Video Game: Tales of Symphonia
Dwarven Vow # 1: "Let's all work together for a peaceful world."Tales of Symphonia
is a 2003 video game, the fifth game in Namco's famous Tales Series
. It is the third to ever be released outside of Japan and the first in Europe
. It stands as the third-top-selling game in the entire series, and was for a nearly a decade one of the few to break a million copies sold due to extensive worldwide sales (and was the
best-seller internationally, natch), before Tales of Xillia finally dethroned it
.Tales of Symphonia
is set in the land of Sylvarant, whose Life Energy
) is being slowly drained away by the evil Desians
. The only way to stop the Desians is the Journey of World Regeneration, a pilgrimage around the world taken by a Chosen One
that, when completed, will awaken the goddess Martel and save the world.Idiot Hero
Lloyd Irving, after some hometown-related complications
, sets out to protect his childhood friend and current Chosen One Colette Brunel on her Journey of World Regeneration. Aiding them is Lloyd's best friend and Bratty Half-Pint
Genis Sage, Lloyd's teacher
and Genis' older sister Raine Sage, and a mysterious Badass mercenary
called Kratos Aurion.
After a few hours the storyline drops its first Gut Punch
on you, after which the plot expands exponentially from a single Black and White Morality
tale to a full-on Gambit Pileup
, with multiple sides trying to manipulate or eliminate Colette for their own purposes, and Lloyd determined to do everything he can to protect her, even from herself.
Like many of its predecessors, Tales of Symphonia
retained the real-time battle system, the use of food as healing items
, the famous summon spirits
, and the games' general tendency to include lots of Character Development
, themes of discrimination and alienation
, and a villain with considerably deeper motives than simply being Ax-Crazy
and openly evil
. The game also contained numerous references to the first game in the series, Tales of Phantasia
, which turned out to be because Symphonia is a Prequel
set in the same world as Phantasia, a few thousand years before.
The game was adapted into three four-episode anime OVAs
and 6 omakes
. A manga was published that covered the events of the first game and its ending becomes the first game's canon ending according to the second game (See Third Option Adaptation
below). There are also several Drama CDs
. It's unlikely any of this will ever be officially translated to English, but fansubs of the OVAs are circulating around the Internet if you look. It places more emphasis on the relationship between Lloyd and Colette, and is obviously a Compressed Adaptation
introduced several concepts to the franchise, most notably the 3D incarnation of the Tales
' signature battle system; nearly every single Tales
game that followed in its wake (as well as a number of JRPGs
in general) owes something to it, and its influence is still felt on the franchise to this day.
A spin-off-sequel for the game called Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
(originally titled Knight of Ratatosk
in Japan) was released for the Wii in 2008.
An HD port of the PS2 version of the game titled "Tales of Symphonia: Chronicles"
(or Tales of Symphonia: Unisonant Pack
in Japan) for the PS3
containing Dual-Audio, new bonus cameo costumes, as well as an HD port of Dawn of the New World
was released in 2014. Both games can also be bought separately through PlayStation Network
Provides examples of:
- Abandoned Mine: Toize Valley Mine in Tethe'alla.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Meltokio. When Zelos and co. are arrested the party uses this to continue to come and go from Meltokio. It has doors, trash compactors, stairs, and bridges.
- Abusive Parents:
- In the OVA, Dirk beats up Lloyd because he used a exsphere to protect himself and Colette. Judging by how Dirk is characterized, and how Norman of Pokémon Special got away with worse but was likewise still portrayed as a good father, this is probably a case of Values Dissonance, rather than deliberately portraying Dirk as a bad father.
- Zelos never had the nicest relationship with his mother, as she was forced into a loveless marriage, even though she "probably loved someone else." When she's killed in an attack that was intended to kill Zelos, her last words to him were "You should never have been born". It's shown in the manga that even before this, she was cold and dismissive of her son, often making the excuse that she's ill or has a headache to get out of having to see him. No wonder he's so messed up...
- Acrophobic Bird:
- Colette has wings and can fly, and will sometimes think to go check out high places that Lloyd can't reach - but never when it would actually be useful, like in most box-pushing puzzles, or a certain quest involving picking a fruit from the high branch of a tree.
- Similarly, Sheena can call upon the Summon Spirits to aid her, and occasionally does so outside of battle to get certain Plot Coupons, but she'll never do so to help you get past those mandatory box puzzles, even when time is of the essence, or even save lives in certain cutscenes.
- Added Alliterative Appeal:
Lloyd: Colette's current condition was caused by the Cruxis Crystal.
- Adorkable: Lloyd, Colette, Genis, and sometimes Sheena.
- Adventure Rebuff: Lloyd wants to join Colette on the journey for world regeneration. All the adults think he will just get in the way, and Colette eventually tricks him into missing their leaving. It isn't until the destruction of Iselia, and later his escape from the Sylvarant Base, that he rejoins the others, who naturally expected that he'd show up.
