"A wizard's dark destiny, a woman's revenge, even a robot's search for his soul. Seven amazing adventures that weave into one — yours."
So reads the back of the case for SaGa Frontier, the first SaGa game released in North America since SaGa 3 (aka Final Fantasy Legend III) and the first one on the PlayStation. It came out March 25 1998, (July 11 '97 in Japan) and was produced by Squaresoft's Production Team 2 (referred to as "2nd Division" in-game.) The 75 song soundtrack was composed and arranged by Kenji Ito, who also did the soundtracks for previous SaGa titles.SaGa Frontier is unique in that there are seven playable protagonists, each with their own individual quest. It also uses a 'system data' feature, which, if you complete one character's story, will give bonuses to the characters in subsequent quests.
Blue: A magician from the Magic Kingdom, his magical prowess has been divided between himself and his twin brother, Rouge. According to the customs of his land, he must master as many types of magic as possible, and kill his brother in a Duel to the Death, to attain his true strength.
Emelia: A beautiful woman accused of murdering her fiance, and wrongly imprisoned for it, she becomes a member of Gradius, a secret organization, in order to track down the real killer.
Lute: A wandering minstrel from Yorkland, Lute lives a carefree life... until he finds himself facing off against his father's apparent murderer.
T260: A Mec constructed from readily available parts and an ancient core found at a crash site. Its important mission long forgotten due to damage, T260 must remember and fulfill its original directive.
After Boss Recovery: In Red's game after a battle with Metal Black 3, the red mist scattered after the explosion rejuvenates the party.
Alien Blood: Mystics have blue blood, and the Half-Mystic Asellus has purple.
The Alcatraz: Despair. While no one's ever escaped, the warden gives the inmates the chance for freedom, if they can touch the Freedom rune located within the prison. Only 'one person's ever done it before Emelia, Annie and Liza.
It's implied that the person who did before Emelia and company was Roufas.
For example, the "useless" character Slime actually plays a large role in the battles against Boss X and Mondo, With Boss X he blocks his eye blinding him, and with Mondo, Slime literally corrodes him while he's piloting Spriggan
Apologizes a Lot: Mesarthim frequently apologizes for perceived insults to higher ranked Mystics- It's actually the reason she won't join while Silence is in the party.
Arms Dealer: Pzkw V, a Mec can be found in the backstreets of Koorong, selling smuggled guns.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For as much as she seems to hate Fei-On when he first joins, Mei-Ling is willing to wait a surprisingly long time inside a dying inter-dimensional creature for him to come back.
Badass Bystander: Blue in Red's quest. When the Cygnus gets attacked by pirates, Blue easily takes out the one who charges into his room. But because he's kind of a dick, he refuses to help Red because he doesn't like his name. In fairness, it differs only in language from his Evil Twin.
Bag of Sharing: Averted. Each character has his or her own inventory, but the person equipped with the 'backpack' item can use anything not equipped to anyone else.
Bare-Fisted Monk: Bare-hands are a perfectly viable fighting style—several characters such as Fei-On and Liza start with a few techniques.
Beef Gate: Early on in Asellus' game, in Chateau Augille, it's possible to find an endgame Bonus Boss with ending-altering potential. Even if you're properly trained, it's a difficult fight. Trying to fight it at the point in the game where it's possible to first encounter it? Suicide.
Big Ball of Violence: The "Scuffle" skill has the character throw the enemy offscreen, and have one of these occur.
Body Horror: The scientists of Shrike's Bio-Research Lab, though some aren't particularly horrified by it.
Bonus Boss: The Earth Dragon at the Bio Research Lab, Jotnar and the dragons in Mosperiburg, the Abyss Bat in Shingrow can be fought by anyone. A few can only be fought in specific characters' games, like the Big Diggers in T260's.
Boss Remix: A few. Blue's final battle theme is a remix of the song in his opening scene. Red's is a remix of song in his story.
Boss Rush: Near the end of Red's game, you fight the major bosses all over again. Each has double their initial HP.
