Video Game / Seiken Densetsu 3

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Seiken Densetsu 3 (聖剣伝説3), released in 1995, is the third game in the Mana series and the first one to never make it Stateside, though fan translations do exist via emulation.

The Mana Tree is dying (again), so the Mana Goddess sends her fairies to the world below to find someone worthy of restoring it. All but one perish on route due to the steady loss of magic, and the remaining Fairy settles for the first schmuck it can find. Naturally, that happens to be the initial hero the player selected. Interestingly, the party leader also determines which of the three Big Bads the heroes eventually take on.

It plays very similarly to its predecessor Secret of Mana, the difference being that the percentage meter (which limited the frequency of melee attacks) is gone. SoM's charged attacks have also been replaced by Limit Breaks (or "Techs"). The meter builds with each successful hit on the enemy, greatly speeding up the gameplay.

In a departure from the norm, SD3 revolves around six characters of which any three can make up your party. Your heroes start the adventure in a default job, but have opportunities to pursue Light or Dark magicks later on — sort of a mix between The 7th Saga and the SaGa games. Unlike in most JRPGs, there are no takebacks, and the fruits of your labor may not become apparent for a while. The 36 classes add replay value to a game already stuffed with configurations.

It's also one of the meaner Mana entries: Ideal for SoM veterans, but a tough nut for newbies to crack.


Provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: If, as a male character, you talk to Angela while she's sleeping at the inn in Jad, she'll accuse you of being this. If you play as Lise (the only female who can get into this situation), Angela just expresses annoyance at being woken up.
  • Adjective Noun Place:
    • Many of the location names follow this format in the Fan Translation. Castle City Jad (officially spelled as Jadd), Magic Kingdom Altena, and Sand Fortress Navarre (Nevarl is the official English translation as seen in Heroes of Mana), to name a few. The topographers of this world aren't too creative.
    • Molebear Highlands. No prize for guessing what kind of wildlife you encounter here.
    • Dragon Hole. It's a ruddy big hole, and there are dragons in it.
  • Aerith and Bob: Hawkeye, Eagle, Bigieu, Lord Flamekhan... and Bill and Ben. Would you believe it's the last two who pose a genuine threat?
  • After-Combat Recovery: Only after boss battles.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage:
    • The Mirage Palace is chock-full of bogus doorways leading to places you've seen before, including the ruins of Astoria with its dead townsfolk left staggering around as ghosts (!). Consequently, this might be the only justified boss rush in the game. (As for Gorva, he's already ghosted, so a little thing like death won't stop him.)
    • Later in the same quest, the Dark Lich signals his barrier changes by shifting the background to various environments, each corresponding with a different God-Beast. He differs a little, visually, from the other two arch-villains who simply change their color.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: After their hometown gets ransacked by foreign armies, your hero sets out to become strong enough to avenge it. (Barring Charlotte, who originates from the neutral city of Wendel). Jadd, Laurent, and Ferolia are always revisited, no matter which heroes you choose. Altena and Nevarl are unlocked only if Angela/Hawkeye is in the party, since the non-branching story doesn't go there.
  • Always Night:
    • Duskmoon Forest (Moonlight Forest in the fan translation), also encompassing Mintas (Mintos in the fan translation) and the Ferolia (Beast Kingdom in the fan translation). Since Kevin switches to werewolf form at night, this is his preferred terrain.
    • Two of the final dungeons, Mirage Palace and Dark Castle, are constantly enveloped in darkness. This doesn't count as moonlight, though; Kevin gets no bonus.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Whilst fighting the The Dark Lich.
  • Amazon Brigade: The kingdom of Laurent (Rolante in the fan translation) of which Lise is the princess and the kingdom of Altena.
  • Annoying Arrows: Hawkeye's traps—in particular, the "arrow" trap. Tripping the booby trap on a chest might also trigger it.
  • 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 can be the Mana Knight (which grants him or her additional screen time and also determines who the final boss will be). The remaining three become NPCs who you may or may not cross paths at various points. Thus, every playthrough with a different party combination can become Another Story.
    • Another thing to consider is each character has a rival who is also the Big Bad's right-hand man. Rivals have an adversarial relationship with at least two main characters (e.g. Deathjester orchestrates the murder of Karl, then makes off with Heath).
  • Anti-Magic: The "Anti-Magic" spell, of course; it removes all magic effects. "Counter" boomerangs all magic back onto the caster, which proves fatal to specialized mages like Koren or Heath.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Found in the captain's room of the Ghost Ship. "DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE..." *eeek!*.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Level 2 and 3 techs. While they do have awesome attack animations, a lot of late-game enemies (and some bosses) will answer them with an equally devastating tech in return, which (if it's something which hits the whole party) can easily spell a Total Party Kill. This is to prevent spamming.

      Furthermore, Hawkeye and Kevin can strike twice with their Lv. 1 attacks, which negates the Lv. 2 attack boost (even more so if they have saber spells, which stack with Lv. 1 attacks but not the higher ones). When fighting an immovable boss character, the ability to strike from anywhere in the arena is not as important as raw DPS output.
  • Badass Cape:
    • The Wizard of the Crimson Lotus (title shortened to Koren in the fan translation) is very proud of his cape. He even works it into his official title.
    • Eagle's cape and shoulder pads are nothing to sneeze at.
    • Heath dons a black cloak after being corrupted by his father's energy.
  • Bad Dreams: Charlotte's prologue starts out with a nightmare of her parents abandoning her.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: All three potential villains are actively involved in the plot, resulting in a lot of overlap. The battle at the Mana Holyand whittles the rogues gallery down to one: The few remaining stragglers make a final appearance to inform the Mana Knight of what transpired here.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Chartmoon Tower and Mirage Palace. Vampire chicks, werewolves, and ghosts galore.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Almost too many to list.
    • Each of the villains resides in one. Even Drakonis has a throne room built into the fixtures of his caves.
