Video Game: Radiata Stories
is a role-playing game
developed by tri-Ace
and published by Square Enix
for the PlayStation 2
. The game is notable for its large number of distinct NPCs, each of whom have their own lives, lifestyles, jobs, personalities, homes, dialogues, and schedules. It makes for a much more realistic experience than the standard RPG towns populated with eerily identical cookie cutter residents
who say the same things ad inifinitum
, though the game is limited by the hardware into making the characters repeat the same list of activities every day, with a few exceptions.
Furthering the theme of realism, the main character, Jack Russell
, can interact with most objects in the game, mostly by kicking them
. Doing so to furniture and other inanimate objects, for example, will occasionally turn up items or money
, while NPCs will fight Jack in a duel
. This being Jack's
primary method of interacting with everything and everyone he encounters would normally seem out of place, but it fits quite well with his personality
While there are easily over 150
distinct recruitable characters in the game, there are only three that are central to the plot: Jack Russell
, a rude
, cheerful teenager
who plans on being a knight
; Ridley Silverlake
, a smart
, proper, well-off young lady
who wants nothing to do with him (at least at first)
; and Ganz Rothschild
, a polite, genteel man, who is their superior in the Rose Cachon
brigade. This doesn't last long.
After one successful mission, what should be a simple Fetch Quest
goes awry and Ridley suffers a debilitating injury to the point where she's bedridden
. As a consequence for their failure to protect her, both Jack and Ganz are expelled from the knighthood because of her Overprotective Dad
. From there, they both try to join Theater Vancoor, the warrior guild, but Ganz fails the test and ends up in the Void Community
(the thief guild) instead. The game then allows the player to start exploring the environment
a bit, and segues into the open-ended play promised on the box instead of a tedious paint by numbers
As Jack and Ganz try to adjust to their new lives, a series of seemingly unrelated incidents begins to occur. Ridley begins experiencing strange headaches and speaking in a voice that is not her own. The dreaded disease Algandars, said to be the only thing capable of fully killing the immortal elves, makes a reappearance after being gone for centuries. Tensions between the humans and non-humans skyrocket as three particular individuals become prominent in the politics of Radiata: Zane, human-hating leader of the light elves; Lord Lucian, a mysterious courtesan of Radiata Castle who displays frightening Chessmaster
capabilities; and Cross Ward, Ridley's Jerkass fiancé
Another aspect of the title is that it takes place in real time (albeit with the typical video game compression). While many games incorporate some method of this, Radiata Stories
is one of the few where keeping track of the hour is crucial to gameplay, due to the fact that the majority of "free time" between missions provides only brief snatches where Jack is able to interact with other characters and the like before setting out once more. As a result, this is one of the few games where Level Grinding
is difficult, if not impossible
, to accomplish.
There is a character page now. Character-based tropes should be directed there.
As a last tidbit of info, Radiata Stories
is also notable for its high content of humor despite having a pretty serious story.
Not to be confused with Radiant Historia
, a similarly-named game that inherited a large portion of Radiata
's production team.
This game provides examples of the following:
- Don't Try This at Home: The description for the umbrella weapon suggests to not use it as a method of combat in reality. Best listen to that.
- Downer Ending: Given the game has multiple endings, there had to be one. Although, depending on how you look at it, both could be considered downer endings. If the player opts to side with the humans, Ridley dies and Jack leaves Radiata, too shellshocked to stay after all he's been through. If the player decides to join the non-humans, Ridley survives and Ganz, instead, is killed; she and Jack then return to a Radiata that seems to be inexplicably deserted and filled with glowing globs of unknown origin. The game is deliberately vague about the circumstances of the latter ending, although an actual sequel has not been announced. The most probable explanation is that [[spoiler:it represents Ridley, who is now the awakened Gold Dragon, remaking the world, while still keeping Jack by her side.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Felix, and possibly Lucian. The former especially has trouble with this trait in regards to other characters.
- Dumb Is Good: Clive, a country hick, is the nicest guy in the game. Not only will he be Jack's friend without a Fetch Quest but he'll come to the guild and volunteer.
