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Video Game / Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits

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Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is the fourth game in the Arc the Lad series. The first game in the series for the PS2, Twilight of the Spirits tells the story of two characters; the first is Kharg, a young man who happens to be descended from noble blood, training with his mentor, Lloyd. Everything is fine and happy, and we meet up with two other characters (his friend Paulette and a forest-dwelling child named Maru) before monsters called Deimos attack one of the nearby mines for their main source of power, Spirit Stones. After Lloyd's death, Kharg vows to stop the Deimos, and later teams up with an ex-solider named Ganz and a scientist named Tatjana.

On the other hand, the story switches over to a half-human half-Deimos young man named Darc, who is enslaved by a froggy hag named Geedo. Needless to say, he doesn't get treated very well. After meeting up with an Orcon named Delma and her brother Densimo, he claims that his ambition is to become Savior of the Deimos, until his betrayal at the hands of Densimo and Geedo, allied with Drakyr. After which, his new ambition is to be King of the Deimos, and to destroy humankind, along side Delma, and his new allies; the Lupine Volk, the Pianta Sage Camellia, and the Puppet Master Bebedora.

Each hero is also asked by one of the last remaining Sprits in the world to Save the World, and thus begin on an epic quest to do so, crossing paths multiple times and discovering some interesting secrets about themselves.

The game is a tactical RPG with a plot twisting through about every trope in the book.

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits was one of the first titles to utilize PlayStation 2 emulation technology on the PlayStation 4.

Tropes used in this game include:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Darc spent most of his life as a slave because of his obvious human lineage. This is actually what started his ambition to become the King of all Deimos.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Dilzweld is Anvilicious about it his hatred of the Deimos and lack of fear of the international community.
    • Not to mention in the psuedo-sequel, Arc the Lad: End of Darkness, sympathizers of Dilzweld come back and form a terrorist group known as Neo-Dilzweld. Hmm...
  • Artifact Title: The game tried to avert this by having an ark, as in a physical object, be relevant to the plot. But it still falls into this with the whole "the Lad" part of the title.
  • Ass Shove: In-game example whenever you have Delma in you party. So, you're in a fight, maybe you're in trouble, one of your characters is in critical condition, you'd really need a healing item... Then you remember that you put one in Delma's inventory. Try and guess where she pulls it from.
  • Bad Ass Boast: Volk's monologue to Darc in Chapter 2 of his story. He makes another that's possibly even more badass after you fight him. Volk is the master of these. Even his skill use quotes are badass.
  • BFG: You're required to collect a beam cannon for the Big Owl to progress the plot.
  • Big Bad: The Divine Ruler a.k.a. Lord of the Black Abyss a.k.a. The Dark One in the first three Arc the Lad games is the one behind the overall strife and takes up the role as the Final Boss.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A minor example, when Darc and Lilia are surrounded by monsters in the Cave of Truth. It's Kharg who does the Big Damn Hero-ing.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Magic has been eliminated from the world which will impact both humans and deimos, not to mention the tensions between the two races are still high. Fortunately the world is still saved, Kharg and Darc have finally reconciled, and all of the party members are going to start working towards bringing peace between the two races.
  • Blade on a Rope: Paulette's weapon of choice is a garrote with a blade at the end.
  • Body Horror: The Altered Deimos have what appears to be mechanized armor bolted onto their right arms. See also: Demon Droguza.
  • Blow You Away: Kharg and Darc have wind powers because they're brothers. Kharg literally does this to some Dilzweld soldiers in a cutscene.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Standard for every player character, and sort of used with the enemies — each move has a different animation/quote, especially for bosses. Being the stereotypical RPG hero that he is, Kharg has special, flashy animations for his two ultimate attack moves.
  • Casting a Shadow: Maru does a lot of Status Effects and many of his special moves are Dark-aligned, but he's one of the nicest people you'll meet.
  • Cheerful Child: Maru is always in high spirits.
  • Childhood Friends: Kharg and Paulette are this.