- Aerith and Bob: There are names like Colette and Lloyd, as well as names like Mithos and Kratos.
- The Ageless: The angels. The Cruxis Crystals halts the aging process, which is why Mithos Yggdrasil still looks more or less exactly the way he did 4000 years ago. Even Expheres slow the aging process considerably, in addition to the basic skill upgrades they give. Presea even brings up the possibility of a world of exosphere-preserved Immortals to Lloyd, who gently reminds her that they're Powered by a Forsaken Child.
- All There in the Manual: Tales of Fandom Vol. 2 has skits that reveal the background of Yuan and Kratos: before they became Mithos' companions, they were soldiers that fought on opposites side of the war in Symphonia's backstory.
- Alternate World Map: Sylvarant and Tethe'alla are both visited by the heroes, with party members coming from both worlds. Eventually, the party gains the ability to travel freely between both worlds. (Incidentally, the worlds' names are references to the names of the moons of the world of Tales of Phantasia).
- Anatomy of the Soul: Soul anatomy here seems to include Mind, Heart, and Life Energy, at the very least.
- And I Must Scream:
- Borderline - if one is killed while wearing a Cruxis Crystal or its infantile form, the crystal absorbs the wearer's consciousness and slowly 'digests' it. The disembodied soul can interact with the outside world, so much as this is possible without a body.
- It's made clear that what happened to Martel Yggdrasill due to her brother's desire to resurrect her, and what happens to Colette after she "sacrifices her heart and memories" are true examples of this trope.
- It's also shown that Marble and Clara have some form of consciousness, yet are unable to interact with anything for the most part.
- And Man Grew Proud: The Ancient Kharlan War, although sometimes it's treated as an actual historical event.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Four out of a maximum of eight members can fight; lampshaded by Gnome when remarking that "you fight dirty" four-on-one... ignoring the fact that half of your party were apparently just standing there, staring dumbstruck, instead of making it eight-on-one.
- Art Evolution: The OVA's started out great, but it just gets better with each one.
- Asshole Victim: Before Ozette is destroyed, it's revealed that it was a town primarily of racist hicks anyway.
- The Atoner: Lloyd helps Colette partly to help atone for his part in Iselia's destruction. Later on, the party is joined by Regal, who embodies this trope. Kratos is also revealed to be one.
- Awesome but Impractical: Summons, Colette's Sacrifice spell, any of the Hi-Ougis - Presea's Crimson Devestation (PS2 exclusive) is especially ridiculous, requiring her to be the only surviving party member and be below 16% HP, amongst other requirements.
- Awesome McCoolname: Mithos Yggdrasil. Come on.
- Badass: Kratos, Presea, and in the OVAs at least, Regal.
- Bastard Bastard: The pope.
- Beach Episode: Well, cutscene, at least. In addition to gaining new titles and outfits, you also raise the Relationship Values of whomever you choose to accompany you.
- Beam Spam
- JUDGEMENT !!!!!
- HOLY LANCE!!
- PRISM SWORD!
- Beast Man/Little Bit Beastly: Katz are a weird example of this, looking very much like people in cat suits ala Cat-Man from Perfect Hair Forever.
- There's also the Penguinists and Penguiners, who look like people in penguin suits. And for a plant version, Mandragoras are just people with flowers growing out of their heads (Dawn Of The New World makes them look more like monsters.)
- Betty and Veronica: The game's most strongly hinted at pairings for Lloyd is the sweet, blond Colette (Betty) and the tough, dark-haired Sheena (Veronica), though personality-wise, they're both mostly Betty.
- Big Damn Heroes: This game is chock-full of this trope:
- Kratos saving the party from Vidar at the beginning of the game.
- The rest of the party saving Lloyd from Botta.
- The whole party saving Palmacosta when Magnius tries to execute someone.
- Sheena, at Kvar's Ranch.
- Botta saving the party from Yggdrasill and Kratos the first time you go to the Tower of Salvation.
- Botta again, saving the party (at the price of his life) from Rodyle's flooding lair.
- Mithos summoning Aska to get the party out of a sealed chamber.
- Yuan helping to delay Kratos.
- Yuan, again, when he shows up and tells the party of an alternate route into the Tower of Salvation's seed chamber.
- The entire party revealing that they survived and helping Lloyd defeat Pronyma.
- Zelos (or Kratos) reapplying Colette's key crest, giving Lloyd the last item he needs to wield the Eternal Sword and helping Lloyd defeat Yggdrasil.
- Yuan saving Kratos after the latter sacrifices all of his mana to release Origin's seal.
- Black and White Morality: Deconstructed. Lloyd believes the world works this way at first, and a large part of his Character Development is learning to fight for actual reasons rather than just "because those guys are evil".
