George Kamitani has a thing for huge boobs and muscular women, the Amazon and Sorceress classes will put those questions to rest.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Wizard's Meteor Swarm spell. Quite possibly the strongest attack available to the player, but its short range and long casting time make it very difficult to pull off.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: The Demon King is played up to be a massive threat, only for it to be defeated with ease before it can break free from its bindings in the demon realm. His replacement, the Archdemon, won't go down so easily.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Sorceress can turn enemies into frogs.
  • Bara Genre: This image showing three possible colors for the Dwarf. Though according to the artist it's actually more of a Take That at retail partners, who only wanted pin-up art of the female characters.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The doom beetle boss is, as it name suggests, a giant creepy beetle monster. There are also giant spiders and worms to contend with.
  • Big Eater: Everyone in the party, if their campfire dialogue is any indication.
    Dwarf: I'm gonna eat MORE!
    Fighter: I'll have...ninths!
  • Beat 'em Up: Influenced by various arcade Beat-Em-Ups of the past.
  • Bladder of Steel: On the PS3 version, you cannot pause your game during the dungeon segments, even with the PS button. On the Vita version, however, you can, because the Vita's PS button is used for app-switching, which freezes the game in-progress.
  • Blob Monster: Slimes, which can rapidly grow and split and are immune to most attacks. Kill It with Fire.
  • Body Horror: If the art is anything to go by, Medusa's transformation into the snake woman of legend wasn't pleasant.
  • Bonus Boss: The Demon King in the Labyrinth of Chaos.
  • Bowdlerize: On the back of the NA box art, the placement of the screenshots and the Wizard conveniently blocks the views of the Sorceress (from the shoulders down) and the Amazon's chest and butt, respectively. The Amazon's boobs are also clearly Photoshopped out on the back of the box, making her chest seem to end abruptly in a straight line.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: On Infernal Difficulty the player will seldom encounter a pirate mook with dark clothing and a red sword(dubbed by the fans as Assassin), not only do they have an obscene amount of health, they hit hard enough to kill in a couple of hits, teleport all over the place, attack with blinding speed, can throw webs to paralyze you and they can fricking BACK-STAB for massive damage. To add insult to injury they tend to appear in dark rooms in the Labyrinth of Chaos, making them nearly invisible.
  • Bottomless Bladder: While there is a limit to how many foods you can carry, you can eat as many foods as possible without feeling full in each stage.
  • Breakable Weapons: Once the endurance meter on a weapon runs out, it becomes unusable. At least until you take it in for repair at Morgan's.
  • invoked Broken Base: In-Universe incarnation. A sect of the Morneon religion called the Hell Evangelists focuses on only seeking spirituality and enlightenment from black magic rather than trying to use said magic to Take Over the World, as the rest of the religion is wont to do. Within that sect, however, is a schism between those that don't believe in achieving anything, simply not caring for morals and decency, and the rest of the Hell Evangelists. Due to the existence of this schism, the kingdom of Hydeland can't foresee anything good coming from working alongside the Evangelists.
  • Category Traitor: Subverted in the Elf's ending, where it's revealed that before she left, the elves of her forest really didn't trust outsiders and most have never seen a human. The Elf, however, had always wanted to venture out, meet people, and have grand adventures, which made her a social outcast among her peers. After she kills the ancient dragon, she returns to her forest, worried about her treatment from the other elves worsening because she's been with dwarves and humans, but is surprised to find that she's treated very well by them. The elf king even dubs her "Crown Regent" and is relieved, because he was supposed to be the one to leave the forest to kill the dragon.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Some of the bosses are Greco-Roman mythical creatures: Harpies, The Minotaur, Chimeras, Medusa and the Golem (who's based on Talos).
    • Some of the side-quests are references to myths:
      • One quest requires you to kill the Minotaur within 2 minutes to same some children sacrificed to the beast by orcs, with one of them using a string to track an escape path. A clear Homage to Theseus and the Minotaur.
      • the art and associated fluff for the spinning wheel quest. A woman named Arachne found a divine magic carpet and strove to make something of equal quality, her attempts anger the gods and she is turned into a spider-centaur for her efforts. Despite newfound humility, her work continues to anger the gods. This is a definite reference to the Myth of Arachne, with a few deviations.
      • The art for the quest that requires you to sink your boat in The Lost Woods mentions a beautiful mermaid that was turned into Scylla by a jealous witch. Not a direct homage since Charybdis isn't shown or mentioned (though there are small whirlpools in that section of the woods), but Scylla comes from The Odyssey which also has a witch named Circe who kept Odysseus around for several years. The differences lie in that Scylla wasn't even interested in Odysseus (instead taking 6 of his men) and that the witch cursed the mermaid because they were in a Love Triangle and she wanted the man all for herself (also, the witch gave the man amnesia).
