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Video Game / Guardian's Crusade

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Known as "Knight and Baby" in Japan, Guardian's Crusade is a fairly simple and straightforward RPG depicting the tale of a young knight named...Knight. When his village home of Orgo is experiencing a lack of crops this year, he is sent by the mayor to issue a warning to the neighboring fishing town who denounces the ideas of a curse as rubbish. On the way home, he encounters a baby dragon. Thinking it is the cause of their food shortage, the Orgo mayor orders Knight to get rid of the dragon. He does. But not before he is visited by an Omniscient old man (with bunny ears) who tells Knight to take Baby to God's Tower. So he does.

Thus begins a quest that chain reactions into, what else, a Save the World plot.

Released in 1998 (1999 for its American and European release), Guardian's Crusade is mostly an obscure game known only by a few. Despite its average graphics, cliche plot, and straightforward gameplay, Guardian's Crusade has a sense of charm and a surprisingly darker than it looks story to its otherwise kid-friendly game. If anything, for its time, it was unique for having a Pet Interface as well as onscreen enemies, the latter which was almost unheard of back then.

Guardian's Crusade contains examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: In a game where you're likely to be around level 50 by the time you face the final boss, the level cap is level 65535. Good luck.
  • Aerith and Bob: Take a slightly less odd name like Picard, Karmine, or Darwin, and then cross it with names like Kalkarnor, Nehani, and Darkbeat. Though, given that the game has a large cast, this is to be expected.
  • A God Am I: Karmine, though he considers himself not a god but a holy prophet of Xizan.
  • Ancient Keeper: The Picardians
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Played straight early and often. Not only is this a good way of getting important items and Living Toys, it also gives you access to an immense amount of dialogue with Nehani.
  • Already Done for You: On your gem quest, you'll see that Kalkanor and his crew have already snatched most of the gems before you did.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Of sorts. The Japanese box art is rather whimsical in looks: showing Knight and Baby doing various activities you can do in the game, all the while looking damn adorable. The American version simply has Knight and Baby gazing at God’s Tower from a distance, a bit more generic though it does a better job demonstrating your core goal for much of the game.
  • Anachronism Stew: While the game plays its medieval fantasy theme straight, the anachronism comes in the form of the Living Toys which can range from anything: a top hat wearing gentleman, a cheerleader, a samurai, an announcer with a microphone, or even a Mafia-ish figure with a machine gun!
    • There's also the matter of the main character's source of HP recovery being "medieval" foods such as candy bars and hamburgers. The kingdom of Trisken has Steampunk-like robots they use to train future army recruits. One town also mentions he's made a record of his songs.
  • Always Someone Better: Downplayed. Kalkanor and his crew are always one step ahead of you in adventuring, but you tend to clean up some things they miss. Later this is fully subverted, Kalkanor and his crew get beaten but Knight keeps on going and saves the world.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Subverted. Once Xizan is released, various townsfolks will gesture their concerns and fears of a great omen about to happen.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Baby's artificial intelligence has about the same intelligence of a newborn, and until he trusts you a bit more and will follow orders more often he'll often make actions that burn through your healing items and occasionally get himself killed.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Both Knight and Baby get an epic one directly after they're brought back to life in the battle against the Big Bad.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Peacemaker, the final Living Toy. While capable of killing almost any enemy in the game in one hit, it also reduces you to a fraction of your life, and you get it so late that you've beaten almost every boss without it.
  • Badass Adorable: Baby, while being initially extremely weak, is also fairly cute and can easily be made significantly stronger than any other character in the game. Knight also qualifies, though whether he's cute or not is more subjective than anything else.
  • Beneath the Earth: Whenever demons in the game show up, they're most likely from Beneath The Earth. Despite this, apart from caves and such you don't actually go underground at all, apart from possibly Picard. Given the circumstances, said area beneath the earth is most likely Hell.
    • Played straight again in that there also some monsters you run into early on in a town called Kell who fit the "primitive underground cavedweller" archetype.