- The Blank: The Gentleman
- Blood Knight: The Sword Dancer only seems to care about finding strong opponents to fight. It even lets you live if you lose to it.
- Body Horror: How does turning into a giant monster and attacking your loved ones sound to you? Made explicit in the anime, where Alicia's transformation looks exceedingly painful.
- Bonus Boss: Lots of them. There's the four fights against the Sword Dancer, Abyssion, Maxwell, the mid-boss and boss of Niflheim, the fights against Garr/Woodrow, Farah and Meredy in the Colosseum, a Duel Boss fight against Seles (also in the Colosseum,) and another Duel Boss fight against Kuchinawa.
- Bonus Dungeon: Niflheim
- Bonus Material: In addition to the OVA's, there are 6 omakes/bonuses. They all have No Fourth Wall and are rather absurd.
- Boobs of Steel: Inverted. Sheena is the most well-endowed, but she's not the strongest fighter. Colette, a self-confessed "Ironing Board", is physically stronger and can be a better fighter. But the girl that takes the cake is Presea, who can lift logs and wield Axes and Hammers larger than she is, despite looking like a twelve-year-old girl.
- Boomerang Bigot: The Pope is fiercely anti-half-elf even though he has a half-elf daughter. Though to be more accurate, he hates half-elves because his daughter is a half-elf; he used to support the cause of half-elf equality, and even fell in love with an elf. But when their daughter was born and her mother died, he found himself growing more hateful and terrified of her differences, coming to understand the perspective of the people who hated half-elves, and he started to support them instead.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- One skit involves Regal and Presea talking directly to the player.
- The OVA bonuses', to the point of No Fourth Wall.
- Also, the famous Tower of Mana "Quick Jump" skit. To an extent, anyway.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Zelos.
- Buffy Speak: Lloyd does this a lot, usually to be corrected by Kratos or Raine.
- Call Back: The entire scene in Flanoir could be seen as a Call Back to a similar scene in Phantasia, both happening just before the game's climax or the last Disc One Final Dungeon, in Symphonia's case.
- Both Phantasia and Symphonia also have a special Tower of Druaga-related title for collecting all of the Tower of Druaga equipment (except in Symphonia you have to equip them all on Zelos to get it.)
- Calling Your Attacks: All of them. Except for Colette when she loses her voice, using a special in combat will result in this trope.
- Captain Ersatz:
- Maybe, but the similarities between Colette and Saikano's Chise are high in number and down right creepy at times.
- Colette and Flonne are both flat-chested blondes who preach about love and are angels.
- Ditto for Lloyd and Ichiro Ogami. It doesn't help that Kosuke Fujishima did the character designs for both.
- Not to mention Zelos and Sha Gojyo. At least one particular version.
- Censorship by Spelling: Zelos calls Kratos an "arrogant SOB" at one point, although Sheena still chews him out for it, presumably since they were in front of Genis, Colette and Presea at the time.
- Character Development: Over the course of the game Lloyd learns not to see the world in Black and White Morality, Colette learns to take the weight of the world on her shoulders, Regal and Sheena forgive themselves, Presea starts to move on with her life, Genis and Raine come to terms with being Half-elves and Zelos learns how to trust the others (Provided you let him).
- Cherry Tapping: The player is given a special title for using only wooden swords until halfway through the journey of Regeneration.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Lloyd and Colette, by Road Cones. Depending on how you play the game, they may not end up together.
- The Chosen One: Taken to its literal extreme.
- The Chosen Zero: Colette and Zelos. In this case, the real question everyone should be asking is "who chose them?"
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Yuan, Kratos, Zelos, and Mithos. This has led to the rather appropriate observation that 'There is no 'os' in trust.'
- Climactic Battle Resurrection: When assaulting the Tower of Salvation in Tethe'alla, every single member of your party (except for Zelos, if you make him evil) ends up "dying" one by one... until you make it to the end and they all pop up and inform you that they were saved.
- Collectorofthe Strange: Koton.
- Color-Coded Elements: Red for fire, blue for water, green for wind, brown for earth, light blue for ice, purple for lightning, white for light, black for dark.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: Maybe if Colette had actually told everyone about turning into a giant crystal, a lot of trouble could have been saved.
- Compressed Adaptation: The biggest problem with the Animated Adaptation. Sylvarant, the first half of the game, was squeezed into four episodes.
- Crapsaccharine World: The bright, cutesy graphics do a great job of covering the dark, nightmarish story.
- Creepy Monotone: Presea, at least until she's cured.
- Critical Annoyance: Genis: "We're gonna die..."
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of Martel, which has a very Catholic bent to it.
- Cultural Cross-Reference: In the beach sidequest of the first game, the names of the four girls you're supposed to find easily remind you of a certain book series that is beloved by the Japanese. Amy, Jo, Beth, and Meg make cameo appearances. Seriously. Bonus points to Jo apparently being a Bokukko here, and having Amy be blonde
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- In one of the OVAs, Sheena takes Lloyd down in one hit only to get owned by Kratos afterwords. You do not mess with that man's son.
