One of the earliest RPGs, if not the first, made for the infamously RPG-dry Nintendo 64
. Quest 64
was developed by Imagineer and released in 1998 in western countries and a year later in Japan. It was remade near identically in Japan as Eltale Monsters
, which was ported to PAL regions under the name Holy Magic Century
. A remake for Game Boy Color
, titled Quest: Brian's Journey
, was released in early 2000.
The quest in question concerns the disappearance of Brian (the hero)'s father from their mage monastery as he investigates the theft of a mage book that will probably bring about the end of the world if it falls into the wrong hands. It's up to you to find the hero's father and the book to stop the world from falling into eternal darkness.That's about it.
As an early RPG of its generation, Quest 64
is often criticized for its lack of depth. The plot is generic and shallow, advancement is straightforward, there are no puzzles, mini-games, party system, equipment or even money
, and there's no real replay value other than going through the game again. Additionally, the game saved to controller pak [the 64's memory card] when many other games on the console saved to the cartridge, and this is despite the game's aforementioned simplicity.
At the same time, the game is noted for its unique battle system which, while turn-based, gives the player a field of movement to move about each turn to handle a fight as best seen fit. Enemies may react differently if the player is near or far, escaping always works when the player leaves the battle area, and the player can avoid some attacks by simply getting out of the way. It also has a somewhat unusual advancement system—hit points and magic points increase over time as the hero takes damage or casts spells. Brian's stats increase the same way, with Defense increasing from damage and Agility (which covers both passive dodging and how far he can move in combat) from dodging attacks or just plain walking around.
And lastly, the hero is adorable.
Quest 64 provides examples of:
- Action Commands: When an enemy attacks, you can move the control stick to dodge some attacks.
- Ahoge: The hero has one, for starters.
- After Boss Recovery: Your HP is revitalized and your max HP increases after a boss fight.note
- All There in the Manual: And not even the manual to the game! The plot outline for Quest 2 gave some modestly interesting backstory to the first game. Guess what never came out?
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: Compare the box arts here. The NA box art is a CG render, unlike the others, and Brian is scowling instead of smiling.
- Anti-Grinding: Enemies give less and less experience points quite quickly. Maxing your stats is pretty much impossible... which may lead to level grinding. Need to build up defense? Find the enemy that hits you the most with the least amount of damage, get a turbo controller, hold down the "skip turn" button, and come back in about 10 minutes, win the fight, heal up, do that again.
- An Adventurer Is You: And only you...
- Ancient Keeper: Grand Abbot and Lavaar. In the GB remake, the latter is also joined by Gabriel.
- Arrows on Fire: One of the spells is literally a bunch of arrows...of the fire element.
- Artificial Stupidity: Sometimes the enemies will take a position so you can easily hit them with the perfect spells. They also rarely do anything but attack, but even worse, when they can't move but they can use spells...they don't. The master of this trope is Zelse, the second boss. His Massive Cutter spell is fairly damaging and can't be physically dodged... so he almost never uses it.
- Attack Its Weak Point: All except two bosses, anyway.
- Big Fancy House: Pretty much all the houses in Limelin.
- Big Labyrinthine Building: The second half of the Baragoon Tunnel.
- Blow You Away: Naturally, it's one of the elements. This is just one of them. Specifically, very few spells apply here. Cyclone, Wind Walk, Wind Wall, and that's about it.
- Boring but Practical: Your staff attack is the most powerful attack in the game, provided you can reach the enemy with it. The ability to increase its damage output with a buff spell just puts it further ahead of the rest of your spell list. There's a cliff that the final boss can be reached from, and yes, it's still more powerful than basically all the other magic at your disposal.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The Wyvern, and later practically all the Mammon's World monsters
- Broken Bridge: Getting into any new area requires you to beat a boss who holds a key item that just happens to "open" up the next area. There's a literal broken bridge too.
- Camera Screw: Because the game requires you to aim your attacks, the camera sometimes is put at a bad angle.
- If you win a battle, the camera angle turns back to where Brian was originally facing. If you run away, the camera angle doesn't change. This makes most of the caves That One Level because it's easy to get lost if you can't gain your bearings after running away.
- Cats Are Mean: The Were Cat emobidies this trope, despite being technically a catgirl. The only regular cat is called Flamed Mane... despite being red and breathing fire.
