The Mana Tree is dying (again), so the Mana Goddess sends a number of its fairies to the world below and find someone worthy to restore it. All but one perish on route due to the steady loss of magic, and the Fairy that does make it settles for the first person it can find. Naturally, that happens to be the character that the player chooses.Seiken Densetsu 3, released in 1995, is the third game in the World of Mana series and is the first one that never made it Stateside, though fan translations do exist via Emulation. It plays very similarly to its predecessor Secret of Mana, but instead of being able to charge attacks, the meter builds with a successful hit on the enemy.Seiken Densetsu 3 also differs from other games in the series by offering a cast of six characters, of which any three can be chosen to make the party. Most notably, the lead party member determines which of the three Big Bads the heroes take on.
Accidental Pervert: Hey, it's Angela! And she's sleeping at the inn! Let's go talk to her...
She doesn't take as much offense if you're playing as Lise, though...
Actually A Doom Bot: A non-villainous example. Kevin didn't really kill Karl at all, merely an illusion of him. He apparently buried him without even verifying that was dead, and his father dug him back up later, alive and well.
Amazon Brigade: The kingdom of Rolante of which Lise is the princess and the kingdom of altena.
Annoying Arrows: Hawk's traps—in particular, fittingly enough, the "arrow" trap.
Another Side, Another Story: Out of six playable characters, you can only choose three to build your party for any given playthrough, and only one of them can be the main character (which gives them additional screen time and determines who the final boss will be). The rest become NPC's who you may or may not run into at various points. Thus, every playthrough with a different party combination can become this.
Though you do get most of the story in each route as long as you have both characters for each route.
Anti-Magic: The Anti-Magic spell, of course. It removes all magic effects.
Awesome, but Impractical: Level 2 and 3 techs. While they do have awesome attack animations and some damage every enemy on the screen, a lot of late-game enemies (and some bosses) will answer them with an equally devastating tech in return, which (if it's something that hits the whole party) can easily spell Total Party Kill.
Awesome But Practical: Hawk's "Ninja Master" class gains the ability to multi-target his Shuriken ability. This means you have a fast-casting ability that hits all enemies on the screen, does significant damage, knocks enemies back, and lowers their evade. All for only 1 MP. Fans have dubbed it the "1 MP Wonder".
Kevin's God Hand class has the Aura Wave spell. What does it do? Instantly fill out the special meter of any character you want. And Kevin himself has screen-filling specials!
Bittersweet Ending: No matter who the Big Bad ends up being, he always murders the Mana Goddess before you defeat him, and while the Fairy becomes the new Goddess, its stated it will be a thousand years before Mana fully returns to the world. On the plus side, the world is saved, and each of the heroes make peace with their respective troubles. (Angela and Kevin make peace with their parents, for example)
The Dark Prince possesses the body of a blond kid, fulfilling this trope by default.
The heroes can become blonde (or blonder) through class changes, too. Carlie, Lise, and Kevin are already light-haired, but Angela and Hawk are both dark-haired, and their class-changes with blond hair are both dark-dark.
Boring, but Practical: In contrast to Awesome, but Impractical above, level 1 techs. They may just be a slightly-more-damaging normal attack, but they won't be countered, they will be enhanced by elemental sabers, and can still hit multiple enemies if they are bunched together.
Book Dumb: Angela keeps dodging her studies, to the point that her own mother believes she has no magic talent.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Heath is forced to follow orders from his father, Masked Mage, the Big Bad from Carlie and Kevin's story, and if you have Carlie in your party the fight becomes a bit of a Tear Jerker.
Also the Queen of Reason, Valda, who is Angela's mother.
Most of the ninjas and thieves of Navarre are under Bigieu and Jagan's control.
Brought Down to Normal: The Alteans by the end. With the Mana Tree dead by the end the mana and magic will cease to exist to at least for a thousand years.
Combat Pragmatist: Hawk's Nightblade class utilizes poison, blow needles, and bashing the enemy's face in with a wrench.
Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: An unspoken variant - the occasional pre-eruption tremor from the volcano on Bucca serves to add a bit of urgency to the fact that you're supposed to be finding a way off the island before it erupts. Mercifully, there is no time limit; there's even a town with stores and an inn!