    • Let's be blunt: Most of the "good guy" castles (Altena, Valsena, Ferolia, Nevarl, and to a lesser extent Laurent) are a pain in the ass to negotiate in the tutorial, let alone once they fill up with enemies: Empty Room Psychs, staircases to nowhere, and a forked road to the boss that has a one-in-two chance of bypassing the healing statues entirely. Your lead character is given the opportunity to map out their home base in the prologue; you should take it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: No matter who the heroes end up beating, the final boss murders the Mana Goddess before you can get to him, leaving behind the Fairy to become the new Goddess. It's stated that it will be a thousand years before Mana fully returns to the world. On the plus side, the world is saved, and a few remaining threads are tied up at least. (Angela and Kevin make peace with their parents, for example).
  • Black Market/Merchant City: Byzel is a merchant city by day, and black market by night.
  • Boring but Practical: On reflection, Lv. 1 techs. They may just be a glorified melee attack — but they won't be countered, can be enhanced by elemental sabers, and can still hit multiple enemies if they are bunched together. Even better, Hawkeye and Kevin have double-strike capability. (Hawk wields two daggers, Kevin delivers a one-two jab and uppercut.) The one-two punch carries over into their level ones. So they deal out the same damage at a faster rate.
  • Bonus Boss: The Black Rabite. Evil in its cutest form!
  • Boss Rush: In the last dungeon, a trio of bosses return to harass you some more. The lineup will differ depending on the quest you've chosen.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Loki and Heath are forced to follow orders from their masters, Dragon Emperor and Masked Mage, respectively. And if you have Duran/Charlotte in your party, the fight becomes a bit of a Tear Jerker.
    • The Queen of Reason, Valda, who is Angela's mother. It becomes clear by the final act that Valda has no control anymore; she is acting under the influence of Koren, who is secretly serving one the "three evils", namely the Dragon Emperor.
    • The ninjas and thieves of Nevarl are under the control of Bigieu and the Earl of the Evil Eye (shortened to Jagan in the fan translation).
  • Broken Bridge:
    • Exploded by a mini-boss, no less. That's what you get for fighting on a bridge instead of retreating!
    • Many doors in the game can't be unlocked without supernatural help. You need Gnome to enter the Dwarf City, Jinn to spread pollen over Laurent, Wisp to get into Lampflower Forest, and Dryad to reveal a path in the Jungle of Vision.
    • The Mirage Palace is invisible to the naked eye. It won't appear until you have a magic mirror in your possession, won by defeating Zable Fahr.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Altenans by the end. With the Mana Tree dead by the end, the mana and magic will cease to exist for at least a thousand years. This means any magic-casters in your party are SOL in the epilogue, as well.
  • Cats Are Mean:
    • Bigieu morphs into a big cat when you fight her. Well, why not.
    • Inverted with Nikita, as the cat pops up several times during Hawkeye's story to break him out of prison, lend him a vital hand against Bigieu, and take care of Jessica so Hawkeye could carry his mission without worrying for her.
  • Cave Behind the Falls/Noob Cave: The Cave of Waterfalls.
  • Cave Mouth: The entryway to the Dragon Hole.
  • Character Development: It is highly recommended that you play the three routes with both of each route's central characters (Duran/Angela, Kevin/Charlotte, and Lise/Hawkeye) for this purpose. It doesn't hurt that each pair tends to complement each other's abilities well.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Your first character sets out on a journey to save their homes, and stumbles across a fairy and two others heroes who've been wronged.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: And, of course, it doesn't go off until you've accomplished all you've needed to and you have a ticket off the island. Jagan is there, but he doesn't bother to attack and assumes that all three of you will perish in the eruption. Then he conveniently flees before that becomes the case.
  • Chokepoint Geography:
    • The final dungeons are inaccessible by sea or air. The Mirage Palace is separated by the Jungle of Vision outside of Pedda (Pedan in the fan translation), the Dragon Hole lies at the center of the Glass Desert, and Dark Castle resides on a craggy island, only reachable via the Cave of Darkness.
    • The party gains transportation earlier than they do in SoM. The world is yours — so long as there's sand. Almost every town resides near a beach or riverbank, but just reaching it is almost a puzzle in itself; Ferolia and Lampflower Forest are the hardest to find.
  • Class and Level System: One which might take a bit of grinding to really exploit. The first class change can be achieved when the character is at Lv. 18 (roughly after the Machine Golem fight in the snowfield). This is done by touching any Mana Stone that you can encounter during the game. The second change happens at Lv. 38 (usually earned in the final dungeon... or the Ancient Ruins if you grind like hell); only the Mana Goddess herself can bestow this class, and you need a special item harvested from ??? seeds.
  • Climbing Climax: You will find the Lord and the Emperor not in the throne rooms (they've vacated), but on the highest peak of their headquarters. The Masked Mage teleports you and Heath to the roof of his manor to duke it out.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hawkeye'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!
  • Cool Airship: Altena has a seriously badass looking blimp. In addition, the Beastmen travel by giant hawk, and the Nevarl raiders... have a boat with a bunch of balloons tied to it, of all things.
  • Cool Mask:
    • Masked Mage, natch.
    • Hawkeye's Nightblade class sports one. And some of his equip-able armor is of the Cool Mask variety.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Charlotte rams into Heath right at the start of her story.
  • Crystal Prison: Each of the God-Beasts fits snugly into a Mana Stone.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Kevin and most of the beastmen.
  • Dark Is Evil: Zable Fahr is the Dark god-beast. Also the Dark Lord.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: You can use darkness element spells and weapons, and the darkness summon spirit Shade is not evil, though Zable Fahr God-Beast is That One Boss for some people. Your characters' class alignment can become dark (or dark-dark).
  • Deal with the Devil: The Wizard of the Crimson Lotus offered part of his soul to the Dragon Emperor in exchange for becoming the world's greatest wizard. (Previously, the Wizard of the Crimson Lotus was a nobody, just like all the other men in Altena.) The Darkshine Knight did the same thing after falling into a bottomless pit.
  • Death Mountain:
    • Path to the Heavens and the Gusthall (Corridor of Wind is the fan translated name).
    • Also, Bucca, because Chekhov's Volcano is a mountain which you climb and then descend into.