- Also in the OVAS: Zelos doesn't fare so well in his second battle with Regal, though he does manage to take him down with him via a Last Ditch Move.
- Cute Bruiser: Presea, as well as Colette once she gains more angel abilities. She even lifts an unconscious Regal with one arm at one point.
- Cut Scene Power To The Max:
- Kratos, in cutscenes, can kill, stun, or block pretty much anything with a dramatic flash of light and a single attack. In battle, he's not so hot. Also, all the characters with wings don't use them very often.
- Not to mention the fact that a single Demon Fang from Lloyd can horribly wound Magnius and Mithos in a cutscene. A Fireball (or three) from Genis yields similar results.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory:
- Going from a later game like Abyss, Innocence, or Vesperia to Symphonia can be really frustrating, because Symphonia predated free run.
- In Symphonia, by default, normal attacks are A (the middle/central/somewhat over-sized face button) and special abilities are B (the left face button) on the Gamecube controller. In Vesperia, normal attacks are B (the right face button) and special abilities are A (the bottom face button) on the Xbox 360 controller. It helps though that both games allow you to customize your battle controls.
- It also works in reverse, not only does playing this game make you forget about Free Run, but it also, especially if you played multiplayer, try to constantly attack bosses and try to overpower him to guard break as opposed to seeking out actual openings or weaknesses.
- Damsel in Distress: A few can be found here and there, mostly among the NP Cs. The character Lloyd pursues as his love interest/soulmate will be briefly hit with a Distress Ball near the end, but it's not enough for said character to qualify for this trope.
- Colette is kidnapped on two big occasions in the game, and the rest of the party must go through great lengths to rescue her both times. That said, she's quite capable the rest of the time.
- Chocalate is kidnapped by the Desians early and taken to a nearby Human Ranch, then taken to another Ranch before you can rescue her. The party is not able to rescue her until the end of Disc 1.
- Princess Hilda is kidnapped by the Pope in one sidequest, but rescuing her is a cinch.
- Kate is imprisoned by the Pope for helping the party, and is freed when one of the protagonists fights in the Coliseum to gain access to the dungeon.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Abyssion in the PS2 Version, when the difficulty is set to 'Mania'. So, now that you've got Nebilim's power, why don't you just throw your most powerful spells and be done with it? Guess what, he always begins with Divine Judgement, causing a Total Party Kill to anyone unprepared, in the first two seconds of the fight.
- Dark Is Edgy: Shadow, Pronyma.
- Dark Reprise: Zelos' and Colette's themes.
- Dead Character Walking: Sheena's revival technique, Purgatory Seal, essentially creates a literal version of this: the game will treat you as "alive", but you have zero Hit Points, and you go down if you take any damage at all. Healing items and spells work on you as they do on any other living character.
- Deconstructor Fleet:
- Pretty much every main character, including the Big Bad, is a Deconstruction of a standard RPG character archetype. It's particularly savage towards the idea of The Chosen One and just what self-esteem issues a Messianic Archetype Purity Sue could potentially end up with. It tears into the Determinator and Idiot Hero tropes too.
- Just to clarify a bit, being a stubborn idiot may have been the only thing that kept Lloyd going when a smarter person of the same upbringing would have been done, and his unflinching idealism lead to a major Heroic BSOD or two when he learned what was actually going on.
- And as noted below, the Big Bad is just as much of a Determinator as Lloyd is - his ideals just got compromised along the way.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Just about anyone you fight without killing.
- Dem Bones: There are a few skeletal mooks here and there. And then there's the Sword Dancer, who's a giant hulking four-armed skeletal swordsman.
- Determinator: Half the damn cast, Lloyd being the primary culprit. It's also deconstructed with the Big Bad, whose main character flaw is in many ways his inability to Know When to Fold 'Em, something Lloyd does know.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
- The status page for characters includes both first and last names. When you reach the event where Presea finds out that her sister was killed by a man called "Master Bryant", Regal's last name conveniently disappears. Regal is a self-declared murderer. Guess who he killed?
- Sure, you can get to Palmacosta by taking a boat from Izoold... or, you can walk across a bridge in the other direction, and go through around the second continent in reverse order. You'll still end up visiting all of the major destinations and seeing all of the mandatory scenes, and the story will still make a modicum of sense. There's even some scenes that you can only see this way, and once you've Level Grinded against the enemies on the "far" end of the continent and bought the good weapons, once you get back around to Palmacosta, every fight is a cakewalk.
- You can actually recruit Sheena early. And there are scenes that only play if she's present at the time.
- After you make a summon pact with Undine, you can go make pacts with Efreet and Slyph as well. There's no in-story reason to do this, but it will unlock them as spells earlier and save you the trouble of going back for them later in the game when you need all the Summon Spirits. The bosses are even retuned to match your current level.
