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Video Game: SaGa Frontier
No, that's not 'Salsa Frontier'

"A wizard's dark destiny, a woman's revenge, even a robot's search for his soul. Seven amazing adventures that weave into one — yours."

So reads the back of the case for SaGa Frontier, the first SaGa game released in North America since SaGa 3 (aka Final Fantasy Legend III) and the first one on the PlayStation. It came out March 25 1998, (July 11 '97 in Japan) and was produced by Squaresoft's Production Team 2 (referred to as "2nd Division" in-game.) The 75 song soundtrack was composed and arranged by Kenji Ito, who also did the soundtracks for previous SaGa titles.

SaGa Frontier is unique in that there are seven playable protagonists, each with their own individual quest. It also uses a 'system data' feature, which, if you complete one character's story, will give bonuses to the characters in subsequent quests.

A quick summary of the seven stories:

  • Red: A teenage boy whose family is destroyed by the evil organization called Black X (Black Cross). Granted the identity of the Super Hero Alkaiser, he struggles to destroy Black X.
  • Blue: A magician from the Magic Kingdom, his magical prowess has been divided between himself and his twin brother, Rouge. According to the customs of his land, he must master as many types of magic as possible, and kill his brother in a Duel to the Death, to attain his true strength.
  • Asellus: Run over by a carriage and saved from death by a blood transfusion by a Mystic Lord, she's turned into the world's first and only Half-Mystic. Chosen as Charm Lord's heir, she is despised by human and mystic alike. Can she escape her dark destiny or will she embrace it?
  • Emelia: A beautiful woman accused of murdering her fiance, and wrongly imprisoned for it, she becomes a member of Gradius, a secret organization, in order to track down the real killer.
  • Lute: A wandering minstrel from Yorkland, Lute lives a carefree life... until he finds himself facing off against his father's apparent murderer.
  • T260: A Mec constructed from readily available parts and an ancient core found at a crash site. Its important mission long forgotten due to damage, T260 must remember and fulfill its original directive.
  • Riki: A young Monster whose home world, Margmel, is dying. In order to save the entire Region, he must find and bring together the nine legendary Rings Of Power.

There's also a Character Sheet in progress.

SaGa Frontier provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Where do we start?
  • Actually, I Am Him: Leonard pulls this on T260.
  • After Boss Recovery: In Red's game after a battle with Metal Black 3, the red mist scattered after the explosion rejuvenates the party.
  • Alien Blood: Mystics have blue blood, and the Half-Mystic Asellus has purple.
  • The Alcatraz: Despair. While no one's ever escaped, the warden gives the inmates the chance for freedom, if they can touch the Freedom rune located within the prison. Only 'one person's ever done it before Emelia, Annie and Liza.
    • It's implied that the person who did before Emelia and company was Roufas.
  • All There in the Manual: It's no exaggeration to say there is more story in the companion books than in the game. Time constraints to the X-TREEM. There's some weird stuff there, too.
    • For example, the "useless" character Slime actually plays a large role in the battles against Boss X and Mondo, With Boss X he blocks his eye blinding him, and with Mondo, Slime literally corrodes him while he's piloting Spriggan
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Boss X, Orlouge, and Genocide Heart. Also, any battle fought in 4th Dimension Magisphere.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Congratulations, A Winner Is You. But you've still got six more stories to finish.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Mesarthim frequently apologizes for perceived insults to higher ranked Mystics- It's actually the reason she won't join while Silence is in the party.
  • Arms Dealer: Pzkw V, a Mec can be found in the backstreets of Koorong, selling smuggled guns.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For as much as she seems to hate Fei-On when he first joins, Mei-Ling is willing to wait a surprisingly long time inside a dying inter-dimensional creature for him to come back.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Nine Rings of Power.
  • Badass Bystander: Blue in Red's quest. When the Cygnus gets attacked by pirates, Blue easily takes out the one who charges into his room. But because he's kind of a dick, he refuses to help Red because he doesn't like his name. In fairness, it differs only in language from his Evil Twin.
  • Bag of Sharing: Averted. Each character has his or her own inventory, but the person equipped with the 'backpack' item can use anything not equipped to anyone else.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Bare-hands are a perfectly viable fighting style—several characters such as Fei-On and Liza start with a few techniques.
  • Bat out of Hell: In addition to regular bats, there's a Bonus Boss— The Abyss Bat.
  • Beef Gate: Early on in Asellus' game, in Chateau Augille, it's possible to find an endgame Bonus Boss with ending-altering potential. Even if you're properly trained, it's a difficult fight. Trying to fight it at the point in the game where it's possible to first encounter it? Suicide.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The "Scuffle" skill has the character throw the enemy offscreen, and have one of these occur.
  • Black Market: Koorong's got a thriving one. From smuggled guns, to secret criminal organizations, to questionable medical care, you can find it there.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Buccinote " brand handbags.
  • Body Horror: The scientists of Shrike's Bio-Research Lab, though some aren't particularly horrified by it.
  • Bonus Boss: The Earth Dragon at the Bio Research Lab, Jotnar and the dragons in Mosperiburg, the Abyss Bat in Shingrow can be fought by anyone. A few can only be fought in specific characters' games, like the Big Diggers in T260's.
  • Boss Remix: A few. Blue's final battle theme is a remix of the song in his opening scene. Red's is a remix of song in his story.
