Growlanser (グローランサー Gurōransā) is a series of Role-Playing Games with installments on the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PSP. The first three games in the series are set in a world that is being taken over by an ancient evil, with the latter three branching off into their own continuities.The core gameplay straddles the line between a "normal" RPG and a Strategy RPG - you wander around with a party consisting of typically four to five people (though sometimes you'll have an NPC in a "bonus slot"), go through dungeons, fight monsters and the like. The first big difference comes in with the combat - combat is handled in real-time, with menu-based commands pausing the action for a moment while you issue new orders to your teammates. There is a certain amount of delay after performing an action, or before casting a spell, represented by a bar beneath the party portraits. The second is in the "set pieces" - rather than just a bunch of boss fights, many of the plot-important combats are large, swirling melees with objectives and even extra allied units, similar to what you find in a strategy RPG... but you still only have direct control over your party. You can buff and assist your allies, but not command them. With its visuals consisting of high-res pre-rendered overhead maps combined with sprites and anime-style FMV, some have summed it up as "Japan's answer to Baldur's Gate".The series was the creation of Career Soft, with publishing duties handled by Atlus Co. in Japan; Atlus eventually acquired Career Soft outright, and many of the staff went on to, tellingly, work on Persona 3 and Persona 4. Working Designs published Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice and Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness in North America together in a package called Growlanser: Generations.note Of note is the fact that WD initially wanted to sell the games separately but was strongarmed by Sony America into selling them as one unit; the delays in packaging them together, along with the massively reduced revenue-per-unit, is blamed for significantly contributing to WD's demise.Growlanser V: Generations was published in North America under the name Growlanser: Heritage of War by Atlus USA. Growlanser IV: Over reloaded, a PSP remake of Growlanser IV, was released by Atlus USA under the title Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time on July 31, 2012. All titles feature game art by Satoshi Urushihara.Had a CrossOver with several other games in Chaos Wars. Is also the spiritual successor to Langrisser.
Growlanser V: Generations (US: Growlanser: Heritage of War)
Growlanser VI: Precarious World
Provides Examples of:
Action Girl: Many throughout the series. Though all of the series' protagonists are male, most of them are closely associated with an Action Girl right from the beginning. Julia Douglas from the first Growlanser is a notable example, being the first female to earn the prestigious "Imperial Knight" title that both Wein and Charlone aspire to in The Sense of Justice.
Adventure Duo: Crevanille, the protagonist of the Wayfarer of Time travels with a quirky familiar. A number of the endings are also rather like this.
Aerith and Bob: In a rare case, more Bobs than Aeriths. A large percentage of characters in the series have rather common names such as Karen, Julia, Ernest, Brett, Hugh, Rufus, and Wendy... but these characters associate with others with names such as Ariost, Xenos, Slayn, Pernagi, and Rukias.
Anachronism Stew: Wayfarer of Time can come across like this. The Dulkheim uniforms are very obviously inspired by 20th-century militaries (particularly Nazi Germany), a good deal of the rest of the costuming seems to be at least 19-th-century-ish, and there are some modern touches like the very modern bathrooms in Eliza's villa. There are, however, no gunpowder weapons, not even cannons (the cart-based flamethrower in the prologue is an explicitly new and terrifying technology, and at one point Fraynenote who remembers the technology of her time, even if she's forgotten her own history has to explain to a mystified Remus and Eliza, slowly and in very simple language, what a "cannon" even is conceptually), electricity seems to be a known concept from the ancient ruins but none of the towns or cities seem to use it at all, there are no motor vehicles or rail locomotives (goods transport is handled by "Not-Chocobos"), and large-scale factories are, at best, uncommon.
This also comes up to some degree in the first two Growlansers, though it's a bit better rationalized in-universe there - thanks to free-floating growshu as an energy source, human technological development took a somewhat different tack than in the real world (I.E. homes in major cities can have powered appliances due to the "growshu grid" and some facilities have things like elevators and powered doors, but there isn't as much of a need for guns when magic is so widespread and not as much of an emphasis has been placed on locomotion yet).
And even then, in GL1 there's continued technological development occurring during the course of the story, such as when Ariost invents a flight pack (to Louise's dismay).
