The story behind this game revolves around a tournament that takes place every millennium, one consisting of many great and powerful mages from different worlds, in order to maintain the cosmic balance of magic amongst the multiverse. The many participants are summoned from the world they originated in against their will and sent into a different dimension where the tournament is being held. A mysterious voice tells each one of them that they will need to win the tournament if they wish to return to their home, and that should they win, they will be granted one wish. If you want a more in-depth (and spoiler-heavy) details of the game's story, we have a page for that.
Aside from its Story Mode, the game also features a Versus Mode to battle against four players and/or the computer locally, and a Practice Mode to refine your skills. The Lyrical Pack and later versions of Magical Battle Arena also includes a Survival Mode and Mission Mode that can be unlocked upon completing the Story Mode on Normal without using continues. The game later received online gameplay through the Network Mode added in Magical Battle Arena: Complete Form. The following are the characters included in the game, grouped by the game they appear in and how to unlock them:
Magical Battle Arena:
- Nanoha Takamachi (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, initially available)
- Fate Testarossa (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, initially available)
- Sakura Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura, initially available)
- Kirara Hoshizora (Magical Girl Kirara & Sarara ~Dioskroi Of Starlit Sky~, a related eroge by the circle; initially available)
- Sarara Hoshizora (Magical Girl Kirara & Sarara ~Dioskroi Of Starlit Sky~, initially available)
- Ruru Gerard (Original Generation, complete the Story Mode using anyone to unlock)
- Nowel Diastasis (Original Generation, complete the Story Mode using Ruru to unlock)
- Gadget Drone Type-I (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, complete the Story Mode using Nowel to unlock)
Added in v1.01 - v1.05+:
- Hayate Yagami (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, complete Mission 10 to unlock)
- Vita (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, complete Mission 20 to unlock)
- Nanoha Takamachi StS (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, complete Mission 30 to unlock)
Added in v1.53+ - v1.54+:
- Lord of Nightmares Lina (Slayers)
- Old Man North North (Mahoujin Guru Guru)
Magical Battle Arena: Complete Form:
- Nanoha Takamachi StS (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, initially available)
- Fate T. Harlaown (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, initially available)
Added in v1.53:
- Lord of Nightmares Lina (Slayers, unlocked through Mission Mode)
- Old Man North North (Mahoujin Guru Guru, unlocked through Mission Mode)
Added in v1.70+:
- Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, and Fuu Hououji (Magic Knight Rayearth; collectively known as the "Magic Knights", only one of the girls can be active at a given time but they switch places with each other)
The original game was first released on August 17th, 2008 during Comiket 74, with it's Lyrical Pack expansion being released on December 30th of the same year. Two years later, the game received an Updated Re-release with Magical Battle Arena: Complete Form, adding the features of the original game and its expansion pack, new changes to the game's engine, and additional characters. The game's website can be found here and patches for each respective version of the game can be found here. Demonstration videos can also be found here. A basic guide for the game courtesy of Neoseeker can be found here. Translations for the Options Menu, and Lyrical Pack-related content are also available.
Magical Battle Arena later received a Rule ⑨ Spiritual Successor with Touhou Sky Arena which was recently released on Play Station 4 and Play Station Vita, with a Nintendo Switch version released later. A sequel, Magical Battle Arena NEXT, has also been been released in two versions - one side of the cast consists of the Sky Arena versions of Touhou Project characters, while the other side has magical girls including Nanoha (based on her movie incarnation), Illyasviel von Einzbern (in her Prisma Illya incarnation) and even Punie Tanaka.
Additionally, Area Zero released a game called Magical Battle Festa on PC/Steam, which is essentially Magical Battle Arena but with original characters instead of copyrighted ones.
This game provides examples of:
- Anti-Villain: Nowel and Ruru, as the plot above shows.
- Attack Drone: Sarara. StrikerS Nanoha also uses Blaster Bits.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Every character's Desperation Attack. All their Limit Breaks can hit a large area and multiple opponents, but the Desperation Attack is a one-on-one attack that if dodged leaves you wide open and vulnerable. Although, if it hits, you are almost guaranteed to win.
- Special mention should go to Lina's Dragon Slave. Immensely powerful, takes an absurdly long time to cast, leaving her open to attacks.
