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No, that's not 'Salsa Frontier'

"A wizard's dark destiny, a woman's revenge, even a robot's search for his soul. Seven amazing adventures that weave into one — yours."
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So reads the back of the case for SaGa Frontier, the first SaGa game released in North America since Final Fantasy Legend III, and the first one on the PlayStation. It came out March 25 1998, (July 11 '97 in Japan) and was produced by Squaresoft's Production Team 2 (referred to as "2nd Division" in-game.) The 75 song soundtrack was composed and arranged by Kenji Ito, who also did the soundtracks for previous SaGa titles.

SaGa Frontier is unique in that there are seven playable protagonists, each with their own individual quest. It also uses a 'system data' feature, which, if you complete one character's story, will give bonuses to the characters in subsequent quests.

A Remaster has been released in North America on April 15th, 2021 for PS4, Switch, Steam, and iOS that not only updates the visuals, but reinserts large amounts of cut content, including an entire scenario that was originally scrapped.

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A quick summary of the seven stories:

  • Blue: A magician from the Magic Kingdom, his magical prowess has been divided between himself and his twin brother, Rouge. According to the customs of his land, he must master as many types of magic as possible, and kill his brother in a Duel to the Death, to attain his true strength.
  • Red: A teenage boy whose family is destroyed by the evil organization called Black X (Black Cross). Granted the identity of the Super Hero Alkaiser, he struggles to destroy Black X.
  • Emilia: A beautiful woman accused of murdering her fiancé, and wrongly imprisoned for it, she becomes a member of Gradius, a secret organization, in order to track down the real killer.
  • Asellus: Run over by a carriage and saved from death by a blood transfusion by a Mystic Lord, she's turned into the world's first and only Half-Mystic. Chosen as Charm Lord's heir, she is despised by human and Mystic alike. Can she escape her dark destiny or will she embrace it?
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  • T260: A Mec constructed from readily available parts and an ancient core found at a crash site. Its important mission long forgotten due to damage, T260 must remember and fulfill its original directive.
  • Riki: A young Monster whose home world, Margmel, is dying. In order to save the entire Region, he must find and bring together the nine legendary Rings Of Power.
  • Lute: A wandering minstrel from Yorkland, Lute lives a carefree life... until he finds himself facing off against his father's apparent murderer.

There was also a cut 8th story due to time constraints, but the Remastered version promises to bring this story to light:

  • Fuse: Agent of IRPO with a short temper, hence his code name being the shortened version of 'Crazy Fuse'. He has appeared in other stories, and his own story involves an adventure where he got involved with the original seven quests, with one extra goal that depends on his decisions taken.


SaGa Frontier provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Where do we start? For the most part, the Remastered edition promised to restore these.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Leonard pulls this on T260.
  • After Boss Recovery: In Red's game after a battle with Metal Black 3, the red mist scattered after the explosion rejuvenates the party.
  • Alien Blood: Mystics have blue blood, and the Half-Mystic Asellus has purple.
  • The Alcatraz: Despair. While no one's ever escaped, the warden gives the inmates the chance for freedom, if they can touch the Freedom rune located within the prison. Only one person's ever done it before Emilia, Annie and Liza, and it's implied that the person who did was Roufas.
  • All There in the Manual: It's no exaggeration to say there is more story in the companion books than in the game. There's some weird stuff there, too; for example, the "useless" character Slime actually plays a large role in the battles against Boss X and Mondo. With Boss X he blocks his eye blinding him, and with Mondo, Slime literally corrodes him while he's piloting Spriggan.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Boss X, Orlouge, and Genocide Heart. Also, any battle fought in 4th Dimension Magisphere.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Congratulations, A Winner Is You. But you've still got six more stories to finish.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The remaster adds a "Story" section to the party menu, which provides an ongoing journal for the character's quest along with a summary of the goal to be accomplished in any given section. It also has arrows that point out entrances to places as some are not as obvious as others.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Mesarthim frequently apologizes for perceived insults to higher ranked Mystics- It's actually the reason she won't join while Silence is in the party, unless Asellus is also with you, in which case her loyalty to Asellus overrules this.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Fifteen, in three parties of five. Only one party can take part in any given battle. If you would go over fifteen, someone has to leave - which can be a problem when people automatically join in some quests. Averted in the Remaster as extra characters who are recruited after filling in the fifteen slots are simply set aside in a standby category, free to be swapped out with in-party characters at any given time.
  • Arms Dealer: Pzkw V, a Mec can be found in the backstreets of Koorong, selling smuggled guns.
  • Ascended Glitch: Two of the original's best-known glitches (Takonomics, which allows you to manipulate the gold market to make way more money than you should, and the Junk Shop glitch, which lets you acquire multiple items for free over and over again) are left unaltered in the Remastered version.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For as much as she seems to hate Fei-On when he first joins, Mei-Ling is willing to wait a surprisingly long time inside a dying inter-dimensional creature for him to come back.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Nine Rings of Power.
  • The Assimilator: Mystics can absorb monsters into their gear to increase their stats as well as gain new powers. Monsters can take on abilities of other monsters they absorb along with sometimes changing form. Mecs can download tech programs from enemy mecs.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Tower spell deals way a lot of damage if you have high enough JP point remaining. Problem is, it drains your whole JP, so if you did not finish off your enemy with that Tower, then your mage is a sitting duck that can only cast weak spells if they at least equipped majorly Magic spells throughout the whole battle. And most final bosses ALWAYS have tons of HP to withstand Tower. You can make it effective by having it on either a Mystic or a built-up Magic Knight, but Mystics tends to have lower JP while the journey to make an effective Magic Knight with high JP and WP are often 'not worth it'.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Dr. Nusakan, literally - as in he operates out of Koorong's "Back Alley" district. He's only useful in one character's quest: in Riki's quest, he knows how to save the mayor of Yorkland's daughter.
  • Badass Bystander: Blue in Red's quest. When the Cygnus gets attacked by pirates, Blue easily takes out the one who charges into his room. But because he's kind of a dick, he refuses to help Red because he doesn't like his name. In fairness, it differs only in language from his Evil Twin.
  • Bag of Sharing: Averted. Each character has his or her own inventory, but the person equipped with the 'backpack' item can use anything not equipped to anyone else.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Bare-hands are a perfectly viable fighting style—several characters such as Fei-On and Liza start with a few techniques.
  • Bat Out of Hell: In addition to regular bats, there's a Bonus Boss— The Abyss Bat.
  • Beef Gate: Early on in Asellus's game, in Chateau Aguille, it's possible to find an endgame Bonus Boss with ending-altering potential. Even if you're properly trained, it's a difficult fight. Trying to fight it at the point in the game where it's possible to first encounter it? Suicide.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The "Scuffle" skill has the character throw the enemy offscreen, and have one of these occur.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Each story has its own Big Bad, and they mostly aren't related. Essence indicates that Mondo is The Man Behind the Man to most of the others, but in the game proper there's no indication of any links between them, except that Emilia's quest is tied in with fighting another Trinity commander, and the majority of the Big Bads logically couldn't be Mondo's subordinates.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A lot of the endings aren't exactly very happy.
    • Asellus's Half-Mystic ending is just a touch above a downer. She saves Gina, White Rose and probably Lion Princess, takes down Orlouge and is free of his pursuers, but is left without a place in the world and becomes a wandering adventurer, and her only tie to normality is her annual reunion with Gina, who is growing old while she remains forever young. Meanwhile, in the Full Human ending, she gets to return to a normal life after saving everyone, and dies peacefully in her sleep of old age...but it's bittersweet for Gina, because Asellus marries a man and never gets together with her.
    • In Riki's ending, his people lose their home, he has to fight his treacherous best friend, and his entire quest turns out to be a "Shaggy Dog" Story because the artifact he was hoping to find was cursed to begin with. Still, his people did survive and finally learn to let go of their Doomed Hometown, allowing them to move on and continue surviving even without their home.
    • In Emilia's bad ending, she kills Joker, her quest's goal, and prevented the Cube from being misused by either him or anyone else, but what is there left after? Ren is still dead, and unbeknownst to her, it was her who did it. Emilia leaves Gradius to figure out what to do with her life. Even Roufas thinks that this is too much for her, so he ordered her to forget about Gradius, her friendship with him, Annie and Liza, and tell her to live on without any more fighting. And she did, but wherever she goes afterwards, it's unknown. In the Remastered version, however, this ending becomes a Downer Ending, since Ren could have been talked out of his Joker mentality with some beating by Fuse (who also sorted out his unfair treatment with Emilia earlier) and causing Emilia to still love him and forgive his actions. Without Fuse resolving the issues, Emilia is set to unknowingly kill Ren and lead a life of solitude, completely traumatized with the events.
