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Video Game: Tales of Destiny

Tales Of Destiny is the second entry in the Tales Series of Eastern RPGs. First released in 1997, it received a direct sequel in 2002 (Tales of Destiny 2), a remake in 2006 and an Updated Re-release of the remake in 2007.

Stahn Aileron is a typical countryside boy who dreams of one day becoming a famous hero. Eager to jumpstart his heroic career, he stows away on the dragon-ship Draconis with the aim of travelling to the nation's capital and enlisting as a knight. En-route, the ship is attacked by monsters, and struggling to find a weapon to fight them off with, Stahn stumbles across an old sword in a storeroom. Suddenly the sword starts to talk to him, calling itself Dymlos and claiming to be one of the ancient and powerful Swordian weapons created over a thousand years ago during a world-spanning conflict called the War Between Heaven and Earth.

Having been chosen by Dymlos as its new master, Stahn is thrust into an epic quest revolving around a powerful artifact known as the Eye Of Atamoni, which just happens to have been stolen from a secret temple by its (former) high priest. Along the way, Stahn meets the other Swordian Masters and gathers an eclectic party:

  • Rutee Katrea: A "Lens Hunter" (and/or thief) who is utterly obsessed with money, and the earning thereof. Very much a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Wields the Water Swordian Atwight.
  • Leon Magnus: A super-serious prodigy knight of Seinegald who would rather be alone most of the time. The Ensemble Dark Horse of the series. Wields the Earth Swordian Chaltier.
  • Garr Kelvin: A mature archer who Stahn finds Walking the Earth. He later turns out to be The Wise Prince of Heidelberg. Called Woodrow in Japan. Wields the Wind Swordian Igtenos.
  • Philia Felice: A timid, sheltered priestess (with a dark streak) who joins the party when the Eye of Atamoni is stolen from her temple. Wears glasses. Wields the Lightning Swordian Clemente.
  • Mary Argent: Rutee's friend and partner-in-crime. She's an incredible fighter, but is suffering from Identity Amnesia, with a sword as her only link to the past.
  • Karyl Sheeden: A runaway bard, son of a wealthy family. Known as Johnny Shiden in Japan.
  • Bruiser Khang: A fist-fighter who is the much-loved champion of the Colosseum, and damn proud of it. He has a crush on Philia. Known as Mighty Kongman in Japan.
  • Chelsea Torn: A young girl who Garr took under his wing. She excels in archery.
  • Lilith Aileron: Stahn's little sister. She's worried about him being on a journey to save the world, so she goes to track him down and bring him kicking and screaming home. Fights with traditional cooking implements, such as a frying pan, ladle, and laser beam.

The game was released in the US in 1998, a time during the JRPG boom caused by Final Fantasy VII where publishers were racing to release anything that had hit points and spiky hair in it. The amount of effort placed into the localisation could be generously described as "enough". All of the skits were Dummied Out (and with it, half of the actual plot) but the Japanese voice track remained intact, meaning that characters were calling out their Japanese attack names, even for attacks whose names are localised and/or modified (with said attacks often, but not always, being radically different) in the English text. It can ruin the immersion sometimes; but also can cause a few errors with the "L" and "R" differences for attacks whose names are (mostly) the same in both languages.

The remake retouched the original storyline with several Ret Cons (and is considered to be the current canon), and the Updated Re-release included "Leon's Side", an Another Side, Another Story starring Leon.