Anti-Villain: Wolfgang in The Sense of Justice. He has rather violent methods for getting what he wants, but his end goal of a democratic nation is admirable.
Apocalypse Maiden: Arieta in The Sense of Justice, as the result of Demonic Possession by Gevas. It is possible to save her life while also expelling Gevas from her body if you obtain the Neural Device. If you do not obtain the Neural Device, however, she must be killed to end Gevas' scheme.
Artifact of Doom: The Dragon Orb in Heritage of War. Originally a relic that was fought over two millennium ago for it could harness the power of the world's ley line. It's the only means to power the Admonisher, the PMB's weapon coercing the other countries to not kill each other, and the Screaper Remote, which can control the dreaded monsters. The only alternative is a lot of vital energy AKA human lives.
Art Evolution: Happened to the series as it went forward, as Urushihara himself altered his style. Generally speaking, the later games and art use "lighter" colors and hues than the old art, and the somewhat infamous "shiny factor" of the art increased as the series marched onward. This is on somewhat hilarious display in the PSP remake of the original Growlanser, as the new, PSP-exclusive characters look noticeably different in style compared to the original cast.
Assist Character: The Familiar in Wayfarer of Time may help indirectly in battle by nullifying attacks, but is not an actual party member.
Wallace from GL 1 uses a boomerang sword. Yes, a straight dual-bladed sword that returns when thrown. It's absolutely huge, too.
Multiple characters in the original setting use massive, two-handed scythes in combat. They sure look cool, but even when animated it's a little unclear just how effective they'd be in real life.
Eliza's "hand spears" from Wayfarer of Time are also a bit... out there. This may be intentional, however, given the nature of the character.
Badass Longcoat: A fairly common outfit. Crevanille, the protagonist of Wayfarer of Time, wears one in all the cutscenes.
Bandit Mook: The imps and cat-girl enemies will steal from the player's party.
BFS: Crevanille, the protagonist of Wayfarer of Time, wields a long katana-like blade. Hien and Silverneil also have fairly impressive blades. (Silverneil's may be thin, but they're as long as her torso and head combined, and she isn't short. And she has two of them!) Julian◊ AKA Julia Douglas and Wallace◊ also use very large swords; Wallace's is even more impressive as he throws it.
Bleached Underpants: Similiar to Langrisser, if you want to see one of the ladies from this game naked, look up Satoshi Urushihara's other works - there's probably a character that looks just like her somewhere.
Brick Joke: In Growlanser IV, the researcher who provides the Familiar's Costume H recommends Costume E (presumably as part of an intentionally bad joke that didn't translate well). Said costume can be found stashed away in his lab coats when the party returns to Fort Leinfaltz.
Canon Discontinuity: The debug room in Wayfarer of Time referring to the original version of the game's storyline as the "old route" and the modified version for the PSP port as the "true route" suggests this. If the labeling were to be taken seriously, then not only would the original route be non-canon, but all supplementary material based on its ending, such as Return, would not be considered canon, either.
Cat Girl: Leona (from Wayfarer of Time) is a girl from a parallel universe who has ears and a tail like a cat.
Combination Attack: In Growlanser III and IV, in order to cast higher level magic spells, two party members have to cast low level spells and cooperate.
Cool Old Guy: Hien and Dixon from Wayfarer of Time. Alfred Burns from Dual Darkness.
Costume Porn: Many of the outfits are quite elaborate, particularly in the later games.
Sherris◊ from Heritage of War is probably the poster girl for this trend. Compare her to, hell, virtually any of the female characters from the original, even the new PSP ones.
Critical Hit: A skill that the character can learn to increase critical rate and a technique that is guaranteed to do extra damage.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Christopher in Wayfarer of Time looks like a playboy that hasn't picked up a sword in years and absolutely inferior to his badass little brother... In reality he is quite sick and unable to cope up with the usual strain someone like Alfonse gets, but the great respect he gets from him should have given enough hints. later he pulls moves like stopping hundreds of soldiers while you're busy fighting with Ludwig, and depending on the circumstances, even completely routing them without many injuries, thanks to Silverneil and Alfonse. he's also the second strongest enemy in the arena, behind Vester.
Changing of the Guard: The main characters in the first game are minor characters in the second. Some are playable.