    • Blue/Rouge's ending. After merging, they agreed to fulfill their destiny of sealing themselves in Hell, fighting Hell's Lord for eternity. They're sealed there forever, but they know that the world outside will be spared from The Legions of Hell invading the realms thanks to their sacrifice.
  • Black Market: Koorong's got a thriving one. From smuggled guns, to secret criminal organizations, to questionable medical care, you can find it there.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Buccinote " brand handbags. The Remastered version changed it into 'Apollon'.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Emilia (blonde), Liza (brunette), and Annie (redhead).
  • Body Horror: The scientists of Shrike's Bio-Research Lab, though some aren't particularly horrified by it.
  • Bonus Boss: The Earth Dragon at the Bio Research Lab, Jotnar and the dragons in Mosperiburg, the Abyss Bat in Shingrow can be fought by anyone. A few can only be fought in specific characters' games, like the Big Diggers in T260's. The Remaster added one exclusive to Fuse, which can only be fought after a successful Final Boss Rush.
  • Bonus Dungeon: In the original version of the game, the Bio Research Lab had no plot linked to it; there was going to be, but it got axed with the rest of Asellus's plot. It's just a place where you can do battle against increasingly-powerful monsters and the Earth Dragon. However, the Remaster added the Asellus plot elements back in.
  • Boss Remix: A few. Blue's final battle theme is a remix of the song in his opening scene. Red's is a remix of song in his story.
  • Boss Rush:
    • Near the end of Red's game, you fight the major bosses all over again. Each has double their initial HP.
    • In the Remaster, as long as Fuse has recruited the connected protagonist and finished their "Case File", he can choose to fight their Final Boss at the end of a run. By fighting all seven, the last one gains a huge power boost, and victory unlocks a Bonus Boss in the Developer's Room.
  • But Thou Must!: Gen tells T260 to tell him when he's ready to leave the Pub. If you try to tell him you're ready to go, he tells you to get him another drink. Emilia can’t progress her story until she agrees to work with Roufas.
  • Buxom Is Better: Emilia doesn't think so. When she reads the porno mag, she's disgusted by the star's disproportionate assets. Red, on the other hand, is quite thrilled, and Asellus is more attracted than she wants to be. T260G simply calculates the model's measurements, then nearly crashes when trying to calculate her IQ level. Riki innocently mentions to Meiling that the model is not wearing clothes and asks if she's hot or something. Blue/Rouge just finds the book useless to him. Lute looks really thrilled at first, but then remarks that he'd rather see the real thing than just looking at the mag. Fuse is just baffled at the mindset, "Young girls these days..."
  • Brain Uploading: Leonard.
  • The Casino: Baccarat. At least three characters come here for their stories, but none of the games can be played.
  • Cast From HP: The spells 'Sacrifice', 'Life Rain', and Alkaiser's 'Final Crusade' which heal the party with a life's worth of HP from the caster.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: The heroes can always easily find new members for their teams, for little reason other than boredom.
  • Chest Monster: A few. One in particular has a chance to spawn a couple of very rare enemies.
  • Chick Magnet: Asellus - having the Charm Lord's blood gave her the power of seduction and attraction to females.
  • The Chosen One: Blue is told he is the superior of the two Chosen Ones, and that it is his destiny to kill the other—his brother. Presumably Rouge was told the same thing at his graduation ceremony.
  • Clear My Name: Emilia is jailed for the murder of her boyfriend, because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Code Name: The IRPO operatives- they're all Appropriated Appellations, too. "Crazynote " Fuse, Silence, Rabbit and "Icy" Doll. Probably Cotton as well.
  • Combination Attack: One of the basics of the combat system is Combinations. Certain moves can combo into each other, granting a damage bonus. Done properly, you can get all five characters in on it. There is one downside - the enemies can do it, too.
  • Complete Immortality: Mystics seem to have a combination of The Ageless and a Healing Factor. They can be destroyed by superior power, however (either a stronger Mystic, which is why they're absolutely terrified of Orlouge and Asellus, or a powerful enough human).
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: During the Blue vs Rouge battle, if Rouge gets the Time Magic and casts Time Eclipse on Blue, petrifying him, the battle's instantly over with Rouge as the winner since it's a petrification for the player. If Blue gets the Time Magic and 'petrifies' Rouge? Nope. Rouge just loses 1 LP and gets Reviva'd, and the battle continues.
  • Cool Ship: The Region ships in general— the Cygnus in particular is treated as one of these in-story.
  • Counter-Attack: Kasumi, Godless, KO Throw, Dragon Turn, Reaction Shot, and Asura Revenge.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Emilia walks in just after her boyfriend's murder, shortly after her come the police.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: In Riki's scenario, you have to perform combos in a battle with Virgil to impress the Ring Lord get the Divine Ring. In Fuse's Riki case file, he simply impresses Virgil in a scripted sequence.
  • Cutting Off the Branches:
    • "The Essence of Saga Frontier" states that the canonical end of Blue and Rouge's fated duel is Rouge winning, and then later escaping Hell with just his willpower after remembering his friends.
    • In the Remaster, although Fuse can influence some decisions during his Case Files, other events are predetermined, such as Asellus dealing with the Bio Research Lab and the types of magic that Blue/Rouge obtain. However, the game also muddles things by having Asellus escape from Facinaturu via the Cygnus in Red's story but with Trinity's "help" in Emilia's, as well as depicting the assassination attempt on Dr. Leonard in two different Fuse Case Files.
  • Cyberspace: Near the end of T260's game. It looks like a town, as the interface was designed to be friendly and recognizable to humans and monsters.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: The monsters encountered in Hell are all apparently Made of Iron, taking very little damage from physical attacks. Only by using a magic attack on them first will the party be able to physically damage them normally.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Monsters are quite commonplace in the world, quite sentient, and can be friendly. Even the skeletal and undead ones. And let's not forget the monster you save from the Shrike Bio Labs, Cotton, who's actually an IRPO agent.
    • Mystics feed and grow stronger by devouring the blood and lives of their enemies, but they're no more evil than humans on the whole. Orlouge, Ciato and Rastaban really are wicked, though.
  • Daylight Horror: The Bio Research Lab. The color palette is very bright (even by the standards of this game), it's a beautiful, well-lit laboratory with soothing white walls, blue floors and green trees, and the music is very beautiful and otherworldly - haunting, but not in itself horrifying. And then you walk into the scientists, read their lines, and hear screams as they change into monsters - and as you piece together just what the hell is going on with this place, all of the above just seems creepier and creepier.
  • Deadly Upgrade: You can buy powerful items from the shop in Facinaturu, at the cost a few of your max life points. That is to say, you can sell your soul for goodies.
  • Depowering: Red's powers are eventually revoked, as the purpose for which he had been given his powers was accomplished. Easy come, easy go.
  • Developer's Room: Reached after you've completed all seven stories. You can speak with the developers, listen to the soundtrack, and fight the bosses of the other character's games with the group you most recently cleared with, among other things.
    • Remastered has its own developer room, which is unlocked after you beat any version of Fuse's story, which contains members of the Remastered dev team.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Averted in Blue's ending, in which he fights Hell's Lord for eternity.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Asura in Asellus's game— sure, you need to give up 3 LP to get it, but it's of the strongest three swords in the game, has an instant death effect, and a counter attack on it that works even if the user is killed by the attack. And can be obtained in about the first ten to fifteen minutes of her story. Notably, Asellus actually starts with significantly higher LP than most of the main characters, enough that paying 3 for her is like paying 1 for anyone else. One suspects they had this in mind.
    • The DSCnote , if you have a character proficient at physical attacks, can be unlocked very early in some quests.
    • The recruitable monster, Thunder, is himself one. He's obscenely easy to get (just speak to him with Lute in your party). His default Ogre form is powerful, with some good stats and attacks. However, his skillset means any extra skills he acquires will always, without fail, turn him into a Trisaur, which is even stronger, capable of causing 1000 damage with some attacks. Thunder can carry the team into the midgame alone.
    • Any Mec can easily become one of these, if you know where to find certain pieces of free, powerful equipment. Or simply abuse the Junk Shop Glitch and/or Takonomics to buy high-end equipment, netting you endgame-level character(s) within the first hour or two of the scenario.
  • Distant Finale: Two of Asellus's endings take place in these, though the circumstances are different depending on which you get.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Riki's quest is to save his.
