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Video Game / Rondo of Swords

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Behind: Serdic. Center: "Serdic". Left: Marie. Right: Igraine.

A 2008 Strategy RPG for the Nintendo DS, developed by Success and localized by Atlus. During an attack on the city of Bretwalde by an invading army from the Grand Meir Empire, Prince Serdic was mortally wounded, so he had his body double take his place and save the kingdom in his stead. The new "Serdic" leads the few remaining soldiers of Bretwalde in a campaign to recapture their homeland and to drive off the Grand Meir. Along the way, Serdic and his company manage to recruit a variety of different people to help him, including stars from other Success games such as Izuna and Cotton.

Aside from being a legitimately difficult tactics game, it also stands out for its combat system. Whereas most other tactical RPGs require you to move next to an enemy and then attack, Rondo of Sword's method of attacking requires you to move through your enemies, where they attack upon contact. Running through your own allies sometimes give stat boosts depending on what abilities they have, and enemies have a chance of countering your attacks, thus stopping your advance and usually leaving your character in decidedly unfortunate situations.

Tropes present in Rondo of Swords:

  • Artificial Human: Mephreyu used many of these as his mooks.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Otherwise this game would be more then just Nintendo Hard, it would be downright impossible. A good example is how the computer's ranged units must move into position first before attacking like magic users, whereas ranged units under your control can move and attack at the same time.
    • Take note that their archers have longer range than yours, but still you can just walk in range and shoot them in the face anyway since they can't counterattack.
    • Another fun A.I. Breaker is to put one character two squares inside the range of a melee foe, then put your other characters in every square said foe could end up in while attacking. If he's really slow, he'll attempt to retreat, but otherwise, he'll move one square away from your nearest character, allowing all your nearby characters to carve him into little bits.
  • Back from the Dead: The real Serdic. For a while, anyway.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Any high-ranking enemy with ZOC. Many of the times, they are even stronger then your own warriors, so you must rely on magic to slowly kill them. Oh, and some levels have these guys spawn infinitely.
  • Corrupt Church: The main reason for all the conflicts in this game can pretty much be blamed by the church led genocide before the start of the game. Also, the description written in the profiles in every single clergy member enemy you fight against implies this.
  • Cute Witch: Cotton
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: While characters don't die permanently when you lose them in battle, they do end up with the "hurt" status where in the next stage, they end up with all their stats and level halved and unable to do side quests.
    • Unfortunately this could apply both ways, for instance, you need to 'kill' Ernest 3 times to make him stay down for good.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Cotton, though how to find her is a challenge on its own right, though if you do, she can 1 hit kill those annoying Guardians (those Elite Mooks with recognizable BFS).
  • Faceless Goons: Most of the enemies either wear face-concealing helmets, or somehow get their eyes completely covered by their hair or hat.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: how did we not have the basis of the combat system for so long?
    • Can be avoided with the Zone Of Control skill or by counter-attacking.
      • And the above method can be made void with the Null-ZOC skill.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: To kill or not to kill Marie? On one hand, purified Holy Sword. On the other, y'know, murder.
  • Gender Flip: When you first hear a mention of getting the pope as your ally, you'd expect that person to be an ugly old man like the real life one...guess again, the pope in this game is a cute little young girl who isn't all that serious about her duties...although there IS an ugly old man who looks vaguely like the real life pope, he isn't though.
  • Guest Fighter: Izuna, Shino and Cotton, as mentioned above.
  • Guide Dang It!: Players found how to recruit Cotton either by reading a guide, or by accident as in trying to do a Self-Imposed Challenge on the 8th mission.
  • I Owe You My Life: If you released Alberich in the hidden stage.
  • It's Personal: While it seems like Owl's decision to join up at first looks like due to having no better choice, his true motive was because he really have something personal (which we don't know) with the Red Lions, especially Clotho.
  • Jerkass: Elmer and Ernest have it by reputation.
  • Killed Off for Real: Any recruitable character that dies in battle without being recruited by you first. And also, Marie if you choose the 'bad' path.
  • Large Ham: most of the named characters (mooks don't have any voice).
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Ernest did this when he supposedly had to wait for Alberich to get ready.
  • Level Grinding: Can be done easily, since restarting a battle keeps your characters' levels as long as you don't get a Game Over.And you can even save, take different characters and grind them as well.
  • Love Makes You Evil: After Mephreyu lost his best friend along with a good deal of his own kind during the genocide against Dark Magic users led by the Corrupt Church, he worked with the Grand Meir to attack Bretwalde, killed Prince Serdic, revived him as a slave, and tried to initiate The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Mana Shield: The Wyrm Medal, used by the boss Mephreyu, grants one.
    • There is also the Skill called Mana Shield, but it requires a turn to use it.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Alberich questioned Gauss' intentions which made him tried to release Yumiluna and Simon, only to get interrupted and put behind bars by Ernest. Also Matthias, though he asked Alberich about his view and to make his decision, he chose to make a last stand anyway.
  • Named Weapons: Everything. Even the Elite Mooks get them.
  • Ninja: Shino and Izuna
  • Nintendo Hard: You know how in most games, tutorial missions are supposed to be designed to be ridiculously easy while explaining the game's mechanics? Well Rondo of Swords isn't like that. You may fail the tutorial stages multiple times if you are a beginner to tactics games. Other times it is because you need to get certain characters to talk to an enemy to recruit them Fire Emblem style, at times you need to do this with Squishy Wizard characters that are slow and most enemies can kill them in 1 hit.
  • No Man of Woman Born: Only the royal blood of Altrius's line can purify the cursed Holy Sword... But the resurrected Prince Serdic counts.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Any of the mages, but Arios in particular: after his class change, he learns a spell called "Megido Nova", the strongest Fire spell in the game. It is basically a nuke with him as ground zero. Cotton and Fairy Fire count too.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Red Lions are bloodthirsty maniacs. How Clotho keep them in line is anybody's guess.
  • Save Scumming: you will need it, at least to level grind.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Arios, one of his Idle Animation.
  • Sheathe Your Sword:
    • One of the two solutions for Stage 20, leading into Path A.
    • An alternative ending for Path B has Serdic walk away from Bretwalde when Grand Meir is crushed. Bretwalde is at peace and Igraine survives, but Aegil spends the rest of her life waiting for Serdic to return.
  • Timed Mission: Stage 18. You won't get a Game Over if you pass the 'Time Limit', but you will lose Yumiluna and Simon if you don't rescue them in time, and lose the chance of recruiting another 2 characters (Izuna and Alberich).
  • Unholy Holy Sword
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Serdic's OB can be considered one. Also, Ansom's OB, Cotton's first spell, and Alberich's OB.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you choose B path, your army members will say so immediately. If you choose A, they will after finding out the main hero is not the real Serdic.
  • Younger Than They Look: In a shared conversation, Owl finds out that Ansom is 23 years of age, making him older than him. Ansom is equally surprised to learn the Gentleman Thief is only 21.