Deal with the Devil: Koren offered part of his soul to the Dragon Emperor in exchange for becoming the world's greatest wizard. (Previously, Koren was a nobody, just like all the other men in Altena.) The Darkshine Knight did the same thing after falling into a bottomless pit.
Deconstruction: One of the earliest examples of RPG deconstructions, and as a result a very subtle one; many of the tropes are played straight, but the main characters are minor twists on traditional archetypes—
Kevin and Carlie are half human hybrids, but rather than gaining glamorous pasts in return for their exotic blood, they get physical deformations and apparently-stunted mental ability.
Carlie/Charlotte is not as dumb as she sounds - she speaks in a kawaiiriffic, affected way, but that's an affectation, not a sign that she's particularly stupid. An airhead, yes, but she is not mentally absent.
Duran is a knight seeking revenge on a wizard—the most clichéd of any of the heroes, and at first glance a typical RPG protagonist, especially a Squaresoft one. Unlike Cloud or Cecil, though, Duran acts exactly like a mercenary would—he's a hairy, smelly, selfish, uncouth alcoholic brute.
Angela is a haughty princess who rebels against her family and wants to experience the outside world...because the queen is being manipulated by one of the game's dragons and Angela is almost sacrificed by her to revive an evil god, then almost freezes to death in the wilderness trying to find help. She is also a mage that can't cast magic (at first), which certainly doesn't help her cause much.
It also deconstructs the Chosen One. Whoever is your character becomes the hero that has to save the world literally because he/she was standing at the wrong place and got hijacked by a distressed fairy. Oh and screw whatever goal you had before that : the priest you were searching for will just tell you "save the world and it might resolve itself on the way". Thank you, we totally needed that.
It's also amusing how the Fortune Teller will tell Angela to "Go to Wendel..." and then the other person nearby says "Hey! That's the same thing she told me! I just wanted to know if my child was going to be a boy or a girl, and she told me 'Go to Wendel...'"
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: When the party stays at an inn, they all shift into their respective "sleeping" animations. In normal gameplay the only thing the player sees of these are the characters heads peaking out from under the sheets of the beds, but by toggling sprite layers using an emulator you can see that not only are the rest of the characters' bodies there, they have panties or boxers as well—and that those panties change color depending on the character's class.
Also the game is very famous for this by making you meet the characters you didn't choose every now and them. Exclusives scenes may happen too depending of what character you have in or out of your party.
At one point in the game you need to get some gunpowder to get to your next destination, Forcena. The only person who has any is Watts the dwarf, who offers to sell it for an obscene price that you almost certainly can't afford. After you save him from the boss of a dungeon, picking up one of the Spirits you were looking for (and going to Forcena to ask its king about) along the way, he gives it to you as a gift. But if you have managed to kill enough monsters to get the money Watts asks for, you can agree to pay his outrageous price and buy the gunpowder, thus bypassing the dungeon and going straight to Forcena. In that case, the King will direct you to the dungeon you bypassed and tell you about a shortcut to the boss room via a strange statue (which does nothing if you went through the dungeon in the 'normal' way), so you still find the spirit.
Double Entendre: When playing Hawk's intro, if you talk to one of the guards at the door of the throne room, he says about the Rolante amazons "I bet they're all cute ladies. I want to poke them with my dagger." Think about it...
Dracolich: Dragon Zombies. You encounter them in the Dragon Hole. More ominously, they also appear in the Mirage Palace, implying that the Masked Mage has reanimated the slain Dragon Emperor's troops.
The Dragon: Deathjester for the Masked Mage, Koren for the Dragon Emperor, and Jagan and Bigieu for the Dark Prince. Funnily enough, Deathjester, Koren and Bigieu are far better developed as characters than their bosses are.
Arguably there are three pairs of Co-Dragons with Bigieu/Jagan, Deathjester/Heath, and Koren/Darkshine Knight.
Eldritch Location: The Dark God-beast knows how to make an entrance. You arrive just in time to witness the shattering of the Dark Mana Stone; once this happens, the heroes are sucked into an empty void where Zable Fahr waits.