- Character Customization: To an extent, though no colors or weapons.
- Cherry Tapping: There's a multitude of spells that have such pathetic damage input, that most avoid using them. However, the only way to successfully level up your MP is with them.
- Checkpoint Starvation: You have to go through a few sets of stairs, down a hill, and go through most of a town just to get to the first save point.
- Chest Monster: The Mimic, quite traditionally. However, since battles are random, the Mimic is simply an enemy that appears whenever, as opposed to specifically appearing when you try to open a chest.
- Child Mage: Literally. Also, the Ork Jr. somewhat fits here too.
- Color-Coded Elements: In addition, most Monsters are colored the same as the element they're associated with. Most white and green colors are Wind, red colors are fire, blue colors are water, and brown colors are Earth. A special note is that one white monster (the Judgment) is white colored, but Earth. The rest play it straight.
- The japanese version makes it even better. When you level up a statistic, its related element is shown in an aura that appears.
- Completely Different Title: Holy Magic Century in Europe, Quest 64 in North America, and Eltale note Monsters in Japan.
- Dark World: The final level has a mix of earlier areas with a darkened look.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: Wind Cutter Level 2-3 and the Homing Arrow spells.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying merely sets the hero at the last place he saved, not his last save.
- Disappeared Dad: One-half of the plot.
- Disc One Nuke: If you pump all your spirit levels into Earth, you can learn hugely powerful, game-breaking spells pretty quickly (the second-to-last earth spell negates magic attacks). Add a few levels of Water to get healing, and you'll curb-stomp the rest of the game.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Earth monsters are rampant, as are spells. Some are even made of rock itself!
- Double Agent: Your only recurring ally is an enigmatic woman named Shannon. Naturally, she's working for the Big Bad, and may have even kicked your dad's ass just before you showed up to help him. However, see Lovable Traitor below.
- Down the Drain: The Blue Cave, the worst and longest dungeon in the game. There's no save points, the enemies hit hard, and there is no shortcuts. You can get a lot of spirits in the cave, except for the fact that they're in very hard to find spots, and the enemy appearance rate is off the chart here. Did I mention there's no save points? It's pretty much the Scrappy Level, though the dungeons themself altogether may apply too.
- The Dragon: There's about two in a row. First there's Guilty, who's King Beigis's dragon; then there's King Beigis; then there's the final boss at last, who is only foreshadowed by a random cultist you fight at the end of a dungeon about 3/5ths of the way through the game.
- Even more specifically, Shilf(the random cultist) works for Mammon, being his Dragon.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: Item drops don't appear if you already have the item, but even worse, an npc blacksmith in Dondoran tells you he can make something useful and gives you more information as you beat the bosses and aquire the elemental macguffins. Typically, he never makes you anything.
- Dug Too Deep: According to a NPC, the monsters infesting the world were released from the below mentioned Temple of Doom when Miners accidentally dug into it.
- Dying Town: Greenoch was largely burned to the ground by King Beigis, and carries a desolate, not-long-for-this-world vibe.
- Empty Room Psych: When you first head downstairs in the monstary, the first room has a character you can talk to, but all other rooms are empty. Other empty rooms are visible.
- Enemy Scan: Soul Searcher 1 and 2
- Event Flag: Even if you were to use a gameshark to have 4 of the first macguffins, until you actually defeat the boss they're associated with, NP Cs won't recognize the deed!
- Evil Laugh: Mammon says "Ha" around twenty-two times when first encountered.
- Fake Difficulty: Every dungeon is a straight line with pretensions. The most difficult dungeon is the Blue Cave—like all the rest, it's a straight line, except that it's so enormously long and devoid of features it's easy to get turned around and find yourself back at the beginning.
- Flechette Storm: Wind Cutter 2 and 3, Zelse and Shilf's variations of the of Wind Cutters.
- Flying Seafood Special: Magma Fish (who is unexpectedly fire-aligned) and Winged Sunfish.
- For the Evulz: Shannon remarks that King Beigis burned Greenoch to the ground for no reason other than to test his newfound power.
- Gainaxing: No, really. Shilf, one of the bosses, has a little polygonal bounce in her Gag Boobs when she casts spells.
- Get on the Boat: Required for not only an element bubble, but to simply progress.
