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Video Game: Xeno Gears
Stand Tall and Shake the Heavens.

"I am Alpha and Omega,
The beginning and the end,
The first and the last."

Xenogears was released by Squaresoft in 1998 for the original Playstation. A cult classic that is particularly remembered for a uniquely convoluted plot spanning ten thousand years, themes cooked out of Gnosticism, Jewish mysticism and Jungian psychology, and an atmosphere that was remarkably Anime-like for its time, leading to the game's infamous hour-long cutscenes.

Xenogears is the story of Fei Fong Wong, a sensitive painter (and spectacular martial artist) with a past he's conveniently forgotten, who believes himself a normal person and wants merely to live out his life in the backwater town of Lahan, up until the moment it gets razed down into the ground by a mechanical fighting machine called a Gear. With his fate bound to this rather unique Gear, and searched after by the Gebler, the military force of the celestial empire of Solaris, our reluctant hero has to flee, aided by the town doctor, Citan Uzuki, who is nothing but more than he seems.

Of course, rather than just hide in a hole in the ground or something simple like that, Fei instead gets caught up with the struggles between a rebel prince for his kingdom; a swordfighting bishonen villain from the inner circles of the Empire of Solaris; the Ethos, a mysterious church with gunslingin' priests that have a stranglehold on the world's technology; and most notably an officer of Gebler named Elhaym Van Houten, whom he conveniently calls "Elly" before learning her name. Tossed across the globe in search for a place where people don't try to kill him and perhaps some explanation for his Mysterious Past, Fei and his growing crew of unlikely companions start to uncover the forgotten past of the world and learn of its true underlying struggles that go back thousands of years.

All of this, of course, goes right to the heart of the issue of who Fei actually is, which Fei desperately tries to figure out while combating some five fairly well written villains, who on top of everything, have the distinct advantage of being in a game which gives them more screen time than most party members and a surprisingly fair chance of getting what they want. This is about the point where things get really weird, as the disk changes. Most of the rest of the story is actually narrated by the main characters sitting in wooden chairs over still images of cool stuff happening. In other words, it's a bog standard Square JRPG, which a lot of gamers dig and others simply don't. Fans consider it a flawed masterpiece; while it has a good deal of actual symbolism, a contorted plot, and a Yasunori Mitsuda soundtrack, it wasn't as great as what it was originally intended to be because of disc two.

It has been suggested that the primary reason for sudden change in style on disc 2 is due to Final Fantasy VIII's production. Squaresoft pulled team members and resources away from the Xenogears production team in order to more efficiently get Final Fantasy VIII done on schedule. This may be because they considered that game more important (being a Final Fantasy title).

Interestingly enough, the game's creators have stated that in its early development stages, Xenogears was planned to be Final Fantasy VII, and later, Chrono Cross.

The game was written and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, who later on would become the founder of the Monolith Soft studio. Music for the game was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda.

Followed up a few years later by Xenosaga for PlayStation 2, a Spiritual Successor franchise and Continuity Reboot. However, it was developed by Monolith Soft, which was formed by Xenogears team members that left Square Enix after the completion of the original game. Also, the game was produced and published by Namco. Many believe didn't live up to the original game, although many others believe it surpassed it.

In 2010 it had yet another Spiritual Successor, Xenoblade for Wii. Also developed by Tetsuya Takahashi and Monolith Soft, but this time produced and published by Nintendo, although this one was more faithful to the spirit of the original Xenogears. There are more expies of characters from Xenogears there too, along with other minor similarities but in a vastly different setting. This game later received a (thematic) sequel for the Wii U called Xenoblade Chronicles X. This game reunites Tetsuya Takahashi with original Xeno character designer Kunihiko Tanaka (who had been absent since Xenosaga Episode I), brings back fuel-based mechs, and features a logo which, unlike previous games, is strikingly reminiscent of that of Xenogears.

Now up on the Playstation Network. The Perfect Works has also been translated (almost entirely) into English.

The fanfic page is in construction.

Tropes used in Xenogears:

