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A Role-Playing Fable

Garian: Sounds like an impossible mission.
Jack: Sounds like your type of assignment.

Dark Savior is an Action RPG developed by Climax Entertainment and released for the Sega Saturn in 1996 (1997 in Europe). It was a Spiritual Successor to Climax' earlier game Landstalker. It does, however, not have anything to do with it.

Rajeen Bounty Hunter Garian is on board a prison transport ship headed for Jailer's Island, transporting the incredibly dangerous creature Bilan, who of course escapes during the journey and Garian has to hunt him down. Depending on how long the player takes to complete the introduction part of the game, they move on to one of three "parallels", taking place in the same world and sharing plot elements, but also having significant differences - for instance, almost every part of the plot on Jailer's Island in the first parallel is directly caused by Bilan's escape, but to get to the second parallel you have to catch up with and kill Bilan already in the introduction, changing the story dramatically. Complicating matters is the Jailer's Island Warden Kurtliegen, who uses prisoners for slave labour to mine the dangerous substance Bilanium. The Lavian ninja Kay is a central character too, and is the one given the most different characterization in the three possible timelines.

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The game has an overarching theme of different realities and living different lives, something which comes full circle in the fourth parallel, following directly after the third.

Of interesting note is the fighting system in the game - when any major enemy is encountered, the game shifts into more of a fighting game, complete with two rounds. A weakened enemy that has been knocked down in the second round can be captured and used in future battles.


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Tropes appearing in Dark Savior:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Kay, which is more apparent in the FMV video seen at the end of Parallels 2 and 5 which has a shot focused on her large bust. This is also apparent in Tracy and Meg's sprites as well.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Garian often travels in these to reach various areas of the game, and are filled to the brim with water and platforming hazards. You're given more than plenty of room to navigate through them.
  • Action Girl:
    • Kay is a Lavian ninja that Garian meets on the island, and while she gets herself captured in Parallels 1 and 2, she becomes a helpful ally when she's playable. You're required to fight the final boss of Parallel 2 as her super-powered form, and is by far the most powerful character to use in Parallel 4, making most fights a breeze.
    • Tracy, Kay's sister. Although she's also captured in the parallels she appears in, there's a way to fight her as an enemy in Parallel 2. It's impossible to beat her and she'll crush you within seconds.
    • Miranda is Luke's girlfriend that Garian meets in Parallel 2 and sports a pair of tonfas. She gets herself captured but she gets points for going to Jailer's Island to try to save her boyfriend.
    • Sherry is one of the bounty hunters that Garian has to save in Parallel 4. You only get one shot using her in battle but she can certainly hold her own in a fight.
  • Action RPG: While it has many elements from your typical Eastern RPG, such as using items and points to increase Garian's stats, the game is filled with platforming elements, and combat against other characters plays like a Fighting Game.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: It's said that the carbon freeze is this, since the prisoners aren't exactly dead and are trapped in a frozen eternal nightmare instead. Parallel 4 reveals that it probably would've been better to just execute them.
  • All Just a Dream: It's heavily implied that the "awful dream" both Garian and Jack wake up from in the introduction actually is parallel 1. Some other characters seem to have had the same dream as well.
  • Already Done for You: In parallel 1, you solve puzzles to get through the Lavian ruins. In parallel 2, both Kay and Kurtliegen go through the ruins right before Garian enters them, and thus the puzzles in the rooms are already solved.
  • Already Undone for You: When you return to the Copper and Golden Castles in Parallel 4, you have to do their puzzles all over again within a short time limit, even after your targets have made it to the end. In the case of the former, at least you don't have to do anything related to waking up the Copper Statue.
  • Alternate History: A major part of the story. Three wildly different plotlines grow out of nearly the same starting point, and one of them splits into two alternate timelines that come together at the end.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Rajeen Sword in Parallel 1 turns out to be this, since only those sharing the same bloodline can use the sword. Garian had no idea that he was a descendant of a Rajeen Knight.
  • Ancient Tomb:
    • The graveyard area is a large mausoleum filled with moving tombtones, and a hand pulls you underneath if you touch the ground. Garian can also face an Undead Child depending on the parallel.
    • The Lavian ruins also count, as some puzzles require Garian putting mummies into tombs and throwing skulls into large pots.
  • Anyone Can Die: Mostly apparent in Parallel 1, but a good number of characters can unexpectedly bite the dust in others.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Everyone. Gets especially notable in the case of Kurtliegen, who has one robotic arm - so half the time it's on his right, and half the time it's on his left.
  • Anti-Hero: Garian. He's a bounty hunter with quite a kill record, and criminals often tell him that he's not much better than they are. But he does have regrets, helps those in need, and he'll never stand idle in the face of evil.
  • An Axe to Grind: Orion. Uses it with a slightly unorthodox backhand grip and upwards swing. And, with a more traditional axe and swing, Evilsizer. Also, the Commander, also known as "King Lard", who uses a similar style to Orion.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Bilanium is an incredibly powerful substance that's being mined for at Jailer's Island, and the cause for many of the game's problems. It makes Bilan an even deadlier killing machine than he already is, and mutates Drizzit into a giant mindless beast that Kurtliegen aims to control.