      • The only difference between this game's Medusa and the mythical Medusa is that this Medusa was cursed because she had been bringing men into Althena's temple. In the original myth, Medusa was said to have been trying to escape from a man by hiding in Athena's temple. Unfortunately, it didn't work, and he rapes her in the temple, causing Athena to curse Medusa for having brought a man into her temple. Similarly, Crown!Medusa has sisters like the original, but they aren't mentioned by name and only show up in an art piece, trying to console Medusa while she's transforming into a Snake Person.
    • Even the names of the goddesses are corrupted names for Greco-Roman goddesses (Althena=Athena, Jula=Juno and Vernas=Venus)
  • Convection Schmonvection: The radiant heat from a cave filled with a river of fire would light you and your clothes on fire in seconds.
  • Cool Airship: The goblins were planning to build one, but you put a stop to their plans. You earn artwork of what it would look like when you turn in the quest.
  • Cool Helmet: The Fighter's silver helmet with bull horns, and the Dwarf's own winged skullcap.
  • Crazy Homeless Person: A deranged beggar can be found behind Canaan Temple after clearing the Orc Fortress. He is utterly mad and destitute, barely acknowledging any alms he is given and constantly babbling in a long dead language. He's actually Wallace, the magician that betrayed Lucain.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Harpies and vampires combine feminine faces and torsos with otherwise monstrous bodies. The vampires are overall more humanoid than the harpies, however. In this game, a harpy looks less like an average proportioned woman with talons for legs and wings for arms and more like a giant bird of prey that has a woman's torso for a head.
    • There are even more cute monster girls to be found in the art gallery — everything from succubi to an adorable banshee to Scylla, Arachne and even a harpy inflicting Marshmallow Hell on some poor bewitched knight.
  • Cute Witch: Lima Ray, a powerful child witch that unified the goblins when she was alive. The goblins respected her power so much that they worshiped her as a goddess.
  • Cyclops: The giants from myth are faced as bosses, escaping from a prison the magician Wallace created just to hold them. You have to kill at least two while trying to lock the gate of the prison, otherwise more cyclopses will join the fight.
  • Death Is Cheap: The Canaan Church can resurrect NPCs from mere piles of bones for a few coins. You also bring Lucian back with this mechanic.
  • Dem Bones: You have to fight through armies of reanimated skeletons, among other monsters. The Sorceress can also summon skeletons to fight for her.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The Ghost Ship Cove combines this with Gangplank Galleon, as you fight through waves of the dead, pirates, and possibly a giant squid.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: You can use the cursor to click on the NPCs you encounter as long as a menu is present and no narration is playing. Most of the time, clicking on specific parts of the NPC's body will yield some extra information about them. Rarely, the NPC will visually react to being touched.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Beating the Ancient Dragon.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Ancestors of dragons at least. You can find some raptors that are stated be the ancestors of dragons. Fitting the theme, the red dragon has a head like Tyrannosaurs-Rex.
  • Doppelgänger: The Shapshifter enemies, who resemble gelled humanoids with translucent skin (thus exposing their organs and other features). They transform into any character they hit and will attack using that character's skills.
  • Don't Think. Feel: A piles of bones may have the quote "I didn't feel, I thought."
  • Double Jump: It seems like everyone can do one, even the clunky fighter in his full plate. The agile Elf can practically cross the screen with hers.
  • Draconic Humanoid: You earn artwork of a female one of these. The quest in question reveals that certain persons had been attempting to fuse man with dragon, which is noted to be an affront to the natural order of things.
  • The Dragon: The Arch Demon, to the Demon King.
  • Dragon Hoard: The Dragon boss is fought in a cave full of gold and other treasures it's gathered.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The primary place where pummeling happens.
  • Dying Race: The dark elves, due to their heavily antisocial nature making them easy targets for other races. They still exist, but are few in number and the game notes that without a large central population, they will lose their unique culture and customs as the generations pass.
    • The Dwarf's ending reveals his own race to be this due to the Ancient Dragon slaughtering many Dwarfs and chasing them from their home. His victory, however, saves them from extinction.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Ancient Dragon, stated to be as old as the gods and was sealed away in the Illusionary Lands as a fossil to keep it away from the world, and when it awakens it will have power over all magic and be unstoppable. Even not fully awakened, you need to weaken it with the nine talismans to stand a chance against it.
  • Eldritch Location: The Gazer homeworld, with it's bizarre geometry, flora and fauna.