Empty Room Psych: Every room in the Moonreading Tower. Behind one door is the staircase; the other three are enemy nests.
Everything's Better with Princesses: Angela is the princess of Altena , Lise is the princess of Rolante, and Carlie is the princess of Diorre by blood even if her situation potentially leaves her with no legitimate claim to her maternal grandfather's position.
Eviler than Thou: The protagonists have to fight three different fractions of enemies - Altena, Navarre and the Beast Kingdom - who also oppose each other. Depending on which character you choose first, one faction will slaughter the other two in the Disc One Final Dungeon.
Evil Sorcerer: Koren, The Masked Mage and Heath, Carlie's best friend and supposedly her mentor.
Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Ultimate equipment — to say nothing of the Lv.3 class changes — can only be obtained via "???" seeds dropped by specific enemies.
Exposed to the Elements: Your team can go from the Desert of Scorching Heat to the Sub-Zero Snowfield (and both deserve their names) without so much as a coat. Originally averted as Angela comes close to freezing to death in the latter, but played straight when she can waltz right through it later in the game.
Fantasy Character Classes: And how! Amongst a cast of six characters, all of them boast Light and Dark paths, with an additional two master paths- Leading for a total of 36 classes, starters not included.
Fast-Forward Mechanic: If you stop at a Trauma Inn during the day, you have the option to be awakened in the evening or next morning, though this is rarely a concern for progressing through the Story Arc.
Carlie gets one even if you didn't select her as a teammate at all.
Flat Character: Jagan and the Dragon Emperor are easily the least developed villains in the game. Although, really, all of the arch-Big Bads suffer from this to a fairly large degree, due to being in the background for so long.
Grand Theft Me: Elliot's fate, provided the Dark prince is the Big Bad.
Guide Dang It: The game doesn't tell you this, but certain spells can't be learned unless you've leveled up a particular attribute. This stat differs depending on the character; for instance, Hawk learns new moves by leveling up his Speed.
Also getting items for the last class change isn't hinted neither told where you can get them making first timers simply bypass it until even the end of the game.
Another evil moment is while fighting enemies which counter skills and spells. Good luck dealing with Darkshine Knight on your first try after you thought you were invincible raiding entire screens with your special attacks of No MP cost.
Idle Animation: They've all got one. Carlie rocks back and forth, Angela plays with her hands, Kevin stretches, Hawk taps his foot while holding his head, Lise touches her hair ornament and Duran scratches his head.
In Universe Game Clock: The days of the week are named according to the Mana Spirits, thus affecting the strength/weakness of their corresponding magic. It's also free to sleep at an inn on Holy Mana Day.
This may be or not subverted after all if you challenge any beastman during the Jad raid they knock the hell out of your character, except Duran who's seemly is the only smart enough to notice picking a fight isn't good now, with a single attack and to add insult they aren't even in their wolf form.
Inn Security: Twice. Sleeping at an inn is required to make the fairy appear, and later on in a free boat ride leads to the characters being trapped on the Ghost Ship.
Dangerous Inn: Sleeping in one room in the middle of Ghost Ship will make monster spawns and attack you right away, and oh you don't get the recover you were expecting.
Interface Spoiler: The game leads you to believe that opening the gate to the Mana Holyland and acquiring the Sword of Mana will be the game's big finish. It's somewhat undermined by the fact that unless you've spent an inordinate amount of time level grinding, you're nowhere near the level needed for your second class change, and at that point in the game, have no way of getting the MacGuffins needed for it anyways.
Light Is Not Good: Lightgazer, the God-Beast of Light. Also there are several enemies which uses Light based attack spells to destroy your party.
Limit Break: Three levels of them, the second and third being learned after the class changes. The second and third limit breaks are different depending on the class chosen.
Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Averted. Seems to fall into this trope in the early game, where the male characters (and Lise) have to rely solely on their weapons and have to use healing or magic items, while the two spellcasters can make excelent use of their MP. Upon Class Change, however, Everyone learns spells and skills of their own.