  • Boss Rush: Near the end of Red's game, you fight the major bosses all over again. Each has double their initial HP.
  • But Thou Must: Gen tells T260 to tell him when he's ready to leave the Pub. If you try to tell him you're ready to go, he tells you to get him another drink.
  • Brain Uploading: Leonard.
  • The Casino: Baccarat. At least three characters come here for their stories, but none of the games can be played.
  • Cast From HP: The spells 'Sacrifice', 'Life Rain', and Alkaiser's 'Final Crusade' which heal the party with a life's worth of HP from the caster.
  • Character Magnetic Team: The heroes can always easily find new members for their teams, for little reason other than boredom.
  • Chest Monster: A few. One in particular has a chance to spawn a couple of very rare enemies.
  • Chick Magnet: Asellus- Having the Charm Lord's blood gave her the power of seduction and attraction to females.
  • The Chosen One: Blue is told he is the superior of the two Chosen Ones, and that it his destiny to kill the other—his brother. Presumably Rouge was told the same thing at his graduation ceremony.
  • Clear My Name: Emelia is jailed for the murder of her boyfriend, because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Code Name: The IRPO operatives- they're all Appropriated Appellations, too. "Crazynote " Fuse, Silence, Rabbit and "Icy" Doll. Probably Cotton as well.
  • Combination Attack: If you do it right, all 5 members of your party will jump in..
  • Complete Immortality: Mystics seem to have a combination of The Ageless and a Healing Factor. They can be destroyed by superior power, however (either a stronger Mystic, which is why they're absolutely terrified of Orlouge and Asellus, or a powerful enough human).
  • Cool Ship: The region ships in general— the Cygnus in particular is treated as one of these in-story.
  • Counter Attack: Kasumi, Godless, KO Throw, Dragon Turn, Reaction Shot, and Asura Revenge.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Emelia walks in just after her boyfriend's murder, shortly after her come the police.
  • Cutting Off The Branches: Some of the recruitable characters can be bought to your party the same way (for example, you can always have Emelia join your party in the other scenarios after you complete one of the Rune quests) in several scenarios, with some only changing if you play as a certain character (some of the mystics that can be sought after in other scenarios are recruited automatically during Asellus' scenario). On the other hand, Red and Blue are mutually exclusive to their scenarios, and cannot be recruited in any of the others.
    • Entire races cannot be found in some scenarios. In Asellus', she cannot recruit any Mecs.
  • Cyberspace: Near the end of T260's game. It looks like a town, as the interface was designed to be friendly and recognizable to humans and monsters.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Monsters are quite commonplace in the world, quite sentient, and can be friendly. Even the skeletal and undead ones. And let's not forget the monster you save from the Shrike Bio Labs, Cotton, who's actually an IRPO agent.
    • Mystics feed and grow stronger by devouring the blood and lives of their enemies, but they're no more evil than humans on the whole. Orlouge, Ciato and Rastaban really are wicked, though.
  • Deadly Upgrade: You can buy powerful items from the shop in Facinaturu, at the cost a few of your max life points. That is to say, you can sell your soul for goodies.
  • Depowering: Red's powers are eventually revoked as purpose for which he had been given his powers was accomplished. Easy come, easy go.
  • Developer's Room: Reached after you've completed all seven stories. You can speak with the developers, listen to the soundtrack, and fight the bosses of the other character's games with the group you most recently cleared with, among other things.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Averted in Blue's ending, in which he fights Hell's Lord for eternity.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Asura in Asellus' game— sure, you need to give up 3 LP to get it, but it's of the strongest three swords in the game, has an instant death effect, and a counter attack on it that works even if the user is killed by the attack. And can be obtained in about the first ten to fifteen minutes of her story.
    • The DSCnote , if you have a character proficient at physical attacks, can be unlocked very early in some quests.
    • The recruitable monster, Thunder, is himself one. He's obscenely easy to get (just speak to him with Lute in your party). His default Ogre form is powerful, with some good stats and attacks. However, his skillset means any extra skills he acquires will always, without fail, turn him into a Trisaur, which is even stronger, capable of causing 1000 damage with some attacks. Thunder can carry the team into the midgame alone.
  • Distant Finale: Two of Asellus' endings take place in these, though the circumstances are different depending on which you get.
  • Doomed Hometown: Riki's quest to save his, Blue's, by the time he gets back
  • Doppelgänger Attack: A few of the sword moves, such as Godless, Haze-To-Wheel, and ESPECIALLY the visually appealing Life Sprinkler. In addition, the Shadow Servant spell, which creates a clone of you that copies every move you use.
    • The "Magician" Arcane spell is a variant- It creates a single Doppelgänger Spin-type copy of the caster, but when it's attacked, it has a chance of causing instant death.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: A few spells, such as Mirror Shade, which creates 1-4 clones of the caster to block an attack.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Red infiltrates Black X in this manner.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Developing Asellus' mystic abilities via three specific pieces of equipment makes her form during her Mystic Change more powerful, but it also makes her more power-hungry and tyrannical. Her Mystic ending is the end result of it - she becomes a tyrant, harsher than Orlouge.
  • Dual Wielding: Possible, and required by some moves, like Cross Slash and Two Gale Slash
  • Dub Name Change: "Coon" to "Riki", "Kowloon" to "Koorong".
    • "Koorong" is just a translation error. "Kowloon" is written 九龍 in Japanese. The pronunciation, "Kuuron", was "extrapolated" into "Koorong".