  • 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 peeking 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. Exclusive scenes may happen too, depending on 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, Valsena (Forcena in the fan translation). 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 Valsena 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 Valsena. 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.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Not only do you kill the eight God-Beasts (note that the Japanese characters used to represent this are the same ones used to represent the Mana Beast in the previous game, although the Japanese name, Kami Kemono, probably is more accurately translated as God-Beast), ancient evils that predate the world, but the final boss has the combined powers of all eight of them, and the Sword of Mana, which is what sealed them away in the first place and was used to help create the world.
  • Doppelgänger Attack:
    • Did you really expect Deathjester to fight fair?
    • Grand Divina's Double Magic is not, as the name suggests, a doublecast but instead splits Angela in two, doubling the enemy's pain. This is also the Nightblade's skill.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Everybody's hometown gets invaded, either by the baddie for various nefarious reasons, or the heroes themselves in order to kick the bad guys out.
    • Poor Astoria. The quaint river village is doomed to get pummeled to pieces by Lugar, no matter what.
  • Double Entendre: When playing Hawkeye's intro, if you talk to one of the guards at the door of the throne room, he says about the Laurent amazons "I bet they're all cute ladies. I want to poke them with my dagger." Think about it....
  • Downer Beginning: All the characters experience this, and they go off on their journey to set things right.
  • 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: There are three pairs for each of the three overlords—Deathjester and Heath for the Masked Mage, the Wizard of the Crimson Lotus and the Darkshine Knight for the Dragon Emperor, and the Earl of the Evil Eye and Bigieu for the Dark Lord. Because they get more screen time than their bosses, they're also better developed characters.
  • Dragon Rider: Flammie the dragon acts as a Global Airship for the party.
  • Dual Boss: Zable Fahr. Which then turns into a triple boss after the two heads are destroyed. They get reanimated and then the true head reveals itself.
  • Dual Wielding: Hawkeye dual wields daggers. Kevin dual wields gloves/claws/fists (if you want to call them that).
  • Dump Stat: Agility for everyone but Hawkeye, who uses it for some of his spells. This is due to it being poorly implemented: It was intended that for every point of Agility you had your Evasion Rate would go up by 1%, but instead the game uses the character's class's base Evasion. This would have made it useful for squishier character like Angela, but the point of the stat ceases to exist. Though it's often speculated that it increases your chances of randomly executing a short animation composed of invincibility frames when attacked, which is technically different from a "Miss", so the point of the stat might not be entirely lost.
  • Dying as Yourself: Heath and Darkshine Knight, who is actually Duran's father.
  • Easily Conquered World:
    • The Beastman tactic of SMASH BASH GLOAT is remarkably effective against whole cities.
    • The Kingdom Laurent, AKA "The Castle That Never Fell." Well, that's tempting fate, isn't it? The Nevarl thieves are too cunning to attack directly, instead spreading a sleeping pollen than puts the Amazons' lights out. The King is struck down in his own throne room without any resistance whatsoever!
    • On the flip side, it also seems to be an Easily Liberated World. The Amazons take back the castle because the thieves never figured the former might use the latter's own tactic against them.
  • 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 Chartmoon Tower (Moonreading Tower is the fan translated name). Behind one door is the staircase; the other three are enemy nests.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Quite a few, including the Priest of Light and the Earl. Two of the main villains (Emperor and Lord) are addressed by title only. However, Land and Heroes of Mana retcon their real names as Drakonis and Stroud (the latter also being the name of a different character in Sword of Mana), respectively. Belgar is the name of the once-noble priest who degenerated into the Masked Mage.
  • Evil Costume Switch/Paint It Black:
    • Heath's monochrome costume while in the service of the Masked Mage.
    • Your own characters can have this while picking Class Changes.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Eventually, one will come out on top; the victor will be the side most actively involved with the primary character. By extension, this also determines how the finale will play out in terms of dungeons.
  • Evil Overlord: The Dragon Emperor for Duran and Angela, the Masked Mage for Kevin and Charlotte, and the Dark Lord (called Dark Prince in the fan translation) for Lise and Hawkeye.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Wizard of the Crimson Lotus, The Masked Mage, and Heath, Charlotte's playmate and supposedly her mentor.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The three evil factions (the Beastmen, Altena and Navarre) are all fighting for the Mana Sword, and are in fact a greater danger to each other than the PC group.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Ultimate equipment, along with the Lv. 3 class changes, only be obtained via "???" seeds dropped by specific enemies. Even if you can't wear it, you can still sell it for mucho dinero.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Your team can go from the Burning Sands (Desert of Scorching Heat in the fan translation) to the Frostbite Fields AKA Sub-Zero Snowfield in the fan translation (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.
  • Fallen Angel: The Dark Lord. The Masked Mage's backstory is also riddled with this.
  • 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 to 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.
  • Final Boss: Comes in three flavors depending on what character was your first pick:
    • Duran and Angela: Dragon Emperor, a tyrant thought to have been slain by Duran's father, but was just hiding. He's been marshaling his dragon armies to try and take over the world again.
    • Hawkeye and Lise: Archdemon, AKA Dark Lord, a Lucifer archetype and arguably the worst of the whole rotten lot. Owns a sweet castle.
    • Charlotte and Kevin: Masked Mage, or rather, Dark Lich, a fallen cleric who has bathed himself in dark magic, losing any semblance of humanity he once had.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final God-Beast, Zable Fahr, apparently exists outside of the physical realm. When his stone cracks, the party is pulled into a weird blue void.
  • First Town: Astoria. Well, it's the first town common to ALL the characters when any of them are the lead. Most characters have to make a stop in Jadd before they ever reach Astoria, with the exception of Charlotte. It's also the first town shop-wise, as Jadd is under a curfew and can't sell you anything.
  • Fission Mailed: Kevin can't win the training battle against Karl. Losing his HP transforms him into a werewolf for the first time, which gives him a fighting chance. Karl's death inverts the trope by playing the Game Over melody.