- Eleventh Hour Ranger: The most powerful characters for both sides cannot be recruited until late in the game. The human side gives the player the leaders of each guild (particularly Elwen, who has an attack of 438), as well as Natalie, while the non-humans have the two orc leaders, Galvados (460) and JJ (430), as well as the black goblin chief, Gruel (410). Valkyrie takes the cake. Recruitable only in the post game for both paths, she starts at Level 77. Once she reach Level 99, Valkyrie's attack goes to 502. To drive the point home, her race is stated as "God".
- Epic Flail: Dynas and Gawain both fight with flails.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Felix. Notice a pattern here?
- Evil Brit: Cross as well as Lucian/Aphelion
- It's debatable whether or not Lucian/Aphelion qualifies for this trope as they are not completely evil per se, but they are definitely an antagonist and the fact that they are your final battle no matter which side you choose is as good of a reason as any.
- Evil Plan: As with Big Bad, this trope is also averted as there is no one villain's plot that encompasses the whole game. It's more all the BB candidates plans clashing until only one left is to finish their own.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Fire Mountain, as well as the attack descriptions for the Vareth Institute's various staffs.
- Eyepatch of Power: Gerald, the Vancoor Number Two, wears one. The younger members thinks he's cool.
- Fake Difficulty: Several stats have been tweaked to force the player to keep recruiting. For example:
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Inverted. There is no magic stat, so, except for healers, all spellcasters go obsolete as time goes on, as opposed to melee types who don't experience (as much) change in usefulness over time. Jack's stats are atrocious when compared to some of the other characters, with the exception of luck.
- Fantastic Racism: Drives a good portion of the plot.
- Cross is willing to commit atrocities against communities of non-humans, and there are a number of hints that said non-humans were, and might still be, heavily discriminated against.
- Plenty of non-humans cross the line from understandable mistrust to unjustifiable racial hatred. Zane, the light elf's leader, wants nothing more than to wipe out every last human being in the world; not because they caused a cosmic imbalance, but because he unfairly blames them for the death of his brother, who died from the Algandars disease.
- Fish out of Water: Ganz may be the knight who believes the most in chivalry but he ends up at the Void Community, as mentioned previously. Justified in that he fell in with honorable bandits.
- Funny Afro: Pinky. 'Nuff said.
- Gainax Ending: In the ending for the non-human path, Jack, whose voice echoes, walks into a strangely empty Radiata with Ridley, who is glowing like the Gold Dragon.
- Gambit Pileup: There's the humans who want to do business by exploiting the dwarves; the dwarves who want to make more money at the expense of the humans; the elves who generally want to wipe out humanity because they don't want to be trapped in a cocoon for eternity and believe this is the solution; the orcs who just like fighting and eating; the dragons who are trying to preserve a cosmic balance, and that's without going into individuals. Cross is an arrogant gloryhound who screws everyone else for his goals. Zane is an anti-human racist who wants to commit genocide. Aphelion wants to bump off the other dragons to save the humans. Ridley opposes him by trying to wake up the Gold Dragon and start the Changeover and Jack who wants to protect Ridley even after finding this out. All of the characters (except for Cross and Zane) are more or less sympathetic.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Ridley takes a bad blow from a Blood Orc and is out of action for a while.
- Joaquel, a member of Void, is huge and hideous and disfigured.
- Anastasia looks like a pig in too much finery.
- Good Shepherd: The Old Faction is composed of pious and good hearted clerics.
- Gray and Grey Morality:
- While neither side is particularly evil, the game ultimately sympathizes more with the non-humans and most of the truly evil individuals are on the human end. Nevertheless, there are heroes on both sides and the worst of the light elves are as xenophobic as the worst of the humans beings.
- Larks and Dynas are nice enough people who unfortunately get caught in the war, and Lucian is a well-intentioned extremist dragon. Zane is slightly more sympathetic than Cross, but still too extreme to be anything but evil. Both sides have the good and the bad.
- Grey and Black Morality: Rynka and Flau are honorable bandits who only steal from those that deserve it. Then there's Nocturne who takes shady assignments.
- While it is uncertain whether Zane is wearing makeup or if that's just how he naturally looks, the fact that he is the only light elf who has green eyelids and green nails suggests the former.