  • Endangered Species: The dwarves became this after being cast out of their underground kingdom by the ancient dragon, which had slaughtered most of their race.
  • Enemy Mine: Your main adversaries from Bolga were willing to put aside their differences with you in order to slay the killer rabbit.
  • Escort Mission: In the Castle of the Dead, you can rescue three villagers, who you then have to keep safe for the rest of the stage, including the boss battle. They can be turned into hostile vampires if they're killed during the boss fight, but are surprisingly durable and tend to avoid trouble when possible. In a later boss fight, you also get to bodyguard a giant animated golem from smaller pests so it can reach and battle the enemy golem boss, though it's durable enough for you to mostly ignore on the first two difficulties.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Food derived from slain bosses can be eaten at the Campfire minigame. You haven't lived until you've tried sauteed demon's heart, or killer rabbit stew!
  • Fake Difficulty: Aside from the dragons, the bosses aren't that hard. The mooks they summon are the real threat.
  • Fake Longevity: In order to defeat the ancient dragon, you need to go through every level's B path to collect the nine talismans before fighting the final boss. You're then told to do this twice more, once per additional difficulty.
  • Fanservice: Aside from the player characters, there are plenty of art to be earned that utilizes this trope, usually invoking Buxom Is Better.note 
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Wizard and Sorceress weapons utilize these elements. Each also has their own Standard Status Effects: fire inflicts burn to deplete enemy HP, lightning inflicts stun that temporarily dizzies enemies, and ice inflict freeze to hold enemies in place for a few seconds.
  • Flunky Boss: Several bosses do this, with few that don't:
    • The golem boss is protected by a endless swarm of demonic creatures and bomb wielding goblins, instead of fighting himself.
    • The Gargoyle Gate is the epitome of this- it attacks occasionally and doesn't move horizontally, but many Mooks will keep on appearing to attack you until the gate falls.
    • The Wyvern will summon weaker female wyverns to attack you once its health gets low.
    • The Kraken uses its tentacles to attack and block damage. Lizardmen will also appear during the fight.
    • Carrion worms will appear when facing the Doom Beetle, and turn themselves into a cocoon. If the cocoon is not killed in time, a weaker Doom Beetle will come out to harass you!
    • The Warlock, Wraith and Ancient Dragon will summon undead minions during their fights. The Arch Demon will summon demonic Mooks during his fight.
    • Medusa's hair will spawn snake minions very often.
    • On Hard Mode and higher, the Minotaur can cause orcs to appear.
  • Food Porn: If there's one thing George Kamitani likes as much as muscles, butts, and boobs, it's food. The preorder bonus artbook has a two-page spread of all the delicious-looking stuff you can cook up at your campsite. Then there's a big minigame for cooking all kinds of stuff.
  • Gainaxing: Both the Sorceress (obviously) and the Amazon, as well every other buxom female in the game.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Certain bones contain characters with hacked stats (basically, parameters that are not possible at all). There are reports saying that resurrecting or burying them will cause your game to freeze.
  • Gender-Blender Name: NPC allies have randomly generated names assigned to them upon picking up their remains. While the game is usually good about assigning names appropriately, you'll occasionally get things like a Sorceress named Abner or a Dwarf named Kimberly.
  • Genie in a Bottle: The pirates fought as a boss set one after the player, who poses much more of a threat than the pirates when attacking the player, but the player can grab the lamp and cause the genie to attack them.
  • Genre Throwback: Vanillaware's love letter to all the classic High Fantasy games of the past.
  • Giant Squid: One level has a giant squid attacking you on the stormy seas.
  • Ground Pound: Most characters can slam their weapon into the ground to create a shockwave that knocks most surrounding enemies off their feet.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: You fight a seemingly innocent white bunny, amidst a pile of dead bodies, and it can easily kill you with a single attack by crushing your skull, let alone its combo attack, Goomba Stomp, and whirlwind.
  • Hellhound: One of the enemies. You also do a sidequest involving them and encounter an NPC who almost experienced death at the hand of themnote .
  • High Fantasy: A tale of armor clad heroes, wizards, witches, Dwarves, Elves, and Amazons fighting through a dungeon full of undead monsters and other mythical creatures.
  • Horny Devils: Harpies tend to use charm magic to lure unsuspecting men into their nests to eat (and possibly mate with) them. Vampires count as well. In a subquest, actual incubi and succubi attempt to seduce a devout man into sin via his dreams.
  • Hybrid Monster: The first boss is a harpy, which combines a woman's body with a bird's wings and talons. One boss is a three-headed chimera made out of a lion, a goat and an eagle, with a snake for a tail.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: You eat the food you pick as soon as you stop moving, provided your health is in need of it. Not only does food recover HP, it'll boost your HP above its maximum if you already have full health.