The Chosen One: Applies to the protagonist of all Growlanser games, except Sense of Justice.
In Wayfarer of Time, the protagonist Crevanille is one of the few people who can initially see the Angels that threaten to destroy humanity. The actual reason he's a Chosen One is somewhat different, and frankly kind of a dick move on the part of his parent society.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Vallery in Wayfarer of Time thinks he has this, but in one case he was kidnapped (luckily for him) and in the other he was expelled after being falsely accused of being a traitor. After that he stays loyal to Crevanille, always siding with him. On the other hand, Crevanille in the Dulkheim Route crosses just about everyone including old allies and Ludwig in some routes.
Demoted to Extra: Several characters from the first Growlanser reappear in The Sense of Justice, but as NPCs. Carmaine, Xenos, and Lyell can be recruited to the party but play a smaller role than in the first game.
Devil in Plain Sight: Wolfgang in The Sense of Justice. The game doesn't even try to hide this from the player, but it takes significantly longer for Wein and company to figure out that the gruff-voiced, scarred mercenary may be up to something.
In Growlanser IV, we have Vester and Ludwig. In the original Japanese dubbing, Ludwig's voice reeks of villainy. At first he may even look good in the eyes of the party (and maybe even the player) but by the end of the game some of the nastier actions in the game will be attributed to him.
Ernest Lyell in original Growlanser and Sense of Justice, & Magnus in Wayfarer of Time dual-wield swords.
Haschen dual-wields... double-bladed spears?
Eliza in Wayfarer dual-wields what can only be described as freakishly longkatars attached to rounded gauntlets. They are labeled in some sources as hand-spears.
Easter Egg: In The Dual Darkness, have a controller plugged into port 2 when casting a spell. DDR-style arrows will appear on the screen, and matching them with the directional buttons on controller 2 will make the spell more damaging. This even works with a DDR pad.
Evolving Attack: Skills and spells level up as you earn more points by killing enemies (in Growlanser in IV, V, and VI) or leveling up the character (Growlanser I, II, and III).
Face-Heel Turn: In The Sense of Justice, Maximillian turns heel at the end of the game's normal path. Wein can also turn heel and fight his former allies should you decide to join with Wolfgang.
Fallen Angel: Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of time features a world that was nearly destroyed by angels 2,000 years ago. The angels return to once again attempt to destroy the world and it is up to the protagonist's party to stop them.
Subverted. The angels only wanted the best for humanity, killing the summoners as they appeared, in the end, one of them tried to explain the situation, just getting captured and becoming a guinea pig to create a weapon to kill the other. In the end, Akyel saw no other way than completely destroying all magical technology, to ensure that summoning wouldn't reappear.
Fourth Wall Psych: Vester from Growlanser IV, at one point, speaks directly to the camera, more-or-less asking the viewers how long they plan to keep watching him. The scene immediately after has Crevanille wake up, and his familiar reveals that Vester somehow sensed that Foresight was being used on him.
Gladiator Subquest: In order to complete the Colosseum the player fights against some characters that you met throughout the game.
Go Nagai Sideburns: Magnus from Wayfarer of Time. Their existence is lampshaded in some of Crevanille's dialogue choices with him.
Goggles Do Nothing: Hans in The Sense of Justice. Not only do his goggles do nothing, they also look rather out-of-place in a game with a predominantly medieval setting.
Good Colors, Evil Colors: Wayfarer of Time has a LOT of fun with this. Initially, after you join the Dulkheim military, Dulkheim soldiers wear blue and Valkanian soldiers wear red, which would seem to make everything cut-and-dry. The Dulkheim officers with portraits, however, wear lots of varying shades of dark grey... so it should come as no surprise when you get stabbed in the back by them and they end up being the central villains. And as it turns out, most of the Valkanian characters are legitimately good people, their king is just kind of a twat, and you'll alternately be helped out by, and lock horns with, the Valkanians as time goes on.
Marquelay, meanwhile, uses a lighter shade of blue mixed with the earth tones of their leather armor; their general wears dark burgundy trimmed with bright gold. When Ordinale splits off from Valkania, they wear light grey.
Good Morning, Crono: The protagonists Carmaine in Growlanser I and Slayn in Growlanser III and begin their adventure in bed.