But Thou Must: Gen tells T260 to tell him when he's ready to leave the Pub. If you try to tell him you're ready to go, he tells you to get him another drink.
Complete Immortality: Mystics seem to have a combination of The Ageless and a Healing Factor. They can be destroyed by superior power, however (either a stronger Mystic, which is why they're absolutely terrified of Orlouge and Asellus, or a powerful enough human).
Cool Ship: The region ships in general— the Cygnus in particular is treated as one of these in-story.
Counter Attack: Kasumi, Godless, KO Throw, Dragon Turn, Reaction Shot, and Asura Revenge.
The Corpse Stops Here: Emelia walks in just after her boyfriend's murder, shortly after her come the police.
Cyberspace: Near the end of T260's game. It looks like a town, as the interface was designed to be friendly and recognizable to humans and monsters.
Dark Is Not Evil: Monsters are quite commonplace in the world, quite sentient, and can be friendly. Even the skeletal and undead ones. And let's not forget the monster you save from the Shrike Bio Labs, Cotton, who's actually an IRPO agent.
Mystics feed and grow stronger by devouring the blood and lives of their enemies, but they're no more evil than humans on the whole. Orlouge, Ciato and Rastaban really are wicked, though.
Deadly Upgrade: You can buy powerful items from the shop in Facinaturu, at the cost a few of your max life points. That is to say, you can sell your soul for goodies.
Depowering: Red's powers are eventually revoked as purpose for which he had been given his powers was accomplished. Easy come, easy go.
Developer's Room: Reached after you've completed all seven stories. You can speak with the developers, listen to the soundtrack, and fight the bosses of the other character's games with the group you most recently cleared with, among other things.
Disc One Nuke: The Asura in Asellus' game— sure, you need to give up 3 LP to get it, but it's of the strongest three swords in the game, has an instant death effect, and a counter attack on it that works even if the user is killed by the attack. And can be obtained in about the first ten to fifteen minutes of her story.
The DSCnote Dream Super Combo, Deadly Super Combo, Deadly Suplex Combo, or Dangerous Suplex Combo, depending on who you ask, if you have a character proficient at physical attacks, can be unlocked very early in some quests.
The recruitable monster, Thunder, is himself one. He's obscenely easy to get (just speak to him with Lute in your party). His default Ogre form is powerful, with some good stats and attacks. However, his skillset means any extra skills he acquires will always, without fail, turn him into a Trisaur, which is even stronger, capable of causing 1000 damage with some attacks. Thunder can carry the team into the midgame alone.
Distant Finale: Two of Asellus' endings take place in these, though the circumstances are different depending on which you get.
Doomed Hometown: Riki's quest to save his, Blue's, by the time he gets back
Doppelgänger Attack: A few of the sword moves, such as Godless, Haze-To-Wheel, and ESPECIALLY the visually appealing Life Sprinkler. In addition, the Shadow Servant spell, which creates a clone of you that copies every move you use.
The "Magician" Arcane spell is a variant- It creates a single Doppelgänger Spin-type copy of the caster, but when it's attacked, it has a chance of causing instant death.
Doppelgänger Spin: A few spells, such as Mirror Shade, which creates 1-4 clones of the caster to block an attack.
Drunk on the Dark Side: Developing Asellus' mystic abilities via three specific pieces of equipment makes her form during her Mystic Change more powerful, but it also makes her more power-hungry and tyrannical. Her Mystic ending is the end result of it - she becomes a tyrant, harsher than Orlouge.
Dual Wielding: Possible, and required by some moves, like Cross Slash and Two Gale Slash
"Well, caring for the hearts of cute girls is a vital part of a Region Patrol Officer's mission... [he realizes Blue is only a very pretty man][...] Caring for this jackass is outside my jurisdiction."
Easter Egg: The porno book in the Shrike library. You don't see anything, but the characters' reactions range from complete disinterest, to questioning their own sexuality.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: Blue learns and masters all magic after you fight Rouge. Also, during Red's game, you get to walk around as Alkaiser towards the very endnote This is actually bad if you haven't leveled properly, as Alkaiser's stats are based on Red's, and Alkaiser doesn't get any stat increases, so you can be stuck with a very underpowered Alkaiser if you're not careful.
