Air Vent Passageway: How Phantom and Ethan left the biorite facility. The party later uses it to sneak back in.
Alas, Poor Villain: Ortas may have been a genocidal, racist dictator, but it's almost impossible not to feel sorry for the guy when you realize just why he turned evil and that in the end, he was just another one of Castor's pawns.
Angst Coma: Ethan, who passes out after Castor calls him "brother."
And Castor, after he's defeated by the heroes. He may have simply been knocked out, but the realization that he was weak kept him from getting up for a long time.
Anticlimax Boss: Hyperion isn't easy, but if you have protection against instant death, he's not particularly hard, either. Since he comes right after the hardest boss in the game, this makes him look like a bit of a wuss in comparison.
Antidote Effect: Mostly inverted due to the sparseness and importance of spellcard slots and low cost of status cure items, which make it likely for you to have 99 of each one third into the game.
Anti-Villain: Felgorn, Flynn, and Earp in particular, though most of the villains are at least somewhat sympathetic.
Zawu after realizing Ethan is alive, but particularly after the Entalar arc.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Castor and Ortas, in particular. Subverted with Drakovic, who, smart, talented leader though he is, is a bit of a pushover in a fight.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Gamma spellcard deals huge damage, but is rather unreliable and has a huge MP cost and an unpleasant stat malus.
Also, the Fury spellcard, which heals your entire party, and pretty well, too. The problem? It makes them berserk. The crisis spell heals even more but causes confusion. Again, though, it can become Awesome Yet Practical if you equip the right status protection...
The Ruin equipment that you can steal from smilie type enemies are all phenomenally powerful, but are all cursed in some way or another. (the Ruin Mask is poisoned, for example.)
Awesome Yet Practical: The Enlight spell, which gives one character a buff that is similar to Regen, only it regenerates MP. On a similar note, the Chi spell, which regenerates a percentage of the user's MP for free. Can't be used outside of battle, though. On top of that, there's the X-Shield spell, which doubles both magical and physical defense for one character. The crisis cast makes the whole party take half damage from everything.
Also Steal once you get the Thief Glove accessory, which makes the attempt almost 100% successful with some monsters - you really cannot refuse free Gold Dusts and Serpent Fangs.
Back Tracking: Returning to the Biorite Facility ruins nets you a Hex tile.
Beef Gate: While you can technically enter the four Towers early on, don't even think about going in there until much later, as the enemies are usually at least ten levels higher than you. A good rule of thumb is to leave each tower alone until you can access the next one.
Big Brother Instinct: Although in this case, it's the younger brother who was determined to protect the older one. Does not end well; Ethan's constant attempts to keep Castor safe gave him a bit of a complex that led him to seek power at all costs.
Ethan is extremely close to and protective of Lorenza, as well, to the point where when she's captured by Ortas, he heads off on his own and starts cutting a bloody swath through the castle trying to find her.
Big Damn Heroes: Antagonist example: Matilda is about to kill Tazar, Felgorn arrives in a flash of light and strikes her down.
On the good guy side, at one point Ethan shows up out of nowhere to stop Castor killing Lorenza.
Bishonen Line: The penultimate form of the final boss is a deformed slug-like block thing, and the ultimate one, while still a One-Winged Angel, is much more humanoid again.
Blond Guys Are Evil: Augustus and Castor. On the other hand, Hilbert, Thorve, and Wilhelm are all blond. And something like this is at play in the fact that Ethan was blond when he was working for the Kingdom, but has black hair now.
Boss Banter: Hyperion's "DIE! DIE! DIE!" and "I'll stop you!"
Boss in Mook Clothing: Some of the smileys are significantly stronger than the other enemies you encounter in the area they're in. Also, the Black Dragon from the Black Mausoleum, and one enemy type for each tower.
Brick Joke: One of the books lying around at the Biorite Facility is a report specifically on Ethan, and it mentions that, "Physical change in subject is largely superficial." A dungeon or two later, you learn what they meant: he used to be blond.
Broken Ace: Augustus, Castor, and, to a degree, Felgorn.
Broken Bridge: The "energy crystals" are used to prevent you from going to the second and third Entalar seals (and the Tower of Punishment) before going to the first. They're not very hard to get rid of once you do, though.