  • Duel Boss: The battle between Blue and Rouge.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: In Essence, Fuse... at least until he realizes Blue is a guy.
    "Well, caring for the hearts of cute girls is a vital part of a Region Patrol Officer's mission... [he realizes Blue is only a very pretty man][...] Caring for this jackass is outside my jurisdiction."
  • Dummied Out: A lot of content. To wit:
    • At least five songs
    • Two characters- "Common Mec" and "Woman"
    • Five sprites- Fuse in a Despair 'janitor' costume, a differently colored Type 7 Mec, A mysterious Super Hero-esque woman, and nude sprites of Asellus and White Rose.
    • Various views of the region-ships, such as the Cygnus from beneath it, or the red ship with propellers from alternate angles
    • Various unused rooms for existing places
    • Unused text, much of it from Asellus' game
    • "End of chapter" character art
    • A few moves—some actually were used, but were categorized as spells in existing, usable, schools of magic.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Enemy encounters increase as you improve your characters' stats.
  • Easter Egg: The porno book in the Shrike library. You don't see anything, but the characters' reactions range from complete disinterest, to questioning their own sexuality.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: Blue learns and masters all magic after you fight Rouge. Also, during Red's game, you get to walk around as Alkaiser towards the very endnote .
  • Emergency Transformation: Asellus to a half-mystic thanks to Orlouge, Red to a super hero thanks to Alkarl. Their reactions to their respective changes are opposite each other- While Red is excited about his new-found power to defeat evil, Asellus is afraid and confused about exactly what being a half-mystic entails.
  • Engrish: Not nearly as bad as many examples, especially back in '98, but there are a few minor ones— "Facinaturu" was likely meant to be "Facinature," while "Omble" was probably supposed to be "Ombre." The Region of Margmel likewise seems to be a mistranslation of "Mag Mell". In addition, "katana" is always translated as "sword", rather than left "katana", which leads to some swords having "sword skill usable" as their description and katana moves being labeled as "sword move" in the sword technique folder.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Asellus, due to having Orlouge's blood.
  • Every Episode Ending: Though there's variations, each 'section' of each characters game (such as rescuing Mesarthim in Asellus', or receiving the Gift for a school of magic in Blue's,) is ended with a picture of a character involved in it.
  • Evil Twin: Oddly enough, Blue could considered the evil twin to Rouge. The former is perfectly willing to manipulate whoever he needs to to kill his brother, while the latter is generally friendly, and in-game, will join anyone's quest, unlike Blue who outright refuses to join Red simply because he doesn't like his name.
    • According to the manual, Blue lost to Rouge, thus the one who did the remainder of the quest (including the 'eternal' fight with Hell's Lord) was supposedly Rouge.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: The Trickshot skill, when used only with one gun: the user shoots above the enemy, causing rocks to cascade down.
  • Expy: Zozma bears an uncanny resemblance to Street Fighter's Akuma- He's even able to use Evil magic.
    • In addition, Red's appearance seems to be based on that of a character of the same name from a little known Squaresoft game called Treasure Hunter G. There's also a Blue in that game, though he only looks somewhat similar.
    • Dr. Nusakan bears a rather creepy resemblance to Dr. Hojo, as well.
  • Fan Disillusionment: Blue has a subtle example near the end of his game. Upon returning to the Magic Kingdom, which is in ruins, he sees a statue of the goddess of Magic, calling it a fake, as magic wasn't able to save the kingdom
  • Fight Woosh
  • Flower from the Mountaintop: The quest for the Shield card involves getting one of these. Though Fuse says it's because he can't just give the card away, apparently, it's because he fancies the girl at the front desk at IRPO.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Fluffy Cloud Hell, actually.
  • Flunky Boss: Master Ring, Death Lord, Quakeworm
  • Foregone Victory: In Blue's game, if you actually do lose to Rouge, he absorbs you instead, and you play the remainder of the game as Rouge.
  • Fortune Teller: The region of Devin is filled with these.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the very beginning of Asellus' game, an image flashes of something flashes by for a split second while she's trying to remember what happened to her. It's actually an image of the carriage she was run over by.
  • Fusion Dance: The duel with Blue and Rouge is used to establish the dominant personality in One of the 'Power Booster' variety. In addition, Mystics have the power to absorb slain enemies into their weapons to increase their stats and learn more moves.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: If played on certain PSX emulators (ePSXe and at least one other), a screen transition will fail in the Tanzer dungeon and leave the game Unwinnable. Given that a player won't reach this dungeon until several hours into a character's quest, and given the relative difficulty of porting saves between emulators, this is a very nasty surprise indeed.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Two aversions- Red is unable to transform into Alkaiser when the humans in his group are healthy, because it would give away his secret identity. Blue is unable to learn Mind magic until after the duel with Rouge, because his soul is split between the two of them.
    • Also averted with non-boss mystic enemies doing a fraction of their potential damage to PC mystics, illustrating the power gap between common mystic and the party's noble mystics.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: At the time the game was launched, Asellus' homosexuality was extremely daring, and required massive amounts of disguise, ambiguity and phlebotinum to make it across.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Diva.
  • Global Currency: "Credits." There are also gold ingots which are subject to supply and demand.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The nine rings of power in Riki's game.
    • There's also the four Arcana Tarot cards and four Rune Stones.
  • Gravity Master: Mastering Space Magic gives you the "Reverse Gravity" spell.