Guide Dang It: The plot of The Sense of Justice can branch off into several different directions depending on the player's actions, but good luck figuring out every different branch by yourself. In addition, the game contains a few optional characters that really require you to be in the right place at the right time to recruit them.
Some events in Wayfarer of Time have very small windows to complete correctly, and some endings will be locked if just some tiny conversations are missed, or fates unchanged.
Guilt-Based Gaming: In Wayfarer of Time, absolutely. There are times when you can optionally save certain people from dying or otherwise suffering a terrible fate. If you don't save them, the game will make sure to make you feel like a massive douchebag.
Hello, Insert Name Here: Growlanser I, IV, V, and VI allow the player to rename the main character in the beginning.
Hero Antagonist: Lumis in Growlanser IV in both the original and the modified route.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted with Wein Cruz in The Sense of Justice and Haschen in Heritage of War. Played straight with the protagonists of the other games in the series.
Heroic Mime: Growlanser I, III, IV, V, and VI feature a silent protagonist. The player can select dialogue options, but there is no voice acting for them.
Inevitable Tournament: Generally speaking, the best way to get a stronger party is at a given game's "coliseum" once it opens. Participation often nets you the best rings/weapons, armors, and other game-breaking items on top of a heap of experience and money.
Far more literally played in Growlanser 1 - early in the game, Xenos mentions the tournament in Grandshill and how he intends to enter. Guess where you end up going and who you end up fighting?
Inn Security: Throughout the series characters wakes up the Player by either thanking you for fulfilling sidequest or to continue the sidequest itself.
Interface Screw: Wayfarer of Time loves doing this by way of Player Punch. When your Familiar "dies", that part of the interface stops working, when you're locked up in the Ruin Children torture dungeon, virtually the ENTIRE interface stops working...
Interface Spoiler: Of a sort, in Wayfarer of Time. The scene where your Familiar gallantly takes an assassin's blade meant for you and "dies" would be far more moving... if it weren't for the fact that this disables several crucial functions of the interface that the developers clearly have no real intention of taking away from you.
Irrelevant Sidequest: The individual characters' sidequests tend to be unrelated to the main plot and mostly revolves around their personal lives.
Killed Off for Real: Some of the characters affected by the fate system in Wayfarer of Time may die if the player doesn't do the right thing at the right moment. Alphone's fate won't be changed if the original route is picked over the modified, leaving open Christopher's fate as well
Regina and your familiar will die too in the original route if you don't create a new heart of the former, and a body for the latter
Knight Templar: Maximillian in The Sense of Justice hates war so much that he's willing to use the Power Mask to brainwash humanity into living peacefully. He believes the lives he'll save justify the loss of free will.
Lady of War: Diana Silverneil from Wayfarer of Time. Sherris from Heritage of War. Julia Douglas from GL1 is, of course, the franchise ur-example, even though she takes a little while to accept she can be such.
Lost Technology: Wayfarer of Time takes place in a world that once possessed highly advanced technology, such as mechs. However after the angels attacked 2,000 years ago and nearly eradicated the humans, most of the technology was lost or destroyed.
Mad Doctor: Cargill from Wayfarer of Time. The Protagonist and Frayne suffer months of debilitating "experiments" under his care. And he even enjoys doing it!
Mad Scientist: Ariost of Growlanser 1 is a heroic version. He's a very kind man and he isn't sinister at all, but his experiments still tend toward the somewhat ridiculous and their occasional backfire doesn't faze him at all. What, the flight pack is emitting horrific demonic hellwings? He just had the circuitry a bit wrong, that's all~
Louise:Now I'm even more scared!
This even comes through in his weapon selection to some degree. Most other characters get by with swords, staves and the like. Ariost can use swords, sure, but his "ranged weapon" option? Growshu-powered grenades. He even starts with one type equipped.
Manipulative Bastard: Vester in Growlanser IV. He manipulates several countries to go into wars so he can distribute summoning spells among them. In an individual scale, he also turns Meline and Cynthia, the survivors of the village he destroyed, into his loyal servants by promising them that their dead parents will come back if they help him bring about the apocalypse.
Market-Based Title: Growlansers IV and V had their numbers filed off to help newcomers not feel intimidated by "missing" previous titles in the franchise (which IV and V have no continuity with anyway). V was also retitled "Heritage of War" overseas thanks to the compilation of II and III from Working Designs being called Generations.