Emergency Transformation: Asellus to a half-mystic thanks to Orlouge, Red to a super hero thanks to Alkarl. Their reactions to their respective changes are opposite each other- While Red is excited about his new-found power to defeat evil, Asellus is afraid and confused about exactly what being a half-mystic entails.
Engrish: Not nearly as bad as many examples, especially back in '98, but there are a few minor ones— "Facinaturu" was likely meant to be "Facinature," while "Omble" was probably supposed to be "Ombre." The Region of Margmel likewise seems to be a mistranslation of "Mag Mell". In addition, "katana" is always translated as "sword", rather than left "katana", which leads to some swords having "sword skill usable" as their description and katana moves being labeled as "sword move" in the sword technique folder.
Every Episode Ending: Though there's variations, each 'section' of each characters game (such as rescuing Mesarthim in Asellus', or receiving the Gift for a school of magic in Blue's,) is ended with a picture of a character involved in it.
Evil Twin: Oddly enough, Blue could considered the evil twin to Rouge. The former is perfectly willing to manipulate whoever he needs to to kill his brother, while the latter is generally friendly, and in-game, will join anyone's quest, unlike Blue who outright refuses to join Red simply because he doesn't like his name.
According to the manual, Blue lost to Rouge, thus the one who did the remainder of the quest (including the 'eternal' fight with Hell's Lord) was supposedly Rouge.
Exactly What I Aimed At: The Trickshot skill, when used only with one gun: the user shoots above the enemy, causing rocks to cascade down.
Expy: Zozma bears an uncanny resemblance to Street Fighter's Akuma- He's even able to use Evil magic.
In addition, Red's appearance seems to be based on that of a character of the same name from a little known Squaresoft game called Treasure Hunter G. There's also a Blue in that game, though he only looks somewhat similar.
Dr. Nusakan bears a rather creepy resemblance to Dr. Hojo, as well.
Fan Disillusionment: Blue has a subtle example near the end of his game. Upon returning to the Magic Kingdom, which is in ruins, he sees a statue of the goddess of Magic, calling it a fake, as magic wasn't able to save the kingdom
Flower from the Mountaintop: The quest for the Shield card involves getting one of these. Though Fuse says it's because he can't just give the card away, apparently, it's because he fancies the girl at the front desk at IRPO.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the very beginning of Asellus' game, an image flashes of something flashes by for a split second while she's trying to remember what happened to her. It's actually an image of the carriage◊ she was run over by.
Fusion Dance: The duel with Blue and Rouge is used to establish the dominant personality in One of the 'Power Booster' variety. In addition, Mystics have the power to absorb slain enemies into their weapons to increase their stats and learn more moves.
Game-Breaking Bug: If played on certain PSX emulators (ePSXe and at least one other), a screen transition will fail in the Tanzer dungeon and leave the game Unwinnable. Given that a player won't reach this dungeon until several hours into a character's quest, and given the relative difficulty of porting saves between emulators, this is a very nasty surprise indeed.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Two aversions- Red is unable to transform into Alkaiser when the humans in his group are healthy, because it would give away his secret identity. Blue is unable to learn Mind magic until after the duel with Rouge, because his soul is split between the two of them.
Also averted with non-boss mystic enemies doing a fraction of their potential damage to PC mystics, illustrating the power gap between common mystic and the party's noble mystics.
Guide Dang It: Several of the secret characters. Sei can only be found after beating a Bonus Dungeon in Shrike, Suzaku can be recruited only if you beat a random Bonus Boss, while you're on a certain quest, and Rei can only be obtained during Asellus' game, after you lose White Rose, if you went into her room with just White Rose early on in the game.
Guns Akimbo: The Two Gun ability, which lets the user... hold two guns.
Hub City: Koorong. It's the only Region which allows you to take a ship to nearly all others, has the greatest concentration of shops in the game, and doubles as a Hub Level in Riki and Emelia's quests.