Living Shadow: The Ninja Master attack 'Shadow Dive'. The character merges with their shadow, moves around as it, then pops out to surprise the enemies.
Angela, King Richard is your father. Alluded to in the original game, but confirmed in the prequel.
Magic Knight: Duran's Sword Master class is the best example from this game; he can imbue his and the other party members' weapons with magic. His Paladin class only gets the Saint Saber imbuement in addition to a healing spell, but it's quite useful against Zable Fahr, the God-Beast of Darkness. The Duelist class can cast Dark Saber, which is not quite as useful in the long run, and the Lord class is basically just a healer in plate armor. The other character that exemplifies this trope in SD3 is Lise, who gets summon spells and status magic (her Light classes are more about buffing the other party members, while the Dark classes cast debuffs on the enemy).
Magikarp Power: Angela's Delvar class is rather unimpressive compared to the Sorceress class, but taking it allows her to eventually gain access to the Rune Master class, which has a spell capable of delivering 999 damage to any enemy at her level or lower. Even the final bosses, really.
Maximum HP Reduction: The spell Lunatic reduces the target's maximum HP by 20%. It's very good when used at the beginning of boss fights, where it can knock off upwards of 10,000 HP.
Meet the New Boss: The Masked Mage is definitely heir to the previous game's Thanatos. In fact, his final boss form is named Dark Lich.
Mirror Match: Kevin and the Beast Kingdom's troops all share the same werewolf sprite. The latter use the same techs as Kevin's top-tier classes. Needless to say, this gets very confusing if he's on your team.
Each class the heroes can take has a enemy parallel. Duran has knights. Angela magicians. Kevin with werewolves. Light Calrie are potos, while dark Carlie shamans. Light Hawkeye with Chobins and dark has ninjas. Finally Reise has the bee women and golbins.
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The levels for class changing are specifically delineated at 18/38. You'll start encountering class-changed enemies (a few with full-screen techs) at level ten. Your party also has to fill a tech gauge before unleashing their special attacks, but enemies of the exact same class can slam your party with their abilities right off the bat (they will also frequently use them as counterattacks after you hit them with a spell).
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: An example which isn't really relevant to the main plot line in the long run occurs early on in the game: the Faerie takes down a magical shield at the entrance of a cave so the party can reach Wendel and talk to the Priest of Light. The shield is intended to protect the city from invasion, and after the heroes get rid of it, the Beastmen get their chance to attack. The Priest of Light manages to cast another shield and keep Wendel safe, but he falls seriously ill as a result of the strain.
Also, a pair of plot-important things go bad as a result of the party's actions:
Oh, you found all the Elementals, and now you can create a portal in order to enter the Mana Holyland! Oh yay! You made a portal... in the sky. And you don't have an airship. But it won't go to waste, because every evil faction in the game CAN fly.
Oh, you killed the eight godbeasts to stop them from destroying the world! And their excess, incredibly strong Mana is going to go back to the Holy Sword, where it belongs... Oh right! You let The Dragon get his hands on the Sword!
No Export for You: Far and away one of the most infamous examples in video game history; a translation was in the works, the game was even advertised briefly in Nintendo Power and elsewhere as Secret of Mana 2... and then Square decided to shift development resources elsewhere, to things like Secret of Evermore and Super Mario RPG. A lot of fans are still bitter about this, and worse, it is now the only major World of Mana game to never get an overseas release (even its prequel got one).
Official Couple: Duran and Angela if the player choose either as the main character and choose the other character as one of the three characters.
One Curse Limit: An exploitable Good Bad Bug. Using the Chibikko Hammer will make your team miniature, replacing whatever status effect they have, and using it again will invert the miniature status effect turning them to normal.
It's also invoked by the plot with Jessica — she was cursed to die if she learned the truth, but that made her immune to magical brainwashing later on.
Orcus on His Throne: All the Big Bads pretty much lounge around in their hideouts for most of the game and let their minions do the work until they're either killed by one of the other enemy factions are the heroes storm their fortress near the end of the game. In fact, you don't actually get to meet them until you've completed the respective final dungeons.
