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Video Game / Tail Concerto

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"It's a dirty job... but some dog's gotta do it!"

"I've been looking forward to a day off for a long time. How am I going to spend it?"
Waffle's assumptions are about to be proven very, very, very wrong

The very first game developed by CyberConnect2 and the one that kickstarted the Little Tail Bronx series as a whole.

Tail Concerto (「テイルコンチェルト」, "Teirukoncheruto") is a 3D anime-style Action-Adventure and platform game for the Playstation, published by Bandai in Japan and France in 1998 and by Atlus in North America in 1999.

The game revolves around a canine police officer named Waffle Ryebread and his adventures while he obtains magical crystals for the purposes of an investigation into their use. However, he constantly runs into the Black Cats Gang who is bent on stealing the crystals for their boss, Fool. The group is helmed by Alicia, a girl Waffle knew as a child. What either doesn't know is the unfortunate implications the crystals bring if they are ever reunited...

A mostly underrated game that has a small following. The talents that worked on it include Hiroto Niizato as the game's writer and senior planner, manga artist Nobuteru Yûki as the main character designer, and Chikayo Fukuda and Seizo Nakata as composers. The game's original Japanese release is also known for featuring Akiko "KOKIA" Yoshida's first released song, "For Little Tail".

A game set in the same universe, Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, was released on the Nintendo DS on the 28th of October, 2010. A third game, Fuga: Melodies of Steel, was released on July 29, 2021, with its sequel released on May 11, 2023.

Don't you see what I'm trying to do? I sacrificed myself to warn you of these tropes!

