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Video Game / Romancing SaGa 3

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The children of destiny: the Matriarch (left) and the Archfiend (right).

The Rise of Morastrum — an event where the dark star blocks out the sun — threatens the very existence of our world. All born in that year are doomed to perish before its end.
However, during the first Rise of Morastrum 600 years ago, a sole child did survive. He came to be known as the Archfiend, leading the world to ruins.
Another 300 years passed, and again a child defied fate. She came to be known as the Matriarch, defeating the evil and bringing peace back to the world.
Now, 300 years later, the Rise of Morastrum strikes again, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Will there be another child of destiny? Will the child be righteous, evil, or another force that the world cannot fathom?
Romancing SaGa 3 is the sixth game in the SaGa series, released only in Japan in 1995 for the Super Famicom by Squaresoft due to concerns that the game's highly non-linear play style would not go over so well in North America. However, an Updated Re-release with new content came out internationally on November 11, 2019 for PC, consoles, and mobile platforms, following 2017's international release of Romancing SaGa 2.

The player can choose from eight different characters for their main character, with most of the others available as recruitable characters at various points in the game. These include:

  • Julian Nohl: A settler from the small village of Sinon. A free-spirited, upstanding young man, he becomes Monika's guardian if you accept Mikhail's offer.
  • Thomas Bent: A fellow settler of Sinon, skilled in many fields, from cooking to fighting.
  • Mikhail Ausbach von Loanne: The Marquis of Loanne, he has been in control of Loanne ever since the previous Marquis died.
  • Khalid "El Nool" Tornado: A traveler and highly skilled warrior that left the Naj Kingdom. Ever since then, he has worked as a mercenary.
  • Monika Ausbach: Mikhail's sister, she escapes the castle after overhearing the plot by Baron Godwin and Loanne's minister so that she may warn her brother of the plot.
  • Ellen Carson: The elder sister of the Carson family. Very shrewd at times, but is only is concerned for what is best for those around her.
  • Sarah Carson: The younger sister of the Carson family. A bit gullible and very kindhearted, she admires Thomas Bent quite a bit.
  • Katarina Lauran: The Guardian of Princess Monika and the Masquerade; a remnant of the Matriarch that is in possession by the Loanne family. Has the distinction of being the only one of the lead characters that is unrecruitable outside of her scenario.

Romancing SaGa 3 provides examples of:

  • And the Adventure Continues: The party that is used to defeat the Oblivion ends the game sailing off to new areas to explore, alongside Sara and the Young Boy.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Tatyana, according to her brothers and sisters, most of which are decades older.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Playing all the way through the main storyline of Katarina's scenario opens the option to, in a New Game Plus, change her back into her original outfit and hairstyle from the beginning of the game.
  • Another Dimension: The Abyss.
  • Apocalypse How: Ranges from Class X-3 to X-4, if you lose against The Oblivion in the final battle. It will still happen even if you win, but instead, everything is reset.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Archfiend Armor.
  • Attract Mode: The SNES version has one that shows some of the gameplay and Commander Mode skills.
  • Base on Wheels: Vanguard, except that instead of wheels, it's sea-faring and submersible, and thus required in order to locate Forneus' underwater lair.
  • Battle Theme Music: Like nobody's business. Standard, Boss Theme, Sinistral, Sinistral rematch, and final boss varieties, of course, but of particular note when searching for the Professor's missing creations and the N. Zweiger Battle.
  • Betting Mini-Game: Sort of. The minigame in question is Thomas's Business Game, which has elements of gambling to it but is actually very strategy-based.
  • Betty and Veronica: Julian's love interests play with this, as he initially flirts with Ellen (who has the background of a Betty, but the personality of a Veronica), but can pledge his loyalty to Monika (who has the background of a Veronica, but the personality of a Betty).
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Four Sinistrals.
  • Big First Choice: For Monika, whether she follows her heart or her brother's wishes determines whether or not she and Julian can remain in the same party, which is a major factor in the ending. For Ellen and Sarah, the big choice is whether to follow Thomas to Pidona or Khalid to Zweig, which will affect recruitment and quest options until you can reach the other location. Julian can potentially deal with either of these decisions, after an earlier one to become Monika's bodyguard or to part ways.