- He could potentially also qualify for Excessive Evil Eyeshadow.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Every Hopeless Boss Fight is against people older, or at least more experienced, than Jack. Gerald personally defies it:
Jack: Awww! I didn't even come CLOSE to winning!.
Gerald: What did you expect, fool? I was a swordsman years before you were born.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle against Ridley is unwinnable; her HP states: ??? There's also a few later where the game progresses whether the player wins or loses, with slight variations in dialogue being the only consequence. All of these fights end when you are hit with the boss's Volty Blast, even if you survive the attack.
- Hot Witch: Morgan is a professor at Vareth and dresses in a fashion for another profession.
- Humans Are Special: Lord Lucien/Aphelion believes so. Despite the fact that the cosmic balance of the world requires the destruction of humanity, every time the dragons strike them down they manage to rebuild. He's sick of a system blatantly in favor of every race but one, and is willing to kill his fellow dragons to get rid of it.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The whole reason the light elves and many of the other races feel hatred and distrust toward humans is because they, from the non-humans' point of view, are considered selfish, evil beings who are ruining the balance of the world. To be fair, they're not entirely wrong on that last bit; the balance and all that.
- Imagined Innuendo: When Jack takes over Fort Helencia he decides to bask in his glory by (jokingly) telling Natalie that he will spare her life if she does exactly as he says. Natalie misinterprets this until Jack clarifies that all he wanted her to do was "grovel a bit".
- Improbable Weapon User: Quite a few characters use various forms of cutlery as weapons, while others use either musical or personal instruments, or discarded trash. Elef, the foreman of Radiata's bridge builders, for instance, uses his iron tobacco pipe.
- Infinity–1 Sword: The Arbitrator for the non-human path, being the second strongest one-handed sword in the game.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Holy Sword Gram, with an attack rating of 170, obtained after beating Valkyrie, despite supposedly being a legendary sword re-forged by the gods, she had two. This makes sense when you remember that in Valkyrie Profile, she can make more than one Gram.
- Insufferable Genius: Genius will make sure you know he's smarter than you.
- Joke Character: Loads of examples, particularly those who have no affiliation with the guilds and work mundane jobs, such as farmers, doctors, nurses, and the like.
- Joke Weapon: Many mundane objects such as an umbrella and different kinds of farming tools can be used as weapons.
- Katanas Are Just Better: The best one-handed and two-handed swords available for purchase are katanas. However, the best swords period are not.
- Lady and Knight: Jack appoints himself Ridley's White Knight in the in the non-human path and not only protects her but lifts her spirits with endearingly corny jokes. In personality, they're the bright couple, but to the humans, they're the dark couple. Gerald praises him for having the balls to turn against his entire race for the sake of his girl. For her part, Ridley is a bright lady ojou who is trying to do what she think is right, and is grateful for Jack's support.
- Lady of War: Ridley, Elwen, Alicia, Natalie, Lily, Iris, and Valkyrie, to name a few. Elwen in particular. Being of stunning beauty, it's surprising to see a woman in such a position without making her into a tsundere or something similar.
- Lemony Narrator: The character descriptions often include snarky comments about said characters' inherent flaws.
- Lethal Joke Character: While there's likely a few more, Franz, the hammy dark elf who challenges Gil, arguably has the only attack that knocks the Ethereal Queen off her feet. He's also quite fast and does notable damage for such a minor character.
- Limit Break: The "Volty Blast" special attack, which is limited to a small number of individuals. This includes Jack, who can learn one for each of the four weapon types.
- Limited Wardrobe: Averted. Not only is Jack able to change his clothing, but the vast majority of Radiata's population has both day and night attire.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Everyone who has immortality loves it, and Aphelion's plan involves preserving his own as a nice bonus to his main goal. However, Ganz and Ridley argue that mortality isn't bad either.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a lot of recruitable characters, most of whom are, unfortunately, to some degree, useless. The player cannot recruit all of them in a single playthrough.
- Lovable Coward: Star's excuse for why he won't go someplace or why he lost a duel are funny.
- Macho Camp: Gabriel Celesta, of all people. In almost any other appearance, he's a pretty boy.