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Russel Ryebread.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Russel Ryebread, though he's actually Waffle's grandfather. Which doubles as The Alcoholic and leads to his Alcohol Hic speech.
  • Alliterative Name: Russel Ryebread.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version had For Little Tail by KOKIA (that was kept in the French version), whereas the U.S. release had an original instrumental theme created by the game's composer. Strangely, the American theme was the only song omitted from the remastered Perfect Soundtrack album.
  • Animal Jingoism: Subverted. The supposed animosity of dog-people towards cat-people is the motivation for the Pris sisters aiding Fool, but over the course of the game Waffle gradually assures them that this simply isn't true, and none of the dog-people you can talk to in the entire game look down on cat-people at all, at least outside of disliking the Black Cats Gang for what they've done. By the end it's more likely it was just Fool manipulating them to his own ends. At the same time, of the Black Cats Gang it's only really Alicia who actually expresses any disdain for dog-people while her sisters are just going along with her plans — and even then she probably doesn't mean all of it — so even the inverse doesn't really seem to be a common sentiment.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Early in the game, Waffle has to go to AirLeaf, where his robot gains a temporary jet pack along with a fairly limited boost meter, preventing the player from straying too far away from the path the game expects you to. When you're going back to AirLeaf at the end of the game, the robot gets upgraded again with an almost-infinite boost meter, allowing you to easily find the photograph pieces / whistles you might have missed.
    • If you use a continue, then you'll restart in the room you died in with whichever enemies in that area still defeated and captured. It's useful in the Flying Fortress stage, where it's arguably better to take the hit and continue with full health if you have the whistles to spare.
  • Anti-Villain: All of them, except for Fool.
    • All Alicia wants to do is create a homeland for the cat-people who she thinks are discriminated by the dog-people. Stare and Flare are just tagging along because they're True Companions.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: By mashing the jump button in mid-air, Waffle can flap the Police Robo's arms in order to momentarily hover. Do not use this thinking you can correct your jumps, as all aerial momentum is immediately lost upon the first flap.
  • Badass Adorable: Waffle. Pretty much every member of the main cast, really.
  • Book Ends: The game begins and ends with Waffle giving the blue pendant to Alicia, with the two scenes even having similar dialogue.
  • Big Bad: Fool
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: The final battle against The Guardian takes place within The Iron Giant, where it hits hard, moves fast, and every time you knock it down, it just gets back up again. From that alone, you expect to be hit with an unwinnable fight... except after you knock The Guardian down once, the crystals powering The Iron Giant reveals themselves. There's nothing stopping you from walking up and swiping the only one you can reach to disable the entire beast.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Any references to Russel's alcoholism was removed in the North American release, instead just simply having him be "tired" when Waffle interacts with him.
    • Two art pieces were removed from the US release, as both of them contained The Priss Sisters drinking beer. Since photos were organized in columns of three, Fool's character art photo was also removed in order to level the Photo Album out.
  • Bubble Gun: Waffle's weapon.
  • Cartoon Bomb: The basic weapon used by the Pris sisters and the kittens. They even have little cat skulls on them.
  • Catch and Return: You're going to be doing this a lot if you want to make the game easier on yourself.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Egg Stone and the parts of the Iron Giant scattered around the Floating Continents, including his giant sword at Grimto and his head at Ferzen.
  • Cherry Tapping: The game encourages that you pick up and toss bombs back at enemies and bosses in order to take them out faster. However, it's still possible to use nothing but the Bubble Gun to defeat everyone, even if it does take longer due to its puny damage.
  • Cleavage Window: Alicia's outfit has one of these. So does Therria's.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: Everyone to an extent. Alicia Pris is the leader and wears red, Stare Pris is The Quiet One in blue, and Flare Pris is the Genki Girl in yellow. Waffle, the hero, and Princess Therria are white. Fool wears purple.
  • Con Man: Fool.
  • Cool Airship: Obviously given the setting.
  • Cool Old Guy: Russel Ryebread.
  • Cute Kitten: The kitties that are a part of The Black Cats Gang.
  • Distressed Damsel: Princess Therria gets kidnapped by the Pris sisters quite early in the game. And later Alicia does too.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: You can perform one with your jetpack.
  • Drill Tank: The mini-versions are piloted by the kittens in Ferzen.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Because this game predates the greater mythos of the Little Tail Bronx series, it has some oddities that clash a little with the later games:
    • "Caninu" and "Felineko" hadn't been introduced as names for the races in the localized versions so instead they're just called "dog-people" and "cat-people" respectively.
    • The planet's surface is apparently visible and accessible beneath Prairie, despite it being established in Solatorobo that the planet is concealed by a volatile cloud layer.
    • Not only is this the only Little Tail Bronx game to not have a French voice track, it's also the only game with an English voice track.
    • Unlike Solatorobo and Fuga which had at least two to three vocal themes each, Tail Concerto only has one vocal track (that isn't even accessible on US copies, unlike the two later games) that was outsourced to KOKIA, unlike songs like "And Then, To CODA" or "Flower on the Trails" which was done in-house under CyberConnect2's LieN label.
    • Tail Concerto lacks a New Game Plus feature that later games would have. In fact, as mentioned in Permanently Missable Content below, your save would actually be bricked upon completing the game.
    • This game has no level-up or any other RPG-related mechanic, and Waffle gets no upgrades to his mech regardless of progression. The only boosts he gets are the jetpack that is only useable on one island and a tracking laser blast that he only gets in the final stage.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: At the end of the game, your Bubble Gun shoots green energy blasts due to being powered up from being inside the Iron Giant.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In one NPC's house, he speaks frequently of a precious item. When he's out, you can raid his house to get it. It's a picture of Cyan in a swimsuit.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Fool lives up to his name, getting eaten by the Iron Giant the moment he resurrects it and tries to control it.
  • Exposition Break: Anime cutscenes.
  • Fantastic Racism: Alicia is prejudiced against the dog-people at first due to her somewhat unclear past (reportedly, her father died in a hospital run by dog-people and blamed them for not saving her). It spreads to Flare saying that Prairie once belonged to the cat-people before being invaded by the dog-people (the details of the war are unclear). It doesn't stick with Flare when she actually interacts with the dog-people.
    • The invasion and dog-people seizing the land from the cat-people was maybe just a lie fabricated by Fool. Maybe.
  • Floating Continent: Prairie is composed entirely of this.
  • Forgotten Super Weapon: The Iron Giant. (No, not that one). It was confirmed a couple years after Solatorobo was released that the Iron Giant was a Titano-Machina, similar to Lares, Lemures and the Vanargand.