Cap: Interestingly, while levels cap at 99, HP caps at 9999 and MP caps at 999, there does not seem to be a damage cap, though there are only few attacks in the game that can ever get into five-digit damage.
Chekhov's Gunman: Phantom, first spotted right near the beginning as a crazy old guy wandering into a Pargon base. Turns out that he's Alexander and has been stuck in biorite for the last three hundred years.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: This gets Hilbert in a lot of trouble several times near the beginning of the game, and while it never really goes away, he eventually learns to temper it with a little bit of common sense. Then it comes back full force at the very end, when he decides to stay behind to rescue Castor when even Ethan and Zawu have given up.
Disc One Nuke: A relatively minor one: if you play a ton of Hex, it's possible to get 10 Brigand tiles and trade them in for a Steal spellcard before you even leave for Farin Island. As a reward for being way too dedicated, you can steal a unique weapon for Matilda from the boss that's stronger than anything you can get until about fifteen levels later.
Disease Bleach: Inverted. Ethan was blond until he got buried in biorite for three years.
Dungeon Town: What's left of Cromwell only contains some treasure and an undead monstrosity. There's also a segment on Pargon Island, where you clear out your old home village from bandits occupying it and oppressing the population, and the Entalar quest.
The bosses are even stranger: you will i. e. come to fight a wall with an engraved face, not to mention the Zeitgeist, which is basically a big clock. Don't forget the Tomes and Keys (which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin) either.
Exposition Break: A considerable amount, considering this is a very story-heavy game. There is even one that lasts around 45 minutes... which is followed by a save point, and then another cutscene.
Four Philosophy Ensemble: Hilbert is the Optimist, Matilda is the Cynic, Thorve is the Realist, Lorenza is the Conflicted, and the other three are all, each for a different reason, Apathetic.
Fragile Speedster: Zawu has the highest speed stat of any player character, but their defense is barely better than Thorve's. Also something of a Glass Cannon, though, as their offense is pretty high.
Freudian Excuse: Castor, whose feelings of helplessness and inadequacy from having his hometown destroyed and having to rely on his little brother for protection led him to go to any lengths for power. When he still can't beat Hilbert and company, this causes him to really snap.
Game-Breaking Bug: If you just try to play the game on Vista or Windows 7, no text is displayed (some issue with the font). There are two workarounds though, one of which seems to be always successful.
After you beat the magic beasts that Castor summons on the Rosehart bridge, you're told to go back to Southbridge, but you can actually keep going and end up in Northbridge after the Global Airship is captured. The glitch also prevents the next dungeon from showing up on the map, rendering the game unwinnable.
The boss battle against Ortas. By the time you fight him, he has a gigantic stab wound, Blood from the Mouth, is very mentally unstable, and is quite clearly on the verge of death. And yet he has over 10,000 hit points and can toss out devastating attacks every few rounds. Hate to think what he'd have been like at full power... Though you can probably thank Critical Existence Failure for that. What's most odd about this is if you scan Helio during your first fight with him, his max HP is 3000, but his HP is only 1000 at the start of the battle, since before the fight he got smacked by a rockslide. It was odd that SCF didn't do the same thing with Ortas.
Also, a small thing near the beginning: it is mentioned that dying people turning into spectres is an extremely rare case requires the person to be died under extreme regret. But a bit later, spectres are randomly-encountered enemies in Alexander's tomb.
Considering that a bit of dialogue later implies that Herzog is built on the site of the Havali capital Luminas, which was razed and the inhabitants massacred by Valkiris's army, this may actuallymake perfect sense.
Genius Loci: The Cluster and by extension Biorite itself. And let's not forget the "Planetary Consciousness"...
The Marid King is actually (just barely) a subversion, as you find out soon afterwards that it's the reason nobody was there to meet you at the start of the dungeon like there was supposed to (nobody wanted to take the risk and try to fight their way past it to get to you.)
Planetary Conciousness is the mega mac daddy of Giant Space Fleas From Nowhere, just suddenly appearing out of nowhere on the World Map (with no explanation as to why you're apparently fighting the planet itself) if you beat the game with all 100 hex tiles.