  • Big Bad: Karmine is this for most of the game, until Xizan is freed, at which point he takes second seat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Darkbeat tends to pop up seemingly out of nowhere to help you out with a few boss battles. And you go to 'save him' at one point as well, although it turns out that he doesn't need your help, he's just running a bit late.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Knight, Baby, Nehani, Darkbeat, and many other characters are good. Karmine, Xizan, and all of their cronies, plus the random greedy mayors and swindlers are evil. Shown to be played completely straight early on, where a Rich Bitch called Richten is fighting against another much more morally secure candidate for the role of mayor in Isten.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Kisa Canyon, the area where some of the strongest Living Toys are found. Unfortunately, it's subverted in that it's not much harder than any of the other final dungeons.
  • Broken Bridge: Common in the first part of the game, which somewhat guides you along a linear path and ends up introducing a literal Broken Bridge so that you can't get back to the tutorial area. It clears up in the second half of the game, however.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Nehani, who's in love with Knight, but can't say a damn word of her true feelings. Most evident before the final battle.
  • Chekhov's Gun: That random useless treasure you got in the middle of the game? Solomon's Ring? Turns out it has a use.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Knight, oh so much. One chore leads to this, which leads to that - hey could you deliver this letter for me? - and then there's a Broken Bridge you have to fix...
  • Climax Boss: Karmine.
  • Cool Helmet: Knight's full-head helmet, although it's rather odd that even in combat the visor is raised.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Xizan. Subverted in that he's a pure God of Evil almost literally hell-bent on destroying the world.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Xizan is using a forbidden spell!
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Anti-Hero mercenary Darkbeat has a threatening name and wears darkly colored armor, and you face him once or twice over the course of the game. That doesn't stop him from being nearly as well-intentioned as Knight. Played straight in many other cases, but the exceptions are notable.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nehani, probably from being the only one of the main party who ever talks.
  • The Dragon: Karmine to Xizan. Notably, most of the game he's acting out of his own volition, but when Xizan is unsealed...
  • Easter Egg: Inspect every piece of furniture you come across and Nehani will have no end of witty remarks and sarcastic comments. Talking with various npcs will reveal a bit more.
    Nehani: Where do babies come from? Why, a stork, of course!
    Zombie: <zombie noises>Excuse me, do you have any brain poupon?<zombie noises>
    Detective: So you want to know the truth? <camera zooms in> You can't handle the truth!
  • Eldritch Abomination: Xizan. The fact that he's a gargantuan tentacled cyclops should be evidence enough. When you fight him during the final sequence of the game, it's revealed he has two other forms as well; a giant bat/insect/vampire hybrid is his first, and then after you end up nearly killing him by melting a good amount of his skin off he looks more like a wraith than anything else, with spikes of fur hanging everywhere and his two bat wings skeletal fragments of what they were, while his tongue hangs out. Words do it little justice.
  • Elemental Powers: The Legendary Beasts: Galestork possesses Wind, Kuldo carries fire, Kisa holds Water, and Ruval has Earth. Celeste's power is never stated or shown, but may possibly be Light just based on the name. The only element ingame not included is Darkness, which is adequately filled by Xizan.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Baby's Guardian transformation. Sadly, it fails miserably and only succeeds in making Xizan pissed off.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Karmine and Glor. Some other random ones show up infrequently.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Japanese game title and in turn the names of the main characters, Knight and Baby. Any guesses as to what they are?
  • Exposition Fairy: A less annoying case with Nehani. She won't constantly remind you. Instead, the only way she will is if you talk to her.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Baby. He can eat anything that's not poisonous from candy bars to hamburgers to potions to swords and armor and will enjoy the meal all the same.
  • Fairy Sexy: Nehani, in the few times when when you can see her up-close in full view, is a certifiable beauty.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Despite there being buildings in towns that are obviously bars, at least in the English version they're called cafés and the bartenders serve root beer and soda. Alcohol itself is never mentioned, but a subtle Lampshade by Nehani comes by when she asks why none of the cafés seem to serve lemonade or coffee in Carmarthen. There was also the wedding party in Isten, where Knight might have had some weird tasting 'juice'.
  • Glamour Failure: No matter what monster Baby transforms into, he will always have large eyes and be bright pink in color - yes, even the plants and trees.
  • God of Evil: Xizan.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The first thing in the entire game after the opening sequence, you're woken up by Nehani, the resident Exposition Fairy, telling you it's no time to sleep in.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The five gems which when reunited will release the evil Xizan.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The gems. Subverted since Kalkarnor and his crew does most of the work for you. Played straight later on when you have to search for the Holy Armor parts.