    • There's also Blue's, by the time he gets back to it.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: A few of the sword moves, such as Godless, Haze-To-Wheel, and ESPECIALLY the visually appealing Life Sprinkler. In addition, the Shadow Servant spell, which creates a clone of you that copies every move you use.
    • The "Magician" Arcane spell is a variant- It creates a single Doppelgänger Spin-type copy of the caster, but when it's attacked, it has a chance of causing instant death.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: A few spells, such as Mirror Shade, which creates 1-4 clones of the caster to block an attack.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Red infiltrates Black X in this manner.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Developing Asellus's Mystic abilities via three specific pieces of equipment makes her form during her Mystic Change more powerful, but it also makes her more power-hungry and tyrannical. Her Mystic ending is the end result of it - she becomes a tyrant, harsher than Orlouge.
  • Dual Wielding: Possible, and required by some moves, like Cross Slash and Twin Gale Slash.
    • Even better with guns, as the 'TwoGun' abilitynote  makes any other gun attack use two guns, some of which even have different animation!
  • Dub Name Change: "Coon" to "Riki", "Kuuron" to "Koorong".
  • Duel Boss: The battle between Blue and Rouge.
  • Evolving Title Screen: In Remastered, Fuse is added to the title screen after you beat a character's scenario, showing that you've unlocked him.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: In Essence, Fuse... at least until he realizes Blue is a guy.
    "Well, caring for the hearts of cute girls is a vital part of a Region Patrol Officer's mission... [he realizes Blue is only a very pretty man][...] Caring for this jackass is outside my jurisdiction."
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Emilia's bad ending is achieved by going further within Baccarat's underground cave and fighting Gargantu, instead of just getting the hell out, ending the scenario.
  • Easter Egg: The porno book in the Shrike library. You don't see anything, but the characters' reactions range from complete disinterest, to questioning their own sexuality.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Blue learns and masters all magic after you fight Rouge. Also, during Red's game, you get to walk around as Alkaiser towards the very endnote .
  • Emergency Transformation: Asellus to a half-mystic thanks to Orlouge, Red to a super hero thanks to Alkarl. Their reactions to their respective changes are opposite each other- While Red is excited about his new-found power to defeat evil, Asellus is afraid and confused about exactly what being a half-mystic entails.
  • Engrish: Not nearly as bad as many examples, especially back in '98, but there are a few minor ones— "Facinaturu" was likely meant to be "Facinature," while "Omble" was probably supposed to be "Ombre." The Region of Margmel likewise seems to be a mistranslation of "Mag Mell". In addition, "katana" is always translated as "sword", rather than left "katana", which leads to some swords having "sword skill usable" as their description and katana moves being labeled as "sword move" in the sword technique folder.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Asellus, due to having Orlouge's blood.
  • Every Episode Ending: Though there's variations, each 'section' of each characters game (such as rescuing Mesarthim in Asellus's, or receiving the Gift for a school of magic in Blue's,) is ended with a picture of a character involved in it.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: This is the main plot driver for Asellus's quest. The Mystics of Fascinaturu can't believe that a Mystic as powerful as Asellus has no interest in playing their games.
  • Evil Twin: Oddly enough, Blue could considered the evil twin to Rouge. The former is perfectly willing to manipulate whoever he needs to to kill his brother, while the latter is generally friendly, and in-game, will join anyone's quest, unlike Blue who outright refuses to join Red simply because he doesn't like his name.
    • According to Essence, Blue was indeed the bad twin. He also canonically lost his fight to Rouge, who also got space magic from Kylin without killing the beast or destroying Paradise, went into Hell alone knowing it would be a one-way trip, and managed to escape from Hell after hearing the voices of his friends.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: The Trickshot skill, when used only with one gun: the user shoots above the enemy, causing rocks to cascade down.
  • Expy:
    • Zozma bears an uncanny resemblance to Street Fighter's Akuma- He's even able to use Evil magic and shares Akuma's Dark Is Not Evil traits (in fact, Zozma is a lot nicer than Akuma).
    • In addition, Red's appearance seems to be based on that of a character of the same name from a little known Squaresoft game called Treasure Hunter G. There's also a Blue in that game, though he only looks somewhat similar.
    • Dr. Nusakan bears a rather creepy resemblance to Dr. Hojo, as well.
    • Mystic Lord Orlouge is one to the Emperor Mateus, at least in looks. He has even more in common with Jareth, on whom the Emperor was based in design.
    • Asellus herself is similar to Terra, both being Half Human Hybrids, and have a similar color scheme, and look, but Asellus is a bit more masculine. Both also have identity crises, albeit for different reasons. Both also have the ability to transform into a form that accentuates their nonhuman blood.
  • The Fair Folk: The Mystics of Saga Frontier used to be this way, and the nobles who dwell in their hidden Region still are. Though they have gotten a bit better, and for example hunting humans for sport has fallen out of fashion. Lower caste Mystics show the trope best, ranging in appearance from mermaids to large troll-like creatures. The higher level nobles tend to appear as beautiful humans, with the highest level, according to All There in the Manual being the True Vampires.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • At the end of Riki's quest, Mei-Ling is corrupted by the Master Ring and becomes the final boss. Hopefully she wasn't part of your "final five".
    • If Asellus decided to become a full-on Mystic, she decided to be the Evil Overlord type, surpassing Orlouge in ruthlessness and made plans to subjugate all realms under her heel, discarding any notions of decency she used to have as a human.
  • Fan Disillusionment: Blue has a subtle example near the end of his game. Upon returning to the Magic Kingdom, which is in ruins, he sees a statue of the goddess of Magic, calling it a fake, as magic wasn't able to save the kingdom.
  • Fantastic Racism: Mystics seem to be old-fashioned as they dislike technology of all kinds. The Mystic who sells items for life points will turn his back on T260G, not interested in doing business with a Mec. To further emphasize Mecs and Mystics don’t mix, Asellus is unable to recruit any Mecs, and T260G is unable to recruit any Mystics.
  • Fight Woosh: Every fight starts with one.
  • Flower from the Mountaintop: The quest for the Shield card involves getting one of these. Though Fuse says it's because he can't just give the card away, apparently, it's because he fancies the girl at the front desk at IRPO.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Fluffy Cloud Hell, actually.
  • Flunky Boss: Master Ring, Death Lord, Quakeworm.
  • Foregone Victory: In Blue's game, if you actually do lose to Rouge, he absorbs you instead, and you play the remainder of the game as Rouge.
  • Fortune Teller: The Region of Devin is filled with these.
  • For Want of a Nail: In the Remastered version, Fuse's story is unlocked by first clearing the game with other protagonists, and shows what would have happened if Fuse had meddled in their adventures.
    • Asellus: Aside from helping Asellus deal with some assassins and the Bio Research Lab, Fuse's raid on Orlogue's castle leads to accidentally passing through the Dark Labyrinth, trapping one of Orlogue's minions in the process. This allows White Rose to leave the Labyrinth and be present for the ending.
    • Blue: Regardless of which brother he ends up assisting, Fuse ends up expediting the search for Runes by negotiating with their current holders instead of killing them. Also, during the climax, the IRPO rescues the surviving mage from being trapped in Hell.
    • Emilia: Although he already heavily influenced Emilia's original adventure by sending her to Despair, Fuse's continued investigation (including potentially earning Emilia's forgiveness) determines the state Joker is in at the climax, and leads to a positive outcome either way, as well as sheds some light on how Fuse's mistakes helped cause the Joker incident.
    • Lute: Due to informing Lute about Mondo's history while at Scrap, Gen joins them and ends up as a tritagonist. Fuse's involvement also gets Dr. Leonard involved, as the attempt on his life was also meant to silence IRPO agent Rabbit, who was assisting Fuse by trying to download files from Trinity's servers.
    • Red: The IRPO is constantly one step behind Alkaiser in taking down BlackX, but are able to gather the evidence needed to properly incarcerate its members. Along the way, Fuse figures out the superhero's true identity. After helping take down the organization's head, Fuse then arrests Dr. Klein and offers Red a position in the IRPO.
    • Riki: By arresting the Caballero Family and obtaining their ring before Riki even shows up, Fuse is the one managing the set. When the journey takes him inside Tanzer, Fuse deals with and arrests Nomad immediately, preventing the beast from going mad. And in the climax, Fuse refusing to just hand over the rings to Mei-Ling prevents them from being used to (briefly) reboot Margmel.