  • Continuity Nod: Peisus Library contains books that reference the events of the previous games, which makes sense since Twilight of the Spirits takes place 1,000 years after the events of those games.
    • The room where the heroes fight the Lord of the Black Abyss in the final battle is basically the same, with the equipment left behind by The Academy 1,000 years prior still intact.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Five Great Spirit Stones, plus the Ark that holds the Divine Ruler's power.
  • Cree Summer: Plays Tatjana.
  • Creepy Child: Bebedora
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The battle against two (yes, two) Dilzweld soldiers, just before you recruit Bebedora. She's just been unsealed and is now controlling their brains. Bet she didn't expect Darc and crew to be so tough.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played with. The Big Bad is Dark-aligned, but so are Maru and Bebedora, two of the heroes. Darc isn't really a bad guy, either.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Darc's first chapter. Is it any surprise that he snapped and killed Geedo and Densimo?
  • Determinator: Kharg and Volk, as displayed by their battle quotes at critical health:
    Kharg: Nothing can hold me back!
    Volk: I don't care if my fangs are broken....
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Ganz and Camellia have earth power.
  • Disposable Woman: Kharg's mother is said to be a great warrior, and she's killed without even having a chance to fight.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Dilzweld's leader, Darkham, has short black hair, is trying to purge the world of Deimos, and is unafraid of the United Nations the World Alliance. Hmmmmm....
    • The Empire itself is also comprised of racists that use signature salutes with no compunction about attacking what they see as lesser people. Makes one think...
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Zev, that rather goofy, seemingly harmless old man whom you meet at the start of Kharg's adventure and who later becomes a recurring minor character... is ultimately revealed to be none other than the Dark One, the series' true Big Bad! Throughout the game, he's been monitoring both the heroes and the major antagonists' activities in secret, and was also the one who influenced and manipulated Darkham into becoming a ruthless tyrant in the first place.
  • Double Entendre: May be intentional with some of Camellia's lines, but in other places, it's hard to not reinterpret some of the lines.
  • Dragon Ancestry: Kharg and Darc are the twin sons of a forbidden union between Nafia, a human woman, and Windalf, a member of the Drakyr, a race of Draconic Humanoids. Kharg is able to pass as a human (though a pair of wings sprout from his back at one point, terrifying everyone around him) while Darc has a small pair of horns and his skin is partially covered in scales.
  • Dueling Player Characters: You spend the game alternating between controlling two parties; a party of human characters led by Kharg, and a party of deimos led by Darc. In the final chapter of the game, both parties meet each other and you have to choose one party that you control in order to defeat the other (shortly before the Big Bad appears and forces them into an Enemy Mine situation).
  • Easily Forgiven: Darc welcomes Delma back into his service even after she stabs him in the back and tries to become the new leader of Orcoth.
    • Later, he does this for Camellia. Twice.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Lord of the Black Abyss' final form, which is his standard form in the previous games.
  • Elemental Powers: Each of the protagonists is aligned with one of the elements, and Ganz gets accessories that add these onto his basic attacks.
  • The Empire: Dilzweld.
  • Enemy Mine: After Kharg and Darc's parties duke it out, the Big Bad swoops in and steals all of the Macguffins they worked hard to gain. This forces the two parties to put their personal grudges to the side and work together to take him down and Savethe World.
  • Exploding Barrels: Several battlefields are littered with them.
  • Exposed to the Elements: When Kharg, Paulette, and Maru go to a snow-covered mountain, Maru (who doesn't even wear a shirt) almost immediately complains about how cold it is. Paulette then points out that of course he would be cold dressed like that.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Densimo, if he could even be considered a hero at all in the first place.
  • Fantastic Racism: Much of what drives the narrative: Humans and Deimos hate each other (partly due to one another's reliance on Spirit Stones, centuries-old grudges, the works ETC.) to the point where the two species attack each other on sight, which causes almost all of the misunderstandings that put Kharg and Darc's factions at odds with one another. The factions end up having to overcome these feelings in order to unite and fight the Big Bad.