  • Hard Head: Subverted with Baby; sometimes he will use a Headbutt attack in place of his regular attack. Although he doesn't get damaged while using it, not only does it barely do any more damage than usual it also stuns him and leaves him susceptible to counterattacks.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Massively averted - almost every character that's a knight and the least bit heroic wears a helmet, including the main character.
  • Hero of Another Story: Darkbeat went on a journey to restore his sister Ibkee back to normal. Kalkanor and his gang also qualifies.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: The only available weapons to buy ingame are swords, and they're the only weapon Knight can equip. Luckily his tend to be more realistically sized than most.
  • Heroic Mime: Knight, and Baby to an extent.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nehani uses the Ring of Solomon to defeat Xizan's second form and heal the near dead Knight and baby. In the process, she gets her wish to become human, but you only learn this at the very ending as it looks like she did die. In fact, however, she gets better though.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Knight and Baby die in the fight against Xizan, but are restored only by Nehani and the Ring of Solomon's interference in one of the few CGI sequences in the entire game. After Nehani leaves the battlefield and Knight and Baby are again standing, cue epic Ass Kicking Pose.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Two, once against Darkbeat in the beginning of the game and one against Kalkarnor. Unique in that if you level up to an insane degree to try to beat them, they will start leveling up with you.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Over the course of the game Baby is mistaken for either a pig or a pink dog far too many times to count. Naturally, since both he and Knight are Heroic Mimes, Nehani does the correcting for them.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Darkbeat's sister Ibkee was turned into a dragon-like creature and Darkbeat spends most of the game hiding the fact and trying to get her returned to normal.
  • Jerkass: Nearly anyone who's involved in the main plot and not an ally can be this. Honorable mention goes to Richten, a greedy, swindling Rich Bitch.
  • Just a Kid: A few times throughout the game has Knight called this. Especially by Kalkanor.
  • Justice Will Prevail: Given the nature of the game, this shouldn't be a surprise.
  • Karmic Death: Karmine turns Glor into a monster and Glor is promptly killed. Shortly afterwards Xizan turns Karmine into a monster and Karmine's killed too.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: An amusing case because Nehani will not only call you on it, but at certain points, you're forced to return the items you stole. Not to mention the multiple times the items you found turn out to be useless duds. Subsequently Played for Laughs as when you run into an item that's actually useful lying around Nehani will almost never call you on it and oftentimes will encourage you to pick it up.
  • Legacy Character: Darwin the Holy Knight
  • Living Toys: You collect 'em so they can aid you in battle. There's 70 of these bastards. Good luck.
  • Love Confession: Twice: Just before the Final Battle with the Big Bad Final Boss. The Heroic Sacrifice itself, as it was Lampshaded by the prophecy in the story.
  • The Load: Mostly averted with Nehani; while she's part of the party in battle, she can't be targeted by enemies or hurt in battle and if your Luck is high enough she will occasionally assist you with fairly weak spells and attacks.
  • Magikarp Power: Baby, who you get at level 1 despite the fact that you probably have ended up leveling up many levels past that. Raise it without doing anything special and its attacks will be weak, it'll take a ton of damage from enemy attacks, and it will hardly ever listen to commands. Feed it well and make it trust you, however, and you'll find it quickly outclasses Knight in terms of sheer power.
  • Merchant City: Both Zed Harbor and San Claria; Zed Harbor is a ridiculously affluent seaport, and San Claria is a fishing village which sells their catches all over the world.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The holy gemstones, which were used to seal Xizan inside a crystal cage. They're also used to unseal him, however.
  • Mirror Match: Knight gets transported to small island after collecting all part of Darwin's Holy Armor. Here he must fight Darwin himself, who wears the same armor. Darwin has his own attack animations, though
  • The Mole: Gwinladin/Glor, though he's horrible at hiding it.
  • Monster Town: Kell, inhabited by a small lizardlike people called, creatively, the Kellians.
  • No Indoor Voice: Bonik.
  • Object Ceiling Cling: A particularly disgusting example of Always Check Behind the Chair.
    You searched the fireplace. You didn't find anything.
    Something fell out! You obtained a Cheeseburger!
