Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Live A Live

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mig.jpeg

"Legend Is Alive"
The remake Tagline
Advertisement:

Live A Live (stylized as LIVE A ƎVI⅃) is an Anthology Role-Playing Game by Square, originally released on the Super Famicom in 1994. It was the directorial debut of Takashi Tokita, who would later go on to direct other Square classics such as Chrono Trigger and Parasite Eve, as well as the first Square title where Yoko Shimomura served as the composer.

The game features multiple storylines set in seven time periods, with each providing a different setting and genre. Although the storylines are mostly standalone at first, they eventually combine into a single plotline. The chapters of the game each draw on influences from different sources, as wide and varied as '80s anime, spaghetti Westerns, fighting games, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Alien, to name but a few. The game tends to play these tropes straight for the most part, but at times subverts them just as happily.

Advertisement:

Live A Live deviates from the usual Squaresoft games when it comes to the battle system, being somewhere between standard Turn-Based Combat and a Tactics-style system. Although the battle system stays the same throughout the game, each chapter has its own distinct atmosphere and art style. They are, in chronological order:

  • The Prehistory comedy chapter, starring Pogo the green-haired caveman,
  • The Wild West time trial puzzle chapter, starring mysterious gunslinger The Sundown Kid,
  • The Imperial China chapter, starring a dying Earthen Heart Shifu and his potential successors Lei Kugo, Yun Jou, and Hong Hakka,
  • The Twilight of Edo Japan Stealth-Based Mission political revolution ghost robot maze chapter, starring the ninja Oboromaru,
  • The Present Day arcade fighting game chapter, starring the wrestler Masaru,
  • Advertisement:
  • The Near Future Humongous Mecha chapter, starring psychic prodigy Akira,
  • The Distant Future sci-fi Survival Horror chapter, starring the robot Cube.

Completing all the above chapters unlocks the final 8th chapter:

  • The Middle Ages fantasy chapter, starring the knight Oersted.

After that, the player decides which path to take...

Live A Live was never officially released outside Japan... until 2022, when a remastered version in the "HD-2D" style of Octopath Traveler and Triangle Strategy was announced for the Nintendo Switch, also featuring voice acting in both languages. Tokita returns as a major creative supervisor with Shimomura supervising the rearrangement of the soundtrack, even personally rearranging several tracks.

Compare Bahamut Lagoon and Treasure of the Rudra, two similar SquareSoft games from the same time period, and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and Octopath Traveler, two later Square games with a similar format.

Not to be confused with the Haruhi Suzumiya episode "Live Alive", The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya story "Live A Live", Alive A Life, Date A Live, nor is the opposite of Kill la Kill.

Beware of unmarked spoilers! You Have Been Warned.