  • Ill Girl: The Wizard's ending reveals that he had a sister that was suffering from some unknown pain-inducing sickness that was going to inevitably take her life. In his arrogance, as he was a younger magician at the time, his attempt to save her using magic beyond his comprehension resulted in her being put in limbo: a state between life and death. Distraught, he traveled the world searching for a way to correct his mistakes and truly save his sister's life.
  • Inspirational Martyr:A princess is considered one when she is believed to have sacrificed herself to the Red Dragon long ago in order to pacify it. This caused her to be revered as a goddess among certain groups in the land, which causes a schism between her followers and the Church of the Goddesses that has been present through most of the game, which doesn't accept the worship of anyone other than the goddess. Unfortunately, while she had nothing to do with the Morneon religion at the time, proof that she existed spurred the religion into revering her as well.
  • Interspecies Romance: A harpy can charm a man into falling in love with her, usually to eat the poor guy when he's most vulnerable. There are also tales of humans and mermaids falling in love with one another.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Giving Prince Dean the Royal Scepter when he asks for it instead of putting up a fight will result in you being locked up in the dungeon for months. You end up entreating the goddesses for a show of mercy, which they answer by rewinding time and placing you right back outside the castle, before returning the scepter to the prime minister.
  • Killer Rabbit: One of the bosses. See Hair-Raising Hare above.
    • You earn artwork of a trio of baby harpies that scientists raised in an attempt to communicate with the species. The harpies end up eating the scientists.
  • Kill It with Fire: The ghosts' Weaksauce Weakness. You don't even need to attack them when you have a torch. The same goes for slimes, which can only be harmed by fire.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: One of the bosses is a giant squid called the Kraken, which had been terrorizing the seas until you come along and take care of it.
  • Left Hanging: Unlike the other characters' endings, the Wizard's ending stops before it reveals whether or not the elixir made from the ancient dragon's blood restored his sister to life.
  • Lethal Lava Land: One level has you carpet-riding down a river of lava. The Chimera boss finds this out the hard way if you take to long to kill it.
  • Living Legend: Once you restore all of the Goddesses to power, the narration declares that your character will become a legend whose tale is passed down through the generations, the same as the Goddesses' legends were in your time.
  • Lost Forever: You can permanently lose your Back from the Dead NPC adventurers if you don't pay for their revival after they lose all their lives.
  • The Lost Woods: One of the labyrinths. Gameplay-wise, you actually can't get lost here, but according to the narrator you are already lost as the stage begins.
  • Luck Stat: Determines your chance of Critical Hit and avoiding attacks. The Sorceress has the highest while the Wizard has the lowest.
  • MacGuffin: The eponymous "Dragon's Crown", a legendary and powerful treasure that gives you an excuse to travel through a monster-infested dungeon. Also, the nine talismans that you have to gather in order to damage the ancient dragon.
  • Magic Carpet: The heroes get to ride a flying carpet through the air in a couple of levels.
  • Magic Staff: The Wizard and Sorceress can use their staffs to fire blasts of energy and cast other magic.
  • Magnet Hands: Averted with the melee characters, who all have an ability called Power Smash that lets them smash their weapons into the ground, creating a powerful shockwave, lodging them into the ground and allowing them to fight barehanded. Because of this mechanic, any powerful attack from a foe can cause the heroes to drop their weapons for a short period, weakening them unless certain skills that boost the power of barehanded attacks are taken. The Elf, Wizard, and Sorceress play the trope straight however, as they lack a Power Smash (the button is instead used for their ranged attacks).
  • Medusa: One of the bosses in the game. She can drop snakes from her hair and, of course, petrify you, but she also has the ability to fire lasers out of her eyes to fake you out or bait you into looking at her when she tries her petrification gaze.
  • Mini-Game: If you chose to continue "adventuring"note  instead of returning to town after clearing one of three specific stages, you will get to partake in a bonus game where you prepare and eat food at a campfire. The more you cook and eat, the higher your score and stat bonuses.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: You'll face a chimera, which is so large that it can't move in the small room it's released in. It fights back by utilizing poison, ice, fire, and lightning. You also have owlbears, which are exactly what you'd expect from the name.note 
  • Mood Whiplash: A few of the sidequests like setting up your expectations via the quest dialogue and the resulting artwork you get for completing the quest, then turning those expectations upside-down when you read about the aftermath of those quests.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Amazon and Sorceress. Artists started fawning over them as soon their character art got revealed, years before the game was even released.
  • Mushroom Man: The Myconid enemies.