    • T260G: Fuse assisting the Mec in rescuing Thyme from the Caballero family, and his subsequent assistance in taking down the Ultimate Weapon, helps T260G reevaluate the meaning of "Top Priority" and what to do with its life afterwards without needing Gen to reboot him.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the very beginning of Asellus's game, an image flashes of something flashes by for a split second while she's trying to remember what happened to her. It's actually an image of the carriage she was run over by.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Learn enough martial arts moves and you unlock the "DSC", which is never explained in-game. Fans have come up with a number of humorous and creative "explanations" as to what "DSC" stands for. Prominent one is “Dream Super Combo”
  • Fusion Dance: The duel with Blue and Rouge is used to establish the dominant personality in One of the 'Power Booster' variety. In addition, Mystics have the power to absorb slain enemies into their weapons to increase their stats and learn more moves.
  • Gainax Ending: Blue's scenario has an absolutely legendary ending that continues to confuse players to this day. However, contrary to the common belief that the development was rushed (which is true) and the proper ending was not implemented, the director Akitoshi Kawazu claimed what's in the game is exactly how he intended. He also added that the entire gameplay section after the battle against Rouge was the epilogue itself.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Red is unable to transform into Alkaiser when the humans in his group are healthy, because it would give away his secret identity.
    • Blue is unable to learn Mind magic until after the duel with Rouge, because his soul is split between the two of them.
    • Non-boss mystic enemies are only able to do a fraction of their potential damage to PC mystics, illustrating the power gap between common mystic and the party's noble mystics.
    • Magic Kingdom believed only a perfect magician could turn the tide against Hell. All enemies in Hell take massively reduced damage from attacks until they're hit with a spell, incentivizing players to use Blue/Rouge as intended.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • Diva, the Final Boss of Emilia's arc. She has absolutely nothing to do with the Big Bad or the rest of the plot, and exists to give that storyline a final fight.
    • BossX also qualifies, being a strange alien creature of unexplained origin who introduces itself as the true leader of Black X at the very end of Red's arc.
  • Girls Behind Bars: Emilia’s story starts out in Despair prison where she meets Annie and Liza.
  • Global Currency: "Credits." There are also gold ingots which are subject to supply and demand.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The nine rings of power in Riki's game.
    • There's also the four Arcana Tarot cards and four Rune Stones.
  • Grand Theft Me: If one manages it, it is revealed in Emilia's good ending that Ren wasn't dead; his body was actually taken over by Joker via a cursed mask. He begs Emilia to free him by shooting the mask off.
  • Gratuitous English: How the final boss of Red's scenario introduces himself in the Japanese version note .
  • Gravity Master: Mastering Space Magic gives you the "Reverse Gravity" spell.
  • Great Escape: At the start of Emilia's game.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Several of the secret characters. Sei can only be found after beating a Bonus Dungeon in Shrike, Suzaku can be recruited only if you beat a random Bonus Boss, while you're on a certain quest, and Rei can only be obtained during Asellus's game, after you lose White Rose, if you went into her room with just White Rose early on in the game.
    • How combos work—every ability has a secret stat that determines how well it links to other attacks of varying types.
    • How monsters work, especially if you haven't played a Saga series game: they run on a very gimped version of Power Copying where a monster consumes a defeated monster and gains some abilities, transforming (and changing stats) if enough abilities are learned.
    • How skill sparking works: there is a "tech tree" of sorts, but some basic skills can trigger advanced techs if you're really lucky.
    • As soon as Lute leaves his hometown, he has the option to tackle The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of his quest. Obviously, that's an extremely bad idea, but a first-time player might do it by accident.
    • The Abyss Bat is one of the most elusive Bonus Boss with no explanation whatsoever in how to encounter it. You have to get into the part in the Ancient Ship at Shingrow where there are Bat-sprite enemies that roamed the land. You need to beat down around 13 of them, all while exiting and re-entering the area. Once you do, the Abyss Bat will pop up. And need we remind you, nothing in game or even manuals talks about anything like 'dangerous bat monster spotted in the ruins.'
  • Guns Akimbo: The Two Gun ability, which lets the user... hold two guns.
    • This ability was renamed to "Guns Akimbo" in the remaster.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Essence mentions that this is a belief among Mystics (not an entirely accurate one, however). Specifically, Mystics don't respect abilities gained through hard work, and a true Mystic Lord is a Mystic born with vast power.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: The porno mag Easter Egg in the Shrike library.
  • Heroism Motive Speech: Asellus gives one to Lord Orlouge upon her return to Fascinaturu, explaining the moral path that she's chosen and why she's returned to Fascinaturu. Depending on her choices, Orlouge can respond with bored contempt, confusion, or pride.
  • Hero of Another Story: Most of the protagonists (and their supporting casts) can be found and/or recruited in every campaign in some fashion. Liza in Red's scenario even points out that he's the hero while she and the rest of Gradius (who play a central role in Emilia's story) are "just extras."
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Shuzer at the beginning of Red's game.
  • Hub City: Koorong. It's the only Region which allows you to take a ship to nearly all others, has the greatest concentration of shops in the game, and doubles as a Hub Level in Riki and Emilia's quests.
  • Identity Absorption: The end result of Blue and Rouge's final battle.
  • Idea Bulb: Used to show when a character learns a new move
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Many, MANY of the stronger sword moves. Notable is Gen's ability to cut rope with a lead pipe. T260G momentarily comments on the impossibility.
  • Improvised Weapon: Early in T260's game, Gen uses wields a pipe as though it were a sword. He even manages to cut a rope with it...or not...
  • Inevitable Tournament: Shingrow holds a masked martial arts tournament every year. This fact is mentioned just before Emilia gets entered. Red can enter as Alkaiser, though it's not necessary.
  • Informed Equipment: Whether you've got on the strongest equipment in the game or charge into battle naked, the sprite remains the same.
    • Averted in the case of exactly four swords—Asura, Kusanagi, Light Sword, and Ray Sword are colored differently in battle than any other. Shields are also colored differently depending on which you have, but only appear when being used.
  • Inspiration Nod: A couple of examples.
  • Instant Runes: Rune magic is represented by giant glowing runes appearing over the targets.
  • Interface Screw: During the Tarot Quest, getting the Grail Card requires asking a series of brewers where it is. At each one, your character takes a swig. When you actually head for the Grail Shrine, your character is plastered, and takes random steps in various directions (even if you aren't moving) - usually directly into enemies. In battle itself, your party (aside from Mecs) gets hit with random status effects due to being drunk.
  • I Owe You My Life: Mesarthim to Asellus. If Asellus is in the party, she'll always join, even if you recruited Silence.
  • Irony: The Freedom rune is located in Despair, a prison.
  • Jackass Genie: The 9 Rings of Power. When Riki wishes for Margmel to be reborn, all those that were not there when it was first created vanish.
    • According to Essence, this is also the reason Hell looks like it does- Long ago, a mage from the Magic Kingdom wished for paradise, but as the rings are evil, got something that appears to be paradise on the outside, but is, in fact, Hell on the inside.
  • Jumped at the Call: Red was more than willing to become a hero. Probably helps that he would have died otherwise, and that the people he wants to fight killed his family.
  • Jump Scare: The beginning of Asellus story, once Gina finished up her POV, we are treated with a nice view of Facinaturu castle. And suddenly, close up to Orlouge's demonic horsenote , scream and Asellus woke up from her Catapult Nightmare.
  • Just Eat Him: Tanzer swallows airships whole, and the people inside the airships can cope for a while
  • Justified Tutorial:
    • Arguably, Blue's entire game, as his quest to master as much magic as possible is one the player is likely to repeat in every character's game.
    • Lute inevitably stumbles his way through many of the same sidequests as Blue on his journey.
  • Laser Blade: Alkaiser’s Ray Sword is a light saber. Also the Light Magic, Light Sword (Solar Blade in the Remaster) grants the caster a sword of light, which is the strongest sword in the game.
  • Laser Guided Tyke Bomb: The reason why Blue/Rouge was Split at Birth, so both halves could learn opposite schools of magic, have one kill the other and absorb his magical talent, and fight back The Legions of Hell.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Recruited characters are not affected by the Rubber-Band A.I., so they start out weak while the enemy has become so powerful that they'll have troubles catching up when you recruit them so late (or you will require A LOT more babysitting for them). Many mandatory recruits (and some) can become like this if you have been gathering allies and doing quests that empowered you to get through the quests that barred you. Mystics, however, are designed to break this rule since they just needed to absorb the correct monsters in their Mystic Weapons to manipulate their stats aside of Charisma, HP, WP and JP. Once that's done, they can catch up with the rest of the trained humans even at late game, though they still need to train for the magics they missed.
  • Lazy Backup: You can send in any of your three teams of five to fight, but if all of one team dies, it's game over.