Live A Live provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Imperial China chapter, with the Xuan Ya Lian Shan Quan. In the Final chapter, however, once you learn this with the successor, you can use it however many times you want, thus making it an Infinity Plus One Skill.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Akira's chapter comes after Masaru's "present day" chapter, but not as far into the future as Cube's.
  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Okame-no-Kata in the Ninja chapter towards Oboro. She can be killed, but you won't get the reward for sparing women.
    • Voice Heart, the boss of the Final chapter's Dungeon of Technique is a male example towards whoever your player character is. You can scold and kill him for good.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: In the Earthen Heart dungeon part of the Final Chapter, the Successor has to use a certain one of their skills on the many rocks blocking the doors, some of which need to be learnt through levelling-up. However, they only really need one skill learnt early on to get their special weapon.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 99 doesn't seem like much, but most Arc Villains can be defeated around level 10 (the King Mammoth, arguably the most difficult boss in the game, can be killed before level 20), and that's when Level Grinding is even a possibility. Level 30 is almost overkill for the True Final Boss. And your final skills are learned at 16.
  • Acrofatic: Hong.
  • Action Girl: Li, who kicks ass as a thief before being taken in by the Shifu, and can potentially be the sole female protagonist.
  • After-Combat Recovery: All characters are healed after battle.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: “Everything in this ship must work in harmony... I was built to maintain harmony... Therefore, my will is absolute... Nobody will stand in my way... Anyone who tries... Will be terminated! KILL YOU.” Eventually subverted as the ship's AI is actually the demon Odio and the only actual true AI in the game, Cube, is a pretty heroic guy.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Or at least were primitives with no language.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • The Imperial China chapter has Shifu return from kicking Tiger King's ass again, only to find his dojo wrecked and all three of his students beaten, two of which are dead.
    • The Near Future chapter has the Crusaders set fire to the Chibiko House, prompting Akira to save Kaori and Matsu to step in with Buriki Daioh.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The focus of the Wrestling chapter and Masaru's end quote with his chapter boss, Odie Oldbright.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The game avoids specifying dates at which chapters occur (although the timeframes are much clearer). Logs in the Sci-Fi chapter even go so far as to hide dates with X's (although the "copyright" text in Captain Square minigame makes it clear it takes place no earlier than the 22nd century). Interestingly, the real-world Bakamatsu and Old West eras took place within a decade of each other. The credits for the Golden Ending if Oboromaru joins Ryoma shows the former defending the latter from an assassin, implying that their chapter took place before December 10, 1867; the date of the real-life Ryoma Sakamoto's assassination.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Kung Fu chapter has no idea what era it's supposed to take place in. Two characters are even seen wearing clothes from different time periods.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: And Then Oersted Was The Demon King.
  • Anime Hair: Most of the characters keep it down, but Pogo, Matsu, and Akira more than make up for them. At least the latter two have an excuse: their chapter is modeled on a Super Robot anime. Also, Oersted.
  • Anti-Grinding:
    • In the Mecha chapter, leveling up Akira will also increase the difficulty of the random encounters on the overworld. If you level up too much at the start, you'll risk getting into a battle that you won't survive.
    • In the final chapter, enemies scale with the level average of the party, and by the end, half of the enemy groups give out 0 Exp while the other half that do give actual EXP are challenging to deal with.
  • Apocalypse How: You can pull off a Class Z by choosing the Armageddon option when your health is low in the final chapter with Oersted. The same ending also plays if you die while fighting Pure Odio.
  • Apocalyptic Log: If Cube is defeated by OD-10, a final entry that details the doomed fate of the Cogito Ergosum will show up.
  • Arc Villain: Each of the final plot bosses with Megalomania as their boss theme in the scenarios. Played with - All of them except Straybow are incarnations of the Big Bad, Odio/Oersted, spread throughout time and space. Subverted with O-D-O in the Caveman chapter and Odeo in the Mecha chapter. In the former chapter, the plot is driven by the Ku Tribe Chief and Zaki, while in the latter chapter, the plot is driven by Odeo's followers.
  • Armies Are Evil: The two times in modern times a human army is mentioned, they're never portrayed as good people:
    • In the Mecha chapter, the Japanese Army are at the beck and call of Yamazaki to prevent Buriki Daioh from stopping the advent of Odeo where many humans are horribly melted into liquid.
    • In the Sci-Fi chapter, the human army forcibly had Darth and their captured Behemoth to get a passage on Cogito Ergosum, a civilian-class ship, as a guest, and gave Darth a secret order that in case the Behemoth escapes, its life should be persevered while the crews' deaths are 'acceptable sacrifices'. Even Darth eventually thinks the rule is bullshit, kills the Behemoth in self-defense and after surviving the events, he quits the army.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Ariel Armor in the Final chapter provide good, if not the highest defense and immunity to Petrification. There are five pieces, each guarded by a different Bonus Boss:
    • To get the Ariel Helm, complete the Dungeon of Intelligence. Return and at the end of the first puzzle room, there will be a robot named Erauqs that will attack you for stealing Cube's weapon. It will drop the Helm.
    • To get the Ariel Glove, let all eight bells ring in the Dungeon of Time to get attacked by the Jaggy Eggs. If you're able to kill them, you'll get the Glove.
    • To get the Ariel Mail, run away from battle 100 times in the Final chapter. After the 95th, a countdown will begin for the last five, after which the Death Prophet will attack. Beat it to get the Mail.
    • To get the Ariel Boots, meet Odio at the end of the Forbidden Land, but try to leave instead of fighting him. You'll be taken back to the starting room, where the Head Plucker will attack if you don't reach the stairs in time. Fight and beat it to get the Boots.
    • To get the Ariel Ring, find a Golden Topknot at either the Dungeon of Strength or the Forbidden Land and take it to the lake in the Dungeon of Instinct. Amlucretia will offer to fight; beating it will give you the Ring and some minor exposition.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy:
    • Ou Di Wan Lee, being a Wuxia story villain, runs a brutal kung-fu school which values power above all, even going as far as murdering all opposition and rivals.
    • Odie Oldbright has such a superiority complex that he kills his defeated opponents.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The combat mechanics of this game, among other things, requires you to not just use the right move at the right time, but be in the right position to not only avoid attacks, but deal attacks of your own. The AI is quite bad at this, rarely moving enemies out of the way of your potential attacks and/or moving them in position for their own strongest attacks- which becomes painfully obvious when you control the final bosses in Oersted's version of the Final chapter, which not only allows said bosses to take advantage of your quite superior tactics but makes the protagonists victim to the game's Artificial Stupidity.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Taro is apparently dying from a necrotic infection and in order to save him, Akira asks Toei to turn Taro into a liquefied organism. The transitioning of living tissue to a liquefied state would do little to nothing to stop a necrotic infection. It just means that it's still there, either dormant or active.
    • For that matter, being liquefied means that the living subject would no longer have a spirit or consciousness since the brain is destroyed in the process. Unless of course the subject's brain cells are somehow preserved.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Surprisingly averted in the Caveman chapter. The end-of-chapter boss is a Tyrannosaurus rex called "O-D-O", but it's also the only dinosaur in the entire chapter. It makes sense for the Ku Tribe to worship the last living T. rex on the planet as a god. It can also be justified, as said T. rex is an avatar of Odio, and therefore may not even be natural.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Oersted's final words to the heroes can be summed up as this... well, more like As Long As There Is Hatred. And rather than saying that he will come back, he says that anyone could become the next Demon King.
  • As Long as There Is One Man: Subverted horribly. Oersted believes that he can continue to fight, even as everyone else in the world turns against him, as long as there's one person who believes in him. She loses faith. He doesn't take it well, to put it mildly.
  • The Atoner:
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • The Liquid Human W-1 boss in the Near Future chapter has an absurd amount of health, high defense and dodges nearly every attack. One way to defeat it easily is to attack it from behind where it's liquefied human container is, then it'll likely perform a self-destructing move as a counterattack.
    • Death Prophet can be defeated easily when you hit him on the tail. When you do, he may unleash an attack called "Not the tail!", which will deal minor damage to the attacker, but deals 999 HP to himself, killing him outright (he only has 960 HP).
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Any skills that you missed in Masaru‘s chapter can be obtained by leveling him up in the final chapter, preventing him from being underpowered if you missed a majority of them.
  • Badass Crew:
    • In the Final chapter, if not played from Oersted/Odio's perspective. You pick one of the protagonists to play as and recruit three more to defeat the Demon King, but getting the best ending requires you to use ALL of the protagonists at one point.
    • Corporal Darth from the Sci-Fi chapter gets special mention. He takes out the fake Cube quite handily, kills the Behemoth (a beast so strong that it touching you results in instant death) by himself, and lives. It's safe to say that if the military picked someone a little less badass to escort the Behemoth, Cube would've never made it to Earth.
  • Badass Biker: Matsu, riding a huge motorcycle.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work:
    • At the end of the Prehistory chapter, the Ku tribe leader gets eaten by O-D-O. Given that his fervent sacrificing to the dinosaur created the chapter's conflict in the first place, this heavily benefits all parties once Zaki takes over and buries the hatchet.
    • At one point in the Ninja chapter, a bunch of guards come after you, only to be attacked by a masked man. You can let the masked man kill the guards for you if you're going for zero kills.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • During the Imperial China chapter, after Shifu saves a couple of waitresses from Tiger King's gang, he can speak to them to get items. One pulls him aside to the restaurant where she's obscured, and Shifu's shocked by her showing him "a beautiful peach". Turns out she was giving him a peach bun, which he was praising the craftmanship of.
    • It's implied from his machinations and treachery that Straybow is actually the Demon King of the Middle Ages chapter. It's shortly shown in the ending that Oersted becomes the Demon King.
  • Battle Theme Music: Every chapter has its own fight theme - "Kiss of Jealousy" for Pogo, "War in China" for the Earthen Heart Shifu, "Killing Field" for Oboromaru, "The Wilds" for Sundown, "Knock You Down!" for Masaru, "Murder by a Psycho!" for Akira, and "Difficult Fight" for Oersted. (Cube never gets into a random battle in his chapter.) Chapter bosses all share the same theme, "Megalomania". Which is not the only thing they share.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Ryoma Sakamoto fought robots... and an incarnation of the Demon King!
  • Behind the Black: In the SNES version of the Wild West chapter, Sundown and Mad Dog immediately throw off their duel at the last moment to gun down two Crazy Bunch members in hiding across the road, who would've been in view of the townsfolk watching the duo. This was changed in the remake where it's shown that they were shooting at a hay cart and stack of hay bales, making the Crazy Bunch members hiding more plausible.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: In the Mecha chapter, the army commander Yamazaki, the temple head Kumotatsu, and the professor Cindelman team up to revive the god Odeo.
  • Big Eater: Hong, and to a lesser extent, Beru.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Kung Fu chapter. Ou Di Wan Lee has been defeated, the successor of the Earthen Heart style has been named, and the successor is welcomed as a hero in the town, rather than being the bandits they used to be, but the other two students are dead, and the Shifu you've spent most of the chapter playing as dies just after recognizing his last student as his successor.
    • The Near Future chapter ends with the Big Bad Ensemble defeated and their plans ruined, but Matsu died due to his overdose, Kaori's condition is still unclear as she's still bedridden and Watanabe presumably still doesn't know that his father was turned into the now-destroyed Liquid Human W-1 and won't be coming back. Meanwhile, Akira takes over Matsu's taiyaki stand which has increased in popularity and inherited his motorcycle, but Buriki Daioh now lays dormant as Akira is unable to reactivate it at will.
    • The Distant Future chapter. Cube managed to defeat OD-10 and shuts down her higher functions and at the same time Darth kills the Behemoth, ending its threat. Sadly only three of the characters survive and make it back to Earth (Cube, Darth, and Kato) while Kurt, Huey, Rachel, and Hol are dead due to OD-10 going haywire. Notably, this chapter is the only one to have the sombre "Cry A Live" theme playing during the credits.
    • The Golden Ending. Odio is defeated and the 7 main protagonists go to live their lives. However, although the curse of the Demon King is lifted over Lucrece, Oersted was still robbed of his future and was the last remaining human in the kingdom according to Amlucretia following his rampage, leaving the kingdom to be a Ghost Town.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Hash starts doing this just before he dies from the plague.
