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Video Game / Suikoden I

Even at his most powerless, man's existence is never without meaning.

The first installment of the Suikoden series; naturally, many of the series' long-running themes are established herein.

The young son of imperial General Teo McDohl lives a comfortable, happy life in the Scarlet Moon Empire with his famous father, house full of personal bodyguards, and best friend Ted. However, everything gets turned upside down when he winds up with the Soul Eater, one of the 27 True Runes, stuck on his right hand. Turns out the empire's really interested in said True Rune, and young McDohl finds himself roped into the Liberation Army and forced to face off against his father and his country.

Visit the complete character sheet here!

Suikoden provides examples of:

  • Action Girlfriend: Tengaar.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Seriously. Great, you have a headquarters with an item shop, an armoury, a blacksmith... not to mention that the shopkeepers are all in your employ. Can you expect to get any goods and services for free (or at least a hey-I'm-the-commander-of-this-army discount)? Nope.
  • Anti-Villain: Teo.
  • Back from the Dead: Gremio, if you recruit all 108 characters.
  • Berserk Button: To quote Ronnie Bell:
    "You bums! Calling me 'giant woman' over and over. I'll teach you a lesson!"
  • Betting Mini-Game: Certain recruits open up betting games. The dice game in particular is a useful method of building up gold to upgrade your characters.
  • Blessed with Suck: Guess what the Soul Eater does? Oh, it just sucks the souls out of your closest friends and family to power itself up, is all.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • Not too bad for its time really, except for Stallion's "True Holy Rune" that isn't one of the True Runes at all; a better rendering would have been the Godspeed Rune.
    • Also, an imperial commander makes a declaration about how 'God is dead', while in the original he just declares that deals with rebels are worthless.
    • Really what does it in are minor grammar mistakes, mostly using the wrong tense or plural form, that pile up.
  • Blind Seer: Leknaat
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Pahn. He comes around later, giving the player enough time to prepare for his later Heroic Sacrifice attempt to hopefully avoid Redemption Equals Death
  • Bodyguard Crush: Subtext says Gremio.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Viktor
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Two of the Five Imperial Generals (Kwanda Rosman and Milich Oppenheimer), thanks to Windy's Black Runes. Teo McDohl, Sonya Schulen, and Kasim Hazil all avert this and are opposed to the Liberation Army of their own will.
    • Subverted by Emperor Barbarossa, though, who only pretends to be brainwashed.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When confronting Neclord in his castle, Viktor angrily asks the vampire if he remembers Viktor's home town of Northwind, which he destroyed. While Neclord admits to vaguely recognizing Viktor thanks to the Star Dragon Sword sending him and the rest of the party back in time to when Windy tried to first steal the Soul Eater, he admits Northwind rings zero bells for him.
  • But Thou Must: An egregious example occurs when you must choose to drink the tea that is obviously poisoned.
    "Not if it's bitter!"
  • Canon Name: The protagonist does not have an official name, but the Japanese novelization and drama CDs gave him the name of "Tir", which has become a Fan Nickname. The name "Ryui" has also been used in a manga.
  • Captain Ersatz: Maximilian, for Don Quixote, Stallion, bizarrely, for Sonic the Hedgehog and Fu Su Lu for Guin from Guin Saga.
  • Celibate Hero: Flik
  • Chain of Deals: The Soap.
  • Character Development: Flik gradually matures from a Clingy Jealous Boyfriend who blames McDohl for Odessa's death to a driven, loyal companion. And this turns out to be just the start for him...
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Fire Spears
  • Cold Sniper: Clive
  • Combination Attack
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gremio's Heroic Sacrifice involves him being trapped alone a room and eaten alive by man-eating spores. He does get better if you collect all the stars.
  • Dark Is Not Evil/Even Evil Has Standards: The Soul Eater is described as "the most wicked of the True Runes", but at the end, it rejects Windy.
