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Video Game / Glory of Heracles IV: Gift from the Gods

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Glory of Heracles IV: Gift From the Gods is a JRPG released by Data East for the Super Famicom in 1994.
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The plot follows the player, his friend Plato and Epipha from the mythical city of Atlantis. Their professor Arlmoa has been researching possibilities of everlasting life, but this enrages the gods. Heracles leads an invasion on the city and is too late to stop things once he realizes the people there were not evil like he was told, but only harmless scholars. During their escape attempt Arlmoa and his students find the Pandora's Box and unknowingly set free the evils contained within it. The protagonist and Plato are shoved inside the box and awaken 9000 years later as immortal people-possessing beings. With Heracles' help, they now must bring order back to the world.

The game's main mechanic involves taking over the bodies of various NPCs which have a preferred weapon and three unique skills. Up to four characters can take part in a battle at once and the three allies act on their own if the protagonist is knocked out.

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After much work from fans, it got a unofficial translation in December 2016 that also added several improvements to the game's interface. It was followed by Glory of Heracles for the Nintendo DS.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Above Good and Evil: The Myth Guide describes Zeus as "transcending categories like enemy or ally".
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: You can clear the game with little trouble while the protagonist and Plato are at around Level 30.
  • Action Girl: Dearie, Palis (who's really Epipha) and some other playable NPCs you come across.
  • Action Initiative: If your level is high enough you'll sometimes get a free turn when a random encounter starts. Towards the end of the game you start meeting enemies strong enough to ambush you as well.
  • Adult Fear: Later on, Plato is shocked to find out that his children have been drafted into the war between Persians and Greeks.
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  • Animal Talk: By turning into one of the animal characters, you can understand what the other dogs and sheep are saying.
  • Anti-Magic: The MOut spell and the Night Curtain item disable magic for all combatants. Very important when the enemies are capable of high-level spells such as Megalo and Zaprum or making your entire party confused.
  • As Long as There is Evil: At the end, Atropos explains that those monsters you and Plato fought cannot be sealed again since Pandora's Box is now completely buried under the remains of Atlantis and that humans will have to now deal with them.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Zeus gets away with everything. He instigates a greedy ruler into attacking Atlantis, which is destroyed and goes down in history as a wicked blasphemous nation while its people are sent to Tartarus. The titan Atlas gets turned to stone in what turns out to be a wasted sacrifice and the atlantean who was out for revenge on the gods never gets close to being a threat to them. To top it all, the quest to seal the fiends back in the Pandora's Box fails when Zeus decides he wants it buried forever.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Plato is the deuteragonist.
  • Big Bad: Revenge, a fiend who possesses Arlmoa and acts as a split personality who's deeply vengeful against the gods. While looking for means of immortality, he screws a bunch of people over later in the story.
  • Blackout Basement: The fourth and ninth visits to the Bonus Dungeon, because navigating that place wasn't already difficult enough...
  • Body Surf: The protagonist and Plato become able to take over the bodies of various people they meet on the fly, no matter where the hosts are. Arlmoa also gains this ability, while Epipha has a limited version and can only transform into a random NPC once per fight. One subversion is that once the protagonist and Plato recover their original bodies, they cannot snatch each other. That'd be just rude.
  • Bonus Boss: There are a series of bonus fiends to take on while exploring a certain cave during the post-game. Unfortunately, they're all recolors of past minor enemies.
    • Overconfidence is a recolor of the pig warriors and a weakling on the two times you face him.
    • Cowardice is actually three mooks that will either suicide bomb you for very high damage or keep calling for backup. Then you cast Zaprum and the battle is over.
    • Jealousy is a recolor of the plant women. She can drain the MP of the entire party and then cast Megalo. Although she takes several turns to do this, she also has several damage immunities.
    • Complaint is... nothing to complain about.
    • Irresponsibility is a recolor of the Hate boss. For once, something cha— all it does is change the weather.
    • Grudge is a recolor of Rage. And so on...
  • Bonus Dungeon: There's a small island with a complicated labyrinth dungeon. The enemies in it start out very weak, but once you return there after the end of the story the level designs change and the monsters also get stronger. You also meet two new party members to train.