  • Body Horror: A significant part of the story in the Mecha chapter is people being turned to liquid, which still maintains some degree of intelligence and consciousness. You can even use Akira’s mind reader powers on the containers.
  • Bonus Boss: There are many:
    • In the Caveman chapter, the King Mammoth wandering the area where Pogo's party were banished to, who appears after reaching the Ku tribe's grounds.
    • In the Ninja chapter, Lord Iwama in the river, and the ghost of Majin Ryunosuke guarding the Muramasa.
    • In the Final chapter, there is one for every character's dungeon, and then some.
  • Bonus Stage: The entire game of Captain Square in the Sci-Fi chapter, which mainly serves to provide the grid battles from the other chapters.
  • Bookends:
    • The Imperial China chapter begins with the Earthen Heart Shifu practicing his art and then attempting to split a rock. When he fails, he realizes that he's grown too old and must find students. At the chapter's end, the successor practices the art in front of the graves of the Shifu and the other students, turns to the rock, and splits it with one punch.
    • Near the beginning of the Far Future chapter, Cube learns to make coffee, but is violently rebuffed when he offers some to Darth. At the end, Darth, wounded and exhausted, sits down and quietly asks Cube to bring him some coffee.
    • One of the first things you do in the Middle Ages chapter is defeat Straybow in a friendly duel in a tournament. The final boss of the chapter is a Duel to the Death with Straybow.
    • The music that plays at the title screen serves as the standard battle theme for the final chapter.
  • Booze-Based Buff:
    • In the Cowboy chapter, most of your healing items consist entirely of various alcoholic drinks. Of course, getting drunk comes with its debuffs...
    • In an attempt to emulate psychic powers to control Buriki Daioh, Matsu consumes a lethal amount of Matango which leaves him completely drunk.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: A monster named Ishtar in the Final chapter gets no special fanfare, but not only does it have much more power than a normal enemy, it has the boss death sequence. The good thing is that it gives boatloads of experience points.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • The Cowboy chapter consists pretty much entirely of buildup and preparation for the chapter's boss, which is the only major fight in the whole chapter. There's a small handful of other battles for story purposes, but they're all against single enemies who go down in a couple hits and are nearly impossible to lose to.
    • The Sci-Fi chapter literally contains only one fight, against the boss. The rest of it functions more as an adventure game than an RPG, and it’s still one of the shortest chapters. The only traditional battles you can find are from the Captain Square minigame before you fight OD-10 in it.
  • Boss Rush:
    • Inverted in Oersted's version of the Final chapter, where you play as the bosses and kill the heroes.
    • Applies to the Wrestling chapter; the entire chapter consists of seven battles, but they're all against boss-level enemies.
    • If you've fulfilled the requirements for the Golden Ending, Oersted tries for one last-ditch attempt at killing the heroes by having them face his incarnations once more, although they're now much too powerful for the Demon King.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Beru during the Caveman chapter.
  • Bounty Hunter: Mad Dog, who pursues The Sunset Kid for his bounty.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The first thing you see at the start of the Mecha chapter is Akira's eyes staring right at you. He then starts addressing you directly for a short time before the action cuts to his actual story.
  • Bowdlerise: In the remake, Zaki's pixellated crotch when throwing his lizard loincloth as an attack is instead covered with a smiley face.
  • Broken Record: After a certain point in the Sci-Fi chapter, Captain Hol is only capable of saying "What, are you serious? That's... quite unfortunate..." Later, it's revealed to be a recording OD-10 made after killing the captain.
  • But Thou Must!: Oboromaru's mission is to rescue the prisoner from Ode Iou's castle. Rescuing him and then bolting to the exit will have him refuse to leave, wanting to meet the man in charge.
  • Butt-Monkey: Anyone or anything with the name Watanabe is humorously subjected to cruel misfortune in several chapters of the game:
    • Prehistory: 'Watanabe''snote  father fell into a hole and never came back out, he obviously died.
    • Imperial China: Wan Tan gets a stroke of bad luck if you have Hong as your successor.
    • Twilight of Edo Japan: Watanabe the Thief is killed by a Samurai after trying to get a stash of valuables, unless Oboromaru had killed said Samurai prior, so he's instead successful and presumably alive during and after his escape.
    • Wild West: Watt's father is shot dead by the Crazy Bunch Gang.
    • Present Day: Watanabe is an audience member who gets mauled in a special attack...that rarely occurs.
    • Near Future: Played for Drama. Watanabe's father was abducted and turned into a liquified human.
    • Distant Future: Played for Horror. The Watanabe Communication System consists of a main and sub antennae, the former gets critically damaged by an explosion. Kirk then dies attempting to repair the system.
    • Middle Ages: Watanabe is eliminated/killed by Straybow in the semifinals of the tournament, causing his son to run up on stage in tears.
    • Final: The Watanabe twins are subjected to eternal suffering as petrified statues.
  • Calling Your Attacks: All three disciples with the ultimate Earthen Heart technique in the remake.
    Lei/Yun/Hong: HEAVENLY PEAK'S DESCENT!!!
  • Casting Gag: The Japanese cast for the remake at least takes note of the actors' typecasting for their roles with Takashi Tokita himself having chosen them, but a few of them stand out due to their respective actor's previous roles and their character in the gamenote :
    • Masaru is oft-considered someone who kind of looks like Domon Kasshu mixed with Ryu, and Domon's show is basically a Tournament Arc (with Humongous Mecha and a little political intrigue, but it's the tournament that's the heart of the show). Square Enix most likely took the cue and assigned Domon's VA, Tomokazu Seki for him.
    • Akira's chapter utilizes a Humongous Mecha, and he's voiced by Kenji Akabane whose rose to fame in the voice acting business with the Shin Mazinger incarnation of Kouji Kabuto, a re-interpretation of one of the most classic Humongous Mecha anime that no doubt inspired the chapter.
    • Although the original Kouji voice actor, Hiroya Ishimaru, is also present, since he has considerably aged, he got the Earthen Heart Shifu instead. However, it counts in another way: Ishimaru is best known as the official dub actor for Jackie Chan, one of the martial arts movie legends of Hong Kong who has also considerably aged (but would have been at his prime during the game's SFC release without voice acting), so that becomes the consideration. This also has an effect of the casting of Hong (whose Japanese name was the same as the fan translation one: Sammo), who is voiced by Yuu Mizushima, being the official dub actor of Sammo Hung, the man whom Hong/Sammo is based on.
    • Large Ham Villain-Role Grandmaster Norio Wakamoto once again plays a character meant to evoke Oda Nobunaga, something that he has done before and most likely has caught on with the Japanese crowd.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: If you've fulfilled the requirements for the Golden Ending and refuse to kill Oersted, the protagonists who weren't in your party arrive to Odio's statue room right after you had just defeated Pure Odio, then they get thrust in his final attempt at victory.
  • Central Theme: Most chapters have a major theme surrounding the events of the story. They also often serve as critical differences between the main protagonists and the Fallen Hero/Big Bad Oersted, who failed where they succeeded due to either the weakness in his own heart or simply being a Played for Drama Butt-Monkey.
    • Prehistory: Love. Pogo's central motivation is to rescue Beru, the woman he has fallen in love with; said love brings peace between two warring tribes, and the word "love" even turns out to be the first word spoken by any human. Oersted also fights out of love for his fiancée Alicia, but unlike Beru, Alicia does not reciprocate his feelings and spits on the sacrifices he made to rescue her in the worst way possible, driving him over the edge.
    • Imperial China: Inheritance. The Earthen Heart Shifu seeks to pass along both his kung fu and his life philosophy down to a successor, and although two of his students are murdered, the third does take up his torch in the end. Oersted also has a mentor, Uranus, who tries to pass along his heroic teachings even in the face of adversity, but unlike the Shifu, Uranus' words fall on deaf ears when Oersted's problems and resentment grow too much to bear.
    • Wild West: Companionship. The Sundown Kid starts off as The Aloner due to accidentally provoking the wrath of a group of outlaws who killed everyone he cared about, but by the end of his tale relearns how to be with others again and begins longing for friendship again. Oersted, on the other hand, starts out apparently well loved by the citizens of his kingdom, but nearly all of the friendships he makes turn out to be shallow and unreciprocated (Alicia and the villagers abandon him for his perceived failings, Straybow secretly resents him enough to ruin his life) and the few genuine friends he has either end up dead (Hash, the king, Uranus) or are unable to reach out to him in time to prevent his downfall (the kid who still believes in him).
    • Present Day: Strength. Masaru and Odie Olbright both seek physical strength, but while Masaru also places value on moral strength, Odie is just a violent thug interested only in using his strength to harm others who he perceives as beneath him. Oersted starts off like Masaru, having something worthwhile to use his martial strength in service of, but by the time his Trauma Conga Line ends he is left with nothing but his own rage and resentment, causing him to lash out and hurt others the way Odie does.
    • Near Future: Destiny. Akira stubbornly insists that only he is in control of his own destiny, and in the end is able to carve out a happy ending for himself. Oersted, on the other hand, lets his fate be guided by others; he's perfectly happy to serve as a hero when he's loved by the civilians, but once they turn on him, he takes their condemnation of him to heart and becomes the very monster they believed him to be.
    • Middle Ages: Hatred. Straybow has a perfectly good gig as a powerful sorcerer and the best friend of the king-to-be, but he lets his hatred and jealousy of Oersted consume him, ruin Oersted's life, and ultimately get himself killed. This in turn leaves Oersted with absolutely nothing to live for other than his own hatred, which has disastrous consequences for the timeline at large.
  • Chekhov's Skill: At the end of the Imperial China chapter, the new master of Earthen Heart manages to split the rock on the mountain clean in half, which Shifu was unable to do himself. This becomes a central mechanic in their dungeon in the Final Chapter, where you have break one to enter, then use the right skill to break the rocks blocking doorways inside.
  • Climax Boss: All the fights against the different Odio incarnations, and the Demon King in the Middle Ages chapter.
  • Clock Punk: Karakuri ningyo are a surprisingly old Japanese craft, as Clockwork Gennai's creations are this and himself appears to be a primitive Cyborg with this level of technology. O-Robo takes the cake though.
  • Cognizant Limbs: The pre-final boss, Odio's face.
  • Consolation Backfire: The game has a deconstruction in the form of Oersted. After everyone turns their backs on him because of him accidentally committing regicide, he is convinced (by his remaining friend, who dies soon after) that there's one person that still believes in him: Princess Alicia. As long as he still has her, he can keep fighting. So he sets off to save her, only to find out that the "accident" was actually orchestrated by a jealous friend, and when he kills said former friend, the Princess reveals that she has already lost faith in him and commits suicide in front of him. Oersted in turn snaps. Then in retaliation, he becomes the new Demon King, levels the kingdom, and then declares war on all of reality.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: In the Middle Ages chapter, there's a large rock off the side of the mountain path that's noticably a darker shade of blue compared to the rest of the area, but you can't interact with it. It's also a similar rock to the one the Earthen Heart successor broke at the end of their chapter, and they break it in the Final Chapter to access their dungeon.
  • Cool Ship: The Sci-Fi chapter takes place entirely on a spaceship called the Cogito Ergosum.
  • Cosmic Plaything:
    • Any incarnation of Watanabe and his father, with his father always being killed. Usually Played for Laughs.
    • Poor Oersted is on the receiving end of one breaking moment after another. Unfortunately, their chapter involves showing the logical conclusion of being subjected to this.
  • Crutch Character:
    • The Earthen Heart Shifu. He starts at Level 10 and can beat up street thugs and forest tigers quite easily. However, as noted in the beginning of his story, he's getting weak and past his prime; he can't level up no matter how many battles you have him fight. It's for that reason he searches out for pupils and teaches them what he knows to pass on the art.
    • Hash and Uranus from the Middle Ages chapter. They are ungodly powerful when you get them, but you don't have them for long.
    • Oboro and Pogo can (and probably will) be leveled up very high in order to defeat their respective Bonus Bosses, making them ridiculously overpowered during the first half of the final chapter.
    • Still other characters have stats — like Masaru's ludicrous HP — that make them practically invincible once you do get around to leveling them up.
    • Matsu from the Mecha Chapter becomes this for the first fight, saving the currently under-leveled Akira from a group of gang members who would have smeared him all over the landscape without Matsu's level 10 ass-kicking skills. When he joins your party for good later you've leveled up too much for him to be considered a crutch, but he's still quite useful.
  • Cyberpunk: The Mecha chapter, which takes place in the near future. It's still a moderately average setting on the surface, but robots are extremely prevalant mainly as weapons, but the local professor Toei provides benevolent tech such as Taro's new body, a work-in-progress teleporter and his crown jewel; Buriki Daioh. There's also the whole liquefied humans tech as well, which can be used to save lives or harm them.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Xuan Ya Lian Shan Quan from the Kung Fu chapter. You can only use it once in the final battle of the chapter. It stops being dangerous and forbidden in the final chapter, though, where it can be used at any time once it's learned. Justified, considering that it's only dangerous to the Shifu because he was too old to use it — his successor has no such problems.