  • Faux Action Girl: Kharg's mother. She is said to be a great warrior, but she dies before she gets a chance to fight.
    • Justified by the fact that at least part of her reputation was built on a lie; she disappeared for at least a year, and upon her return was said to have beaten back Drakyr expansion, but in reality she spent enough of that time having a secret romance with their leader that she was able to go through a full pregnancy with none of her people knowing it until she came back holding a son. Add to that the fact that baby Kharg wasn't crippled by what Windalf thought was a fatal fall, and one can reasonably assume she took the brunt of the impact while holding him; that and age have probably weakened her in the years since then.
  • For Great Justice: Kharg. Being the heir to the throne of a benevolent kingdom that was dissolved helps.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Your characters take gunshots from Dilzweld Mooks numerous times without much trouble, but a couple of characters including one who is an actual, temporary, party member go down in one shot. Nafia clutched her chest after she was shot — and walked all the way to Yewbell while injured.
  • Genocide Dilemma: Played With. Both of the brothers have a hatred for the opposing race and swear to wipe out the other for the sake of peace. After the final battle with Emperor Darkham, Darkham entrusts the destruction of the Deimos to Kharg before killing himelf. Despite having misgivings about the Deimos, Kharg is understandably Squicked out at the idea of wiping out an entire sentient race and ultimately decides against it.
  • Genre Deconstruction: The game acts as one for the standard Save the World plot. Fantastic Racism runs rampant in this universe, and as opposed to being beacons of hope that transcend established limitations, (like many JRPG heroes tend to be) the two main heroes ignite the flames of this social gap even further, and have open disdain for the opposing species. The actions the two teams take against each other also very nearly cause The End of the World as We Know It, and only through a lot of soul-searching and Teeth-Clenched Teamwork do they fix the problem they cause. None of the game's heroes are flawless.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Volk sports a scar over his eye that he pretty heavily implies was given to him by Lloyd. It intensifies his badass aura.
  • Gonk: Ganz's facial features are oddly exaggerated compared to everyone else's in the game.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Samson for the humans and Densimo for the Deimos.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Tatjana's an interesting case - unlike a lot of examples, she doesn't change her personality that much after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kharg, after Nafia dies.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kharg comes across this way when taking into account some of his battle quotes:
    I know we can win!
    (Landing a Critical Hit): DIE!!!
    Taste the windblade of fury!
    • Volk's got it worse. Almost all of his battle quotes are spoken in an angry growl, and even on the rare occasion when he thanks his allies for helping him, it's easy to get the impression that he thinks showing gratitude is the same as showing weakness. One of his starting spells sums it up nicely:
    My hot blood and my fighting spirit boil and burn!
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Darc to his mother, Nafia.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: This is the view of the Deimos; and while they're not wrong, they're not right either.
  • Hulk Speak: Lakelta Brother Tsaw.
  • Ice Magic Is Water: Volk has water and ice power.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Bebedora uses her stuffed animal. However, Paulette takes the cake with her weapon, called a "Sling knife". She swings it around in circles to build up momentum and attacks by sending the bladed part into enemies. The best part is, she's an attacker; and possibly one of the most flexible characters so you'll see it a lot.
  • Jerkass: The Deimos all have traces of this, sans Volk and Bebedora.
  • Lady of War: Camellia.
  • Last of His Kind: Droguza claims to be this. Subverted as it turns out Droguza was an artificial Deimos created by Darkham to serve as an infiltrator to find the Great Spirit Stones.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Maru has a habit of doing this. A good example is when he's at critcal health, one of his quotes is "My turn already?"
  • Light 'em Up: Tatjana. She's a temporary straight-playing of Light Is Not Good.
  • Limit Break: Used with the Tension Gauge mechanic. When it fills up, an aura appears around the character and you can unleash team-up attacks For Massive Damage.
  • Living MacGuffin: Lilia.
  • MacGuffin: The Great Sprit Stones.
