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Video Game / Suikoden Tactics

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Suikoden Tactics (released as Rhapsodia in Japan) is a Gaiden Game in the Suikoden series and a sequel to Suikoden IV. The game tells the story of Kyril, the son of a Scarlet Moon officer, as he investigates and uncovers a massive conspiracy revolving around Rune Cannons. A complex web of political intrigue, rebellion, insurrection and a dying empire is further complicated by other agents of the Scarlet Moon with their own priorities regarding Kooluk and the Rune Cannons.

Tactics/Rhapsodia ties up many of the loose ends left over from IV, providing key information that helped the plot of the prior game make sense. Most of the cast returned, with a higher Stars of Destiny retention rate than even Suikoden II boasted, and several got fleshed out a fair bit more in the process, mostly via party chatter and optional campfire scenes.

Suikoden Tactics provides examples of:

  • Adventure Guild: Middleport's quest guild, run by Lalacle.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American game cover shows Kyril, Andarc and Seneca holding their weapons and getting ready to fight; the Japanese and European ones shows Kyril fainted (or sleeping) and Yohn embracing him (see above image).
  • Another Dimension: The World of Emptines, homeland of Yohn, the Giant Tree and the Evil Eye.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Most plot-related battles limit you on using eight party members (Kyril being mandatory), but you can switch characters in the middle of the fight. Side-quest related battles and the "Monster Hunt" Free Battles are more generous on the number of deploy units.
  • Ascended Extra: Frederica, who was an optional character hunting Graham Cray in IV, returns as a major character in this, getting embroiled in the plot when Kyril's party comes to her village. True to this, she's unique (as opposed to the other returning minor characters) in that she has Plot Armor, unlike a lot of them.
  • The Atoner: Andarc, for slaying Walter after he was turned into a fishman and almost killed Kyril. Also, Snowe Vingerhut.
  • Bad Boss: The Merseto merchant who kills Ralph, a kid, for an accident involving his Kangacorn. Also Iskas, who leave Roget to die once he have served his purpose.
  • Badass Family: The Kooluk Royal Family: Martin, Busk, Ornela. Each of them lead an army an fight in the front lines. Also the Rebellious Princess Corselia.
  • Battle Couple: Akaghi and Mizuki, though they insist otherwise.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Kyril ends up on both ends of these; one memorable example has Selma, Paula and Jewel show up with The Cavalry while riding Giant Owls.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Noah is a girl, but the in-game tutorial calls her a "he."
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Obel Ruins.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Kyril is a required party member for plot-relevant battles, but he can be switched out during monster hunting levels.
  • The Cavalry:
    • Some of the recruits send by Lino En Kuldes to aid Kyril in his quest join during a ongoing battle, in which there are too many enemies to the party to handle.
    • When the group is ambushed, in Graska, Lino himself arrives just in time to help them.
  • Cel Shading: The game uses this for the characters and monsters.
  • Citadel City: Kooluk capital, Graska is a fortress, build in the top of a mountain.
  • City of Canals: Merseto, a port town in Kooluk. During the battles fought in there, there are boats who keep moving between the scenario and can be used as a shortcut.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: The Golem of Obel Ruins and the story final bosses are extremity resistente against Lazlo's Rune of Punishemnt, as it would kill them in one turn if they weren't.
  • Cute Mute: Yohn, who combines this with Beast Man.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Yohn has the ability to communicate with the souls of the recently departed people.
  • Dem Bones: The Skeleton enemies at the Obel Ruins.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The evil pirate Steele, who is the adversary fought before the three years time-skip.
  • Double Weapon: Kyril's weapon is a double sided weapon.
  • Dramatic Irony: Late in the game, Kyril kills a fishman to defend Corselia, finally overcoming the mental block that's prevented him from doing so in the past... only to realize he just slew her father, mirroring the trauma that caused said mental block in the first place.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The non-hostile rune fragments enemies that wanders the battlefield dying it with its respective element.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: There is five elements in the game and each character (except Mitsuba) has an innate one. Standing on a platform of the same element gives status buff and gradual healing, while standing at one whose his innate element is weak to lower his status and causes damage. The elemental order is: Fire > Wind > Earth > Lightning > Water > Fire.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Roget and his boss, Iskas are sorcerers who use their magic to control the fishmen.
  • Faceless Masses: Non-named characters still get portraits, but nobody who isn't important to the plot has any eyes. Not even the Mercenaries you fight now and then...and can eventually recruit into your team.
    • Their weapons also have generic names: "Sword", "Bow" etc.
  • Fish People: Fishmen, normal people who are involuntary transformed by the Rune Cannons.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: As mentioned above, anyone with a speaking role in the plot can't die in battle, making them good Stone Walls.
  • Geo Effects: During battles, the use of spells and the wandering elemental spheres dye the terrain with their element. Each character has a innate element, and standing on a square of the same element will boost their attack, defense and gradual heal them. Likewise, if the character occupies a space with an element the character is weak to, his atributes will decay and he will take damage every turn, as if he ere poisoned.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: There is some of them at the Deserted Island. You also fight them during Rene and Lazlo recruitments.