- There's one sidequest early on in which Genis casts Icicle to freeze a geyser so Lloyd can retrieve a statue. If you trigger the start of this event before he learns the spell in question, he will go "But... I don't know that kind of magic yet" and the party will decide to return to that event once he learns it. If you try to go to the event's location before learning the spell anyway, he'll go "I STILL don't know that spell yet!"
- In one of the Houses of Salvation, there's an NPC who will immediately engage your screen character in a game of word chain if you talk to them. However, if you talk to this NPC as Colette during the brief period of time where Colette has lost her voice, the "conversation" will proceed exactly the way the player expects; the NPC will get mad at you and demand that you "play seriously."
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: The Dragon Rider and his noble steed, the
Velociraptor Velocidragon. In fairness, it does breathe fire.
- Dirty Old Man: Koton.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: First there's the first visit to the Tower of Salvation in Sylvarant, then it's the Second trip to the Tower of Salvation in Tethe'alla (the third trip to the tower overall). And then after that, it's Torent Forest.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- The human ranches are very similar to the Nazi concentration camps. Kvar also deserves special mention, as he draws many similarities with Josef Mengele.
- And Regal is The president of a major company, specializes in martial arts, and has a pretty dark past involving the death of an important person. How oddly familiar...
- Doomed Hometown
- Iselia is burned by Desians and Lloyd is banished for being partially to blame for it.
- Presea's hometown of Ozette is destroyed rather arbitrarily, Luin also becomes completely wrecked, and so does Heimdall... half the hometowns you go to wind up getting thrashed. To be quite honest, Luin was asking for it. That's what you get when your town's name can be written as Ruin. So was Ozette for being full of racist jerks.
- Drowning My Sorrows:
- Kratos and apparently Colette(?!) are seen doing this in the fourth OVA bonus, in mourning for their loss of lines/screen time. Yuan's there too though celebrating his increase in screentime.
- Zelos also visits the bar later for the same reason.
- Dub Name Change: Genius or Genis? Refill or Raine? Shihna or Sheena? Regal Bryan or Regal Bryant?
- Dumb Is Good: Lloyd and Colette are both rather dim-witted and seem much 'nicer' when compared to the smarter Genis, Raine and Kratos. To be fair, in Genis' case, he is pretty nice, yet for all the intellect he possesses, he's still one of the younger members of the cast, leading him to be quite bratty at times. This usually doesn't sit well with his older sister, Raine, as she still handles him with kid gloves by rectifying his occasional poor behavior with a slap across the head and the occasional spanking.
- Dummied Out: There's an unused model of Rutee Katrea in the game's coding. She was probably going to appear in the Coliseum Cameo battle along with Garr. The PS2 version and PS3 versions also have an unused "Meikuu Zanshouken/Dark Blade" arte name shout for Lloyd, the same Mystic Arte used by Cress Albane, hinting that Lloyd was probably going to receive an extra move along those lines as a tribute.
- Deus ex Machina Lloyd suddenly sprouts wings at a very convenient time. Its not entirely implausible, as Lloyd is Kratos' son, and the Angels get their wings because of their Cruxius Crystals, which are basically Exspheres, and the Desians repeatedly refer to Lloyd's Exsphere as being a super-special, one-of-a-kind, experimental Exsphere known as the Angelus Crystal. Getting unique angel wings was only to be expected, though it's unlikely the Desian who created it ever intended it to be used that way. Also, let's not forget the fact that Lloyd absorbed Mithos' Cruxis Crystal after killing him. Or that he WAS wielding the Sword of Plot Advancement at the time.
- Durable Deathtrap
- Dysfunction Junction
- Easter Egg: Flanoir has a statue of Pac Man beside its Bigfoot and Wonder Chef statues.
- Emotionless Girl: Presea. She comes to her senses at the worst possible time, though... Also Colette, as she begins to become an angel. Thankfully, she gets better.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: Each of Lloyd's companions is driven by either emotions or logic; Lloyd's decisions impact relationship values based on which side he appeals to.
- Empty Room Psych: In Welgaia, there is a building with five floors, each with two identical small rooms. All but one of them are completely barren, and it's on the first floor anyway, making the whole thing all the more psyche-y.
- Eternal English: The fact that people from Sylvarant and Tethe'alla still understand each other after 4000 years of near-complete separation is pretty amazing, they don't even have different accents!
- To be fair, since both Cruxis and the Renegades are controlling both worlds behind the scenes, it makes sense that they would speak the same language in both worlds.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: The Penguinist and Penguiner enemies.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: For Zelos, anyway. Lloyd seems to have a crush on her, but Sheena mentions the princess annoys her.
- Precious Puppies: A sidequest involves naming all the dogs.
- The Exile: Lloyd and Genis, due to being responsible for Iselia's destruction.