  • Aborted Arc: As noted in A Rope of Robots, pretty much every character who joins the party after Bart has their attendant subplot reduced to a footnote or outright forgotten after the portion of the game in which you recruit them. Most egregiously, Rico has absolutely no significance after his moment of fame in Kislev; as Perfect Works notes, there was originally going to be a plot going into detail about Sigmund being his father; in the game itself, Hammer simply mentions this twist and it stops being important.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Karen and Kahn Wong: Karen was possessed by an ancient spirit and began to conduct horrific experiments on her son, Fei, upon learning he was the Contact, and years later Kahn stalked and psychologically tormented Fei under both the guise of the Wiseman and unwittingly as Grafh, though he did it as a Stealth Mentor in both cases.
    • Elly's parents, meanwhile, love her and want the best for her... they're just intractably linked to the Evil Empire that wants her and her boyfriend dead.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Krelian calls Fei Lacan, while Ramsus only acknowledges him as Id, the Demon of Elru for the majority of the game, and Emeralda calls him Kim until she grows up. Citan, meanwhile, is always "Hyuga," his Solarian name, to all of his former Gebler comrades.
  • Ace Custom: The most powerful normal Gears are these. Among the heroes' models, Heimdal, Brigandier, Stier and probably Renmazuo come to mind; the others are mainly Lost Technology.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Shevat and Solaris.
  • Aerith and Bob: Sophia, Maria, Billy, and Stone... meet Krelian, Seraphita, and Lacan.
  • After the End:
    • Zeboim was a civilization with technology analogous to our world Twenty Minutes into the Future. Miang and Cain engineered its destruction because of lifespan shortening genetic damage of its population. Nearly all the Gears excavated from the ruins of the world originated in the Zeboim era.
    • Five hundred years ago, Grahf unleashed the Diabolos to reset the world.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • This is a big part of Krelian's backstory: the man flipped his shit when Sophia sacrificed herself. He loved her, she thought they were Just Friends. He reasoned that a just God would not let Sophia die while Solaris continued to exist, thus there was no just God in the universe. His resolution to fix this problem led him to became the Magnificent Bastard Chessmaster that many fans considered him to be.
    • Domina also loves Ramsus, but he's so wrapped up in his own issues that he can't see it. Citan and Jessie set him straight by the end of the game, though.
  • All There in the Manual: All there in the Japanese-only "Perfect Works"— otherwise, good luck in understanding the whole thing, though there are fan-translated scans available online.
    • Even with the English translations, sometimes the answers are more confusing than the questions. Good luck in understanding the inner workings of the whole Deus/Kadamony/Zohar system, or the exact role of the different Pieces of God. There are plenty of schemas and charts, but they're not exactly crystal clear.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Remember terms within -dashes-? Well, in the Japanese version, these dashes were <pointy brackets>. You see, Xenogears' text system did not really support Furigana like, for example, Xenosaga's did, and so used one term without brackets to show what the character saying this term is meaning, while using the brackets to designate how they were supposed to be spoken. Like so: Stand back, Surface Dweller<Lamb>. In keeping with traditional English syntax, the best way to designate this in the US version could have been something like this: Stand back, Lamb(Surface Dweller). Unfortunately, the translator either did not know this or, more likely, thought it would look ugly, and thus let the characters use both terms most of the time, putting the furigana term -in dashes-. This leads to some oddities, though, such as Fei not getting what Elly means when using the term lamb, even though he must have gotten from the syntax that she was referring to "surface dwellers" (and thus would have to ask a completely different question). Furthermore, some stuff got lost or confused, such as the term Time(Reversal) of the Gospel, which was rendered -time- of the -gospel- In the English version. Much subtext is lost or changed this way...
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. Bart and Sigurd both have two separate character portraits to ensure that their eyepatches always cover the correct eyes.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: First, Deus spawned the human race to repair the damage it sustained and Miang is its primary agent across human history to ensure humanity grows the right way. Secondly, Cain and the Gazel Ministry create Solaris to control and direct the surface dwellers. Third, Krelian wants to manipulate all of the latter to achieve his own ends and travel the Path of Sephirot. Finally, the Zohar itself wants to use the -Contact-, in this case Fei, to destroy Deus and free itself.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The introduction for the game features a spaceship whose systems, under mysterious circumstances, lead to its destruction and crashing onto the planet. This event, and what it has to do with the main plot, is not explained until near the end, but most of the specific events and characters featured in it are really not important at all.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The rise and fall of Zeboim, or how Miang fixes her mistakes.
  • Apocalypse How: A Class 2 occurs by the end of the game. According to the backstory, Miang induces these at regular intervals. Also, before the start of the game, there was the interstellar war that Deus was built for. It is unclear how destructive it was, possibly ranging from Class 0 to almost Class 3.
  • Archaeological Arms Race: Most of the best Gears used in the war between Aveh and Kislev are dug up relics from previous wars, not newly manufactured. This naturally leads to conflicts over the best salvage sites.
  • Arc Words: Most of the terms within -dashes-. For example, -Time of the Gospel- isn't explained until disc 2/Perfect Works despite being used sporadically throughout disc 1 by Solaris officials.
  • Armies Are Evil: Subverted. Although many of the antagonists are members of Gebler, the only truly evil member of the armed forces is Miang.
  • Artificial Human: Emeralda, and also Ramsus, and even the whole of humankind.
  • Artistic License - Biology: The game writers seem to have some... interesting... ideas about how DNA works. Fan translations of Perfect Works have revealed that the weird backstory justifications for some of the technology in the game takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Krelian, after he loses no less.
  • Assist Character:
    • Margie assists Bart once; she was once meant to be a Player Character, who got demoted NPC status.
    • Miang assists Ramsus every time he fights the player, until she becomes a boss herself.
  • Attack Drone: The Aerodes on some gears are basically the funnels or bits from the Gundam series: small remote weapons controlled by special people (elementals in xenogears' case) that mount small beam guns to execute multi-range attacks.
  • Badass:
    • ID: Taking on a couple of gears with his bare hands, hurling a warship onto another gear, and utterly devastating Solaris during his Roaring Rampageof Revenge.
    ???:That was pretty interesting. But dropping a warship on me is cheating... Take it back!
    • Grahf: Also taking on a party of gears with his bare hands, and his badassness transcends mortality, mostly as a response to his snapping out of his Heroic BSOD caused by the death of the current incarnation of Elly, back when he was Lacan. He also enjoys giving other characters a level in badass.
    Grahf: My fist is the divine breath!
  • Badass Armfold: Alpha Weltall never leaves this pose, not even when it's kicking your ass or saving Elly's life. Bonus points for performing it atop a Gear-sized rock and in front of an enormous red moon so as to look as awesome as possible.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Several party members but Fei is the best example.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Sigurd is a rare male example. Emeralda does this too when she grows up.
  • Bee People: Solaris is intentionally structured like this, with the "worker bees" living in the dregs, and the nobles living in a maze of shopping malls and indoor suburbs. The lower-class citizens bunk in beehive-shaped living quarters, with each hexagon comprising a single unit. These hexagons are also detachable via cranes.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Played straight, toyed with, explored and subverted. While the main character is a bona fide Chosen One, it could be argued that the entire story of the game is a cosmic, magnficent Gambit Roulette perpetrated by one of the central villains in an effort to first fulfill the destiny of the universe and then subvert it so that he can have his cake and eat it too.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Elly, who upon seeing her father be killed in Solaris, briefly manifests more of her powers than she should be able to (since she hasn't accessed all her genetic memories yet.) The villains who provoke this reaction are still so much more powerful than her at the time that it doesn't help, but it does show she will become someone that you really shouldn't mess with.
    • There's also a sketch in the Perfect Works of Margie showing off a stash of concealed weaponry hidden under her cloak.
    • Fei. One on the nicest fellow you will ever meet, he is also the most powerfull being this side of the Wave Existence: if you get on his literal bad side Genocide will ensue
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Gazel Ministry keeps track of your movements through the game's save points.
  • Bland-Name Product: Bartweiser.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Averted. There are many errors in the translation script, but considering that the translator was all alone on this project (after other translators actually quit or begged to be reassigned to another project), had a VERY tight deadline and even had to do some coding himself, this is forgivable. You certainly cannot say he lacked dedication either - the man took to sleeping in his bureau in order to get the game done!