- Magikarp Power: While there are plenty of examples, Leona is arguably the most prominent. She starts at level 3, which is incredibly low at the point in the game the player can recruit her. Through grinding, her attack stat can reach upward of 398. Since her weapon is a magical book instead of a staff, she has the ability to fire multiple magical lasers, which can decimate even the toughest enemies.
- The Medic:
- Morfinn is a literal example, coupled with some Harmful Healing due to his curiosity
- Several members from the Olacion Order also fit but they use White Magic instead of medicine.
- Medium Awareness: Radian's "Why wasn't I the main character of this game?!"
- Meaningful Name:
- Genius is a genius.
- Kain is the High Priest of the Olacion Order.
- Nyx is, arguably, a vampire.
- Morgan, of course, is a witch.
- Metal Slime: The dagol tortoises, tsuchinoko, and metal tortoises are extremely rare creatures which can drop obscenely useful items upon defeat. Also, the Killer Queen who you can only fight once in the entire game, but drops obscene amounts of exp and also dropping one of each type of berry in the game.
- Missing Mom:
- All three members of the main trio have mothers that are, at most, only briefly mentioned but never actually shown. The one exception may be Ridley's mother who is at least visible in a painting in her bedroom.
- While it is concluded on the non-human side that Jack's mother is dead ("Mom was as cheerful as ever until the day she died.") it is never explicitly stated what became of Ganz's and Ridley's mothers.
- Moveset Clone: Jack and Ridley, if the former's wielding an axe as well.
- Multiple Endings: There are two possible endings for the game, depending on which side of the war the player has Jack align. One is a Downer Ending, and the other is a Bittersweet Ending.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Jack's general idea for how to solve a problem is to kill the person causing it. He gets chewed out for this in the non-human path by JJ, an orc, of all people.
- Odd Friendship: Ganz, a knight, eventually befriends Rynka and Flau, two members of Void.
- Our Elves/Goblins/Orcs/Dwarves/Dragons Are Different: Universally united in their hatred of humans, to the point of declaring war for the sole purpose of exterminating them. Furthermore, dark elves are, technically, half-elves, while the light elves are portrayed more closely to the standard faerie.
- Official Couple: Jack and Ridley. are this in the non-human path. In the human path, they're Star-Crossed Lovers.
- Ojou: Ridley starts out as the stuck-up and bossy type and In the non-huamn path, she mellows into the sweet heart type.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Lily and her mentor, Iris, have these. It's fitting for a void member.
- Pink Means Feminine: Natalie's pink armor.
- Player Character: Jack. No, seriously, this is worth noting: the player can recruit tons of individuals, but they remain just that: individuals. Jack is the game's only controllable character.
- Punny Name:
- Jack Russell is an energetic young man, relatively short in stature, who is nonetheless quite fierce and not to be underestimated. It's hard to believe this wasn't on purpose.
- Adele, Jack's sister, is named Airdale in the Japanese version, while Ridley's original last name is Timberlake.
- Rapunzel Hair: Zane and Nogueira have everyone beat as their hair is so long, they have to keep it wrapped around their entire body to keep it from dragging on the ground and potentially tripping them up. Lucian also qualifies.
- Rewarding Vandalism: There is no downside to kicking everything except Elwen when only at level 12...
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Morgan and Curtis, both professors at Vareth, sport the classic look.
- Rose-Haired Sweetie: Alicia has pink hair and is characterized by her friendliness.
- Sadistic Choice: The player cannot save both Ridley and the rest of humanity in the same ending. Similarly, if one chooses the path wherein she and the world are liberated, Ganz dies instead.
- Saintly Church: The Oralcion Old Faction are interested in helping people. For example, Miranda fully heals Jack whenever he talks to her, for free.
- Samurai: Caesar has the armor, the weapon, the topknot, the battle mentality etc. Jack may count, too, if he equips the correct armor.
- Screw Destiny: Jack ultimately rejects fate at the end of the human path and prevents the Changeover.
- Secret Identity: Cornelia is secretly Rachel. It's hush hush though, so don't tell anyone.
- There's Ganz, who dresses up like a fatter, older Claude at one point; Jack, who can dress up as Fayt; and, of course, Cornelia, who looks similar to Sakura and Momo. Her schtick is also similar to another Momo, in fact, and in the Japanese version, her Rachel persona is a Nami Tamaki cameo. She even holds nightly concerts, singing the game's OST.