Metal Slime: The Gold Gel enemies are a little difficult to defeat because their high defense and ability to escape very soon after engaging them. By defeating them you get the best rings and lots of gold.
Mighty Glacier: Hien and Crevanille from Wayfarer of Time. Carmaine can also be built like this stat-growth-wise if the right answers are chosen in Growlanser 1's "character creation" section, with Wallace also doing a good job in the role.
Mini Dress Of Power: Quite a few ladies in the games wear these. Eliza, once she joins your party in Wayfarer of Time, is a particularly good example.
More Friends, More Benefits: In Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time, wooing a female party member sometimes gets you her ultimate limit ability or strongest armor. When you become best friends with male party members you earn the same reward.
Multiple Endings: All Growlanser games feature multiple endings, depending on paths you take and which characters you developed relationships with.
Wayfarer of Time boasts a supposed forty endings, although not every ending is completely unique; there are three "base" endings, which are then modified depending on which character you are closest to.
Mutually Exclusive Party Members: In Growlanser II there are some party members that are mutually exclusive. If Arieta doesn't join your party then her fox guardian Sereb will join instead. If you fail to recruit Lyell then a soldier named Brett will join the party.
The final battle with Ludwig in the normal route (both versions) of Wayfarer of Time. He actually merges into his summon.
Vester in the final battle of both versions of the standard route in Wayfarer of Time. After killing his human form, and using the Sealing Medallion on him, he turns into a much more demonic form. The modified version of the route for the PSP version, adds another one on top of that.
Optional Party Member: Arieta. Sereb, Bret and Lyell in Growlanser 2 are optional. All the playable characters (Except Sereb) in Sense of Justice can be used in Dual Darkness if the player have a save data of the endings of the characters of Growlanser 2 the characters can be ported. Regina and Vallery his re-joining you from Wayfarer of Time are completely optional. Sherris and Rufus in Growlanser V are optional.
Our Angels Are Different: In Wayfarer of Time, the protagonist is one of the few people who can see angels. The angels are attempting to annihilate the human race.
Our Fairies Are Different: In nearly every Growlanser game (except II), the protagonist travels with a fairy like familiar. Their nature is even different between settings.
One of the most extreme is Sherris's outfit in Heritage of War.
Eliza's initial dress in Wayfarer of Time also deserves a mention. Which makes what she does to it even more hilarious.
Piņata Enemy: The Gold Gel and Soul enemies give great money and experience, despite being easy to kill.
Preexisting Encounters: In Growlanser I, III, IV, V, and VI you can see enemies roaming around the dungeons and world map. In III, this trope only applies in the dungeons and you face the enemies when you get near them.
Slayn Wilder, the protagonist of The Dual Darkness.
Remus in Wayfarer of Time is so pretty he is often told he has a "girl face". His sister looks exactly like him.
Pretty in Mink: Louise, from the first game, has a fur-trimmed dress. Gloria, from the PSP remake of the fourth game, wears a fur-trimmed cape. Eliza's dress is also possibly trimmed with very short fur, but it's hard to make out in the art.
Protagonist Journey to Villain: One of Wayfarer of Time's routes has you return to Dulkheim and pretty much conquer the continent and then attempting the same with the world, killing off just about all of your old allies.
Pyrrhic Victory: One of Wayfarer of Time's endings. Should the party eliminate both of Vester's hands, they render him unable to complete his plan by fully closing the gate between the human world and the Netherworld. However, doing so also means they are unable to leave and return home.
Relationship Values: The playable characters' portraits gives you a hint about how they feel about the player character: the happier they look the higher the relationship value is. In II, there is actually a mater that lets you see the character affection in the game. The familiars in Growlanser IV, V, and VI have an ability that allows you to see each character's affection.
Ret Gone: What essentially appears to happen to Crevanille in the original version of the main route in Wayfarer of Time, with the bracelet he received from the party being the only known trace of his existence. Only Frayne and a few others (depending on the character epilogue earned) remember him. Return reveals what happened to him before his eventual reappearance.