- Fake Defector: Zelos, depending on your ending. Also Kratos, but he's much sneakier about it.
- Fanservice: Sheena's alternate outfits (not that her default is particularly modest), as well as a visit to the beach and a hot spring. The massive amounts of Ship Tease also count.
- Fanservice Extra: Lyla, Aisha, the Coliseum receptionist, Tabatha, Cacao, Princess Hilda.
- And on the men's side, Neil, Yuan, Aifreed.
- Fantastic Racism: The discrimination against half-elves is a recurring element in the series, as is the discrimination against humans in Sylverant.
- Fauxshadow: The character Genis is foreshadowed to betray you. He doesn't.
- Fight In The Nude: Characters will only be shown using their most basic (and generic) weapons, with a few exceptions: Lloyd's model goes from wooden swords to basic metal swords after the second town. Kratos will equip the Flamberge after a certain event. Lloyd will have the Material Blades after you earn them. Characters will also only use their most basic special attacks in cut scenes, because attacks are split across "Strike" and "Technical", and on top of that, you're allowed to delete known attacks, so it'll only show attacks that you can't not know. So expect to see a lot of Fireball, Demon Fang, and Force Field.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Weirdly enough, Mithos is one - declaring that there is no goddess. The fact that he was the one who set up the Corrupt Church may have something to do with it.
- The Force Is Strong with This One: Elves and half-elves are able to detect the flow of mana. This allows them to use and sense magic, sense shifts and differences in the mana levels of both worlds, and distinguish between the different races, among other things.
- Most of it is only obvious in hindsight. During subsequent playthroughs you'll probably wonder how you missed some of them. There's even some on the western box art. Notice how, of all characters, It's Lloyd/Colette and Sheena/Zelos that appear on the cover? (with Lloyd & Sheena being in front, and Zelos & Colette being in the back?) Essentially, it's showing two Sylvaranti along with their, for all intents and purposes, alternate-dimension counterparts.
- There's a reason why Mithos and Colette look so similar.
- Genis replies with hesitation whenever someone asks or wonders what race he is.
- The opening narration is Krato's voice. Hmm, I wonder why...
- Kratos being Lloyd's father is hinted at several times:
- In the beginning, he asks Lloyd "Your name is Lloyd?"
- From the beginning, his moveset and fighting usability are very similar to Lloyd's.
- His interactions with Noishe.
- He gets uncharacteristically angry at Kvar when he insults Lloyd's parents. He even kills him before Lloyd can.
- Kratos stops the villagers in Hima from killing Clara, and supports the idea of trying to save her.
- Pronyma and Yuan both notice a resemblance.
- Both dislike tomatoes.
- Whenever the party goes back to Dirk's House, Kratos will always be standing by Anna's grave.
- In battle, Kratos uses First Aid on Lloyd way more than on anyone else.
- For Great Justice
- For The Cel Of It
- Follow the White Rabbit: The party finds their way through the Torent Forest by following a small animal that leads them along the correct path so they don't get lost.
- Gainax Ending: Hoo boy. After defeating the final boss: Lloyd remerges the worlds, and the Eternal Sword then vanishes. Then the Summon Spirits appear to tell them that the Seed and Derris Kharlan are leaving and the world is gonna quickly die of mana deprivation without them. The heroes think they're screwed without the Sword, but Lloyd needs to try to save the world anyway, and so his Exsphere reacts and he promptly sprouts angel wings, of a completely different style compared to Colette's, and flies to the Seed along with Colette. When they reach the Seed, they think it's too late, but then the Eternal Sword randomly shows up again, and with its power they germinate the Seed.
As the Seed falls to Earth, Tabitha, the Artificial Human made as a failed attempt to create a mechanical vessel for Mithos's sister Martel, is standing in the ruins of the Tower, and the seed falls on top of her, opens up, and she's infused with a whole crapton of spirits we've never seen before, including Mithos's sister, and when Lloyd and Colette come down to earth, she introduces herself as the Goddess Martel, the Goddess that Mithos made up for his Path of Inspiration. She's made up of all those spirits, and is the new guardian of the new World Tree. She shows the heroes what the Tree will look like when it's grown (which looks like the Game Over screen), and tells them that in its current state, it will die, so they have to give it happy thoughts or something, and Lloyd has to give it a new name. Then Lloyd goes "This tree's name is- * CREDITS*
The name thing is a bit of a joke. The game is a prequel to Tales of Phantasia, which features a Mana Tree, inhabited by the Goddess Martel, and is set thousands of years later. The name of the tree in that? Yggdrasil, same as the mythological tree and the villain of Symphonia. They didn't say it probably to be funny and/or keep from making the connection between the games even more obvious than it already was.