  • Great Escape: At the start of Emelia's game.
  • Guide Dang It: Several of the secret characters. Sei can only be found after beating a Bonus Dungeon in Shrike, Suzaku can be recruited only if you beat a random Bonus Boss, while you're on a certain quest, and Rei can only be obtained during Asellus' game, after you lose White Rose, if you went into her room with just White Rose early on in the game.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Two Gun ability, which lets the user... hold two guns.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Shuzer at the beginning of Red's game.
  • Hub City: Koorong. It's the only Region which allows you to take a ship to nearly all others, has the greatest concentration of shops in the game, and doubles as a Hub Level in Riki and Emelia's quests.
  • Identity Absorption: The end result of Blue and Rouge's final battle.
  • Idea Bulb: Used to show when a character learns a new move
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Many, MANY of the stronger sword moves. Notable is Gen's ability to cut rope with a lead pipe. T260G momentarily comments on the impossibility.
  • Improvised Weapon: Early in T260's game, Gen uses wields a pipe as though it were a sword. He even manages to cut a rope with it...or not...
  • Inevitable Tournament: Shingrow holds a masked martial arts tournament every year. This fact is mentioned just before Emelia gets entered. Red can enter as Alkaiser, though it's not necessary.
  • Informed Equipment: Whether you've got on the strongest equipment in the game or charge into battle naked, the sprite remains the same.
    • Averted in the case of exactly four swords—Asura, Kusanagi, Light Sword, and Ray Sword are colored differently in battle than any other. Shields are also colored differently depending on which you have, but only appear when being used.
  • Inspiration Nod: A couple of examples.
  • Instant Runes: Rune magic is represented by giant glowing runes appearing over the targets.
  • Interface Screw: During the Tarot Quest, getting the Grail Card requires asking a series of brewers where it is. At each one, your character takes a swig. When you actually head for the Grail Shrine, your character is plastered, and takes random steps in various directions (even if you aren't moving) - usually directly into enemies. In battle itself, your party (aside from Mecs) gets hit with random status effects due to being drunk.
  • I Owe You My Life: Mesarthim to Asellus.
  • Irony: The Freeedom rune is located in Despair, a prison.
  • Jackass Genie: The 9 Rings of Power- When Riki wishes for Margmel to be reborn, all those that were not there when it was first created vanish.
    • According to Essence, this is also the reason Hell looks like it does- Long ago, a mage from the Magic Kingdom wished for paradise, but as the rings are evil, got something that appears to be paradise on the outside, but is, in fact, Hell on the inside.
  • Jumped at the Call: Red was more than willing to become a hero. Probably helps that he would have died otherwise, and that the people he wants to fight killed his family.
  • Just Eat Him: Tanzer swallows airships whole, and the people inside the airships can cope for a while
  • Justified Tutorial: Arguably, Blue's entire game, as his quest to master as much magic as possible is one the player is likely to repeat in every character's game.
  • Kenji Ito
  • Laser Guided Tyke Bomb: The reason Blue/Rouge was Split at Birth, was so both halves could learn opposite schools of magic, have one kill the other and absorb his magical talent, and fight back The Legions of Hell.
  • Lazy Backup: You can send in any of your three teams of five to fight, but if all of one team dies, it's game over.
  • Lens Flare: Alkaiser and Alkarl's "Bright Fist" and "Shining Kick" attacks. The regular martial arts move "Gold Hand" takes this Up to Eleven, with rotating Lens Flare around the target.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Asellus, if you get her Full-Mystic ending.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: At the end of Red's game, Metal Black refuses to fight Alkaiser while he's tired, and allows him to recover.
  • Level Ate: Kylin's Paradise combines this and Toy Time
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: The Luminous Labyrinth which must be solved to obtain the gift of Light Magic. It also adds color filters into the mix. You have to hit the exit portal with white light to escape; hitting it with a colored light will either give you an item or start a random battle.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: Done differently depending on the race of the character.
    • Humans can go into battle with up to ten moves, and can learn as many as they want that aren't specific to other races.
    • Mystics can learn as much magic as they want, but can only use 4 spells at a time. They can also learn up to three moves at a time by absorbing monsters into their Mystic Sword, Mystic Gloves, or Mystic Boots- absorbing a new monster replaces the move with a new one.
      • The Half-Mystic Asellus is the best of both worlds- She can learn techniques as a human or a mystic, depending on if she uses her Mystic Gloves, Mystic Sword, and/or Mystic Boots, allowing her to go into battle with 7-10 human abilities as well as 0-3 Mystic ones.
    • Mecs can download as many moves as they want from other Mecs, but how many they can use at a time depends on their Intelligence stat.
    • Monsters can absorb up to ten moves from other monsters— any more than that and an old one must be forgotten.
  • Literal Split Personality
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a total of 31 characters that can be recruited, plus 7 playable characters, some of which can also be recruited.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: In order to get the gift for Mind Magic, each character fights a group of monsters, alone.
    • The Wizard Duel in Blue's game also fits, as it's a one on one fight between Blue and his brother. The other characters in your group can be seen watching.
    • There's a more minor example in the Shadow Magic quest. Due to properties of the dungeon, monster allies must wait outside. This makes acquiring the gift for your teammates quite easy when playing as Riki however, as you simply spend the "quest" in the waiting room.
  • Logic Bomb: There's actually a Mec only attack called Logic Bomb, that damages and puts status effects on other Mecs. It's represented onscreen by a long string of numbers, ending in the word 'DEATH'.