  • Flashback Effects:
    • Before recruiting your teammates, each tells their story in a Deliberately Monochrome cutscene.
    • Charlotte gets one even if you didn't select her as a teammate at all.
  • Flat Character: The Earl of the Evil Eye 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.
  • Get on the Boat: The only way to travel anywhere until you get more reliable means of transportation, or the cannon.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The very first boss, Full Metal Hugger.
  • A God Am I: Every Big Bad, once they've absorbed the energies of eight God-Beasts.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Valda has gotten it into her warped brain that Altena isn't quite overpowered enough — that her kingdom is entitled to each of the world's Mana Stones. When glimpsing the full scope of her plans, King Richard spits back, "The Queen of Reason!" with maximum irony.
    • The truth of the matter is a bit more complex. Altena depends heavily on magic just to survive on their frozen continent, and with the Mana Tree threatened, so is the supply of mana that keeps their country going. Of course, unsealing the mana stones and freeing the Eldritch Abominations stored in each one is probably the worst way to solve that problem, but you can thank Koren for giving her that idea.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: As usual, the eight spirits (plus Fairy) are needed to unlock the Holyland.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The eight God-Beasts in the second half of the game.
  • Grand Theft Me: Despite what some websites say, most certainly not Elliot's fate, provided the Dark Lord is the Big Bad. (Elliot is seen lying on the ground next to the Dark Lord.)
  • Guide Dang It:
    • The game doesn't mention this, but certain spells can't be learned unless you've leveled up particular attributes. Hawkeye learns new moves by leveling up his AGL and LUCK, but dumping points into his INT is useless. However, Duran (the no-frills tank) must raise his SPIRIT at least a little if he wants to learn his Paladin moves, which require MP to use. The requirements aren't always intuitive, and you may waste a level or two trying out new combinations before you see a result. Thankfully, the game rewards every spell you've missed along the way (without any fanfare, just a quick message box) once you meet the requirements.
    • ??? seeds sprout into Ultimate weapons and armour that are usable by Lv. 3 classes. The problem is, the game doesn't factor in which classes you've chosen, only the characters in your party. It's frustrating to pick a Light-Dark path, plant a seed and get rewarded with Light-Light pieces you can't use. Save Scumming mitigates this a bit, but it shouldn't be coded that way to start with.
    • Also, getting items for the second class change isn't hinted at nor are you told where you can reap them, meaning first-time players frequently don't even get them. Keep in mind, seeds are only dropped by certain foes, and that enemy must die last in order to drop a chest.
    • 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.
  • Gusty Glade: Gusthall. Does it really count as a glade if it's half made out of caves, though?
  • Hailfire Peaks: Bucca contains a huge underground spring. A good thing, too, since Booskaboo is able to swim inside and ferry you off before the mountaintop blows!
  • Hidden Elf Village:
    • Corobokkle Village and Diorre.
    • The ancient city Pedda exists in some kind of weird temporal flux: It's just empty ruins when you first arrive, but staying at the inn warps you back in time to the first Dragon War.
  • Have We Met Yet?: If you take Angela or Duran's path, the party will run into a younger version of the King of Valsena.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Dark Lord's remains are never seen. His resurrected body, on the other hand, is.
  • Hidden Depths: With the exceptions of the Dragon Emperor and the Earl of the Evil Eye, all of the villains get fleshed out, well-developed personalities and back stories.
  • High-Altitude Battle: One of the God Beasts is fought on your own flying dragon. You'll need to take to the skies to reach Dangaard.
  • High Collar of Doom: Check out the Bela Lugosi getup on the Earl of the Evil Eye. Sheesh.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: The kingdom of Nevarl is guarded by these, and Hawkeye can become one.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Whoever the Big Bad is, their flunkies will inevitably hold the Fairy ransom in exchange for the Mana Sword.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Kevin's intro, after realizing he's killed Karl.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Koren and Bigieu, posing as Evil Chancellors of sorts to the north and south, work independently to provoke fighting with their neighbors. Koren reveals that he hypnotized the Queen of Reason into becoming a warmonger, and Bigieu basically prostitutes herself out to Lord Flamekhan. By the time Hawkeye notices something's amiss, she now has mind control powers over the entire ninja clan, including Eagle and Bill/Ben.
  • Hufflepuff House: Laurent Kingdom is busy keeping the peace up north.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: The Faerie has a bit of trouble remembering that humans can't fly.
  • 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 Mana Holy Day.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain:
    • Most of Ferolia, even Lugar to a degree.
    • This may be subverted after all; if you challenge any beastman during the Jadd raid, they knock the hell out of your character (except Duran, who seemingly is the only one smart enough to notice picking a fight isn't a good idea now) with a single attack, and to add insult to injury, 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 the Ghost Ship will make monsters spawn 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 Holy Land 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.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Chartmoon Tower.
  • Just Like Robin Hood:
    • The Thieves Guild of Nevarl at the beginning.
    • Doubly since the Wanderer and Rogue class allude to when Nevarl wasn't a desert.
  • Justified Save Point:
    • The HP/MP replenishing statues of the Mana Goddess are tributes to the deity, usually placed in the vicinity of Mana Stones to ward off outsiders. There are one or two statues in the final villain's lair... but they're headless, placed there in direct mockery of the Goddess. They also don't refill your energy.
    • The Goddess is a human totem. The Village of the Dark Priests does not worship the Mana Tree, but they have a HP/MP restoring totem pole, regardless. The Masked Mage keeps his own save statue at the nexus of his base (it's shaped like a skull).
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: The heroes can become blonde (or blonder) through class changes, too. Charlotte, Lise, and Kevin are already light-haired, but Angela and Hawkeye are both dark-haired, and their class-changes with blond hair are both dark-dark.
  • Kubrick Stare: Both the Wizard of the Crimson Lotus and Bigieu have this as their Perpetual Expression.