Gory Discretion Shot: It's partially this (or at least a "massacre discretion shot", since Last Scenario's sprite style isn't prone to being gory anyway) and partially a "spoiler discretion shot" when the Northern Outpost is singlehandedly taken over by Felgorn.
Gratuitous German: The imperial capital is called Herzog (duke), and a mining town is called Kohlen ("coals"; the word "Kohle" doesn't actually have a plural, though), among many others.
Guide Dang It: There's a larger version of the world map, with locations marked. It's possible to play the game through multiple times and not realize this. (Press the A key on the overworld, if you're wondering.)
Hat of Power: Helio wears a speed-increasing hair ribbon, and Flynn has a beret protecting against some detrimental effects. Also, there are items like the Arch-Angel's Halo, which immunizes against all negative status effects and gives huge defence boosts, the Spring Hat, massively increasing HP, and the Crystalline Crown (automatically P-Shielding).
Healing Shiv: Elemental weapons or strikes can be used to "attack" an ally absorbing this element.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Rather spectacularly averted. Hilbert uses a bow, and the rest of your party uses, in order, spears, magic crystals, staves, axes, and throwing knives. It's not until the very last Player Character joins you that the party gets a sword-user.
Heroic BSOD: Hilbert briefly goes through this after learning that he isn't actually related to Alexander. And then there's Ethan, who actually passed out on the floor when he remembered that Castor was his brother.
Heroic Lineage: The plot starts when Hilbert is told he is a descendant of Alexander. Subverted; he's not, and Zawu was just playing on his gullibility as part of an unsuccessful Batman Gambit. But in an awesome usage of Playing with a Trope, Alexander later declares the entire party his descendants, not in blood but in spirit. Heroic Adoption?
Hidden Elf Village: Subverted. At first it seems that the Havali are living in one of these somewhere, and Lorenza was taken out for unknown reasons. But eventually we learn that the Havali are actually the "demons" from the legend, and the ones who've woken up are really, really pissed about being attacked three hundred years ago for no good reason. A few are some of the primary antagonists as a result.
Melchior is level 99, either immune to or absorbs every element, does thousands of HP worth of damage with his normal attacks, and his Regen spell restores HP in the tens of thousands per round. It is possible to beat him (though very, very, very unlikely), but you're supposed to flee the battle, after which he gives the party a special, unique spellcard.
HP To One: Zawu has an attack that does this when you fight her, and Thanatos has one that hits your entire party. So do the Black King and the third Elysium boss. The King's one even ignores all shielding spells.
The Rage crisis cast Erosion and the Chi crisis cast Transfer do this to the user, as a prize for great damage or mana restoration.
Infinity+1 Sword: Interestingly, there's everything but an Infinity Plus One Weapon. The thing coming closest to them are the "ultimate" weapons of each kind, which just are unique and deal most damage.
Infinity Plus One Accessory: The Hero's Soul, which increases all stats by 50 and grants immunity to all elements. Can only be equipped on Hilbert, though. Arguably, the Gold Sceptre for everyone else, which just grants elemental immunity.
Infinity Minus One Accessory: Warding Charms, which make the wearer immune to all status ailments. You will need them if you want to take on the Bonus Bosses.
Infinity Plus One Helm: The Arch-Angel's Halo, only obtained by defeating the second-hardest optional boss. Grants huge physical and magical defense boosts, and grants immunity to all status ailments.
Infinity Minus One Helm: The Crystalline Crown, auto-P-Shielding, and the Spring Hat, increasing the wearer's max HP.
Infinity Plus One Armour: The Lord-Sorcerer's Gown, which grants a significant intellect boost and halves MP cost.
Infinity Minus One Armour: The Sacral Gown, which grants auto-regeneration of HP, and Mashimizu's Robe, which gives an extreme speed boost.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Helio. When Tazar goes to him for help assuming he'll be protected even though he proved incompetent at every turn, Helio tells him he can have a job at a secret research facility. He does not mention that said job is as a test subject. Quoth Earp: "That was cruel even for you."
Knight Templar Big Brother: Played With. A lot of Castor's issues stem from Ethan constantly trying to protect him, but no one but Castor seems to think he's particularly extreme about it. Also, Ethan's the younger of the two.