The Dark Prince wasn't totally idle behind the scenes though. He's the one who raised the Dark Mana Stone from the Underworld.
And the original Japanese name for one of the bosses in Legend of Mana fought in the Underworld is identical to the name of the God-Beast trapped inside this stone, hinting at a link between the two games after all! (The boss doesn't look much like its namesake, though, and the name was changed in the NA release, so aside from a similar case of Dual Boss there isn't any way you'd know it - you don't even get to see the Mana Stone).
Pause Abuse: It was discovered that the charge-up time between selecting a skill or spell and its actual execution continues to elapse even when the player accesses a menu; thus the player can select a spell then switch to their menu so the character doesn't take damage before the spell executes. However, this also works on enemies preparing spells to attack you with....
Pointy Ears: Angela has them, but the rest of the citizens of Altena don't.
Power Trio: Any three of the six heroes can be one.
Prestige Class: Each character has four classes based on whether they choose the Light or Dark path on each upgrade level (i.e., Light-Light, Light-Dark, Dark-Light, or Dark-Dark).
As well as the Mana series "Mana Tree" theme, two of the boss themes ("Nuclear Fusion" and "Obsession") borrow snippets from the final boss theme of Secret of Mana (the main melody and the intro, respectively.)
Also, the track "Electric Talk" contains a callback to both "Into the Thick of It" and "Did You See The Sea" from Secret of Mana if you listen to it long enough.
"Meridian Child" also vaguely hints at the track "Meridian Dance" from Secret of Mana.
"Long Goodbye" is an expansion of the track "Close Your Eyelids" from Secret of Mana.
The track "Secret of Mana" can be considered both a Shout Out to the NA name of Seiken Densetsu 2 as well as a stylistic callback to "The Child of the Sprite Tribe", a track from that game, albeit in a minor key.
The journey to fight the Dark God-Beast will contain some, regardless of which path you pick.
Hell, the entire game, why not. It's considered by many to have some of the finest graphics on the SNES.
Schrödinger's Gun: Whoever you selected as the main character is going to be the one that ends up hosting the Faerie. Whoever you selected as the second character is going to join you outside the Cave of Waterfalls, and whoever you selected as the third will join you after they bust you out of the Beastman-occupied Jad's dungeons. Selecting Carlie as your second or third character kinda throws that off (if chosen and not the hero, she always joins you somewhere between where the other second and third choices join), but the dev team thought of that.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Dark Prince, having been prophesied as a harbinger of doom, was ousted from his kingdom. His exile invited demons from the underworld to tempt him over to their side, thus dooming the kingdom, which the Prince promptly destroyed.
Self-Imposed Challenge: There are a number of challenges that can be done with this game, such as Single Character, or No Class Changing.
Ship Teasing: If you take Lise but not Hawk to re-take Rolante, he asks her to go easy on Bigieu (as Jessica is cursed to die with her) and plants a kiss on Lise when she agrees, causing her to blush.
Angela is also shown to consider her romantic prospects in her ending, though her preference is not stated.
Shout Out: Bill and Ben. If you're from the UK, the name instantly screams out Weed!
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: In regards to the three potential Big Bads, the Dark Prince is widely considered the strongest, the Masked Mage the weakest, and the Dragon Emperor in the middle.
The Masked Mage's boss dark-lich form is also pretty weak design- and spooky-wise as compared to his predecessor in Secret of Mana. Kamen-no-Doushi is, as a boss, really not that scary. In fact he looks rather goofy. Thanatos, on the other hand...ugh, speaking of hands, this troper still has flashbacks to THE GRABBING FROM THE FLOOR.
This also applies to the nations each one acts as The Man Behind the Man for. With the exception of Lugar and the Beast King, the Beast Kingdom is absolutelypathetic. Altena is much more organized and effective, and poses a bigger threat, and their villainous actions are limited to the assault on Forcena. Now Navarre...their footsoldiers have severe Lack of Empathy, they slaughter literally everyone in Rolante castle during their takeover, and the mooks you fight in their areas are among the toughest you'll face.
