A 2007 strategy RPG title for the Playstation 2 brought to you by the good people at Nippon Ichi Software. It's a Darker and Edgier take on their usual formula, and could best be described as "Ogre Battleon a power trip".Soul Nomad is set upon the island continent of Prodesto, in the world of Haephnes. Two centuries ago, Prodesto was united under the hero Lord Median The Conqueror, and prosperity reigned for a time. Though Median's reign would be cut short by a pandemic that claimed both himself and his son, his daughter Layna soon emerged as a worthy successor to Prodesto's throne.Unfortunately, a mere fifty years later, Prodesto would become the landing spot of an evil god of death known as Gig. With the aid of his "pets", titanic golems known as "World Eaters", he ground Prodesto into the dirt, slaughtering most of the population and scorching the landscape into a barren wasteland.When all hope appeared lost, Layna appeared before Gig and defeated him in single combat. Without their master, the World Eaters fell dormant. However, the scars of their rampage remained etched into the land and Prodesto continued to decay, with the birth rate falling and crops growing more poorly with each passing year. All the while, the frozen World Eaters towered over the populace, a constant remainder of the terrible power that could reawaken at any time.Two centuries later, a young warrior (named Revya by default) and their childhood friend Danette are preparing to become official guardians of their village, one of the last bastions of human civilisation left in Prodesto. On the day of their appointment, they are gifted two weapons by village elder Layna: Danette receives a pair of magic kukri, while Revya is given a black onyx sword.Upon grasping the handle, the onyx sword is suddenly revealed to be the resting place of Gig himself, who immediately attempts to possess Revya's body and resume his reign of destruction. His possession is foiled by Layna, so Gig makes a deal: he will grant Revya a tiny sliver of his godlike power in exchange for being allowed to share Revya's body as a "soulmate". However, the second that Revya overuses this power, Gig will use the foothold in Revya's soul to seize complete control.Strengthened with Gig's dark powers, Revya is sent out into Prodesto along with Danette to destroy the dormant World Eaters and Save The World. Hilarity Ensues.Soul Nomad is also known for an infamous Villain Protagonist campaign called the "Demon Path". In this alternative storyline, Revya decides that it would be a better idea to use the awesome destructive powers of an evil god to do whatever the hell they want, and with the gleeful encouragement of Gig, starts down a path to ultimate power as the tyrannical "Devourlord". Then it gets worse. Much worse.
The game provides examples of:
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gig believes this in his ending if Revya is female after the rest of the cast starts shipping them, but really it's subverted, most of the female characters can't stand him.
Mostly, it's just Danette, seeing he insults her the most of the cast aside from Levin.
An Axe to Grind: Redflanks carry around a large axe that also functions as a boomerang.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Gig's sums up Drazil as being like a graveyard because of how every aspect of a person's life is controlled, to the point that they have to be told what to think. Oh, and the world has no hotpods.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Every unit you can deploy has a Leader, and every manikin inside of a unit contributes a percentage of their stats to the leader of that unit as a constant bonus as long as that manikin is alive. Thus, if for example you stack a bunch of identical manikins with identical levels in a room, the one designated as leader will have significantly higher stats than its twins.
In-story, we have The Masters of Life and Death, as well as the World Rulers, who are Overseers, and if Gig is any hint, they can drop the hurt on you.
Big Damn Heroes: Soul Nomad LOVES this trope to a T. Endorph is a regular subscriber to this. Including the Demon Path, he has about 5 moments. Not just him, but Christophe, the remaining residents from the Hidden Village, Grunzford... There are a lot of Big Damn Heroes moments, to summarizes.
Gig: Oh please! You're trying to play the victim? We can't even move on with the story because you destroyed the world! Now we gotta start all over again! Seriously, thanks a lot!
This is especially hilarious as Gig and Revya initially act as though they have absolutely no idea what she's talking about. As soon as Revya agrees to let Asagi take his / her lead role, however, that's when the Fourth Wall really begins to break.
Break the Cutie: Trish in the Demon Path comes pre-broken due to her adoptive father being a serial rapist.
Played for Black Comedy laughs in the Demon Path, where this happens to Galahad as he witnesses Revya's atrocities unfold, eventually going insane and imagining himself first as a salesman (of the 'buy now and I'll throw in a second absolutely free' type) and then later as a Prism Ranger.
Broken Aesop: Most outstanding one given by Cuthbert to Agrippa in the Demon Path. When questioned why he's working with Revya and Gig when he doesn't seem like that horrible a person, Cuthbert launches into a sad, serious explanation of his brother's illness and his determination to find the cure at any cost. Almost seems like a Pet the Dog moment when he warns Agrippa not to make the same mistakes as him... then fails when he names the consequence of doing so as just going bald.