  • Lens Flare: Alkaiser and Alkarl's "Bright Fist" and "Shining Kick" attacks. The regular martial arts move "Gold Hand" takes this Up to Eleven, with rotating Lens Flare around the target.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Asellus, if you get her Full-Mystic ending.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: At the end of Red's game, Metal Black refuses to fight Alkaiser while he's tired, and allows him to recover.
  • Level Ate: Kylin's Paradise combines this and Toy Time
  • Level Scaling: Enemy encounters increase as you improve your characters' stats.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: The Luminous Labyrinth which must be solved to obtain the gift of Light Magic. It also adds color filters into the mix. You have to hit the exit portal with white light to escape; hitting it with a colored light will either give you an item or start a random battle.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: Done differently depending on the race of the character.
    • Humans can go into battle with up to ten moves, and can learn as many as they want that aren't specific to other races.
    • Mystics can learn as much magic as they want, but can only use 4 spells at a time. They can also learn up to three moves at a time by absorbing monsters into their Mystic Sword, Mystic Gloves, or Mystic Boots- absorbing a new monster replaces the move with a new one.
      • The Half-Mystic Asellus is the best of both worlds- She can learn techniques as a human or a mystic, depending on if she uses her Mystic Gloves, Mystic Sword, and/or Mystic Boots, allowing her to go into battle with 7-10 human abilities as well as 0-3 Mystic ones. However, learning all three Mystic abilities locks her into either the Half-Mystic or Full-Mystic endings, depending on one other variable.
    • Mecs can download as many moves as they want from other Mecs, but how many they can use at a time depends on their Intelligence stat.
    • Monsters can absorb up to ten moves from other monsters— any more than that and an old one must be forgotten.
  • Literal Split Personality
  • Living Shadow: If going for the Gift of Shadow Magic, the party must fight their own shadows. The Shadow Servant spell also creates a shadow clone of the caster that mimics their every action.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a total of 31 characters that can be recruited, plus 7 playable characters, some of which can also be recruited.
    • There were supposed to be eight of them. Fuse is on the title screen, but was cut due to the time crunch. The remastered version has his scenario being added to it as a selling point.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: In order to get the gift for Mind Magic, each character fights a group of monsters, alone.
    • The Wizard Duel in Blue's game also fits, as it's a one on one fight between Blue and his brother. The other characters in your group can be seen watching.
    • There's a more minor example in the Shadow Magic quest. Due to properties of the dungeon, monster allies must wait outside. This makes acquiring the gift for your teammates quite easy when playing as Riki however, as you simply spend the "quest" in the waiting room.
  • Logic Bomb: There's actually a Mec only attack called Logic Bomb, that damages and puts status effects on other Mecs. It's represented onscreen by a long string of numbers, ending in the word 'DEATH'.
  • Loss of Identity: No matter the result of the duel, Blue and Rouge have a brief moment of trying to figure out who he is. Oddly enough, the winner believes he lost.
  • The Lost Lenore: Ren for Emilia. Even after killing Joker, Emilia is still haunted by the death of her fiancé. At least in the bad ending.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Riki's fight against the Ring Lord Virgil, as he and his crew are required to score combos of 3 or more. Which can easily be averted by using DSC as it is a combo in itself, it doesn't link with other allies during a combination attack.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: A few basic rules to it- A) No one person can learn magic from opposing schools (Light & Shadow, Mind & Evil, Rune & Tarot, Time & Space, and Realm & Mystic,) B) Without the Gift, you cannot learn more powerful spells. Blue and Rouge were specifically created to break Rule A.
    • Mind Magic has a rule of its own- Only humans can obtain the Gift for it.
    • In addition, according to books in the Magic Kingdom, by mastering both Light and Shadow magic, one can learn Life Magic, and Mirage magic was lost to the ages, eventually becoming Mystic and Shadow.
  • Magical Society: The Magic Kingdom, where Blue and Rouge are from. It's stated that all men born there are born with the Gift for Realm magic.
  • Magic Misfire: The Realm Magic spell 'Psychic Prison' forces one of these on the target— The next time they attempt to use magic, the effect 'Backfire' occurs, and the enemy takes some damage.
  • Magikarp Power: T260's original body. While it starts with only 5 in each stat and one piece of equipment, and the other models have fancy gadgets like laser cannons and repairkits, it has the potential to be the strongest in the game, since Mecs level up by the equipment they have on, and the original body has the most available slots.
    • Early game monsters, such as Riki and Slime. They have weak starting forms and low stats, but being available early in the game lets them absorb a wider variety of monsters before the party becomes too strong to encounter them. More encounters means a better chance of absorbing a skill that's valuable or necessary for stronger forms, with the added bonus of increasing the monster's prime HP with every new skill absorbed.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Asellus and Gina have an ambiguous mayfly-December relationship in her Half-Mystic ending.
  • Meaningful Name: In Japanese, Orlouge's mistresses are named via the Goroawase Number system—Shirobara Hime's (White Rose) number is 46, which is pronounced "Shi-roku," or "shi-ro" (white) in Japanese. Kinjishi Hime's (Golden Lion) number is 44, which is pronouced "shi-shi" (lion) in Japanese. Due to the adjective "kin" or "gold" attached to the noun, "shi-shi" becomes "ji-shi."
    • Some of the Regions, such as Luminous (the Region where Light and Shadow magic are learned), Baccarat (a casino), and Scrap (which appears to be made solely of rusted metal). Omble, the place you go to find shadow magic, was likely supposed to be "Ombre", French for "shade."
  • Mirror Boss: When you battle Rouge in Blue's game, you find that he's learned the exact opposite types of magic you have. In addition, his (magic-related) stats are the same as yours.
    • Red's quest has a Recurring Boss named Metal Black, a robot warrior who remodels himself after every defeat. His final form is modeled after Red's superhero identity, Alkaiser; he even has a copy of Red's finishing move, Dark Phoenix.
  • Mirror Match: If the player visits Omble to learn Shadow magic, the trip ends with a fight between your (main) party and their shadows.
  • More Dakka: If using the 2-Gun ability, and having guns with a large bullet clip, the Cross Shot tech can be this as you rapidly empty out the clips from both guns. Mecs can also do this if equipped with a lot of guns and can use the Shoot-All tech where they unload every gun they've got equipped.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Monsters, Mystics and magic? Sure, they've got their own power, but humans can grow far stronger than any monster or mystic, swords, fists and guns can do more damage than throwing magic at the enemy, and if you throw enough weapons and armor on a mec, it makes the ultimate battle tank.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Originally, Asellus has three, Emilia has two. Asellus's depend on whether you had her learn all three Mystic abilities, and whether you saved Gina from the Griffin, while Emilia's depends on whether you fought Gargantu in Baccarat. There are also two endings for Blue's route, defined if you're playing as Blue or Rouge after their duel.
    • In the Remastered, Fuse has multiple routes depending on which protagonist case he takes, not to mention his own personal quest's ending. In each part, they chime with the original endings above. In Blue's case, Fuse also gets to choose who does he want to win the duel and eventually going to Hell between Blue and Rouge... and then he saves them. In Emilia's case, it depends on the Trinity base mission, Fuse can focus on his IRPO duties to arrest Yaruto, or track down Emilia and put her into his protection. The latter plays the scenario as the bad ending of Emilia, but offers a happier resolution. The former plays out like Emilia's good ending, with an extra dose of Fuse being a Butt-Monkey for his rash actions of imprisoning Emilia.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: As detailed in Magic A Is Magic A, no one can have the gift for both a school of magic and its opposite, though you can still buy spells from opposing schools. Except Blue and Rouge, who are specifically designed to break this rule.
    • With the help of a couple items in the game that allow you to cast a spell from certain schools, it is possible for someone with the gift of Rune Magic or Mystic Magic to have some Arcane or Realm spells and then use the item to regain all the spells of the gifted school.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: In addition to certain races and other characters not being found in certain quests, Red and Blue cannot be recruited in any other quest except for their own. Blue's brother, on the other hand, can be sought out on almost all of them, alluding in a way to the fact that he's considered the good guy for Blue's own quest. And also that they are two halves of the same person.
    • Some characters can only be recruited in only one route and not appearing elsewhere. These include Doll, Rabbit and BJ&K (for Red), Leonard (for T260G), Ildon and Rei (for Asellus) and Capt. Hamilton (for Lute). Fuse's scenario is designed to defy this trope, as in his scenario, you can practically recruit everybody, including Red and Blue. However, Blue-Rouge remain the sole exception that not even Fuse can put in his party together.