  • Dangerous Terrain:
    • In battle, there are different types of damaging panels: poison, water, fire, and electricity. These panels also affect enemies, and some enemies can recover on said panels. Oboro is capable of creating fire- and water-based panels, and Cube can create electric-based panels. Gori from the Caveman chapter can create poison-based spaces.
    • The bosses love elemental spaces. Most notably, Ode Iou's true One-Winged Angel form has an attack that creates an enormous area of poison-based panels. OD-10 also has Driveback, which creates electric-based panels in a 3x3 placement (which can actually kill it).
    • Taken to extremes in the Captain Square minigame, the only part of the game where you can quickly die from elemental squares alone.
  • Death Seeker: The Sundown Kid is actually looking for a good place to die in.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The Middle Ages chapter serves as a Deconstruction of a lot of RPG tropes, especially Apathetic Citizens, Standard Hero Reward, and As Long as There Is One Man. Then the final chapter becomes available, and the player is allowed to choose whether or not humanity is worth fighting for, after all. If you choose anyone except Oersted/Odio for the Final chapter, that's when the Reconstruction comes in, as the seven heroes of the previous chapters (who have never even met each other before) team up to defeat the God of Hatred.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Oersted hit this pretty hard. After being tricked, he finds that everyone has now abandoned him and considers him a demon, his only remaining ally is dragged away to be tortured, and he is blamed for the death of said ally, who expends the last of his power to set Oersted free. Oh, then he finds out that his best friend betrayed him to this fate because he was jealous. Oh, and the 'Aesop' which has been so far in the game? "Don't lose hope as long as somebody believes in you". That went well. The last person who he hoped believed in him, the princess? After Oersted duels his traitorous friend and kills him, she asks why he didn't come to rescue her (Ouch. He did. Straybow only got there first by faking his death and ruining Oersted's life), declares that she loves said traitor, and kills herself. That was the absolute last straw, the severing of his last tenuous tie to sanity. The result? Demon King Odio is (re)born and is bent on destroying humanity.
    • Alicia crosses it when she realizes that Straybow, who is the one she truly loved, not Oersted, is dead. Which leads to her being Driven to Suicide.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Every character has a unique thing to say to Oersted in the Final chapter if they're the player character.
    • Taro and Cube, both being robots, can equip the same extra parts which provide new combat abilities. However, most of these can only be obtained in the Near Future chapter for Taro. There is an unintuitive method of transferring them to the final chapter for Cube to use: Have Akira equip the parts when you finish his chapter. This does not benefit him in any way, but equipped items are carried over to the final chapter.
    • In the Final chapter, what your character calls the item required to recruit Cube (if he is not your main character) varies logically depending on their original time period: Pogo has no idea what to make of it, showing up in his inventory as "????"; the Earthen Heart successor, Oboro, and the Sundown Kid simply call it an "iron box"; Masaru calls it an "odd part." Only Akira, being from a near-futuristic society, correctly identifies it as a battery.
    • A minor one: All of the characters have a unique sound clip they make when selected on the scenario screen, and it gets reused both when they level up and for the final ending screen that features your chosen protagonist's portrait - for example, Pogo's select sounds are monkey noises, Sundown's is a gunshot, etc. The Kung Fu chapter utilizes a high-pitched Wa-chow! for these sounds. This sound will remain if you had either Yun or Hong as the one to succeed the Mountain Shifu, but if you picked Li, said sound is changed to a unique feminine-sounding battle cry instead.
    • In the Distant Future chapter, if you play the Captain Square game as soon as you're introduced to it and before you try to give Darth coffee to advance the plot, Kirk comments on your progress, and actually reacts if you manage to beat it in one sitting, which is difficult since in order to save your progress on this minigame, you need the Memory Card which you obtain after Kirk's death.
  • Downer Ending: The Middle Ages chapter ends with Oersted losing everything and everyone held dear to him, with the whole of Lucrece branding him a villain after Straybow tricked him into committing regicide, and Alicia commits suicide out of love for Straybow, dismissing all of Oersted's attempts to save her. This leads to the creation of the Demon King Odio.
  • Driven to Suicide: It turns out Alicia only loved Straybow, never actually loved Oersted, and hated the fact that she was being forced to marry him instead of Straybow. When she learns that Oersted has killed Straybow, she snaps and kills herself.
  • Duel Boss: In terms of chapter bosses, Ou Di Wan Lee, Odie Oldbright, Odeo, and Straybow. The protagonist doesn't have any party members and the boss doesn't have any minions.
  • Dueling Player Characters: In the Final Chapter, depending on your protagonist you may have to fight Pogo, Li, and/or Masaru to get them to join you. The Neutral Ending also has Oersted as its Final Boss.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The Cogito Ergosum cargo vessel in the Sci-Fi chapter is revealed to be one. Its regular crew consists of newly activated worker robot Cube; Kirk, a macho Jerk Jock; his Bitch in Sheep's Clothing girlfriend and communications officer Rachel (who ultimately suffers from Love Makes You Crazy after Kirk's death); her ex-boyfriend, ship's cargo loader and all-around Shrinking Violet Huey, who she disdains and Kirk bullies for being a chicken; a nerdy, nebbish mechanic named Kato (also the Only Sane Man); and a very distant, extremely hands-off Captain Hol who is actually dead and being impersonated by the ship's Mother Computer. Not to mention its passenger, a gruff military officer who hates robots. This is actually a plot point, as all the conflict on the ship leads its Mother Computer 0D-10 to decide that the best way to maintain harmony onboard is to kill the entire crew. If the player has Cube access Captain Hol's log at the end of the chapter, he can see that the captain was planning on pretty much dumping the entire crew at the end of the mission and getting a new one that would function better.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: See that castle on the title screen? It's Castle Lucrece, a major location in the endgame.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Best Ending; Odio is defeated, and Oersted realizes his wrongdoings before dying as himself and being allowed to rest in peace. Each of the characters are returned to their respective times and are shown living happily afterwards.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: In the ending of the Caveman chapter, both tribes laugh when Gori runs off with Pogo's tribe's elder.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • The Shifu, in the Kung Fu Chapter; you don't name the Shifu, but rather, his fighting style. He is just referred to as the Shifu.
    • The Sundown Kid as well, for the sheriff of Success Town notes that he doesn't care for his real name.
  • Evil Overlooker: Ode Iou in both the promotional art of the original game and the remake for the Secret Orders chapter.
  • Evil Speech Of Evil: Almost all of the Odio incarnations make one; the exceptions are O-D-O from the Caveman chapter (who's essentially an animal and can't talk), O. Dio from the Cowboy chapter (who can talk, but doesn't have much to say), and Odeo from the Mecha chapter (who doesn't speak.) The most memorable has to be the speech at the end of Oersted's chapter, delivered by Oersted himself.
  • Expy:
    • The Sundown Kid is quite similar-looking to The Man with No Name from the Dollars Trilogy.
    • Oersted is very similar-looking to the Fighter from Final Fantasy, especially with the remakes.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Occurs twice in the Middle Ages chapter. Straybow betrays the party and causes the events that break Oersted. And Oersted himself, after he thinks the last person has stopped believing in him, and deciding to become the dreaded Demon King everyone took him for.
  • Fallen Hero: Hash in the Middle Ages chapter. He was a hero who defeated the Demon Lord, but lost faith in humanity and went to live as a hermit in the mountains. He subverts it by helping Oersted defeat the Demon Lord to prove that he is still brave. Oersted eventually falls much harder.
  • Fakeout Escape: If Oboromaru gets arrested and thrown into the castle jail, the assigned guard declares that there’s no escape as long as he’s on watch. To escape, you have to use the Invisibility Cloak to trick him into thinking you’ve vanished, then take him out once he opens the jail cell to investigate.
  • Fartillery: Both Pogo and Gori have gaseous attacks which can cause some status effects to boot.
  • Farts on Fire: Gori farts next to a fire and it ends up exploding in everyone's face. Pogo and Beru aren't pleased when this happens.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • In the Mecha chapter, the people being abducted are being turned into liquefied humans to power the Kuruu Odeo statue, or to become robotic super soldiers. Watanabe's father just happened to be one of those unfortunate victims, except he is made into a robot guard instead.
    • Oersted ended up with a horrible fate: He is left in a land where people either think he is a traitor, or think he is a demon, because everyone who believed in him ended up dying. He winds up accepting the label of demon, and becomes the Big Bad.
    • Everyone in the Middle Ages chapter. They are reduced to souls that are forever locked inside the Dungeon of the Mind, neither dead nor alive and unable to do anything except think or speak.
  • Fetch Quest: You don't have to go through the character dungeons in the final chapter, but if you don't, you'll have a difficult time with Odio and you can't get the best ending.
  • Fighting Game: The Wrestler chapter.
  • Five-Man Band: The Ninja chapter's villain Ode Iou has his own, mostly comprised of spirits and undead.
    • Big Bad: Ode Iou, a warlord aiming to bring Japan back to conflict and imprisons a certain man who can end his plans. He's also the resident Odio incarnation.
    • The Dragon: The spirit of Musashi Miyamoto, who serves as one of the final challenges before the player can take on Ode Iou himself. Can be completely avoided, and his only motivations are to see how powerful Oboro can be.
    • The Brute: The spirit of Shiro Amakusa, who can be encountered if Oboro tries to rescue Ryoma from the castle dungeon. Oboro has to defeat Amakusa's Lost Soul minions before he can take on the ghost himself to defeat him for good.
    • The Evil Genius: Clockwork Gennai, who manufactures all of the traps in Ode Iou's castle, and is also a master of karakuri ningyo, as well as being a primitive cyborg himself.
    • The Dark Chick: The spirit Yodogimi, who pretends to be Ode Iou's daughter, the princess. Interestingly, if the "princess" was killed by Oboro earlier in the chapter or if she was completely ignored, then Yodogimi will actually be the last member of Iou's band Oboro fights before he gets to the Big Bad himself (otherwise it's Musashi).
  • Flunky Boss: O. Dio in the Cowboy chapter, which is the center of its main gimmick. The better you are at setting the traps, the less enemies will be able to fight with Dio, and it's possible to get rid of all his men.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: To drive the point of the Armageddon ending home, its theme has bell sounds getting progressively louder, and accompanied by wind sounds. Eventually even the bells become quieter and stop playing altogether, leaving nothing but wind sounds, symbolizing how there's nothing left.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the Prehistory chapter, what can be easily seen as just a decoration for the overworld is a giant dinosaur skeleton, foreshadowing the presence of O-D-O, a giant living dinosaur that instigated most of the chapter's conflict through the Ku tribe chief.
    • In the Distant Future chapter, when Darth introduces Cube to the Behemoth, he guesses that the military wants to study it for combat purposes and turning it into a weapon, all in a unenthusiastic tone. This hints that he doesn't really care about following his orders to prioritise its survival above everyone else even if it goes on a rampage, and has no qualms about killing it in self-defense.
    • The Middle Ages chapter in general is very rich with this one, especially when it comes to its main protagonist, Oersted.
      • The chapter in question lacks a character with a name that sounds like "Odio" like the seven before it, the only one coming close being the player character, Oersted. This is your first hint that Oersted has more to do with Odio than first thought.
      • The fact that the Middle Ages chapter doesn't open up until after you've finished the previous seven hints that Oersted is more significant to the overarching plot regarding the Demon King.
      • Oersted is also the only protagonist who has no key art in the game's promo material in the Super Famicom version, while the remake has. However, in case of the remake, his character model has his back slightly turned at the camera, and he has no voice lines in the character trailer despite his voice actor being revealed, further hinting that he is like no other protagonist in the game and is more than he seems.
      • Both Hash and Oersted had their final technique, 'Death Trail', labelled as 'Evil Technique'. Hash ends up disillusioned with mankind and could have been consumed fully with it if it wasn't for his sickness. That is also a sign that Oersted will lose himself to evil.
      • After hearing Hash's remark that what they just killed wasn't the true Demon King, Straybow starts poking around the room and becomes fixated on the pedestal at the back. It's revealed later that he discovered it was actually a secret panel where Alicia was locked behind.