  • Bookends: Atlantis is the beginning and the end of the game.
  • Border Patrol: The world is flat and ancient Europe is all of it. If you try flying over the edge of the overworld with Pegasus (or just walking off — the sea is shallow in there), Hermes will tell you to turn back, stating even light can't reach beyond it.
  • But Now I Must Go: In the post-game, both Plato and Palis retire from adventuring. They become unplayable, as Plato's name on the body list is blocked and Palis wasn't ever an option to begin with.
  • Came Back Wrong: Arlmoa's ways of turning people immortal turn out bad most of the time, as we see when Dearie becomes an amnesiac zombie.
  • Character Class System: You lose your body, but this also means you can transform into people you have met on your journey. Each of them has a Weapon of Choice, certain weaknesses and up to 3 special skills. To unlock each skill you must gain Fitness Points, which are not shared between the protagonist and Plato.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Orichalcum scrap you buy extremely early on becomes the key to open the final dungeon.
  • Critical Hit: Your guys will deal "heavy blows" sometimes. There are also some skills that work by either dealing critical hits or failing.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Winning a battle in a single turn will bring up the message "(Player) easily defeated the enemy!". Conversely, it will read "(Player) somehow defeated the enemy!" if you perform badly.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Some of the enemies are attractive topless female humanoids.
  • Dash Attack: Heracles' Tackle skill can damage nearly everything and is what you'll rely on when an enemy turns out to be immune to everything else. Oddly enough, however, this skill will K.O. Heracles instead if he attempts it on someone who hit the Defend command.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Being defeated sends you back to the last save point with your progress intact, since your characters are all immortals.
  • Diary: Plato writes about his experiences on a journal. This serves to remind the player of what they should be doing next.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Bitally is the 12th host on your list and knows a skill that doubles his attack stat for an entire battle. That'd be pretty amazing by itself, but since you can change hosts and equipment midfight... it's kind of sad that the attack stat caps at 999! Furthermore, Bitally's "Eworyah!" skill appears to work even on enemies immune to everything but Heracles' tackles, keeping him useful even at the post-game.
  • Demonic Possession: Arlmoa, who's become a being that can only live by taking over the minds of others, is himself possessed by a monster who drives him to take revenge against the gods no matter what the costs are.
  • Doomed Hometown: Atlantis is massacred and sunken down at the beginning.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: When the protagonist and Plato finally get their bodies back right before the final battle, it's a mood-breaker to find their fitness level is at 0 from the 9000 years of neglect and the single skill they had at the beginning is blocked. Thankfully, it does take minimal fitness points to get them to level 10.
  • Encounter Repellent: The Relaxion spell lowers encounter rate. Maxion has the opposite effect.
  • Escape Rope: Either the Scarab Beetle item or the Excave spell will let you escape from dungeons.
  • Final Boss: Arlmoa and then the fiend that's possessing him — the incarnation of Revenge.
  • Fight Woosh: A six-pointed spinning black star zooms into the screen. If there's a special event to the fight, the woosh will flash a certain color.
  • Flat Character: Two inexperienced adventurers named Lion and Lillian replace the retired Plato and Palis during the post-game. After their short introduction they're given no more characterization even as you clear each set of levels at the nearby Bonus Dungeon. They don't even have lines to react to you stealing items from houses.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When the evil spirits are released from Pandora's Box, one goes straight into Arlmoa. Naturally, when you come across him again he's not quite himself...
    • Palis can Body Surf like you and Plato, albeit in a lesser scale. She's also familiar with the Orichalcum scrap you and Plato are looking for at one point. Gee, who'd guess she somehow is Epipha?
    • To sneak into the mountain where Atlas lives, Arlmoa snatches the body of one of Atlas' priestess. When you petrify Atlas to try to trap Arlmoa, he just takes over Palis' mind instead. This is also foreshadowed when Heracles blows up a entrance into Atlantis' and Plato scolds him for carelessly doing it near the one mortal member of the party. "Palis" doesn't respond, and remains oddly silent until the reveal.