  • Narrator: The story and background is regularly described, voice actor and all, and you are always referred to in second person, really giving the vibe of yonder pen and paper RPGs, complete with a Game Master. You can even have the player characters substitute for the regular narrator, provided you have the appropriate DLC.
    • Alternatively, you can buy narrator voices for characters you beat the game with in Lucain's shop...for a million in gold each.
  • Nice Hat: The Sorceress's pointy black wizard hat. Lucain has a suitable blue variant.
  • Oculothorax: The Gazer boss, based off of D&D's Beholders. It not only has a single giant eye that can fire Eye Beams, it also has multiple eye stalks that protrude from its body and the rest of its body is covered in eyes.
  • One-Gender Race: Harpies and mermaids.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Killer Rabbit gains one when it Turns Red. It will charge up a red aura and jump at a character. If this connects, an x-ray of a skull cracking appears, and the character takes their Maximum Health in damage. It's survivable if their health is greater then the maximum, however.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: To go down the list:
    • Our Banshees Are Louder: A woman's wail can be heard in the Ancient Temple Ruins. It's said to be a banshee, mourning the deaths of those who lost their lives within the ruins' walls.
    • Our Demons Are Different: They were once angels that were punished by the gods because they gave humanity abilities they weren't ready for at the time (humans used them for war). Afterwards, humans started referring to them with the "devil/demon" moniker and the angels embraced their evil characterization as part of an act of rebellion against the gods. However, it's implied that the demons actually hold as much of a grudge against humanity (for abusing their gifts) as they do for the gods.
    • Our Dragons Are Different: There are apparently two varieties, the regular red dragons that are mostly standard firebreathing lizards the size of a large truck that like hoard treasure and believed to be the most powerful creatures in the world. The Ancient Dragon is very different. It's a creature the size of a building as old as the gods and had to be sealed off in the Illusionary Lands to protect the world from it, and when awakened it has control over all forms of magic, making escaping from its prison a simple task and will render it unstoppable if it every fully awakens.
    • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: They're short, live underground, and are built like tanks.
    • Our Giants Are Bigger: The Cyclops boss, who are not all that big compared other bosses.
    • Our Homunculi Are Different: They can only live in the container that they were created in, otherwise they would rapidly decompose.
    • Harping On About Harpies: They're huge man-eating birds that have upper bodies like female humans. They mate with male humans to produce children, then later eat the men. They're Always Chaotic Evil, as an attempt to raise some of their chicks led to the people trying getting eaten.
  • Palette Swap: You can chose different premade color palettes for your adventurer, to help differentiate him/her from other ones. The NPC adventurers that you can bring along will automatically have a different color based on whether you're using one of the same class and how many similar adventurers exist in the recruitment roster or party.
  • Panthera Awesome: The saber-toothed cats, huge cats size cars you can ride and have them bite things.
  • Pirate: You get to fight through group of these guys in Ghost Ship Cove.
  • Pirate Girl: Anna Bonnie is the only female pirate mentioned in-game (the pirates you fight are all male). She's said to have killed a kraken with only a knife, among other amazing feats, making her a legend among sailors, fishermen, and pirates.
  • Playable Epilogue: After beating the Ancient Dragon for the first time and finishing the main storyline, one of the three goddesses appears before you and tells you that there are two more ancient dragons that need to be slain, which have been awake for longer than the one you defeated and are thus much stronger. And then there is also the Labyrinth of Chaos...
  • Plot Coupon: To defeat the Ancient Dragon, you need nine talismans to weaken it enough to be able to hurt it. Without them, you don't stand a chance.
  • Point-and-Click: One of the major elements of dungeon crawling is the ability to move a cursor around in real time while you explore, allowing you to direct Ronnie to pick locks and doors, poke around for bits of extra treasure squirreled away in the background, or cast temporary rune spells.
  • Power Up Mount: Certain levels and quests will allow you to ride these after subduing them. These include large, saber-toothed black panthers and fire-breathing basilisk dragons.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The artwork for Lima Ray, the witch worshiped by the goblins as a god, has her surrounded by six goblins. These six happen to resemble (disregarding size differences) four of the playable classes in the game, as well as having two goblins that are stand-ins for Tiki and Rannie.note 
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A Fighter, an Elf, an Amazon, a Dwarf, a Sorceress and a Wizard head out to find a mystical treasure and save the world from certain doom.
  • Religion of Evil: The Morneon religion, who seek to dominate the world via contracts with demons and attempts to raise powerful dragons. However, there are some factions of the religion that are only in it for the spiritual side and are simply seeking to expand on their knowledge of the intricacies of black magic.