  • Lady Land: Laurent and Altena. Both armies are comprised of all-amazonian soldiers, though Laurent still retains a male monarch. We also learn that Koren's original motive was to show up his female classmates at Altena. Once the red-haired stepchild of that realm, he's now the world's most powerful sorcerer.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: With the winds turned off, Laurent can't be retaken by the amazons. You need the power of Jinn to spread the thieves' pollen and knock them all out, a fitting end to their treachery.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Unless you go out of your way (or just plain hack your save) to get it sooner, you won't be able to get the final class change until just before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The party narrowly misses a clash between the Emperor, Mage, and Lord in the Mana Holyland. It must have been one hell of a fight, as the resulting bloodbath leaves their armies and the Holyland in ruins. Only Deathjester, the Dark Knight, and Bigieu live to tell the tale; Bigieu and the Dark Knight take their own lives as penance, while Deathjester just shrugs and beats a hasty retreat! (Though he admits his chances of escape are slim to none.)
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Valley of Flames. (No actual damage from convection, though.)
  • Light Is Good:
    • Wisp is the light elemental Spirit.
    • Notice that Lise has blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • Light Is Not Good: Lightgazer, the God-Beast of Light. Also, there are several enemies which use 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:
    • Early game, the physical attackers do tend to be more powerful than the casters (who need a meat shield to tank hits for them while they stand immobile to cast), and pure casters do outdamage pure hitters, but most of the main characters end up being some kind of Magic Knight (depending on which of the upgraded classes they choose).
    • In-Universe, Duran's motivation to get the Mana Sword is because the Lotus Sorcerer handily defeated him in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Living Structure Monster: Genova, one of the bosses, is a demonic fireplace/furnace that attacks by spitting enemies out of its fire.
  • The Lost Woods: Lampflower Forest and the Jungle of Visions. And the Holyland, of course.
  • Lost World: The Ancient Ruins of Light and the Jungle of Visions. Somewhere deep in the forest, the Masked Mage is assembling his army like a regular Colonel Kurtz.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Duran, the Darkshine Knight is your father.
    • Heath, the Masked Mage is your father.
    • Charlotte, the Elf-King is your other grandfather.
    • 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:
    • This seems to be the characteristic of the Light path. The Dark classes spit out a higher volume of attacks and maximum strength levels. The Light classes, comparatively, have little to offer until about ten hours later, when Light-Light finally yields big dividends — especially in the final areas of the game. Hawkeye's first Light class, Ranger, is really underwhelming: No buffs/debuffs, no elemental attacks, and mediocre stats across the board. If you survive long enough to promote him to Wanderer, he'll learn Counter magic — effectively neutering Koren, who won't be able to lay a finger on your trio. It gets ugly real fast.
    • 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. Yes, even the final bosses.
  • Marathon Level: To reach the final bosses, you must first comb through an alien landscape (Glass Desert for the Emperor, Jungle of Vision for the Mage, and Cave of Darkness for Archdemon), defeat the Dark God-Beast and a sub-boss, scour the dungeons for three past bosses, and then fight the dungeon boss. There are no gold Goddess statues after the first boss (just headless ones... shudder), only a long, hard slog back to civilization if you run out restoratives/MP.
  • 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.
  • The Maze:
    • Labyrinth of Ice Walls and Moonlight Forest are bare-bones examples.
    • Lampflower forest requires that you visit it at night, which signposts the exit with glowing flower bulbs.
    • Chartmoon Tower offers up a game of "Hunt the Staircase" with each floor.
    • Dragon Hole is a web of similar-looking caverns that loop on themselves, with headless statues blocking the paths to Koren. Detours open up once you've located and killed the past bosses lurking around the cave.
    • Just getting to the Mirage Palace is a hassle. The jungle is a Zelda-style maze (listen for the chime), leading to Zable Fahr and a chest containing a magic mirror which reveals the Masked Mage's location. The courtyard is protected by a Portal Network leading to various puzzle rooms. The palace itself is smaller but no less confusing: false switches, deadfalls, and a disguised door.
    • Late in the game, the Many Holyland is struck by an attack from the Big Bad, now supercharged with the energy of all eight God-Beasts. The straightforward path to the Tree is a now lot more convoluted, with broken columns and branching paths of lily-pads placed to confound you. This is a good as time as any to level grind.
  • Meet the New Boss:
    • The Masked Mage is heir to the previous game's Thanatos, with a similar boss form and attack animation (HANDS HANDS GRABBING FROM THE FLOOR). The Lich, along with the Lord, is a recurring villain in the Mana series.
    • If you look closely, each of the main adversaries has a component or two of Thanatos. The Priest of Dark is a necromancer who hides behind a mask. The Dark Lord shares his body-stealing ways. The Dragon Emperor converts a fallen warrior (Geshtar in the original, Loki in this one) into an undead knight. Bigieu is also a pro at mass hypnosis.
  • Mirror Boss: The Darkshine Knight is a former Knight of Gold, Koren is a hopeless student of magic who fast-tracked his abilities due to outside influence, Heath is the orphan ward of Wendel's top priest, Lugar is the sneering Beastman general who somehow thinks the throne is rightfully his (in contrast to Reluctant Ruler Kevin), Bill and Ben are, or at least used to be, laid-back master ninjas, Heath is fully fledged summoner in addition to his necromancer abilities, granting him all of Charlotte's dark magic.
  • Mirror Match:
    • Kevin and the Ferolian 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 Charlotte are potos, while dark Charlotte shamans. Light Hawkeye with Chobins and dark has ninjas. Finally, Reise has the bee women and goblins.
    • In addition to Shapeshifters (mostly harmless balls of wax that morph into various monsters), you may encounter their Underground Monkey equivalent, Shadow Zero. (You mean the ones from Secret of Mana? Yes, the very same.) They'll mimic your class changes along with their special attacks. The problem is that they aren't affected by Health/Damage Asymmetry; their attacks do the same boss-killing damage as yours, to your party's still PC-level hit points. If you have Dark classes in your lineup, and the Zero decides to mimic them, just flee. You can't win.
    • The Zeros do this by copying your current stats. So if you've used a cheat code to make your Strength/Intelligence ten times as high as your class can go, say goodbye to your party.
  • Monster Clown: Deathjester and (ulp!) Zable Fahr.
