After making the first two Lunar
games, Game Arts developed Grandia
. It was originally released for the Sega Saturn
in Japan in 1997, but the Saturn version was never released in the west due to the system's poor sales. The game was ported to the PlayStation
two years later, and this version localized and released by SCEA in the US and by Ubisoft
in Europe. It remains the best-selling entry in the series.
It's the Age of Exploration
, and aspiring adventurer/local pest Justin is itching to leave the mining town of Parm and pick up where his late father left off: Finding the ancient civilization of the Icarians. Along with his stalwart childhood friend Sue, the two teens perform enough favours around town to finally earn a seat on the steam liner destined for the great unknown.
Unfortunately for them, it happens to be the age of exploration Brought to You by Disney
. The adventurers' trade is heavily regulated, with every crook, shakedown artist, and bureaucrat in the western hemisphere barring access to the New World. There's also the Garlyle Forces, a private army originally established to make the frontier safe, but whose incredible technological advantage
(no doubt due to their plunder of Icarian relics) has resulted in a suffocating security state
. Which is quite handy for them in case their top General decides to... oh, lose his goddamn mind
Being primarily aimed at children, the plot makes no efforts to be ground-breaking. Hot-Blooded
protagonist with red hair and blue clothes? Check. Ancient civilization? Check. Save the girl? Take a guess. Tropes Are Not Bad
, of course. Some enjoy the plot, as it makes interesting use of the Motifs
of the "End of the World"
(no, not that one
) and adventurers, the protagonist is a great example of an aversion of The Chosen One
, and the whole cast of characters is a textbook example of good Character Development
in action. It also does an unusually good job of making the world seem like it's actually unexplored, whereas most RPGs
have a map which rarely exceeds Baby Planet
Provides Examples Of:
- Accidental Pervert: Justin accidentally grabs a handful of Feena in Ghost Ship.
- He also accidentally stumbles on Saki, Mio and Nana when they are changing clothes.
- Action Girl: Feena is one when you meet her on your trip to New Parm. She's also on equal ground with Justin as a melee fighter and has fire magic to boot! She undergoes some Chickification by mid CD 2, but recovers towards the End Game, although she is surpassed as a melee fighter and her attributes grow towards magic, making her the second best mage in the game, maybe the best if you count her plot related spells.
- Action Mom: It's also stated that Lily, Justin's mother, was a pirate who first met his father when they clashed swords.
- All in a Row: How the other party members follow Justin.
- All Myths Are True: Justin's driving force for much of the game is his belief that Alent is a real place, and that he can get there somehow. He's right.
- Ancient Astronauts: It turns out Icarians were space-faring people, and Alent was sent into orbit to avoid being destroyed by Gaia.
- And Man Grew Proud: There are few cutscenes in the game, but most of them consist of Gaia ruining Angelo's collective shit.
- Appease the Volcano God: AT one town, the party stumbles upon a party, that sends them to be sacrificed to a dragon living in a volcano.
- Arc Words: "End of the World". Used as a physical location, a hypothetical event, and the name of the strongest spell in the game.
- Armies Are Evil: Originally a security detachment for the Joule Foundation, the Garlyle Forces now control the excavations, hoard ancient technology, and even withhold the revelation about "The End of the World" being a myth.
- Art Initiates Life: Liete's Magical Art spell.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: General Baal and his son Mullen.
- An Axe to Grind: Justin and Milda use them.
- Babies Ever After: In the ending, an older Sue goes to meet up with Justin and Feena after having not seen them in years- and finds they've got bizz-ay!
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Milda's village where males are (barely) anthropomorphic cows and females are humanoids with pointy ears.
- Bonus Boss: Lord's Ghost, Kung Fu Master and Leviathan.
- Bonus Dungeon: Castle of Dreams, Soldier's Grave and Tower of Temptation.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Sue.
- Brutal Bonus Level: The Tower of Temptation is pure hell. The rewards are WORTH IT, though.
- Can't Drop the Hero: Justin is present in all of the game's battles.
- Captain Ersatz: Nana, Saki and Mio share similarities with Hikaru, Umi and Fuu.