Combination Attack: You're able to use skills that will activate after your attack, involving, well, combos with other characters. This ranges from a targeted attack on the leader to something capable of clearing the entire board.
Cutscene Incompetence: 'Dio'/Odie is treated as totally pathetic. Even his brief, dramatic triumph is shattered when the real Dio reveals that the spell Odie successfully broke after much effort had been severely weakened by the passage of time. In actual gameplay he's quite effective. Justified by the fact that he wasn't that incompetent in the story either, he just thought he was.
His brother is still better than him statwise, but you never get a chance to have both of them on your party at the same time, so it hardly matters.
Even without the Demon Path, which you really have to go through to really experience to put a bit more perspective, the bad endings in the Disgaea games, the Demon Path is like those the entire game apart from the good ending, the main story is still way darker than anything Nippon Ichi made before. Pretty much every villain in the plot is a Knight of Cerebus, there's no No Fourth Wall Jokes outside of a gag ending with Asagi, the flashy special attacks are a lot less over the top, and there's constant points of mass murder.
Dark Messiah: Kanan, priest of the Thurist Cult. They worship Thuris, the only World Eater that's really active at the start of the game.
Revya becomes this during the course of the story, taking on some of Gig's traits.
Deal with the Devil: Gig attempts this with the player character. Pretty often, and rather loudly.
Despair Event Horizon: Nearly everyone in the Demon Path, but especially Shauna, whose in-game vocals change to hollow monosyllabic grunts after her sister dies. Thorndyke almost literally crosses this after he believes he's killed his son, to the point where he's so broken that he's unable to come back to sanity even when it turns out that he didn't.
Dimension Lord: Haephnes and Drazil rule their respective worlds named after them.
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Gig is by far the most foul-mouthed, ill-tempered, and just plain sociopathic character to ever come out of a Nippon Ichi game (Except maybe Demon Path Revya). He's also more badass than any five Disgaea characters put together; he's like what Overlord Zetta would be if he weren't stuck as a book.
Duel Boss: The second Feinne fight is an odd example, you CAN summon others to the fight, but as your level is boosted by 2000, and your foe is 1000, you don't them, and unless your play a New Game+, Fienne will shrug off any attacks they make anyways.
If you use the item after you summon your allies, their level is boosted as well.
The Gestahl battle in Drazil.
Downer Ending: The absolute worst ending to the Demon Path has Revya kill just about everyone who would dare stand against him/her in Haephnes. Then s/he devours Gig. Then s/he kills Drazil and Haephens, and cause the end of all existence. All because it was fun!
Dub Name Change: The game's title went from "Soul Cradle" to "Soul Nomad" and a couple of characters had their names changed, possibly due to trouble with pronunciation (Example:Juno was originally Jost, which was pronounced Youst).
Dysfunction Junction: By midway through the Demon route, most of your group is outright insane in one fashion or another.
Evil Laugh: The Thurists love to do this, being an insane Doomsday Cult. And Gig wouldn't be Gig without this trope.
Interesting to note that Gig actually finds the Thurists laughing creepy.
Also Revya in the Bad Ending of the Demon Path.
Evil Is Easy: Subverted, the demon path is much harder, you'll only be able to beat it if you play it a New Game+.
Evil Is Not a Toy: The basic premise of the game subverts this, in that using Gig can (hopefully) save the world, assuming Revya doesn't do anything stupid. Also, both subverted and played straight in the Demon Path - played straight with Gig and the player character, but subverted when Dio releases Raksha to try and stop you, and it works. Or, at least, Raksha does end up on his side.
Case of it playing true in the main story the king of Raide tries to use a crimson tear to control Feinne. Gig states that this won't work, and of of course it turns out he's right. This instead causes Feinne, who before was just sitting and doing nothing, to level a large portion of the landscape and then kill the king.
Fluffy the Terrible: When Revya decides s/he should get a cooler name during the Demon Path, Gig tries to suggest 'the BFF' (yes, that's right, 'Best Friends Forever') but is sadly shot down. He gets his comeuppance when he names The Empire 'The BFF Empire' in Revya's absence.
For the Evulz: Rivers of blood! Mountains of flesh! A glorious world of pain! Feeble humans crushed like insects they are! Yeah, Gig really, really enjoys destruction for its own sake.
Apparently, the Devourlord annihilates the worlds because of this. See his/her last line in Demon Path's Bad Ending.
Thuris' motive, though he also wants Gig dead since Gig abused him and the other World Eaters when he worked for Drazil.