  • Ass Kicks You: One of Meg's attacks has her flying at you butt-first. Her finishing move ends with a flaming version of it.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The final fight against Bilan at the end of parallel 1 is a much larger version of him that takes up a huge chunk of the screen. After Drizzit falls into the tub of Bilanium in parallel 2, he mutates into a 3D giant, and the final fight against him is against a larger version of his 2D sprite.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Blade is probably this, but appears mostly as a mindless killing machine, while Meg explicitly is one, even saying she does weaker people a favour by killing them.
    • In parallel 4, Evilsizer. Literally, in that he both uses an axe and has gone crazy. In parallel 1 and 2, he's actually pretty calm and you can even bargain your way out of fighting him.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • In parallel 1, Kay falls into the liquid bilanium and even gets an on-screen obituary. A giant blue rose erupts out of the tank, and later on Garian sees a number of transmissions that confirm that she is alive again... only to be killed by Bilan before Garian reaches her.
    • Lance, one of Garian's slain friends who is somehow still alive on Jailer's Island. No matter what parallel he appears in, he bites the dust yet again.
    • All of the criminals executed by carbon freeze in parallel 4.
  • Badass in Distress:
    • Kay in Parallels 1 and 2, despite being the strongest character in Parallel 4. In Parallel 1, her life is in danger due to Bilan. In Parallel 2, she's chased and cornered by Kurtliegen in the Lavian Ruins, and he later takes her hostage towards the end.
    • Tracy may have been kidnapped and is too weak to fight after she's rescued, but she's actually very formidable. How so? She's not only a Lavian ninja herself, but if you leave Kay behind in Deadman's Castle and lie to her about it, you're treated to a Hopeless Boss Fight against her.
    • Garian's four bounty hunter friends in Parallel 4. He has to rescue them before they're killed, but they're more effective in battle than he is.
  • Bears Are Bad News: BIOS, one of the enemies Garian fights in Death Valley, is a cybernetic bear. In Parallel 2, he fights two of them.
  • Because Destiny Says So: In every parallel she appears in, Tracy is determined to introduce her sister to the man of her destiny. Whether it happens or not depends on the parallel. Parallel 2 reveals she went so far as to get herself kidnapped if it meant her sister and Garian would arrive on Jailer's Island at the same time and meet.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: J.J. is a small, yellow guy (even described in-game as looking like a banana) with a backwards baseball cap and using maracas as his weapon. He's also the Big Bad and final boss of parallel 3. His theme song is even called "Dance on the Corpse".
  • Big Bad:
    • Bilan in Parallel 1. He escapes the ship and flees to Jailer's Island and goes on a bloody rampage, killing everybody he comes across. Garian must stop him before he becomes powerful enough to destroy the world.
    • Kurtliegen in parallel 2. With Bilan dead and with the prisoners forming a rebellion against him, he searches for the secrets of the island that would grant him the power to rule the world.
    • J.J. in parallel 3, who is out to resurrect his former boss to so they can overthrow Kurtliegen and take over the island.
    • Garian's doppelganger, Carbon Garian in Parallel 4, who is out to kill our hero for the right to exist, which would also destroy Garian's reality.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Kurtliegen initially appears to be one of the central antagonists in Parallel 1, but redeems himself if you don't kill him, and becomes an ally in face of a greater threat before being killed in Parallel 3.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Parallel 4. Garian defeats Carbon Garian, but Jailer's Island is completely destroyed. Garian also declines Kay's invitation to leave with her, preferring a different path without her. This also varies with how many of the other bounty hunters were saved.
  • Black Market: Regina, who grants you bounty hunter points in exchange for some of items scattered around the island. She claims that she works for the black market and lives for adventure.
  • Body Snatcher: Bilan has the ability to disguise himself as anyone he stumbles upon, which resulted in Garian mistaking Lance for him and killing his friend. Bilan also changes bodies a bit too.
  • Boss Rush: The secret parallel 5, the Marathon of Death. It's a gauntlet against ten of the game's most powerful opponents, and you don't recover health between rounds. Get KO'd twice throughout the whole ordeal the and it's game over. It's reached by losing to Bilan in the Captain's Cabin after completing the other parallels.
  • Bottomless Pits: The game is also an action platformer and wouldn't be one without them. The castles and the mines have them, while other hazards such as water or lava fill a similar purpose.
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: Jack's secondary job is to pull you out of pits, water, lava, or the abyss whenever you fall into them, but comes at the cost of your bounty hunter points.
  • Bowdlerise: In the original version, items that could be used for currency on Jailer's Island were cigarettes, booze and dirty magazines. In the english version, this became chocolate, nondescript bottles and nondescript magazines. They only bothered editing the graphics of the first one, though, so it's pretty clear what the bottles and magazines are supposed to be anyway. Plot-related booze such as the one Garian is forced to drink became "Jalapeno Juice". Places that were obviously bars in the original have become cafés.
