[[OnlyOneName Amy]] is an OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent from London with a penchant for FantasyLiterature. One day, while left at home alone, she is surprised by a [[TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive sound coming from the attic]], where she finds a casket with a [[WarpWhistle stone tablet]] inside that suddenly transports her to a [[AnotherDimension colorful magical landscape]] populated by [[FairyCompanion faeries]], [[OurElvesAreBetter elves]], [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent goblins]], [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame dwarves]], and [[FantasyKitchenSink the rest of the fantastic creatures]]. She is greeted by [[MrExposition a goblin named Rafi]], an adventurer extraordinaire, who managed to cross the barrier between his native [[TitleDrop Zanzarah]] ([[NotInKansasAnymore where Amy has just landed]]) and Amy's own [[RealLife Earth]]. He wasn't driven by scientific interest, though. Zanzarah is in grave peril: [[DarkIsEvil Dark Elves]] roam the landscape, wild faeries attack travelers, contact between settlements is lost due to unnatural obstructions, while the [[GuardianOfTheMultiverse White Druid]], who is supposed to protect the lands from evil, is helpless. But the legends also speak of a [[TheChosenOne saviour]] who will be [[SummonEverymanHero summoned from Earth]] to become the greatest Faery Duelist of all times and to SaveBothWorlds... for whatever is afflicting one world will inevitably echo in the other.

''[=ZanZarah=]: The Hidden Portal'' is an ActionAdventure game with ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''-style [[GottaCatchThemAll faery training/duelling]], {{Metroidvania}} and RPGElements, and a simple plot in the vein of ''VideoGame/TheLongestJourney''. It also features [[SceneryPorn beautiful visuals]], Awesome/{{music}}, funny pseudo-languages, and surprisingly tactical combat (once you [[GuideDangIt figure out how]] to ''shoot''[[note]]To shoot a spell while controlling a faery, you need to hold down the left mouse button for it to accumulate some charge. Don't hold it for too long, though. It backfires.[[/note]]).

The game was developed by the German studio Funatics Development and released by THQ in 2002. They also tried to release an ExpansionPack, ''[=ZanZarah=]: The Lost Village'', but it was CutShort. After languishing in IP limbo since [=THQ's=] closure, the publishing rights to the game were picked up by Creator/DaedalicEntertainment for a rerelease on UsefulNotes/{{Steam}} in August 2015.
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!! The game provides examples of following tropes:

* ActionAdventure: The Faery Duels are definitely action. Amy's quest apart from that is a simple adventure. Guess that makes it...
* AmbiguousTimePeriod: Just when exactly does the game take place? On the one hand, Amy's house interior and the urban landscape in the windows look almost Edwardian, on the other, her house has television and she herself runs around with a Walkman on her waist.
* AmplifierArtifact: Elemental cards are a case of this, pumping up the powers of your active faery of the respective element. Stone faeries are given the ability to move boulders, fire faeries prevent you from getting roasted alive while strolling alongside flowing lava, etc.
* AnotherDimension: Zanzarah to Earth. Earth to Zanzarah. The world of faeries to both. [[spoiler:All three were the same thing in the past.]]
* BagOfHolding: The faery bag you get at the beginning of the game is described as a useful invention capable of containing numerous items without any weight or size gain.
* BonusBoss: There are several Faery Trainers who are not essential to progressing the main plot, but provide an extra challenge, nonetheless, such as the ice faery master near the waterfalls.
* BottomlessPits: Falling off a Faery Duel arena results in the involved faery's instant death. Also, falling off a cliff is one of the few ways to kill Amy herself (apart from [[QuicksandSucks sinking into the swamp]] and [[KillItWithFire roasting her alive]]). However, as long as there is a bottom, Amy doesn't [[NotTheFallThatKillsYou take any visible damage from falling down ridiculous heights]].