  • Magic Knight: Kharg is this to the Human side due to his half-Deimos heritage.
    • The Deimos are an entire race of 'em.
  • Magic Versus Science: A thematic example. Human society is very hierarchical and industrial compared to the Social Darwinist Low Fantasy villages the Deimos operate in.
    • Kharg's party also utilizes technology like the Big Owl in contrast to the other side, which arms itself with The Pyron and other types of Magical Accessory.
  • Marathon Boss: The Final Boss. Thankfully, because of how the battle system works, you can heal in between rounds.
  • Meaningful Name: Volk is Russian for "wolf." Guess what animal he's based on.
  • Mind Control: This is one of Bebedora's skills, see People Puppets. It never comes in handy in the plot.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Five Great Spirit Stones.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Camellia. Let's see: large breasts complimented by a Sexy Backless Outfit with an Impossibly-Low Neckline? Check! Actually 200 years old and still hot? Check! Battle quotes with a BDSM subtext? Check! Note that while this is her when you first meet her, she gets better.
  • Monster Arena: Two for each side. The humans have theirs at Cathena and Lambda Temple, while the Deimos arenas are in Orcoth and Rueloon.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Deimos and humans can have children. Justified since the former were created from humans to begin with.
  • Noble Wolf / Savage Wolves: Volk is both in accordance with the game's theme. Kharg's party sees him as the latter (and he is introduced as the latter) because he killed Paulette's father. However, Darc's party sees him as the former because he is a trustworthy ally and is on board to save the world.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The World Alliance. They won't even listen to what Kharg has to say to them without a discussion, vote and an official letter from his country. It's exactly because of how unwilling they would help Darkham save his people just because of this is what began his Start of Darkness.
  • Official Couple: Believe it or not, Maru and Bebedora. This is in fact cited as the reason the plot works. Sadly, this is abandoned in End of Darkness.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: One of Camellia's kill quotes is "May you rest in peace." She puts a... special emphasis on that last word.
  • Playing with Fire: Paulette and Delma.
  • People Puppets: This is Bebedora's shtick, and she is frighteningly good at it.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Played with to the point of Zigzagging Trope. Kharg gains the ability to learn magic early in the game, but doesn't know why; when it's revealed later in the game that his magic is a result of his Half-Deimos lineage, the shock causes him to grow a pair of wings, which he rips from his back in disgust, making him both a justified case of the trope, and an aversion. Darc is an inversion; he begins the game with wings and spellcasting abilities, but shortly after his wings are torn off, he finds a human sword and decides to incorporate human martial arts into his fighting style.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Deimos in a nutshell. A Social Darwinist society of monsters that thrive on combat and use strength as a measure of stature. While Deimos do place emphasis on strength and individuality, they're a bit more complex than that, acting more like the Klingons than monsters.
  • Punny Name: The names of the Lakelta brothers: Tsee, Tsaw, and Fulkrum. Didn't get it? Say them out loud.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Meshimgen. Each one corresponds to a specific party member, based on what illusion appears when they're attacked, and only that party member can destroy it. If a party member attacks the wrong meshimgen, they'll be turned into another meshimgen temporarily, attacking the rest of the party until they return to their true form. It's impossible to predict who can kill which meshimgen before attacking one, making it all but inevitable that someone's going to make the wrong choice at least once.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Camellia, although it's kind of obvious when you first meet her. She gets better, and hotter.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Firbles are adorable. Pyrons, their evolved form, are not.
  • Right Behind Me: In Darc's fifth chapter, we witness a scene of a Dilzweld soldier badmouthing Deimos and the idea of Darkham using one (Droguza). Cue Tall, Dark, and Deimos Droguza....
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • The Royal Family of Milmarna, including Maru.
    • Kharg and Darc count as well, due to Kharg being a prince (despite the fact that his country abolished the monarchy) and Darc intends to become King of the Deimos.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Lloyd
  • Schizo Tech: The Dilzweld Army has rifles while the heroes wield swords, axes, and other medieval weaponry. Justified with the Deimos, who fight with magic while humans use them to fuel their technology.