  • Brother–Sister Team: While there's no confirmation on Sean and Meg's relation (same surname and executed on the same day), the most likely explanation seems to be that they're partners in crime as a sibling version of an Outlaw Couple. The biggest hint comes from Sean's line in parallel 5 about how everything exists for him and Meg.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • Garian really has no choice but to drink the Jalapeno Juice he's offered when entering Jailer's Island.
    • In parallel 1, when Butch blocks you from reaching Bilan, you have no choice but to get on your knees before him to get through.
    • You're not going to see the end of Parallel 2 without rescuing Kay in Deadman's Castle. Try it, and you'll be rewarded with a Hopeless Boss Fight or do it all over again.
  • Came Back Strong: Kay in parallel 2; she immolates herself with a fire spell, only to come back for the final boss fight against Bilanium-infused Drizzit complete with fire magic.
  • Check-Point Starvation:
    • The Silver Castle in parallels 2 and 4 has absolutely no checkpoints. Fall in a bottomless pit even near the end and you're sent back straight to the beginning of it to do it all over again.
    • The entirety of parallel 4 needs to be done in one sitting within a time limit and without save points. Kaiser still appears but won't provide reports to the agency due to the situation at hand.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The blue rose that Garian is struck by in the first three parallels don't seem to have much significance other than giving him a scar, but it plays a crucial role in at the end of Parallel 3 and throughout 4. It splits reality in half and gives birth to Garian's doppelganger. While the rose prevents our hero from killing the angry child, Carbon Garian kills him and is sentenced to carbon freezing.
    • "Plan D". It's mentioned by J.J. as part of his big plan against Kurtliegen in Parallel 2, but loses his support to Bruno and doesn't carry it out. He carries it out in Parallel 3 and ressurects his boss, but inadvertently causes the events of Parallel 4 as he ends up releasing the other prisoners as well.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Some characters appear to have wasted potential in some of the parallels only to have significant importance in others.
    • If you save Drizzit in Parallel 1, the oddly-designed J.J. is introduced as a corpsenote . In Parallel 2, he's sulking in one room now that Bruno is the leader of the resistence and is completely powerless to carry out his plans. Way to waste a unique-looking character, right? Oh no. It turns out that he's the entire reason there's a plot in Parallel 3 and 4 now that the barriers he faced in the other parallels are removed.
    • If you play Parallel 1 before Parallel 2, Kay is this big time. She doesn't appear in person very much in Parallel 1 and sadly becomes a victim of the parallel's Downer Ending, but with the cause out of the way in Parallel 2, she's central to the plot and the reason she's on the cover of the game.
    • If you play Parallel 2 before Parallel 3, all the criminals you see in the execution chamber. They play no importance in Parallel 2, but are freed in Parallel 3 and serve as central antagonists in Parallel 4.
    • Indigo refuses to fight you in Parallels 1 and 2, and tells you that in perhaps another world, you are destined to fight. He fights you in Parallel 4 out of loyalty to your doppelganger.
  • The Chosen One:
    • In Parallel 1, Garian's arrival has been destined for some time as the one who will slay Bilan.
    • He's also this in the eyes of Tracy, who foresees him as being the man of her sister's destiny.
  • Conflict Killer:
    • In a way, Bilan in Parallel 1. After playing both Parallels 1 and 2, it's clear that Kurtliegen was planning on doing exactly what he does in Parallel 2 in his scheme to take over the island, but Bilan's arrival on the island threw a wrench into everybody's plans. Musashi's scene in Golden Castle starts out identically, kidnapping Miranda to lure Garian to a final duel, but Bilan interrupts it in parallel 1. While Miranda is presumably still in the castle.
    • J.J. in parallel 3. In Parallel 2 he mentions his big plan to overthrow Kurtliegen, "Plan D", but is unable to carry it out after Bruno is declared the leader of the resistance. In Parallel 3, after Bruno removes himself from the equation by being an idiot and Garian kills Bilan, J.J. goes ahead with Plan D, driving the main conflict and causing the events of the next parallel.
    • Carbon Garian in Parallel 4. Not only is Garian's life force being threatened by the existence of his doppelganger, but their realities are also clashing with one another, and should one of them die, the reality they live in also dies.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The four maidens Kurt I "sacrificed" to the gods of the sun, moon, stars and thunder. Although the first isn't clear, possibly buried alive, the second was boiled alive, the third was hanged as part of a lynching, and the last was burned at the stake. No wonder their father went insane and decorated the Golden Castle with traps.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Oh lords, DeBose. Kills Kurtliegen in one hit in the cutscene, but when captured and used in battle, does absolutely pitiful damage.
    • Bilan, too - those killed by him are usually described as having been killed in one hit, and Garian even describes him as capable of killing even a seasoned fighter in one strike, but when fighting him he's usually not even the hardest fight in the parallel.
  • Damsel in Distress: Miranda gets captured by Musashi in Parallel 2.
  • Dark Action Girl: Meg, a criminal who has no qualms with killing the weak.