** NonLethalBottomlessPits: There is a way to abuse the game's CheckPoint system with this: if you don't want to jump all the way back after completing a jumping puzzle, you can just save your game and leap down into the abyss, only to respawn at the entrance to the location. The only penalty you get for that is that all switches you may have activated there will be reset.
* BrokenBridge: Various natural obstacles keep the player from advancing to certain areas, probably most notably a boulder blocking the way that you come across in your very first location after leaving London. These can gradually be removed as you gain special items, {{Metroidvania}}-style.
* CamelCase: The title of the game is properly spelled with capital Zs, although the name of the world isn't.
* CardsOfPower: Over the course of the game, you discover elemental magic cards which grant the faeries of their respective element some additional and very useful powers.
* CastFromHitpoints: If a faery runs out of mana points in a offensive spell, any further usage of it will drain its hitpoints instead.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Averted, as Amy can't really walk near lava unless you got the Fire Card for your fire faery.
* TheChosenOne: Amy, according to ancient prophecies.
* DarkIsEvil: The Dark Elves. No justification is given, [[ForTheEvulz they just are]].
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: Fielding a faery that has an [[ElementalRockPaperScissors elemental advantage]] against your current opponent usually means you are safe from defeat... unless the enemy faery has a lot of HP and uses a spell that charges much faster than yours, in which case it can kill you faster with its weak but fast jabs before you can inflict enough damage to it. [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard That the enemy faeries never run out of mana helps.]]
* ElementalRockPaperScissors: There are 12 elements in the game that the faeries can belong to, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the advantageous element usually means that you do several times more damage than usual and have higher critical hit chances, while the opposing faery does several times less damage ''and'' has a much lower chances to crit.
* EscapeBattleTechnique: The game had the Garlic Atomizer that scares away any attacking wild faeries but you have to buy it beforehand and it only works in the short time between being attacked and the FightWoosh. During a faery duel, making your way to the miniature sun at the center of the area allows you to escape random encounters (but not boss battles). In a particular bit of cruelty, the wild faeries can use it, too, if they are losing badly, robbing you of the XP you earned in blood (that is, in faery hit points).
* ExpansionPack: The unreleased add-on ''The Lost Village''. Most fans never even learn it was in development.
* FairyCompanion: The whole game revolves around training them. Additionally, one constantly accompanies Amy during her travels. Many of the female (humanoid looking) faeries are particularly FairySexy, especially the Nature Faeries.
* FameGate: Kind of. Some bosses will refuse to fight you unless your faery collection is extensive enough, blocking the plot advancement and forcing you to go capturing wild faeries.
* FantasyKitchenSink: So there are elves, goblins, dwarves, faeries, ancient prophecies, evil dark elves...
* FeaturelessProtagonist: Amy, despite being given a distinctive appearance and a nominal voice, expresses next to no personality, thus being the classical stand-in for the player.
* FemaleAngelMaleDemon: Light faeries are universally feminine and angelic (as well as FairySexy), while most Dark faeries appear masculine and demonic.
* GottaCatchThemAll: There are 77 faery species in the game, all with unique appearance, attributes, and spell preferences. Capturing or otherwise obtaining all of them without cheating is [[SelfImposedChallenge quite a feat, but not necessary to win the game]].
* GuardianOfTheMultiverse: The White Druid and also, the Guard, though the latter's function is more about defending Zanzarah from Earth's humans.
* HandsOffParenting: [[FridgeLogic Apparently]], the shopping trip that Amy's mom embarks on in the opening cutscene is so epic, she never actually checks up on her house in many weeks, during which her daughter is nowhere to be found most of the time, while said house becomes gradually overrun by bizarre fey creatures.
* HeroicMime: Downplayed, as Amy does talk (mainly in cutscenes) but very rarely--and never in actual gameplay dialogue.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Gameplay example: if you let a spell charge up for too long (indicated by the screen starting to flash) without unloading it into the enemy, it hits ''you'' instead. While at low levels, your main concern is losing half of your hit points that way, at high levels, spells with nasty side effects are introduced, which also apply to you...