  • Dead Star Walking: Gremio and Ted prominently appear in opening movies and accompany your loading screen if it's not Tir. In a way, they are pretty important, but Ted leaves permanently very early in the game, and late in the game when he 'returns', he dies. Gremio dies halfway in the game and spends the majority of the game in the realm of the dead, unless you collect all 108 Destinies and revives him... only for the final segment of the game.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Ah, Brainwashed and Crazy, where would the Stars be without you? Though you gotta watch for those recruits who aren't brainwashed...
  • Dragon Rider: The Dragon Knights
  • Duel Boss: Most notably McDohl's father.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The only installment that don't play Jeane up as the Hello, Nurse!
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Played straight with runes, played sans elements during war battles and one-on-one duels.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Soul Eater and the Star Dragon Sword.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Soul Eater Rune is widely considered to be the most evil of the True Runes (and with good reason), but even it is disgusted by Windy, and refuses to accept her as its wielder. Although given that the game gives not even the vaguest hint as to how Windy was intending get around the fact that simultaneously holding two True Runes is impossible, standards might not be involved after all.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Flik, who helps you recruit one woman by drinking tea with her all night long.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Windy.
  • False Flag Operation: The Kalekka Incident.
  • Fantastic Aesop: If you forgive the murderer of your friend/caregiver you can bring them back to life!
  • Fantastic Racism: Quite a bit. The dwarves hate the elves, the elves loathe and fear the dwarves, both groups think humans are dumber than dirt, the humans believe themselves superior to other races, and the xenophobic kobolds hate everyone. Fortunately, there are a few beings on each side who know that's all a bunch of crap, and most of the races generally get better as the game goes on. Except for the elves, most of whom die from Kwanda's Burning Mirror, but the few who escaped the attack do join your side.
  • Final Death: Make a bad decision during the war battles and most of your stars are vulnerable to this. Don't worry, they'll let you know via dramatic Last Words before you're informed of their demise. Oddly, if you use a game with dead characters to get the Old Save Bonus for Suikoden II, the dead people are alive and well. This is even lampshaded in the second game.
  • Five-Man Band: The group at the beginning:
  • Foreshadowing: Sanchez's name isn't inscribed on Luc's tablet of the 108 Stars of Destiny.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The Earth Rune's Clay Guardian and Guardian Earth spells are supposed to increase the allies' defense, but somehow it does not work.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the story, McDohl is repeatedly cautioned in the strongest possible terms not to use the Soul Eater's power. In-game, the player can repeatedly use its incredibly useful magic without any ill effects whatsoever.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Ted and Odessa, who are not part of the 108 Stars of Destiny.
  • Guide Dang It: Recruiting several of the stars qualifies as this.
    • Special mention goes to recruiting Mathiu's uncle Leon. To do so, you need to get the castle up towards its maximum size, which Leon will remark upon the next time you talk to him. Next, you have to get Mathiu to write him a letter asking for his services. Now, this ordinarily wouldn't be a problem, but since Mathiu is your strategist, talking to him normally causes him to ask you if you're ready to advance the plot. If he's doing this, he can't write the letter, so you have to do it in a lull in the storyline. There are only two points where this can happen, and you need to have recruited every other available character for it to work. It's all a bit much even for an optional character.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Only the Howling Voice Guild uses guns in this world. Clive is one of the best damage dealers you get, though.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Young McDohl can be named whatever you please. Same goes for your base and army.
    • Due to data read error, when you use an Old Save Bonus to unlock extra stuff in Suikoden II, McDohl doesn't really get renamed. Instead, the first letter of his name in Suikoden I becomes the first letter of his name in Suikoden II. So, he could be named TcDohl. In other words, name him something that begins with an M.
    • According to Suikosource.com, McDohl's name in Suikoden II gets overwritten by uppercase letters, so if you named the main character in all lower case letters, the second game would still have his name as McDohl. However, whatever you name him is saved and carried over to the third installment in full form, so if you named him Tir, the play about Suikoden I's main character refers to him as Tir McDohl.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Tir right after Gremio's death.
    • Kirkis, once the Village of the Elves burns down. Thinking his love, Sylvina, was there when it happened, he doesn't take it well. Gremio, of all people, winds up bringing him out of it pretty quick.
