Arcanus Cella is a world of mystery, existing in a universe parallel to our own. Is rumored to be a land full of great treasures, powerful monsters, and wishes granted beyond one's wildest dreams.Two young would-be heroes, Pudding and her childhood friend Souma, stumble upon this mystical place when exploring a mansion one night. Landing in an idyllic village with none to disturb them except for the sorceress Despina, they desperately search to find a way out of Arcanus Cella and back to their homeworld. Could it be through the unassuming tree in the southeast corner? Or past the creepy-looking door on the north side of town? And why are all of these other strangers gathering in this place all of a sudden?Such is the tale behind ClaDunnote portmanteau of "classic dungeon": This is an RPG!, a downloadable dungeon-crawling Action RPG released for the PSP in 2010 by Nippon Ichi Software. The goal of the game is to fight your way through the dungeons, avoiding traps and defeating enemies in search of the exit. You control a single character, but through the use of the game's "Magic Circle" system, other characters can join you to protect you from harm, while also giving you a boost in strength.A sequel, Cladun X2, was released late August 2011 in the U.S., taking the editing Up to Eleven with editable weapons, armor, animations, and even background music. The sequel also introduced new characters and new classes, such as a long range archer class. Now on Steam.The same teams would go on to release a Spiritual Successor in the Play Station Network-exclusive Legasista in 2012.
These are Tropes!
Abnormal Ammo: It's easily possible in the second game to modify the arrows that bows fire into virtually anything you could think of.
Advancing Boss of Doom: Immortals in Cladun x2, though they aren't bosses and can't be killed except through some obscure methods, making fights against them boil down to 'who can run the fastest?'
Affably Evil: Even after his reveal, Parchmin never loses that weird accent and carefree attitude.
The Alcatraz: Cladun x2's version of Arcanus Cella is more or less a high-security prison in the form of a pocket dimension.
Anachronism Stew: Arcanus Cella is a backwater dimension filled with various mythical creatures that seems suspended in medieval stasis... except there are working showers, plumbing devices, interdimensional telephones, and slang that never existed till the 1990s. One can take this one step further by adding guns and cyborgs into the game, though that relies on the player more than anything else.
Awesome, but Impractical: Sorcery in Cladun x2 is insanely, insanely powerful magic: but, on the minus side, it has a high chance of backfiring and it almost always requires you to cast the spell up to four times before it actually does anything - and those 'dummy' shots have a chance of backfiring too. In addition, high-level Sorcery spells have an insanely high SP cost on top of this.
In general it's much easier to use weapons instead of spells to attack, since they tend to be much less SP-intensive, and an insanely powerful nuke spell isn't going to do much if you can't cast it.
Big Boo's Haunt: The graveyard levels and to a lesser extent the Madness Pantheon in Cladun x2.
Blood Knight: Death Glutton, post-character development. He lost his love for destruction and death, but his love for battle was truly his, making him virtually a living example of a Disgaea demon and continuing the tradition of demons being Noble Demons.
Body Surf: Parchmin spends the majority of Cladun x2 in Widder's actual body, posing as the Administrator of Arcanus Cella.
Booby Trap: Every single dungeon in the game, period. If you manage to find even one floor with absolutely no traps that isn't a boss area, you are an incredibly lonely soul.
Bonus Boss: In Cladun x2 you can face different versions of the final boss with varying strength after you've beaten him, ranging from level 1000 to level 9999.
The Big Bad from Cladun also returns, only suddenly having surged to level 999. The game notes that they've done a "lot of preparation."
Cap: The level cap is 99 for each character. Stats are capped at 999, though you can break the cap in Cladun x2 by finding various titles that allow Attack and Defense to exceed that amount.
Bonus Dungeon: Rangeons, Trigeons, and Neogeons - subverted in that you can usually begin to foray into them very early on, it just gets easier later and you can go much, much deeper than you could at first.
Bonus Level: The Bonus Area, a special Rangeon area that only shows up on floor 77 in Cladun x2.
Bragging Rights Reward: The ultimate Magic Circle, God Excess, in Cladun x2. On one hand, it's on a general scale better than almost every other Magic Circle in the entire game, bar none. On the other, you have to defeat a whole Rangeon and end the dungeon level at level 9999 to get it, and that's by far one of the hardest challenges in the game anyways, making the reward more symbolic than anything.
Double-subverted when he joins the party: he calls himself out on much of his information being completely wrong, but later on a significant chunk of his information (and the info that mattered) is vindicated and proven to be correct.
Brutal Bonus Level: Time Attack and the later areas of the Neogeons and Trigeons in general in Cladun x2.
Came Back Wrong: When Despina uses magic to raise Coco from the dead, he ends turning into a zombie. This ends up being merely a cosmetic change that has no effect on his personality or his gameplay stats.