  • For Want of a Nail: In the Imperial China chapter, the Shifu was about to teach his pupils self-defense after mainly teaching them how to perform his art and fight, only to receive the news that Tiger King is wreaking havoc in town, telling his pupils to stay put while he goes to sort it out, only for his dojo to get destroyed and two of his pupils are killed after he leaves. Had he been able to teach the self-defense lessons, they likely would've had a much better chance of survival overall.
  • Freudian Trio: The Earthen Heart pupils. Hong is The Kirk, Yun is The Spock, and Lei is The McCoy.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Read all of Cube's abilities in order and write down the first letter of each. It reads HUMANISM, the main theme for Cube's character. A few early English translations screwed it up.
  • Game Within a Game: Captain Square in the Sci-Fi chapter, which provides the otherwise-absent battles in other chapters. The arcade machine itself is what Cube needs to face the Mother Computer OD-10.
  • Gatling Good: O. Dio's weapon. Stay out of his diagonals lest you get one-shotted.
  • Genre Roulette: The settings of the chapters not only vary wildly in time period and narrative genre, even their gameplay can differ with Oboromaru being more of a Stealth-Based Mission that can be beaten without taking a single life, Masaru having a full-blown tournament arc, and Cube going through a near-combat-free Survival Horror story. Even enemy encounters are uniquely triggered with some being random, others can be avoided on the overworld, or completely scripted.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: There are multiple in the Final chapter; the most notable example is the guardian of the Dungeon of Strength, who only appears if Masaru is in your party.
  • Glass Cannon: Several. Yun has the highest power rating of the Imperial China heroes, but the lowest HP. The Sundown Kid has very low HP as well, but strong, long-range attacks and some of the most devastating techniques in the game. Oboro is similarly flimsy, but he's a Ninja, which is enough said right there. From the Middle Ages chapter, we also have Straybow, a standard swords-and-sorcery elemental mage. He's not so Glassy the second time you fight him, though.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The ship in the Sci-Fi chapter is named Cogito Ergosum, Latin for "I think, therefore I am." It describes Cube's theme succinctly.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Among the final bosses, O-D-O and Odeo. It's their followers who directly cause the problems in their chapters.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Congratulations, Straybow! You've managed to break Oersted and turn him into a villain in your world! It had the unfortunate side-effect of him transforming into the Demon King, a villain which transcends time and space!
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • In the Prehistoric chapter, getting the Basic Rock requires interacting with a particular stone face exactly 100 times (if you go over, you have start from scratch), then backtracking to a door that appeared out of nowhere, finding a slab inside, and using a Bone on it (using anything else on it makes the Basic Rock Lost Forever). There are no hints for any of this whatsoever.
    • The Ninja chapter has a special weapons that can only be obtained by completing it with no kills. Doing this requires you to have a certain character in your party, and getting them is confusing in itself; and it requires that you avoid recruiting another character, since the cutscene where they force their way into your party near the end will have them incapacitate people you would otherwise have had to kill. Trying to get all possible 100 kills, on the other hand (something which has no reward), requires keeping certain people alive until a specific point in the chapter, and you may not kill any women until late in the chapter for a good item and need to backtrack and take detours to get them all. Finally, there's another weapon in this chapter, Muramasa, which is as powerful as the one you get for a pacifist run, but that's an even bigger Guide Dang It! all by itself - it requires walking to a precise point in a particular corridor, then turning around at exactly the correct spot to find a hidden room, then ignoring everything in that room and walking back the other way to access a Bonus Boss.
    • The Item Creation in various scenarios. Nothing tells you what combinations work or what they do, so all you can do is either try all sorts of combinations or look up a guide of someone who already did the former. Not only that, sometimes a valid combination will fail, although you won't lose the items involved, meaning the failure will do nothing but either make you think a correct combination won't work, or just waste your time.
    • In the Wrestling chapter, there is a third move (Earth-Rending Fury) you can learn from Jackie Iaukea, but you have to be in a very specific position in relation to him for him to use it.
    • Finding King Mammoth in Pogo’s chapter. You can only do this after reaching the Kuu Tribe hideout near the end of the chapter, then backtracking to the first area where Pogo and his friends were banished to, look for a scent cloud that smells like a mammoth. However, while this does prevent you from accidentally running into a walking deathmobile without preparation, you have to press A while near King Mammoth’s invisible overworld tile, which also moves extremely fast.
    • During Akira's dungeon in the Final Chapter, whether he's your main choice or a party member, you still have access to his mind-reader skill in the overworld. The only hint you get reminding you of this is the ghosts who don't say anything if talked to directly, and you have to do this to Alicia's ghost at the end to leave. Finding this dungeon itself is a puzzle, as you have to teleport from battles when he's in your party which eventually throws you in there.
    • Finding Pogo’s dungeon in the Final Chapter requires you to go through an out-of-the-way narrow path in the Mountain's first area to a dead end, then use his likely-forgotten smell skill to find a suspicious scent cloud emanating from a wall, then interact with it.
    • Encountering Death Prophet in the Final Chapter to obtain an Ariel item. You have to flee from battles 100 times, where the only hint about this exists in Pogo’s dungeon with the Watanabe statues, which you have to use Akira’s mind reader skill on to get the hint.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Averted. The Sundown Kid is the strongest character in the game, even more so if you get his .44 Magnum. Gun attacks in general are long-ranged, damaging, take no time whatsoever, and tend to not pose a significant disadvantage on the character using them, and on the other end, O. Dio's ultimate attack has a range that's completely diagonal to the end of the field and hits for damage in the high triple digits (in a game where your health is unlikely to reach 200.) So basically, the Sundown Kid AND the Big Bad of his chapter averts this trope.
  • The Gunslinger: Sundown and Mad Dog.
  • Have a Nice Death: The Sci-Fi chapter is full of them, and if you happen to activate any of them, you are greeted with "In the end... Cube never made it to Earth..."
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Zaki, from the Caveman chapter, for the final boss of said chapter. Afterwards, he takes over the Kuu tribe, ending their sacrifices to O-D-O and burying the hatchet with Pogo's tribe.
    • Matsu from Akira's chapter, but it happened in the backstory.
  • He Knows A Bout Timed Hits:
    • The Prehistory chapter has Pogo's tribe leader "tell" the player through speech bubble pictures to press the Y button, even pulling out a stone version of it above his head.
    • The beginning of the Near Future chapter has Akira tell the player that pressing Y enables him to read minds.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The sound that plays whenever the Demon King is around in the last two chapters. Interestingly, the sound doesn't play when you encounter the "Demon King" in the throne room, hinting that something's not quite right.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: At the beginning of each chapter except Imperial China, you get to name its protagonist. The Imperial China chapter instead has you name the martial art you're trying to pass down.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Matsu does this to power the Buriki Daioh so he can save Akira and Kaori (the latter actually initially volunteering to be liquefied to power it before Akira stops her).
    • Uranus uses the last of his life to unlock Oersted cell after their arrest, and Straybow fakes having one during the Middle Ages chapter.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In the Mecha chapter, in order to chase after a trio of Crusaders after they kidnap Kazu and Matsu ditches him, Akira steals a passerby's motorcycle.
  • Heroic Spirit: Deconstructed. Yes, the sheer willpower of the seven protagonists is what saves the day in their stories, some of them having to discover that spirit first. Then you get to Oersted, who already fully believes in Heroic Spirit, but in his case it's more pessimistic — everything that can go wrong does go wrong. That he ultimately ends up as Odio is a testament to how utterly broken he was by the end. But then reconstructed, when Oersted summons the other seven protagonists to prove his point... and said protagonists' Heroic Spirit save the day and Oersted gets reminded on how he couldn't win by not shaping his spirit well enough.
  • Historical In-Joke: If you decide to follow Ryoma Sakamoto after you finished the Ninja chapter, in the final credits he'll be seen thwarting an assassination attempt on Ryoma. Note that the IRL version of Ryoma Sakamoto died because of an assassination.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The three antagonists of the Mecha chapter get turned into liquified humans too when the pool of liquified humans they gathered end up engulfing them.
  • Hope Spot:
    • After Rachel nearly gets Cube thrown out of the airlock in her Kirk-obsessed frenzy, she seems to calm down...only to rush off again, and get Huey fatally mauled by the Behemoth, and then she dies minutes later.
    • After defeating Straybow for his treachery, Alicia appears and at first it's implied that she heard his Evil Gloating about his crimes, only to then profess her love for Straybow and commit suicide. Things go downhill quick.
  • Hot-Blooded: Fittingly, both Akira and Matsu. Masaru doesn't talk much, but he reveals his nature to fit this in a particularly epic moment at the end of his chapter.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Lucrece was a prosperous kingdom which had found its future king to be wed to the princess, who also happened to be the local hero Oersted assisted by his powerful sorcerer friend Straybow. However, the kingdom fell shortly after their princess was kidnapped and the two heroes banded together to save her, only for Straybow to attempt a case of Engineered Heroics to take the princess for himself and brand Oersted a pariah. This led to the creation of the Demon King Odio, the deaths of every single human in the kingdom, and leaving Lucrece in ruins while overrun with monsters following a Time Crash. Even after Odio's defeat and the curse being lifted, Lucrece is still empty and is presumably forgotten in the annals of history.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Most of Odio's various incarnations are centered around this. However, each timelines also has a counterpoint which tend to get overshadowed, and yet the heroes kept fighting for it (and just showed how flawed Odio's point was by ignoring these good humans and overfocusing on the bad ones).
    • Prehistory: A tribe is willing to sacrifice a captured human to appease their God, and Pogo is exiled from his own tribe for helping her. The counterpoint: The tribe was mostly controlled by survival instincts and fear of getting eaten, only the chieftain was very fervent in the sacrifice. Once the chieftain and O-D-O were defeated, both tribes quickly bury the hatchet and unite in peace, with Pogo being welcomed back.
    • Imperial China: A local gang causes trouble and steals from local villages, and when defeated by the Shifu, retaliate by destroying his Dojo and killing two of his pupils. The counterpoint: The surviving student, who used to be ostracized due to their flaws, eventually became accepted by the public that shunned them, becoming a local hero for saving them from the gang, to succeed the Shifu that has passed away.
    • Twilight of Edo Japan: Ode Iou planned to take advantage of humanity's inherent greed and distrust by selling dangerous weapons, ultimately hoping to spark a war. The counterpoint: A group of people believing in trust still existed, led by Sakamoto Ryoma. It was for this reason that Ode Iou had him imprisoned, and yet the Enma Ninja still believed in peace despite their contractual nature and sent Oboromaru for his job, and he has the option to trust people and not kill them, and even when he does, he still tries to remember those he killed.
    • Wild West: O. Dio is in fact a horse given human form by the vengeful spirits of the 7th Cavalry after fatal losses to the Native Americans defending their home. The counterpoint: There's someone else who suffered fatal, personal losses and at first looks like a Death Seeker, but ultimately still managed to keep his heroism and rallied a bunch of innocents to defend their town instead of ravaging others like the Crazy Bunch, and even his constant rival is willing to put aside their rivalry for the greater good.
    • Present Day: While Masaru becomes the strongest by defeating his opponents in fair combat, his first challenger arrives and explains how he mercilessly killed each one to prove his own strength. The counterpoint: None of the victims were outright evil, a lot of them are pretty affable. Even Great Asia, the Jerkass luchador, weren't malicious, the mauling of Watanabe's dad was because he was optionally provoked, and the result was not clear whether Watanabe's dad was dead or Great Asia just sent him to med bay.
    • Near Future: The human leaders of Japan plot to sacrifice their nation to Odeo while also influencing the local gang to do its bidding. The counterpoint: Matsu, an ex-gang leader who used to be wild and anti-law, managed to smell out the evil plot and oppose it, siding with the innocents and becoming Akira's mentor after he felt guilty killing his father, who, like other non-leaders of Japan, were Just Following Orders, albeit a little too apathetic.
    • Far Future: The constant infighting of the crew lead OD-10 to conclude that they were a threat to its mission of maintaining harmony on the ship. The counterpoint: Darth, who was at first the most aggressive member, survived and revealed a levelheaded side and his dark past. After the incident, he quit the military and became a healing robot creator, overcoming his dark past. And while Kirk and Rachel were mostly jerks, they were only doing their job in piloting the ship to transport dangerous beings, they could even be genuinely nice to Cube. And lastly as Kato stated, even if everyone are on their edges and bickering at each other, killing each other would be the last thing on their mind.