  • Remove The Rival: A quest involves a man who has amnesia having recurring dreams about a crying woman at the bottom of a lake after he was somehow saved from drowning in that same lake. He would investigate, but his wife absolutely refuses to let him go. Clearing the quest reveals that the "woman" the man was dreaming about is an otherworldly abomination that was originally a beautiful mermaid. The man had fallen in love with her and asked a witch to cast a spell so that they could be together. The witch, having been smitten by the man herself, instead cast a spell that warped the mermaid into a monster and wiped the man's memory, after which the witch took him as her husband. The mermaid monster is still waiting at the lake for the chance that the witch and her lover may return to it.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The rabbit, at first. Also, the art of the harpy chicks.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Left by some sort of Greco-Roman civilization.
  • Rush Boss: The Killer Rabbit has low health for a boss, but it does very painful damage and stuns with its biting and repeated stomp attacks, and it gains a One-Hit Kill when low on health.
  • Scenery Porn: Backgrounds are full of Greco-Roman ruins, picturesque hills and so forth.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Ancient Dragon and the Demon King. The former serves as the final boss of the main storyline and the latter serves as the Bonus Boss in the Labyrinth of Chaos.
  • She's Got Legs: The Amazon and the Sorceress have outfits that show off their bare legs.
  • Ship Tease: Some official art features the Dwarf and the Elf spending time together. Which is pretty notable, as the two races aren't usually depicted as being capable of getting along all that well in other works of fiction.
  • Shout-Out/Reference Overdosed:
    • One of the enemies is a Gazer, seemingly based on the Beholders from Dungeons & Dragons
    • Roland the Brave looks suspiciously like Conan the Barbarian, complete with a descriptive comment of how he 'knows what is best in life'.
    • There's a ton of Disney references:
      • Rickey, the Magician's Apprentice, a dancing mouse wearing a blue wizards hat is a reference to Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia.
      • Tiki the Fairy has the blond hair and green dress of Tinkerbell from Disney's Peter Pan.
      • And she flies in front of Atlus's logo, echoing Tinkelbell's use as one of Disney's mascots and more specifically, the opening of an old TV show used to promote Disneyland.
      • In the Mages Tower's A-route, you outrun a lava wave on a magic flying carpet, referencing the Cave of Wonders escape in Aladdin. If you manage to not burn your carpet away, you're even rewarded a golden chest on a pedestal bathed in light, just like the Genie's Magic Lamp in the movie.
      • Another Aladdin lies in a quest where you must use the Genie's Lamp, an item available during the Pirate gang boss-fight, 3 times. When you turn in the quest the artwork reveals that the genie wished for freedom. Even without the quest, his wish was implied by the Narrator mention he granted a wish (his own) and flew off.
    • Lucain resembles a blue version of Gandalf.
      • The Fighter's ending reveals that he did something with the One Ring.
      • Red Dragon sleeping in a pile of gold anyone?
      • Ancient Dragon drove out Dwarves from their hometown?
    • The Forgotten Sanctuary dungeon is based on artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "Tower of Babel" paintings. Which were also the basis for the tower in Magic Sword: Heroic Fantasy, an old and vaguely similar arcade game by Capcom.
    • The skeleton enemies, and the Wights by extension, use the same weapons as those seen in Jason and the Argonauts.
    • The Golem boss, from the Forsaken Sanctuary's A-route, is a huge bronze statue inspired by the Jason and the Argonauts version of Talos.
    • Magic shop owner Morgan Lisley is inspired by Princess Teegra from the animated film Fire and Ice.
    • The Sorceress has drawn comparisons to Dragon Quest VIII's Jessica, another buxom magic-user with an Impossibly-Low Neckline. She also has an Idle Animation where she gives an Aside Glance and shakes her breasts for no apparent reason, which is exactly what Kongiku, another exaggeratedly busty Vanillaware character, did whenever she was just standing around.
    • The Amazon bares resemblance to both Tyris Flare, of Golden Axe fame, and, considering the Chainmail Bikini, Red Sonja. She also looks like a more stylized blonde version of the Female Warrior from Dragon Quest III, minus the traditional helmet. Additionally, like the Sorceress to Kongiku, the Amazon's focus on her ass is similar to Yuzuruha's focus on the same in her artwork.
    • A few nods are given to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. You can fight the Killer Rabbit in the Lost Woods' B-route, a reference to the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, which you can also throw bombs at near the end of the fight, referencing the Holy Hand Grenade. The hermit that tells you about it is based on Tim the Enchanter.
      • In Japan, the Killer Rabbit is called the "Vorpal Rabbit", a reference to the Wizardry series.