All of this makes more sense on subsequent playthroughs, if you read the text a little closer. One of Mithos' reasons for what he did was that, just as Martel would absorb the Great Seed if she was revived, the Great Seed would absorb her if it was sprouted. It's just that until the end, no one really understood what that meant. The other spirits that joined her were the souls of the other Chosen Ones, who had died in Martel's name while trying to fuse with her soul, their souls instead absorbed into the Great Seed; the composite spirit of Martel and the Chosen Ones became not a true goddess, but the guardian spirit of the new mana tree, who happens to be named Martel because that's the dominant spirit. Lloyd's unusual wings are most likely because of his special Angelus Exsphere, which was noted as being unique throughout the game. As for the revival of the Seed, this one is harder to see, but after he destroys Mithos' crystal, the sparkling fragments of it flow into Lloyd's Exsphere. When he and Colette are then trying everything they can to revive the Seed, that same pattern of sparkles flows out in reverse - the remnants of Mithos' spirit, seeking peace with his sister and contributing the final burst of mana that allows the Seed to revive.
- Gainaxing: Visible on Martel in the ending cutscene. Also, pick Sheena as your avatar character and run around.
- Gambit Pileup: Let's just say there's a lot going on.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- Suffers pretty bad from it, considering how powerful the party becomes.
- But also Gameplay and Story Integration; when Raine gets the Unicorn's Horn, and when Colette loses her voice. Not to mention a rather subtle one comes from when you notice Kratos's AI behaviour - he actually uses First Aid on Lloyd quite a bit.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In their attempts to approach a unicorn, Raine notes that only a pure maiden can approach it. Raine promptly excuses herself (because "I'm an adult") and elects Colette. Sheena becomes a bit upset that the party doesn't think she's "Qualified". Except for Lloyd and Genis who clearly haven't had The Talk yet.
- Glass Cannon: Colette, Genis, and Sheena. Especially frustrating with Genis and Sheena, since their most powerful attacks rely on them getting into Overlimit first, which requires them to get hit at least a few times. Especially frustrating with Sheena, considering she has arguably the worst damage output otherwise. Even resident White Mage Raine can put up better numbers with attack magic. People rag on Sheena for this, but it seems a Justified trope considering that she might be a Guardian User/Magical Ninja, but she wasn't raised to be a fighter, and in fact one thing about making pacts that terrifies her as well as the Volt incident is that they refuse to make a vow with her and attack.
- Go Through Me: Happens a couple of times with varying results.
- Guide Dang It:
- Lots of moments, but the "Hard Path", the Relationship Values, and the Hi-Ougis get special notice.
- Let's not forget the teleport maze at Palmacosta ranch, or, even worse with no guide, the specific donations necessary to rebuild Luin.
- The side quests in general, and they are only available at certain points of the game and, after you complete specific events, they become Lost Forever. Especially annoying with small side quests which take place in places you normally wouldn't go, like finding and curing Clara, earning all the titles, and finding the relationship skits (since they're all on parts of the map where we'd normally have no reason to go).
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-elves.
- Hammer Space: Seles's purse. Also: Colette has true Hammer Space, because her Pow Hammer-series spawn hammers out of nowhere.
- Of course, Seles can pull a hammer twice the size of her body out of her purse.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door:
- Kratos, Zelos and Yuan.
- Also the heroes, from a certain perspective. Their ultimate goal is always "save the world," but pretty much every new piece of information about their situation radically alters what "save the world" even means, and how they plan to accomplish it, and sometimes whose toes are going to get stepped on in the process.
- Hero Secret Service: Above mentioned Five-Man Band, and eventually also the rest of the party in regards to Lloyd.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Much to Lloyd's dismay, there's quite a few. Some end without people ending up dead. Others... don't.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: The English voice cast in a lot of ways embodies the transition period between popular 90's voice actors and voice actors who would become popular as the 00's went on.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Forcystus runs a Human Ranch and looks down on humans as inferior beings like the rest of the Desians, he even thinks an appropriate punishment for breaking a non-agression pact is to pit Lloyd and Genis against a mutated Marble. What made him join in the first place? He fought and defeated an army of humans who were committing genocide against Half-Elves! It goes beyond that, even; there's a brief hint, of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety, where it's insinuated that he was a companion of Spiritua, the first Chosen of Sylvarant, and the one who came closest to fulfilling Mithos' needs until Colette came along; after she "failed" in Mithos' true aim, the insinuation is that Forscystus joined Cruxis out of guilt.
- Hidden Elf Village: Heimdall. There's also a hidden Japanese village, Mizuho.
- Also, Exire, home of the half-elves. Though not exactly hidden, it does float above cloud level.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The game actually seems to throw two of these at you in a row with Kratos and Yggdrasill, but only the second one is hopeless. The first one is simply very, very hard, but not necessary to win (it's a lot easier if you use an All-Divide.)
- The second fight against Yggdrasill is hopeless as well. You're at a higher level than before, and thus able to fight on more even ground, but the fight still automatically ends after a certain point. Unlike the first fight, though, you're not allowed to lose this one.