  • Monster Town: Bucca Island plays home to a tribal village of Tomato Men. Unlike their brethren scattered about the island and elsewhere, these guys are peaceful and fork over equipment and health.
  • Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Despite the large number of huge, monstrous bosses in the game, by far the hardest fights are against the human-sized villains.
  • Mook Maker: Genova. A living doorway which spits out assorted mooks for you to fight, apparently from the pits of Mavolia (Hell) itself.
  • Motive Rant: At least two for each plotline.
  • My Name Is ???: The ??? seeds needed to outfit your Lv. 3 characters with the best stuff.
  • 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).
  • Nerf:
    • There are fewer special moves (owing to the Lv. 7 percentage meter being replaced with the more streamlined 1-2-3 Tech meter). And the Lv. 3 techs can provoke a nasty response from some enemies, most notably from werewolves and knights.
    • Interestingly, you can complete this game with ever having recruited a mage or healer. Magic isn't as devastating as it used to be, and you can scrape by with healing items, but the latter makes boss fights a lot tougher.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Beastmen, including Kevin, are all martial artist werewolves.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Duran vs. The Wizard of Red Lotus.
    • Kevin vs. his father, the Beast King.
  • Official Couple: Duran and Angela, if the player chooses either as the main character and chooses the other character as one of the three characters.
  • Older Is Better: Similarly to Chrono Trigger's 12,000 B.C., Ancient City Pedda is the best place to shop. Short of the "???" items, their weapons and armor are second to none.
  • 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.
  • One-Winged Angel: All three potential final bosses.
  • Our Fairies Are Different
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Earl of the Evil Eye.
  • Our Were Wolves Are Different: The Beastmen, who are a race of their own but very clearly inspired by werewolf mythology. They transform at night, gaining a sizeable attack bonus. This includes Kevin.
  • Orcus on His Throne:
    • All the Big Bads lounge around in their hideouts and let their minions do the work — until they're either killed by one of the other enemy factions or the heroes storming their fortress. In fact, you don't even meet them until you've completed the respective final dungeons.
    • The Dark Lord wasn't totally idle behind the scenes though. He's the one who raised the Dark Mana Stone from the Underworld. He also sacrifices his first body to rip open the Holyland entrance. The reason he doesn't confront you is because he's waiting for his cronies to resurrect his form.
    • 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 North American 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).
  • Painting the Medium/Gameplay and Story Integration: Class change is a thing that exists In-Universe instead of just a gameplay mechanic. In fact, Duran's entire (initial) motivation is to be able to get strong enough for one of these.
  • Palmtree Panic: Volcano Island Bucca.
  • 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 the menu so the character doesn't take damage before the spell executes. However, this also works on enemies preparing spells to attack you with....
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • The Jungle of Vision is the earliest equivalent, and a good place to stock up on seeds.
    • Once again, Mana Holyland is the place to visit for cheap EXP gains. Following the invasion by Nevarl, Beastman, and Altenan forces, the realm is overrun with Shapeshifters that reap 900 EXP each. (In the previous game, it was Griffin Hands.) Unfortunately, they don't come out to play until just before the last boss.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: An Enforced Trope. Hawkeye and his feline pal are the only thieves seen doing any stealing: Under Isabella's influence, the thieves' hideout of Navarre is gearing up for cavalry assaults on whole cities.
  • Power Trio: Any three of the six heroes (selected by the player) can be one.
  • Prestige Class: Each character has four classes based on whether he or she chooses the Light or Dark path on each upgrade level (i.e. Light-Light, Light-Dark, Dark-Light, or Dark-Dark).
  • Promotion to Parent: Lise to Elliot.
  • The Psycho Rangers:
    • The God-Beasts act as these the elemental spirits.
    • To an extent, the top enforcers of each of the world's kingdoms. See "Mirror Boss", above.
  • Pumpkin Person: Mispolm, God-Beast of the Woods, takes the form of a giant jack-o-lantern sat atop a mass of roots.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Like Angela, Koren toiled under Jose's tutelage at the magic school, but got nowhere. The Dragon Emperor offered him true power in exchange for selling his people out.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Angela's prologue has her thrown into the aptly named Sub Zero Snowfield wearing nothing but a highly Stripperiffic leotard. Less than ten minutes later, she starts coming down with hypothermia.
    • In contrast to the Lovable Rogue type of mercenary, Duran is loud, brutish, uncouth, and smells bad. Also, the first time Duran goes up against the Red Wizard, he gets curbstomped, because Duran's never faced anyone who uses magic before.
    • Hawkeye is a thief in a gang of them. Once Hawkeye decides he no longer wants to be part of the gang because of their growing corruption, they don't graciously let him leave; they try to have him killed. It didn't help that he was framed in the murder of one of their own. When he returns to the gang as a hero trying to stop the end of the world, only two of Hawkeye's former gang members side with him; the rest are all Mooks who have to be cut down.
    • Kevin can transform into a werewolf and kick major amounts of ass, but he can't control it. The first time he transforms, Kevin kills his beloved pet Carl (or so he thinks), and spends the rest of the game hating his power.
    • Both Kevin and Charlotte are Half-Human Hybrids whose genetics give them significant abilities, but also cause a fair share of problems. Both of them have some sort of brain deficiency as a result of being a mix of two species, with Kevin talking in Hulk Speak and Charlotte still having the mindset of a small child despite being physically sixteen.
    • Lise is a Badass Princess, but she's not a One-Man Army. When raiders invade her kingdom, kill her people and kidnap her brother, she has to run in order to find help. She also never gets a chance to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, instead having to find ways to stop the plans of the Big Bad while putting her kingdom's reconstruction on hold.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • 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, "Meridian Dance" (the main melody and the intro, respectively).
    • Also, the track "Electric Talk" contains a call back 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 international name of Seiken Densetsu 2, as well as a stylistic call back to "The Child of the Sprite Tribe", a track from that game, albeit in a minor key.
  • Reformed Criminal: Hawkeye, sort of. He began as a thief, and joined the straight and narrow when his gang was assimilated by the Dark Prince.