- Chaste Hero: Justin; that romantic moment that's trying to happen midway through the game on the ocean? It takes Justin a phenomenal amount of time to realize what's going on, and by the time he (probably?) does (or at least seems to be trying to attempt a 'come on' himself), they're interrupted.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Justin, of which Feena disapproves a couple times.
- Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: The End of the World.
- Clipped Wing Angel: Final Boss: First form, heavy hitter. Second form, dispenses meangingless status effects.
- Cognizant Limbs: About 90 % of the bosses have these.
- Combat Tentacles: This is what General Baal is hiding under his cape.
- Cool Ship: The Grandeur. Almost makes you sad to see it explode.
- Fortunately, Mullen has a duplicate airship of his own: the Lyonlot.
- Cosmic Horror Story: What happens to Zil Padon at the hands of Gaia as well. Some of the side effects are unpredictable, fear inducing and make little sense and aren't explained, such as petrification and inter-dimensional anomalies
- Crutch Character: Gadwin.
- Milda, to a lesser extent.
- Defensive Feint Trap: Thinking they've got Justin cornered, Nana, Saki & Mio pursue him into the engine cab of a runaway locomotive — only to find that Justin backtracked into the opposite car and decoupled the engine. Also, the brake lever is broken.
- Dem Bones
- Disappeared Dad: Justin's father.
- Disc One Nuke: Dragon Cut (Ryuujinken, or "Dragon Circle Sword", in the original japanese version). Gadwin obliterates damn near everything on the first disc (barring a few enemies immune to the Explosion element), and near the end of the disc, Justin gets to learn it as well. Thanks to his much higher SP, Justin can make even better use of it, and Dragon Cut remains a powerful move well into the second disc.
- Disney Death: Leen.
- Drop the Hammer: Hammers share the same weapon class as maces.
- Drunk On The Darkside: General Baal, when he finally gets hold on Justin's Spirit Stone.
- Duel Boss: Mullen demands proof of Justin's will in a one-on-one fight.
- And the two fights against Gadwin
- Easing Into the Adventure: Justin's first task is to win a scavenger hunt consisting of garbage around Parm. Funnily enough, the last item — the Wooden Sword — is dubbed the "Spirit Sword." This is the same name as Grandia's Infinity+1 Sword, which you acquire much later.
- Eldritch Location: Warp Space.
- The Empire: The Garlyle Forces.
- Epic Flail: Share the same class with maces. Nana's yo-yo also turns into a truly Epic Flail as part of her ultimate attack ability.
- Hair Decorations: Sue, whose pet, Puffy, rests on her head as a giant hair bow.
- Everything's Better with Cows: When the males of Laine come of age, they sprout horns of knowledge (sic) and take on a new form — a walking, talking bovine.
- Exact Eavesdropping: Justin stumbles on the three sergeants just as one of them is asking about the password she herself needs at that exact moment.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The so-called "End of the World"—a wall that cuts the planet in two, which stretches up for miles into the sky. For most people, it literally is the end of world, unless you have an airship that can fly over it or you're like Justin and you climb over the damn thing.
- Fastball Special: Sue's Puffy Kick.
- Fight Woosh: Extreme closeup on the characters and opponents before changing to the battlefield screen.
- First Town / Port Town: Parm.
- Five-Man Band
- Flunky Boss: Orc King is accompanied by two mooks when you fight him.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: The "Café" in New Parm, that's only open at night and has female dancers.
- Frying Pan of Doom: Lily uses her serving tray as a discipline tool on Justin's head.
- The Fun in Funeral: An NPC in New Parm is all set to celebrate his own funeral. He sincerely believes you should be able to have fun at your own funeral.
- Ghost Ship / Ship Level: The adrift ship where the ship to New Parm leads Justin and company to.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: Nana, Saki and Mio.
- Good Morning, Crono: inverted: the story opens with its main villain, General Baal, awakening from a nightmare.
- Gratuitous English: A lot of the battle chants in the PlayStation version, thanks to a very poor translation.