  • Science Is Bad: Played With. The Dilzweld Empire does a lot of cruel things For Science!, and so they can take over the world (and wipe out the Deimos, while they're at it), but one of Tatjana's battle quotes is "Science protect us!"
  • Shown Their Work: With regards to gun safety. They use guns in impossible and often unsafe ways, but the enemies are shown using them better than in other video games. Tatjana attacks with a pistol/blaster, and whenever she has it drawn and isn't using it, she has it pointed down, even if it looks a bit like she's got safety on, she obviously hasn't dropped that habit. Likewise, enemies with firearms held in unsafe positions are shown loading them before attacking, or drawing them from a holster, and some enemies with guns as primary weapons always have them pointed at you.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Darc, after taking over Orcoth, does this on his new throne.
    • Also before Darc's takeover, Densimo; to Gorma's chagrin.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: How Paulette blocks.
  • Stripperiffic: Most female Deimos NPCs, as well as Delma.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Lampshaded a few times.
  • The Infiltration: When the Deimos party make it to Kharg's hometown, they decide to send a scout to gather information on a MacGuffin. Their candidate? Bebedora, as she can pass for Human. The townspeople are put off, but never suspect anything.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Densimo, the brief time he's on your side.
    • Camellia is a subversion serving on the Deimos side. She betrays Darc to the Coleopt Queen shortly after they encounter Bebedora in the hopes of taking the Water Stone for herself and takes every chance to swap verbal jabs with Delma. The others want to off her as retribution and move on, but Darc gives her another chance. The second time, it only SEEMS that she's betrayed Darc. After Droguza takes the Water Stone, Camellia stops trying to be manipulative and fights for Darc on her own going forward.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: No matter how long you spend level-grinding or how urgent the current time crunch is stated to be, the story will wait for you to get there.
    • Volk combines this with Offscreen Teleportation before joining the party. It's never explained how he got from the forest on the outskirts of Yewbell to Darc's throne room in Orcoth (crossing an ocean in the process) as quickly as he did.
  • Tsundere:
    • Delma, a Type A for Darc. It's very easy to see, given one of her quotes when healed. To be fair, it's pretty obvious that being a Tsundere is how Deimos flirt.
    Delma: You... you looking for trouble?!?
    • Darc also acts this way towards Lilia; helping her out yet denying it and making excuses.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: It alternates between Kharg and Darc's narratives - eventually becoming one at the end. Even then, they overlap each other well.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: After The Divine Ruler forces Bebedora into a Face–Heel Turn, you have to fight her. Maru, who has been subtly hinted at being attracted to her, is among your party members for this fight. In an outright cruel move, he is the most effective fighter in this particular battle, meaning he's probably going to be doing the most damage to 'dora. Even then, you had to have them fight each other before.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The Kirjath side-quest for Darc. Despite not really being that interested in Kirjath's plight, getting it done means that Darc took time out of his quest to find these Tablets (which, to be fair, are put right in your face so you can't miss them) for someone he didn't really have to help. And hey, the second-best HP-boosting accessory in the game as a reward? Good Feels Good. And so does gratitude, if you wanna be Deimos about it.
  • Warring Natures: The game had this as a driving plot - a pair of twins, Half Human Hybrids, had been divided at birth. One had grown up amongst the humans, and was fortunate enough to not have any visible signs of his demonic side (At least at first...), while the other one grew up amongst the Deimos, and was visibly half-human, causing him to be ridiculed as a 'Wannabe Deimos'. However, they both eventually rose to lead their respective factions in a war against their other side...
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Darc will stop at nothing to save the Deimos, no matter how many he has to kill to do it. Darkham turns out to be this too as his objective was never world domination, but to destroy the Deimos for good.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Kirjath, a side character. His body ages and crumbles, but he can't die. Doing his sidequest resolves this fate, and gets you the Goddess Statuette, which gives a substantial HP boost.