Improvised Weapon: Early in T260's game, Gen uses wields a pipe as though it were a sword. He even manages to cut a rope with it...or not...
Inevitable Tournament: Shingrow holds a masked martial arts tournament every year. This fact is mentioned just before Emelia gets entered. Red can enter as Alkaiser, though it's not necessary.
Informed Equipment: Whether you've got on the strongest equipment in the game or charge into battle naked, the sprite remains the same.
Averted in the case of exactly four swords—Asura, Kusanagi, Light Sword, and Ray Sword are colored differently in battle than any other. Shields are also colored differently depending on which you have, but only appear when being used.
Instant Runes: Rune magic is represented by giant glowing runes appearing over the targets.
Interface Screw: During the Tarot Quest, getting the Grail Card requires asking a series of brewers where it is. At each one, your character takes a swig. When you actually head for the Grail Shrine, your character is plastered, and takes random steps in various directions (even if you aren't moving) - usually directly into enemies. In battle itself, your party (aside from Mecs) gets hit with random status effects due to being drunk.
Jackass Genie: The 9 Rings of Power- When Riki wishes for Margmel to be reborn, all those that were not there when it was first created vanish.
According to Essence, this is also the reason Hell looks like it does- Long ago, a mage from the Magic Kingdom wished for paradise, but as the rings are evil, got something that appears to be paradise on the outside, but is, in fact, Hell on the inside.
Jumped at the Call: Red was more than willing to become a hero. Probably helps that he would have died otherwise, and that the people he wants to fight killed his family.
Just Eat Him: Tanzer swallows airships whole, and the people inside the airships can cope for a while
Justified Tutorial: Arguably, Blue's entire game, as his quest to master as much magic as possible is one the player is likely to repeat in every character's game.
Light and Mirrors Puzzle: The Luminous Labyrinth which must be solved to obtain the gift of Light Magic. It also adds color filters into the mix. You have to hit the exit portal with white light to escape; hitting it with a colored light will either give you an item or start a random battle.
Humans can go into battle with up to ten moves, and can learn as many as they want that aren't specific to other races.
Mystics can learn as much magic as they want, but can only use 4 spells at a time. They can also learn up to three moves at a time by absorbing monsters into their Mystic Sword, Mystic Gloves, or Mystic Boots- absorbing a new monster replaces the move with a new one.
The Half-Mystic Asellus is the best of both worlds- She can learn techniques as a human or a mystic, depending on if she uses her Mystic Gloves, Mystic Sword, and/or Mystic Boots, allowing her to go into battle with 7-10 human abilities as well as 0-3 Mystic ones.
Mecs can download as many moves as they want from other Mecs, but how many they can use at a time depends on their Intelligence stat.
Monsters can absorb up to ten moves from other monsters— any more than that and an old one must be forgotten.
Locked Out of the Fight: In order to get the gift for Mind Magic, each character fights a group of monsters, alone.
The Wizard Duel in Blue's game also fits, as it's a one on one fight between Blue and his brother. The other characters in your group can be seen watching.
There's a more minor example in the Shadow Magic quest. Due to properties of the dungeon, monster allies must wait outside. This makes acquiring the gift for your teammates quite easy when playing as Riki however, as you simply spend the "quest" in the waiting room.
Logic Bomb: There's actually a Mec only attack called Logic Bomb, that damages and puts status effects on other Mecs. It's represented onscreen by a long string of numbers, ending in the word 'DEATH'.
Loss of Identity: No matter the result of the duel, Blue and Rouge have a brief moment of trying to figure out who he is. Oddly enough, the winner believes he lost.
Luck-Based Mission: Riki's fight against the Ring Lord Virgil, as he and his crew are required to score combos of 3 or more. Which can easily be averted by using DSC as it is a combo in itself, it doesn't link with other allies during a combination attack.