  • Dark Messiah: Carbon Garian is referred to this by many enemies in parallel 4, believing his reign will engulf the world in darkness. Naturally, Garian wants to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Once you've beaten an enemy in the first round of combat, when you get close defeating them again, you can knock them down and "capture" them. Capturing an enemy adds it to Garian's "party" and they will then fight on his side (instead of him) in combat. You'll still get a game over if you lose as them, however.
    • Story-wise, Drizzit will team up with Garian after he's fought in Parallel 2.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Kay in Parallels 1 and 2, who stubbornly refuses the help of the Rajeen bounty hunter. In Parallel 1, she treats Garian with animosity until she realizes he's the only one who's willing to help her in her situation. In Parallel 2, she's still unwilling to cooperate with him but warms up to him much faster as they go through Deadman's Castle together, and grows fond of him once they escape. When she approaches Garian in Parallel 4, she's more than willing to offer her help after she dreamt that he saved her life, but this time Garian's the one weary of her.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Don't feel like rescuing Drizzit or Kay in Deadman's Castle? Did you fall off the tracks when fighting Lance or pour the liquid nitrogen on the wrong person in Parallel 1? The story will continue on, but sometimes with major alterations to certain events.
    • In Parallel 2, Garian uses Kay as a platform to get into the next area, after which she departs. If the player immediately turns back and falls, they'll land on a large blue rose in place of where Kay once was, allowing them to go back and forth.
  • Doppelgänger: Carbon Garian. Jack explains the term. It turns out that when Kay threw the blue rose which prevented Garian from killing the young boy, another reality formed in which Garian cut down the boy and was sentened to carbon freeze. Upon his resurrection, Carbon Garian seeks to erase our hero's existence by killing his frends.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: The endings for Parallel 1 and 4. Kay dies at the end of the first one, and Garian decides to go a separate path without her in the fourth. Jack calls him out for it noticing that he liked her sister instead.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Parallel 2 reveals that Kurt's ancestor tried to seduce the four daughters of a wealthy merchant. When they rejected him, he had them all sacrificed to the gods, which was clearly an excuse to get his revenge on them.
    • If Garian doesn't rescue Kay in Parallel 2 and lies about it, Tracy kills him and disappears, and it's implied she sets off an army of Bilano upon the lands of Lavian and Rajeen, resulting in The End of the World as We Know It as revenge for her sister's death.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Parallel 2 has the happiest ending of the bunch, but it's only available if you complete Sea Bandits between 3:30.00 and 4:30.00 (quicker takes you to Parallel 3, longer takes you to Parallel 1).
  • Downer Ending: Parallel 1. Bilan is finally slain, but not before leaving behind a long path of destruction left in its wake that has left countless people dead. Kay bids farewell to Garian as Bilan's final victim.
  • Down the Drain: The many sewer levels spread throughout the island. You'll be navigating through these to reach various parts of Jailer's Island. And thanks to Garian's Super Drowning Skills, you'll want to avoid falling into the water.
  • The Dreaded: Bilan as revealed in the opening. Parallel 1 shows exactly why he is, as he goes on a vicious rampage and kills nearly everybody on the island, and is hard to pinpoint because he can take over anyone's body. Even after Garian defeats him, it's a Pyrrhic Victory considering the casualties involved.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come:
    • The opening sequence on Seabandits has Garian wake up from a terrible dream in which Bilan escaped and caused a rampage on Jailer's Island. This is exactly what happens in Parallel 1, and once you start up a new game after completing said parallel, you'll know exactly what he's talking about.
    • Happens a lot throughout the game, as many characters remark on having dreams or nightmares of events that take place in other parallels. This becomes an Inverted Trope if you play the parallels in order, as characters will recall things that happened in the previous one.
    • One of Tracy's skills is foreseeing the future through dreams, and is determined to bring her sister the man of her destiny.
  • Dub Name Change: Ryu-ya becomes Garian, Koyuki becomes Kay, Villan becomes Bilan... Actually, pretty much everyone had their name changed in the localization process, so there's too many to list here.
  • Dungeon Bypass: A lot in parallel 3. You don't even have to go through Deadman's Castle, which is the place where major plot points are kicked off in parallel 1 and 2. And when you reach the point where you'd expect to enter the Lavian ruins, Kurtliegen takes you all the way to the execution chamber, bypassing the ruins, the three remaining castles and the graveyard... only for you to have to go through them all (except for the ruins) in reverse order (and in the case of Deadman's Castle and the graveyard, entirely in reverse) in the following parallel 4.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Parallel 2 requires a specific time on reaching the Captain's Cabin in the first portion of the game just to activate, and is the longest single parallel in the game. It also is the Romance Arc and gives the happiest ending.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Bilan, who was created by Lavian scientists trying to harness the power of Bilanium. They instead created a nearly indestructible and violent creature that destroys everything it comes across.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Kay in Parallel 2 is used for the final boss fight against the Bilanium-infused Drizzit. The only thing more powerful than her is her normal form in Parallel 4.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: A possible outcome for Parallel 2 if Garian leaves Kay behind in Deadman's Castle and lies about it when he's confronted about it. After Tracy kills Garian, communications with Jailer's Island ceases and an army of Bilano later arrive on the shores of both Lavian and Rajeen, signaling the end of humanity. It's implied Tracy was behind it as revenge for her sister's death.