Drakovic: If the Kingdom thinks they can take control of our country, I'll make their lives as miserable as possible.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Biorite can do this to humans, though specifically Ethan and Phantom. Ethan pretends to have lost many more memories than he actually did, though, and the ones that he did forget he remembers eventually.
Lethal Joke Item: The Trick spellcard, pretending to be detrimental with its uses: The normal cast inflicts confusion on the user, and the Crisis cast kills them. Why use it then? Because wearing it boosts almost all of your stats by a huge amount.
Let's Split Up, Gang: Happens at many points, but especially prominent in the Entalar storyline, which starts out by splitting your seven people into four groups and slowly reunites them.
Level Grinding: Averted, thankfully. Though the bosses are usually really hard, it's more a matter of "you didn't equip the right equipment/spellcards, use a different setup and try again" than "go back and grind levels for an hour".
The Lifestream: Biorite. Castor states that it's where all life originated.
Limit Break: Interestingly, the spells, not the characters, have these. Whenever a character's "Crisis" bar fills up from being whacked around enough, they can use a spell's special "Crisis" ability, though it usually costs a lot of MP. *
Party members can attack each other, but to prevent abuse, this won't count into the crisis score.
Look Behind You: During the first arc, where Thorve and Lorenza are trying to infiltrate the Herzog art gallery. The guards say "No one is allowed to pass!", and Thorve says "Can't pass? Then who's that person over there?"
Mana Drain: The crisis casts of Life Drain and Mindblow, and the signature ability of the Brain Leech enemy line.
Marathon Boss: Almost all of the bosses have incredibly high health that can take quite a while to whittle down. The fact that they're constantly tossing attacks that can put one or more characters in critical health doesn't help things. Two bosses take the cake, though: the most difficult Bonus Boss in the main game, who has a whopping 200,000 hit points, and the New Game Plus boss, which has one million.
Meaningful Name: Lots — quite a few pages ago, there is a gigantic comment about name etymology here. Of note is "Entalar", which means "adapted", "appropriate", or "adequate", "Castor", which comes from a Greek word that means "shine" or "excel", and Saraswati, who is named after the Hinduist goddess of arts and learning (and think about her way of mastering Hex and ensuing Character Development!).
Metal Slime: The "smiley" enemies. They give hefty amounts of experience, and can drop very powerful, albeit cursed, equipment.
Money Grinding: Money is sucked by the costs of new equipment very fast, so it's almost certain that you'll need to do this at one point or another. The experience gotten along with it doesn't hurt either.
Mook Face Turn: Borderline case: After Castor starts to reallylose it, Flynn tips the party off to what he's doing because she thinks they're the only ones who have a chance of getting him to see sense.
Money Spider: Played straight. Additionally, some item drops are rather weird... why the hell can you steal rubber boots from some sort of magical thunder deer?
Mook Maker: The guard devices Watch Disc and Defensive Drone are a justified version of this, alerting pillars or guards.
After he poisons Helga, Augustus gives one of these, calmly explaining to her as she's dying that he hates her and everything about her because while he had to work his way up from the gutter to reach his position, she had everything given to her and takes it for granted.
Before the last fight with Helio, he takes a minute to deliver a speech about why he has it in for Ethan.
Mutually Exclusive Powerups: The last two pages of Hex tiles are unique "face" tiles of which only one copy exists anywhere (barring New Game Plus). They're the game's most powerful tiles, but can also be traded in for powerful items, ranging from huge heaps of stat increasers or high-end expendables to accessories that grant immunity to status effects or all elements, to armor that grants 500 hit points or auto-regeneration, to the most powerful weapon in the game for one of your characters. Many can be gotten nowhere else, but once you make the trade it's permanent, probably to prevent you from "borrowing" equipment.
New Game Plus: However, in order to access it you need to beat the game after finding at least 90 different Hex tiles.
News Travels Fast: At some points, the protagonists receive news while on a boat without encountering any other ship or messenger.