  • Blood Knight: Id. When he shows up, asses get kicked.
  • Body Horror: When humans start reverting to their true state: the Wels, a.k.a. body parts for Deus.
  • Body Surf: Grahf and Miang have existed like this for 500 and 10000 years, respectively.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Bloody Bros., reincarnations of Redrum, who appear as normal enemies in Solaris. And you have to fight two at once! Thankfully they're rare.
  • Boss Rush: If fighting Elly's strike team AND the Elements more than once wasn't bad enough, Disc 2 is literally nothing but boss fights broken up by at least 6 hours worth of text.
  • Break the Cutie: Elly, who gets to see her parents get killed, and then watch as her entire civilization is destroyed. Not to mention immediately afterward that she learns that Fei is Id. This leads a brief Heroic BSOD
  • Bridge Bunnies: In the opening movie.
  • Broken Ace: Big Joe may not look like much, but he is in fact an award-winning actor, Pulitzer Prize winner and star athlete who took home trophies from the NBA, MLB Triple Crown, Wimbledon Grandslam and WWE Championship. At one of his numerous prize ceremonies, he fell over, got brain damage and was later locked in a nanoreactor and placed in suspended animation before Zeboim fell. He woke up 4000 years later, the unstoppable blue suede juggernaut that he is today.
  • Broken Aesop: You learn relatively early on in the game that the drug, "Drive" is bad and makes you kill people. After an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight with a drugged Elly, Fei says something to the effect that she shouldn't do drugs. Later in the game, you'll find and be able to purchase drive to increase your stats, with no ill effect.
  • Broken Bridge: A mix of this and NPC Roadblock is lampshaded to hilarious effect.
    Bart: That Margie! Leaving a stuffed animal in a place like this! Because of this, we can't get into the bridge.
  • Cain and Abel: Yeah.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: So, so very much, Fei.
  • The Cameo: Lucca from Chrono Trigger appears near the beginning to explain part of the game engine.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: Zeboim, an ancient civilization that blew itself up through nuclear war. A good deal of its technology was lost. It's also revealed that another incarnation of Fei and Elly were here, when they created Emeralda.
  • Character Filibuster: The true climax of the game is Fei and Krelian's debate and what's better, a life free of pain but also bereft of individualism or a life of suffering but with people you love and care about.
  • Character Portrait
  • Chekhov's Gun: You think that there might be a badass story about how Bart and Sigurd lost their eye? Nope, turns out it was caused by a mechanical accident on the Yggdrasil. However, their eyes do play a bigger role in a future event.
  • The Chessmaster: Krelian and Miang.
  • The Chosen One: Fei Fong Wong is the slayer of god and the Contact.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Big Joe. He was once a famous boxer from Zeboim until he got hit on the head and started thinking he was Elvis, yes that Elvis. He then got locked in a cryogenic chamber and emerged 4,000 years later and began wandering the planet generally making a wonderful ass of himself. Eventually, once the world goes to shit, he ends up back down in the ruins of Zeboim as a merchant selling the best Gear equipment in the game.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: there is an infamous scene where the heroes' Humongous Mecha are crucified at the top of a mountain with the sun setting behind them - creating an unintentionally hilarious moment if your party contains the Team Pet, Chuchu. This led to the Memetic Mutation "Chu-chu died for your sins."
  • Crutch Character: Bart too. He's useful for most of the first disc, and is the first to get his Infinity Plus One Gear, which has abnormally high HP for that point in the game. But towards the end of the game there's not much he can do that somebody else can't do better.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Half of the game's dialogue. The Gazel Ministry to the point of hilarity.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Weltall-ID- dismembers Ramsus's Wyvern then drops the Yggdrasil on Bart.
    • Ramsus shows up out of fucking nowhere in Vendetta and tears Weltall limb-from-limb at the end of Disc One.
    • Fei pays him back at the start of Disc Two.
    • Elly gets mauled by a pair of Krelian's -Wel- Gears and that's virtually the last that's seen of her for the rest of the game.
    • When Grahf does fight you in his Gear, it's a Hopeless Boss Fight. Although it is possible to win the battle by making use of certain equipment for your gear and spamming the hell out of him with accuracy-lowering status afflictions, for which you are rewarded with a rare item. But nonetheless, his Gear is still standing upon his "defeat" and the scene following the battle is the same as it would be if you were defeated.
    • Oh, and that piss-poor final boss Urobolus that pretty much is no challenge at all? That's Miang. Feel better about that battle now?
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Grahf shows up and beats the shit out the party aboard the Goliath. For emphasis, he's on foot and your party members are all in Gear, and even then, the only thing keeping him from being that one boss is that he won't attack Elly.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Too many instances to count. Usually in the flavor of "spectacular failure right after defeating a boss".
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Gears can fly. FLY. But apparently something happened that rendered their flight systems out of commission when they got to the "Tower of Babel" Arc.
  • Cute Bruiser: Maria. Useless on foot, but an unstoppable monster in her Gear.
  • Darker and Edgier: In keeping with Square's "dark years" of the late 90s, following on the heels of games like Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics, Parasite Eve and Bushido Blade. In fact, part of the reason Xenogears wasn't a Final Fantasy game itself is because the plot was determined to be too dark for a mainline FF title.
  • Darkest Hour: Most of disc 2.
  • Death by Cameo: Lucca appears to explain how Memory Cubes work. After Lahan is destroyed, she's never seen again. Considering something very similar happens before the start of Chrono Cross...
  • Defeating the Undefeatable:
    • The premise of the game is to kill "God". Though it turns out to be a physical false god that's simply trapping the benevolent metaphysical god in the material universe. It's still pretty damn tough though.
    • An in-battle example is Alpha Weltall at Mahanon. It is defeatable, but the deck is so stacked against you that the game continues on as if you lost. It is the only winnable scripted battle in the entire game.
    • It is also possible to defeat Rico, but probably only with gameshark cheats, whereas it was possible to defeat Alpha Weltall without gameshark cheats. The game still continues as if you had lost though.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Xenogears did this an awful lot. Bart, Elly, Rico, Maria, and Emerelda are all initially bosses before joining the party. Though in the case of Elly, she already had a brief stint as a party member before she's fought and joins up as a permanent party member after that.
    • Id is fought as a boss too, but since he's actually Fei, defeating him just means you get control over Fei back.
    • You also have to defeat the Xenogears before you get to control it.
    • Ramsus was meant to be one of these, but was cut for budgetary reasons.
  • Defecting for Love: Elly. She starts the game on the side of the enemy, but soon becomes a vital part of Fei's team. And yes, they do eventually kiss. And have sex. Then again, they have been lovers for one hundred effing centuries: Their current incarnations are implied to be the first to live happily instead of, you know, getting murdered by the Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: Targetting Fei, in favor of a wrestler.
  • Degraded Boss: Redrum, whom you encounter in the sewers of Kislev, is widely considered That One Boss. Later, a Palette Swap of him called Bloody is encountered on the Wels ship as a miniboss, and in Solaris, two of them, called Bloody Brothers, can be fought at once in random encounters. All iterations have similar same stats and get progressively easier to fight.
  • Depopulation Bomb: A combination of the Limiter Release, the turning of the Gaetia Key, and Deus's reactivation turns approximately 90% of the populations into -Wels-, then ultimately into either Seraphs or just spare parts for Deus. This is the in-game reason why almost all the locations you visited on disc 1 are inaccessible on disc 2 - every single person that you met there is dead. Only the wreckage of Shevat and Nortune are inhabited - the former by the only humans on the planet even trying to survive, as the latter contains only nihilistic gladiators whaling on each other in the arena.
  • Demoted to Extra: By the time Disc Two rolls around, Fei, Elly, Citan and Bart are the only playable characters who are really important to the plot anymore. By that point in the game, the villains get more dialogue than most party members.
  • Detonation Moon: Fei's Big Bang spell
  • Deus Est Machina: It's even named Deus. Played a little more straight than usual; Deus actually is the creator "god" of humanity, though not "God" as is usually understood.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You kill God. Twice. The first time is in the cargo hold of the USS Eldridge, where the remains of the original Deus are found; the second time is the resurrected Deus, which serves as the game's Final Boss.
  • Diesel Punk: Look at Kislev's slums.
  • Disaster Democracy: When the world is reduced to about a few thousand people at the end of the game, they hide in the arctic circle and band together to survive.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Grahf and the "Executioner" (Miang) are the last playable bosses on Disc One, but the disc goes on for at least another hour after that and culminates in an unplayable Curb-Stomp Battle between Weltall and Ramsus's new Omnigear Vendetta.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Solaris.