Magic A Is Magic A: A few basic rules to it- A) No one person can learn magic from opposing schools (Light & Shadow, Mind & Evil, Rune & Tarot, Time & Space, and Realm & Mystic,) B) Without the Gift, you cannot learn more powerful spells. Blue and Rouge were specifically created to break Rule A.
Mind Magic has a rule of its own- Only humans can obtain the Gift for it.
In addition, according to books in the Magic Kingdom, by mastering both Light and Shadow magic, one can learn Life Magic, and Mirage magic was lost to the ages, eventually becoming Mystic and Shadow.
Magical Society: The Magic Kingdom, where Blue and Rouge are from. It's stated that all men born there are born with the Gift for Realm magic.
Magic Misfire: The Realm Magic spell 'Psychic Prison' forces one of these on the target— The next time they attempt to use magic, the effect 'Backfire' occurs, and the enemy takes some damage.
Magikarp Power: T260's original body. While it starts with only 5 in each stat and one piece of equipment, and the other models have fancy gadgets like laser cannons and repairkits, it has the potential to be the strongest in the game, since Mecs level up by the equipment they have on, and the original body has the most available slots.
Mayfly-December Romance: Asellus and Gina have an ambiguous mayfly-December relationship in her Half-Mystic ending.
Meaningful Name: Orlouge's mistresses Japanese names and numbers— Shirobara Hime's (White Rose) number is 46, which is pronounced "Shi-roku," or "shi-ro" (white) in Japanese. Kinjishi Hime's (Golden Lion) number is 44, which is pronouced "shi-shi" (lion) in Japanese. Due to the adjective "kin" or "gold" attached to the noun, "shi-shi" becomes "ji-shi."
Some of the regions, such as Luminous (the region where Light and Shadow magic are learned), Baccarat (a casino), and Scrap (which appears to be made solely of rusted metal). Omble, the place you go to find shadow magic, was likely supposed to be "Ombre", French for "shade."
Mirror Boss: When you battle Rouge in Blue's game, you find that he's learned the exact opposite types of magic you have. In addition, his (magic-related) stats are the same as yours.
Red's quest has a Recurring Boss named Metal Black, a robot warrior who remodels himself after every defeat. His final form is modeled after Red's superhero identity, Alkaiser; he even has a copy of Red's finishing move, Dark Phoenix.
Mirror Match: If the player visits Omble to learn Shadow magic, the trip ends with a fight between your (main) party and their shadows.
Mutually Exclusive Magic: As detailed in Magic A Is Magic A, no one can learn both a school of magic and its opposite, though you can still buy spells from opposing schools. Except Blue and Rouge, who are specifically designed to break this rule.
New Game+: At the start of the game, the player creates 'system data.' Using the same data every time you start with a new character makes their games a bit easier. For example, Red can start with as much as 180 HP and already know the move Chop, or secondary characters may start with better equipment.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: In the third battle against Metal Black, he takes Alkaiser's signature move, Al-Phoenix, and turns it back on him with Dark-Al-Phoenix, a very damaging move that Metal Black had no indication of using before. After it's used on Alkaiser, and for this battle only, is Alkaiser has a free technique slot and uses Al-Phoenix, he'll always learn Re-Al-Phoenix, which takes the original power and turns it Up to Eleven, becoming his strongest attack.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As it turns out, since the Nine Rings of Power are evil, wishes made with them are intentionally misinterpreted- Riki wishing for Margmel to be reborn means that anyone not there when it was born ceases to exist. It's All There in the Manual that this is also the reason Hell looks like Paradise— a mage from the Magic Kingdom wished for a paradise, but since the rings are inherently evil, got something that only looked like it.
Noblewoman's Laugh: Asellus in her Full Mystic ending, notable as it's one of the only voice clips in the game.
Nonlethal KO: When your HP runs out, your character is knocked out and loses a life point. If they continue to get hit and lose all their life points, the character is Killed Off for Real. If happens to the main character, it's Game Over, with a short message saying [Character Name] is dead.
Noodle Incident: Mei-Ling and Fei-On had some sort of past relationship, but exactly what that was and what happened during it is left to imagination.