  • Evil Counterpart: Carbon Garian, although he's referred to as Evil Twin in-game. This version of Garian killed the young child and was sentenced to carbon freeze, and is known as the actual Dark Savior. Indigo calls him the "messiah of darkness" and his existence threatens not only Garian's life but his reality as well.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Garian makes it clear does not like his Carbon Freeze self. As they encounter each other over the course of Parallel 4, he becomes annoyed or frightened by his vicious nature and his weird laugh.
  • Exposition Fairy: Along with helping Garian, Jack explains much of the game's lore such as the agency, Bilan, the history of Jailer's Island, and even goes into an in-depth conversation about what a doppelganger is in Parallel 4.
  • Expy:
    • Blade is Predator in all but name. Although his portrait makes him look more like a robot, his battle sprites make the influence very clear, and is described as a killing machine.
    • Lance looks an awful lot like Steven Seagal in his portrait, and uses martial arts as his moveset. In fact, his Japanese name actually is Seagal.
  • The Faceless: Evilsizer wears a solid white mask on his face (how does he see anything?). Indigo and Kiwi has only their eyes visible. Guardian, Duran and the Lavian Knight all wear helmets with only thin eye slits.
  • Fighting Game: The game's combat system turns the game into this, requiring the player to win two rounds to proceed. Fighting is restricted to moving in two directions, and each character has a basic attack, a charge attack, a back attack, can swap places with their opponent, and can charge up a special finishing move. In the second round, if an enemy's health is low and is knocked down, Garian can use his special move to capture them instead. Not all enemies can be captured, and losing both rounds result in a game over.
  • Five-Man Band: The Bounty Hunter team introduced at the beginning and play a central part in Parallel 4.
    • The Leader: Garian is said to be the strongest and is seen as a leader for capturing Bilan, but more of a loner.
    • The Lancer: Beau, who has an unblockable attack and slightly stronger than Kiwi.
    • The Big Guy: Orion, a big guy with an axe.
    • The Smart Guy: Kiwi, who comes off as more composed in the dialogue.
    • The Chick: Sherry, the only girl on the team and appears to be the youngest.
  • Foreshadowing: All over the place. If you play Parallel 1 first, and you most likely will, several things are referenced that suggest they have some kind of significance to the story but ultimately don't, whether it's a certain character, a battle, or an event that's about to unfold. This encourages playing the other parallels as what looks like an Aborted Arc in one parallel becomes important in another one, especially if they're played in order.
  • Four Is Death:
    • The four castles on Jailer's Island: Deadman's Castle, as well as the Copper, Gold, and Silver Castles.
    • The legend of the Golden Castle centers around the four slain daughters of a wealthy merchant who were sacrificed to the gods of the sun, moon, stars and thunder.
    • Parallel 4 is appropriately all about this, which revolves around Garian fighting for his own existence. Not only does he have to go through all four castles again, but he's trying to save his four bounty hunter friends from being killed by four released prisoners.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: J.J., the final fight of Parallel 3, cannot be captured. In Parallel 4's intro, the end of his battle sequence is replayed as it did at the end of Parallel 3. You're given him anyways to use in Parallel 4, likely because Garian's weakened state means you need a somewhat competent fighter just to get past the first fight of the parallel.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • With so many bosses, you'd think there'd be one or two. Nope - even if the giant six-legged purple rat named Ducter is a bit unexpected, it still takes place in a sewer, and even the elephant-man is explained by a brief cutscene earlier. With the game taking place on a prison island, which has taken in a lot of strange specimens of criminals, it does a fairly good job of keeping everything consistent. Even across three different timelines.
    • The only one that could be argued to be one is when you fight Bruno in parallel 5. A boss rush, consisting entirely of fights against characters you have encountered in earlier parallels. It is possible to get into a fight with Bruno in parallel 1, but by simply not doing what you're told to not do, it doesn't happen, and his sprite does not look at all suited for fighting. Thus, it's possible to beat the game several times without ever knowing it's even possible to fight Bruno, making his appearance in parallel 5 a bit of a surprise.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Some characters fight only using their bare fists, with a bit of elemental power added to their finishing moves. Don't underestimate them for it.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Garian gets one across his face early in the game when he's struck by a blue rose, which stops him from killing an innocent boy when our hero is under the influence of Jalapeno juice.
  • Heroic Lineage:
    • Garian in Parallel 1, as picking up the Rajeen Sword indicates he carries the blood of Rajeen Knights. Oddly, this doesn't happen in Parallel 2.
    • Sage Alibaba is a descendant of the great knight Wouda.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kay in parallel 2 has to cast a fire spell on herself when it's revealed she's the Silver Statue. But she survives.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Kay in parallel 2; she immolates herself with a fire spell, only to come back for the final boss fight against Bilanium-infused Drizzit complete with fire magic.
  • Hidden Depths: Skipping some fights reveal some interesting conversations. Garian once owned a pet turtle when he was younger, and Jack collects celebrity souvenirs. The Love Love Mini Racer mini-game also credits Garian as its creator.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Kay the ninja wears neon blue.