- Anastasia's Volty Blast has her chargin' and firin' her lazer.
- The Black Goblin Pietro is (quite surprisingly) a shout out to Dragon Ball Z. To recruit him, you need to beat him three times, with him getting stronger each time, at one point he states he is going "Super Goblin"(with Jack answering "Wow, you can transform?!"), and after you recruit him, talk to him again to having him saying "Me make you legendariest warrior! First, dye hair yellow! All legendariest warriors has yellow hair!"
- Shown Their Work: The toadstool powder's description explains it is made out of Amanita virosa spores. This is an actual, and fatal, fungus that is extremely poisonous when eaten.
- Shrinking Violet: Leona, Gene, and Rolec are all shy people. The former hides behind her books, the second spends his time with flowers, and the last in a bathroom.
- Single-Minded Twins: Elena and Adina, though their viewpoints differ in concerns to who is most important in their lives.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Star would make you think he is the best warrior in the kingdom, but he's only a novice in Vancoor.
- Solo-Character Run: The final boss is so powerful against your party members that it's easier to fight the boss alone rather than blindly spending potions on them. Being an action RPG, it's possible to kill the final boss without getting a scratch when you know its pattern (albeit taking a long time).
- Story Branching: The game splits into two very different stories depending on a choice made mid game.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Knight Selection Trials. At the start, the judge says it is a "completely unbiased assement of your abilities". At the end, Jack passes after getting knocked out in the first round because his dad's a national hero.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Not necessarily big spoilers or anything, but one of the trailers spoils Jack walking. This is the human side ending. There's also a scene where he draws his sword in an epic fashion manner is the final battle of the human side.
- Third-Person Person: Herz has a tendency to do this.
- Tomboyish Name: Ridley is the best example, though a few others skirt close to this.
- Ridley is tsun tsun to everyone from her arranged finance to her commanding officer and stays that way. As the story progresses, her dere dere sides emerges more and more around "her Jack".
- Lily is similarly aloof and dismissive of Jack, yet she's one of the "date options" for the fireworks.
- Morgan and Urusla as well.
- Underrated And Overleveled: The huge cast of characters guarantees at least a few will be mundane people with little or no combat training. The inability to focus the plot on each character also means that the developers didn't have time to give in-universe justification for everyone's combat capabilities.
- Unwanted Harem: Felix has a lot of male fans, much to his chagrin. This is likely due to his looks.
- Unwitting Pawn: Jack is this for Lucian. He doesn't realize it until Lucian kills Ridley.
- Upper-Class Twit: Star is a nobleman who acts like an over-confident fob.
- Violence Really Is the Answer: Fortunately for Jack, the "kill everything" approach is born out as correct more often than not. Unfortunately for everyone else, the same approach is incorrect in two very big ways: Carin killing the Water Dragon in the prologue and Cross slaughtering the dwarves just before the split.
- Voluntary Shapeshifter: Herz uses it to impersonate others.
- Walking the Earth: In the human path, Jack leaves Radiata because of his guilt in Ridley's death.
- War Is Hell: Definitely for both sides. There's death, there's tragedy, and the only person who says War Is Glorious is an asshole.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Aphelion does his best to prevent the war from happening and tries to stop it as quickly as possible, as all he wants is to prevent the world from being constantly reset because the system is blatantly in favor of every race except humanity. It's a real shame his plan requires the death of the dragons and Ridley. Most non-humans (not Zane) are this in the human route, where they're Jack's enemies, as it's not difficult to sympathize with their reasons for going to war in the first place.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Many of the recruitable characters have passive abilities that are only useful in very specific situations, if ever.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gawain says this to Jack after the latter slays the Wind Dragon, during a No Holds Barred Beat Down.
- Whip It Good: Iris fights with whips.
- You Are Worth Hell: The opinion of the Ancient Elf King to his queen, and Jack to Ridley. Gerald hopes to find someone he loves this much someday.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Most non-humans with regard to humanity. Ridley and Gawain, too.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Natalie has green hair. No one else has green hair.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Ridley qualifies as a Rank S; Rank A boots, twin tails and tsundere attitude.