  • Loss of Identity: No matter the result of the duel, Blue and Rouge have a brief moment of trying to figure out who he is. Oddly enough, the winner believes he lost.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Riki's fight against the Ring Lord Virgil, as he and his crew are required to score combos of 3 or more. Which can easily be averted by using DSC as it is a combo in itself, it doesn't link with other allies during a combination attack.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: A few basic rules to it- A) No one person can learn magic from opposing schools (Light & Shadow, Mind & Evil, Rune & Tarot, Time & Space, and Realm & Mystic,) B) Without the Gift, you cannot learn more powerful spells. Blue and Rouge were specifically created to break Rule A.
    • Mind Magic has a rule of its own- Only humans can obtain the Gift for it.
    • In addition, according to books in the Magic Kingdom, by mastering both Light and Shadow magic, one can learn Life Magic, and Mirage magic was lost to the ages, eventually becoming Mystic and Shadow.
  • Magical Society: The Magic Kingdom, where Blue and Rouge are from. It's stated that all men born there are born with the Gift for Realm magic.
  • Magic Misfire: The Realm Magic spell 'Psychic Prison' forces one of these on the target— The next time they attempt to use magic, the effect 'Backfire' occurs, and the enemy takes some damage.
  • Magikarp Power: T260's original body. While it starts with only 5 in each stat and one piece of equipment, and the other models have fancy gadgets like laser cannons and repairkits, it has the potential to be the strongest in the game, since Mecs level up by the equipment they have on, and the original body has the most available slots.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Asellus and Gina have an ambiguous mayfly-December relationship in her Half-Mystic ending.
  • Meaningful Name: Orlouge's mistresses Japanese names and numbers— Shirobara Hime's (White Rose) number is 46, which is pronounced "Shi-roku," or "shi-ro" (white) in Japanese. Kinjishi Hime's (Golden Lion) number is 44, which is pronouced "shi-shi" (lion) in Japanese. Due to the adjective "kin" or "gold" attached to the noun, "shi-shi" becomes "ji-shi."
    • Some of the regions, such as Luminous (the region where Light and Shadow magic are learned), Baccarat (a casino), and Scrap (which appears to be made solely of rusted metal). Omble, the place you go to find shadow magic, was likely supposed to be "Ombre", French for "shade."
  • Mirror Boss: When you battle Rouge in Blue's game, you find that he's learned the exact opposite types of magic you have. In addition, his (magic-related) stats are the same as yours.
    • Red's quest has a Recurring Boss named Metal Black, a robot warrior who remodels himself after every defeat. His final form is modeled after Red's superhero identity, Alkaiser; he even has a copy of Red's finishing move, Dark Phoenix.
  • Mirror Match: If the player visits Omble to learn Shadow magic, the trip ends with a fight between your (main) party and their shadows.
  • Multiple Endings: Asellus has three, Emelia has two.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: As detailed in Magic A Is Magic A, no one can learn both a school of magic and its opposite, though you can still buy spells from opposing schools. Except Blue and Rouge, who are specifically designed to break this rule.
  • New Game+: At the start of the game, the player creates 'system data.' Using the same data every time you start with a new character makes their games a bit easier. For example, Red can start with as much as 180 HP and already know the move Chop, or secondary characters may start with better equipment.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In the third battle against Metal Black, he takes Alkaiser's signature move, Al-Phoenix, and turns it back on him with Dark-Al-Phoenix, a very damaging move that Metal Black had no indication of using before. After it's used on Alkaiser, and for this battle only, is Alkaiser has a free technique slot and uses Al-Phoenix, he'll always learn Re-Al-Phoenix, which takes the original power and turns it Up to Eleven, becoming his strongest attack.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As it turns out, since the Nine Rings of Power are evil, wishes made with them are intentionally misinterpreted- Riki wishing for Margmel to be reborn means that anyone not there when it was born ceases to exist. It's All There in the Manual that this is also the reason Hell looks like Paradise— a mage from the Magic Kingdom wished for a paradise, but since the rings are inherently evil, got something that only looked like it.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Asellus in her Full Mystic ending, notable as it's one of the only voice clips in the game.
  • Nonlethal KO: When your HP runs out, your character is knocked out and loses a life point. If they continue to get hit and lose all their life points, the character is Killed Off for Real. If happens to the main character, it's Game Over, with a short message saying [Character Name] is dead.
  • Noodle Incident: Mei-Ling and Fei-On had some sort of past relationship, but exactly what that was and what happened during it is left to imagination.
  • No Ontological Inertia: According to supplementary materials, killing Kylin also destroys the paradise he created, and everyone else in it. Including the children it was created for.
  • No Stat Atrophy
  • Number of the Beast: The Evil spell "Pain Doubler" doubles the total damage done to all enemies, up to a maximum of 666. When used on a Player Character, it can be especially damaging, as HP maxes out at 999. When used by Zozma, the only playable character who can learn it, it's not all that great, as the average damage tends to be in the thousands.
  • Offscreen Inertia- It is implied that Blue never actually kills Hell's Lord, but fights him eternally.