    • It is all brought full circle in the Middle Ages chapter: After being betrayed by his best friend, the royals, and the villagers, Oersted gives up his humanity to become the demon king, Odio, with the intent to destroy humanity in every time period for the final chapter, and even beforehand, after Hash's initial victory against the first Demon King, the people and the kingdom only cheered temporarily before forgetting his deeds and heroism, causing him to seclude himself as a hermit in disgust of the people. The counterpoint: That one kid still believed Oersted till the end, even after Oersted-as-Odio subjected him to a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: What Odio is trying to prove with all of his sadistic plots is this in a nutshell, deeming that they are untrustworthy, immoral beasts that are only capable of hating and killing, especially each other, and also that all of their idealistic hopes and dreams amount to zip and change nothing about their existence. The main connection between the playable chapters is that you're proving him wrong. His stance is understandable when you learn that Odio was once human himself, a man named Oersted who was every bit a Knight in Shining Armor who once believed in Heroic Spirit with all of his being — and had it all thrown back in his face in the worst ways possible. He is thusly baffled when you not only overcome his trials, but defeat him physically.
  • Humongous Mecha: "Go! Go! Buriki Daioh!"
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Seven of them in the final chapter, one for each hero, hidden in the optional dungeons.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • There's not one but two katanas in the Ninja chapter that are his 2nd best weapon (one is his best for the chapter, one you get after you beat it), although both of them are absurdly difficult and obscure examples of Guide Dang It!, and you can only take one into the final chapter. However, both are exactly the same stat-wise.
    • Pogo's 2nd best weapon is a cola bottle which can only be acquired by killing the King Mammoth, provided that you haven't run afoul of the Random Number God as it's a chance drop.
  • Interface Spoiler: In battle, enemies consist of still images that slide around when moving and attacking and usually take up multiple spaces. Zaki only takes up one space and has idle, moving, and attacking animations like the members of your party. Guess who joins you in the fight against the chapter boss? The same thing also happens with Mad Dog in the Cowboy chapter and Lei and Hong in the Imperial China chapter.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Oboro gets one of these in his chapter, which can be used by holding down Y. Intangibility Cloak might be a more accurate term, though; while it's active, Oboro can't move, but enemies on-screen can't see him and will move through him. Apparently he was also given two more as spares, which get used by the Prisoner and O-Robo.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Die in any of the chapters, and you get a nice little scene of someone or something reacting to your demise.
    • Caveman: If you die in the first part of the chapter, Pogo simply falls to the ground while Gori laughs at him. Dying after Beru is abducted shows a scene of her tribe beginning the ritual to sacrifice her to their god.
    • Kung Fu: The gravestones of The Shifu and his pupils are shown as text narration states that their martial art fell into the annals of history.
    • Ninja: Oboro's master mourns his death and states that times of peace are still far off for Japan. Should Oboro abandon the mission, he will be hunted down.
    • Cowboy: A lone tumbleweed blows through the now derelict Success Town.
    • Wrestler: The opponent that defeated you mocks you in an homage to Street Fighter II's continue screen.
    • Mecha: Kaori runs out of bed in a panic, seemingly sensing her brother's demise. After activating the Buriki Daioh, it becomes Matsu berating Akira in Heaven for failing.
    • Sci-Fi: A shot is shown of Cube's broken body as text narration states "In the end, Cube never made it to Earth."
    • Knight: The Demon King looks over Alicia as she begs Oersted to save her, all while that hellish noise plays.
    • Final: If you fail to defeat Pure Odio, the Armageddon ending plays as everything is wiped from existence forever.
  • Joke Character: Akira starts off with having the worst stats out of all the playable characters which significantly adds to the difficulty of completing his chapter.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • Can sort of happen in the Cowboy chapter; if you choose to spare Mad Dog, you'll fight him one last time after the credits roll. However, it's arguably harder to die than to win the fight, meaning you'd have to really be trying to invoke this trope.
    • A more plausible invocation of this trope is vs. any boss monster that self destructs as a final attack. If you took to the strategy of getting everyone close in order to pin the boss in, then watch as everyone dies.
    • Even after defeating OD-10, the airlock can still suck Cube out of the ship causing a game over. Like with the Mad Dog example above, this only happens if you intentionally cause it.
  • Karmic Jackpot: In the Ninja chapter, freeing and sparing a ninja named Goemon in the castle jail will have him delcare that he'll repay you some day. Checking certain treasure boxes that were already opened prior to this reveals that Goemon refilled them with a duplicate of their original contents along with a "Goemon was here!" message.
  • Kill All Humans: Odio's primary goal. Amlucretia reveals in an optional conversation that he succeeded with the entirety of Lucrece.
  • Kill 'Em All: The "Armageddon" Ending.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero Found Underwear:
    • The Mecha chapter. Belonging to three different people, no less. Bonus points for Akira not actually doing the act himself, even though he gets smacked for putting Watanabe up to it.
    • Sundown and Mad Dog can also swipe Annie's nightie in the Cowboy chapter.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Oersted, deconstructed to hell and back.
  • Large Ham: Zaki, somehow, despite not having a single line.
  • The Last Dance:
    • Hash accompanies Oersted, Straybow, and Uranus to the Forbidden Land even though he's secretly dying from the plague so he can end his life doing something important. He dies soon after killing the (false) Demon King.
    • In a way, the Earthen Heart Shifu's assault on Ou Di Wan Lee's school. Given his advanced age and the way he attempts to do it without his last remaining student, odds are good that the Shifu wasn't planning on coming back from dealing with Lee.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: In the original release, Oersted's existence (and his entire chapter) was a secret only unlocked after you beat the other seven. The trailers for the 2022 remake, on the other hand, just introduces him as another protagonist. Likewise, while the original box art was sliced into seven parts for the initial protagonists, the 2022 remake adds one for him to give him equal billing to everyone else. More subtly, the trailer also reveals the fact that you control the other seven protagonists during it after a certain point.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • Since Cube never battles any standard enemies in his chapter, one might think he'd be unfit for combat, but he's actually one of the best characters in the game as a Combat Medic.
    • Beru in the caveman chapter has really low stats and it's generally up to Pogo and Gori to keep her safe. Until she hits level 7 and learns "Laa Laa," which can One-Hit Kill the chapter boss.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: The Mecha chapter is entirely this, with Akira as the storyteller. Even has a bit of He Knows About Timed Hits as Akira introduces you to the gimmick of the chapter being his mind reader skill.
  • Lone Wolf Boss:
    • Of the chapter bosses, Straybow is the only one that isn't an incarnation of Odio.
    • Odie Oldbright is the only Odio incarnation with no apparent followers or minions.
    • The Superbosses of Pogo’s and Oboro’s chapters are unaffiliated with Odio, but still have “Megalomania” as their battle theme.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Beating Pluto in Captain Square depends entirely on how often the enemies use their strongest attack.
    • Learning Great Asia's moves. Dude is so fixated with his Bite attack that possesses so much range that he'd use that over and over and over instead of the learnable techs. Fortunately, Masaru learns any attacks he misses when he levels up in the Final chapter.
  • Magikarp Power: Beru, in the Caveman chapter. She is unspeakably underpowered compared to Pogo and Gori, especially against the enemy levels you're up against at the time. However, if you manage to carry her all the way to level 7 in the short time before she's kidnapped again, she learns "La La", a ranged singing attack that packs enough power to ruin O-D-O in 2 rounds.
  • Meaningful Name: The end-of-chapter bosses, with the exception of Straybow, are all variations on "Odio". And odio is Latin for "I hate".
  • Mook Chivalry: Enforced near the finale of the Kung Fu chapter. When the Earthen Heart Shifu and his surviving student reach Ou Di Wan Lee's inner circle of students, Ou Di Wan Lee mentions he could sic them all on the Shifu and student, but doing so would not be very fair. He instead allows the Shifu and student to fight his inner circle (who are all Elite Mooks culminating in a Mid-Boss fight against Yi Bei Kou) in more manageable groups of two and three. Of course, he gets called out on it by the Shifu's student because when he had the other students killed, he absolutely did not adhere to the trope, having his men gang up on them. In the end, it's actually a subversion: Ou Di Wan Lee has two hidden assassins that would kill his opposition unprepared or tire them further so they become easy pickings for him after they catered through his display of Mook Chivalry.
  • More Dakka: O. Dio's solution to a few things.
    O. Dio: It doesn't matter how many rats you rustle up... You won't be able to win against a Gatling Gun!!
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Odie Oldbright kills all the wrestlers that Masaru faces in his chapter. Masaru proves him wrong.
  • Multiple Endings: Four in total, and that's not even counting all the dozens of variations there are to the two better endings.
    • Worst Ending: Choose Oersted as the final protagonist, get severely injured during the final battles, and unleash Armageddon, or choose one of the other protagonists and lose the fight with Pure Odio. Oersted takes his misanthropy to its logical conclusion and annihilates all of reality.
    • Bad Ending: Choose Oersted as the final protagonist and defeat all of the other heroes. Oersted has proven his belief that Humans Are Bastards, but is doomed to wander the ruins of Lucrece alone for the rest of his days.
    • Neutral Ending: Choose anyone except Oersted as the final protagonist and execute him when prompted after his boss fight. Oersted has been defeated and reality is saved, but it is implied that the protagonists are trapped in Lucrece for the rest of their days.
    • Best Ending: Choose anyone except Oersted as the final protagonist and refuse to execute him. After a Boss Rush against all of his reincarnations, Oersted is brought back to his senses and dies as himself, and the heroes return to their homes to live out their lives.
  • The Musketeer: The Prisoner from Oboromaru's chapter's primary weapons are a flintlock pistol which he uses for two of his attacks, and his Yoshiyuki katana, which he uses for the third.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Straybow. His failed attempt at getting revenge on Oersted is what leads to the rebirth of Odio, the Demon King of Hatred. When you use Akira to read Straybow's mind, he realizes that he is at fault for what has happened to their world and regrets his actions for causing Oersted to turn evil.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The Demon King turns out to have once been an ordinary knight with no special magic. It's never explained just how he gained his alternate form and reality-warping powers.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • OD-10's manifestation in the virtual world. Even more so if you scan the central tile on its body.
    • The pre-final boss, Odio's "Face".
  • Ninja: Oboromaru is one, and his chapter takes place in the time of Feudal Japan.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Three in the Sci-Fi chapter, along with one in the Ninja chapter.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: A notable aversion. The Middle Ages chapter has you playing as the man who would eventually become Odio, the Man Behind the Man for every other chapter's final boss. And if you're feeling nihilistic, you can keep playing as him for the Final chapter.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the original Japanese, Hong is named Sammo for Sammo Hung. Max Morgan from Masaru's chapter also has an uncanny resemblance to Hulk Hogan, who loses his moustache in the remake.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In the Prehistory chapter, Pogo takes in Beru who's on the run from the Ku tribe, and after beating up the invading tribe and scaring Zaki off, Pogo's leader kicks him, Gori and Beru out to the wild out of fear that Beru's presence will cause the Ku tribe to invade again.
  • No, You: Pogo and Zaki do this in picture/emoticon format regarding who's going to lose.
  • Nubile Savage: Beru is incredibly attractive (even by modern standards) for an unintelligible, big-eating savage from prehistoric times.
  • Old Master: The Earthen Heart Shifu. Unusually for the trope, he is his chapter's protagonist, rather than a side character. At the end of his chapter, he dies, and it's his successor who goes on to participate in the Final chapter.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The game has a fair number of these, but Odio in particular.
  • Once per Episode: The Watanabes pop up once in each era (see Running Gag and Butt-Monkey).
  • One-Hit Kill:
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Ode Iou turns into a giant frog-like monster holding a cobra.
    • Oersted's Pure Odio form is actually angelic.
  • Pacifist Run: One of the possible ways to beat the Ninja chapter.
  • Painting the Medium: In the Definitive version of the fan translation, every level has its own font for displaying dialogue. For instance, the Cowboy chapter's text looks like a old-west sign, the Ninja chapter's text looks like Japanese calligraphy, and Oersted's text gradually becomes more and more distorted after his Start of Darkness. In the Final chapter, everyone speaks using their respective chapter's font.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The seven initial chapters can be replayed after completion and have their results changed, thus allowing the player to find secrets they might have missed in their first playthrough, but only until the eighth chapter is unlocked and cleared. Afterwards the chapter selection screen will become the Final chapter protagonist selection screen, making it impossible to replay any of the previous chapters without starting a new save file.