* HumansAreBastards: The White Druid (despite himself being a human) came to believe this after witnessing the {{Witch Hunt}}s in our world that forced the magical creatures to escape to Zanzarah. He is therefore not thrilled to find that another human has found her way to his realm, but he grudgingly accepts Amy's help in rooting out the Dark Elves. [[spoiler:It turns out that he is actually the BigBad of the game, driven to villainy by his paranoia of humanity.]]
* JumpedAtTheCall: While alone at home, Amy investigates a strange noise from the attic, is transported to a parallel dimension, and told that she must save it from some vague evil, with zero directions at how to do so. She takes it all in stride and dives right into exploring this strange new world.
* LevelsTakeFlight: The Cloud Realm is situated on giant platforms hovering a few kilometers over the north-eastern lands.
* LightIsNotGood: [[spoiler:The White Druid, the supposed BigGood of the land turns out to be the BigBad]].
* MagicalUnderpinningsOfReality: Faeries power ''everything'' in Zanzarah.
* MagikarpPower: Like the ''Pokemon'' trope namer, some faeries in the game are quite weak, but evolve into much more powerful forms at certain levels. Subverted by the starter Nature faery Sillia, however, whose "ultimate" third form is actually much weaker than her second one.
* TheManBehindTheMan: [[spoiler:The true perpetrator of most woes that befell Zanzarah is the White Druid himself.]]
* MechanicallyUnusualClass: The Metal faeries don't evolve at certain levels like most others do, but instead require Dwarven Tools to upgrade to the next higher evolution level. On the flip side, it means that once you find said tools, you can immediately upgrade a lowest-tier Metal faery to the highest-tier one without having to LevelGrind it first.
* MookBouncer: The wild Psi faeries have a lot of nasty abilities that can bring about a TotalPartyKill faster than you can switch out your faeries. Luckily, they only live in a few caves up in the mountains.
* MrExposition: Rafi at first, but the [[TheOwlKnowingOne Owls]] are actually a much better example, as the sole purpose of them being scattered all across Zanzarah is to provide advice to Amy.
* OnlyOneName: Amy is just... Amy.
* OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent: Amy.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: Local dwarves reside mainly in the [[BeneathTheEarth underground city]] of Monagham, and their language slightly resembles [[GratuitousGerman German]].
* OurElvesAreBetter: The Elves in Zanzarah are a peaceful, nature-loving homebirds who rarely venture outside Endeva and Tiralin. Their language sounds a bit like [[GratuitousFrench French]].
* OurGoblinsAreDifferent: The Goblins in Zanzarah are restless travelers, mainly residing in the swamp town of Dunmore. Their language is especially funny.
* PhantomZone: The Faery Duel Arenas are pocket dimensions with increasingly bizarre architectures. While the low-level arenas look like rather reasonable RuinsForRuinsSake, high-level arenas may look like a giant stone corkscrew or a number of random stone slabs just floating in the sea of nothing.
* PowersAsPrograms: You can swap offensive and defensive spells among your faeries as you see fit, as long as they meet the slot requirements.
* TheProphecy: Rafi firmly believes in an ancient prophesy of TheChosenOne--a human girl, to be precise--who'd become the greatest Faery Duelist of all times and deliver Zanzarah from evil.
* RealLife: By contrast to the colorful world of Zanzarah, Amy's apartment in London is DeliberatelyMonochrome, although the faeries (all captured faeries that are not on her primary strike team hang out in London) color it up a little. Given that London is completely irrelevant to the game's plot, you probably won't be using the Rune of Return a lot (except to change the faeries in your party).
* RecurringBoss: Seamus the elf sees Amy as his [[TheRival rival]] after his father picks her as his successor in pixie hunting rather than him. He keeps coming after her over the course of the game with more and more powerful faery sets.
