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Video Game / Dawn of Mana

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Dawn of Mana, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 4 (聖剣伝説4), is a Mana Prequel released in 2007 for the Play Station 2. It follows the story of the orphan Keldric, his Unlucky Childhood Friend Ritzia, the destruction of his Doomed Hometown by The Evil Empire, and how all of this ties in with the awakening of the Mana Spirits and the Mana Tree.

Dawn of Mana plays like its Spiritual Predecessor Kingdom Hearts, but instead of gaining experience to level up, the hero has to earn badges before he can permanently upgrade his abilities. This mechanic, in addition to the frustratingly difficult boss battles and jumping puzzles, has made Dawn of Mana reviled by fans.

Tropes unique to this game:

  • Auto-Revive: Chalices will restores all of your HP and MP should you die. Too bad you can only find one or two of them in any given chapter...
  • Bittersweet Ending: Stroud and Anise are defeated, the Golem Army is stopped, the door to Mavolia is sealed once again, the world of Fa'Diel is saved, Ritzia and Faye fuse together to become the Mana Goddess and the seed latched into Keldric's arm becomes the Mana Sword. But Keldric has lost everything: most of his friends and family on Illusia were either corrupted or dead, he was forced to kill Lekius and the Ritzia he once knew was gone.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Camera Centering
  • Cherry Tapping: Killing enemies with the Slingshot or Whip.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Big Bad shares a name with a minor character in the Legend of Mana world history, and is most likely a reinterpretation of her. She also has similarities with the depiction of Medusa from Sword of Mana, who was in love with a man named Lord Granz. It is implied that the name Anise is name mortals use out of fear of being hit by the curse of Medusa's real name which, if true, would give interesting implications to the Benevodon from Trials of Mana that Medusa's One-Winged Angel form resembles: Zable Fahr (considering how Anise is seen in Heroes of Mana, which features the Benevodon, it's likely there's some connection).
    • King Stroud of Lorimar is referenced in Trials of Mana (called Dark Prince in the Fan Translation). He also shares the same name as Stroud from Sword of Mana - better known as Dark Lord from Final Fantasy Adventure (although the Japanese names of their titles are dissimilar). Generally the only villain in the series that isn't alluded to in this game is the Emperor-type character (Dragon Lord in Trials of Mana and Vandole in Secret of Mana.invoked
    • Another of these shows up in the presence of Thanatos, here a malevolent spiritual force rather than one very irate body snatching Lich archmagus. The designs of the afflicted characters and creatures, and the form taken by this energy when it's free-floating, all reference Thanatos in Secret of Mana.
      • The Masked Guru is revealed to be Anise's lover Granz, no mere mortal but a powerful spirit. This may explain why Julius (the Big Bad of Final Fantasy Adventure said to be the alias of Emperor Vandole in Sword of Mana) might be the unseen Echoes of Mavolia behind Thanatos and thus the villain Thanatos had backstabbed in Secret of Mana, was also draining the energy of Lady Medusa's husband, Lord Granz on top of all that.
  • Double Jump
  • Die, Chair, Die!: A lot of the game's environment is destructible and contains loot; you can even earn an accolade for destroying more than 700 objects.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar / Color-Coded for Your Convenience: blue ones drop items, red ones are there to improve your level completion grade and to abuse the Ragdoll Physics with their bodies, and the flashing yellow dot indicates the direction you need to go.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Partially averted; you can trick enemies into attacking each other.
  • Fairy Companion: Casts magic for you and cures Status Effects.
  • Flashback: The entire game is merely an account of the origin of the Mana Tree by Gnome, who told it in a meeting with his fellow Spirits. Gnome is apparently known to embellish a few parts of his stories, but it's believed at least the basic events historically took place thousands of years before the meeting.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: How you can hurt enemies with the Whip.
  • Hearing Voices: Both the mana spirits (good) and the echoes (evil) speak to the main characters in voices that only they can hear.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Echoes whom the Thanatos serve unlike the creator of Mavolia (which serves as the Echoes' prison) Anise/Medusa who is the final boss.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys - Blue ones unlock the way for further progress; gold ones open doors to secret goodies and/or shortcuts.
  • Level Grinding: A necessity in every chapter thanks to the Bag of Spilling.
  • Minecart Madness: Featured in Chapter 2.
  • Prequel: For the entire franchise, as the game tells the origin of the Mana Sword and the Mana Goddess.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Discussed in Chapter 6; Fay is amazed that a structure built apparently hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago still has working components, whereas Keldy thinks it's a result of Mana spirits.
  • Rank Inflation: S is the best grade you can earn on all of the stats that the game cares to keep track of (and it's a lot of stats. Fortunately, you only need to obtain S rank once for it to stick for that particular stat, so it doesn't need to be all at once).
  • Ragdoll Physics: Abusing it is the only way to gain much-needed stat boosts in the game.
  • Scenery Porn: The game uses a Legend of Mana-esque color palette and, excepting the desert chapter, isn't all brown (and even there contains plenty of impressive sweeping vistas).
  • Sequel Hook: After Gnome's story is concluded, the Spirits set off to assist a new warrior and maiden. This may or may not be one of the existing games in the series.
  • Start of Darkness: Dark Majesty of Trials of Mana is revealed to be the Emperor of Lorimar (called the Kingdom of Light in Trials of Mana) King Stroud and it's revealed that his deal with the demons was in fact to open the door to Mavolia (called the underworld in the English version of Secret of Mana and the fan-translation of Trials of Mana), that his killing of the previous Archdemon was striking down said Archdemon's host Ritzia with the first Mana Sword (secretly, Medusa and her host Ritzia survives due to the sword being corrupted, not that it matters since Keldy kills her for real soon after) and that his Archdemon form is the result of absorbing lots of Thanatos. His remains (mentioned in Trials of Mana) following his death in attempting to open the Mana Gate (which later includes Illusia following Children of Mana) still aren't seen yet are likely somewhere in Mavolia alongside Lekius's corpse which also teleported away following death.
  • Where It All Began: The game begins and ends with a chase through The Lost Woods... but the second time around, you're going after the Big Bad after she's pulled a Grand Theft Me on Unlucky Childhood Friend Ritzia and the monsters have all been corrupted by Thanatos servants of the Echoes.
  • Wreaking Havok: The whole game just seems to be an engine experiment for use in later titles.