  • Gimmick Level: Most of the dungeons have an unique puzzle gimmick.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are around 100 people for you and Plato to snatch. Some of them are very darn hidden.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Enemies killed by attacks such as Heracles' Heavencall are cracked in half.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: You can count on one hand all the enemy setups in the Bonus Dungeon that don't go down in a single turn. The bosses are all recolors and only a few of them have any threatening tricks to show. The difficulty lies in exploring the floors which are all complicated, seemingly randomly-generated labyrinths.
  • Heavy Sleeper: One early NPC, Idole, stays locked inside a cave in Imandra sleeping his days away, much to the worry of his parents. His three skills are all related to sleeping and it takes 600 points to even get his body to Fitness Level 2.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The protagonist is named by the player.
  • Helpful Mook: One of the bonus bosses, Hipocrisy, seemingly does nothing but things like giving you money and restoring your HP and MP. What's even bad and hipocrital about that?
  • Hero of Another Story: After Heracles leaves the party he seeks out information about the beasts you've been fighting and learns they came from the Pandora's box. You meet back with him at the Underworld while he's having an argument with Hades.
  • Heroic Mime: The protagonist has no dialogue other than yelling at enemies during battles. About the only characterization he gets is how much of a thief he is.
  • Holler Button: When playing as an animal, the A button makes them bark and stuff. There's no point to it, though.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: During the invasion of Atlantis you encounter enemies who are immune to your attacks, but Heracles arrives to help.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game has a day-night system. Certain tasks can only be done at day or night and you can rest instead of sleeping at an Inn to skip daytime.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Ultimate set of equipment can be randomly found at chests in the Bonus Dungeon. But remember that even they will be useless against enemies that beat them on the Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors. Always keep your second-best weapons around.
  • Jerkass Gods:
    • Zeus is responsible for much of the conflict in the game and gets away with it without complaints once the party meets him face-to-face, but at least he encourages them to press onwards and save their world.
    • Hades casts the party into Tartarus, believing their quest is hopeless.
    • Poseidon also antagonises the party once they intrude on his territory, and already sent the original submariner, Argo, into Tartarus. However, he eventually plays nice and lets them have the submarine Argo owned.
    • Hermes takes care of your save files. Even in Tartarus you can count on him to record your adventures, so it's good manners to greet him via his statues every once in a while.
  • Kiai: Bitally's two skills are battle cries. "Eworyah!" is either a critical hit or a miss, and "Toryah!" doubles his attack stat until he's knocked out.
  • Killer Rabbit: Once your disembodied spirit awakens you happen to start out as a dog. You can later add a sheep and a horse to your list of hosts.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: If you try to get items hidden in pots and other objects in towns, your teammates will insist you should not steal from others. Doing so anyway adds to your "Bad Events" counter at your save slot.
  • Large and in Charge: The gods are depicted as onmipotent giants whose sprites fill the screen.
  • Magic Knight: Generally, you need a strong character that can cast spells and also has a couple good unique skills. One early example is the aforementioned Bitally, a Kid Hero who can cast spells and has a skill that doubles his attack stat.
  • Magikarp Power: Several bodies, especially Hikkari, the inventor. She has no magic, no weapon skills, mediocre stats (aside from Intelligence, which her lack of magic means she can't use), and no special commands... until you master her completely, unlocking her Invention command, which gives you options that allow you to, for free, quadruple a character's strength, defense, or intelligence; reduce an enemy's defense or agility to zero; or resurrect a party member with 50% HP.
  • The Maze:
    • Tartarus and the 9th version of the Bonus Dungeon are mazes of tunnels you have to dig through.
    • Poseidon's treasury is a teleporter maze.
    • There's one optional dungeon on a small island that's a maze of long confusing paths that lasts for several floors. It takes on a new form every time you beat the boss at the bottom.
  • Meaningful Background Event: One dungeon gimmick the game uses sometimes is being able to see the next floor below on the background, not that it makes exploration much easier. If there's nothing but a void, then it means the next floor is the last.
  • Metal Slime: Beetle and its Azak Bug recolor tend to run away as soon as the battle begins because they have 999 speed. They're also in a permanent defense state so everything does 1 damage and tackling them hurts Heracles. According to the Bestiary, they can drop some crafting materials and are worth around 2893D.