  • Obviously Evil: Gwinladin. As if his appearance of a hunchbacked wizard wearing purple robes and a hood wasn't enough, it should be obvious when he starts shouting "Fools! All of them!" in the middle of a crowded room and later proceeds to gleefully decimate the resident Non-Malicious Monster. Naturally, he reveals his position as The Mole and is promptly told that he has outlived his usefulness and is promptly turned into a monster and killed.
  • One-Winged Angel: Xizan has two, with "angel" being an extremely loose interpretation.
  • Opening the Sandbox: The beginning of the game is fairly linear and straightforward in terms of progression. Around the halfway mark of the game, however, everything opens up and suddenly you can go nearly anywhere you want that's not only accessible by flight.
  • Opposites Attract: Knight is a human Knight in Shining Armor who never talks and doesn't show emotion often. Nehani is a fairy Deadpan Snarker who doubles as the party's Exposition Fairy and alternates between getting ticked off at Knight and sympathizing with his issues. It's a wonder they can put up with each other at all. Not to mention become married after the official storyline ends through a Relationship Upgrade.
    • It's revealed by Nehani's reminiscing , which leads to her Love Confession, just right before the Final Battle that she fell in love with the hero years ago due to the Florence Nightingale Effect, when Knight nursed her back to health after he found her injured all alone in a forest.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Short and bearded? Check. Heavy drinkers? Check. Somewhat technologically advanced? Check. Miners? Check. Artisans? Check. The only thing missing is that they don't live underground and aren't particularly inclined to fighting.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Church of Artema.
  • Pet Interface: Baby whom reacts based on how you raise it. Treat it right and Baby will help/heal you in battle. Treat it wrongly and it'll either run away or bite you.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Knight, from what little characterization he gets. He inherited his smile from his mother, but stores it in his bag, in the "Junk" section - and even then he rarely ever moves out of a half-frown.
  • Power Trio: Knight, Baby, and Nehani.
  • Press X to Die: One Living Toy cuts the HP of all non-boss combatants in a fight in half. This includes the Knight. Another toy doubles the effects of other toys. Combine them and...
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: See above.
  • Rich Bitch: Many, including a few mayors and especially Richten.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby. If he becomes strong enough, he becomes less of this and more of a Killer Rabbit.
  • Set Bonus: When Knight acquires all of the pieces of the Holy Armor, his armor will go from its usual red and blue to a shining silver and gold color, while his sword becomes embedded with jewels.
  • Shout-Out: The final Living Toy, Peacemaker, is pretty obviously a recolored, wind-up Star Platinum. It even attacks with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Xizan's third form, arguably: after Nehani wishes him dead, his skin visibly distorts and seems to melt off of his body, leaving him looking like a wraithlike, half-skeletal husk of his second form. That only weakens him to the point that he's killable.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Xizan, who was sealed into the can by the holy stones.
  • Spoiler Opening: Already reveals the Heroic Sacrifice, Love Confession, Big Bad Final Boss, Final Battle.
  • Tsundere: Nehani, arguably. She'd be a Type B.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Kuldo. Everybody's scared of it, it's dreaded even in the fandom for its frustrating introduction of the Poison and Terror status effects, and it has a shrine home to fairly tough enemies at an early point in the game.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Every town in the game, basically. Justified in that it is a fairly old game.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Richten. Subverted in that while not many people know of his shadier dealings, everyone hates him for being a Jerkass.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Baby can transform into various monsters as you defeat them through the storyline. Getting him to listen and transform into them is another matter entirely.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: A more literal example when Xizan is unsealed: immediately God's Tower and the area surrounding it is blown up in a massive explosion.
  • Wretched Hive: Den Heldar. Ugh. The only relatively decent people in the town are the mayor and his daughter; the hotel prices are several times over the most expensive in the game and almost everyone there is a Jerkass.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The game would've been called Guardian Legends outside of Japan, but there was at least one problem...
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In-game example. At the beginning of the game an angel approaches Knight and tells him that he must take Baby to God's Tower to save the world; the mayor of Orgo promptly tells Knight he's crazy and to go drop Baby off in a cave. Knight does so, and then the angel visits him again, in exactly the same scene as earlier. You have no choice but to proceed.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Karmine, to Gwinladin/Glor, before turning him into a monster. Later Karmine has the same thing happen to him from his master Xizan.