- Geo Effects: Many areas heavily affect your and the monsters' damage output. It's never explained in game, notably.
- Ghibli Hills: Connor Forest for Solvaring, Glencoe Forst for Kelly, Windward Forest for Zelse
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: There are exactly two mentions of Mammon, the Big Bad, before The Reveal. You can miss the one that explains just who Mammon is.
- Guilty is even more so; Though he's not noted for being very difficult, he is only mentioned in by a NPC and not even by name. He appears in the middle of someone else's castle and, along with mammon, is one the only two bosses that aren't human. He is also like Mammon in that they are the only enemies that don't have an element.
- Green Hill Zone: As soon as you leave the first city, you can see many surroundings with trees, ponds, and even a great big ocean. The second continent fits this trope by adding in bridges.
- Ground Pound: The Ork's only attack. It notably uses Hot Steam 1 during it.
- Guide Dang It: Two of the hidden spirits have byzantine methods of getting them (ride the same boat several times in a row, go back to the first kingdom an arbitrary way through the game). The semi-hidden city in the desert is in the very furthest corner of the desert map, making it somewhat obnoxious to locate, and there's one spirit dead center in said vast, landmark-less desert.
- Hellhound: Literally. One of the monsters is named it, and his big brother Ghosthound eventually comes to play. Luckily, they don't travel in a pack directly together.
- Heroic Mime: Brian does not talk whatsoever in this game. Or even make noise.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: You prefer a staff, as do some other magicians like Leo D'Nardo. Flora, originally a potential party member, plays the name straight though.
- Infinite Supplies: Your magic can always be returned outside of battle just by walking around, but more specifically, if you don't have a particular item, a set of NPCs can always supply you with that particular item.
- Instant Death Radius: Multiple bosses have a close and ranged attack. The former is often times more powerful than the latter.
- Kamehame Hadoken: Solvaring, Shilf, and King Beigus each have one.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Lampshaded in Limelin, where a noblewoman remarks about the difficulties of cleaning, for their houses are rich with valuables. Naturally, you can go upstairs and help yourself to them.
- Kid Hero: As shown on the front cover, the Player Character is Brian, a rather young mage.
- Killer Rabbit: Averted, as the first enemy is a Were Hare, and is rather weak. The fact that NPC children talk about destroying the bunnies themselves...
- Kill It with Fire: See all those kick-ass boss spells? Well, guess what, they're all fire spells, except Zelse's Large Cutter, but that's just one of the spells you can cast. Funny how fire is the least used element...
- Lethal Lava Land: Amusingly, this one's only lethal because of monsters, because you can't fall in the lava itself. It's a cave inside a volcano.
- Let's Play: There have been several, surprisingly enough, such as this completed series by Boltage McGammar.
- Locked Door: This works simultaneously with the Broken Bridge description. You open doors the exact same way.
- Lost Forever: If you save in the final area of the game, you can never go back to any other area, thus, you can lose any items or hidden spirits.
- The Lost Woods: This is also Glencoe Forest, but applies to Connor Forest, the first one in the game. It's less confusing, but the graphics blend a bit too much.
- Lovable Traitor: Despite betraying your dad and possibly setting off the plot to begin with by stealing the Eltale Book, Shannon doesn't seem especially compelled to fight for the Big Bad and quickly joins the Humans Are Alright crowd after you beat the final boss.
- MacGuffin: Following from the Disappeared Dad half, tracking down the Eletale Book makes up the other half of the plot.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Homing Arrow 1 and 2 are weak versions of this. However, Mammon's suped-up version is another story. It's called (at least in some of the FAQs) Serpentine Arrow for a reason.
- Making a Splash: There's quite a lot of spells that are water-related, and you can literally use an effective Splash attack with Water Pillar.
- Medieval European Fantasy: Par for the course with this kind of early N64 RPG. Castles, robes, magic, churches, the whole shebang.
- Meaningful Name: Zelse probably comes from Zephyr, Shilf from Shief, Nepty from Neptune. Others include Multi-Optics, who has lots of eyes, and Rocky who is made of rock. Mammon comes from the demonic representative of the sin of greed. Epona also means Horse goddess, which is rather appropriate, especially in her same-named counterpart in the Zelda series.