  • Disc One Nuke: Elly's Aerods with an Ether Doubler equipped. Mass destruction. Or if you do not want to use fuel, her normal spells with an Ether Doubler can achieve lesser but still broken results.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Fei's hometown of Lahan gets razed, and almost all of his friends get killed off in horrible fashion. "I don't like Gears or fighting," he eventually says. The Call didn't care.
    • Happens again mid-way through the game with Elly when Id tears Solaris a new one.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: All over the place. The worst offenders would have to be Citan and the Gazel Ministry, though. Almost every panel of their dialogue uses it.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Twice. Within 30 minutes of each other, no less. Though there is a good reason for that...
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Miang's Omnigear Opiomorph is glimpsed in storage in a vat of water (for some reason) deep in the inner workings of Solaris. The ominous music that plays in the background and the fact that Citan gets all creeped out about it instantly tells you that this will not be the last time you're going to be seeing this thing. And boy how'dy, you'd be right about that. The water was apparently full of nanomachines, as stated by Citan. This comes up again when you actually fight Opiomorph, plot wise. No matter how much damage you inflict on it, the nanomachines will repair it.
    • In the opening movie, Deus appears onscreen for about five seconds (and again shortly after for less than a second). It takes him upwards of 45 hours to make a proper appearance.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The game ends on a hopeful note despite its crushing cynicism.
  • Earth Is Young: Played with. In an inversion of the norm, the official Ethos church doctrine states that humans evolved from apes. In actuality, the humans that live on this planet were created by the giant bio-weapon Deus 10,000 years ago in order to act as spare parts to repair its damage. The humans that created Deus presumably evolved from apes on Earth but they are mostly a separate gene pool from Deus' created humans. So yeah.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: At least with Gear fights. Random encounters aren't much trouble, but bosses are more difficult. Bosses can outlast your resources. If you aren't careful, you'll run out of fuel, which almost every action consumes some of. Using the "Charge" command can help you regain it, but it'll only restore 30 fuel out of literally thousands of your original amount. You can only charge more very late in the game with Hyper Mode, and Charger items.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Deus. Technically, its an Eldridge Abomination.
  • The Empire: The Sacred Empire of Solaris.
    • Kislev also has some accents of this, at least compared to Aveh (which is more The Kingdom but has been taken over by an Evil Chancellor). It looks like a militaristic and industrial nation, Nortune is a rather grim and dirty city (whereas Bledavik is a quite pleasant and lively place), and the nation is ruled by a kaiser, which is a german word for "emperor". On the other hand, it is slightly mitigated by the personality of the current kaiser, who despite other flaws, is extremely lucid about the economic and social cost of war and is more interested in his people's wellbeing than in just conquering Aveh for the sake of it.
  • Elvis Impersonator: Joey "Big Joe" Balboa.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Miang. Do not underestimate her.
  • Enneagram of Personality: Used extensively and accurately for almost all the characters.
  • Evil Chancellor: Shakhan used to be the prime minister of the old Fatima king (Bart's father) before taking control of Aveh. It turns out he is just a pawn for Gebler and Solaris, but that just means he is still a chancellor/viceroy and is still evil.
  • Evil Gloating: Grahf loves bragging about killing Fei's father, how sweet his death scream was and the like. It turns out he's lying, since he didn't kill Kahn but stole his body, and his control is less than perfect. Anyway he still completely fulfils this trope.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: A few of them, two notable examples are Krelian's blue hair turning beige after he joined Solaris and Emeralda's hair suddenly shortening after she grows up.
  • Expy: Fei Fong Wong is an homage to mythical Chinese hero Wong Fei Hung, previously played by Jet Li in the Once Upon A Time in China series and Jackie Chan in the Drunken Master series.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Played, but downplayed, by Bart. Bart is something of a Bad Ass in that he's a pirate captain, prince/king, rebel leader, sailor (man of the sea!), mechanic, and warrior/gear pilot. But he's also shown to have a real soft side and defies most tough guy tropes. Sigurd plays it straight, being essentially a pirate 1st mate and ex-elite badass from Solaris.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: The nation of Nimrod, described only in Perfect Works.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Hammer turns on the party because he cannot stand being a Muggle in the midst of extraordinary people.
  • Fanservice: An easter egg featuring a scantily clad Elly was planned, but never came to be because they didn't have time to implement it.
  • Fanservice Cover: Subverted. While Perfect Works does feature a nude Elhaym and Miang, keep in mind Gnosticism often had Sophia naked, too. Not to mention the fact that the people Perfect Works was aimed at would not be reading it for the fanservice, but would instead use it to try to explain the game's very confusing plot.
  • Fantastic Racism: The people who live in the city of the sky refer to the surface-dwelling humans as -lambs-. It's also hinted that demihumans don't have it that great. Life's not easy when you look like a llama.
  • Fatal Family Photo: The Eldridge's Captain takes a moment to glance at a pocket-watch photo of his wife and child, then blows the ship up.
  • Faux Action Girl: Elly is supposed to be one of the elite in Gebler, and beyond that is also the Messiah. You'd think that would count for something, but half of the time she's still a Damsel in Distress. She does manage to be, by far, your most powerful Gear character throughout most of the game, mainly until she's no longer in your party.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Yui. Not only is she the greatest swordsman in the world, but she's also the greatest cook.
  • Final Exam Boss: Deus is a lot easier if you take out its four "pillars"
  • Five-Man Band: The first five characters to join the party fit this dynamic nicely:
  • Flash Back Echo: Elly speaks to a mob of wels, offering to sacrifice her body to them in order to ease their pain. In the middle of her speech, the game flashes back to Sophia, one of her previous incarnations, saying the same words.
  • Floating Continent: The cities of Shevat and Solaris.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: Grahf has a tendency to do this, along with a more general tendency to be a ridiculously Large Ham whenever he makes an appearance. "Dost thou desire the power?"
  • Follow the Leader: It's the story of angst-ridden protagonist sucked into circumstances he barely even understands who hates mechs and fighting, and is prone to going on destructive rampages with his mech. The game also has tons of Contemplate Our Navels and vague foreshadowing, an Omniscient Council of Vagueness and an Assimilation Plot. Does any of this sound familiar?
    • The two even share some of the same animators (both being animated by Production I.G), which is why cutscenes resemble Evangelion's art style. It's also unclear exactly how much got its influence from Evangelion and how much was coincidentalnote 
    • Some of it may be a coincidence, as Takahashi was apparently interested in Humongous Mecha and religion since childhood.
  • Forever War: The war between Aveh and Kislev has been going on hundreds of years, and none of the participants remember why it started. By the time it ends though, the protagonists have much bigger problems to deal with.
  • Freudian Excuse: Probably more than half the cast uses this to some degree. Most notably, of course, is the main protagonist and one of the main antagonists, Fei/Id/Grahf and Krelian.
  • From Bad to Worse: Essentially the final hours of Disc 1, and most of Disc 2.
  • Gainax Ending: The entire second disc. All world map exploration and mini-games were left out of Disc 2 and replaced with cutscenes of the characters sitting on a rocking chair and telling the player about their adventure. It's been rumored that this was due to a sudden, severe lack of time and funding, because of Final Fantasy VIII's production. As for the actual ending, it's probably the clearest thing in the game.
  • Gambit Pileup: By the time you reach the second disc you're probably thoroughly confused as to who's working for whom. The three top-level factions are Krelian/Miang, Cain/Citan, and Grahf.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: See Broken Aesop above.
    • Another fairly irritating example is Babel Tower, a lengthy vertical platforming gear level which requires some fairly precise jumps (which leads to a lot of falling down and having to repeat the section to try again), despite the fact that several times before AND after this it's shown that your gears can fly.
  • Gang Initiation Fight: When Fei is thrown into D Block prison, he has to fight the current Battle Champ Rico and four of his subordinates as part of a "Baptism" ceremony.
  • Gnosticism: The overall story of Xenogears is an almost exact re-telling of Gnostic mythology. Surprisingly averts Faux Symbolism in the sense of how true the game stays to the original Gnostic religion. So many games mindlessly rip names and ideas from ancient religion without grasping the broader context; the creators of Xenogears obviously did their research.
    • A big part of it is the notion that the physical universe was created by a huge physical god who is extraordinarily powerful, but ultimately self-serving and cruel, and just a shadow of the real supreme being that surpasses time and space. Similarly Deus, the AI super weapon that birthed all humans on the Xeno planet, is ancient beyond compare and incredibly powerful, but it's nothing compared to the benevolent Wave Existence.