  • New Game+: At the start of the game, the player creates 'system data.' Using the same data every time you start with a new character makes their games a bit easier. For example, Red can start with as much as 180 HP and already know the move Chop, or secondary characters may start with better equipment. The remaster adds a more traditional New Game+, allowing you to choose which parameters to keep.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In the third battle against Metal Black, he takes Alkaiser's signature move, Al-Phoenix, and turns it back on him with Dark-Al-Phoenix, a very damaging move that Metal Black had no indication of using before. After it's used on Alkaiser, and for this battle only, is Alkaiser has a free technique slot and uses Al-Phoenix, he'll always learn Re-Al-Phoenix, which takes the original power and turns it Up to Eleven, becoming his strongest attack.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: As it turns out, since the Nine Rings of Power are evil, wishes made with them are intentionally misinterpreted - Riki wishing for Margmel to be reborn means that anyone not there when it was born ceases to exist. It's All There in the Manual that this is also the reason Hell looks like Paradise— a mage from the Magic Kingdom wished for a paradise, but since the rings are inherently evil, got something that only looked like it.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Asellus in her Full Mystic ending, notable as it's one of the only voice clips in the game. Mei-Ling also strikes the pose and did the laugh during her victory pose, but hers is not voiced.
  • Nonlethal KO: When your HP runs out, your character is knocked out and loses a life point. If they continue to get hit and lose all their life points, the character is Killed Off for Real. If happens to the main character, it's Game Over, with a short message saying [Character Name] is dead.
  • Noodle Incident: Mei-Ling and Fei-On had some sort of past relationship, but exactly what that was and what happened during it is left to imagination.
  • No Ontological Inertia: According to supplementary materials, killing Kylin also destroys the paradise he created, and everyone else in it. Including the children it was created for.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Stats only go up.
  • Number of the Beast: The Evil spell "Pain Doubler" doubles the total damage done to all enemies, up to a maximum of 666. When used on a Player Character, it can be especially damaging, as HP maxes out at 999. When used by Zozma, the only playable character who can learn it, it's not all that great, as the average damage tends to be in the thousands.
  • Offscreen Inertia: It is implied that Blue never actually kills Hell's Lord, but fights him eternally.
  • Older Than She Looks: Not that you can tell by the sprites, but Asellus is a 29 year old who looks 17.
    • Red comments on this if you talk to her on the Cygnus, since she used to babysit him when he was a kid and she still looks the same as he remembers despite twelve years passing.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: The battle with Genocide Heart in T260's game is fought in a room full of screens, that act as a sort of health meter. The more damaged Genocide Heart is, the more screens fizzle out. They're also used for mirrors for its signature attack: Carnage.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Trinity is a corporation that became a corrupt version of The Federation. They're involved in some pretty shady stuff, too, though they're only significantly involved in two characters' plots (Emilia and Lute). One of their most powerful leaders, Mondo, is the Big Bad, according to the supplementary material.
  • Opium Den: In Kyo. BlackX runs their drug operations from it.
  • Optional Party Member: There's a grand total of 31 recruitable characters, though depending on who you're playing, the number is closer to 20. That said, all but two of the protagonists can be recruited in another's game.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Orlouge and Virgil; literally, in the latter example. Orlouge makes the odd reference to the power of darkness and ruling the entire universe, but never so much as sets a foot outside of his castle.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Apparently, mermaids are water mystics.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Mystics are basically vampires. They're immortal, can be created from humans, some of them sleep in coffins (the princesses are shown to, but everyone else we dunno), and many of them are nobles. But they don't drink blood. They have mystic weapons that absorb souls.
    • Though at one point Asellus suggests that she might suck Riki's blood.
  • Party in My Pocket: Characters joining the group just walk right into your body. If they have anything plot-relevant to say, they'll step out, say it, and go back in. Slime even forces his way into the party by sliding slithering walking into you.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Bio Research Lab. The enemy's power level will usually be significantly higher than yours, making it the best place to quickly learn new skills and gain stat boosts a lot. Yorkland Swamp serves the same role once you're done with the Grail quest, but it only features reptilian enemies, which cannot be found in Bio Research Labs. Some quirks of these, however, include:
    • Asellus is railroaded to Bio Research Lab, because the Yorkland Swamp can end up being a place where events in her story occur.
    • The areas do not work on mechs, since all of the enemies above are organic, so you're out of luck if you're playing as T260G and has an all-mech party.
  • Permanently Missable Content: You can only enter Despair once. If you miss anything, you don't get another chance. This means that in Emilia's quest, only Emilia, Annie, and Liza gain the gift of Rune Magic (because they're the only ones present to get the Freedom Rune).
    • Likewise, Tanzer is a one-time-only dungeon. For most characters, that's not an issue, because you're locked in until you complete it. But Blue can teleport out before getting the Vitality Rune by using his Region Map... at which point he's boned because he can't go back for it. Likewise, although Riki can get the Freedom Rune when he visits Despair in his quest, he's forced to complete Tanzer the first time he leaves Koorong, before he can even start the Rune quest at Devin, blocking him from ever getting the gift for Rune magic.
  • Planet Heck: A subversion- Hell looks like a really nice place- Crystal staircases, clouds, cherubs floating by... then you try and talk to one and get hurled into a battle with a demon.
  • Planet of Hats: Some of the Regions. Most noticeably Devin, which is riddled with Fortune Tellers of all kinds.
  • Playboy Bunny: Emilia in her bunnygirl costume. She'll also appear in this when you recruit her in other characters' quests.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: The nine rings of power in Riki's game can be used in game to buff the party or debuff enemies.
  • Point of No Return: Hell in Blue's game, Mondo's base in Lute's, the Black Ray in Red's, the Yorkland mountains in Emilia's, and the RB3 ship in T260G's. Saving in any of these places before you're trained well enough can make the game Unwinnable.
    • Asellus and Riki can leave their final dungeons at any point, but both have opportunities to save immediately before fighting their final bosses, also leaving you in an Unwinnable situation if you can't actually handle said bosses.
  • Polyamory: The state of Asellus and Gina's relationship in the Half-Mystic ending is implied to be incompletely exclusive. Asellus can't get Gina pregnant, after all. Asellus herself is almost certainly still together with White Rose, while her relationships with Mesarthim and Lion Princess are open to interpretation.
  • Power Copying: Mystics, Monsters, and Mecs learn new skills from defeated opponents.
  • The Power of Friendship: Two notable examples, as detailed in "The Essence of Saga Frontier". The first is that chronologically, Lute's quest is last, because he was too busy helping everyone else, but as a bonus, his new friends help him in his final battle. The second offers a more optimistic ending for Blue/Rouge. Because he remembered that there were people outside who cared about him, he musters the power to break out of Hell. Technically, it's the more friendlier Rouge, but since Blue is inside him, he probably starts appreciating friendship.
  • Power of the Void: The Space Magic spell "Vanish" which removes enemies from existence.
  • Preexisting Encounters
  • Prison Episode: The first part of Emilia's game, and a part of the quest for the gift for Rune magic.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Treasures of Amaterasu can be found in Sei's Tomb. The Kusanagi is one of the most powerful swords in the game, and one of a few that are colored differently than normalnote , and comes with a special attack. The Mirror is a shield that grants immunity to fire and water attacks, and equipping the Necklace allows access to the Sacred Song attack, a powerful move that's especially effective on undead creatures. Interestingly, Murakumo, the other name for the sword, can be found there, but it's half as strong as the Kusanagi.
  • Punny Name: The AGUNI (agony) line of guns. It's also possible they were supposed to be AGNI (and indeed that's what they're called in the Remastered version), which is still funny.
  • Puzzle Boss: In Riki's game, Ring Lord. In order to beat him, you must rack up a score of 10 by doing combos, which becomes more and more difficult after awhile, as he gets tired of waiting and begins to stomp your party into the ground.
  • Razor Wind: Gale Slash, Two Gale Slash, and the monster version, Gale Attack.
  • Religion Is Magic: Magic Kingdom, home to magicians and realm magic, is the most overtly religious region in the game. Blue's mission is presented as being delivered from on high.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: As it turns out, Asellus's accident was twelve years ago, and she'd been presumed dead for the whole time. The exaggeration was big enough that it inspired a teenage Fuse to become a patrolman and join IRPO in hopes to investigate that report.
  • The Reveal: All seven characters' quests have at least one major reveal near their end.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: The enemies that appear in a given fight are based on a "class" of enemy (mech, water monster, etc) compounded by a rank system, which is determined on your stat totals and the location the fight occurs (the Bio Research Lab uses enemies a rank up from where you would normally be, for example).