- Night of the Living Mooks: Some monsters, like the Ghost, Skeleton, Jack O' Lantern, and Ghost Stalker.
- Non-Combat EXP: While you gain HP, MP, and defense by performing tasks in battle, you gain agility by walking. Including running around in circles for hours.
- Non-Elemental: Yourself, Guilty, and Mammon are the only characters/enemies in the entire game who don't adhere to a specific element.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: You'll just return to your last save point (or where you rested at an Inn), or the start of Melrode Monastery if you haven't rested at an Inn.
- No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Surprisingly averted. Despite being a pretty bare-bones RPG, exploring means leveling up and finding some storyline plots, amongst other things.
- One Man Party: Literally. You're the only playable character. Intimidated by that pack of monsters? Don't be. Instead of all your enemies taking a turn ahead of you, turns alternate between you and your enemies, so that the more enemies you have attacking you, the more actions you get to take.
- Opening the Sandbox: Effectively works with the Locked Door and Broken Bridge descriptions. Inverted with the Point of No Return till you die, anyway, which traps you irrevocably in the final dungeon.
- Our Monsters Are Different: This includes the Kobold, the variation on the Ork Jr., and of course, the Rose Knights.
- Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Escape from any battle, and you're as good as lost. It's even worse in Blue Cave, the longest dungeon in the game. Notably, this is played physically; you know what place you have to go to since it's obvious, and constantly told to you in case you forget.
- Palette Swap: Although more or less a Polygon Model Swap, many enemies have a differently-colored version, and some use a similar-but-not-quite-the-same character model. A few are slightly bigger.
- Pirate: Kiliac and his crew.
- Playing with Fire: Of course there's fire spells. What RPG is complete without them? Naturally, like all elements, there are status effects that come with the burn.
- Plot Lock: See Broken Bridge, Locked Door, and Opening the Sandbox above.
- Point of No Return: Saving in the final dungeon, Mammon's World, or more specifically, right before King Beigus.
- Poor, Predictable Rock: Or any other obvious elemental-aligned monster. A lot of monsters seem to avert it by throwing off spells that don't relate to its element, however, they make no difference since you're non-elemental and therefore not weak to any particular element.
- Port Town: Larapool is the City of Water. It also houses the means to get to the aforementioned Blue Cave. Not too far from it is the actual Port itself. There's one boat in Celtland, and it goes to three ports. You can't even use the boat again till you defeat two bosses. Just how did people get to the other continents in the first place then? Oh, wait, they Took a Shortcut.
- Power-Up: There's an item to help every statistic, as well as a bunch for healing both HP and MP.
- Power Up Letdown: Any Power-Up spell that fails, literally. In addition, all the subtropes apply in one way or another.
- Random Encounters: Many, many of these, to the point of being every few steps.
- Randomly Drops: Naturally. Note that in the Japanese version enemies can drop up to 3 of an item you already have.
- Rare Candy: There's floating spirits on the ground, hidden in places, and just about anywhere you might think. They level up your spirit power, giving you new spells. The aversion is that your experience itself doesn't change at all.
- Recurring Traveler: Shannon pops up in all of the inns, and to a lesser degree, you periodically encounter Leo D'Nardo and Epona.
- Satellite Love Interest: Princess Flora, for Brian, despite being no more chatty than anyone else. Arbitrarily hooked up with Brian, according to an offhand statement.
- Saving the World: Or more specifically, Celtland.
- Scratch Damage: This'll happen when your Defense gets high enough. Some monsters still have a higher output though, which are mostly late-game monsters.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The plot is driven by you trying to fix Lavaar's mistake.
- Shifting Sand Land: Right before the Boil Hole (see Lethal Lava Land above) is a large and omninous desert. It's complete with a hidden pyramid, the only secret place in the game.
- Shockwave Stomp: See Ground Pound above.
- Smash Mook: Subverted, as one creature looks like this (an ogre), and does have a stick, but uses two fire attacks with rather interesting animations. Played straight, though, with a monster called a Spriggan. No weapons, but he sure loves to pound you like a nail.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The bosses show up in very appropriate order. It definitely doesn't apply to regular monsters, though.
- Spiritual Successor: Succeeded by Magicka. In that game, it's gone up to four wizards, it's an action game, it has no mana, there are lots of explosions, and... there's guns.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: The engine used for the game has similarities to Super Mario 64.