  • Genetic Memory: Fei and Elly can remember each and every one of their past lives this way, but not until close to the end of the game.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Between the presence of several rather bloody cutscenes, subversive religious messages, and sporadic sexual content including at least one pixelated penis, (not to mention the game's overall dark tone) it's almost a wonder the game got away with a T rating in America. The game did not succeed in getting past the radar in Japan, where it got a D rating by CERO. This would be the Japanese equivalent of ESRB's M rating (17+).
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Citan does this to Ramsus near the end of the game.
  • Giant Eye Of Doom: Deus hibernates in a silver plated dome surrounded by eyes.
  • God Is Evil: The creator of mankind turns out to be a previously broken malevolent interstellar war machine in severe need of death. Well, the creator of the humans on that planet, anyway. The creator of the entire universe shows up later on, who's basically a decent guy (for a horrifying Physical God anyway) who just wants to go back home after being trapped in the universe he accidentally created for billions of years.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Elements. They waffle between this and Quirky Miniboss Squad becuase they're actually some pretty tough recurring bosses, but while Domina at least is a rather credible threat to the party's wellbeing, the other three... aren't.
  • Goomba Stomp: The typical result when someone tries to take on a Gear or Gear-sized enemy on foot. The key word here is typical.
  • Grey Goo: Deus is literally made of the stuff.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Elly is introduced holding Fei at gunpoint. Once she starts fighting, though, she switches to a pair of metal batons, presumably because of this trope.
    • On the other hand, Billy's attacks are certainly powerful. You're probably using him for his awesome healing spells instead, though.
  • The Gunslinger: Billy and Jessie. Shows off some awesome Gun Kata as Deathblows.
  • Homage: The fight between Fei and a crazy Elly and the location Deus show that Tetsuya Takahasi really likes G Gundam.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Emperor Cain has come to regret his actions over the past 10,000 years, including personally killing Elly's first incarnation.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Happens many, many times to Fei.
    • Maria during her fight against Achtzehn.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Id. He is actually a villain, and the "comedic" part is all Black Comedy, but he's so awesome that no one really cares.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The most notable are Elly's father Erich at Solaris and Maria's father Nikolai.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Fei wants Elly and eventually gets her.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: Humans left Earth in AD 2510 due to a space-time anomaly. The only reference to Earth in the game, though, is in the intro, and it is called "the main planet."
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: A few encounters with Grahf and Id. It is possible to defeat Grahf in his Weltall, but the odds are so stacked against you that it's nigh-impossible unless you're very lucky. Id is impossible to win against even if you cheat, as he'll start dealing damage much faster than you can heal.
  • How We Got Here: Almost the entirety of Disc 2 consists of this.
  • Human Popsicle: Big Joe, a celebrity from the Zeboim era who was accidentally cryofrozen for 4000 years. No really, it's All There in the Manual (Perfect Works, in this case).
  • Humongous Mecha: All over the place. Taken Up to Eleven with Super Dimensional Gear Yggdrasil IV, which was literally an entire district of Nortune.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender: Ramsus was genetically engineered to be an artificial -Contact-, but was literally thrown in the trash heap as a baby after Fei was discovered. To his credit, he survived and crawled his way up to a position of status and made life a living hell for all his detractors simply by continuing to exist. Which was all part of the plan.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Fei and Elly, Maria and Nikolai, Elly and Id, Fei and Grahf.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Along with Lampshade Hanging and Meaningful Name. Who names their factory "Soylent System," anyway?' In Japan, Soylent Green isn't an iconic movie where everyone knows the twist, so Japanese gamers wouldn't instantly put two and two together.
    • The wels, mutated humans, also consume human flesh as a way to ease the pain of their transformation.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Jumping into the well in Lahan will get you a series of horrible well-related puns.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Kahran Ramsus appears as a primary villain early on, and with his [[{{Bishonen prettyboy]] features, white hair and usage of a sword as his weapon seems destined to be the Big Bad. By the end of the game his wallflower-like personal assistant has turned out to be the real Big Bad, he finds out he's a failed clone designed to mimic the powers of the Emperor and is abandoned by his masters for his repeated failures. He's basically the only character in the game more fucked up than the main hero.
  • Inevitable Tournament Twice. Once with gears, once without.
  • Justified Save Point: The Gazel Ministry reads your saves from the Memory Cubes to keep tabs on you. This is carried over to Chrono Cross, which shared the same development team, with the Records of Fate in a similar fashion.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Try explaining this game's plot and characterization to someone with no knowledge of it. Just try. Even a lot of people that have played the game still have no idea what's going on.
  • Karma Houdini: Krelian. After all he did, he still gets to "[go] to walk with God."
  • King Incognito: Hilarously played with when Bart and his friends are "infliltrating" Aveh's capital Bledavik to rescue Margie. Bart is a Noble Fugitive, the crown prince of the legitimate Fatima ruling dynasty of Aveh whose throne was usurpated by the current ruler. He is also a highly wanted pirate. Yet, he just enters the city, with his highly recognizable Eyepatch of Power, whip and signature Fatima blue eyes, not even wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise. Still, the guards couldn't care less and let him walk in without any suspicion. But we can't help bursting into laugh when at the first inn he visits, someone asks him "Excuse me, are you Prince Bartholomew Fatima ?".
  • Kissing Cousins: Bart and Margie. It's suggested that the Fatimas do a lot of this in order to maintain the purity of the "Fatima Jasper" the stunning blue eyes possessed by members of the Fatima royal family... and their bastards.
  • Large Ham: Big Joe. GREAT... and DYNAMIC!
    • The Captain of the Thames.
    "I am! * strikes pose* A man! * strikes pose* of the SEA! * explosion* "
  • Laser-Guided Tykebomb: Ramsus, for Emperor Cain.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Chu-Chu and Hammer.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Alice's Wedding Dress
  • Let's Play:
    This may be explained sixty hours from now, but it will never actually make sense without or even with the three hundred page supplementary texts. Welcome to Xenogears.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: The final battle with Deus implies that it has come to believe in its own hype. Deus' physical shell is a winged form with crossed legs, along with an 'angel' on each hand.
  • Like That Show but with Mecha: It's largely based on The Bible, and has giant robots.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Somewhat averted. However, Rico never takes his big orange bomb collar off even though he technically hasn't been a "prisoner" of the Kislev Empire for quite some time.
    • Played ridiculously straight with Fei, whose incarnation from 500 years ago, Lacan, is wearing the exact same outfit.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: In the upper range of the double digits.
  • Long Game: In order to revive Deus, Miang and the Gazel Ministry have been manipulating all of human civilization for 10,000 years.
  • Lost Colony: The Xenogears planet
  • Lost Forever: Lots, not only shop stock changes but within the very first town, where you're presumably just running around getting used to the game, there's a solid handful of items that will later pay off but you cannot get later - including an item you won't get to trade in for a useful item until the very end of the game.
  • Lost Technology: Two layers: the Eldridge-era technology (Babel Tower, Ft. Jasper), and the later Zeboim-era technology (Gears in general). Most all was take from the "Eldridge" though. What is the main reason why you had the remains of a spaceship gunwhale over 40 km in length sticking out of the ground for over 10000 years and chock full of tech not bringing you back up to par? No one but a child was left who understood the original language.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Grahf is Lacan, who despaired after Elly sacrificed herself and told him "Live!".
  • Luck-Based Mission: The dreaded "RPS" minigame. Basically, you have to win five games of Rock-Paper-Scissors in a row (although a draw doesn't count against you). And no, you can't go and save after each win; leaving the room resets the counter.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Grahf is Fei's father, Kahn Wong. More correctly, he was born as Lacan, a past life of Fei, and is currently possessing Kahn Wong. Also, Bart and Sigurd are half-brothers.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Emeralda is an Artificial Human made by Kim, one of Fei's previous incarnations. Emeralda regards Kim, and later, Fei, as her father.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The Zohar powers Gears and Ether, and once the Wave Existence is freed, the Zohar engine is destroyed and Deus is defeated, all gears but Xenogears cease functioning. Ether also goes away in a more traditional fashion.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: It's heavily implied that Fei and Elly begin a sexual relationship near the conclusion of disc two. And by "heavily implied" we mean "She has a frickin' Modesty Bedsheet in the aftermath".