  • Older Than She Looks: Not that you can tell by the sprites, but Asellus is a 29 year old who looks 17.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: The battle with Genocide Heart in T260's game is fought in a room full of screens, that act as a sort of health meter. The more damaged Genocide Heart is, the more screens fizzle out. They're also used for mirrors for its signature attack: Carnage
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Trinity is a corporation that became a corrupt version of The Federation. They're involved in some pretty shady stuff, too, though they're only significantly involved in two characters' plots (Emelia and Lute). One of their most powerful leaders is the Big Bad, according to the supplementary material.
  • Opium Den: In Kyo. BlackX runs their drug operations from it.
  • Optional Party Member: There's a grand total of 31 recruitable characters, though depending on who you're playing, the number is closer to 20. That said, all but one of the protagonists can be recruited in another's game.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Apparently, mermaids are water mystics.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Mystics are basically vampires. They're immortal, can be created from humans, some of them sleep in coffins (the princesses are shown to, but everyone else we dunno), and many of them are nobles. But they don't drink blood. They have mystic weapons that absorb souls.
    • Though at one point Asellus suggests that she might suck Riki's blood.
  • Party in My Pocket: Characters joining the group just walk right into your body. If they have anything plot-relevant to say, they'll step out, say it, and go back in. Slime even forces his way into the party by sliding slithering walking into you.
  • Petal Power: The katana technique "Tres Flores".
  • Planet Heck: A subversion- Hell looks like a really nice place- Crystal staircases, clouds, cherubs floating by... then you try and talk to one and get hurled into a battle with a demon.
  • Planet of Hats: Some of the regions. Most noticeably, Devin which is riddled with Fortune Tellers of all kinds.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: The nine rings of power in Riki's game can be used in game to buff the party or debuff enemies.
  • Point of No Return: Hell in Blue's game, Mondo's base in Lute's, and the Black Ray in Red's. Saving in any of these places before you're trained well enough can make the game Unwinnable.
  • Polyamory: The state of Asellus and Gina's relationship in the Half-Mystic ending is implied to be incompletely exclusive. Asellus can't get Gina pregnant, after all.
  • Power Copying: Mystics, Monsters, and Mecs learn new skills from defeated opponents.
  • The Power of Friendship: Two notable examples, as detailed in "The Essence of Saga Frontier". The first is that chronologically, Lute's quest is last, because he was too busy helping everyone else, but as a bonus, his new friends help him in his final battle. The second offers a more optimistic ending for Blue. Because he remembered that there were people outside who cared about him, he musters the power to break out of Hell.
  • Power of the Void: The Space Magic spell "Vanish" which removes enemies from existence.
  • Preexisting Encounters
  • Prison Episode: The first part of Emelia's game, and a part of the quest for the gift for Rune magic.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Treasures of Amaterasu can be found in Sei's Tomb. The Kusanagi is one of the most powerful swords in the game, and one of a few that are colored differently than normalnote , and comes with a special attack. The Mirror is a shield that grants immunity to fire and water attacks, and equipping the Necklace allows access to the Sacred Song attack, a powerful move that's especially effective on undead creatures. Interestingly, Murakumo, the other name for the sword, can be found there, but it's half as strong as the Kusanagi.
  • Punny Name: The AGUNI (agony) line of guns. It's also possible they were supposed to be AGNI, which is still funny.
  • Puzzle Boss: In Riki's game, Ring Lord. In order to beat him, you must rack up a score of 10 by doing combos, which becomes more and more difficult after awhile, as he gets tired of waiting and begins to stomp your party into the ground.
  • Razor Wind: Gale Slash, Two Gale Slash, and the monster version, Gale Attack.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: As it turns out, Asellus' accident was twelve years ago, and she'd been presumed dead for the whole time.
  • The Reveal: All seven characters' quests have at least one major reveal near their end.
  • Rubber Band A.I.: The enemies that appear in a given fight are based on a "class" of enemy (mech, water monster, etc) compounded by a rank system, which is determined on your stat totals and the location the fight occurs.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Dr. Nusakan
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: Blue's final battle.
  • Secret Character: A couple are guide danged hard to find, like Suzaku, Sei, and Rei, mentioned above. Some, like Thunder and Mesarthim, only require you to have certain other characters in your group.
  • Secret Identity: Played completely straight without a hint of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Red can switch to his superhero mode in combat, but until late in the game the command is only available if every member of the party is blind, otherwise incapacitated, or a Mec.
  • Secret Identity Change Trick: Occasional in Red's game, though usually by happy accidents- power outages, briefly being separated from the group, or, in combat everyone else being somehow incapacitated.
  • The Shadow Knows: In Essence, there's a picture of Red casting a shadow of Alkaiser, with the words "Chang for justice!" beneath.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Riki's. Turns out the rings are evil, and he has to stop them. He does so, his Doomed Hometown is, well, doomed, the inhabitants optimistically decide to just move elsewhere, and all the rings are scattered across the world (with the majority returned to where they were originally). In other words, going through the whole adventure accomplished absolutely nothing.
  • She Is the King: Asellus is called the "Prince" of Facinaturu. This is likel due to the facts that: A)In Facinaturu, "Princess" is a term reserved for Orlouge's mistresses, and B) The Mystics don't tend to care much about gender.
  • Shout-Out
    • Red's not the only person to become a super hero after Black Cross destroyed his home- Himitsu Sentai did it first. Late in his game, one of the fights in the BlackX base consists of a Red Fighter, a Yellow Fighter, a Green Fighter, a Pink Fighter, and a Blue Fighter, the same colors the protagonists from the show wear.