Nice Hat: The only time Ethan is ever hatless is in flashbacks. Flynn has a Nice Beret, too.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: No one among the heroes ever mentions directly that they caused Tiamat to be freed. Granted, it was involuntary, but since Lorenza already felt something wrong and decided to stay outside the chamber for this reason at first, maybe bringing her closer wasn't that great of an idea...
Nintendo Hard: Many of the boss battles, although some dungeons are pretty dang hard even without that.
Non-Elemental: The Grenade line of items, and the spells Laser, Rage and Gamma.
Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: As a puzzle element in the Kohlen Mine, the First Seal and the Hall of Judgement, they in some cases transport you to other areas.
Noob Cave: The Abandoned Copper Mine. Your objective is to find a lost cat, and your enemies are various kinds of weak animals. This is quite a contrast to the opening scroll, which prepared you for world-shaking happenings...
One Degree of Separation: Thorve, Felgorn, and Randolph's son Wolfram grew up and joined the army together. Wolfram was killed by a little boy, who turns out to have been Ethan trying to protect his older brother Castor. The random soldier who chased Thorve and Felgorn away from the boy was Zawu.
One-Hit Kill: Various enemy attacks, most notably Hyperion's "Die! Die! Die!", will inflict instant death like a status effect unless their equipment prevents it, no questions asked.
One-Man Army: Felgorn has literally taken down entire armies by himself.
Platonic Life Partners: Thorve is absolutely inseparable from Matilda, since she basically dragged him back into doing something with his life after Wolfram died. But she's married and he's quite happy as nothing more than her second-in-command and good friend.
Playing Both Sides: The conflict between the Republic and the Empire was entirely the Kingdom's fault.
Poison Mushroom: Subverted by the Trick and Gamma spellcards, which are, in a way, two sides of the same coin. Trick's abilities are purely detrimental, with the base confusing the character and the Crisis cast killing them. However, it grants a huge boost to almost all of your stats. Gamma's abilities, on the other hand, are the strongest offensive spells in the game (see Awesome, but Impractical, above), but decrease most of a character's stats.
Played completely straight with the Ruin equipment, which inflicts a status ailment on whoever wears it — this cannot be prevented or cured in any way. Some of the status ailments make a character completely unusable, negating any potential advantage they might give.
The Viviones, a group of five monsters that heal and revive each other in between blasting your party with spells, get much less annoying once you notice that each one only heals the one directly clockwise of it- if you kill one and Mindblow the one before it, it breaks the chain.
The second-hardest Bonus Boss, Alexander. You need to stack various means of damage protection on your sturdiest character and redirect all his attacks to them, or he will absolutely wreck you with That One Attack.
Redemption Demotion: Zawu joins your party immediately after you fight her on Lux Island. She loses all her awesome skills and about nine-tenths of her uber-high stats in the process. Weakly justified, as she says that she was "using the last of the shield's power".
Reduced MP Cost: The Lord-Sorcerer's Gown. Also inverted with the Spellcard Mod, which doubles MP cost but multiplies damage by 1.5.
Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Subverted; despite being a Dirty Coward and selling out all his men so he alone would survive, Tazar is given a high rank in the Herzog army despite misgivings. However, this is double subverted after Helga dies; Augustus demotes Tazar. Taken even further when, after the civil war, Helio sends Tazar to be a guinea pig for Psycho Serum at the Biorite Facility.
Rush Boss: Hyperion. If you're lucky, you'll kill him without being attacked with anything remotely menacing. If you're less lucky, though, he gets off That One Attack often enough to kill you despite his low HP and defense.
Sacrificial Lamb: Selene and Jord. The big tip-off there is that they never fight along with you.
Sad Battle Music: In the boss fight against Ortas and all of the Gate to Elysium bosses.
Satellite Love Interest: Valentin, Matilda's husband. Although sometimes adorable, he doesn't get much dialogue or personality and seems to exist just to avoid any thoughts of possible romantic involvements between her and Thorve or Drakovic. Even lampshaded in a dialogue where Matilda warns Drakovic that she's a married woman. It's worst at the end of the game when she returns home only to sit down for a drink instead of embracing him or doing something affectionate.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: There are points in the game where one or more party members are unavailable. Usually they're not long, the exception being an entire arc without Lorenza and most of it without Ethan either once you reach Entalar, but it pays to unequip people who aren't in the active party, and to be careful who holds spellcards you can't do without, also, when beginning a New Game Plus.