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Id, Fei's Superpowered Evil Side, is named after the Freudian unconscious of primal drives; Elhaym / Elly evokes Elohim, one of the names given to the Judaeo-Chistian God; Miang / Myah is occasionally spelt Myahle, the reverse of Elhaym in the artbook.
    • Not to mention that Hawwa, used to designate the first Miang, the original woman, is an academic transliteration of חַוָּה, (Ḥawwāh), also known as Hava or Chava, the Hebrew form of Eve.
    • Krelian is properly "Karellen," named after the leader of the Overlords from Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End.
    • Ramsus comes from Ramses, better known as Ozymandias, King of Kings. Ramsus is a clone of Emperor Cain, the de facto ruler of all humanity.
    • Citan's real surname when he's Hyuuga is properly spelled 'Rikudou'. For the reason why, it's best to look at the following URL.Ta-da.
    • The Family Name vanHouten means "from the forest". And Fei meets Elly in the forest.
    • This game is plagued by some - iffy Romanization. Gebler should have been Gevurah (גבורה) (...Che!?!), one of the spheres on the Tree of Life. It represents severity and judgement. For more information, Wikipedia is your friend! The NA audience missed out on a lot of plot cookies because the poor localization team got rushed to hell.
    • Gear names usually have connotations. They’re usually either Gratuitous Foreign Words (Like Seibzehn and Achtzehn), or named after figures from mythology and religion Alkanshel, Wyvern, and Fenrir, for example.) And then of course you have and Calamity and Bladegash…
    • Most of the locations are named after Hebrew months (which confusingly actually originate in Babylonian): Kislev, Shvat, Elul, Nisan, Aveh (actually Av) and Thames (actually Tammuz).
    • Zeboim is one of the sister towns of the famed Sodom and Gomorrah, which was destroyed with them.
    • Jesiah is a portmanteau of "Jesus" and "Messiah." It’s probably to contrast his hatred of the Ethos church, which is obviously based on Catholicism. ("Ethos," incidentally, means "shared fundamental traits.")
  • Meta Mecha: -Super Dimensional Gear Yggdrasil IV- was an entire district of Nortune City before it launched.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Fei, usually as Id.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The dimensions of the Eldridge are incredible, measured at over 40 kilometers and several billion tons by rough estimates.
  • Mind Screw:
    • The storyline is a bit messy and hard to understand, though Perfect Works clears some of it up.
    • "Just remember: if you ever have a good idea of what's going on in Xenogears, then Xenogears isn't doing its job."
    • Number of plotlines: 13. Deus's creation and the Soylent System, the Wave Existence reincarnating Fei and Elly, Shevat's involvement with Solaris, Grahf trying to make Fei become Id, Krelian's plot to find Deus, Aveh's war with Kislev, Ramsus and his reason for existing, Aveh's government, the Gears from the Zeboim civilization, the rebellion against Solaris that Lacan was part of, Citan being part of Solaris, some of the characters meeting at Jugend, and Nikolai being inside one of the Gears.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Used for both Miang/Ramsus and Elly/Fei, albeit in slightly different ways. Miang and Ramsus start off using the sheet, then when they get out of bed, Ramsus is wearing Magic Briefs and Miang is nude from the waist up, only showing her back to the camera. With Elly and Fei, Elly does the "sitting up with the sheet pulled up over her breasts" routine.
  • Mood Whiplash: The game wasn't initially much darker than the average Square game for the first disc, but disc two quickly, unrelentingly becomes one of Square's darkest games.
  • Mouth Flaps: In Disc 1, they're relatively well synced. By the time the budget ran out for Disc 2, They Just Didn't Care.
  • Muggles:
    • Constantly subverted and explored, among others in Hammer, who ends up betraying the party out of despair and bitterness over being an ordinary person surrounded by heroic, special people. He's got a point, too, since...
    • ...In addition to this, most "ordinary" people are fated to be simple building material for the physical body of Deus, and thus consigned to a bitter fate of becoming bloodthirsty monsters in perpetual pain, an injustice that essentially causes the downfall of civilization, and is a matter of significant shame and misery to the game's heroes, who being special people don't encounter such ill effects.
    • Also, in a world chock full of destined heroes, immortal forces of evil and ancient conspiracies, most defined by near-magical superpowers and the power of fate, Krelian managed to become the de-facto leader of the world's strongest nation and the nearest thing to a lord over the fate of the universe, with nothing but the power of science, his wits and manipulation.
    • And arguably, the entire point of Ramsus' character is that he was made to be an imitation of something special, then simply discarded when the real thing turned up. That said, perhaps because of his nature as a clone of Emperor Cain, he can interface with all 12 Anima relics
  • Multilayer Façade: The mysterious masked man called "Wiseman" who fights in Fei's style, the mysterious Darth Vader-like guy Graf who hunts him, and Fei's own father are all actually the same person.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Most of the protagonist's Gears attack by punching and kicking their enemies. In Real Life (besides the impracticality of Humongous Mecha in the first place), imagine a semi truck slamming into you. Now imagine that truck as a thin iron bar coming after you and going to IMPALE you. Compare that to a Gear's fist and big toe, respectively.
  • Musical Spoiler: Omen is a remix of Light From the Netherworlds, the latter of which plays in the game's opening sequence. Omen plays in parts of the Eldridge and during events relating to Deus.
  • Mysterious Backer: Wiseman.
  • Nanomachines: The buzzword of Disc Two and late Disc One. Emeralda, Deus, and Miang's Omnigear Opiomorph are completely comprised of nanomachines. It's even stated in The Perfect Works that in order to defeat Opiomorph, every last namomachine that comprises it needs to be completely obliterated at the subatomic level otherwise it will completely regenerate.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The releases the genetic limiters placed on the surface dwelling population by Solaris that made humanity weak, ignorant, and generally fearful of Solair/Emperor Cain by instinct ultimately ends with a good chunk of people mutating into Wels, and then into spare parts of Deus after the Gaetia Key is turned.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Grahf, so very much. "Even if I go to hell, I will live until the end of the world, and if the world does not end; I will destroy it myself." He's such a bad-ass, though, and he had a rather heroic reason: He was trying to fulfill a promise.
  • No Sell: All of Achtzehn's attacks when trying to fight Big!Chu-Chu.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Hammer, after he kills Medena.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Krelian ends up killing them all before they do anything but provide uselessly vague exposition. He also tells them all to shut up as he's killing them, leading to one of his multitude of CMoAs over the course of Disc Two. Their conversation is only vague and useless if you've haven't already completed the game, and maybe even if you did. Many of what is said is actually pretty interesting once you've already know most the story. Either way, their conversations are completely within the context of the story considering their experiences, knowledge, and arrogance, even if many have no idea what they're talking about.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
  • One-Man Army: Fei and Id. Id has destroyed entire countries, and the player as Fei, gets to bust through a team of enemy Special Forces, including a drugged out Elly, and then an entire border fleet, fairly early in the game.
  • One True Faith: Averted; there are at least two major world religions. One of them is evil though, natch.
  • Organic Technology: It's a little hard to see given the limited graphics power of the PlayStation, but the artwork in the Perfect Works book shows that all the Omnigears and Deus in its final forms are all in some way organic. There's a line in the game around the time of Andvari's discovery that says something to this effect, but it's easily missable and it's not that big of a plot point in the game until Miang drags her Grey Goo-powered Opiomorph out of storage and whoops your ass with it.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: Deus is very powerful and capable of creating life, but is really just a malevolent interstellar war machine, capable of being destroyed. The Wave Existence is an extradimensional being of unfathomable power, but its only concern is to go back to its own dimension. Its destructibility is unknown.
  • Out of Focus: Pretty much everyone who joins the party after Bart doesn't get much of the spotlight after the plotline where they're introduced. Rico, in particular, is given nothing unique to do after the party leaves Kislev.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Ethos is a church that purports to offer aid and salvation to the unfortunate, and that exterminates the mutant "Reapers" or "Wels" that appear in the world and threaten humanity. However, it is in fact a front for the nation of Solaris, to keep the humans living on the surface docile and under control, and to furnish Solaris with excavated resources and slave labor. Oh, and they also are involved in deploying and keeping track of the Wels as well as exterminating them.
  • Person of Mass Destruction:
    • Id. Part of the reason he freaks Ramsus out so much is that Ramsus once saw Id destroy an entire squad of Gears. On foot and by himself. Not to mention that Id once singlehandedly destroyed an entire continent. Ramsus' subordinate Dominia is the sole survivor of that particular rampage. Possibly his crowning moment comes at the end of disc one. You know Solaris, the Evil Empire that's been hyped up as the Big Bad for the entire game thus far? Yeah, that one takes him about ten minutes.
    • Grahf also qualifies, given that in one battle, he wastes your characters in Gears while he's on foot. Of course, this is justified considering that he's basically the same person as Id, just from a past incarnation, and managed to survive as a spirit possessing other bodies. Or something like that, anyway.