  • Black Magician Girl: Undine is a master of Genbu (water) Arts, and Bai Meiniang is a master of Soryu (wind) Arts. Though theoretically, any given female in the game could fall under this trope if the player should decide to make them focus on magic; Monika in particular is a blank slate with potentially high growth in Lunar Arts.
  • Bloody Murder: The murders at Vanguard.
    • Averted in the 2019 enhanced port, where all the blood is removed.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The 2019 remake added the Phantom Maze, a dungeon mixed in with visions of characters with tragic pasts such as Khalid, Tatyana, Rukh, and the Young Boy so that its master, Yami, can feast on dreams of what could have been.
  • Boss-Altering Consequence: Refighting the Sinistrals in the Abyss weakens the Destroyer and prevents it from absorbing their power.
  • Boss Rush: In the Abyss, the player can choose to re-fight all four Sinistrals, with each victory removing one phase from the Final Boss.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Invoked by having the attack's name appear in a speech bubble above the character's head before they initiate the attack. However, this also occurs when a character gains a stat bonus.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Mostly played straight, but averted in Sarah's scenario: She is forced out of your party before the final battle — and if she's your lead, this results in you fighting a specialized version of the Commander mode of battle in which you can actually control the characters.
  • Car Fu: In the N.Zweiger Battle, you can also control the vehicle you ride to attack the enemy.
  • The Chains of Commanding: A Special Commander Mode is used if your lead is not in your active party. You can use the formations your characters are in to unlock group techniques; in fact, some of the most powerful spells in the game can only be used in Commander mode. If your lead is Sarah, you will have to fight in a special version of the Commander mode in the final battle.)
  • Character Customization: Loosely; any character can use any weapon or magic, though some characters are better suited to some than others. And depending on what the character uses, some stats go up more than others. Monika, being a blank slate from the start, is the greatest example of this, with Muse a close second.
  • The Chosen One: Sarah (the current equivalent of the Archfiend) and the young boy (descendant of the Matriarch).
  • Continuity Nod: The battle theme being played during the fight with Yami is "Aim for the Top", the normal battle theme from Romancing SaGa Re;Universe, which canonically takes place 300 years after the events of this game.
  • Corrupt Church: The Divine Church's Pidona Division, whose leader Maximus has been stealing holy weapons to attain personal power.
  • The Corruption: Tao Gao, Emperor of Huang City, is corrupted by the Abyss' power.
  • Distressed Damsel: Monika is one early in her and potentially Julian's story, when she's kidnapped by an attempted usurper of Loanne.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The cheapest way into the Divine Tower is to buy a robe, if your party excludes Khalid, who refuses due to his sordid past and forces the player to pay a huge fee.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Climbing the mountain where BunĂ©'s lair is located and defeating the midbosses within can be avoided if you climb a different mountain and ask for assistance from Gwayne the dragon.
  • Easter Egg: The Mana Sword translation of the game added a hidden subquest to the game, making use of some unused resources. Seeing the subquest through fully nets you some pretty awesome gear, as well as lets you in to a sort of "Developer's Room" featuring the translation group.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Once you win the final battle, the world will be recreated without the presence of the Rise of Morastrum nor the Abyss; allowing everyone to finally live in peace.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Solar and Lunar arts oppose each other, as do each of the four "Earthly" elements.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Win or Lose in the final battle, the world will be destroyed anyway. If you win, however, then it is brought back.
  • Evil Minions: All four Sinistrals have minions under their command.
  • The Fair Folk: There's a Fairy Village within the jungle, whose residents enjoy beguiling any humans that find them, and giving them misdirection to Aunas' lair. However, they become much more negotiable if the player befriends Peony.
  • Fantasy World Map: Actually quite accurate once you get to Limit Island.
  • Far East: Xuan City and Huang City, which lie across the desert.