Gambit Pileup: The plot turns out to be one massive plan by Layna and Virtuous to make Gig and Revya destroy Drazil (the world that neighbors Haephnes) in order to restore the correct flow of souls which was originally upset by Drazil manipulating Median into slaying Vigilance, the Master of Death of Haephnes.
And that isn't even counting Dio and Gestahl's plans to restore Gestahl to his true power as Median, by killing Drazil and his Masters of Life and Death; Raksha's plan to become a god and destroy Drazil and his Masters of Life and Death; and Thuris' plan to fuse with Feinne and Raksha and.... do something else afterward. He kinda fails before he gets the chance to explain his grand plan.
Gameplay and Story Integration: Several characters in the Demon Path have their in-combat vocals change to match their mental state in the new scenario — most noticeably the hero, whose new tone is decidedly villainous, but also Shauna and a few others at key points.
Gollum Made Me Do It: The duality between Gig and the main character in Soul Nomad And The World Eaters is somewhat like this, despite Gig being an intruder in your mind and not a creation of it. In many cases it's not so much 'Gig made me do it' as it is 'Gig made the other guys do it to me so I had to defend myself'. It goes both ways in their case — by the end of the game, the protagonist has gotten more brash and trigger-happy, much like Gig, and Gig has become a great deal less Omnicidal.
Subverted in the Demon Path, where everyone thinks this at first, but where Gig openly admits that he's just along for the ride.
Green Rocks: Well, red rocks, but Crimson Tears seem to be capable of whatever the plot requires at the moment, from binding souls and breaking barriers to teleportation and opening portals to other dimensions.
The Grim Reaper: Gig is a 'master of death' — a being who should technically do the standard duties of the grim reaper.
Heel-Face Turn: Dio, Raksha, and even Drazil in the Demon Path. You know something is up when major villains team-up with the good guys to defeat the "hero".
The Imp: Gig during his more lucid moments. Not having a body probably has something to do with it.
Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Dio of the Evil Eye/Odie, who says he's a legendary wizard, but in reality is just the leader of a Goldfish Poop Gang with an inferiority complex (him, not his buddies). He later turns out to have been the only failure in magic to have ever been produced by a legendary clan of wizards, and was so ashamed of himself that he took his older brother's name. He gets over it and joins your party.
Infinity–1 Sword: Room variant: Hades' Despair. Downside: When your Stamina hits o, you die. Upside: It increases your stats by 1% each time you lose a Stamina point. Now when you realize you can up the percentage to 5% per point loss, you can have your stats raised by up to 497%!
Which crosses it with Disc One Nuke, since a reliable way to farm cycles is to constantly impale yourself against Feinne, which is, what? The fourth battle? And accepting Gig's deal, time and time again until you are satisfied, or beat her and get the gag ending with Asagi. That or blazing through the Demon path, which is much shorter than the normal path.
It gets even better when you can max out the room from 10% to 35%. So for each cycle, you can have 35% boost in stats.
Ironic Hell: The Good Ending of the Demon Path. If you lose the final battle, Revya is sealed into the same sword that Gig once inhabited, only with Danette for company.
Heroic Mime: The player character, though s/he does speak during battles, not to mention getting an epic Evil Laugh in the Bad Ending of the Demon Path.
In Disgaea 3, Revya (female, if you must know) still doesn't talk, although Gig certainly does. Mao has to use magic just to give her attack noises.
Heroic Sacrifice: Endorph (again) and Gig, though Gig comes back to life (Endorph too, but you only find that out in his ending). In the Demon Path, Danette lets Revya kill her in battle so that she can turn into a Crimson Tear to be used against Revya and Gig after her death.
Hey, You!: Gig RARELY calls anyone by name. To list them: Revya: Kid/Soulmate. Danette: Stupid Cow. Levin: Man Cow. Odie: Sluggo. Grunzford: Gramps. Layna/Virtuous: Old Hag.
Hidden Disdain Reveal: In the first time that you meet Thuris, he and Gig have a discussion. During it, Gig off-handendly mentions that, of his three vassal World Eaters, Thuris was always the one he disliked the most.
Hidden Elf Village: The hidden village the protagonist comes from. Averted in the "hypocritical" aspect, as it was pretty much the only way to protect them from the World Eaters.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Drazil, Virtuous and Gig in the Demon Path's Bad Ending. Drazil in the normal story - his plans to use Gig backfire either way.
At least Soul Nomad has the decency to tell you this, with the win condition for the level being "everybody dies." Though given that Feinne is level 1000 at the fourth fight of the game, it's pretty obvious you're supposed to lose even without being told you're supposed to.