  • Pieces of God: Oh my. God is a true jigsaw puzzle in Xenogears. Some core parts are buried into the sea, then there are the twelve Anima Relics, Miang has a role to play in it too, and most of the human population are spare part. Most of the game metaplot is actually about conflicts between factions fighting over if, how, when and why God should be rebuild.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Subverted: Alice's wedding dress is absolutely beautiful, but she dies before she gets a chance to wear it. Dan hangs on to it and gives it to Fei out of pure spite to remind him that he's the reason Alice is dead. Joke's on Dan though, as the dress is equipable and has some fairly decent stats to it.
  • Plot Armor: So it turns out the entire population of the planet save for about a thousand people are dead... but hey! None of them were friends of the main characters!
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Subverted: obtaining adult Emeralda is entirely superfluous to the plot. Curiously, she appears as an adult in the ending cinematic regardless of whether or not you did the sidequest.
  • Post Final Boss: Urobolus.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Fei Wong's hair is dark but turns red when he becomes Id.
  • Power Gives You Wings:
    • Id's Gear has several energy wings coming out of the spikes on its back.
    • Bart also (somewhat nonsensically) gets a pair in one of his Deathblows.
    • The Xenogears itself has energy wings when it goes into hyper mode. The explanation is that the wings are the gears' superheated exhaust.
  • Power Limiter: Nanomachines again. They're inherent in every human to keep them afraid of Solaris and unable to attain the limits of their potential power; these are removed by Gaspar to allow your characters to use Level 7 Deathblows. Also, in the second disc, Fei is given a limiter to allow him to use Id semi-controllably. This breaks down right before he gets Xenogears.
  • Puzzle Boss: Had quite a few, especially in the Gear battles where each could only be feasible defeated at your level by fighting a certain way, but Deus is memorable in that every time you attack, he heals for all his HP. His HP is huge, and in no way could you do enough damage to kill him in this way. The true method to killing him is by letting him keep using his only move, which halves the hp of everyone on the field, and then tearing into him when his health is low enough to kill in one turn.
  • Psycho Serum: -Drive-. Which is made all the weirder by the fact that you can buy it from Big Joe at the end of the game. And it gives you permanent increases to your stats— with no bad side effects or penalties to other stats, no matter how many you use.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    I AM...
    A MAN...
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Elements, Elly's strike team.
  • Puppet King: Shakhan is just a puppet Gebler uses to control Aveh. More generally, many of the countries and forces present on the surface are secretly controlled by higher powers, most notably Solaris and Shevat, which have been waging war by proxy for centuries.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Babel Tower, Mahanon, Ft. Jasper, the Zohar, Kadamony, and Merkava (all parts of the Eldridge) work rather well after 10,000 years of sitting dormant.
    • The Xeboim Ruins are in unusually good condition as well, despite not having the excuse of being parts of the Eldridge. Most of the buildings are intact, albeit deep underground, and some of the machinery (like at the TV studio) even still functions.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Oh, where to start. There's Krelian, Emperor Cain, Queen Zephyr... oh, and Grahf and Miang, though they technically maintain their immortality by body-hopping.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Sort of the case with Emperor Cain. Through his extremely long lifespan he has finally acquired some compassion for ordinary people and doesn't want them to get killed or hurt. He is finally murdered by Ramsus — manipulated by Krelian — because his moral objections made him an obstacle.
  • Reincarnation: Only Fei and Elly reincarnate. The other characters either had an Identical Grandfather (Bart, Sigurd), transmigrated into new bodies (Grahf, Miang), or had really long lifespans (Krelian, Zephyr).
  • Reincarnation Romance: Fei and Elly. A Deconstruction; though Reincarnation Romance sounds beautiful and wonderful, it has an inherent horror - it revolves around people's loved ones DYING. Fei and Elly have found each other over again for millennia, lived together blissfully for years or even decades. However, Big Bad Miang is reincarnating endlessly as well, and each of Fei and Elly's incarnations ended up pissing her off by interfering with her plans, resulting in her killing them in horrible, violent ways over and over again for millennia. Only by defeating her once and for all can they live happily, which they achieve at the end of the game. One of the people that helps them do it is their daughter from a previous life.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Dominia and Kelvena of the Elements. Not to mention Fei and Bart, Fei and Elly, Fei and Citan, Bart and Sigurd, Tolone and Seraphita, Ramsus and Miang, Elly and Miang...
  • Reluctant Warrior: Fei. So very much. "I hate fighting. And gears..." and he still racks up quite the body count even if you don't count the Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: Elly's Aerods.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • When Miang and Krelian try to kill your party in Solaris, Id emerges. Id who is partially influenced by Fei's emotions. Id's reaction to Elly's near-death is to remotely activate the Weltall Gear, transform it into his own red version, and then use it to destroy Solaris.
    • And shortly after that, Ramsus hunts Fei and Elly down in his newly-minted Omnigear, Vendetta, and tears Weltall to pieces as vengeance for a lifetime of perceived wrongs that Fei is only tangentially (if at all) responsible for.
    • Also Id when he destroys Etrenank.
    • It is also the whole story behind Grahf's very existence. When Lacan witnessed the murder of Elly, he decided that life should not exist if such a crime was possible, and he started his goal of trying to destroy of life. He has been working on it for 500 years, which makes it both a really extreme and really long Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Dan tries to convince Fei to run off with Alice before her wedding, and Fei has the choice of shooting him down or agreeing to his plan. Either way it doesn't work, though not in the expected way.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Tears for Fears.
  • Sand Is Water: You can sail on the desert. And ships can sink in it. Even though people can walk on it.
  • Save the Villain: As part of the deeply poignant ending, Big Bad Krelian ascends into Heaven with the Wave Existence to live in a world without death or loss.
  • Save The World Climax: The game starts off with Fei just living his normal life in a quiet village, devoid of conflict. Then The Empire invades and razes the town to the ground, forcing him to defend himself in the heat of the moment. One thing leads to another and then he's fighting against a man-made God to save the world.
  • Schizo Tech: A Justified Trope: Emperor Cain and his followers (Solaris writ large) have been developing their own technology for close to 10,000 years and actively working to make sure the surface dwellers don't get their hands on it and become too powerful. Cain and Miang obliterate civilizations that becoming too advanced, incite wars between nations to stunt their development, and employ a Corrupt Church to cover up mankind's true history to keep the populace ignorant.
  • Secret Weapon: the Goliath is supposed to be that for Kislev in his war against Aveh (the title of the chapter when you steal it is even titled "Secret Weapon"), which is probably why everyone seems to know about it. There is a huge swirling hologram of the machine in a room in the central district of Kislev, soldiers around make comments about how great it is, and later, when spotting it on his periscope, Bart comments: "This is the Goliath we have been hearing so much about!"
  • Shown Their Work: The developers were obviously familiar with Gnosticism when they made the game, and it shows. This carries over to Xenosaga and Xenoblade.
    • A small example, but at some point the time when something was last accessed is reported when exploring some ruins. It's more or less accurate to when the events that made the place into ruins.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: In an interview, Tetsuya Takahasi was asked "You're a fan of G Gundam, aren't you?" His response was simply to smile. This would explain some of the Gear design, especially Weltall-2's System Id.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Big Bang, among other things.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Relentlessly cynical. Almost everything good will, at some point, find itself broken. The lead protagonist harbors a sadistic, amoral Superpowered Evil Side, and has died, along with his fated love, time after time in invariably tragic ways. Every major location is, at some point, considered to be safe, but most of them are doomed, anyway. And it doesn't even matter, since almost all of humanity is wiped out by the end, just one in a series of near-total apocalypses which have been visited on mankind deliberately throughout the game's history. Wicked, inhuman shadow masters rule the planet from their invisible nation of scientifically-advanced fantasy Nazis. Everyone has their lives manipulated by these people so that they can one day be used as parts to revive the superweapon they all believe is their God. Almost all of the villains are the villains because their idealism was shattered in some amazingly cruel fashion. Just ask Lacan and Krelian. The only thing you can accomplish by saving the world is that a handful of people don't die.
  • Small Annoying Creature: the Team Pet Chu-Chu, one of the most reviled examples of this subtype.
