''The 7th Saga'' (known as ''Elnard'' in Japan) is an {{R|olePlayingGame}}PG for the {{S|uperNintendoEntertainmentSystem}}NES, released in 1993. It is known for one thing, and that is [[NintendoHard difficulty]].

You choose your main character from one of seven apprentices- a [[JackOfAllStats fighter]], a [[BadassGrandpa dwarf]], an [[BlackMagicianGirl elf]], an [[HumanoidAliens alien]], a [[strike: robot]] [[CyberCyclops Tetujin]], a [[TheMedic priest]], and a [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demon]]. Trained by the wise King Lemele, you must venture out into the [[CataclysmBackstory oddly desolate world]] in search of [[PlotCoupon seven Runes]]. What follows is a [[ClicheStorm rather rote adventure, going through all the expected elements of contemporary [=JRPG=]s]]. To be honest, though, [[ExcusePlot nobody's ever played it for its story]].

This game is notorious for the nasty tricks it pulls on the player. It's entirely possible for some characters to die on the very first monster they encounter. The amount of {{level grinding}} [[ForcedLevelGrinding needed to get anywhere]] is very great, bordering on obscene with certain characters, but the game {{cap}}s your level just a little too soon so you're never quite the level you need to be. Equipment is overpriced and underpowered. Monsters regularly thrown nasty [[StandardStatusEffects status effects and instant death attacks]] at you, when they're not [[DemonicSpiders one-shotting you with physical attacks and magic]]. [[DifficultyByRegion Due to developer carelessness in the US and EU versions]], you get smaller bonuses upon levelup, and [[GameBreakingBug the game was not rebalanced accordingly]].[[note]]There are fan-created patches that fix this.[[/note]] [[NoGearLevel You lose your magic at one point]], and immediately after you get it back, [[spoiler: you lose the runes you've been depending on the whole game]]. To add insult to injury, you lose access to B. Protects, the only other way besides magic that you could've buffed your Defense.

And they expect you to like it.

''The 7th Saga'' is [[PlatformHell JRPG hell]]. Enjoy your stay.

A [[SpiritualSuccessor somewhat-sequel]], ''VideoGame/MysticArk'', was released in Japan. Through the magic of console emulation it has recently been made available to Western audiences via a fan-made English translation patch.

!!This work contains the following examples:

* {{AI Is A Crapshoot}}: You do not power a giant demon-slaying supercomputer with [[spoiler: pure evil]].
* {{All There In The Manual}}: The descriptions of the characters' personalities, motivations, and backstories.
* {{And Man Grew Proud}}: Melenam.
* {{Antidote Effect}}: Averted. Even if both party members receive purify (or equivalent spell), these spells expend the limited magic that you have. There are also items that ''prevent'' status effects from landing if they're in your inventory.
* {{Arbitrary Headcount Limit}}: Your "party" can hold a maximum of 2.
* BossInMooksClothing: Sages when you first meet them are especially deadly, [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill especially in groups of three]]. Silver Brains, and the B.Nights are also quite deadly until you gain several levels. Also, [[ChestMonster Tricks]]. Boss Music even plays during their battles, but they are ''far'' from unique.
* {{Bounty Hunter}}: Pison.
* {{Chest Monster}}: These also qualify as ParanoiaFuel. You never know when a chest in a dungeon is going to yield a nice item, or a monster that will kill you outright in 1-3 rounds. The first one you meet '''will''' kill you unless you know exactly how to handle it (and you will need a defense-up item just to stand a chance). So will the second, and the third. Oh yes, and after you've become strong enough to handle them, the game introduces [[UndergroundMonkey red ones]], and then once you can stand up to those, blue ones. This last variety actually use boss music. Oddly enough, the blue ones still come early enough in the game that you will eventually become strong enough to eat them for breakfast, and there are no stronger varieties.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: When you get certain Runes, there's a chance that your ally will betray you and try to take the Runes from you by force. Lejes is the ally which is most likely to betray you, while Esuna and Lux never will.
* CombatMedic: Valsu, with heavy emphasis on 'medic'.
* CrystalDragonJesus: Due to Nintendo's censorship policy at the time, the game' dialogue really dances around the issue, but Saro is meant to be God (or his equivalent) with Gorsia being his Crystal Dragon Satan counterpart. This makes Lemele [[spoiler: and, by extension, ''the player character'']] into a literal Crystal Dragon Jesus.
* DifficultyByRegion
* FailOSuckyname: Dr. '''Fail'''.
* FakeDifficulty: The game (or at least the American version) practically ''is'' this, since the difficulty largely comes from insufficient stat boosts when you level up. Also, if you chose Esuna or Lux as your main character, you'll have to take a ferry to the northern continent. You get dropped in an area with monsters 7-8 levels above where you're supposed to be. Hope you can outrun them.
* DuelBoss: Even if you have a second party member, whenever you fight one of the other apprentices, you have to do it alone. (Sometimes, if your main character is dead, they'll be willing to duel your ally instead of you.)
* '''''ForcedLevelGrinding'''''
* {{Give Me Your Inventory Item}}: Don't give the Topaz to the lady with a secret. You need the 500G.
* GuideDangIt: The apprentice you fight for the Star Rune is pre-determined as soon as you show the Wind Rune to the sage at Eygus. Whoever you fight for the Star Rune is LostForever. If you want that person to be your ally in the rest of the game, they '''must''' be in your group ''before'' you exit the Melenam Ruins. The game makes absolutely no hint of this whatsoever.
* HardLevelsEasyBosses: You're far more likely to die to a random encounter than to most bosses. Two reasons:
** After running into [[ThatOneBoss Pison]] for the first time, you start ''building the heck up'' before ''touching'' any other bosses.
** You run into a hell of a lot of random encounters, some of which are potentially fatal even to a high-level team.
* {{Heroic Mime}}
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Carrying a Mirror in your inventory has the hilarious effect of petrifying the enemy that cast it on you in the first place. Most monsters that cast Petrify are ''not'' immune to petrify. This can easily turn an OhCrap moment into an LOL moment.
* {{Incendiary Exponent}}: Wilme attacks monsters by setting his arm on fire and punching them in the face.
* LevelScaling: There are points where you fight other playable characters as bosses, and they are matched exactly to your level. Also, if you lose to them, they'll take your runes, making the inevitable rematch that much harder.
** In the US and EU versions, the player character has very limited stat increases compared to the Japanese version, but the apprentice opponents retain their original high stat increases from the Japanese version. That means that the apprentice opponents get exponentially stronger than you as you level up.
* LostForever: Any apprentice you get in a fight with can never join your party from that point on. If you want them in your party, you really should make them your partner in Bonro or Zellis (the third and fourth towns in the game), since they are far more likely to pick a fight without asking in later towns, and the one who gets the Star Rune ''will'' fight you no matter what.
* {{Lost Technology}}
* [[spoiler:MacGuffinDeliveryService: Once you obtain all of the runes, Gorsia steals their power and breaks them into pieces.]]
* LuckBasedMission: Pretty much the entire game, really. Because many enemies can one-shot you just by using the right (or wrong, depending on how you look at it) attack, there are very, very many situations where your only hope of survival depends on how generous the Random Number God is feeling.