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Dr. Nusakan
  • Science Fantasy: You've got characters on the Sci-Fi end like T260G, characters on the Fantasy end like Blue and Rouge, and everything in between.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Some of the protagonists will immediately hightail it out of Dr. Nusakan’s clinic after he instructs them to lie down on the hospital bed for a rather questionable operation.
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: Blue's final battle.
  • Secret Character: A couple are guide danged hard to find, like Suzaku, Sei, and Rei, mentioned above. Some, like Thunder and Mesarthim, only require you to have certain other characters in your group.
  • Secret Final Campaign: Averted in the original, and downplayed in Remastered. Fuse's scenario (exclusive to the Remaster) is unlocked after you complete any character's storyline, and expands as you complete additional storylines, eventually allowing you to fight all of the final bosses and recruit nearly every party member in the game.
  • Secret Identity: Played completely straight without a hint of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Red can switch to his superhero mode in combat, but until late in the game the command is only available if every member of the party is blind, otherwise incapacitated, or a Mec.
  • Secret Identity Change Trick: Occasional in Red's game, though usually by happy accidents- power outages, briefly being separated from the group, or, in combat everyone else being somehow incapacitated.
  • The Shadow Knows: In Essence, there's a picture of Red casting a shadow of Alkaiser, with the words "Chang for justice!" beneath.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In Riki's scenario, the whole story is rendered as this. Turns out the rings are evil, and he has to stop them. He does so, his Doomed Hometown is, well, doomed, the inhabitants, who aren't the least bit bothered by it, decide to just move elsewhere, and all the rings are scattered across the world (with the majority returned to where they were found originally). In other words, going through the whole thing accomplished absolutely nothing about Margmel's demise. The lummox's existence, however, is another story, so Riki and the rest decided to move on from Margmel.
  • She Is the King: Asellus is called the "Prince" of Facinaturu. This is likely due to the facts that: A)In Fascinaturu, "Princess" is a term reserved for Orlouge's mistresses, B) The Mystics don't tend to care much about gender, and C) she's the fairy-tale prince of the story.
  • Ship Tease: Gina and Ildon get a bit in Asellus's Half-Mystic ending. Taken out of context, Ildon would appear to be "the love of Gina's life," but only if you hadn't been paying attention to the story up till then.
  • Shout-Out
    • Red is one to the Kamen Rider franchise as a whole, being a Henshin Hero.
    • Red's not the only person to become a super hero after Black Cross destroyed his home- Himitsu Sentai did it first. Late in his game, one of the fights in the BlackX base consists of a Red Fighter, a Yellow Fighter, a Green Fighter, a Pink Fighter, and a Blue Fighter, the same colors the protagonists from the show wear. They also cover Metal Heroes stuffs with their Magisphere, a dimension where every BlackX fighters' powers are tripled, used very often against the heroes. Sounds like Makuu Space.
    • Emilia’s can be seen as one to Charlie’s Angels as she forms a female Power Trio with Annie and Liza, who get sent on missions around the Regions under Roufas.
    • T260 gets a "G" slapped on the end of its name after being found in a crater filled with junk, and gets used for combat almost immediately. "Gally" was also found in a crater filled with junk and was used for combat.
    • There are two Rabite statues just outside the shrine in Devin. They also exist as enemies in-game, though it's unlikely you'll see them.
    • One fairly rare weapon is called Glirandly, a mistranslation of Glirendree.
  • Shows Damage: Genocide Heart's Ominous Multiple Screens fizzle out as he takes damage.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Blue and Rouge. In terms of personality, Blue is a Jerkass in-game, while Rouge supposedly has an easier time making friends. In terms of abilities, as mandated by the plot, they master opposing schools of magic. The differences even spread to appearance- Blue wears a blue robe and keeps his hair in a ponytail, while Rouge wears a red one and keeps his hair down.
  • Sidequest: Notably, almost all of the sidequests are actually main quests for one protagonist or another; for a case in point, the magic quests are essentially the entirety of Blue's quest, but for everyone else they're a major sidequest. The only pure side areas are the Bio Research Lab in Shrike and Furdo's workspace in the Magic Kingdom; both of those were intended to be in Asellus's quest before her quest was bulldozed due to time constraints, and while their plot relevance is added to the Remaster, Asellus does not need to explore both areas to complete her story..
  • Sidetrack Bonus: In the quest for the Shield card, should you enter a cave rather than just stay on the main path, you can fight a red and black dragon who're hoarding all kinds of goodies.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Averted and played straight at separate points in Asellus's story. Mesarthim will put anything she's carrying back into your inventory when she leaves, but White Rose isn't as generous once she chooses to stay in the Labyrinth. Also played straight in Red's story: after you defeat the pirate attack on the Cygnus, Fuse, Roufas, Asellus, and White Rose all leave your party, taking everything on them with them. Fuse and Roufas can be recruited again later, but Asellus and White Rose can't.
  • Space Pirate: Nomad and her crew.
  • Speech Bubbles: Your words are a different color than normal NPCs. Even if you come across them in the other characters' stories, protagonists' words will usually be whatever color they are in their own game.
    • In Asellus's game, Mystics' text is in blue.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Vadjoueal/Virgil/Vergil, Schoether/Shuzer, Meiren/Mei-Ling, Kylin/Kirin/Kyrin, Time/Thyme, Ciato/Scheat, Furdo/Furud and Ildon/Yildun.
    • Lots of translation artifacts, here. "Koorong" instead of "Kowloon" is another.
    • The Remaster version at least fixes one case where Emilia was originally spelled as 'Emelia'. The rest (like Koorong) stays, on the other hand.
  • Spinning Clock Hands: Used as an attack- Time Magic's Chaos Stream spell spins the enemies around on a clock face, possibly petrifying it or lowering its speed.
  • Split at Birth: Blue and Rouge.
  • Standard RPG Items: Your various health potions, status effect removers, buff/debuff items, damage dealing ones, and whatnot. There's no "Revive" item, though—due to the game's mechanics, any healing item will revive a character.
  • Standard Status Effects: And they actually tend to hit the enemies, too. Petrify especially proves useful. Unfortunately it works the other way, too. Being Charmed or Confused can be a massive pain in the neck.
  • Status Buff: All of Rune Magic, as well as spells in a few other schools.
  • Stock Monsters: It IS an RPG after all.
  • Stuck Items: Most Mystics come with Mystic Mail, different Mecs have different bits of equipment they can't remove, and Living Swords can possess characters, becoming "Glirandly," a sword that provides a stat boost, but cannot be unequpped (unless you use it's special move, Final Strike).
  • Sue Donym: During Red's quest he attempts to investigate a fighting tournament dressed in his superhero outfit. When asked his name at the sign-up counter he stammers part of his real name a few times, and winds up entered in as "Rerere".
  • Super Empowering: In their Emergency Transformations, Red and Asellus get Superpowers and Mystic powers respectively, Red is Type 4, while Asellus is a mix of types 1 and 4.
  • Superhero Origin: Red becomes a superhero, as it was the only way to save his life after the Hopeless Boss Fight fight with Shuzer.
  • Suplex Finisher: The Suplex martial arts technique manifests in three or four different ways depending on the enemy being fought. In addition, there's also Locomotion G, a series of four or five, and the DSC which combines all the different suplexes with a couple of other martial arts moves.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The IRPO's Hand Blaster, which can be used as a laser gun, a beam sword, or a paralyzer.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The prison Region Despair was initially created to house one single prisoner: the Warden.
  • Take Your Time: Blue is told to hurry because he cannot learn any magic his brother already has, but you're never forced to get a different school because Rouge got there first.
  • Taken for Granite: A few moves (usable by both you or the random monsters that have it), can petrify. If used on an enemy, the result is instant death, while when used on the player, the character is 'Stoned' and unable to attack, but immune to damage and loss of LP. If the whole team (or just the ones left alive) are Stoned, it's Game Over.
  • Tarot Motifs: An entire school of magic is based on the Tarot, using Swords, Grail, Gold, Shield, Fool, Magician, Death, and Tower.
  • Tech Tree: An absolutely immense one, with over 100 abilities that can be learned from each other with varying degrees of success, depending on which move is being used, who's using them, and what weapon they have equipped while using it.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: T260's original mission is to stop Region Buster III, a machine capable of destroying entire Regions.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Black X is lead by a cyborg or mech with the same name. Immediately after he's defeated, Doctor Klein reveals he's truly the one in charge. Then after Klein is defeated, Boss X appears and claims *he's* the one in charge.
  • Theme Naming:
  • Theme Twin Naming: Blue and Rouge (French for "red").