  • Funny Animal: Cats and dogs, or feline and canine if you prefer.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Apparently Alicia builds all the mechas for the Black Cats Gang.
  • Generation Xerox: Apparently Cyan's grandfather and Waffle's grandfather share the same vitrolic relation Cyan and Waffle share. Also, Cyan's grandfather used to be the captain of the royal guard, which is Cyan's current position.
  • Genki Girl: Flare Pris.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The photos.
  • Guide Dang It!: The different puzzle pieces can make for a nice distraction from the main plot, with many of them scattered throughout the different worlds. Unfortunately, the lack of a proper map function can make finding them a chore, so good luck trying to go for 100% blind.
  • Hammerspace: Averted. The kittens aren't stored in a pack but teleported to the police HQ.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Flare Pris; it turns out that she isn't biologically related to Alicia or Stare.
  • I Meant to Do That: Cyan's attempt to save face after falling in quicksand.
    Cyan: Don't you see what I'm trying to do? I sacrificed myself to warn you of this trap!
  • Improbable Weapon User: The later boss weapons just get weird. The bosses are usually giant Cat Mechas wielding a large variety of weapons, such as drills, hammers, giant magnets and a megaphone.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: In the Abandoned Factory.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: In the English localization the King of Prairie speaks in barely comprehensive mumbled gibberish, but it's subtitled with actual dialogue and the other characters seem to be able to understand him with no problem. Averted in the Japanese version where he speaks normally.
  • In Name Only: There are no black cats in the Black Cats Gang.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: In the forest at Grimto there are a series of flying robots with big chomping mouths, that will constantly follow Waffle and can't be damaged or destroyed in any way. Thankfully they only appear in this one location, and if Waffle manages to avoid them and capture all the kittens in the area they'll disappear whenever he returns to it.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: You actually need to raid houses and even attack a delivery vehicle to get all the photos. To be fair, you are the police.
  • Lawful Stupid: Cyan, who would more often than not impede Waffle's progress over misunderstandings and upholding what he believes to be Princess Therria's will. Unsurprisingly, even Princess Therria herself ends up calling out Cyan a few times.
  • Love Triangle: Alicia and Therria both like Waffle.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Cyan single-handedly distracts the Iron Giant in his airship.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Alicia uses a giant megaphone as a weapon in one of her boss fights.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Fool turns out to be behind all of the Black Cats Gang's schemes as part of his plan to resurrect the Iron Giant.
  • Meaningful Name: Cyan, and Fool, who resurrects the Iron Giant under the assumption it would serve him. This doesn't work quite as planned.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Waffle gave Alicia an important blue crystal in the very first cutscene (a flashback).
  • Minecart Madness: Ferzen's mines.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Five Crystals once used to power The Iron Giant. Alicia already has one of them, given to her by a young Waffle before the events of the game, while the others are separated all over The Kingdom of Prairie.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Police Robo and Knight Robo being of the more conventional variety. The ones employed by the Pris Sisters tend to employ more unorthodox designs.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The game starts with an animated cutscene of a young Waffle trying to comfort Alicia years before the events of the game takes place.
  • Mooks: The kittens within the Black Cats Gang. Some of them will be causing trouble on foot, while others are equipped with some kind of Mini-Mecha to make your day miserable.
  • Obviously Evil: Come on, who didn't have Fool pegged as the real villain the moment he was introduced?
  • Permanently Missable Content: You are advised not to save on your main file by the time you complete the game, and if you load it up, it's easy to understand why. On a clear game save, Waffle will refuse to go outside of Porto due to it being his day off, meaning any left over photo pieces are lost forever.
  • Plot Allergy: At one point, you need to capture all the kittens to save an airship raided by the Black Cats Gang. The reason the airship is crashing in the first place is because the captain is allergic to cats and is constantly sneezing, unable to control the ship.
  • Port Town: Since Prairie is composed of many Floating Continents, most of the towns apply.
  • Precursors: "Prairie was built upon the ruins of an ancient civilization. Many relics have been found around the land." Per future games, these were most likely humans.
  • La Résistance: The Black Cats Gang… in theory. They're really more of a nuisance than any sort of serious sociopolitical threat.
  • The Rival: Cyan, though it is completely one-sided on his part.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: Whoever designed the mine cart rails at Ferzen must've had a bit too much fun, as they'll take Waffle all around the mines with loop-de-loops and massive dips. There's even a section where you ride an unfinished railway and must jump to a nearby cart in order to access the next area. Keep in mind, all of this is over a bottomless pit, but at least falling won't instantly kill you.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Scratch one more secret base. Also starts a timed mission.
  • Shared Universe: with Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, Mamoru-Kun, and Fuga: Melodies of Steel. All of them are set on a post-apocalyptic Earth as well.
  • Stealth Pun: In the kingdom of Prairie there are felines and canines. The latter can be thought of as Prairie dogs.
  • Steampunk: The aesthetics of Tail Concerto greatly falls into this, though on a Lighter and Softer scale.
  • Subtitles Are Superfluous: The French version of the game, which retains the Japanese voice acting unlike the U.S. version, is a aversion of this, adding French subtitles in the opening and all anime cutscenes.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: Aside from getting trapped in boxes and allowing you to save, this seems to be all Panta does.
  • Tank Controls: ...kinda. The game lets you move freely in all eight directions using the D-Pad/Control stick, but there are also commands mapped to the shoulder buttons that lets you move the Police Robo forwards and back by holding them down instead.
  • Terrible Trio: The Pris Sisters.
  • Timed Mission: When Fool sets off the Self-Destruct Mechanism in the secret base. You've got five minutes to escape.
  • Trap Door: How you "enter" the Secret Base.
  • Tsundere: Alicia Pris. Even more blatant as she shares her seiyuu with Asuka Langley Soryu.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Cyan is apparently the only guard or indeed the only member of any sort of armed forces that Prairie has, since in the Darkest Hour with him not being of much use, it's accepted that Waffle is the only other person who can possibly save the day.
  • The Unfought: Played straight by Fool and double subverted at the end of the Moving Fortress level.
    Fool: I'll finish you off myself.
    (boss music starts up)
    Fool: On second thought, physical labor isn't my style. I think I'll be going now! Bye!
  • The Unintelligible: The king of Prairie. Only in the localized version, though.
    • Subverted, as the dialogue seems to imply that Waffle understands him completely... somehow. Also, the text box shows what he actually means.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Alicia Pris. She wants to create a homeland for cat-people since she feels they're discriminated against in Prairie, but she's willing to cause no end of mischief and mayhem to do it.
  • Womb Level: Inside the Iron Giant. Don't think about it too much.

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