- Guest Star Party Member: Technically, everyone but Justin is Guest Star Party Member. A lot of the characters, like Gadwin, Guido, Milda, and even Sue have lives outside of Justin's quest that they need to go back to, and they will leave the party when their part in the story is over. It's not really a case of So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear, though, as everyone but Sue comes back to help Justin storm the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Leen also shows up as a more traditional Guest Star Party Member for a very brief stretch of the game, though as a non-combatant.
- Guide Dang It: Mana Eggs are the only way to teach characters magic and there are only just enough for every character who can learn magic to have every element. Combine this with the fact they are sellable AND the fact that you cannot return to many places after particular plot points AND that the eggs themselves are often well hidden...Suddenly, this becomes quite frustrating.
- An enemy in the final dungeon will drop Mana Eggs quite frequently. Granted, you've been permanently cut off from all shops by that point in the game so they're completely useless, but you could get more than you would ever need...
- Half-Human Hybrid: Mullen. It's a full stop Tomato Surprise when he starts speaking the Humanoid language, thus revealing his true nature.
- Heel-Face Turn: The entirety of the Garlyle Forces before the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Rapp.
- Heroic BSOD: Justin gets one near the end.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: First fight against Gadwin. You can only damage 0 to him, and after a while he'll Dragon Cut you with 9999 damage for OHKO.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Feena is kidnapped by Baal to get the Spirit Stone from Justin.
- I Fell for Hours: Justin and Feena being catapulted into a volcano. They have enough time on their hands to trade barbs. This is scene is echoed in Grandia II between Ryudo and Skye.
- I Got You Covered: The Garlyle Forces provide help during the final attack on Gaia.
- Improbable Age: Pretty much the whole main cast, but Sue being only eight years old is the biggest offender.
- Grandia at least tries to avert this trope by having the journey make Sue seriously ill due to sheer exhaustion and stress, a little shy of halfway into the story (when things are only just beginning to really get difficult for the heroes). She has to be sent back to Parm with the implication things could have become a lot worse, were it not for Justin and Feena sacrificing the safe way to the next continent in order to transport her home instantly. This is foreshadowed by her getting a stat-progression handicap that becomes noticeable around the time she should be getting ill.
- Improbable Weapon User: Nana, whose primary weapon is a yo-yo. It can turn into a buzz saw the size of a small car, but still...
- Incendiary Exponent: Justin's Lotus Cut and Feena's Flame Whip.
- It's All Upstairs from Here: No shortage of these. We have Typhoon Tower, the Twin Towers, the Tower of Doom, and the (optional) Tower of Temptation.
- Kid Hero All Grown Up: The Distant Finale (shown from Sue's perspective) showcases a now-adult, beautiful and Proper Lady Sue meeting the married Justin and Feena as they return to Justin's hometown. We never see the couple, but we meet their entire LITTER of kids that look and act like than.
- Knife Nut: Feena, Guido and Rapp.
- Konami Code: During the Exact Eavesdropping moment described above, Saki mistakenly thinks the password is Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right. The correct password is a reshuffled version of the code, switching every instance of Up for Right, Down for Left and vice versa.
- Lady of War: Leen.
- Last Disc Magic: "End of the World", Feena's ultimate ability and the strongest spell in the game. And good God, do you ever have to work for it.
- Last of Her Kind: Feena and Leen are the last of the Icarians.
- Letting the Air out of the Band: used as an indication that time has frozen.
- Level Grinding: Spells and attacks power up the more you use them, up to 99 times per element and weapon, per character.
- Locomotive Level: Justin hijacks a Garlyle train while escaping Mullen's base.
- Love at First Punch: How Justin's parents first met.
- Massive Numbered Siblings:Justin and Feena have no less than six kids in the future.
- Mayincatec: The Icarians, though only with architecture, artwork and the occasional monster.
- Meaningful Name: The Icarians. Icarian can be seen as an adjective referring to things relating to Icarus, a popular figure in Greek Mythology; this may be where the Icarian Sea gets it's name, as it's the sea into which Icarus supposedly fell and drowned. The Icarians themselves are a race of winged humanoids who are laid low by hubris, but in this case it's the hubris of humans, rather than themselves, which results in their downfall.