    • The fight against the Ancient Dragon borrows elements from the fight against the original red dragon in Dungeons & Dragon: Tower of Doom. It also borrows elements from the Mana Beast fight in Secret of Mana.
    • The purple riding raptors are based on a similar mount in Golden Axe.
    • The Dark Elf Beastmaster artwork is inspired by Frank Frazetta's Huntress painting.
    • The bone piles you find throughout the game have messages that reference various internet memes.
    • If you complete the Vampire quest, you get an Ayami Kojima-styled painting of a vampire hunter who looks like Castlevania's Alucard.
    • When you kill Medusa, her body itself turns to stone. This also happened to the Medusa in Castle Crashers. She also drops snakes from her hair in a manner similar to the Queen Medusa Head from the first Castlevania game.
    • There's a quest called "Must Love Hellhounds", which is a reference to common phrase found in some personal ads.note  It also references an Animal Planet show called "Must Love Cats". The quest involves a man looking to prove that hellhounds are just like any other dog.
    • A sidequest in the Castle of the Dead gets you a piece of art called "Dead Man's Party."
    • The "Honey Buzzards, Eaters of Wasps" gallery art is probably a shout-out to the Honey Badger web-video.
    • This might just be a coincidence, but The postgame includes a Bonus Level Of Hell with overpowered enemies well above the level cap for other RPGs and is abbreviated LoC. Now are we talking about the Labyrinth of Chaos or the Land of Carnage?
    • Resurrecting a dead adventurer treats you to a cutscene where several cherubs over the skeleton. One of the angels is holding a heart bringing to mind the Madonna of the Pomegranate while the soon-to-be-revived adventurer's skeleton, and the bed it's laid down upon, evoke Giuseppe Sanmartino The Veiled Christ.
    • Speaking of Christianity, the monk resembles a Franciscan Friar and is wearing a necklace that looks like the Virgin Mary, and holding a book that looks like The Bible.
    • A third Christian reference is Samuel Joseph, the guildmaster. He looks like a paladin/crusader and named for an Angel and Joseph of technicolor dreamcoat fame.
    • The way Rannie's English VA says "Oh, my~!" sounds quite a bit like George Takei.
  • Sidequest: The main purpose of the Guildmaster Samuel. In addition to the obvious monetary, exp, and skill point awards, the completion of each sidequest gives you some tidbits about the game's setting.
  • Spider People: You earn artwork of a weaving one named Arachne, whose work supposedly helped with the creation of the magic carpets you find.
  • Spiritual Successor: Though sharing no continuity, the game is meant to build off the ideas in Dungeons & Dragon: Tower of Doom, a game Dragon's Crown lead designer George Kamitani worked on in his youth.
  • The Starscream: The goblins, to the orcs. The goblins were planning to build a giant flying fortress, called the Sky Terror, to use against their orc allies, as well as to dominate the land.
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison, burning, dizziness, among others.
  • Stationary Boss: The Golem and the Kraken don't move from their spot. The Chimera is so big that it can't even stand up in its room. The Gargoyle Gate only moves vertically. The Demon Lord is also this.
  • Status Buff: Available from various potions and certain skills.
  • Super Reflexes: The buxom female villager and the child carrying the wine bottle will both sidestep out of the way if you try to hit them while in the town hub.
  • Sword and Sorcery: Complete with shifty-looking thieves and merchants, skeleton warriors, a Conan the Barbarian-looking dude, etc.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Most of the B route bosses have an unseen time limit (or otherwise limiting factor) that makes it possible to fail in getting their held talisman and treasure drop. For instance, the Kraken must be beaten before it manages to collapse the three pillars in its cave, otherwise the monster will escape in the resulting cave-in.
  • Title Drop: The legendary treasure the king, and eventually you, are out to find? The "Dragon's Crown".
  • Token Wholesome: Despite her Hartman Hips / Zettai Ryouki / Short Shorts / Thigh-High Boots, the Elf is the only one of the three female player characters with relatively little skin exposed.
    • Of the NPCs, the princess Vivian is this, being the only female "quest screen" NPC you can't interact with (aside from Tiki), meaning players won't be enticed to click on her chest like the others. She is also one of the few that avoids Stripperiffic clothing.note 
  • Too Dumb to Live: There are two notable cases in the sidequests:
    • One has a man who is trying to befriend a Hellhound and asks you to prove that they are harmless. Even after you come back with bites and burns from these fiendish dogs, he still thinks that they can be friends and sets off to find a hellpup for himself. Unsurprisingly, he goes missing.