Human Shield: Thuris attempts this. It's ruined by the kidnapee having a piece of Applied Phlebotinum implanted in her. He also tries it in the Demon Path. Fails even worse, because Revya couldn't care less what happens to Penn, and Penn thinks it's awesome.
Humans Are the Real Monsters: Double subverted with the Nereids. Their attitude towards humans is closer to humans are untrustworthy rather than full on humans are bastards. They are also more fair than other believers in this trope, preferring to look at it through a case by case basis. The ones that are judged to be decent people however....
Jerkass: Gig. Mainly because he's not allowed to express himself fully and kill you all, so he resorts to being an incredible jerk instead. Gig's Character Development first becomes noticeable by the fact that he actually refrains from his usual obnoxious comments during truly tragic episodes later in the game.
Just Between You and Me: Averted, and played straight. After Levin/Raksha is through explaining he's duped you all, Endorph tries to kill him, revealing that the Levin talking to you was an illusion. He then lampshades this. Strangely enough, he then later showboats away his rematch with Endorph by pissing him off by insulting Euphoria and dropping his guard. He did have his true form to fall back on, but it's weird he fell prey to the trope he had insulted just a day ago.
Kick the Dog: ...Even without taking into account the Demon Path, this game has enough for three series.
Knight Templar: Drazil. He feels that common humans, and similar species, have no right to think for themselves and tricks Median into killing Vigilance so he can cause steal souls from Haephness and force to reincarnate in his world where he controls every aspect of their lives. And by extension, Gamma and Joules.
Man, I Feel Like a Woman : Averted, if a female Revya elects to take a bath after being possessed by Gig, despite the text suggesting she has concerns about just this kind of thing, Gig mentions he doesn't care.
Maybe not. After all, you get twice the boost to Gig's Relationship Value as a female than if you choose that option with a male Revya.
May-December Romance: Male!Revya with Juno (28 years old) in her ending. Juno with Penn in the others (35 to 18).
Mechanically Unusual Class: The Schemestress class. Instead of dealing damage, healing, or casting buffs and debuffs, the Schemestress has abilities unique to her like dealing Percent Damage Attack, disabling the enemy from counterattacking, or switching the front and back row of the enemy squad. To a lesser extent, she is also the only class whose melee attack is based on INT rather than ATK. Unfortunately, these abilities fall into Useless Useful Spell category most of the time.
My Future Self and Me: By abusing the Timey-Wimey Ball, you can unlock the past-era Median as a usable character, then arrange to (briefly) have him in your party at the same time as the modern Median, at least during the Demon Path. Nobody comments on this... though, granted, the fact that you have the past version Median at all is a matter of Gameplay and Story Segregation.
Nonstandard Game Over: Some of the dialogue choices lead to this (but the game warns you ahead of time). Generally, they involve taking Gig up on his offer of (huge) additional power- in exchange of your body.
The Plan: Lots of people actually, but Levin/Raksha's is the most jaw-droppingly magnificent.
Though Layna's gambit backfires epically in the Demon Path, since she didn't anticipate that you would be worse than Gig.
Obligatory Swearing: This game even gives 'Makai Kingdom' a run for its money. Most of it comes from Gig, who swears freely and with no restraint. There is one scene that almost had him drop the F-Bomb and Goddamnit in the same line!
Omnicidal Maniac: Gig and The Devourlord. Despite their names, the World Eaters are not, though Thuris is still pretty damn evil.
Pet the Dog: Subverted in the Demon Path where Revya saves the life of a angel just so that s/he could kill her friend right in front of her. This behavior is also mocked when Lobo is revealed to be a traitor in the Demon Path, specifically if you choose to say that you trust Lobo, his Freudian Excuse kicks into play and he leaves you, claiming that people who trust each other are fools. Gig mocks him for it.
Dio also has one in the Demon Path where he's risking his life to save his queen and eventually has a full blown Heel-Face Turn.
Gig has this at the end of the Normal Path where he admits his regret over everything Drazil made him do, taking responsibility since he still enjoyed what he did even though his personality was changed.
Painting the Medium: In The Stingerwhen Gig is reincarnated, he goes through the same character creation process as the player (even selecting his name the same way) does at the start of the game, snarking at the proceedings all the way.
The Playstation Is A Cheating Bastard: During Inspections, enemy leaders sometimes ignore Decor disadvantages. For instance, "Antimatter" gives you a 90% boost to defense (making you nearly untouchable) at the cost of turning everyone in the room into a One Hitpoint Wonder - take any damage at all and you're dead. Leaders still take normal damage.