  • Money for Nothing: Averted. Gear is pretty expensive and eventually you'll find yourself having trouble keeping everyone's defenses updated. Buying every type of weapon you see is out of the question.
  • Monster Compendium: The Bestiary item. Lacks flavor text, but is still useful to check each enemy's item drops. For some reason the bosses are not included on the list.
  • Monster of the Week: Throughout the game, with each major town you travel to, the townspeople are affected by the fiend who has taken over the location. Lethargy makes it so that Travel Wings cannot be made, Fear makes the Spartans unable to fight, Hate makes the Persians wage war against the Greeks by affecting the King and prevents the construction of the submarine.
  • Motive Decay: By the end, Arlmoa hardly knows what he's fighting for anymore but the powerful demon possessing him compels him to pursue revenge for the sake of revenge.
  • Multiarmed And Dangerous: The Kalin enemy is a four-armed woman who can attack 4 times per turn.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Heracles is tricked by the gods into leading an invasion on a city that turns out to be peaceful. By the time he realizes what is going on he cannot do much of anything because all his men only care for killing everyone they see.
    • When the party thinks they just sealed Arlmoa inside a petrified Atlas, Arlmoa possesses Epipha and they end up leading him straight to his old body. Consequently, they just turned the creator of Atlantis to stone for nothing.
  • No-Sell: Characters can take 0 damage from attacks if they're tough enough or have resistances to what they've been hit with. Several enemies and bosses also have this gimmick in which they're immune to everything but Heracles' Tackle skill.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Immortals are somehow immune to Falling Damage and the party exploits this to literal hell and back through the story. Once you get mortal people as teammates, the Moirae bring you a relic that gives this immunity to them as well.
  • One-Hit Kill: There are a few ways to attempt to insta-kill any enemy other than the bosses.
    • Heracles' Tackle skill will knock himself out if used on an enemy that has started some sort of defense mode (yes, that's what the vague "damage depends on DEF" description means).
    • Sheaze's Prayer skill is guaranteed to kill everything that's not immune to it. You'll lose the EXP and other bonuses from anything it kills, though.
    • The Cursed One enemies will sometimes "declare the death sentence". Amusingly enough, sometimes this ability insta-kills themselves.
  • Opening the Sandbox: You start out having to buy Travel Wings to get around. Then you get yourself a ship that is later upgraded to crush the rocks blocking certain parts of the sea. The protagonist will eventually learn the Noarn telport skill and the ship gets replaced by a submarine. Finally, once you get the Silk Ribbon you can call Pegasus and easily fly to anywhere in the overworld.
  • Playable Epilogue: After clearing the main story, you can load the save and continue helping Heracles slay the remaining monsters. Visiting Palis and choosing to spend the day with her is the definite end of the story, but you're still allowed to keep playing later.
  • Public Domain Artifact:
    • Atlantis: You get to witness its downfall in the beginning.
    • Pandora's Box: Zeus thought that people needed misfortune to properly appreciate happiness, but came to regret making people suffer and stuffed all the evil beings he had made in this box. The box ends up hidden in Atlantis, where Arlmoa opens it and unleashes the fiends by accident during the siege on the city. When the party finally finds the box again, Zeus screws them one last time and buries it for good, having decided to make humanity deal with the monsters forever after all. Also, yes, there's no mention of the actual Pandora in this backstory.
    • Orichalcum: The precious metal Atlantis is invaded for. Has supernatural properties and the Pandora's Box is made of it.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: After getting possessed by the fiend of revenge, Arlmoa's purpose in attaining immortality is sticking it to the gods who destroyed Atlantis. Too bad they couldn't care less.
  • Random Encounters: Encounters have a 3x2 grid on the ground for enemy units and also space for airbone enemies. There are spells that make the next few encounters more or less crowded. Also of note is that enemy encounters won't happen underwater or on the sky.
  • Recurring Boss: The Hate fiend is the only one that is fought twice. First it almost causes a war and later it tries to prevent Argo's descendants from building a submarine.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In the end Arlmoa admits his quest was misguided all along and lets himself go down with the ruins of Atlantis.