    • T260 gets a "G" slapped on the end of its name after being found in a crater filled with junk, and gets used for combat almost immediately. "Gally" was also found in a crater filled with junk and was used for combat.
    • There are two Rabite statues just outside the shrine in Devin. They also exist as enemies in-game, though it's unlikely you'll see them.
  • Shows Damage: Genocide Heart's Ominous Multiple Screens fizzle out as he takes damage.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Blue and Rouge. In terms of personality, Blue is a Jerk Ass in-game, while Rouge supposedly has an easier time making friends. In terms of abilities, as mandated by the plot, they master opposing schools of magic. The differences even spread to appearance- Blue wears a blue robe and keeps his hair in a ponytail, while Rouge wears a red one and keeps his hair down.
  • Sidequest: Notably, almost all of the sidequests are actually main quests for one protagonist or another; for a case in point, the magic quests are essentially the entirety of Blue's quest, but for everyone else they're a major sidequest. The only pure side areas are the Bio Research Lab in Shrike and Furdo's workspace in the Magic Kingdom; both of those were intended to be in Asellus' quest before her quest was bulldozed due to time constraints.
  • Sidetrack Bonus: In the quest for the Shield card, should you enter a cave rather than just stay on the main path, you can fight a red and black dragon who're hoarding all kinds of goodies.
  • Space Pirate: Nomad and her crew.
  • Speech Bubbles: Your words are a different color than normal NPCs. Even if you come across them in the other characters' stories, protagonists' words will usually be whatever color they are in their own game.
    • In Asellus' game, Mystics' text is in blue.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Vadjoueal/Virgil/Vergil, Schoether/Shuzer, Meiren/Mei-Ling, Kylin/Kirin/Kyrin, Time/Thyme, Ciato/Scheat, Furdo/Furud and Ildon/Yildun.
    • Lots of translation artifacts, here. "Koorong" instead of "Kowloon" is another.
  • Spinning Clock Hands: Used as an attack- Time Magic's Chaos Stream spell spins the enemies around on a clock face, possibly petrifying it or lowering its speed.
  • Split at Birth: Blue and Rouge
  • Standard RPG Items: Your various health potions, status effect removers, buff/debuff items, damage dealing ones, and whatnot. There's no "Revive" item, though—due to the game's mechanics, any healing item will revive a character.
  • Standard Status Effects: And they actually tend to hit the enemies, too. Petrify especially proves useful. Unfortunately it works the other way, too. Being Charmed or Confused can be a massive pain in the neck.
  • Status Buff: All of Rune Magic, as well as spells in a few other schools.
  • Stock Monsters: It IS an RPG after all.
  • Stuck Items: Most Mystics come with Mystic Mail, different Mecs have different bits of equipment they can't remove, and Living Swords can possess characters, becoming "Glirandly," a sword that provides a stat boost, but cannot be unequpped (unless you use it's special move, Final Strike).
  • Sue Donym: During Red's quest he attempts to investigate a fighting tournament dressed in his superhero outfit. When asked his name at the sign-up counter he stammers part of his real name a few times, and winds up entered in as "Rerere".
  • Super Empowering: In their Emergency Transformations, Red and Asellus get Superpowers and Mystic powers respectively, Red is Type 4, while Asellus is a mix of types 1 and 4.
  • Superhero Origin: Red becomes a superhero, as it was the only way to save his life after the Hopeless Boss Fight fight with Shuzer.
  • Suplex Finisher: The Suplex martial arts technique manifests in three or four different ways depending on the enemy being fought. In addition, there's also Locomotion G, a series of four or five, and the DSC which combines all the different suplexes with a couple of other martial arts moves.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: The IRPO's Hand Blaster, which can be used as a laser gun, a beam sword, or a paralyzer.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The prison region Despair was initially created to house one single prisoner: the Warden.
  • Take Your Time: Blue is told to hurry because he cannot learn any magic his brother already has, but you're never forced to get a different school because Rouge got there first.
  • Taken for Granite: A few moves (usable by both you or the random monsters that have it), can petrify. If used on an enemy, the result is instant death, while when used on the player, the character is 'Stoned' and unable to attack, but immune to damage and loss of LP. If the whole team (or just the ones left alive) are Stoned, it's Game Over.
  • Tarot Motifs: An entire school of magic is based on the Tarot, using Swords, Grail, Gold, Shield, Fool, Magician, Death, and Tower.
  • Tech Tree: An absolutely immense one, with over 100 abilities that can be learned from each other with varying degrees of success, depending on which move is being used, who's using them, and what weapon they have equipped while using it.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: T260's original mission is to stop Region Buster III, a machine capable of destroying entire Regions.
  • Theme Naming:
  • Theme Twin Naming: Blue and Rouge (French for "red").
  • There Can Be Only One: On an extremely small scale— The Magic Kingdom "does not need two incomplete magicians— [they] need a superior one", so Blue or Rouge needs to be killed by the other.
  • Tick Tock Tune: Fittingly, Time Lord's region has this as its BGM, once the clocks start working again.
  • Time Master: Time Lord, and anyone who learns Time Magic, though only one person in the universe can learn the more powerful spells.
  • Time Stands Still: The Overdrive spell, which lets one character act while time stands still for eight turns.
  • To Be Continued: Red's game ends on this note... but not with Red or Alkaiser's as the story being continued...
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Sanctuary Stone item. Incredibly rare, but works as a portable inn. Can be useful in the final dungeons, if there's no way to backtrack and heal at a real one.