  • Field Power Effect: Using magic can change the field properties to that of the spell used, monsters of that type or characters that specialize in that magic alone regenerate health. There is a Death Field the Final Boss uses in Dark Wing mode that drains health of all except undead (Leonid) or those equipped with weapons/armor that make the user undead.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Each of the mid-bosses of the 2019 Bonus Dungeon are from the tragic pasts of possible party members, and their defeats show a glimpse of happier lives...but does not actually change the past.
  • Four Is Death: The four noble Sinistrals.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Leonid.
  • Game Mod: In spades, including characters from previous and future SaGa games. There is even a hack to get Katrina, a character you could not recruit normally into your party. There is even one that allows you to fight Apollo, Seven Heroes, Schirach, Mirsa, Orlouge and more...
    • Also characters from various anime and games also are included, you have to dig around the net to find it though.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: In the Final Dungeon, should a character lose all of their LP, they will just be returned to the entrance instead of dead for good. For gameplay reasons, it's because you're past the Point of No Return, but in-story, it's because you're IN the Abyss, which is where the souls of the dead go.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: If you completed the 2nd Fullbright quest before completing the Strange Hero Robin quest, and by buying Dophore Corp to complete it. Dophore will still be mentioned as the villain, even though you just bought them out.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Final Boss, The Oblivion. It could also be considered as an Ass Pull.
  • Global Currency: The "aurums" you can earn are applicable everywhere, from the frozen north to the tribes of the jungle.
  • Guide Dang It!: The minigame in which you manage holdings and is necessary to beat if you want to get rid of Dophore for good.
  • Haunted Castle: Leonid's Castle.
  • Heir Club for Men: Mikhail chose to succeed to the throne anyway, so this point could be rendered moot.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Flurry the Snowman, if all your characters are KO'd in the battle with Aunas' Clone.
  • High-Altitude Battle: You are given the option to fight BunĂ© with the help of Gwayne, for a dragon-vs-dragon aerial battle.
  • High-Speed Battle: You have to destroy a rogue sentient vehicle The Professor created; it runs you over in every town near Zweig in a humorous cutscene.
  • I Have Many Names: Tatyana. She never specifically refers to herself by that name, but rather by a series of names relating to desserts. However, it's fairly obvious that's who this is, considering she always leaves the party whenever you enter Ryblov, where Tatyana's rich family lives.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The 2019 remaster alternates between calling the Death Eclipse either the Rise of Mortastrum or the Death Eclipse.
  • Inevitable Tournament: One can be undertaken as part of the quest to earn the Holy Grail and recruit Leonid.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: There are a number of legendary weapons, such as the Masquerade and the Matriarch Spear, that get stolen throughout the story and reclaimed by the party after defeating Maximus.
    • Khalid can obtain one exclusive to him, the True Khasmin, in The Kings' Capital.
  • Inn Security: Subverted. Staying at an inn is actually how to draw out Forneus' soldiers, who were behind the murders in town, and start the Vanguard quest in earnest.
  • It's All About Me: Played for Laughs with The Professor, who is so in love with herself that she even made a musical number heralding her greatness.
  • Karma Meter: Present in the form of tracking your character's greed; it can affect the chances of the Aurora arriving (This is the only way to get Flurry and the Ice Sword, as well as a chance at getting the Dragon Spear) should it be too high. Certain characters have a higher greed counter than others so in some playthroughs you will be locked out easily for doing something wrong.
  • Life Energy: In addition to HP, you also have Life Points, or LP. If a character runs out, they'll be removed from the party, but if your lead runs your game will be over. Leonid is the exception; he only has 1 LP, but will not be removed from the party if he is wounded. Rather, he will be removed from the battle, but will still be in your active party. Life Points can be lost in several ways: Losing all HP, Getting attacked while wounded (Out of HP), or Falling victim of an Instant Death Attack.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: A traveling circus of oddities can potentially pop up at the exit of any town. Visiting and then staying the night at the local inn is necessary to recruit Peony the Fairy, who's trapped as an exhibit there; just looking and leaving makes her unobtainable.
  • Lovable Rogue: Paul the thief, who can be recruited if you spared him in the Thief's Cave, helped his girlfriend Nina stop the Kyrdlund sacrifices, and have defeated at least one of the four Sinistrals.