Number of the Beast: The Evil spell "Pain Doubler" doubles the total damage done to all enemies, up to a maximum of 666. When used on a Player Character, it can be especially damaging, as HP maxes out at 999. When used by Zozma, the only playable character who can learn it, it's not all that great, as the average damage tends to be in the thousands.
Offscreen Inertia- It is implied that Blue never actually kills Hell's Lord, but fights him eternally.
Older Than She Looks: Not that you can tell by the sprites, but Asellus is a 29 year old who looks 17.
Ominous Multiple Screens: The battle with Genocide Heart in T260's game is fought in a room full of screens, that act as a sort of health meter. The more damaged Genocide Heart is, the more screens fizzle out. They're also used for mirrors for its signature attack: Carnage
Opium Den: In Kyo. BlackX runs their drug operations from it.
Optional Party Member: There's a grand total of 31 recruitable characters, though depending on who you're playing, the number is closer to 20. That said, all but one of the protagonists can be recruited in another's game.
Our Vampires Are Different: Mystics are basically vampires. They're immortal, can be created from humans, some of them sleep in coffins (the princesses are shown to, but everyone else we dunno), and many of them are nobles. But they don't drink blood. They have mystic weapons that absorb souls.
Though at one point Asellus suggests that she might suck Riki's blood.
Party in My Pocket: Characters joining the group just walk right into your body. If they have anything plot-relevant to say, they'll step out, say it, and go back in. Slime even forces his way into the party by sliding slithering walking into you.
Point of No Return: Hell in Blue's game, Mondo's base in Lute's, and the Black Ray in Red's. Saving in any of these places before you're trained well enough can make the game Unwinnable.
Polyamory: The state of Asellus and Gina's relationship in the Half-Mystic ending is implied to be incompletely exclusive. Asellus can't get Gina pregnant, after all.
Power Copying: Mystics, Monsters, and Mecs learn new skills from defeated opponents.
The Power of Friendship: Two notable examples, as detailed in "The Essence of Saga Frontier". The first is that chronologically, Lute's quest is last, because he was too busy helping everyone else, but as a bonus, his new friends help him in his final battle. The second offers a more optimistic ending for Blue. Because he remembered that there were people outside who cared about him, he musters the power to break out of Hell.
Power of the Void: The Space Magic spell "Vanish" which removes enemies from existence.
Prison Episode: The first part of Emelia's game, and a part of the quest for the gift for Rune magic.
Public Domain Artifact: The Treasures of Amaterasu can be found in Sei's Tomb. The Kusanagi is one of the most powerful swords in the game, and one of a few that are colored differently than normalnote It's blue. The others are Asura, Lightsword, and Alkaiser's Raysword, and comes with a special attack. The Mirror is a shield that grants immunity to fire and water attacks, and equipping the Necklace allows access to the Sacred Song attack, a powerful move that's especially effective on undead creatures. Interestingly, Murakumo, the other name for the sword, can be found there, but it's half as strong as the Kusanagi.
Punny Name: The AGUNI (agony) line of guns. It's also possible they were supposed to be AGNI, which is still funny.
The Reveal: All seven characters' quests have at least one major reveal near their end.
Rubber Band A.I.: The enemies that appear in a given fight are based on a "class" of enemy (mech, water monster, etc) compounded by a rank system, which is determined on your stat totals and the location the fight occurs.
Secret Character: A couple are guide danged hard to find, like Suzaku, Sei, and Rei, mentioned above. Some, like Thunder and Mesarthim, only require you to have certain other characters in your group.
Secret Identity: Played completely straight without a hint of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Red can switch to his superhero mode in combat, but until late in the game the command is only available if every member of the party is blind, otherwise incapacitated, or a Mec.
Secret Identity Change Trick: Occasional in Red's game, though usually by happy accidents- power outages, briefly being separated from the group, or, in combat everyone else being somehow incapacitated.
The Shadow Knows: In Essence, there's a picture of Red casting a shadow of Alkaiser, with the words "Chang for justice!" beneath.