  • Small Girl Big Gear: Maria. Her Gear is so big it can't even fit in the Yggdrasil's hangar.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: The game jacks Elly from you half way through Disc Two.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Too many to count, given the game's near-"Blind Idiot" Translation.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Id's Gear is covered in these, its most prominent feature being a pair of huge, spiky "wings". The design of the Xenogears itself takes this even further - it's basically just a bunch of spikes arranged in a humanoid shape. This is ultimately subverted, though, once Fei gets control of it.
  • Split Personality: Make a guess.
  • Split Personality Merge: The climax of the "six hours of texts and boss fights" section of Disc Two is an internal battle for control between Fei, Id, and The Coward.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The inverse of games like Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy VII, more in line with Grandia. Backgrounds, objects, and Gears/Gear sized objects in battle and cutscenes are all completely 3D. All characters and gears in their overworld sprites are 2D.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Lacan and Elly. Kim and Elly. Abel and Elly. Do you notice a pattern? Also, Alice and Timothy. Considering that Alice was more in love with Fei than Timothy, it may be more like Fei and Alice if you choose return her feelings and agree with Dan to "steal her away." Poor Timothy.
  • Stat Grinding: Use Drives to max out Chu-Chu and watch her Gear-sized self kick all kinds of ass, and without that pesky fuel gauge to constantly monitor.
  • Stealth Mentor: Grahf was this to Fei, but only because Grahf planned to possess Fei and needed him to be as strong as possible.
  • Super Prototype:
    • Both Elly and Miang's Vierges are a straight examples: both Gears sport a lot of new technology, most of which is useless for regular Gears.
    • Seibzehn and Achtzehn, though future developments of the technology behind them went in significantly different technological directions instead of just being scaled down for mass-production.
    • Alpha Weltall was "super" because the prototype used Lost Technology that the second model's designers didn't have access to. The design compromises involved become a plot point.
    • Apart from gears, Citan conjectures that the Yggdrasil II is originally the Yggdrasil's Super Prototype, but was forsaken by Bart's father because it partly runs on Lost Technology (from Shevat) which he didn't want to use.
  • Super Robot Genre: All of Omnigears of Xenogears are definitely super robots. To a lesser extent, a few other gears, such as Weltall (including OR Weltall, Weltall Id, and Weltall-2), Crescens, and Seibzehn would still qualify. Nearly all of the other Gears piloted by the protagonists that are not Super Robots fall into the category of Ace Custom. Those used by most bosses (aside from Ramsus and Miang) and mooks are closer to Real Robots.
  • Technical Pacifist: Citan refuses to use his sword...until he takes it up again.
    • More a Reluctant Warrior, really. He points out to Fei that he swore never to use his sword but that times have grown so desperate that having the moral high ground doesn't mean much anymore.
  • The Team Benefactor - Hammer is a straight example until he betrays the team. He provides everyone with equipment, services and information nobody else has acces to at the moment.
    • Taura Melchior is one too during Disk 2. Only his extensive knowledge of nanotechnology and more generally Lost Technology enables the team to pursue its objectives and successfully engage enemies who have access to vastly superior resources and technology.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Nisan, Thames (=Tammuz), Aveh (=Av), Elru (=Elul), Kislev, and Shevat (=Shvat) were named after months in the Hebrew calendar. The remaining month names Iyyar, Sivan, Tishrei, Heshvan, Tevet and Adar were apparently unused.
    • The three sages of Shevat are named Belthasar, Gaspar and Melchior. Compare Chrono Trigger.
    • The Four Elements Dominia, Kelvena, Tolone, and Seraphita are intended to follow the hierarchy of Angels in Heaven: Dominions, Cherubim, Thrones, and Seraphim.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Summoning a Gear while fighting a human-sized enemy may be a waste of fuel, but it sure is funny.
  • Title Drop: "Xenogears" is the name of the ultimate form of Weltall, Fei's gear.
    • Krelian's plan to revive Deus, walk with god, and reconstruct Merkava is called -Project Noah-.
  • Took a Shortcut: Big Joe turns up everywhere.
  • Translation Convention: When Fei and Elly first meet, the latter shouts at him in a foreign language, then she switches to his language as she realizes he can't understand a word she's saying. Later you can only communicate with the Solarians if one of the two Solaris natives (Elly or Citan) are in your party.
  • Turns Red: Hammer and the FIS-6 do this when they're near death. Weltall does this when Fei becomes Id.
  • The Unfought: Krelian.
  • Universe Compendium: Perfect Works
  • Unknown Rival: Poor Ramsus largely serves as this to Fei. The irony is that most of Ramsus' problems have been caused by Id and the Ministry, but he keeps lashing out irrationally at a convenient target.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: The game has a few. The most obvious is Maria's Siebzehn (prototype) vs his father Nikolai's Achtzehn (upgrade). We also have Fei's Weltall vs Grahf's Alpha/True Weltall, but although Alpha Weltall is a Super Prototype using Lost Technology, Fei's Weltall is more an Ace Custom inspired from the former and can't really be considered an "upgrade".
  • Useless Useful Spell: When used normally, the offensive Ether skills are far less effective than the characters' combination attacks; however, purchasing an Ether Doubler in Nisan before a plot event makes it unavailable turns Elly's damaging Ether spells into a Disc One Nuke. Congratulations, you now have magic on steroids.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: This is Krelian's justification for turning 90% of humanity into grey goo.
  • Vanilla Edition:
    • Despite the fact that only the one version of Xenogears ever came out (meaning there's no Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition to contrast), the final product was supposed to have much more content, including Omnigear forms for Crescens and Seibzehn, among other things to more fully flesh out the second disc. However, time and money weren't in enough abundance to permit this to happen.
    • There was a collectors edition in Japan, it came with a figure of one of the main characters (either Fei or Elly). Good luck finding one though, it was extremely limited.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Deus.
  • Villainous Breakdown: You wouldn't like Ramsus when he's unstable.
  • Villains Never Lie: This one's a toss-up: Miang lies through her teeth, Ramsus is too dumb to be deceitful, and Krelian is bitingly forthright about almost everything.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Emeralda, whose body is composed entirely out of nanomachines. She physically merges with her Gear when piloting it.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Calamity will annihilate Weltall and Brigandier if you don't know any deathblows and how boosting works.
    • Although once you figure out he can be affected by Bart's Wild Smile, he's a complete pushover.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The "script" for Xenogears sure "likes" putting certain "words" inside "quotation marks" presumably for "emphasis". Excessive use of ellipses is also rampant.
    • The second disk also plays, this a little more traditionally for some, reason.
  • The Watcher: Miang is just fascinated by the absurdities of human behaviour.
  • Wedding Smashers: Elly crashlands in Lahan the night before Alice and Timothy's wedding, pursued by a small army of Kislev gears who proceed to trash the town.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Krelian.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Citan's wife, Yui, disappears in disc 2 without any explanation. It's not made clear if she died in any of the cataclysms that struck the earth in that time, or if she was one of the unfortunate souls to transform into a wel, or what. Neither her husband nor daughter make any mention of her.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Fei destroys: His childhood home, his adoptive home, and his mother's homeland. His father's homeland of Shevat is also destroyed, but he had nothing to do with it or he'd be 4 for 4.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Fei does this not once, but twiceto Elly when it comes to just what she's doing while she stays in Gebler.
  • Whip It Good: Bart and his Gear. Perfect Works explains it: As a child, Bart was beaten with a whip so badly he had recurring nightmares, so his handlers Sigurd and Maison decided to train him with the whip in order to conquer his fears.
  • Wife Husbandry: According to Perfect Works, Abel was 7 years old when he crashed on the Xenogears planet and met the first Elly. As shown in an in-game video, this Elly is an adult when they first meet (though technically she is probably less than a month old). Since Abel and Elly are Star-Crossed Lovers... yeah. Hey, it's either this or implied Shotacon.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ramsus.
  • Wutai Theft: Almost completely averted. All party members who leave temporarily come back with whatever equipment they left with. Except Elly who leaves towards the end of the game (just before fighting Hammer).
  • You Are Number Six: Seibzehn and Achtzehn, German for "seventeen" (though spelled incorrectly) and "eighteen", respectively. Gear shops even prefix Seibzehn's equipment with "#17" instead of following the other Gears' standard of the first four letters capitalized.
  • You Are What You Hate: Kaiser Sigmund's anti-demi-human policies stem from the fact that he's a self-hating (cosmetically passable) demi-human who he fathered a demi-human bastard (Rico).
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Wave Existence.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: A few notable exceptions (Miang, Krelian (before joining Solaris), Seraphita, Kelvena, Helmhoz, and Stratski).
  • You Know The One: At least 50% of the game's exposition. On a good day.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Urobolus.

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alternative title(s): Xenogears
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