  • The Reveal: It is revealed early on by the Moirae that the Protagonist and Plato have had their threads of fate erased. Epipha however has just been reincarnated numerous times by cutting deals with Charon to not have her memories erased, she has been through countless iterations of life over 9,000 years, with her most recent incarnation as Palis, the attendant of the King of Greece. Also Arlmoa was possessed by one of the evils of Pandora's Box; Revenge and that he can do the same thing you and Plato can.
  • Running Gag:
    • Falling head-first from far high on purpose, sometimes with a Mode 7 spinning cutscene thrown in.
    • Heracles leaves the party because they didn't want to seek out the plague fiends. Naturally they come across three of the things, with Plato sarcastically wondering what Heracles would tell them if he was there.
  • Save Point: Statues and other monuments dedicated to Hermes can be used to call him and ask for your progress to be recorded. You can also just greet him, and if you cancel the conversation with B instead he expresses disappointment about your rudeness.
  • Scoring Points: In a JRPG of all things. The "Area Point" value at the status screen increases as you beat bad guys but has no apparent purpose.
  • Secondary Character Title: The game's focus is on the atlanteans and their quest to find Arlmoa. Heracles is more of a side character and even leaves the party for a good amount of the story until their goals turn out to be the same.
  • Sequential Boss: Some bosses have more than one phase.
    • The final battle involves beating on a helpless Arlmoa, then fighting him again while Revenge is in control and finally fighting Revenge itself for two more phases. Arlmoa's second form and Revenge's first are checkpoints in case you lose.
  • Shows Damage: Some enemies have different animations when weakened enough. The Sasquatch, for example, loses pieces of his fur as it takes damage.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Of all things, the heaven dungeon is full of bouncy springs.
  • Standard Status Effects: Your guys can be poisoned, confused, put to sleep, stopped and paralysed. Poison does the usual damage on every turn and while you walk around in the overworld, but the other four have the exact same effect of preventing a character from doing anything. Curiously, knockouts are also treated as a status effect that won't go away just from recovering the victim's HP.
  • The Stinger: Midway through the credits, Plato and then Epipha are shown moving on with their lives.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The Call to the Sea item makes the party able to breath and walk underwater. It also means they cannot return to the surface on their own.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • Heracles turns into a statue and waits for quite a while on the high wall of Atlantis until the protagonist and Plato find their way back to that place.
    • When Arlmoa is about to take over Atlas' mind, the big guy instructs Heracles to bring Medusa's head over and turn him into stone to both prevent the sky from falling and to also trap Arlmoa within him.
  • Taking You with Me: Some enemies can tackle one member of the party, dealing high damage but also killing themselves.
  • The End: Appears in greek after the credits. If you talk to Palis during the post-game and rest at her home, a second The End screen that's in english comes up.
  • Time Skip: You and Plato jump 9000 years into the future after being thrown into Pandora's Box. Heracles is waiting at what is left of Atlantis.
  • To Hell and Back: Hades sends the party to Tartarus, however unlike the 3rd game, there's a secret exit. By falling further and further into the abyss, you somehow land back on Earth.
  • Together in Death:
    • After recovering her memories and reuniting with her mother in the underworld, Dearie decides to part ways with the party.
    • Arlmoa reunites with Epipha's sister as Atlantis is buried for good.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arlmoa seeks immortality for everyone but has no regard for the sacrifices he has to make along the way. It only gets worse when he opens the Pandora's Box and gets possessed by the incarnation of revenge.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • When Heracles sadly admits to the protagonists that he led the invasion on Atlantis, Plato punches him away.
    • Heracles is later mad at the protagonists for pursuing Arlmoa instead of focusing on killing the monsters that are corrupting the world. He claims that they only came across some of them so far from out of luck, but of course the party encounters one more as soon as Heracles steps out.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • Your party members get disappointed if you collect items hidden in towns, as those items "already belong to someone". Fair enough when you really are stealing from someone's house, but not so much when you find some minor medicine or a lost rusty item stuck inside a well on the edge of a town or something.
    Heracles: Oh no!! Gods in Olympus! Please forgive this poor soul!!
    • Hermes gets annoyed if you cancel out of his save prompt instead of doing that or greeting him.

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