  • Magic Knight: Charl is an ex-runeblade, a soldier of the Pidona army skilled in both weaponry and magic. There are also recruitable characters that begin with both weapon and magic talents, such as Robin the vigilante.
  • Master of Disguise: The thief Jackal, who cons Katarina out of the Masquerade with a perfect Mikhail disguise, and whose main identity during the game is Maximus, one of the leaders of the Divine Church.
  • Midas Touch: The Byakko spell Gilded Touch and the Golden Bat's special ability appropriately named this trope.
  • Modular Epilogue: In addition to the game having Multiple Endings for each character, there are potential additional scenes for key characters the party helped along the way, such as The Professor (if you won the High-Speed Battle) and Undine (if her rival Volcano doesn't get the treasure they were fighting over), though any involving a character that was a part of the final party (or who lost all of their LP) will be skipped.
  • Multiple Endings: Each of the eight main characters has not only a different main ending, but also a variant depending on their choices during the game.
    • Julian can refuse the role of Monika's bodyguard (he returns to Shinon when all is said and done, and can potentially have a chat with Ellen if she was in the final party), accept and then follow her brother's orders to escort her to an arranged marriage (which leads to them getting split up, but in the ending, they reunite and he resumes protecting her), or accept and then follow Monika's wishes to abandon the castle and marriage (which, if she remains in the party for the rest of the game, leads to a special ending where Julian is given a noble title and allowed to marry Monika).
    • Ellen can either have a conversation with her sister Sarah, or with Julian if the latter was with her in the final party (which plays out the same as Julian's non-bodyguard ending).
    • Sarah's ending is either the same as Ellen's default ending if Ellen was in the final party, or slightly different if Ellen wasn't.
    • Thomas growing his business to a high-enough point by completing his and Fullbright's sidequest allows him to take a break and explore new lands, leaving his uncle in charge while he's gone.
    • If Khalid finds his ultimate weapon, the True Khasmin, he continues life as a mercenary; otherwise, he finds Princess Fatima and stays by her side.
    • Throughout the game, Mikhail can manage Loanne's taxes and army from its throne. Good popularity with the people will ultimately lead to him being declared either a King or a Duke, while ignoring the task or doing poorly at it will have him appoint an adviser to help better manage things.
    • Should Monika keep Julian in the party, she gets the same unique outcome as in his "stay a bodyguard and help her avoid arranged marriage" path, where the two end up married; otherwise, she manages to delay her arranged marriage by insisting that Mikhail be wed first.
    • Katrina will ultimately decide to leave Loanne for good in her ending unless she reclaimed the Masquerade and Mikhail was in the final party, in which case she learns that she's eligible to be his wife.
  • New Game Plus: By completing Katarina's story, you can choose between her pre-exile, long-haired appearance or post-exile, short-haired appearance in future runs. NG+ for all characters also carries over your money, everyone's skill levels, all mastered techniques, and every non-plot-important item and equipment that was put in storage.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: This game has many: Peony the Fairy, Boston the Lobsterman, Rukh/Zo the Elephant man, Leonid the Vampire, and Flurry the living Snowman.
  • No Name Given: The young boy.
  • One-Hit Kill: Death Sickle and Ectoplasm Net.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Final Boss, The Oblivion, has 6 forms: Light Wing (Normal), Dark Wing (True Strength), and can sap the power of the 4 Sinistrals for its own use, each time shifting to a new form for the Sinistrals' power it uses. For everyone but Sarah, it's possible to limit its forms by first killing the Sinistrals in a Boss Rush.
  • Parental Abandonment: Young boy, whose guardians end up either killed or cursed due to monsters sensing his divine heritage.
  • Point of No Return: Once the party enters the Final Dungeon, there is no returning, though the entrance at least turns into an infinite-use healing spot.
  • Power Limiter: Subverted. You have to weaken the final boss by defeating what gives it power, assuming you didn't prepare yourself well enough.
  • Property Line: The town of Mahzoz is divided in half, the north side is controlled by the Water Mage Undine, while the South is under Volcano's control. Both are fighting for something in the well. It's the Archfiend Shield, and if you Take a Third Option and take it from the well by siding with both of them, you will enter a Dual Boss battle against Undine and Volcano, which ends with them both living and agreeing to compromise.