Shaggy Dog Story: Riki's. Turns out the rings are evil, and he has to stop them. He does so, his Doomed Hometown is, well, doomed, the inhabitants optimistically decide to just move elsewhere, and all the rings are scattered across the world (with the majority returned to where they were originally). In other words, going through the whole adventure accomplished absolutely nothing.
She Is the King: Asellus is called the "Prince" of Facinaturu. This is likel due to the facts that: A)In Facinaturu, "Princess" is a term reserved for Orlouge's mistresses, and B) The Mystics don't tend to care much about gender.
Red's not the only person to become a super hero after Black Cross destroyed his home- Himitsu Sentai did it first. Late in his game, one of the fights in the BlackX base consists of a Red Fighter, a Yellow Fighter, a Green Fighter, a Pink Fighter, and a Blue Fighter, the same colors the protagonists from the show wear.
T260 gets a "G" slapped on the end of its name after being found in a crater filled with junk, and gets used for combat almost immediately. "Gally" was also found in a crater filled with junk and was used for combat.
There are two Rabite statues just outside the shrine in Devin. They also exist as enemies in-game, though it's unlikely you'll see them.
Sibling Yin-Yang: Blue and Rouge. In terms of personality, Blue is a Jerk Ass in-game, while Rouge supposedly has an easier time making friends. In terms of abilities, as mandated by the plot, they master opposing schools of magic. The differences even spread to appearance- Blue wears a blue robe and keeps his hair in a ponytail, while Rouge wears a red one and keeps his hair down.
Sidequest: Notably, almost all of the sidequests are actually main quests for one protagonist or another; for a case in point, the magic quests are essentially the entirety of Blue's quest, but for everyone else they're a major sidequest. The only pure side areas are the Bio Research Lab in Shrike and Furdo's workspace in the Magic Kingdom; both of those were intended to be in Asellus' quest before her quest was bulldozed due to time constraints.
Sidetrack Bonus: In the quest for the Shield card, should you enter a cave rather than just stay on the main path, you can fight a red and black dragon who're hoarding all kinds of goodies.
Speech Bubbles: Your words are a different color than normal NPCs. Even if you come across them in the other characters' stories, protagonists' words will usually be whatever color they are in their own game.
In Asellus' game, Mystics' text is in blue.
Spell My Name with an S: Vadjoueal/Virgil/Vergil, Schoether/Shuzer, Meiren/Mei-Ling, Kylin/Kirin/Kyrin, Time/Thyme, Ciato/Scheat, Furdo/Furud and Ildon/Yildun.
Lots of translation artifacts, here. "Koorong" instead of "Kowloon" is another.
Spinning Clock Hands: Used as an attack- Time Magic's Chaos Stream spell spins the enemies around on a clock face, possibly petrifying it or lowering its speed.
Standard RPG Items: Your various health potions, status effect removers, buff/debuff items, damage dealing ones, and whatnot. There's no "Revive" item, though—due to the game's mechanics, any healing item will revive a character.
Standard Status Effects: And they actually tend to hit the enemies, too. Petrify especially proves useful. Unfortunately it works the other way, too. Being Charmed or Confused can be a massive pain in the neck.
Status Buff: All of Rune Magic, as well as spells in a few other schools.
Stuck Items: Most Mystics come with Mystic Mail, different Mecs have different bits of equipment they can't remove, and Living Swords can possess characters, becoming "Glirandly," a sword that provides a stat boost, but cannot be unequpped (unless you use it's special move, Final Strike).
Sue Donym: During Red's quest he attempts to investigate a fighting tournament dressed in his superhero outfit. When asked his name at the sign-up counter he stammers part of his real name a few times, and winds up entered in as "Rerere".
Suplex Finisher: The Suplex martial arts technique manifests in three or four different ways depending on the enemy being fought. In addition, there's also Locomotion G, a series of four or five, and the DSC which combines all the different suplexes with a couple of other martial arts moves.
Tailor-Made Prison: The prison region Despair was initially created to house one single prisoner: the Warden.