  • Remixed Level: The Mana Holyland is visited twice. Later on, the path to the Mana Tree is blocked by debris; finding a detour might take a little brainwork.
  • Ring Menu: Just like its predecessor.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Half the cast. Angela is the princess of Altena, Lise princess of Laurent, and Kevin the prince heir to Ferolia.
  • Rule of Three: You have three heroes; there are three invading kingdoms, creating three unique final scenarios with three unique final bosses.
  • The Ruins I Caused: After you beat Bigieu, her section of the Dark Castle collapses, and the party flees across a connecting bridge to the next tower. If Hawkeye is with you, he'll stand over the gap and announce that vengeance is his at last.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Path to the Heavens.
    • 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 Jadd's dungeons. Selecting Charlotte 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: If Charlotte's on your team and thus you already have three characters by the time you get locked up in Jadd, the person in the other cell who busts you out will be a fourth hero who never joins your team (if Duran's not on your team, it'll usually be him), and your party leaves the person behind when they escape on the ship, but fortunately the person is able to escape the city off-screen.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • The Dark Lord was feared and hated as a child, which hints that he had been prophesied as a harbinger of doom. His status as something to be feared invited demons from the underworld to tempt him over to their side, thus dooming his kingdom (revealed to be Lorimar in Dawn of Mana), which the Dark Lord promptly destroyed.
    • Turns out in Dawn of Mana that he was feared and hated for trying to drown his little brother, for eliminating all rivals to declare himself emperor and king of Lorimar, and for being an absolute tyrant. His deal with the demons was actually to open the door to Mavolia/the underworld and his Archdemon form is the result of merging with multiple Thanatos masks. His killing of the previous ruler of the underworld Medusa/Anise is also revealed to be from striking her host down with the first Mana Sword (it's also revealed that she secretly survived unbeknownst to the Dark Lord).
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: There are a number of challenges that can be done with this game, such as single character, or no class changing.
  • Seppuku:
    • Heath and The Wizard of the Crimson Lotus after their defeat.
    • Unless your protagonist is Hawkeye or Riesz, the Navarl faction loses big in the Mana Sword sweepstakes. The Dark Lord loses his corporeal form in exchange for opening the way to the Mana Tree, but his enemies steal the body and destroy it before he can be properly revived. The Earl insists they can still keep to the plan by taking back the sword and unsealing their underworld armies, but Bigieu is unable to go on without her love. Rather than live in disgrace, she murder-suicides herself and the Earl.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: This is the hardest of the Mana games ever. The enemies hit hard and often. In the final dungeons, where no healing statues or merchants are available, you will be forced to fight to your fullest. Fortunately, there is no real item limit (You can only carry nine of an item in battle, but your backpack holds endless reserves), and the merchants at Byzel sell sword/armor buffs in the form of Scales and Claws. A well-stocked team will be prepared for anything.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Nevarl and the Dragon Hole's outer reaches (Glass Desert is the coolest name for a desert, hands down).
  • Ship Level: The Ghost Ship, where Shade is recruited and you temporarily lose one of your party members due to a curse.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bill and Ben. If you're from the UK, the name instantly screams out "weed"!
    • The Guardian enemies in the Jungle of Visions have Breast Fire and Rust Hurricane as special attacks, just like the granddaddy for all Super Robots.
    • The Gigantes (wielded by the Wizard of the Crimson Lotus) holds the exact same Japanese name as the Mana Fortress from Secret of Mana and is likely to be its Start of Darkness.
  • Show Some Leg:
    • Angela's line when trying to set a trap for a guard.
      "Could you help me change my clothes?"
    • And one of her classes gives her a Limit Break that is essentially her showing some... leg... and charming the enemy.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Hawkeye'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 evasion. All for only 1 MP. Fans have dubbed it the "1 MP Wonder".
  • Sinister Scythe: Deathjester. The hooded statues adorning the walls of Dark Castle are also sporting these.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Altena and the surrounding environs.
  • Smug Snake: Deathjester. Good Lord, Deathjester.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil:
    • In regards to the three final boss monsters, the Dark Lord is widely considered the strongest, the Masked Mage the weakest, and the Dragon Emperor in the middle.
    • This is only subjective. In a genocide contest, it's a toss-up who is worse: The Satanic body-snatcher who seeks to reclaim the planet for demonkind, or Pope Death who has deemed all life unworthy of existence. Drakonis is just a warmonger, but he's prophesied by the tablet in Pedda to bring about the end of the world just like the others; presumably, he goes mad after absorbing too much power.
    • 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, Ferolia is absolutely pathetic (despite some early-game success). Altena is much more organized and effective, and poses a bigger threat, and their villainous actions are limited to the assault on Valsena. Now Nevarl... their footsoldiers show a severe lack of fair play (putting the amazons to sleep rather than engage them directly, a crushing blow to morale), they slaughter literally everyone in Laurent castle during their takeover, and the mooks you fight in their areas are among the toughest you'll face.
  • Speed Run: Taking advantage of several Good Bad Bugs makes it possible to beat the game in about four hours.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Is the Amazon princess supposed to be named "Lise", "Liese", "Riese", "Reis", or "Riesz"?note  The world may never know.
    • Carlie is "Charlotte" in Japan, changed on the translation for space reasons.
    • Similarly, Hawk is "Hawkeye" in Japan, also changed on the translation for space reasons.
    • Bigieu was likely originally either Bijou ('jewel' in French) or Bijuu ('lovely beast' in Japanese). Or both, as 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 are the locations — Forcena/Forthena/Folcena/Valsena. Rolant/Rolante/Laurant. Navarre/Navall/Nevarl. Jad/Jadd. Pedan/Pedda. Althena/Altena (each one's last translation is the official translation found in Heroes of Mana. *gasp* And that's not even everything).
  • Spiky Hair: Hawkeye's pal, Eagle.
  • Squishy Wizard: Angela, which an extra helping of squishy.
  • Stationary Boss:
    • Quite a few.
    • Averted with the Dragon Emperor, a screen-filling Final Boss who defies expectation by leaping into the foreground.