  • Public Domain Artifact: There's the Holy Grail, which in this universe once held the blood of the holy Matriarch. Other notable artifacts in the setting include the Ice Sword, Matriarch's Boots, Matriarch's Spear, Silver Hand, Archfiend Axe, Archfiend Shield, Archfiend Armor, Glory Staff, Masquerade, Fairy Bow, Seven Star Sword, Matriarch's Helmet, and Royal Ring.
  • Rebellious Princess: Monika, if you choose to take her away from the palace.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The rats are actually of normal size, but are being controlled in a huge, destructive crowd by a highly intelligent, malevolent rat developed by The Professor named, somewhat ironically, Algernon.
    • Also doubles as a Keystone Army as when Algernon falls, the entire army dies.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: The Crystal Ruins in the Desert of Death, as well as the Rotten Sea Ruins and The Kings' Capital.
  • Secret Identity: Lime and Trucks (Seahawks Bar employees) are Robin and Fat Robin, respectively.
  • Send in the Clones: The real Sinitrals cannot go through the Abyss Gates, so they have to send clones of themselves to capture the Destined Child so the Gate can be fully opened.
  • Shrines and Temples: The Matriarch Temple in Lance.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Any and all characters, since they can be kicked out/removed from the party at any time. Though there are two particularly bad offenders: Sarah and Young Boy, neither of which are available for the Final Boss, and the latter of which forcing himself into the party shortly before it. This especially sucks if you've been training them to be main party members for the last battle, and particularly in Sarah's own story, in which she's mandatory and you can recruit the Young Boy earlier than anyone else.
  • Status Effects: Charm, Stun, Petrify, Berserk, and Blindness.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: In Julian's story, he can choose whether or not to become Monika's bodyguard, but accepting is likely the preferred outcome due to it happening in every other story.
  • Stupid Evil: Katarina and how she loses the Masquerade; her beloved "Mikhail" (actually a thief named Jackal in disguise) approaches her in town at night, says some sweet words, and then asks for the legendary blade, which is given without question or suspicion until it's too late and he runs off with it.
  • Super Hero: Robin, a Captain Ersatz version of Zorro right down to the rapier.
  • Shout-Out: Romancing SaGa 3's Abyss to Final Fantasy III's World of Darkness, right down to the same method how to weaken the Final Boss, as well it being a Captain Ersatz of its Final Boss. Unlike the Cloud of Darkness, which is a Hopeless Boss Fight without weakening it, The Oblivion can be beaten, without defeating any of the Sinistrals. Thus making it a True Final Boss, if you chose so. However, if you walk in with Sarah as your lead without saving first, you must fight it, without giving you a chance to weaken it.
    • In the 2019 remake, the legendary pirate "Black" now has the last name of "Sparrow".
  • Talk to the Fist: After defeating Rat Mischief and ending the Kyrdlund sacrifices, the protagonist can choose to punch out the mayor for trying to use them and Nina as sacrifices.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ellen and Sarah, respectively.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: When the four Sinistrals are first defeated, and the path to the Abyss opens.
  • Unknown Phenomenon: The Aurora.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: The situation between the Immovable Object Flurry, the playable Snowman who is immune to fire damage after the quest-line to recruit him, and the Unstoppable Force boss fight Aunas' Clone, a massively powerful fire entity. If the rest of the party is defeated and only those two remain, Flurry will perform a Heroic Sacrifice to slay the clone and save the party.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Subverted; the people of town of Kyrdlund will choose a person to be sacrificed to the monsters outside of town to prevent them from entering, but they don't generally care WHO the sacrifice is, as long as there is one. That said, if your character escapes from the cave without killing the monster who's accepting the sacrifices first, they pick Nina, the girl who saved you instead, who arguably could be an example of playing it straight. Also played straight with Leonid, who accepts girls from the village of Podorui. However it is not forced, as they actually care for the well being of the earl.
  • Walking the Earth: It's possible for Thomas and Khalid's stories to end this way, depending on choices made.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Artwork of Undine released for spin-off material shows younger versions of herself and her rival, Volcano.