- Mini-Game: Deck swabbing aboard the ship to the New Continent.
- Money for Nothing: Only at the very end of the game. By the time you're heading to the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, you will be permanently cut off from all shops. Yet, the enemies still drop gold...
- Mood Whiplash: At the end of Typhoon Tower, so badly. It goes from serious, to Gadwin being too big to fit through a skinny mirror, and then back to serious.
- Musical Assassin: Cactus Men enemies fight with guitars and one of their special moves is a guitar solo (that sadly, has no sound).
- Mysterious Waif: Liete.
- New Neo City: New Parm. Catchy name, but that's the only thing it has in common with its steampunk brethren.
- Non-Linear Sequel: Of course, there's Grandia II, Grandia III, and Grandia Xtreme, but there's also Grandia: Parallel Trippers—a game for the Game Boy Color which stars a trio of kids who get pulled into the Grandia world and team up with Justin and his friends (and his enemies!) to Save Both Worlds. It never made it out of Japan.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Klepp King, who turns into the four-headed Serpent when confronted.
- Palette Swap: Almost all enemies and bosses have these.
- Peninsula of Power Leveling: Grinding your water magic at the poison puddles of Mt. Typhoon or any place where you take damage on foot.
- Justin's Immortal Aura skill. It always gives you a lot of experience when used, and with the game's tendency to always have those handy healing save points near, you can easily grind Justin into epic Game Breaker levels.
- Any place where the enemies come in groups of six is a very good place to train your magic levels. The Savannah once all the enemies have been 'Gaia-ifed' in particular is a favorite place for players that want to grind for Time Gate.
- Pirate Girl: Justin's mother Lilly is revealed to have been one in her youth.
- Power Gives You Wings: Both Leen and Feena whip these out from time to time.
- Pretty in Mink: It's not seen but a mink coat is one of the armors available, at least in the US translation.
- Prophetic Name: Java.
- Rare Candy: There are various item that boost stats. And then there's Mana Eggs, which teach one specific element for spellcasting.
- Retired Badass: Subverted(?) by Java, who insists that he's still an active adventurer. He's modeled from Don Quixote, complete with goofy-looking armor and lance.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: It's only after Sue and Gadwin leave your party that the story turns from a light-hearted romp around the world into a more serious "Save the World from the Eldritch Abomination !" deal.
- Sinister Scythe: Klepps at Mt. Typhoon use them.
- Someone's Touching My Butt: Justin gets up close and— er, personal with Feena in a crawlspace after she halts too quickly.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: Sprite character, polygonal levels.
- Standard Female Grab Area: Feena in the Hostage for MacGuffin scene.
- Violation of Common Sense: Mullen, the good son of the Big Bad, is willing to let his love, Leen, make a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the end of the world. When Leen sees that her sister, Feena, has a power to stop it without anyone dying, Mullen says they are to go through with the original plan anyway.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Squid King. The main problem is that you only have extremely limited options for healing at that point in the game outside of Rah-Rah! Cheer, and it's unlikely that Sue has the SP to use it more than once or twice.
- The Wall Around the World: An enormous wall about a mile high that divides an entire continent.
- We Have Reserves: By triggering the golems, Baal knowingly brings the entire town of Zil Padon crashing down onto his own troops.
- Weapon of Choice: All the characters can use at least two different weapon types in battle (ie. Justin can use Swords, Maces and Axes).
- The exceptions being Liete and Gadwin, who only use maces and swords, respectively.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Defeating General Baal results in him... turning into a small snake-like creature and slithering away, never to be seen again.
- When Trees Attack: Gaia is a giant bug/tree hybrid.
- Whip It Good: Feena's second weapon of choice. She is also the only character in the game who uses them.
- Woman in White: Technically, she wears purple, but Liete fulfills this role in the storyline until she joins the party in Alent.
- You Are Not Alone: Guido snaps Justin from his Heroic BSOD by gathering all the past party members to encourage him.