* MasterOfNone: Kamil. Intended as a JackOfAllTrades, the stat growths bug leaves him worse than everybody at almost everything. Literally the ONLY two people he beats at ANYTHING are Lux and Wilme in MP and Valsu and Esuna in Power. Lejes or Olvan are better jack of all trades than Kamil is, due to having better growths and a better spell selection.
* {{Meaningful Name}}: Dr. Fail. Yes, that's his name.
* {{Mechanical Lifeforms}}: The Tetujin. They employ {{robo speak}}.
* MultipleEndings: Oddly ''not'' present, even though you have a choice of characters who [[HeroicMime allegedly]] have different personalities and motivations.
** Considering the ending, this is almost justified. [[spoiler: Since the character is part of a stable time loop, they were essentially destined to end the game by reincarnating, with the actions and history of their reincarnated self predetermined.]]
* NintendoHard:
** The game is all about ForcedLevelGrinding and making suicide runs to the towns selling the best equipment. If you do enough of it, even that Manrot that has been killing you again and again and again will seem feasible in a couple levelups. Gain another 2-3, and you're wondering why you were ever afraid of those guys in the first place. Make a Suicide Run to the next town to buy the newest set of armor/weapons, and come back. You'll be eating them for ''breakfast''.
* {{Palette Swap}}: [[MemeticMutation "I've returned from the Dark World and become Red-Pison."]]
* PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling: Since the game splits XP between the Hero and his buddy, you will level ''far'' faster solo than you would with an ally. When you do recruit a new ally, their level is equal to yours ''and their equipment is appropriate for your level, even if said equipment is not normally obtainable yet''. If you already have an ally, just [[WhatTheHellPlayer let him die]] so you can earn all of the XP. When done, get a new ally, and the old will happily rejoin you with enough SaveScumming.
** A better example would probably be the Isles of Beore (where Luze is located) due to its infestation of [[MetalSlime S. Brains]], though it's more of an ''Island'' of power-leveling.
* PlotCouponThatDoesSomething: Each rune has a special power when used in combat, from boosting stats to healing health, and can be used an infinite number of times.
* {{Random Encounters}}: Sort of. You have a crystal ball that allows you to detect monsters. In theory, you can dodge them and avoid combat. In practice, the monsters move through walls, and are fast and numerous enough to hunt YOU down.
* PropheticNames: Never give your civilization-changing project to a man named [[spoiler: Dr. Fail.]]
* RecurringBoss: Pison again.
* [[spoiler: StableTimeLoop]]
* StoneWall: Lux
* SuicidalOverconfidence: Averted, annoyingly so. Many enemies love running away, especially while you do your ForcedLevelGrinding. This is especially annoying when you're trying to kill the silver brains, and you have one almost dead and it runs away.
* [[spoiler: TakingYouWithMe: The final boss fight.]]
* ThereCanBeOnlyOne: You and the other apprentices are in direct competition for the Runes.
* [[spoiler: {{Treacherous Advisor}}]]
* UndergroundMonkey: As in nearly all {{Role Playing Game}}s of the era, many enemies are just palette swaps of earlier enemies with higher stats and maybe new powers. This even happens with a boss: Pison becomes Red-Pison (seriously, that's his name) and finally Metal-Pison.
* {{Unusually Uninteresting Sight}}: Nearly all [=NPCs=] will act exactly the same regardless of which character you play as, even if you happen to choose Lejes the demon, Lux the Tetujin, or Wilme the alien.
** Occasionally Averted, especially with children who think that the Tetujin is really, really neat.
* {{Unwinnable}}: Don't fight Valsu after level 40. Also, make sure your levels are in the high thirties before fighting Gariso, and that you're well stocked on B Protects. [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore Trust us on this one]].
* [[spoiler: UnwittingPawn]]
* {{Useless Useful Spell}}: Averted. Petrify, Defense2, Vacuum1, and Vacuum2 are all very useful, due to how hard normal enemies are.
** Some enemies appear to be weaker to these attacks than others, apparently based upon some sort of intelligence/magic defense stat. Some enemies are notoriously vulnerable to it (those tall fire guys are a PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling to anyone with Vacuum 2), while others, Vacuum almost never works (Sages and Brains).
* WeCanRuleTogether: The apprentice who takes the Star Rune will make you this offer, and you can even take him up on it. If you refuse, you fight immediately. If you agree, the front door of the castle will be unlocked so you can go heal up and [[DungeonBypass skip the trek through the dungeon]] before the battle.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: More precisely, [[spoiler: what happens to the other allied apprentice after Gorsia [[TakingYouWithMe kills the main character at the moment of his defeat?]] They're just left standing there, if still alive. It's especially a headscratcher if the ally character is Lux, since Tetujin can apparently survive for thousands of years anyway....]]
** [[spoiler: Tetujin forget their oldest memories in order to store new ones. There's nothing that prevents Lux from surviving the battle with Gorsia and taking TheSlowPath through the intervening thousands of years to one day become an apprentice to King Lemele...]]
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: What at first seems like it's going to be the end of the game just ends up being [[spoiler: a time warp back to the past]].