Death World: Doom Gates, and how. They're completely infested with high-level mobs that are only encountered in the regular storyline as bosses. There is no standard level in the dungeons, so mobs can range from anywhere between level 1 and level 9999. The area is filled with incredibly nasty traps that can easily deal thousands of HP in damage if you're unlucky enough to get hit by one. Immortals fly around. Degraded versions of the final boss run around everywhere. Even better, Doom Gates are considered traps and thus you cannot even see one unless you're standing directly in front of it.
Declaration of Protection: Souma's motivation for staying with Pudding, despite his misgivings for them venturing into Arcanus Cella in the first place.
Demoted to Dragon: Played with. Parchmin first pretends to be opposing the Big Bad, then he pretends to be the actual Big Bad, but then it's revealed that the real Big Bad is still out there somewhere and he was just performing The Plan to awaken him.
Devour the Dragon: The ultimate fate of Parchmin in Cladun x2. Luckily, due to how the game is designed you can just turn him into a Player Mook afterwards if you really liked him and want him to be around again.
Elite Mooks: Mooks colored yellow, green, white, blue, or red all have their strengths and weaknesses, but black-colored mooks have higher stats in every category and often have better types of attacks than their lesser counterparts.
Even Evil Has Standards: Hilariously (and tragically) spoofed in Cladun x2. After Parchmin's Evil Plan is carried out flawlessly, Death Glutton proceeds to take offense to it and... instantly kills him on the spot because he didn't like his conduct, an act so evil it causes the main characters to defend the previously Affably Evil villain.
Failure Is the Only Option: An inherent weakness in the plot of the second game is that while your character is technically unique, you cannot influence their decisions. In spite of this, the "mistakes" they do make are eventually vindicated and turn out for the best.
Parchmin implies that this is the case with the "prison" he's set up in Cladun x2 and the people fated to die there, but it's subverted when it turns out that he's misunderstood humans and it tuns out to be nearly utopian for them.
Graceful Loser: Surprisingly enough, Death Glutton in Cladun x2. Once you defeat him the first time, he promptly asks you to leave him alone so that he can end up reflecting on why exactly it was that he lost. The second time you beat him and after your main character explains the concept of Magic Circles to him, he begins to laugh uncontrollably and says that it's no wonder he lost, if he didn't even know the process that you were able to grow stronger.
Hailfire Peaks: Constantly in Perfect World and Purgatory in Cladun x2, specifically of the fire/ice variety. The Various Area near the end of the Neogeons and the boss floor of the Neogeon also draws upon this.
Ill Girl: Pudding has the incurable "Die Laughing" disease that is guaranteed to kill her in about six months, but she has absolutely none of the personality traits or physical frailty usually associated with the trope. Instead, she's hyperactive and acts as though she has carte blanche to do whatever she wants, and her bucket list's biggest item right now is "explore dungeon, get treasure."
I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Many of the later areas in the randomly generated dungeons could qualify. Imminent Area? Immortal Area? Curse Area? Fierce Area? Sorcery Area? Worst Area?Massacre Area?
Incendiary Exponent: If you happen to jump into a fire, your main character will, of course, take damage, but your weapon will also now do fire damage!
Ditto with ice damage, by jumping into a stream of frozen water. In fact, this can actually be weaponized against monsters that are usually immune to normal damage, like Ghosts.
Ineffectual Loner: Played with and zigzagged in Cladun x2. While the other named characters accuse your character of this due to him/her going off on his/her own to fight monsters, he/she is also supported by the members of the Magic Circle... which more or less means that they stay in the tavern while he/she goes off and fights.
Infinity+1 Element: Mind has some elements of this: it's very rare to have on equipment or spells and generally ends up affecting nearly everything in the game either normally or deals greater damage (in fact, some monsters have Mind as their only weakness). All player characters have abysmal Mind resistance as well, apart from Ninjas and Saints. On the other hand, enemies who are more spiritual in nature (such as Ghosts) are often heavily resistant to it.
Insufferable Genius: Mouton comes across as very arrogant. Pekora even makes a small aside to the player character that the only thing he doesn't know a lot about is humility.
Invincible Minor Mook: Immortals in Cladun x2, though calling them minor is slightly underestimating them, as they deal extremely high amounts of damage.
Jive Turkey: Parchmin, though he's a milder example than most and usually refrains from using incredibly outdated terms. Justified in that he's incredibly eccentric to begin with.
Jungle Japes: The Jungle Area in the earlier areas of the Neogeons.
Kaizo Trap: Doom Gates have a very bad tendency to pop up just before you reach an exit. Bonus points if it's in the middle of a tiny hallway, making it truly unavoidable. It's also the only gate which still forces you to enter if you jump over it.