Tales of Destiny provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Rutee, Mary, Chelsea, and Lilith.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Mary.
  • Anti-Grinding: In the original, a popular power-leveling technique was to set all your characters to "Auto", tape the control stick down so your characters ran in circles, and let the game play itself. Try this in the remake, and Barbatos shows up out of nowhere to yell at you for taking the cheap way out, and then kick your ass.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: Attempting to cast any spell with the character you're currently controlling, except for fast-casting ones. Whatever character you're controlling (usually Stahn) makes a great tank for keeping enemies off of your other party members (like Rutee, who is usually the healer). The CPU-controlled party members, not so much. Any hit, no matter how small, interrupts your spellcasting. This leads most of the swordians' spellcasting ability to go to waste, especially a few of Dymlos's spells. You would deal a lot more damage with Stahn's physical special attacks while having Dymlos equipped as his swordian, than you ever would having Stahn equipped with anything else and having someone else using Dymlos to cast spells. Unless, of course, you're in an area with Fire-immune enemies....
  • Art Evolution: Compare Inomata's character artwork between the original PSX game and the PS2 remake. It's almost like they hired an entirely new artist. (Ten years of improvement will do that.)
  • Badass Family: If Stahn, Lilith and Rimul, Rutee, and Kyle are any indication, the Aileron clan.
  • Badass Normal: The party members who are not Swordian-users are like this. They're far from slackers. There exist videos of the non-Swordian-users soloing the final boss.
    • Lilith is really good in the PSX Version if you get her into the party somehow.
  • Big Eater: Stahn, and Leon with sweets.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Philia.
  • Bonus Dungeon: A remake of The Tower of Druaga.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Garr.
  • But Now I Must Go: The Swordians.
  • The Cameo: Destiny R includes cameos by mascots of other Tales' games. The treasure found in the first dungeon that Rutee tries to sell to Walt is a sculpture of Mieu, while Zappie makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance when the Water Dragon emerges out of the sea to take you to Clemente.
  • Catch Phrase: Kongman/Khang's "Ore-sama wa CHAMPION da!", which means "I'm the CHAMPION!".
  • Characterization Marches On: In the original game, Leon was a two-dimensional Jerkass who happened to be in a sympathetic situation. Fans latched onto the tragic portion of his character, and in subsequent appearances Leon was developed into a cold-hearted but reluctant antagonist. This modern perspective makes some of his more malevolent actions in the original (like shocking Rutee with her electric tiara every time she said something to annoy him) seem out of place.
  • Cherry Blossoms: The scenery is used in Noischat the first time Stahn realises just what he wants to do with himself and his family. The scene is further enhanced by his conversation with Irene.
  • The Chosen One: Played with: the whole "Chosen One" tagline was just dropped by Dymlos to convince the thick-headed Stahn to pick him up. While Stahn is special in that he has the ability to hear (and wield) a Swordian, he's by no means a "chosen one".
  • City of Canals: Aquaveil is practically a country of canals.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: God is called Atamoni, which is the artist's last name spelled backwards.
  • Dirty Old Man: Clemente, who picks the young priestess Philia as his mistress.
  • Doomsday Device: Belcrant.
  • Dual Wielding: Leon in the remake, and ever since then. (In the original game, he wielded a sword and shield.)
    • Retcon: Also becomes this in the remake because In the sequel, Judas mentions that he only learned dual wielding after Elraine brought him back.
  • Dummied Out: The skits in the US version, and with it, half the plot. You don't even get to hear Dymlos' voice because he only talked during the skits, yet he is still credited in the ending...
    • Oddly enough, beating the game still unlocks "Talk" in the options menu, which lets you listen to the all the skits in the game, but with no context and of course completely in Japanese. People unfamiliar with the Tales series- such as those that bought it the game when it was new- would have no idea what the hell it's all about.
    • Lilith, at least in the US version of the original game. She could be put in the party though save hacking or cheating devices, but she didn't seem to have any voice data for battles.
  • The Dragon: Hugo to an extent. Leon is essentially Hugo's Dragon.
  • Dying as Yourself: Hugo.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Barbatos' "Cheap Eliminate" move: a One-Hit Kill for your whole party that he only uses if you dare to fight him on the easiest difficulty setting. If you dare to hack the game for infinite jumps to dodge it, he'll then switch to another attack that simply encompasses the entire screen.
  • Elemental Powers (The Swordians)
  • Empathic Weapon: Again, the Swordians.
  • Enemy Scan
  • Mr. Fanservice: LEON.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Equipping a character with a Narikiri Doll item causes them to turn into the character whose doll they've equipped. If you go crazy with the Narikiri dolls, there's a skit where everyone in the party (except for Lilith, who is optional) switches bodies with another party member, and they try to figure out what happened. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Green Rocks: Lens.
  • Funny Background Event: Mary and her Softee Kreems in Neuestadt.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Stahn, and the relevant genes are passed down to Kyle.
  • Hot-Blooded: Stahn, King of Tales Hot Blood. It helps that he's voiced by Tomokazu "Domon Kasshu" Seki.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Leon, and Hugo in Leon's Side.)
    • Subverted with Leon, as you can actually beat him if you somehow overpower yourself via cheats or insane amounts of Level Grinding. It's pointless when you do, as doing so feeds Rutee's ego enough to completely abandon the main plot and go off on their own adventures, ending the game on a Non Standard Game Over.