  • Golem: Powerful enemies fought at the optional Obel Ruins that can attack you with their Rocket Punch.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Walter, Edgar, Brandeau and Peck.
  • Guide Dang It!: Recruiting the four mercenaries, as you have to keep doing Chiepoo's quests and, at the same time, avoiding any requests from his rival company: "X & Co".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Busk, Ornela and Roget.
  • Helpful Mook: The Elemental Fragments wandering the battlefield. They are harmless, may benefit you depending of the elemental affinity and gives experience points when killed, making them good punching bags for under-leveled charterers.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kyril goes through a major one after witnessing his father's Painful Transformation and death. Having the ship blow up didn't help much, either.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted. Kyril TALKS. And suddenly, so does Lazlo.
  • How We Got Here: The first few chapters are set before the events of Suikoden IV and provide some critical Backstory.
  • Human Resources: The fishmen are humans transformed by the Evil Eye who serves as The Big Bad personal army.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Kyril being the true protagonist, as Walter isn't even on the game cover or in the opening, and his weapon cannot be upgraded.
    • Subverted with the number of recruitable allies. The party management screens displays an 8x8 grid, meaning a total of 64 playable characters. However, only 60 are main party members, as the remaining four slots are for the temporary characters.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: As in Suikoden IV, leveling up fully heals the character HP.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Flame Chamber of the Obel Ruins.
  • Market-Based Title: Suikoden Tactics was originally released in Japan as Rhapsodia.
  • Mounted Combat: Playable units can mount armored kangaroos and giant eagles.
  • New Game Plus: The game has this option. Playing on a New Game + will retain all the money, gear, skills, Affection Levels and the Quest Guild's History. You will also be able to skip cutscenes and recruit Lalacle.
  • Non-Action Guy: A few recruits that you can call into battle can't fight (or aren't very good at it), but provide various support skills and bonuses. For instance, Rene, a Glasses Girl who can locate and unearth buried treasure.
  • Obviously Evil: Steele, a Gonk pirate fought early on.
  • Old Save Bonus: Transferring data over from Suikoden IV lets you recruit Lazlo and Snowe. Lazlo, fresh off the Best Ending, promptly becomes a bit of a Game-Breaker. Snowe is...a guy with a sword.
  • One-Winged Angel: Pulled at the end by Iskas turning the Evil Eye on himself, making him the second person to not be turned into a mindless monster.
  • Painful Transformation: How fishmen are made.
  • Permadeath: Plot-relevant characters are immune to this, but anyone else can die permanently if fallen in battle (and will let you know via dramatic Last Words).
  • Permanently Missable Content: The Ancient Dish, an quest item found at the 5th floor of Obel Ruins. After you beat that level once, the poisoned water will vanish and the item will no longer be in there. Consequently, the other quests involving finding items in the ruins won't became available.
  • Private Military Contractors: The four mercenaries led by a blue-haired elf.
  • Protection Mission:
    • When Kyril meets Simeon, he has to aid him during a battle against the Kooluk soldiers.
    • There is also some Quest Guild missions in which you have to win a battle with a guest character alive. It isn't always necessary, but doing so will cause them to join the group afterwards.
  • Relationship Values: The affinity system. A character with "Good Will" for other and is nearly may take damage in their place, executes follow-up attacks or learn a Combination Attack.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: During one of the camp events, Simeon asks Kyril to bring him two very rare items for an experiment, with the goal of opening a gate to the World of Emptiness and find a way to reverse the fishmen transformation. After Kyril does so, he accidentally summons some fishmen, which the party has to kill. Afterwads, he concludes that the experiment failed and that the transformation is irreversible.
  • Start of Darkness: Brandeau, a seemingly one-shot villain who gave Glen in IV the Rune of Punishment, has one here. We see how he loses his best friend Edgar (Kika's boyfriend), involuntarily acquires the Rune of Punishment from a Pirate (Steele), loses one of his eyes and saw his Sidekick Peck transfigured into a goblin-like creature. He left Kika's crews after being too overcame with guilt, and returns in IV as the Ax-Crazy pirate.
  • Take Your Time: Despite the game having a calendar system, and that it takes many days to traverse from one place to another, no one ages and nothing about the plot changes. There is also a Quest Guild in Middleport, where you can deploy some members to do a quest, which can last up to 30 days.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Roget and Miranda, to Iskas.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Rune Cannons in general.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Patriarchal Faction. They believe that Kooluk should be ruled by those who are fit to it, rather than by those with noble bloodline.
  • Wham Episode: Being the last one before the timeskip, Chapter 3 is very dramatic, as it features Walter and Edgar's death during the final showdown against the pirate Steele, the previous bearer of the Rune of Punishment. This chapter also marks the downfall of Brandeau and Peck.
  • White Magician Girl: Corselia, your youngest recruit and a Rebellious Princess
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens to Roget after he's put in charge of more fishmen than he can actually control.

Alternative Title(s): Rhapsodia