- Badass Back: Lina's Desperation Attack.
- Barrier Maiden: The fate of the Telos.
- Berserk Button: Vita's Desperation Attack involves her opponent accidentally shooting off her hat, which serves as a Call-Back to A's when Nanoha accidentally did the same thing.
- Cast from Hit Points: StrikerS Nanoha's Blaster System, naturally.
- Literally with Lord of Nightmares Lina. Every time Lord of Nightmares attacks or flies, she loses HP. This is a reference to the original Slayers light novel, where every time the Lord of Nightmares attacks Phibrizo, its hold on Lina Inverse decreases, and eventually its possession of Lina's body ends.
- Cast from Stamina: The Sprint Meter doubles as a Mana Meter for your normal ranged attack. When Fate switches to her Sonic Form, not only does her speed increase, but her Sprint Meter's rate of consumption while dashing drastically decreases as well.
- Charged Attack: Divine Buster, Axel Shoot, and some other attacks can either be fired instantly or charged for more damage. The characters with this ability can't move while charging, though. Other characters are restricted to fully charging before releasing them, but can move while doing so.
- Combat Tentacles: Gadget Drone Type-1, though it crosses the line into creepy sexual tentacles with its highly suggestive-looking melee special.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted in the stages with a lot of Gadget Drones, but applies during the five-clone Mirror Match.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In addition to the above plot, Sakura and Kukuri ally with one other after they fight.
- Ditto Fighter: Sakura, thanks to The Mirror which allows her to morph into other characters à la Shang Tsung.
- Dual Wielding: Fate from StrikerS does this.
- Excuse Plot: The plot is mainly a justification on how and why various Magical Girls from different worlds are beating each other up.
- Expansion Pack: The Lyrical Pack, which adds in Hayate, Vita and Nanoha as she appeared in StrikerS as well as survival and mission modes.
- Final Boss, New Dimension: Subverted when it's usually Ruru who is fought in the other dimension in Story Mode.
- The Sixth Ranger — Ruru, though only in her story and Nowel's.
- Glass Cannon: Hayate's got some of the best special offense in the game, capable of tearing out huge chunks of life from an enemy. The only problem is, she has to stand perfectly still and has to charge her moves before firing them.
- StrikerS Nanoha can become this, when she has her Blaster mode on she hits harder than nearly anyone, the only problem is...
- Golden Super Mode: The Lord of Nightmares possessing Lina gives her a golden shine. And is more than capable of obliterating anyone in her way.
- Golem: Naga the White Serpent's Limit Break.
- Gravity Sucks: Kukuri's Mini Planet.
- Harder Than Hard: The aptly named Nightmare Mode.
- Harmless Freezing: Lina and Naga's Freeze Arrow spell.
- Hold the Line: Some missions require you to survive until the countdown ends.
- Humongous Mecha: The Desperation Attack of the Magic Knight Rayearth girls.
- I Believe I Can Fly: Flight is a requirement for any character to be included, due to the gameplay.
- An Ice Person: Naga's Dynast Breath and Hayate's Atem des Eis.
- Improbably Female Cast: The only non-female character in the game is the Gadget Drone. And maybe we can throw in Old Man North North too if we're feeling generous...
- Jiggle Physics: Naga, although it was inevitable given that she's Slayer's bustiest character.
- Joke Character: Gadget Drone Type-I. With only two special attacks, no supers and low HP, it truly is the most fearsome of opponents.
- Lethal Joke Character: Kukuri. No, seriously.
- Limit Break: The Desperation Attacks.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Naga's Desperation Attack. If you know Naga, you should have a pretty good idea what this is.
- Making a Splash: Umi's Aoi Tatsumaki.
- Mana Burn: Kukuri's Long Voiced Cat, which depletes a character's Charge Meter.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Justified that this is a fan-made game.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Gadget Drones. How Nowel got her hands on them is anyone's guess...
- Mêlée à Trois: One mission introduced in the Lyrical Pack takes this trope and multiplies it by 10 (plus 1) with a Gadget Drone Mêlée à Trente-et-Un. Naturally, the goal here is to be the last one standing.
- Mirror Match: In Stage 5, you fight five clones of yourself.