  • Plant Person: When Odio reveals his true form to you at the final battle, you can clearly see that he appears as a giant face made out of greens.
  • Player Nudge: In the Distant Future chapter, when Cube is trying to find a way to access and confront the Mother Computer OD-10, if the player hasn't found a way to do so yet, Darth will call and ask Cube if there's something functionally unnecessary on the ship, yet connected to OD-10 in some way. The answer is the Captain Square game in the break room.
  • Power Copying:
    • Masaru. Each time he gets hit by a wrestler's signature moves, he learns that move immediately; it's actually possible to have him defeat a wrestler using that wrestler's Signature Move. He states that this was a practice he pretty much invented recently, as no one else had the idea of doing so as well.
    • The Earthen Heart successors, sort of. Any of them (whichever one doesn't die) will learn all of the Shifu's attacks anyway, but you can influence which ones they learn first during the training sessions. Beat one up with only the Ryuuhawan, for example, and they'll learn the Ryuuhawan when they next level. Switch to beating them with Old Fox Dance after that, and they'll learn Old Fox Dance next, etc. Putting this kind of influencing, however, is vital for them to unlock all of their unique skills later, because otherwise, all they will learn by leveling up in the final chapter would be just the Shifu's skills.
  • Prehistoria: The Caveman chapter, making it chronologically the first chapter.
  • Present Day: The Wrestling chapter is the only chapter taking place in modern times, as the Mecha and Sci-Fi chapters take place in the future, and all the others take place in the past.
  • Press X to Die:
    • The airlock in the Sci-Fi chapter. You can open both doors of the airlock at the same time, which throws Cube out into the vacuum of space.
    • There's also Fight / Pass / Item / Armageddon. Guess which option gets you the worst ending?
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The Middle Ages chapter sees its protagonist Oersted lose everything he ever believed in, fall into misanthropic insanity, become the Demon King, and declare war on all of existence.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: The Present Day chapter.
  • Psychic Powers: Akira has them. Telepathy, Telekinesis, Pyrokinesis, Cryokinesis, Vitakinesis, and various illusion-casting and physical-power-amplifying powers besides. He's got 'em all.
  • Punny Name:
    • All of the Demon King's names in each chapter, except for the Middle Ages and Final chapters.
    • Cube's name is one in the original Japanese: Kato first says that since the robot is round, he'll name it Koro. "Koro" is both a very common name for dogs in Japan, but also means "to roll", which is why Kato associates it to the robot's shape. Then Kato decides that name would be too common, and goes for the opposite with the name "Cube".
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • The Near Future chapter has the Liquid Human W-1, which has ungodly stats and will dodge most of your attacks. The easiest way to defeat it is to attack it from behind where its liquefied human tank is, which will likely cause it to counterattack with a special move, which kills it instantly.
    • In the Far Future chapter, Earth from Captain Square counts, as you need to defeat a Fire Elemental and a bunch of Water Elementals. The Fire Elemental can kill you with one hit, but if pushed onto Water panels (which Water elementals make with their attacks), it will die from Water damage.
    • The second boss in the Demon's Peak from the Middle Ages chapter. Attacks that strike from the front will not deal enough damage to kill her (as her attacks sap your health and Strength), but Oersted has one attack that can strike from behind without moving, which can kill her easily.
  • Rage Quit: Odio. If he's on the verge of losing a boss battle, he'll reduce everything to nothingness.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Unlike the other characters, Akira delivers one to Oersted if he is the Final Chapter protagonist.
  • Reforged into a Minion: The fate of Watanabe's father in the Near Future chapter, who was liquefied and turned into the Liquid Human W-1, who Akira's party was forced to destroy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Earthen Heart Shifu launches one on the Yi Po Men School after its students attack his own school and kill two of the Shifu's students. He attempts to do it on his own, but will be joined at some point by his surviving pupil. They then proceed to kick nine kinds of ass through all of Yi Po Men's various students (thugs and assassins mostly) right up to the most senior circle of students and the chapter's Big Bad, Yi Po Men Master Ou Di Wang Lee.
  • Robot Buddy: Cube. Unusually for the trope, he is also the main character of his chapter, but he's still Kato and Darth's friend.
  • Robot Me: Oboro, with some guesswork, can find a blank robot and bestow it with his likeness and a few of his moves.
  • Robot War: Occurred in the backstory of the Sci Fi chapter. Darth, who has lost many friends to the battle robots, is particularly bitter over it. Once he and Cube take down OD-10, he relaxes his grudge, befriends Cube, and retires from the military to help make medical robots.
  • Role-Reversal Boss: In the Final chapter you can pick who you want your protagonist to be, including Oersted, who you've just seen be Driven to Villainy. Should you pick Oersted, or rather, Odio, the scenario will completely change. It's revealed that the bosses of the first seven chapters were all different incarnations of Odio, and you must perform a reverse Boss Rush, playing as each version of Odio and killing the heroes off.
  • Running Gag:
    • The whole Watanabe thing, where someone (mostly always a father) dies shortly after it's brought up or said. It happens once in every chapter. Some are more obscure, like the antenna in the Sci-Fi chapter, and a way to trigger an audience member getting mauled in the Wrestling chapter. Or one is completely missable, like Wan Tan from the Kung Fu chapter, which can only be seen if you picked Hong as the successor.
    • In the Secret Orders chapter, Oboromaru learns of the password system, which is also demonstrated when one of the samurai just blurts out "potato", outing him as an intruder. You can proceed to use "potato" when asked the password to start a fight almost every time.
  • Sapient Ship: Cube's chapter; also A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
  • Say My Name: Done repeatedly in the Cowboy chapter, particularly with Sundown Kid and Billy.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The title itself. As written in the artwork, it looks a vertical mirror is centered on the A, creating a perfect palindrome (LIVE A ヨVI」). The fact that "live" backwards spells "evil" is not a coincidence.
  • Secret Final Campaign: If you thought you were done after clearing the seven available characters, you'll be surprised to find that there is an eighth. Once you beat that character's story, you still aren't done. You have one more story to clear with any of the eight characters acting as protagonist. Just know that Oersted won't provide a happy ending if you have him serve as the protag.
  • Secretly Dying:
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The Middle Ages chapter's Watanabe scene is in the very first scene of the chapter, and it's the darkest of the eight main chapters.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Plenty of them, ranging from diverse sources (mostly movies rather than games) such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Gods Must Be Crazy, For a Few Dollars More, Street Fighter, AKIRA and Alien. A few references are made with the names too, such as the various crew members in the Sci-Fi chapter (Kirk and Darth being the most obvious, but Huey less so). Finally, the alien monster in the Sci-Fi chapter — a fierce, purple quadruped nicknamed "Behemoth" — is a cameo from Square's slightly more famous series.
    • Prehistory chapter:
    • Imperial China Chapter:
      • Hong's original Japanese name Sammo is most likely a reference to Hong Kong actor and martial artist Sammo Hung.
      • The whole chapter can also be a reference to Journey to the West: The Shifu is no doubt a stand-in for Tang Sanzang/Tripitaka, the master accompanied with three disciples, but he's a lot more badass; Sun Wukong/Monkey is represented by Lei, who's the most eager to fight and short-tempered, and previously living in a forest like an animal, her surname is basically the Japanese translation of Wukong reversed (She, however, does not count as a Monkey King Lite); Zhu Bajie/Pigsy is represented by Hong who's fat and a Big Eater; and finally, Yun represents Sha Wujing/Sandy, if only because he's the most unassuming. The trailer for the Inheritance chapter for the 2022 remake also goes along with this, by introducing the students in the same order of the disciples that joined Sanzang (Lei/Wukong -> Hong/Bajie -> Yun/Wujing).
    • Wild West chapter:
    • Present Day chapter:
      • Max Morgan = Hulk Hogan. His signature Max Bomber is also a reference to the Axe Bomber Hogan used as a finisher in Japan.
      • Odie Oldbright is a likely reference to wrestler Gary Albright. Design-wise, he resembles a bald Geese Howard wearing Akuma's prayer beads.
      • Jackie Iaukea is a reference to Hawaiian pro wrestler King Curtis Iaukea.
      • The six rivals in the Present chapter are arrayed on a blue background, in the same style as Mega Man (Classic) or Street Fighter.
    • Near Future chapter:
      • Decking yourself out in Rider accessories. Besides its namesake, it's just full of lovingly corny, Japanese retro sci-fi in general. The opening, with a black screen before two eyes appear is straight out of the original manga for Mazinger Z and Shin Mazinger.
      • Buriki Daioh's design is highly reminiscent of Giant Robo.
      • If you play the organ in Akira's chapter, he might play the Chocobo Theme.
      • Akira's unique chime consists of four quick metal sounds that are followed up by two quick metal sounds, which is very similar to the opening of The Terminator
      • A psychic child named Akira. This one should be obvious.
  • Shown Their Work: O. Dio is described as the only survivor of the Seventh Cavalry, Custer's unit. The sheriff of Success notes with confusion that he'd heard there were no survivors. In real life, the only survivor of the real-life Seventh Cavalry was, in fact, one of the horses.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The Final chapter protagonist provides one after the final battle towards Odio, about why they always win and why he keeps losing.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Almost all of the chapters start on the cynicism side before sliding towards idealism as the story progresses. The Middle Ages chapter, on the other hand, starts wildly idealistic before taking a hard fall down the slippery slope into cynicism.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: A little boy still believes that Odio is still a good person. So long as just one person believes, then Oersted can't fully turn evil.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Lei is the only female protagonist. She's only one of two playable female characters in the entire game. On top of that, she's optional; depending on the player's choices in the Kung Fu chapter, Hong or Yun could take her place.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Characters who leave your party, be it permanently or not, will never return their equipment to your inventory unless you manually unequip them first.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Used in an interesting way in one of the endings. Consumed by hatred, Oersted lashes out at humanity. In the Final chapter, you can play as him, controlling each of the chapters' bosses and gleefully crushing the protagonists. If Oersted wins, after indulging in empty spite, there is nothing left for him to do but aimlessly wander his world alone.
  • The Speechless:
    • Of the protagonists, Pogo (the earliest, chronologically) and Cube (the latest, chronologically) can't speak English, though Pogo does later learn a single word.
    • O-D-O doesn't say anything other than roars, being essentially a feral beast. Odeo also doesn't speak for some reason.
  • Spiritual Successor: Chrono Trigger, another game directed by Takashi Tokita, shares many similarities with Live A Live.
  • Start of Darkness: The Middle Ages chapter for Oersted.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: In the Imperial China chapter, whichever student you trained the most is the Sole Survivor of the attack on the dojo. They become the Earthen Heart successor, and represent the Imperial China era in the Final chapter.
  • Status Effects: Poison, Paralysis, Blindness, Confused, Petrified, Slow, Faint, Death (In which the character disappears from battle and cannot be revived). Along with these, there is also Drunk (can only use your weakest attack), Broken Arms (cannot use arm-based attacks), and Broken Legs (cannot move or use leg-based attacks).
  • The Stinger: Particularly in the Caveman chapter. It ends with Pogo speaking the first words mankind ever spoke. Namely, Love. And then Gori snickers. Most chapters have a stinger of their own, but it's mostly just a 'fin' screen.
  • Stone Wall: Masaru (but only in the Final chapter.). When he can level up, he does so quickly, and his HP and defenses shoot through the roof. It's rare to see him ever die once leveled, even without the best armor.
  • Street Urchin: Yun, who was forced to steal from others by Tiger King, including his own grandmother. Once Shifu beats up his tormentor, he takes Yun in as a student.
  • Stripperiffic: Beru, wearing only a Seashell bra. Zaki's even worse, with a lizard biting into his crotch he even throws at people for an attack.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option:
    • After being banished into exile, Pogo wanders the barren wilderness and comes across a cave to take shelter in for the night. Unfortunately, it's the same cave that Zaki and his Kuu tribe henchmen were using to think of another plan.
    • Oersted suddenly wakes up in a cold sweat. And with Straybow standing next to him? He then walks out to find a demon in the throne room... doing absolutely nothing. You can't even tell the guards right outside about this, who just question why you're up this late.