  • Hologram: Blue roses from Lavian are capable of creating holograms, and Jack mentions it's usually done in emergency situations.
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: Used in Parallel 1 to indicate the state Kay is in, as she gets worse over time. The hologram is also distorted in Parallel 2 but for no particular reason.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • The first battle with Kurtliegen at the end of parallel 2. After gaining the power of the Copper and Golden rings, his hit points are displayed as question marks and your attacks do no damage. Kay even mentions that you don't have what it takes to beat him. Fortunately, you need to lose this battle to proceed.
    • Tracy in parallel 2 if you leave Kay to die and then lie about it. Like Kurtliegen, her hit points are displayed as question marks and your attacks won't damage her at all. Unlike before, once this battle is initiated, you might as well call it a game over.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Bruno is said not to be mechanically inclined, requiring an assistant.
  • Human Sacrifice: Kurtliegen's ancestor, Kurt I, had four maidens sacrificed to the gods. But it was more like murder.
  • Idiot Ball: Bruno is a feared and respected leader of the JLO... whose first action in Parallel 4 is to bribe Bilan with the Bilanium. He gets promptly killed off before Garian can even arrive on Jailer's Island.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Part of why Musashi kidnaps Miranda in Parallel 2. He plans to make Miranda his woman after he kills Garian.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Garian will find a powerup towards the end that will usually place him as either the best or second best character to use in a fight.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Kay in Parallels 2 and 4. In Parallel 2, you're forced to use her for the final battle. In Parallel 4, she joins your party of her own accord, and has the highest attack, defense, and speed, and a guard-breaker you can spam and prevent almost any attack.
  • Informed Ability: Bruno is introduced as a "master swordsman" in parallel 5. None of his attacks actually feature a sword.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: A lot of them. To make matters even more absurd, there's fences of the same height and sometimes higher that you CAN jump over. Not to mention insurmountable ankle-high bodies.
  • Isometric Projection: Or as the game's credits list it: "Hyuperion Perspective". The game has the same visual perspective as it's predecessor, Landstalker, even in combat, although there are some sequences that go into full 3D.
  • In the Back: The Lavian Ruins in Parallel 1 reveal that Bilan's weak spot is his back. You might discover this yourself if the first time you face him is on the ship instead.
  • In the Blood: The Golden Castle of Parallel 2 reveals that Kurt's ancestor, Kurt I, sacrificed four maidens from a wealthy merchant to the gods. In actuality, he did it after they rejected his advances.
  • It Was with You All Along: In Parallel 2, Kurtliegen has spent years searching for the Diary of Wouda. Garian discovers it from the secret vault of Kurt's own mansion. Garian later reveals where it was and calls him out for it.
    Kurtliegen: Unbelieveable... I wish I hadn't asked.
  • Kick Chick: Kay uses a lot of kicks as part of her moveset when you unlock her in Parallel 4. She kicks as her main attack, and utilizes them as part of her backflip move that you can spam as much as you please.
  • La Résistance: The JLO, or the Jailer's Liberation Organization, are planning a rebellion against Warden Kurtliegen. Garian helps them in most parallels, but there's some friction between Bruno's followers and J.J.'s followers.
  • Leitmotif: "Lonesome Soldier" for Garian, "Lavian Rose" for Kay, "Mad Dominator" for Kurtliegen and "Dance on the Corpse" for J.J. Others include Bilan, Tracy, Sean and Meg.
  • Living Statue: The Copper, Golden, and Silver statues require Garian to perform a certain task to bring them to life so he can challenge them for their rings. Kay is actually the Silver statue and her full name is Silver Kay, and performs a ritual to remove the ring at the supposed cost of her life.
  • Mad Scientist: Doc, who delights in Kurt's evil ways and has no qualms about experimenting on the prisoners. He's later discovered to be responsible for bringing Lance back from the dead.
  • Mauve Shirt: A few depending on the parallel.
    • Parallel 1 has Kay, who appears a few times as she is slowly dying before asking Garian to kill Bilan to avenge her.
    • Drizzit plays this straight in Parallel 1 but plays with it in Parallel 2. He's part of an Escort Mission in Parallel 1 that gives some detail on him; he's more personable in Parallel 2, but quickly gets subjected to liquid Bilanium that turns him into a monster for the rest of the timeline.
    • Parallel 3 has Kurtliegen, who is more sympathetic to Garian's cause on their first meeting but is killed by DeBose right before the start of Parallel 4.
  • Meaningful Name: In-universe, "Bilano" translates to "Soul Snatcher" in Lavian.
  • Might Makes Right: Kurt has this outlook particularly in Parallel 2, which drives him to seek out the power to control Jailer's Island with an iron fist. Sean and Meg also believe they did nothing wrong by killing weak people, believing they were doing them a favor.
  • Minecart Madness: In Parallel 2 and 3, Garian has to jump into a minecart and go through a roller-coaster-like obstacle course and has to jump over holes in the track with precise precision. The layout is different in each parallel, and it's entirely in 3D, with four different awkward camera angles to choose from.