Spell My Name with an S: Is the Amazon princess supposed to be named "Lise", "Liese", "Riese", "Reis", or "Riesz"?*
With every single one of these being perfectly valid options from various European countries?
The world may never know.
Carlie is "Charlotte" in Japan, changed on the translation for space reasons.
Similarly, Hawk is "Hawkeye" in Japan.
Bigieu was likely originally either Bijou ('jewel' in French) or Bijuu ('lovely beast' in Japanese). They're phonetically identical.
Lugar, whose name works out to 'rugaaru' in katakana, is a semi-pun on loup-garou ('werewolf' in French).
And then there's the locations - Forcena/Forthena/Folcena/Valsena. Rolant/Rolante/Laurant. Navarre/Navall/Nevarl. Althena/Altena. *gasp* And that's not even everything.
Averted with the Dragon Emperor, a screen-filling Final Boss who defies expectation by leaping into the foreground.
Stripperiffic: Practically the entire female population of Altena, includingespecially Angela. Nobody freezes to death because Altena is kept temperate due to magic, but Angela comes close to actually freezing to death after being chased out of the castle.. Rolante's amazons also fit this to a lesser degree except Lise, who is in full armor, though in official art she still has a very low-cut chestplate and doesn't wear pants.
Sword of Plot Advancement: An interesting case. It's a subversion of how things worked in Secret of Mana. In that installment, the heroes obtain the Mana Sword and power it up by reforging it with orbs gathered from defeated bosses. This time around, you are forced to give it to the villain almost immediately after obtaining it, and you discover that, as you slay the God Beasts, the sword gets stronger.
Also,in Secret of Mana, the only person in the whole world who used it for anything purposeful was the Mana Knight. In Seiken Densetsu 3, not only do none of your characters use it themselves, it seems the villains are both capable of using it and can also destroy it!
Also, Lord Flamekhan, Valda, and Heath. To a lesser extent, Bill and Ben.
Useless Useful Spell: Energy Ball. In theory it should up your critical attack rate, but because of a programing bug critical attacks are practically nonexistent. Same goes for spells that affect agility or hit rate, for the same reason.
Well, it's the first town common to ALL the characters when any of them are the lead. Let's not forget most characters have to make a stop in Jad before they ever reach Astoria, with, iirc, the exception of Carlie. It's also the first town shop-wise, as Jad has no functional item shops.
Gusty Glade: Corridor of the Winds. Does it really count as a glade if it's half made out of caves, though?
Zable Fahr. How fitting that the darkest of the god-beasts would be three Monster Clowns.
Virgin Power: Supposedly the Father of the Winged Ones only allows virgins near him, which is why only the Amazons can guard him. Actual events in-game may throw this claim into dispute (for one thing, the "father" turns out to be a girl).
Wake Up Call Boss: Full Metal Hugger. Most first time players fall victim to this guy. He'll slap you upside the head and let you know that bosses cast undodgeable attacks and you better heal after every last one. And if you picked an all male team, chances are, Jewel Eater will be this too.
We Have Reserves: The Dark Prince reacts to Bigieu's demise as though he just bounced a check or something. But to be fair, she is a card-carrying member of the I Am Legion union if the usual tropes applying to Demons are observed in this world.
White and Grey Morality: Mostly. There are a few flat jackasses (mostly Jagan, Deathjester and the Dragon Emperor) but the three villainous nations have legitimate reasons for their actions (the homelands of two of them are becoming inhospitable, and the third has a generations-long history of being discriminated against by humans) and most of the villains have tragic back stories or motivations.
Yandere: Bigieu/Bijou/Bijuu the demoness is only evil because she is madly in love with the demon prince. However, he does not care for her in return, claiming that her death is acceptable should she be killed.
You All Meet in an Inn: Played with. You can find every potential party member except Carlie at the tavern in Castle City Jad, but nobody actually joins your party until later.
You All Meet In A Cell: Also played with. If you didn't pick Carlie as your third party member, you'll pick up your third after being thrown in the Jad prison upon defeating the first boss. Subverted if Carlie is your third party member, in which case your party is already full and your would-be fourth member just helps you break out of jail and is left behind when your party gets on the boat.