Revision: The Modified Routes in Growlanser I and IV are a mix between this and a Retcon, since the debug room will call the modified routes "True route" and the original routes will maintain, at least for a while, the new characters, but without changes to the core plot.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: In Wayfarer of Time, Frayne and, depending on the character epilogue, one other character are the only ones to fully remember Crevanille after the Spell Nullifier erases most traces of his existance.
Romance Sidequest: All Growlanser gives the player character the option to romance other party members. In Wayfarer of Time Crevanille can romance almost every friendly female in the game.
Sarcastic Clapping: Vester does this at the end of the game when Crevanille's party reaches the peak of Mount Eizenvant. Though not obvious from his off-screen sprite, the slow and sarcastic clapping makes it evident.
Save Point: In Growlanser 1 you can save in almost anywhere outside of battle. In II you can save at the world map and during missions. In Growlansers III, IV, V, and VI you can save at the inns and in your Room in towns. In dungeons and the World Map you save only at designated save points.
Shout-Out: A newly formed country dressed in blue with secret conspiracies regarding human life used as a means of energy and power? The Peace Maintenance Brigade of Heritage of War sure sound a lot like the State Military.
Showgirl Skirt: Not especially common, but a few of the girls wear an outfit with such a skirt.
Of particular (hilarious) note is Misha, who wears a translucent one; the thing is, she also wears pants.
Shared Unusual Trait: The twins Cynthia and Meline from the PSP version of Wayfarer of Time have heterochromia. One of their eye colors is brown, and the other is a grayish-blue. The colors are switched between the twins.
Spell My Name with an S: A severe example in the US version of Wayfarer of Time on the PSP, probably done to rectify the Engrish that went into the alternative OP (seen by pressing O at the title screen). Most of the changes are sensible, such as Pamella -> Pamela, Eraiza -> Eliza and Roomice -> Lumis. Others such as Crevaniel -> Crevanille or Frane -> Frayne are more contentious, though even Frayne is more consistent with the original Japanese pronunciation.
Some of the romanizations in Japanese sources for some of the character names in GL1 tend to be a little... off, compared to what the developers were clearly going for. "Ruise" for Louise and "Richart" for Richard stick out the most obviously.
Also, attentive reading of the original "Growlanser" suggests that the title of the franchise may have fallen victim to this. Given the way it looks and the adjectives used to describe it, the グローシュ element is probably meant to be called "Glowshe", and the related people Glocians - meaning the title is probably meant to be Glowlanser, not Growlanser. Since GL1 never left Japan, the mistake wasn't caught early and then the name stuck.
Suddenly Voiced: The Dual Darkness gives Slayn one piece of voiced dialogue in Monika's ending. Oddly enough, the opposite happens with Gray, who runs off conspicuously without saying a word. Slayn's next line returns to to the status quo.
Take Your Time: Every title has at least one missions that must be completed before a timer turns zero or it's Game Over. Wayfarer of Time uses a timer that will influence the success of the missions. In Sense of Justice and Dual Darkness there is a timer that will influences the kind of Ring you will get, defeating enemies earlier gives you better rings.
While the main plot usually plays this straight, the Side quests certainly won't, giving very little time to accomplish it's objectives that usually are far from where the plot is leading you. Of course this won't end the game, but some endings will be locked, and you may find yourself tackling battles with lesser allies and a grimmer plot, as allies and friends die because you didn't save them.
Team Pet: In Wayfarer of Time the Familiar who travels with the party looks like a fairy and gets treated in this manner. If you pick D-MD, everyone, especially Cevanille, is heartbroken when she dies, and Remus & Frayne will bust their butts to make a "new" one.
Undying Loyalty: In Wayfarer of time, some party members won't leave you no matter what, while expressing their total devotion to you, but the biggest example are the familiars, you're warned from the beginning, they will die for you if they have to.
This one will cause you annoyance when playing The Sense of Justice. You let Wein die? Game over for you! In addition, if any of your other active party members are killed, you cannot get the highest rating for that mission.
Some missions in both the original Growlanser and in Wayfarer of Time are set up this way due to plot reasons.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: So many hair colors. Can run the gamut from the perfectly plausible (Eliza's raven-black hair or Misha's dark red) to the exotic (Frayne's bluish-silver or Charlone's platinum blonde) to the comparatively bizarre (Louise and Silverneil's electric pink).