  • Super Robot: Buriki Daioh, in the Mecha chapter.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Brion, in the Middle Ages and Final chapters. It is required to enter the Forbidden Land.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: During the Cowboy chapter, Sunset and his rival Mad Dog step out for a five-pace duel early on. They turn, take five steps, turn again... and both shoot hidden members of the Crazy Bunch gang. They then put their rivalry on hold for the much more pressing issue of an impending gang attack.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: The Cogito Ergosum, run by OD-10, the computer system of the Sci-Fi chapter. When it sees the crew being dysfunctional, it chooses to kill them all because they made its purpose of keeping Harmony impossible.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Pretty much once per chapter, but best embodied by Buriki Daioh.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Oersted chooses to become the demon people have labeled him to be.
  • Through His Stomach: Pogo wins Beru's affection and smooches by bringing her Meaty Bones.
  • Time Crash: Starting the Final Chapter has your chosen protagonist suddenly pulled out of their ending and thrown into a black void. Running up causes ghostly images of all 8 eras to appear and the monsters running around the ruins of Lucrece range from wooly mammoths that Pogo fought a couple millenia ago to the robots and flying warship from Akira's time.
  • Timed Mission: The bulk of the Cowboy chapter is finding and setting traps to take out as many mooks as possible before they arrive at the saloon, thus reducing the enemies fighting with O. Dio. After eight bells, the boss fight will start. The Dungeon of Time in the Final chapter also runs on eight bells, with your goal being to get the weapon at the end and leave before the eighth bell. Should you fail, you'll be attacked by four strong, unique enemies, though beating them awards one of the best equipment items and eliminates the timer.
  • Title Theme Drop: The game's title theme reappears in the Final chapter as the random battle theme.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • One of Gori's attacks is him throwing his poo at the opponent. Just like a real ape!
    • The Mecha chapter is full of this, for some reason.
  • Tomato Surprise: O. Dio is the last survivor of the regiment that was wiped out, yes. What you don't know is that the last survivor was a horse, who was possessed by the spirits of all those who were slain.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: They never meet per se, but amongst the playable females, Lei (tomboy) and Beru (girly).
  • Took a Level in Badass: At least half of the playable characters become badasses over the course of their chapters. The rest were badass to begin with.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Promotional materials for the Switch remake prominently show the secret Middle Ages chapter and its protagonist, plus scenes from the final chapter which reveal the heroes are eventually going to team up. One prominent scene for Oersted in the trailers is him confronting Straybow at the end of his chapter, although his identity is partially obscured in shadow, his voiced line in this scene indicates he was a friend of Oersted.
    • The chapter-specific trailers all spoil the boss of their specific chapter, many of which are normally a surprise. In particular the prehistoric trailer spoils the fact that its boss is a surviving dinosaur.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Late one night, Oersted sees Straybow (who's supposed to be dead) walking out the door, and Oersted follows him to find the Demon King standing in the throne room. Oersted goes up and kills the Demon King who goes down easily. However, it turns out that it was just an illusion, and Oersted actually struck down his own king. Had Oersted just stopped and asked why the Demon King was in the good king's throne room or was able to tell the guards outside about this, this tragedy might have been averted.
  • The Trope Kid: The Sundown Kid.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Akira appears this way. His good looks and abilities couple with his tragic past.
  • Turn Coat: Straybow, with a Face–Heel Turn. Also fulfills the Forgotten Friend, New Foe trope.
  • Underground Monkey: Most show up in a majority of the chapters. The Final Chapter's enemies are nothing but this aside from some unique minibosses, with them all spanning from the 7 time periods.
  • The Unfought:
    • The chieftain of the Ku Tribe in Pogo's chapter, who runs off and is Eaten Alive by the chapter's final boss.
    • The three followers of Odeo in the Mecha chapter are never fought directly, although they do summon the chapter's Odeo to possess the Great Inko Statue.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Several:
    • Masaru, before fighting Odie Oldbright to avenge the combatants Oldbright killed after Masaru merely defeated them in fair combat.
    • O. Dio, before fighting Sundown and Mad Dog. It turns out that Dio was a horse possessed by the accumulated rage and hatred of a cavalry that had been wiped out.
    • Akira and Matsu both have moments in the Mecha chapter.
    • Oersted, during the scene at the end of the final chapter that leads into the Boss Rush.
  • Unwinnable:
    • Having Oboro kill everyone in the Ninja chapter simply makes it impossible to lose to his chapter boss, which, in turn, makes it impossible to complete the Final chapter as any other character, including Odio, as Oboro will be too strong to defeat in battle.
    • When things start to go horribly wrong in the Distant Future chapter and the power goes out, forcing Darth to open the air vents for Cube, there’s a corridor south of the Mother Computer which springs a water leak that will kill Cube if he touches it. The problem is, the only way out of the side he’s on is through the elevator, which is turned off because of said power outage. If you saved after the water leaks, you’d have to start the chapter all over again.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Straybow wanted to be a local Card-Carrying Villain so he could take revenge on his rival Oersted. This causes said target to lose his mind, obtain unimaginable power through a string of coincidences, and become a time conqueror. When you meet his ghost later on, he's stuck in shock at the realization that his actions indirectly caused untold death and misery across at least nine different "worlds".
  • Ur-Example: Is probably the earliest example of a fully fleshed-out Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in video games. Odio was a villain ahead of his time, even by the standards of pre-merge Squaresoft as most villains at the time of this game's release were either Generic Doomsday Villains, Adaptational Villainy, Card Carrying Villains, Giant Space Fleas From Nowhere or all of the above, mostly due to the storytelling limitations at the time. Similarly, it's also one of the first, if not the very first instance of a video game hiding its lore over a seemingly surface-level story, only unraveling its secrets when we learn about Odio's origins. Chrono Trigger did this as well, but was released a year after Live A Live's initial commercial failure, and ironically enough, had a literal Giant Space Flea from Nowhere as its main antagonist.
  • Variable Mix: In the Cowboy chapter, the music in the saloon, Sancho de los Panchos, is played by the in-universe musicians. Since they're citizens of the town, you can send them out to set traps and prepare for the attack, just like everyone else; if you do, their instrument is removed from the BGM until they come back.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Odio. When he changes history by killing off the seven protagonists so that he is the winner, he is somewhat pleased with his victory... but becomes depressed. Why? Because he is completely alone with no friends or enemies to interact with and will never know the satisfaction of the pain and despair of those he had destroyed. What's worse is that he had no one else to witness his accomplishment which completely defeats the efforts he made in proving his point.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: If you decide to kill everyone in the Castle or at least just a certain man, Watanabe's dad avoids getting killed in the chapter because the man who is going to kill him is dead by the time the chapter's Watanabe Scene plays.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: One way to get Oboro's Infinity +1 Sword in his chapter is to kill everyone in the castle, which makes you just strong enough to fight a Bonus Boss for it. This includes innocent servant girls and lady nobles.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you off even just one female (even the kunoichi or the ugly stalker hag. The ghosts are fair game, however) in the Ninja chapter before a specific point, then you won't be able to get one of the best accessories in the game.
  • Vignette Episode: The entire game consists of seven chapters (9 when you unlock the Middle Ages chapter and, in turn, the Final chapter), and they all revolve around a specific time period and these chapters aren't connected to each other, aside from one recurring joke and a misanthropic and genocidal demon.
  • Villain Protagonist: Oersted, if he is selected for the final chapter.
  • Villain Team-Up: At the end of the Cowboy chapter, if the Sundown Kid doesn't kill Mad Dog, after he leaves Success Town, he encounters his rival again in the desert, who's now riding O. Dio, reverted back into his true form of a horse. It's almost immediately subverted when the Sundown Kid shoots Dio's reins, causing him to buck Mad Dog off and run off into the desert, forcing Mad Dog to chase after him.
  • Visions of Another Self: Odio's seven reincarnations.
  • Waiting Puzzle: If Oboromaru hadn’t killed any (living) women after making it to the top floor, one resident rewards him with a paltry item for his kindness. If you stand still and wait for a few moments after this, she returns and apologises for giving you the wrong thing, instead giving you the much better Medicine Box.
  • Wham Episode: The Middle Ages chapter. It's far darker than any of the other seven episodes up to this point, and reveals the details of the origins of the Big Bad Odio.
  • Wham Line:
    • After starting your second chapter, you may notice something’s very fishy when the local antagonist is named something similar to "Odio" and that the same creepy organ theme plays in their presence, which after your third chapter when this happens again, suggests that these events aren’t completely unrelated after all…
    • A minor one but Pogo finally says his first word, and thus the first word uttered by humanity, at the end of his chapter, "Love".
    • A minor one appears at the end of Oboromaru's chapter if you're well-versed in Japanese history, revealing that the prisoner you were sent to rescue is Sakamoto Ryoma.
    • If you check the files at the Robotics Facility in Akira's chapter, you'll find a file detailing the Crusaders gang you've been fighting, which also reveals its founder as Matsu Kenichi.
    • You probably guessed it long before, but after a certain point in the Sci-Fi chapter, inspecting any database terminal, computer, or anything electronic displays the message "Resistance is futile. I have taken control of the ship."
    • Oersted (a silent protagonist) speaking at all is the start of this.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The room before the Demon King. A player could easily freeze in their tracks when they see seven statues resembling each of the seven bosses prior to the Middle Ages chapter. This counts in-universe, too; every protagonist reacts with shock when they interact with their respective statue in the Final chapter.
    • After Straybow's death, Alicia appears, then after mourning Straybow's death, pulls out a knife.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: As he's dying, Hash tells Oersted that the creature they just killed couldn't have been the real Demon King. Oersted's second visit to Demon's Peak ends with him becoming Odio. So what happened to the previous Demon King - was he even present in the first place? For that matter, if the demon they defeated wasn't the real demon king, then who was he?
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: Whereas the rest of the characters in the game get a pretty good variety of attacks, Sundown and Mad Dog's attacks can pretty much be summarized as "shooting people," "shooting multiple people," and "shooting multiple people many times."
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: After the battle with Odio, everyone returned to their timelines, and...
    • Pogo has his first baby with Beru. However, Gori surprises him that he's having many baby gorillas with the female gorillas they rescued before.
    • The Earthen Heart successor (Yun/Lei/Hong) is training a new generation of Earthen Heart students.
    • Oboromaru either continues to be a ninja in service of the Enma clan, or becomes Ryoma Sakamoto's bodyguard, foiling an assassination attempt that's implied to be the same one that killed him in real-life.
    • The Sundown Kid returns to wandering in the wilderness. Depending on his actions, he may or may not have to deal with Mad Dog again.
    • Masaru closes his current training room, picks up his bag, and resumes his journey in his quest to be the strongest.
    • Akira lives his life normally with the orphanage kids and occasionally visits/assists Toei, who is now currently trying to use the teleporting device on Taro... before it breaks down again.
    • Cube returns to the now-repaired Cogito Ergosum after presumably having fun on Earth, reuniting with Kato and Darth. Kato gives him a warm hug.
    • The Sci-Fi Chapter has this at the end. Cube and the surviving crew make it to earth. Captain Hol, Kirk, Huey and Rachel's bodies are all given proper burials, and Kato is currently in medical treatment. Corporal Darth has retired from the military and now works for the creation of medical robots.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking?: Comes up in the Middle Ages chapter when the "Demon King" appears in Castle Lucrece's throne room, but it's a But Thou Must! battle even if you notice something's wrong.
  • The Wild West: The Cowboy chapter, taking place during the time of the good ol' cowboys.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Odio Mole, who seems to be Oersted after getting a pair of vulture wings and becoming completely bald and naked.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending of Captain Square in the Distant Future chapter, which just has Captain Square flying through space and taking off his sunglasses.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: In the Wild West chapter, the town of Success promises Sundown the town's money after the Crazy Bunch are defeated. However when he's about to head off, it's revealed that the town's actually broke. He's not bothered by this, since the experience enabled him to live again.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Sundown Kid and Mad Dog seem to regard each other as this. Especially if Sundown doesn't kill Mad Dog at the end of his chapter.
  • You ALL Share My Story: The Final chapter, where it's revealed all player characters were up against a reincarnation of Oersted.

Top