Kick the Dog: Upon first appearing in Cladun x2, the main characters question whether Death Glutton is truly evil; then he murders Parchmin, his Dragon, who had worked throughout the entire game to bring him back to life again, because he was annoying.
Killed Off for Real: Impossible to do in the games. Even if an NPC or PC is completely killed off, the editing function is sufficient enough for the player to remake them and give them their old name, even if they lose all of their progress.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: The prisoners of the Arcanus Cella in Cladun x2 have all had their memories wiped clean of the crimes they have done. Or at least the criminals who came before Arcanus Cella was condemned - by the time Cladun x2 rolls around the only denizens present are Pekora, Lamb, Mouton, and the player character, who have not sinned and are being told this by Parchmin to fool them into losing hope.
Lord British Postulate: While Immortals are supposed to only be killable through the Punish title in Cladun x2, they can also be defeated by reflecting their own damage back at them.
Luck-Based Mission: Widens in Cladun x2 have about a 1 in 1000 chance of dropping from a single enemy in the game, Hiyokkis. In order to max out your characters' stats, you are going to need at least four of them. You get two freebies, no more; and if you find one in a dungeon, you have to survive long enough to get out. Good luck.
The Lucky Seven Magic Circle also qualifies. You have to finish a Rangeon with the level on the final floor being exactly level 777, and you have no control over exactly what level any particular floor will be at, meaning that you may have to go through hundreds of runs before you can obtain it. And it isn't even that great anyways, once you get powerful enough to take on a level 777 dungeon.
Metal Slime: Hiyokkis are birdlike creatures that are generally non-combatant and will run if attacked. Killing them nets you an enormous amount of gold, a guranteed item drop, and tons of experience, but they have enormous amounts of health and run away extremely fast. This is saved from Video Game Cruelty Potential by the fact that according to the flavor text they're all insufferable jerks and taunt you about the items as they're running from you.
Million to One Chance: Apparently, the "Die Laughing" disease has a one-in-a-million chance of transferring from one person to another. Coco has the worst luck in the world. Guess what happens?
The Mole: Parchmin in Cladun x2, though he is who he says he is. Sort of. It gets complicated.
Money Spider: Every single monster in the game except, for some odd reason, mushrooms. The bestiary entry in Cladun x2 lampshades this with the description of Poles (turrets), saying that monsters "must use them as piggy banks."
Multiple Endings: Each story character has a "bad ending" that can be viewed by going to the door in the tree. Also, once you've beaten the final boss once, you can see the "good ending" for each character (other than "secret character" Asagi) by going back and beating it again using that character as your main. (You get the secret character's "good ending" by beating a Bonus Boss.) Some of the endings can even be accessed as early as the first few minutes after leaving the first dungeon.
New Game+: The second game has this, but it's virtually useless apart from being able to revisit the tutorial and the first true fight with Death Glutton, as well as respawning all of the old red treasure chests that were present in the dungeons.
Noble Demon: Death Glutton, when separated from his bloodthirsty side. It's even hinted slightly before that when he kills Parchmin for making a fool of himself.
One Time Dungeon: Strangely enough, in Cladun x2 the tutorial dungeon is the only one you can't revisit. You can actually revisit Death Glutton's boss level, Descent of Might Symbol, but nobody will be there and an exit is placed at the beginning of the level instead.
Overrated And Underleveled: Every character that joins the Magic Circle starts out at level 1, even those that join very late in the game.
Make sure to create all of the characters you can near the beginning of the game, lest you spend an even longer time later on catching up.
Palmtree Panic: The very first two areas of the Neogeon, the Initiation Area and the Tropical Area.
The Plan: A particularly awe-inspiring example by Parchmin in Cladun x2. After hearing that Arcanus Cella is going to be condemned to stop the resident Emotion Eater Death Glutton from awakening and wreaking havoc on the outside world, he body-swaps with the administrator of Arcanus Cella, Widder, to impersonate him, and then once again opens up channels and starts pulling innocent people in. Once there, he lies to them and says that their crimes have been erased from their memory via amnesia when in fact they have committed none. He then gives them the choice of either fighting in vain through the multiple dungeons in Arcanus Cella, giving Death Glutton power from the deaths of monsters that are occurring, or by giving up, living a life of opulence and pointlessness, and letting Death Glutton feast on resignation and despair. The only flaw in his plan was failing to comprehend how much Death Glutton cared for his subordinates: that is, not much.
Planet Heck: Chaos, filled with ninjas, demons, demon lords, liches, golems, insectoid spellcasters, and dragons, to name a few. Surprisingly, it's relatively devoid of lava, preferring to instead coat the scenery with an impenetrable coat of gray, barren rock.