- Human Resources: Exspheres.
- 100% Heroism Rating: If you save a town and then donate money to rebuild it, eventually the townspeople will put up statues of you and your party members. Although...you have to pay for the statues, too.
- Immune to Flinching: The main perk of going into Overlimit. And of course, there's the fact that many bosses require multiple consecutive hits to stun. Presea and Regal can near-permanently gain this ability through the compound-ex skill, Glory.
- Implied Love Interest: In this game you can make Lloyd to hook up with several girls, but the romance is never too explicit.
- Improbable Weapon User:
- Genis uses a kendama, a children's toy. Sheena uses cards with wards inscribed on them.
- Justified for Genis. The kendama is explicitly said to help the kid concentrate when he's casting.
- Also justified for Sheena: She uses ofuda, which are used in Shinto. They're magic. Plus, she's a magic ninja.
- If you equip the fancy clothes for Persea and Zelos they have a chance of using a giant stuffed bunny and flowers respectively.
- The strongest weapons money can buy are Lethal Joke Items. A mop, paper fans, a tambourine...
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests
- Invisible to Normals: Presea and Abyssion are the only people out of a population of two whole planets who can hear Nebilim's voice.
- Is It Something You Eat?:
"Professor, what's a philanderer? Is it something you eat?"
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: A lot. For both Colette and Zelos. This was one of the reasons this game was notable - it was when the Tales Series started to really embrace this trope.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: A variant; implied to be the reason Kratos didn't reveal that he was Lloyd's father.
- Kick the Dog:
- Each of the Desian Grand Cardinals has at least one of these, from Magnius snapping a bystander's neck for failing to address him as "LORD Magnius!" to Kvar's casual attitude towards the Exsphere "cultivation" process.
- Colette gets a literal Kick the Dog to demonstrate just how far gone her transformation has left her.
- Kid Hero:
- Lloyd, Genis, Colette, as well as Mithos. Presea is a subversion.
- Although being 19, Sheena's still qualifies in Japan, where people are not considered an adult until age 20. A good reference to this is the ending of Tales of the Abyss
- Actually subverted with Presea
- Corrine, a small, rainbow man-made summon spirit.
- Verius, the summon spirit of heart. It is rainbow like Corrine, but much larger.
- Lampshade Hanging
Yuan: "Like moths to the flame."
Lloyd: "Do you ever say anything original?"
- When you finally get the Ymir fruit, your avatar character will declare "That took forever!"
- Leaked Experience: meaning you don't have to swap characters around if you don't want to.
- Leitmotif: Every member of the party has one, including a few Dark Reprises. The Big Bad and Kratos also have their respective themes worked into their fight music.
- Lesser of Two Evils: In the first quarter of the game, Lloyd discovers that Colette needs to sacrifice herself in order to fulfill her role as the Chosen and save the world. Lloyd must choose between saving the world and saving Colette, and begrudgingly chooses the world, at least until he uncovers a Third Option.
- Lethal Chef:
- Raine. She has rather... Interesting ideas on cuisine, such as one skit where she wonders about making a spicy cake. Half of her recipes have lemon as an additional ingredient. And a skit in the sequel has her cooking "lemon rice" for the party. She can even fail at making a Bread Sandwich! Sheena also has weird ideas about food, but she knows which weird ideas work so she is still a good cook (one of the best three, in fact, along with Genis and Regal).
- One of the funniest moments in the game involves Raine's cooking skills. In a small skit, the stone-faced, humorless stoic Kratos samples some of Raine's cooking to be polite. He even makes a gallant attempt at finding something nice to say about it ("Well, it has an interesting texture") before the aftertaste sets in and Kratos's first reaction is to use one of his healing spells on himself. It's funnier because it's Kratos.
- In an OVA, Raine's cooking is literally used as a weapon to kill Kratos...
- Lethal Joke Item: After restoring Luin, each character gets the ability to buy one of these; they are among the most powerful weapons you can buy for that character. Lloyd gets a Paper Fan of Doom, Colette a tambourine, Genis a toy kendama, Raine a mop, Sheena a wallet, Zelos/Kratos a baseball bat or a pink plastic dagger, Presea a squeaky toy hammer, and Regal a pair of silver boots.
- Limited Move Arsenal
- Lost Forever: See Guide Dang It. Many sidequests involve this.
- Love Martyr: Kate takes part in some less than moral experiments and impersonates the Princess during the exchange for Zelos, to earn the love of her father, the Pope.
- Love Triangle: Lloyd, Colette and Sheena.
- Also, Lloyd, Sheena and Zelos.
- Subverted for Max, Lyla and Aifread. Max is in love with Lyla, who only ever talks about tracking down Aifread. But she's not actually in love with him at all- Lyla's a Loan Shark and Aifread, a pirate, owes her quite a bit of Gald...