  • Mini-Game: Love Love Mini Racer, which isn't a racing game at all, but rather a puzzle game with timed stages.
  • Mirror Match: If you pick Garian to fight Carbon Garian, which might not be the best of ideas as Carbon Garian is much stronger. Possibly a mild case of Fridge Brilliance, as the two big differences between the two are that Carbon Garian doesn't hold back and has been covered in diamond (the carbon coating)
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Kurtliegen, depending on how the situation is handled, can have this reaction if he witnesses Bilan's attack in the mines in Parallel 1. Due to his role in it, he offers his abilities for Garian to use.
    • Garian has this reaction in Parallel 2 if he leaves Kay to die and tells Tracy the truth about leaving her behind. He's so torn about what he did that he somehow ends up going back in time so he can make things right.
    • Garian also has this reaction in the ending for Parallel 4, thinking everything could have been avoided if he refrained from drinking Jalapeno Juice.
  • My Greatest Failure: At the beginning of the game, Garian is torn by guilt over the death of his friend Lance, who he killed after mistaking him for Bilan. It's implied that his guilt was one of the reasons he took on the mission to escort Bilan to Jailer's Island.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: In Parallel 4, the two Garians from different timelines existing at the same time will cause one to be forcibly erased from existence, unless they strengthen their ties via their friends (In the case of Carbon Garian, killing them and drinking their blood). Naturally, Garian wants to prevent this.
  • Ninja: Kay is referred to as one throughout the game and has some of their mannerisms, particularly their ability to instantly disappear as they jump into the air. She's also got some cool fighting abilities if you get the chance to play as her.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Downplayed with Bilan in Parallel 5. Although he's still described as the immortal, metamorphosing, murderous organism, the first round against him has him telling Garian that he's capable of love, and the last round against his second form has him begging Garian to help him from his suffering.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Kaiser. Yes, he can fly, but he still shows up in places he really shouldn't be able to have reached when Garian and Jack gets there. Lavian Ruins, anyone?
  • Palette Swap: You'll be seeing quite a few characters that look exactly like others except with different colors. On the good side, Jack, Kaiser, and Regina are all birds with different colors. As for the enemies, you have Butch/the Terrible Trio, BIOS No.26/BIOS No.42, Matt/Dunbar, and most bizarrely, Duran/the Lavian Knight.
  • Penal Colony: Jailer's Island fits this to a T. An island dedicated to housing dangerous prisoners? Check. Having them work hard labor in the mines for a dangerous and powerful substance? Check. A rebellion forming to overthrow the warden? Yep.
  • Power Copying: Garian can capture weakened opponents and use them in future battles, and gains some to use through plot-related reasons. Doesn't get overly useful until in parallel 4, since Garian doesn't get any weapon upgrades for himself in parallel 4, and the single one you're given in parallel 3 doesn't carry over. (Plus, Garian is weakened due to plot reasons.) In earlier parallels, with the equipment you get, Garian will almost always be the strongest, at least numberwise.
  • Punny Name: Bilan's name in the original Japanese version was "Villan".
  • The Reveal: At the end of parallel 2, after failing to find the Silver statue and its ring, Kay is revealed to actually be the Silver statue, and has had the ring on her finger her entire life.
  • Romance Arc: Parallel 2, A Hunt for the Heart. Much of the story is centered around Kay, a Lavian ninja who comes to Jailer's Island searching for her sister and father, and quickly becomes Garian's Love Interest over the course of the story.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Kurtliegen claims he's of Royal Blood, and that his ancestors once ruled over Jailer's Island. A lot of his evil motivation comes from the belief that he should have inherited all of their riches and glory instead of having his title wasted as the island's Warden. Although it turns out his ancestors weren't all that great to begin with.
  • Rule of Three:
    • The Terrible Trio in Deadman's Castle.
    • The Copper, Gold and Silver castles deep in the island, serving as the final levels in Parallels 1 and 2, and the first of the 4th. In Parallel 2, Garian ventures these castles seeking out their three rings and the three statues that wield them.
  • Shout-Out: "Bar Stalker" in J.J. City is one towards the developer's previous games Land Stalker and Lady Stalker: Challenge from the Past.
  • Skippable Boss: There's a number of enemies you can skip fighting for a cost of 100 points. Both Vacanes can be skipped by just running past them, but they can move unpredictably and force you into battle - while you're carrying either Kay or Drizzt, meaning your jumping is severely compromised as your extended hitbox will hit its head on the ceiling. Despite the fact that the battles take place outside, on open walkways, with no visible ceiling above them anywhere.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Falling into water affects Garian in the same way as falling into lava or bottomless pits. Justified by that Garian wears a heavy chest plate.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Copper is fought in a water-filled basin, and Garian shows no signs of discomfort.
  • Taken for Granite: The prisoners executed by carbon freeze are completely frozen and put on display in the execution room. They're not dead, and it's said that they're trapped in an eternal frozen nightmare.
  • Theme Naming: The three castles at the end of Parallels 1 and 2 and beginning of 4. Copper Castle, Gold Castle and Silver Castle.