* RPGElements: All faeries gain XP and level up through combat, can be equipped with increasingly powerful offensive/defensive spells, lose and gain mana/HP. There is also something like the PlayerParty, namely, Amy's five chosen faeries that follow her into battles (although only one can be fielded and directly controlled by the player at a time). For a cherry tapping, you can give your favorite faeries unique names.
* RuleOfFun: The gameplay is very simple and incredibly complex at the same time. You won't believe how fun the Faery Duels are until you win a few.
* SaveBothWorlds: By completing the main quest [[spoiler:Amy not only rids Zanzarah of evil taint but also brings magic back into the real world, which is implied to save it from dullness]].
* SceneryPorn: The screenshots of the game, ''especially'' the Cloud Ream, look like they've been taken from a landscape art exhibition.
* StupidityIsTheOnlyOption: To access the Great Tree where the Elemental Card of Air is kept, you'll have to engage in one of the most loss-making [[ChainOfDeals deal chains]] in video games: the only path to the tree is [[BrokenBridge blocked by a tournament entrant]] who won't budge until you give him a Segbuzz faery--which cannot be found in the wild and must be traded for a Suane, which, at that point, can only be obtained from a miniquest in the Cloud Realm. At the end of the day, you trade the most powerful Light faery in the entire game (that does not even exist in the wild), for a level ''0'' Worgot--a weakling Nature faery. [[spoiler:You do get the Segbuzz back after you beat its master in the tournament, but it's still hardly a replacement for Suane.]]
* SummonEverymanHero: Amy is not exactly summoned to, but rather lured into Zanzarah by Rafi.
* SwampsAreEvil: The Great Swamp around Dunmore is a rather grim and difficult area for one of the early stages of the game. Still, the native goblins are pretty nice people.
* TakingYouWithMe: One of the best ways to deal with multiple attacking Nature faeries is to field your Psi StoneWall with ''lots'' of hit points and a full damage reflection spell. The Psi are weak against Nature, so he gets killed pretty quickly... but since he has massive health and Nature faeries usually don't, he takes two-to-four of them with him via damage reflection. He doesn't get XP (unless you are agile enough to withdraw him just in the nick of time) but hey, it's a cruel world.
* ThirdPersonSeductress: Averted with Amy, who, despite being a female controlled from third-person view, wears a conservative (or rather, practical for long travel) clothing and leaves all the ass-kicking to her faeries (who are controlled from first-person perspective, anyway).
* TrappedInAnotherWorld: Subverted, as the teleportation rune to London is found in the first house in Endeva.
* UtilityPartyMember: For the Elemental Cards to function, you must keep a faery of the corresponding element in your party's first slot, and since you can only swap out faeries in London, you may have to trade off some combat efficiency for the ability to clear environmental obstacles. This is particularly egregious in the case of Air faeries, which are needed ''every time'' you need to leap over some air eddies (unlike the boulders and prickly bushes, which disappear for good once a Stone or Nature faery works its magic on them), and Fire faeries, whom you have to keep in your primary slot ''at all times'' while exploring the magma caves.
* WarpWhistle: The {{teleportation}} runes enable instant travel to certain fixed locations (which not necessarily the same as places where you find them) from anywhere else.
* WideOpenSandbox: The game world is basically this, though you have to advance the main plot to access more areas. However, there is no time limit, and you can wholeheartedly devote yourself to exploration, faery gathering, and training the moment you leave Endeva for the first time.
* WillOTheWisp: Will-o'-whisps are found in the Great Swamp around the Goblin village of Dunmore. You are supposed to follow them to get to the island in the middle of the swamp, because the area is extremely convoluted (by design) and covered in fog, to boot.
* AWinnerIsYou: [[spoiler:After defeating the Guard, you are treated to a short cutscene congratulating you on defeating the evil and showing faeries flooding into our world, after which the credits roll.]]
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