Spam Attack: The Dual Strike spellcard (the Quad Strike crisis spell even more). Magical versions are Rage and Vortex, as well as some attacks possessed by boss enemies.
Spanner in the Works: Ethan was not supposed to be woken up early, and certainly not supposed to run into Hilbert.
Stock Weapon Names: The ultimate weapons of most characters, and some others; for example, Ethan's ultimate weapon is the Ragnarok, Ortas wields the Lightbringer, and Castor's glaive is known as Lifetaker.
Gunther: What are you worried about, with no enemies in sight? You think they're just going to drop down from the sky? (ladder drops and Matilda's team climbs down)
That Man Is Dead: Esmerelda is dead. Tiamat killed her. Which makes the artwork image you can see after completing the game where Esmerelda says goodbye to Barasur before departing with the ship a real Tear Jerker.
A similar phrase is also used by Alexander when Ortas takes him from his prison cell.
There Are No Therapists: Most of the plot could have been prevented had Ortas seen a grief counselor and Castor gotten some help with his dependency issues.
Treachery Cover Up: Subverted. Despite the suggestion, Wilhelm refuses to hide Felgorn's murder of Emperor Leopold, choosing instead to reveal it to the public while still honoring the culprit's good deeds and ultimate Heroic Sacrifice.
Trippy Finale Syndrome: The entire final dungeon seems to be designed from the ground up to confuse you as much as possible, although it's really deceptively simple to figure out. Then there's the background during the final boss battle and the interior of the biorite cluster...
Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Three scenes, actually, of the Info Dump variety. It occurs in Entalar, where Alexander, Barasur, and Ortas tell your party members about what really happened in the Havali war.
The party actually knows about Castor's potential breakdown long before it happens, and tries to prevent it. Helio, on the other hand, doesn't "break down" so much as take a few moments to get some things off his chest before his "Heroic" Sacrifice.
Villainous Valor: The Omega Team, when they're defending the unconscious Castor from the heroes. Bonus points go to Helio, who defies his alleged characterization in a You Shall Not Pass moment.
Wake Up Call Boss: The Marid King is basically a little note to players. It reads, "You thought those were boss fights? This is a boss fight. Prepare to Die." And making it worse, there's no way to backtrack; if you didn't come in with enough supplies you've got no choice but to reset to an earlier save file.
Weapon of Choice: Subverted. Aside from Lorenza and possibly Cool Sword user Zawu, no one in the party has a personality that fits the weapon they use.
The Knife Nut is a Cool Old Guy scientist who occasionally gets distracted from the main objective by ruins and artifacts.
They do tend to have the corresponding battle role, however. The exceptions are Randolph, who's mainly defensive, and Ethan, whose focus stat is evasion of all things. And Thorve, though his gem-claw-thing isn't common enough to have an expected role.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Hilbert, particularly at the beginning. Deconstructed, as it gets him in trouble from time to time. Then Reconstructed when Hilbert adds a little realism in without losing his overall idealism and turns into a damn fine example of The Messiah.
Xanatos Gambit: Drakovic lives off of these, as he always has a backup plan. About the only time attempts to foil his machinations don't average out in his favor is when Castor took over the Republic while he and his army were busy with the Empire.Didn't See That Coming.
Xanatos Speed Chess: Drakovic is good at these too, like when The empire holds 500 of his men as P.O.W.s and he waits to ask for them to be released. He does this in case they'll be needed to free his country, but when they aren't he has them released to capture a nearby port friendly to the Kingdom out of nowhere.
You All Look Familiar: Particularly obvious in Entalar; there are only three generic Havali sprites, so the town seems to be populated by an army of clones.
You Can Barely Stand: The party tries to point this out to Ortas before their battle, but he has none of it.
Hilbert: Ortas...just give it up. You can barely move.
Ortas: "NEVER! I, I'll never give up!!"
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: While it's mostly averted with major characters, a lot of the minor characters have sprites with crazy-colored hair. But even if you assume that Matilda's apparently pink hair is just stylized auburn and Felgorn's purple hair is actually black, Flynn definitely qualifies.