Take Your Time: Blue is told to hurry because he cannot learn any magic his brother already has, but you're never forced to get a different school because Rouge got there first.
Taken for Granite: A few moves (usable by both you or the random monsters that have it), can petrify. If used on an enemy, the result is instant death, while when used on the player, the character is 'Stoned' and unable to attack, but immune to damage and loss of LP. If the whole team (or just the ones left alive) are Stoned, it's Game Over.
Tarot Motifs: An entire school of magic is based on the Tarot, using Swords, Grail, Gold, Shield, Fool, Magician, Death, and Tower.
Tech Tree: An absolutely immense one, with over 100 abilities that can be learned from each other with varying degrees of success, depending on which move is being used, who's using them, and what weapon they have equipped while using it.
Was It Really Worth It?: Mei-Ling asks "Do we have to put up with this just to acquire the gift?" after Blue gets the gift for Space Magic. Seeing as how Kylin maintained a paradise for children, that you just destroyed by killing him, it's a valid point.
Weapons That Suck: Mystic Sword, Mystic Gloves and Mystic Boots, which are used by Mystics to absorb enemies to use their power.
We Cannot Go On Without You: If the main character of any story loses all their LP (and therefore dies), it's an instant game-over, even if the other 4 characters in your party are at perfect health.
Weird Moon: On the night of the duel between Blue and Rouge, the moon is half full... the bottom half. It looks like it may actually have been partially destroyed
We Need a Distraction: One of the Shadow spells, Hide Behind, creates an illusion of the caster behind an enemy to provide a distraction.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Space Magic in general. Of its six spells, two can only affect monsters with either Deathsynthesis or Photosynthesis, one also stops your status effects, and two are weaker than other spells of similar cost. The instant death spell, Vanish, is decent, but there are still other spells that can do the same thing.
Where It All Began: Both Blue and Asellus' games end where they begin, The Magic Kingdom and Orlouge's castle, respectively.
Wide Open Sandbox: Any protagonist can go to most (though not all) locations and do some of the quests there (or at least loot the place and grind against monsters), with the expectation that in most quests you'll go out and do some Level Grinding, skill grinding and otherwise buffing yourself up before you go on the final quest. Asellus and Lute deserve special mention, though: their storylines are almost completely sandbox and directionless for the majority of the game. Asellus' quest is unique because it doesn't happen on her schedule; instead, she plays in the sandbox while being chased by assassins who show up in any of a number of locations, until White Rose is trapped in the labyrinth and she can go and settle the score with Lord Orlouge. Lute, meanwhile, only has one storyline quest, but he has to roam around at random just to find it, and he'd better build up a bit before embarking on it.
Quicksand Box: Both present and averted. Some of the stories (like Riki) are very straightforward, and you can learn your way around the sidequests by playing some characters' main quests, but starting with Asellus or Lute is a quick way to get completely lost.
A Winner Is You: Blue's ending consists of the screen fading to gray, then the words 'The End' appearing on the screen. That said, everything past the Duel Boss fight with Rouge could be considered a 'playable ending,' as the credits roll after it.
Wizard Duel: The penultimate boss fight in Blue's game is a duel with his twin brother, Rouge. The winner absorbs the loser's magic and personality. During the battle, one school of magic becomes more powerful every other turn or so, including those that cannot be obtained by either.
Womb Level: Tanzer, a monster large enough to swallow region ships whole.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Asellus gives one to Lord Orlouge upon her return to Fascinaturu, explaining the moral path that she's chosen and why she's returned to Fascinaturu. Depending on her choices, Orlouge can respond with bored contempt, confusion, or pride.
Wrong Context Magic: Some characters have very unique abilities that may even break the standard rules. Among others, Blue and Rouge were created to break Mutually Exclusive Magic, and the Half-Human Hybrid Asellus is capable of increasing her stats both as a human and as a mystic (though she has to go into Super Mode to take advantage of Mystic bonuses), and she can use combat abilities (which are human-only), magic (which both humans and mystics share) and mystics' natural abilities.