- Standard RPG Items: HP and MP restorations, and some that cast spells. There are no Poison-based spells, though.
- Stat Grinding: One of the most important parts to this game. You can't win if you don't grind your Defense a bit. Unless of course you abuse exploits.
- Storm of Blades: The Ice Knife and
PenUltimate Wind spells.
- Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: 64-Bit Plot and Excuse Plot say hi. It's evened out a bit in the GB remake.
- Super Title 64 Advance: Its North American title, Quest 64.
- Sword Beam: King Beigus' close attack. Also the Large Cutter spell.
- Temple of Doom: Remember Shilf? To get to her, you have to go through a large temple, which is also a Castle Ruins. You also start in a mine. How's that for environmental confusion?
- The Goomba: The Were Hare fills this role very early on.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon
- Took a Shortcut: There are "Wing" teleporting items for almost every city in the game, given to you for free by the innkeeper as long as you don't already have one. Thus, you can always return to any city instantly, as long as you remember to pick up another Wing before you leave. There's also a character who appears in every inn.
- Trailers Always Lie: The previews promised multiple party members and a hugely magic-driven combat engine. By the time the game came out, it was all Brian, all the time, and the staff (as above) wound up being the best offensive technique in the game.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Have you been saving your healing items for the final boss? Not any previous boss, but the very last one? Then you better get good at dodging, because none of your healing spells are worth a damn in combat.
- Troperiffic: It's a glorified NES game with early 3D graphics. Consequentially it's got tropes out its ass.
- Updated Re-release: The Japanese release of the game included extra events not included in the original US or PAL releases.
- Eletale Monsters had no extra events besides cutscenes in the ending, but there's a lot of aesthetic changes like an aura of color appears every time one levels up a statistic.
- Underground Monkey: Red Wyvern (of Wyvern), Pixie and Sprite (of Temptress), Red Rose Knight (of White Rose Knight), Winged Sunfish (of Magma Fish), Caterpillar (of Crawler), Gloom Wing (of Nightmare), Hot Lips (of Man Plant), Mad Doll (of Marionasty), Death Hugger (of Bat), Ghost Hound (of Hell Hound), Gremlin (of Parassault), Ghost (of Jack O' Lantern), Rocky (of Sandman), and Dark Goblin (of Goblin)
- Useless Useful Spell: On one end, the strongest Water spell removes all status ailments. By the time you get it, no enemies use status ailments, which are only mildly annoying to begin with. On the other, Fire and Wind are commonly seen as being totally worthless compared to Earth and Water. And, of course, in the hands of the computer, those useless useful spells are an absolute bastard to dodge.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: The first boss, Solvaring, can be pretty brutal if you haven't gotten the hang of dodging attacks, or if you've been putting spirits into Earth (which he's resistant to) and Water (which doesn't have any useful ranged attacks that early in the game) up to that point. And if you want an easy time with the rest of the game, you will be putting all of your spirits into them. Getting close to hit him with your staff isn't really the best way to beat him either since he has a pretty powerful close-range attack too. Zelse, the second boss, can be pretty nasty too if he doesn't suffer from Artificial Stupidity and does use his Massive Cutter often.
- In what must be the latest example of the trope ever, King Beigis can be a seriously late-game wake-up boss. If you've been plowing through and using your healing items willy-nilly, you might not have enough healing to keep yourself alive against him... and you're not getting any more healing items after that point... and the final boss is even harder.
- Walk It Off: Walking restores your MP. Healing magic is near-worthless in combat. You can walk near an obstacle to prevent random encounters from popping up. End result? With a cottage, tree, or rock to run around, you can heal yourself up to full whenever you need to.
- Weak, but Skilled: An NPC remarks that Brian knows more and more varied attack spells than any spirit tamer he's seen, which is true. In theory, Brian's versatile repertoire and strategy allows him to overcome much stronger magicians who specialize in a handful of deadly single-element spells. In theory, because that damn staff exploit bludgeons spell balance to death.
- When Trees Attack: The Treant is a classic example.
- Wind is Green: All four elements are colour-coded. Guess which one wind gets?
- Victory Pose: You, of course, have a kick-ass victory pose and a nice little jingle as you win a battle.