    • Also subverted with the rest of the party in Leon's story in the remake. With determination and lots of items you can beat all of them, but it changes nothing about how the story ends.
  • Hostage For Macguffin: Hugo gets Leon to steal the Eye of Atamoni because of this. Giving him the Macguffin changes nothing about her state, and neither does Leon betraying his friends. She's only rescued when the rest of the party finds her.
  • Idiot Hero: Stahn, Stahn, Stahn.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Johnny/Karyl uses his lute and songs, Lilith uses a frying pan that sprouts rainbows, a ladle, and a fish she pulls from Hammerspace.
  • Insufferable Genius: Leon fits this mold, being both a wunderkind swordsman and quite insufferable.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Leon gives Batista a sound beating after he's captured, to the point where Stahn is freaked out. He tops it off by putting Mary's electroshocking tiara on him, though that was meant to act as a tracking mechanism.
  • Leitmotif - Leon's Irony of Fate.
  • Lost in Translation: So bad even one of the puzzles cannot be solved without a FAQ because of translation errors.
  • Lovable Traitor: Leon
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Rutee and Hugo, and obviously Rutee and Leon too.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Miktran behind Hugo, who in turn is behind Grebaum.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman : Stahn's reaction to being put in Philia's body in this skit. Philia (in Stahn's body) isn't very happy about it.
  • Meganekko: Philia.
  • Mighty Glacier: Kongman/Khang
  • Money Fetish: Flanderisation has turned this into Rutee's signature character trait. In the original game, she may be obsessed with money, but not for its own sake: she's earning money to pay off her childhood orphanage's debts.
  • Money Spider: Justified: monsters that imbue Lens mutate into more dangerous forms. The more Lens they have, the more powerful the monster. After you slay the monster, you can then remove the Lens and sell it for Gald.
  • Motive Decay: Big Bad Miktran. In the original game, he was a Well-Intentioned Extremist (like most Tales Series villains are) in that he wanted to revive his people and genuinely believed that the Aetherians were in the right, as the Erthers started the War Between Heaven and Earth. In the remake, this motive has been replaced by simple megalomania.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Beat Leon in the Hopeless Boss Fight early in the game and you get an alternate ending immediately afterwards.
  • Official Couple - Stahn and Rutee, as seen in Tales of Destiny 2.
  • Only in It for the Money: Rutee, Rutee, Rutee. At first.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Every non Swordian-user tends to be forgotten because the Swordian Masters are just too broken (especially Leon). The fact that you can use Narikiri Dolls to clone them (four-Leon party]) doesn't help.
    • However; it's still notable that in the remake, the non-swordian users actually can be pretty good. Especially Johnny and Lilith.
  • Pet the Dog: Hugo has his moments. Early on when he has the heroes under his control (not only does he have shock collars tiaras on them, but he has legal custody because they've been arrested for trespassing) and forces them to search for the Eye Of Atamoni, he still agrees to Rutee's request for a monetary reward. When Leon complains that he doesn't need to do that, Hugo replies that a reward would motivate the heroes to do a better job. This scene takes on a whole new meaning when you find out later that Hugo is being Brainwashed by Miktran, is desperately trying to resist said brainwashing, and recognizes Rutee as the daughter he sent to safety before Miktran took control of him.
    • Kick the Dog: However, he indulges in this to an extreme degree in Leon's side of the remake, taking every opportunity to kick his son while he's down even when such levels of cruelty to control him probably weren't necessary.
  • Pinky Swear: Stahn and Irene promise to achieve their respective dreams and seal the "race" with a pinky promise. Irene promises to make a world where everyone is happy, while Stahn promises he'll become a soldier and ensure his family's happiness. It's worth noting they're both pretty idealistic and simple-minded, which is why they get along well.
  • Pungeon Master: An early sidequest in Darilsheid includes a guy called "Punny old man" who constantly makes puns with names and challenges Stahn and Mary to do the same with their own names. Stahn does well enough, but Mary just bluntly declares it silly.
  • Racing Minigame: A boy in Noischtat challenges Stahn to a race within the city. You can get a title and a few seeds later if you can avoid all the random people who will try to block your way.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Leon and...well, Leon again. He's good at that.
  • Restraining Bolt: In the original, Stahn and company get shock collars tiaras placed on them by Hugo so that they'll hunt down the Eye Of Atamoni. Justified, since they've been arrested and this task is essentially their "community service".
  • Say My Name:
    Stahn: "LEON!! LEOOOONNN!!!!"
  • Shout-Out: The aforementioned Crystal Dragon Jesus, Atamoni, is the name of the character designer, Mutsumi Inomata, spelled backwards.
  • SNK Boss: The Final Boss in the remake (Miktran Excessive) very much counts. He spams lasers like he's at a seventies discotheque and will punish you severely if you ever let him out of combo-lock. He Turns Red when his health hits 25% and breaks out his Blast Caliber at 5%. Furthermore, if you beat Bonus Boss Barbaros before you fight him, he gains three secret Blast Calibers that are so powerful that even one is almost guaranteed to wipe out your party.
  • Spoony Bard: Johnny/Karyl.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The original engine.
  • Sweet Tooth: Leon has quite the sweet tooth, something he's rather ashamed of because he thinks it's immature to like sweets.
  • Taken for Granite: How you meet Philia for the first time.
  • Talking Weapon: The Swordians.
  • Tsundere: Rutee. And for a male example, remake!Leon.
  • The Wise Prince: Woodrow/Garr.

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