  • Toy Time: Kylin's Paradise combines this and Level Ate.
  • The Tragic Rose
  • Transformation Sequence: Alkaiser has his Henshin Hero-style Alkaiser Change one, Asellus her Super Mode-style Mystical Change.
  • Turns Red: Orlouge. At the start of the fight, he uses one Portrait at a time— when he's at the last 20,000 to 30,000 HP, he summons all three, giving him access to new, stronger moves.
  • Undercover IRPO Agent Reveal: Doll, while investigating Berva's Base in Red's game.
  • Unwitting Pawn: It's revealed at the end of Riki's quest that the Rings are evil and that Mei-ling was the Big Bad all along and was manipulating Riki into collecting them.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Tower. It IS incredibly powerful. Sometimes. When it's not, it does as little as 500 damage. And it uses all your JP, so you only get one shot.
  • Unwinnable: It's entirely possible to get to the final dungeon of Lute's game in about half an hour, with no training. Of course, if you save there, you're outta luck.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Hell, in Blue's game. Not only is it, y'know, Hell, but even though Blue is the only character with any form of Warp Whistle, you are told before you enter that if you try to use it, "You'll be cast away into the eternal oblivion."
  • Victory Pose: Every character has one. From Gen drinking heavily, to Alkaiser dancing, to Liza swiping her hair.
  • Warp Whistle: Blue's Region Map.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Mei-Ling asks "Do we have to put up with this just to acquire the gift?" after Blue gets the gift for Space Magic. Seeing as how Kylin maintained a paradise for children, that you just destroyed by killing him, it's a valid point.
  • Weapons That Suck: Mystic Sword, Mystic Gloves and Mystic Boots, which are used by Mystics to absorb enemies to use their power.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: If the main character of any story loses all their LP (and therefore dies), it's an instant game-over, even if the other 4 characters in your party are at perfect health.
  • Weird Moon: On the night of the duel between Blue and Rouge, the moon is half full... the bottom half. It looks like it may actually have been partially destroyed
  • We Need a Distraction: One of the Shadow spells, Hide Behind, creates an illusion of the caster behind an enemy to provide a distraction.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Space Magic in general. Of its six spells, two can only affect monsters with either Deathsynthesis or Photosynthesis, one also stops your status effects, and two are weaker than other spells of similar cost. The instant death spell, Vanish, is decent, but there are still other spells that can do the same thing.
  • Where It All Began: Both Blue and Asellus' games end where they begin, The Magic Kingdom and Orlouge's castle, respectively.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Any protagonist can go to most (though not all) locations and do some of the quests there (or at least loot the place and grind against monsters), with the expectation that in most quests you'll go out and do some Level Grinding, skill grinding and otherwise buffing yourself up before you go on the final quest. Asellus and Lute deserve special mention, though: their storylines are almost completely sandbox and directionless for the majority of the game. Asellus' quest is unique because it doesn't happen on her schedule; instead, she plays in the sandbox while being chased by assassins who show up in any of a number of locations, until White Rose is trapped in the labyrinth and she can go and settle the score with Lord Orlouge. Lute, meanwhile, only has one storyline quest, but he has to roam around at random just to find it, and he'd better build up a bit before embarking on it.
    • Quicksand Box: Both present and averted. Some of the stories (like Riki) are very straightforward, and you can learn your way around the sidequests by playing some characters' main quests, but starting with Asellus or Lute is a quick way to get completely lost.
  • Wind is Green: Gale Slash and Gale Attack are green gales of wind directed at all opponents.
  • A Winner Is You: Blue's ending consists of the screen fading to gray, then the words 'The End' appearing on the screen. That said, everything past the Duel Boss fight with Rouge could be considered a 'playable ending,' as the credits roll after it.
  • Wizard Duel: The penultimate boss fight in Blue's game is a duel with his twin brother, Rouge. The winner absorbs the loser's magic and personality. During the battle, one school of magic becomes more powerful every other turn or so, including those that cannot be obtained by either.
  • Womb Level: Tanzer, a monster large enough to swallow region ships whole.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Asellus gives one to Lord Orlouge upon her return to Fascinaturu, explaining the moral path that she's chosen and why she's returned to Fascinaturu. Depending on her choices, Orlouge can respond with bored contempt, confusion, or pride.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Some characters have very unique abilities that may even break the standard rules. Among others, Blue and Rouge were created to break Mutually Exclusive Magic, and the Half-Human Hybrid Asellus is capable of increasing her stats both as a human and as a mystic (though she has to go into Super Mode to take advantage of Mystic bonuses), and she can use combat abilities (which are human-only), magic (which both humans and mystics share) and mystics' natural abilities.
  • Wutai: Wakatu and Kyo.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Neither Blue nor Rouge can return to the Magic Kingdom until one has killed the other.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Emelia begins her quest imprisoned in Despair, and meets Liza and Annie there.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: Red says this word for word to his Worthy Opponent, Metal Black after the final defeat.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Only one being in the entire universe can possess the Gifts for Time or Space magic. In order to master it, you must kill the one that has it.

Romancing Sa Ga 3VideoGame/Sa GaSa Ga Frontier 2
Romancing Sa Ga 3Wide Open SandboxSa Ga Frontier 2
Romancing Sa Ga 3Eastern RPGSa Ga Frontier 2
RPG MakerPlay StationSa Ga Frontier 2

alternative title(s): Saga Frontier
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