Player Mooks: You can create them once Dotache appears in town.
In the second game, you don't have access to any named characters until very late in the game, at which point Player Mooks will make up the entirety of your party.
Pocket Dimension: The Arcanus Cella of Cladun x2, which functions as a maximum-security prison for notorious criminals. Also the Chaos, Heaven, and Transitory areas in Cladun x2's Trigeon. The Doom World may also qualify.
Poison Mushroom: While not a broad example, trying to tell Hiyokki and Immortal Traps apart from each other in a grassy area or when sight is otherwise obscured. While both traps look identical on the edges, one trap summons a Metal Slime that you can kill for a load of gold and a guranteed item drop, while the other summons an Invincible Minor Minion that chases you around for a good twenty seconds before it disappears.
Spoofed: Magic Circles are more or less magical enchantments that give a physical form to the power of friendship that powers up the "main character." It's even Lampshaded in the second game, where Death Glutton points out that since he didn't even know such a process existed, it's no wonder he lost to you.
Too Kinky to Torture: Lamb is explicitly stated ingame to be a masochist, in compensation for the crimes she has not actually committed.
Prophecy Twist: Pudding had a dream that if she went to Arcanus Cella, she wouldn't die from her incurable illness. She assumes that it means if she keeps exploring the dungeons, she'll find a cure. That's not quite what happens...
Random Drop: Widens in Cladun x2. 1/1000 chance of dropping from only a single enemy in the game (which happens to be a MetalSlime), that you need to carry out of the dungeon alive to be able to use, and that you need at least two of to be able to perfect a character? Yes, they're that bad.
That being said, you can buy them from the Black Market... it's just that they're hideously expensive.
Rebellious Princess: Dotache, the middle-aged, male bartender, is a princess who deliberately cursed herself with a permanent disguise so she could run away.
Lamb in Cladun x2 was a princess who started and led a rebellion against her home country, throwing the kingdom into disaster. It's a lie told by Parchmin (and justified via Laser-Guided Amnesia) to convince her that she had sinned.
Retraux: The graphics are blocky, but still surprisingly detailed and nuanced. The Retraux also applies to the music; you can listen to the honestly beautiful soundtrack, or you can listen to an 8-bit chiptune version of it.
The Rival: Sunday and Battleblo. Sunday wound up in Arcanus Cella so that she could find the "ultimate sword", while Battleblo followed her there in search of the "ultimate shield".
Roguelike: While an RPG, if dungeon-delving, the Cladun also borrows many elements of roguelike games with all of the randomly-generated environments.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The reason why Arcanus Cella was condemned in Cladun x2 and everyone was evacuated out of the area: Death Glutton was posing a massive threat both to Arcanus Cella and the world as a whole. Unfortunately, due to Parchmin's interference, it didn't work.
Sex Face Turn: Mouton tries to instill one of these in the player in the second game so that he can stop raiding dungeons and stop giving Death Glutton more power to awaken with by telling Pekora and Lamb to try and seduce him, saying that it can't possibly fail. He promptly throws a fit when the player walks away due to anticipating the motive behind the action.
Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Invoked by Parchmin as part of his plan : while he's a natural shapeshifter, inducing a "Freaky Friday" Flip in one of his weakest forms would leave the victim stuck in a particularly weak body that poses little threat.
Upgrade Artifact: There are a whole bunch of artifacts which increase different parameters for your main character. Special mention goes to Widens in Cladun x2, which can be attacked to an Ability slot to drastically power up a character's attacks. Enemies can get them too, which can lead to effects as mild as their projectiles going faster, or as drastic as the resident Peons suddenly gaining the ability to fire massive explosive lasers out of their attacks.
Vain Sorceress: Despina. She's also a lazy one, as she eventually gives up on trying to dispose of the mask.
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Perfect World in Cladun x2 is a meta-example, with Purgatory being a straighter one due to the fact that the plot is oddly divided to before the final boss and after. It doesn't help that the game has a very self-referential definition of a final boss, and that altogether there are a good three bosses who can be considered the 'final' one.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: A particularly scary example in Cladun x2 with Parchmin, naturally a dragon, and who on top of this can also Body Surf. Due to this, it gets incredibly difficult in the middle of the game to figure out what the heck is going on, and who's who.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The boss of the Monster House. Simply hacking and slashing away won't beat him, as his shield guards against all attacks from the front, significantly reducing damage.
The Walls Have Eyes: The Doom Area. Justified in that it's apparently in some way connected to Immortals, considering that murals of Immortals occasionally appear on the floors inside and Immortals have an annoying tendency to spawn everywhere in there.
We Have Reserves: Played with in Cladun x2. Killing the evil minions in Arcanus Cella actually powers up their boss, Death Glutton.