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Video Game / The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

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Oh, we're off to fight the Witches, the Wicked Witches of Oz...

A Nintendo DS Eastern RPG based around The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road - known as RIZ-ZOAWD in Japan - was developed by Media Vision and published by D3 Publisher in 2008, with a North American version published by X Seed Games about a year later. It features a unique, entirely touch control scheme, controlling the character and options via a virtual track ball and buttons.

It begins with a Cute Witch reading from a book and deciding to bring a lead character and her pet into it. These two individuals just so happen to be Dorothy, who lives contently by herself in the country with her dog Toto. They are swept up by a mysterious tornado, and thrown into the World of Magic, Oz, where progression is impossible for those who lack magic and fighting skills. A mysterious projected shadow and voice calling itself the Wizard of Oz introduces himself to Dorothy, and invites her to see him at his castle. He gives her magical shoes so she can move about in the world and she obliges to seek him out.

Along the way, she encounters a good natured and optimistic - but dumb - Scarecrow who wants a brain; a Bruiser with a Soft Center Lion who wants courage; and an Axe-wielding, powerful, short-tempered Tin Logger who can only say "Hva!"

The friends eventually get to Oz's castle, and he requests a favor. Four witches who he fears are rising in power: Flora, the Spring witch; Delphi, the Summer witch; Holly, the Autumn witch; and Protea, the Winter witch and mother of the other three. They've already taken over areas surrounding his palace, dividing the land and preventing its unity. Since there are barriers in place he cannot cross to end this, and he cannot go to deal with each witch individually, as one of the others may take over his palace while he is away. He requests that Dorothy and her friends take a magical 'Egg' that provides their power and defeat the witches in each area. In exchange, he will grant them their most desired wishes in gratitude.

So the four embark to defeat the witches, not knowing what will happen next...

Beyond The Yellow Brick Road has examples of:

  • Actionized Adaptation: Compared to the book and movie, it's definitely this, with characters slinging spells around and much more physical fights.
  • Adaptational Badass: While most of the heroes in the original had no physical strength or real combat ability, here they fight as a team with strategy.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The witches, their characters, and their lands are explored in more detail than the first Oz book or movie.
  • Adapted Out: Anything involving the Munchkins and Winkies are gone.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Oz, who has been manipulating the player into helping him gain power.
  • Age Lift: Dorothy is 17 in the game, while she was a child in the book and movie.
  • And Then What?: Once Oz's true form is revealed, he admits that he never gave much though on what he'd do once he achieved his dream of obtaining the ultimate magic.
  • Anti Anti Christ: Protea's daughters qualify as this. Flora almost constantly apologizes and even wants to help Dorothy get back. But since she can't always predict how her magic would work, that can't happen. After beating a witch, they give up.
  • Backtracking: There's quite a lot of backtracking involved, especially after you obtain the elemental spirits. However the game's trackball allows the player to move rapidly, mitigating this somewhat
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: How the Lion fights, though he doesn't exactly go in "bare handed". He uses various "gloves", "knuckles", and "claws".
  • Big Bad: The game has you believe that the 4 Witches are the game's antagonists. In reality, Oz was manipulating you into getting rid of any opposition to his reign as king.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Holly's castle is full of ghosts and is designed after a mansion.
  • Big Fancy Castle: The 4 witches all have big castles, except Delphi, whose "castle" is a summer villa.
  • Blow You Away: Flora via her "Floral Wind" spell, and she can also summon tornadoes. Seraphini the wind spirit also qualifies.
  • Book Ends: The game's first area and last area both take place on the Yellow Brick Road.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember all those gates you couldn't open when you first appeared on the Yellow Brick Road? As it turns out, you only get to open them once you return there at the game's final dungeon.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: At the end of the game Dorothy returns to her world as seen in Holly's book, with her house being okay and her parents alive.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Oz's hands are separate targets, which have to be taken out along with Oz himself.
  • Combat Hand Fan: Delphi uses this in her boss battle.
  • Combat Medic: Dorothy is the first to receive healing magic after beating Io for the first time.
  • Cute Bruiser: Dorothy, who's more than willing to beat the snot out of her enemies if it is the only means of returning home, though Dorothy does show remorse and actually apologizes to the witches after beating them.
  • Cute Witch: 3 out of the 4 witches are young and adorable.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Dorothy immediately apologizes to Flora after defeating her.
  • Defeat Means Playable: The Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin man all join the party after the player defeats them in battle at the game's tutorial level.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both Dorothy, and the witches have missing fathers.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Earth spirit Avan, and Delphi via her "earthquake" spell.
  • The Ditz: Seraphini is implied to be this.
  • Easily Forgiven: After his defeat, Dorothy and the others forgive Oz and even give him a position in the debate to crown the king.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Dorothy is very effective on ghosts, Lion's good on attacking Hard-shelled enemies, Strawman is great with water-based monster, and Tin Man is powerful against plant like creatures. There are also some Non-Elemental monsters mixed in for good measure.
  • Fake Longevity: The game itself isn't very long, but the back tracking will eat up your time. In addition, the equipment in this game can be quite expensive which means you'll be fighting quite a bit to earn more coins (in addition to ones found on the overworld.
  • Final Boss: Oz, which isn't surprising if you pay attention to his dialogue after unlocking a Witch's castle.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Many water-based enemies are freely floating sea animals, such as the Jelly Fighters and Thornpuffs.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine (blood): Dorothy
    • Choleric (yellow bile): The Scarecrow
    • Melancholic (black bile): The Cowardly Lion
    • Phlegmatic (phlegm): The Tin Man
  • Freudian Excuse: The Lion's entire reason for fighting you is to scare you. Delphi fights you because the Tin Man won't leave despite her allergies to metal.
  • Functional Magic: Flora's tornadoes, as she can't completely control where they go.
  • Garden of Evil: Flora's castle plays with this in that it isn't exactly "scary" or "unpleasant". But the flying puffer fish, anthropomorphic rocks, robots, and other enemies don't exactly make it pleasant either.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Crabby Crabs, hard-shelled monsters that snip at the air constantly.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: Oz has two of these that assist him in both phases of the battle.
  • Graceful Loser: All of the witches accept defeat well, as do the three dragons.
  • Grande Dame: Protea is an older woman who wears fur, knows powerful magic, and carries herself well.
  • An Ice Person: Protea is the Winter witch.
  • Instant Runes: Used by Flora in the ending.
  • Jungle Japes: Boom Boom jungle.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: Once the player reaches the Yellow Brick Road, they'll hear an instrumental reprise of RIZ-ZOWAD!, the game's opening theme.
  • Left Hanging: Dorothy never finds out who's crowned the new king, and the ending also says no one knows who became king.
  • Magic Staff: Flora uses one of these, and Dorothy's weapon of choice is a cane.
  • Magic Wand: Holly uses one of these.
  • Making a Splash: Varun is a water spirit and uses it to solve puzzles.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Oz, though the game manages to throw a few surprises in there as well.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Oz. The eggs that you were collecting were draining the witches' power, making more areas in their domains more accessible. So he made you fight all of the witches, and steal their eggs, so he could knock out every last bit of competition he had for the throne.
  • Marathon Level: Every level starts off with a straight path. Then the game starts throwing in several forks (which have signs you can mark) in the road, annoying enemies, and the fact that the track ball can sometimes screw you over. The last two levels in particular, Frozen Castle and Yellow Brick Road are easily the longest levels in the entire game.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Oz's ability to grant wishes is this and Troll. When he grants the protagonists their wishes, what he says is sounds true but it's clear that Oz is taking the piss. This is justified because Oz's power is illusory.
  • Meaningful Name: Flora's name fits her personality and area perfectly.
  • Metal Slime: Spooky Boos, though powerful, are also useful sources of EXP during the endgame. They also drop each character's strongest equipment upon defeat, but will run away in 6 turns assuming that they don't kill your party with their powerful attacks.
  • Missing Mom: Dorothy's mother is dead. Though it's averted at the end.
  • Motor Mouth: The Scarecrow never shuts up, according to Holly, though the game doesn't reflect this.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Delphi acts like this towards Dorothy and co. with "Zoidberg" being the Tin Man. Justified as she's allergic to metal.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Protea has a laugh like this.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Battling a Spooky Boo for the first time has the music go completely silent.
  • Nothing Personal: This is the scarecrow's response to Dorothy when she tries to pass him.
  • Obviously Evil: Oz's design and dialogue regarding the Witches makes it obvious that he has ulterior motives.
  • One-Hit Kill: The "Falcon Swoop" skill the Scarecrow has can kill an enemy in one hit. Unfortunately, one of the enemies in Frozen Castle also has this skill and can use it against you.
  • Optional Boss: The game's 3 Father Dragons. Io (Red Dragon), Gou Yoku (Black Dragon) and Ju Karu (White Dragon) come in the form of old men who are all part dragon. The player has to fight each Father Dragon 3 times to get each party member's skill. They are found within the levels outside of one of the first three witches' domains and are optional.
  • Out of Focus: Compared to Flora, Holly, and Protea, Delphi doesn't get much focus.
  • Palette Swap: Every normal enemy has a few of these.
  • Playing with Fire: The fire Spirit Kalama, Holly, the three dragons, and certain normal enemies all use fire attacks.
  • Plot Twist: The game starts with an intro involving a witch picking out Dorothy's name, her pet, and its name, making the game seem like a storybook controlled by the wicked witch. Turns out, the witch isn't the "Wicked Witch", it's one of the game's 4 witches, Holly. She was just writing the events of the game up until you fight her.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Holly was only a witch as a hobby.
  • Quieter Than Silence: The Spooky Boo causes the game's usual jaunty battle theme to come to a complete standstill if engaged in battle.
  • Savage Wolves: Hungry Wolves are some of the first enemies you face.
  • Significant Anagram: The game's Japanese title RIZ-ZOAWD is an anagram of the words Wizard and Oz. It turns out that Oz was actually the main antagonist all along and one of his attacks is named RIZ-ZOAWD.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: None of the witches die in the game.
  • Squishy Wizard: The 4 witches avert this heavily. None of them are a walk in the park, even if you are prepared well. They can get attacked with a cane, a spear, an ax, a lion, and your magic and still keep going.
  • Stripperiffic: Delphi's outfit is pretty skimpy, since she is the summer witch.
  • Superboss: Once the player has beaten the Father Dragons 3 times each, you'll be allowed to fight them in their dragon forms as post-game bosses.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Oz himself, considering he's the true antagonist of the game.
  • Turns Red: Oz's second form, Oz the Divine, has him literally turn from green to red.
  • The Unintelligible: The Tinman can't speak intelligibly.
  • Violence is the Only Option: The reason why you fight the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and some of the witches.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The Strawman, who while having the lowest damage output, has the best speed of the group. And multiple status debuffs, among other things.
  • We Can Rule Together: Holly wants the Cowardly Lion to join her as an assistant.