      Kirkis: "That's right. In vain. All of our efforts were in vain. But why? Why? Please tell me, Master Tir. What good were our efforts? Why did this happen? We did our best! I was insulted, abused, but I fought on. And yet...yet...Nothing! Nothing remains! Everything I tried to protect. When everything was over, I planned to give this ring to Sylvina. Poor Sylvina. Now this ring has no hand to adorn. It's useless now. There's nothing..."
      Gremio: "Kirkis, this ring is your hope. And you must never give up hope. With just a little bit of hope, you can survive, live on. And that goes for humans as well as elves."
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The ship-builder Gen and the alchemist Kamandol give off this vibe.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Subverted, in that it's out in the open and rather easy to find. They're not very hospitable toward humans, though
  • Highly Visible Ninja: What's proper kunoichi attire? Kasumi says bright red and no pants! And the Shrike Rune involves high-jumping! Um...
    • To say nothing of Fuma in his bright red outfit. Really, only Kage gets it right.
  • I Call It "Vera": Traditionally, the men from Warriors' Village name their weapons after what is most important to them. Usually, it's the girl they love.
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    "A machine that runs on oil? Sounds ridiculous."
  • Jerk Ass: Leknaat's young servant Luc. He possesses the True Wind Rune, which makes him one of the most powerful mages in the game. He uses its power mostly to be a petty dick.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Flik and Apple.
  • La Résistance: The Liberation Army.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Near the beginning of the game, the party is given a reward for getting rid of some bandits, cuing a happy little Item Get sound. Then the Obstructive Bureaucrat tagging along steals it, and this happens instead.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Would you believe characters? Lorelai and Eikei both require Tir to be over a certain level to recruit themnote ; Rubi requires Kirkis to be over level 40.
  • Lost Forever: Did you forget to recruit Leon Silverberg before the assault at Shasarazade? Say goodbye to the 100% Completion! note 
  • Multiple Endings: Collect all 108 Stars of Destiny to get the best ending!
  • Never Found the Body: Odessa Silverberg suffers lethal wounds during an Imperial attack. Before she dies, she asks Tir McDohl to weigh her body down and throw it in an underground river, so that friend and foe alike do not learn of her death. He does so, and keeps the secret for the better part of a year, revealing the ruse only when La Résistance is fully established.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Sort of; the Soul Eater has four spells like any other rune, but McDohl only gains access to each successive spell after certain plot points.
    • Mostly a subversion though, as not only the new skills have no relation to the plot, they are gained after the Soul Eater eats the soul of someone close to you, so the powerup is vaguely justified.
  • Nice Hat: The Narcissists wear very nice hats.
  • Non-Action Guy: Hix can fight—he just isn't very good, and prefers avoiding combat when he can. Unfortunately, the poor guy lives in the Warriors' Village and has Tengaar as his love interest, and she's bound and determined to make him a man.
    • A bit of a subversion, though, as Hix has good stat growth and can be quite a good fighter if you give him the right rune.
  • One-Winged Angel: So you finally arrived at the final battle, ready to kick the (completely human) Big Bad's-WHAT THE HELL?! HE JUST TRANSFORMED INTO A GIANT FUCKING GOLDEN DRAGON!!
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Clive chasing after Elza.
  • Our Elves Are Different: For a start, they're not very smart, yet they think they're the most advanced civilization around despite being the smallest faction. Then there's Stallion, an off-beat blue haired speedster.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Great Forest can act as this after you pass through the Fortress of Kwaba near the start of the game. While you can't get past the first screen of it yet, the enemies in that screen, like the Kobolds, will be enough to propel your characters a good six or seven levels in a single battle and are easily dispatched with area effect magic, like the Fire Rune Cleo normally has at this point. It's a good idea too, since the next dungeon is Toran Castle, which has an annoying That One Boss, and the extra levels can really help.
  • Petting Zoo People: The kobolds.
  • Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: Expect many recruits to give you this option if they were Brainwashed and Crazy and did something unforgivable. Or if they just committed a Face–Heel Turn. But don't do it.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Tir, as commander of the Liberation Army, will be given the task of deciding whether captured Imperials should be put to death. Most troops will endorse this, but a couple times, someone will raise a red flag and ask for the person to be spared. No such objection is raised for Kraze, though. He's also the only character you can willfully kill off without sacrificing a Star of Destiny.
  • Plotline Death
  • Production Foreshadowing: One of the Old Books that can be collected is a narration on Suikoden's version of the world's origin. It mentions a battle between the Shield and the Sword, and the origin of the 27 True Runes. Guess which runes are involved in the main plot of the next game. It even manages to foreshadow the main conflict in Suikoden II.
  • Quickly Demoted Woman: Poor Odessa.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Ted got to be Blessed with Suck before McDohl.
    • It turns out that all True Rune bearers are subject to this, including Windy and Joshua, the holder of the Dragon Rune.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Can be averted in one case; you have to beef up Pahn before his Leave Him to Me moment against Teo McDohl and fight very carefully, otherwise he'll die and you lose out on the best ending.
    • Played straight with Emperor Barbarossa.
  • Required Party Member: Any given leg of the quest will have Tir journeying with someone who has to do with the plot at hand. Also, Gremio insists on coming with him up until his Plotline Death. This is rather annoying come end-game when one half of your party is made up of required people.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: At one point several party members refer to a machine as a "contraction." A contraption is a machine. A contraction refers to something shortening or to a shortened form of a phrase, such as "it's" for "it is."
  • Self-Made Orphan: A rare heroic example can be found here with... the main character.
  • Sequence Breaking: If you go outside before talking to anyone, you can level up quickly, then get your first companion and go outside with him as well. Since The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, going to an area you aren't supposed to go to until later will get you a good rune. If you go alone, it's double experience. Going with a friend gets you double money. And you get items to make your characters regen along the way as well.
  • Shock and Awe: Flik's not called 'Blue Lightning' for nothing.
  • Shout-Out: The animation of Ronnie Bell's Hate Rune. It looks similar to a sphere made of concentrated battle aura being launched at its opponent to me.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Mathiu Silverberg is a strategist who was formerly a pacifistic teacher, who was formerly a master strategist in the Imperial army. His sister Odessa is a rebellious girl, leads the Liberation Army, and at one point calls out Mathiu as a coward.
  • Sour Supporter: Sonya Shulen.
  • Sprint Shoes: The Holy Rune, which doubles walking speed when the run button is held down in a dungeon or village, and Stallion's Godspeed Rune, which does the same, but also increases walking speed on the world map.
  • The Stoic: Humphrey is one of the first instances of this in the series.
  • The Strategist: Mathiu Silverberg.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: The tea. After just hearing rumors that people who visited a certain inn end up drugged and robbed, the group visits and inn and are immediately offered tea. Everyone else drinks up and waits for Tir to do the same. He can refuse, technically, as many times as he wants. But if you want to advance the plot, you have to drink the tea.
  • Suck My Rose: Milich Oppenheimer really likes roses.
  • Suplex Finisher: Kasumi's Shrike Rune allows her to do this to opponents many times larger than her.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Battle Couples Lepant/Eileen and Hix/Tengaar can be any type. The former is supposed to be a Type 2, if not for a Game-Breaking Bug.
  • Treachery Cover Up: Happens near the end with Sanchez's reveal as The Mole.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Mathiu pulls off this tactic to free Viktor and Warren from Moravia.
  • Tsundere: Tengaar, one of the best examples of this trope in the entire series.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Stallion the elf.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sanchez's fate is never elaborated upon in the game itself, because he's not a Star of Destiny and doesn't get mentioned in the epilogue. Supplementary materials reveal that after the end of the war, he was pardoned by President Lepant to avoid a scandal, made to swear that he will not associate with any Republic officials, and ends up entering Qlon Temple to live quietly. Of course, these materials never made it out of Japan.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: The Soul Eater rune does this. When people close to the bearer die, it eats their soul and gains power.
    • It might be worse than that; the Soul Eater is implied to manipulate fate to cause the people nearest to the bearer to die off so it can feed.