    • In another, the Morneon cult thinks that by releasing the Cyclopes that were trapped in a cell, they can gain favor with the goddess of fertility who gave birth to them even though the cult has no way of communicating with the goddess or the Cyclopes. Unsurprisingly, their messenger who was sent to accomplish this task got killed by the Cyclopes the moment he opened the cell door.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Many physically focused male characters, like the Fighter and Dwarf, have tiny legs that should not be able to hold up the massive top halves of their bodies. Interestingly, the Dwarf's legs bulge every time he takes a step (similar to how his muscles bulge whenever he fights), serving to highlight this fact.
  • Tower of Babel: The Forgotten Sanctuary's backstory echoes the Babel mythology: in olden times, man tried to erect a tower to reach the realm of the gods, only for the gods to punish their arrogance by destroying the tower and leveling the surrounding city.
  • Two Roads Before You: A light version. After a certain point in the game, all the stages will gain "B" routes. These routes are sometimes shorter, but generally more dangerous than the original paths, particularly because the bosses all have at least one gimmick that could result in not killing them. In which case the game will say you found an exit and escaped.
  • The Unfought: Although you thwart the Morneon cult's scheme to awaken the ancient dragon, you never get to deal with the cult itself. Similarly, the enemy state of Bolga, despite its attempt to take over Hydeland through Prime Minister Gustaf, doesn't make any appearance in the game other than some gladiator enemies that pop up in few stages.
  • Unidentified Items: The game has loot acquired throughout stages that can be identified for a fee at the end of a stage or when you decide to return to town. If you fail to do it there, you can have Morgan appraise the items at her shop.
  • Vancian Magic: You can buy disposable magic attacks that come in the form of simple rings, or more powerful scrolls.
  • Vapor Wear: The captured spirit you encounter later in the game is wearing a very translucent cloth over her naked body. The only thing preventing her chest from being exposed are the folds in the cloth. The witch Morgan also qualifies, as well as the vampires and kidnapped girls in the Castle of the Dead.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can dash into and knock over the villager carrying the apple bag walking around in the town hub (who will call you out on it if you do), as well as attack Rannie and other adventurers with you. You can also turn adventurer remains into skeleton minions as the Sorceress, which can be especially cruel if one of the messages tells you not to turn them into a skeleton.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Incidentally, knocking down the villager mentioned above too often will get you thrown in jail.
  • Video Game Dashing: The Fighter and Sorceress can both fly forward across the ground or through the air to get closer to enemies.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The flamethrowers only hit directly in front of you and deal pitiful amounts of damage. Their only real use aside from tricking the AI into using it is to damage ghosts...who are also damaged and stunlocked by merely holding a torch near them. Torches have a fixed spawn in every room ghosts appear in.
  • Video Game Lives: Justified In-Universe as an act of the goddess that revives you. Lose them all and you'll need to pay a fee to continue. If you fail to revive an assist character after he/she loses all of his/her lives, you'll lose that character. The fight with the Ancient Dragon prevents the goddesses from reaching you, meaning that if you run out of lives even once, you'll have to start the entire fight over.
    • Although in-game this is accomplished by the fact that there is no way to acquire money before or during the dragon fight, since money is used to revive fallen characters.
  • Villain Teleportation: Enemy wizards can warp all over the room, while your teleportation abilities are limited to straight lines forwards and back.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Gazer, fought before the game's mid-way point and is necessary to open the ability to play online, is much more difficult that the previous boss fights in game when you first encounter it, especially for players that just mash through most bosses, which is a tactic this one actively tries to prevent. Most of the Gazer's attacks hit a wide area around itnote , which is especially bad news since the area you fight it in is relatively small. Moreover, it hardly enters a stunned state, teleports around the room, and locks out your ability to use magic if it's looking in your direction, meaning solo mages will have a harder time dealing with it. If you're used to using your NPC party members to sponge the bosses, expect to see them die multiple times.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Morgan threatens you if you click on her breasts. Clicking anywhere on the nude chained spirit aside from her shackles will cause the spirit to react suggestively, while you get dialogue that tells you that Tiki is "judging" you.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Several of these, including the pirates and vampires.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: The story begins at an inn, where you and Rannie recount how you met each other.
Grand Knights HistoryCreator/Vanillaware    
Double Dragon NeonBeat 'em UpDungeon Fighter Online
DonPachiCreator/AtlusDrone Tactics
DokuroUsefulNotes/Play Station VitaDream C Club
DokuroUsefulNotes/The Eighth Generation of Console Video GamesFace Raiders
NieRHack and SlashDungeons & Dragons
Demon GazeCreator/Nippon IchiEtrian Odyssey
Dark SaviorAction RPGDragon's Dogma

alternative title(s): Dragons Crown
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