  • Storming the Castle: We have met the enemy. It's time to take the battle to his home address. You can't enter the Glass Desert, Cave of Darkness, or Jungle of Visions (apart from the countryside surrounding Pedda) until the Mana Sword is robbed and taken to the villain's respective hideout.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Practically the entire female population of Altena, especially 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. Laurent'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.
    • The official art of Lise's fenrir class on almost puts anything Angela has to shame, as it's just a bikini with a wolf hide cape, but Angela still wins the award for the most Stripperific outffit in the game. In her Magus class, while she wears a chestplate and cape, there's nothing but a thong around her waist.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: The Mana Holyland gets hammered pretty bad. Upon your arrival, the landscape is still verdant, with the only enemies being Rabites. In subsequent visits, Holyland has already begun the wither away, and the wildlife is replaced with creepy Shapeshifters.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • If you liked the party from Secret of Mana, Duran, Charlotte, and Angela make good replacements for Randi, Purim, and Popoie. (Though unlike SoM, Duran can learn his own magic, and Charlotte can switch to black magic.)
    • Chiquita and Josephine. Given that they're the same race as Neko, expect racketeering and sky-high prices. Oh well, a cat's gotta eat.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: If you are given a gold statue (which saves your game and heals your party), you will need it. It usually means there is a painful boss fight just around the corner.
  • 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!
  • Talk to Everyone:
    • Don Perignon won't spill the beans on Laurent until you've found all of the huts and spoken to their inhabitants.
    • During the Mirage Palace segment, the party reawakens in Astoria (or do they? — like everything the Masked Mage touches, it is unclear what is real and what is not). The townsfolk are all mute and loitering around the same areas as before, apart from the merchant... talk to all of them, and the merchant reveals himself to be a ghost; he attacks you in the same house where the party first materialized.
  • Taunt Button: Buskaboo the Turtle has a horn that does nothing except amuse a button-mashing player.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Hawkeye and Eagle.
    • Bon Voyage and Merci.
  • Third-Person Person: Charlotte.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: The heroes decide this after the faerie is kidnapped. It's obviously a trap, but they don't have any choice but to go.
  • Turtle Power: Life's a beach. Booskaboo, a giant turtle wearing scuba goggles and a racing flag, can take you anyplace that is accessible by coastline. "Inexplicable" sums him up best.
  • Underground Level: Gaia's Navel, Gemstone Valley, and the Dragon Hole.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Hawkeye and Lise. Especially if they're both in your party, and either them is the leader.
    • During the battle to retake Laurent, if you have Lise in your party but not Hawkeye, Hawkeye will ask the party to spare Bigieu's life. Lise will agree, and Hawkeye will kiss her, causing Lise to freak out.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Whatever you do, do not use a Magical Rope in the Dark Castle.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • You. Every time. At least the Mana Sword proves too hot for the villains to handle, and they soon regret their treachery.
    • 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 programming bug critical attacks are practically non-existent. Same goes for spells that affect agility or hit rate, for the same reason.
    • Averted by Angela's Rune Master skills. Stone Cloud will petrify every single normal enemy who isn't resistant to earth damage, which equates to instant death. For enemies who are immune to earth, there's Stun Wind which silences the enemy in addition to doing massive damage. Silence may not sound that useful, but a number of regular enemies in the game react to techs and spells (such as Stone Cloud or Stun Wind) with powerful abilities that can trash the party, making them effectively immune to anything but normal attacks. Silence stops those party-wiping reactions.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon:
    • Three of them. You can only visit one per playthrough, though.
    • Subverted. Regardless of which main character you've picked, the decaying Mana Holyland will be the last dungeon.
  • Villainous Breakdown: While some just say few words, some of The Dragon and every Big Bad has this upon defeat.
  • Villainous Harlequin:
    • Deathjester, of course.
    • 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).
  • Volcano Lair: Dragon Hole is hinted to be one. Past eruptions turned the surrounding desert into crystal.
  • 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.
    • Tzenker has the nasty habit of keeping away from your party while casting potent spells. Without the help of coins, magic, or claws the fight can become quite a chore.
    • Genova can be quite difficult for underleveled players as he is a Mook Maker, casts some really strong spells, and if one is unlucky the mooks (which happens to be shapeshifters) will morph into something that will constantly Poison the party.
    • The Machine Golems fought in the Sub-Zero Snowfield or Bill and Ben in Desert of Scorching Heat will make short work of players who abuse of Level 2 Techs. Keep in mind that these bosses tend to counterattack with a Tech or magic of their own if struck by a Level 2 Tech or a magic. While Bill and Ben are doable, as they might focus in a single character with Shadow Dive, the Golems are not, they will utterly destroy a party using Level 2 Techs by counterattacking with all-party high level spells and you fight three of them at same time. Players should take these battles as a warning that spamming Level 2 Techs or magic will not work on bosses as well as it did in the last game.
  • White and Grey Morality: Mostly. There are a few flat jackasses (mostly the Earl of the Evil Eye, 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.
  • Winter Royal Lady; The Queen of Altena, who has a personality to match.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Earl of the Evil Eye will be backed by a werewolf and succubus.
  • Woman in Black: Angela's Magus class.
  • Word Salad Title: Many of the music tracks have these kind of names. Examples include Hope Isolation Pray and Faith Total Machine.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: There's a reason it's called Path to the Heavens. You can even see the curvature of the earth!
  • World Tree: The Mana Tree.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Played with. You can find every potential party member except Charlotte at the tavern in Castle City Jadd, but nobody actually joins your party until later.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Also played with. If you didn't pick Charlotte as your third party member, you'll pick up your third after being thrown in the Jadd prison upon defeating the first boss. Subverted if Charlotte 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.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Half of the protagonists are exiled during their intros. Subverted with Duran, who chooses not to go home until he defeats the Wizard of the Crimson Lotus. In Lise's case, it's an exceptional, half-self-imposed case of Walking the Earth and specifically a Gender Bender of a not-quite Knight Errant.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Hope you weren't too attached to the Mana Tree.


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