  • Title Drop: Doesn't occur until Parallel 4, of which it can be forgiven if you misconstrue it as a Word Salad Title. Carbon Garian is the "Dark Savior", the renegade who leads the prisoners freed from carbon freeze to a full-scale revolt against the jailers and warden of Jailer's Island and eventually leads them back into the rest of the world if Garian and co. don't stop them in time.
  • Timed Mission: Plenty.
    • The introduction. You can't run out of time, but if you want to see more than one parallel, you have to hurry: Finishing under three minutes and thirty seconds takes the player to parallel 3, finishing between 3:30 and 4:30 kicks off parallel 2, and taking any longer than four minutes and thirty seconds starts parallel 1.
    • Parallel 4, following directly after parallel 3. Garian has one hour to find and destroy Carbon Garian, else the current universe collapses. More time is gained through unskippable plot, though. And after beating him, you're given 95 seconds to get off of Jailer's Island.
    • Parallel 4 has another timed mission. Within the hour given, Garian must find all his friends before they're killed by Carbon Garian. At certain points during the countdown, one of Garian's Bounty Hunter team will be killed. Letting some or all die nets you a different ending. Oh, and the timer until the next one dies is invisible. Good luck figuring out how long your next mate has left to live if you don't intervene.
    • Overlaps with Travelling at the Speed of Plot towards the later stages of Parallel 4. No matter how long or how short you take in saving your Bounty Hunter companions or how much time you have on the clock, Carbon Garian will always have just entered the port by the time you make it, and Garian is right behind him at the prison gates.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bruno in parallel 3. No, you can't bargain with a bloodthirsty shapeshifting creature that kills every living thing it comes across in hopes that it would join your resistance.
  • Trash the Set: Jailer's Island is completely destroyed at the end of Parallel 4.
  • Tuckerization: Two characters in the localized version of the game, Matt and Dunbar, were named after one of the people who worked on the game, Matt Dunbar.
  • Undead Child: Garian can encounter one in the depths of the Mausoleum. At first, he thinks the child is lost, but Jack points out that none of his vital signs are active. Garian is forced to put the child down.
  • Underground City: Otherwise known as J.J. City, which sits under the center of the island, and Garian stumbles upon it through a secret tunnel. The city is filled with bars, clubs, prisoners and people forced into cheerleader uniforms by J.J. who might actually be men. Bruno later uses it as his base of operations.
  • The Unintelligible: Bilan and Blade. The former growls and the latter only has dialogue consisting of "BUFO FO FO FOO". Averted in Parallel 5 where both characters have intelligible dialogue, and paints Bilan in a somewhat different light.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Kay in Parallel 1. Although she's Not Quite Dead, she's clearly in some kind of life-threatening crisis, but the Lavian ninja rejects Garian's offer to help her because he's from Rajeen and she's loyal to Lavian. She eventually accepts his help when she realizes that Garian is right and her country has abandoned her.
  • Unwinnable by Design: In Parallel 2, it is possible to completely avoid saving Kay in the prison, and continue on with the game. A new(ish) character is introduced to take her place even. However, this can lead to an unwinnable situation in the future depending on one action the player can take, which involves lying to Kay's sister, Tracy, and having to fight her with infinite life, but telling the truth results in time-travel back to before you meet Kay in the prison.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • Parallel 2 cannot be completed if Kay is left to die in Deadman's Castle, as detailed by Unwinnable by Design above, but the game continues on until you reach the end of the Lavian Ruins. Depending on what you tell Tracy, she either kills you in a Hopeless Boss Fight while Lavian and Rajeen are laid to waste, or you're warped all the way back to the prison so you can rescue Kay. Hope you enjoy going through Deadman's Castle, the mansion, the mines and the minecart all over again!
    • Possibly subverted in Parallel 1. If you leave Drizzit behind in Deadman's Castle, you'll earn Bruno's wrath and have to fight him. But he can also be captured, and this is the only time in the entire game where you can.
  • Wakeup Call Boss:
    • A late one, but one nevertheless: Sean in parallel 4. He's essentially the first enemy you face in the whole game that Garian is much too weak to handle on his own, and the rest of the bosses continue this trend bigtime.
    • Fighting Bilan in the intro when going for parallel 2 could be seen as this compared to Fake Bilan when going for parallel 1, although most folks will have already been through the game on parallel 1 at that point, so it's not that much of a shock.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Bilan's secret weakness, which turns out to be simply being hit in the back. Sure, it can be difficult to get behind him, but far from impossible. Likely because of how it's coded, you can also land a critical hit by turning your back against Bilan and initiating a back attack.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While most parallels avert this, everyone who survived and escaped from Jailer's Island in Parallel 4 disappears and isn't seen again.
  • What If?: What if Garian had killed the child instead of Kay preventing him from causing any harm? Carbon Garian, that's what.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Early on Jailer's Island, a young boy initiates a fight with a drunken Garian, but our hero is stopped by a mysterious blue rose that leaves a scar on his face. Parallel 4 reveals this event ended up splitting Garian's good and evil sides; while good Garian misses the boy, his evil side ends up striking the boy down and killing him, and was sentenced to carbon freeze.

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