  • There Can Be Only One: On an extremely small scale— The Magic Kingdom "does not need two incomplete magicians— [they] need a superior one", so Blue or Rouge needs to be killed by the other.
  • Tick Tock Tune: Fittingly, Time Lord's Region has this as its BGM, once the clocks start working again.
  • Time Master: Time Lord, and anyone who learns Time Magic, though only one person in the universe can learn the more powerful spells.
  • Time Stands Still: The Overdrive spell, which lets one character act while time stands still for eight turns. Time Lord’s Region as a whole before reactivating the hourglass has the whole place deathly silent and frozen still.
  • To Be Continued: Red's game ends on this note... but not with Red or Alkaiser's as the story being continued...
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Sanctuary Stone item. Incredibly rare, but works as a portable inn. Can be useful in the final dungeons, if there's no way to backtrack and heal at a real one.
  • Toy Time: Kylin's Paradise combines this and Level Ate.
  • The Tragic Rose: Is it really a surprise that White Rose was going to have a bad end?
  • Transformation Sequence: Alkaiser has his Henshin Hero-style Alkaiser Change one, Asellus her Super Mode-style Mystical Change.
  • Turns Red: Orlouge. At the start of the fight, he uses one Portrait at a time— when he's at the last 20,000 to 30,000 HP, he summons all three, giving him access to new, stronger moves.
  • Undercover IRPO Agent Reveal: Doll, while investigating Berva's Base in Red's game.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset: Excepting Lute who's instead being the most basic character for a leader, each protagonist has something special that makes them stand out or being very powerful than other characters. Riki has the Rings, Emilia has her ability to switch costumes to manipulate her learning tree, T260G can change bodies and get the ultimate body form that no other Mecs can access, Blue can obtain ALL magic gifts in the game at once except Mystic, Evil or Mirage Magic but only after he beats or is beaten by Rouge, Asellus is a Half-Mystic thus can combine Human growth and skills with Mystic's buffs and Red can turn into Alkaiser and gain Alkaiser-only techs. Fuse also has nothing special either, but he has the ability to put all those unique protagonists in one party.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: All non-humans, but mystics and monsters especially. They can attain incredible stats that would require excessive grinding for humans to reach, but struggle to make the most of them with their limited pool of abilities. Magic and monster skills generally underperform when compared to fist, sword, and gun skills, even when backed up by maxed-out stats.
  • Unwitting Pawn: It's revealed at the end of Riki's quest that the Rings are evil, and that Mei-ling was the Big Bad all along and was manipulating Riki into collecting them.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Tower. It IS incredibly powerful. Sometimes. When it's not, it does as little as 500 damage. And it uses all your JP, so you only get one shot.
  • Unwinnable: It's entirely possible to get to the final dungeon of Lute's game in about half an hour, with no training. Of course, if you save there, you're outta luck.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: An unusual example in that there's only one version of the game containing it, but in the Remastered version, you're given the choice before starting a character's story of whether or not to include the extra content added in the remaster, in case you'd prefer to play the game as it was originally presented.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Hell, in Blue's game. Not only is it, y'know, Hell, but even though Blue is the only character with any form of Warp Whistle, you are told before you enter that if you try to use it, "You'll be cast away into the eternal oblivion."
  • Victory Pose: Every character has one. From Gen drinking heavily, to Alkaiser dancing, to Liza swiping her hair.
  • Villain Protagonist: Of a sort. Canonically, Blue is actually the bad side of the Wizard Duel between himself and Rouge. (Though, to be fair, less "evil" and more renegade... unless the player chooses to go for Space magic, of course, in which case he's downright monstrous.) This can be guessed at through gameplay, with Rouge actively joining the other characters during their own questlines, while Blue's only appearance in a story other than his own involves him refusing to join Red because he doesn't like Red's name, and the fact that in his own story Blue is clearly only using all of the allies he recruits with no intention of helping them on their own quests despite promising them that he will. The Essence of Saga Frontier makes it explicit: Rouge was the good brother, and canonically the winner of their duel. He's also the one who got the gift for Space magic, and somehow convinced Kylin to teach it to him without having to kill the creature and destroy its Paradise. (Which also means that Blue could have done the same with whichever of the Time or Space mages the player chose to face, and simply chose not to.) Rouge also canonically entered Hell without his friends because he knew it would be a one way trip and didn't want them to be trapped with him, and then he managed to escape from Hell anyway thanks to The Power of Friendship.
  • Warp Whistle: Blue's Region Map. You have to visit a region the normal way first (except for Devin and Luminous, where you learn Rune/Tarot and Light/Shadow magic respectively).
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Mei-Ling asks "Do we have to put up with this just to acquire the gift?" after Blue gets the gift for Space Magic. Seeing as how Kylin maintained a paradise for children, that you just destroyed by killing him, it's a valid point. Of course, this is the same Mei-Ling who puts up with seeing the Margmel suffer the same fate after manipulating Riki to make a wish from the Ring just to obtain more power to rule the world. But the point still stands.
  • Weapons That Suck: Mystic Sword, Mystic Gloves and Mystic Boots, which are used by Mystics to absorb enemies to use their power.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: If the main character of any story loses all their LP (and therefore dies), it's an instant game-over, even if the other 4 characters in your party are at perfect health.
  • Weird Moon: On the night of the duel between Blue and Rouge, the moon is half full... the bottom half. It looks like it may actually have been partially destroyed
  • We Need a Distraction: One of the Shadow spells, Hide Behind, creates an illusion of the caster behind an enemy to provide a distraction.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Space Magic in general. Of its six spells, two can only affect monsters with either Deathsynthesis or Photosynthesis, one also stops your status effects, and two are weaker than other spells of similar cost. The instant death spell, Vanish, is decent, but there are still other spells that can do the same thing. Even in Blue's scenario, it will have negative connotations as well: Not only this would cement Blue's Villain Protagonist status where he destroyed a paradise of lost children for his own gain, during the fated Duel, Rouge will have access to TimeEclipse, which will cause petrification and it's counted as instant defeat even if Blue should have more LP and eligible for Reviva.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Annie and Liza get angry at Roufas when he drugged Emilia and sold her off as a sex slave to a Trinity official in order to have her infiltrate the place.
  • Where It All Began: Both Blue and Asellus's games end where they begin, The Magic Kingdom and Orlouge's castle, respectively.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Any protagonist can go to most (though not all) locations and do some of the quests there (or at least loot the place and grind against monsters), with the expectation that in most quests you'll go out and do some Level Grinding, skill grinding and otherwise buffing yourself up before you go on the final quest. Asellus and Lute deserve special mention, though: their storylines are almost completely sandbox and directionless for the majority of the game. Asellus's quest is unique because it doesn't happen on her schedule; instead, she plays in the sandbox while being chased by assassins who show up in any of a number of locations, until White Rose is trapped in the labyrinth and she can go and settle the score with Lord Orlouge. Lute, meanwhile, only has one storyline quest, but he has to roam around at random just to find it, and he'd better build up a bit before embarking on it.
  • Wind Is Green: Gale Slash and Gale Attack are green gales of wind directed at all opponents.
  • A Winner Is You: Blue's ending consists of the screen fading to gray, then the words 'The End' appearing on the screen. That said, everything past the Duel Boss fight with Rouge could be considered a 'playable ending,' as the credits roll after it.
  • Wizard Duel: The penultimate boss fight in Blue's game is a duel with his twin brother, Rouge. The winner absorbs the loser's magic and personality. During the battle, one school of magic becomes more powerful every other turn or so, including those that cannot be obtained by either.
  • Womb Level: Tanzer, a monster large enough to swallow Region ships whole.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Human characters can learn grappling attacks when their barehand abilities are high enough. Taken Up to Eleven if any learn the DSC tech, which is a (random) combo of throws and slams, having the potential to do damage over the 10,000s.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Some characters have very unique abilities that may even break the standard rules. Among others, Blue and Rouge were created to break Mutually Exclusive Magic, and the Half-Human Hybrid Asellus is capable of increasing her stats both as a human and as a mystic (though she has to go into Super Mode to take advantage of Mystic bonuses), and she can use combat abilities (which are human-only), magic (which both humans and mystics share) and mystics' natural abilities.
  • Wutai: Wakatu and Kyo.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Neither Blue nor Rouge can return to the Magic Kingdom until one has killed the other.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Emilia begins her quest imprisoned in Despair, and meets Liza and Annie there.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: Red says this word for word to his Worthy Opponent, Metal Black after the final defeat.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Only one being in the entire universe can possess the Gifts for Time or Space magic. In order to master it, you must kill the one that has it. Most characters can just ask the current user to join them, but Blue has to kill them.

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