- My Future Self and Me: As of Complete Form, this game has both Nanoha and Fate and their future selves from Strikers as playable characters.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Naga, of course, and it's one of her Limit Breaks.
- Original Generation: Ruru Gerard and Nowel Diastasis.
- Played with in regards to the Hoshizora sisters; while both do come from another work, said work was also made by the same developers.
- Pair the Spares: A non-romantic example; since both Sakura and Kukuri are the sole representatives of their respective franchisesnote , both team up with each other in the story.
- Palette Swap: The Clones, and your opponents in Survival Mode.
- Panty Fighter: Magical Girls in skirts fighting in mid-air. Panty shots are inevitable.
- Phantom-Zone Picture: Sakura's Desperation Attack has her seal her opponent up in one of her Sakura Cards before violently ejecting them from it.
- Pillar of Light: Nowel's Desperation Attack.
- Playing with Fire: Lina's Fire Ball and Gaav Flare, Sakura's Firey, and Hikaru's Honou no Ya.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Power-wise, Sakura from Cardcaptor could match the other magical girls in terms of power, but it's a little harder to imagine her being as durable as Nanoha or Lina, considering how she kinda has the durability of an ordinary elementary school student.
- Power Fist: Kirara.
- Purposely Overpowered: Appropriately, The Lord of Nightmares.
- Really 700 Years Old: Nowel and Ruru.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kirara and Sarara respectively.
- There's also the bosses Ruru and Nowel, with the former being loud, energetic and specializing in close range combat and the latter being calm, collected and skilled at picking off her opponents from afar.
- Roboteching: Axel Shoot and Plasma Lancer, amongst others.
- Shifting Sand Land: The Desert Planet from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's appears as a stage here.
- Shock and Awe: Hikaru's Akai Inazuma. Also Fate (both versions)."BemBem! Mou ii yo, mou ii! Mou ii yo~!"
- Scenery Porn: The Cephiro stage added in v1.70+ is WAY too well done.
- Screw Destiny: Tour character's answer to Nowel's belief that You Can't Fight Fate.
- Sinister Scythe: Fate from the original series as well as her Strikers incarnation.
- Spam Attack: Nowel's Desperation Attack as well as Sakura and Kirara's melee special moves. The former uses The Fight, if you're wondering.
- Sphere of Destruction: A lot of attacks, but especially Dragon Slave.
- Spotlight-Stealing Crossover: Out of the sixteen-man rosternote , nearly half of them (seven) come from Lyrical Nanoha, Gadget Drone included. The other represented series only get one or two characters by comparison.
- Stance System: Fate's block special allows her to switch between her Lightning (her default, mid-range fighting style) and Sonic (her close-range Fragile Speedster fighting style) forms. This also applies to her Strikers incarnation.
- Stripperiffic: Who else could be more stripperiffic than Naga?
- There's also Strikers Fate in her Sonic form, though not to the same extent as Naga.
- The One Guy: Old Man North North's pretty much the only male character among the roster.
- This Is a Drill: Ruru, from her drill pig-tails, to launching a barrage of drill-missiles, she is the embodiment of this trope.
- Theme Twin Naming: Kirara and Sarara.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Hayate's Desperation Attack summons Nanoha and Fate and they use their Starlight Breaker, Plasma Zamber Breaker and Ragnarök Breaker attacks at the same time at the enemy... In the second season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, this attack combo was used to stun the Book Of Darkness, a being so powerful that entire armies couldn't defeat it.
- Throw the Book at Them: Hayate does this with her Tome of the Night Sky.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Pretty much the reason this was made.
- Wave-Motion Gun: Come on. We've got StrikerS Nanoha here, of all people! Her "normal" Super Move is the Blaster-3 Starlight Breaker (alias five simultaneous Starlight Breakers aimed at a single target from multiple directions) with which she... er... officially adopted Vivio. It does even more damage than her Desperation Attack, and even if you manage to escape the beams the shockwave is so huge that in the smaller maps there is no way to avoid it, and in the bigger ones it will require a full bar of stamina to escape in time. In three word: Wave Motion Spam.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In Fate's story, when she faces clones of herself she gets rather sorrowful over whether they have a right to be their own selves or not. Considering that Fate herself is a clone too, who can blame her?