Another example of cheating is that the computer will keep letting other units take their turns before you despite your turn being listed as the next. It seems to happen when the computer attacks you and you kill the squad that attacks you, it keeps going until they stop sending squads at you or you end up killing everything
Plot Tumor: A good portion of the game is unrelated to the titular world eaters, Gig notes this and provides the quote for the trope's page. Subverted. Every single one of those quests was the grand plan of Levin, who is actually one of the World Eaters.
Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: In both paths. Either, they're with you to destroy the World Eaters or along for the ride/enslaved by you.
Relationship Values: Built by interacting with characters during downtime and performing combo attacks. They determine your ending.
Religion of Evil: Kanan is the high priest of a cult that worships Thuris, a World Eater.
The Reveal: Levin also answers to 'Raksha', and he wants to be a God.
Rocket Punch: not that you would expect that kind of stuff when you first start the game. The attack description : The hammerfall of an angel destroys the enemy.
Shipper on Deck: Grunzford and Lady Layna AKA Virtuous ship Gig and Female Revya in his ending.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Both versions of the Median ending. To put it into perspective, in the Victory version of the Median ending Revya and Gig die of Scarlet Iago and are turned into weapons by Drazil.
Shoulders of Doom: All the gods in the game, including Gig, wear these, though they actually hover above their shoulders. Your main character gains Gig's Shoulders of Doom whenever he / she uses Demon Blast. Gig's Shoulders of Doom can also turn into wings.
Also, to Disgaea's favorite superheroes in the Demon Path. Galahad tells Trish that he'll find her missing feathers. What does he call himself? Prism Beige. by this point, Thorndyke, Trish and Galahad are completely off their rockers. Gig must be awesome at Break the Cutie
At one point, one NPC in the game mentions that his neighbor has been meeting with someone in the night lately, and then, while trying to remember that someone's name, he thinks if it is either Ender or Gandalf.
Sinister Scythe: Gig's when he gets to fight briefly in the normal ending]. And when the main character performs their special attack, Demon Blast, the Onyx Blade turns into a red scythe at the end of the attack and appears to slice the foe in half.
Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: If you win the final battle of the Demon Path, Revya kills both Haephnes and Drazil and erases both their worlds from existence, killing everything on them and him/herself with it. And his/her last words after doing so:
Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Ranged > Magic > Melee > Ranged, with some variation for flying/monster units. Can be devastating, as your high-level archers do 0 damage against level 5 knights. Oddly, it's only the "leader" of the squad that determines this bonus - a mage-led squad of knights is treated as a magic unit for RPS purposes.
Team Mom: Shauna in the Demon Path. Until later when Trish dies, at which point she, too, utterly gives up on the world.
Theme Music Power-Up: Gig has three leitmotifs, 'Bad Boys', 'Desperado' and 'Rock 'N Rocks' — when the two latter start playing, heads will usually roll.
When Endorph gets seriously pissed off, a certain song that Phantom Brave players will recognize starts playing. That is, 'R&R Junkiee', aka Walnut's Theme.
Timey-Wimey Ball: In the Median Victory ending, should Gig and Revya go back in time fight the guy who started this whole mess and win, they get turned into two of the World Eaters. This means that even in non-Median time travel plots, you're fighting alternate future versions of yourselves.
Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Vitali learns, to his surprise and/or horror, that Kanan might just be a man. Well, he would know these things.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Using edicts such as 'Kick', 'Fight' 'Steal', 'Kidnap' and 'Combine' on Innocent Bystanders boosts your stats, gives money, or allows you to recruit characters you can't buy at this point. Just don't try it on people who can't fight back, or you'll have Heroman to contend with.
Or posters for that matter.
Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The aforementioned Heroman. You'll probably beat him the first couple of times, but he gets stronger every time you have to deal with him. Also trying to steal from Innocent Bystanders and failing will put you in debt very quickly.
Also the Nereids' plan with Penn. Given their generally benign (although they distrust humans) nature, they do care about him as a person (much like he actually prefers to live with them over other humans). One of them (Juno) treats him as her son.
Later, Drazil, Gamma and Joules do the same to Thuris instead of reforming him. They also try it on Feinne, but Revya Mercy Kills her first.
Finally, your entire party and Gig in the Bad Ending of the Demon Path.
You Will Be Spared: Gig mentions that he will keep hotpods if he ever gets to destroy the world.
Xanatos Gambit: The possession during the opening sequence was orchestrated by Layna, who predicted the outcome. If Gig doesn't try possession, he stays locked up. If he does and fails, his power is used to wipe out the world eaters. If he tries and succedds, Layna can stuff him back in his can.
Of course, it goes horribly wrong in the Demon Path, since she didn't foresee that you could actively betray her.