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Video Game / 3D Dot Game Heroes

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8-bit gaming, PlayStation 3 style

3D Dot Game Heroes is a title for the PlayStation 3. It's an homage to The Legend of Zelda series and retro gaming in general.

You play as a young hero trying to save the kingdom of Dotnia from some legendary evil. It references and parodies several gaming themes and clichés. It's not limited to gameplay, either. The entire game is depicted as a 2D title that has been converted into high-definition 3D; old-school sprites now look like giant chunks of polished LEGO bricks. Though hardly groundbreaking, its humor and nostalgia appeal to older gamers.

Oh, and it's where Scott The Woz got his former outro theme from.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action-Adventure: Much of the game is based upon the first Legend of Zelda.
  • Affectionate Parody: Due to being a parody of the two, the base game is a hybrid of The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Dark Tower. The first six floors are themed after the first six dungeons and at the end of each floor is a rematch with the boss that matches that floor's theme.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Your first sword belonged to your grandfather.
  • Ascended Extra: The Shadow Mitsuo boss from Persona 4 that tried to breach the fourth wall. The style from that boss made itself into its own game.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Missile Towers in Block Defense. Cost way too much to build and upgrade, take at least 8 waves to unlock, but they annihilate everything.
  • BFS: The default swords can already reach a significant distance (3 or more tiles, from a character who is 1x1 tiles in size), but upgrading makes them ridiculous. You really can upgrade a sword until you can strike enemies from more than a full screen away.
    • The best example of this is the fully-upgraded Giga-Sword. Forget hitting enemies from a screen away, you can hit them from a time zone away with this thing. It is quite feasible, with one spin attack, to not only clear out a room, but an entire floor of a dungeon.
  • Big Ball of Violence: One of the game's user-created character sprites is this.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: You may occasionally encounter a large blue dragon wandering around in the overworld... who will easily wipe the floor with you if you try to take the beast down.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: One of the weapons you'll get early on.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: You can ask an NPC for an Infinite Money Code. He'll just mock you and say to earn it yourself.
  • But Thou Must!: Used, by name, by the Princess after you save her and refuse to take her along. She will continue to say this until you agree.
  • Butt-Monkey: Spelunker. Some of the in-game dialogue is changed to accommodate his One-Hit-Point Wonder status, with characters Lampshading how weak he is. Highlights include Lee the fairy screaming at you not to draw the hero's sword at the start of the game (since Lee was hoping for someone stronger to come along) and the Aqua Sage giving up on having you hurt her with sword strikes, since she can barely feel them.
  • Cap: Every sword has a certain amount of "potential" (measured in G) limiting how far you can upgrade it. The lowly Wooden Sword has none whatsoever, making it un-upgradable. Subverted with the Giga-Sword, the only sword in the game without any caps on its upgrades.
  • Character Customization: The Character Editor lets you build and upload "any" 3D sprite you can think of.
  • The Chosen Zero: Spelunker, to the point where Lee screams at him not to pull the hero's sword from it's resting place, since she wanted someone stronger.
  • Classic Cheat Code: Entering the Konami Code (itself hinted at by a character in the developer room) hides the animation for your shield.
  • Cool Sword: Swords are retractable and long enough to slash through the entire screen at full power.
  • Death Mountain: Right down to its northern location (and across a river, no less!), continuously falling rocks, and red color motif.
  • Developer's Room: There's one accessible in Nialliv Valley, in the north.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: You can upgrade your sword's length and width. The innuendo did not go unnoticed by the game developers. See this trailer. Not to mention acquiring the Freeze spell from the Aqua Sage Ohtu, which requires you to stab her repeatedly to create enough "stimulus" for her to release the magic power upon the Hero. If that wasn't blatant enough, she even groans and says "It's... COMING!!".
  • Fission Mailed: Dashing into a wall in Spelunker mode. Also, repeatedly refusing a certain guard's request will cause the game to give a fake game over, with the guard warning that you almost got a real game over.
  • Forced Transformation: Implied; it does turn out that just about every dog, cat, or chicken in a village that you can "talk" to actually WAS a human under some unexplained curse.
  • Full Health Bonus: Your swords will only show off any upgrades you applied to them (enhanced length/width, piercing, Spin Attack, Sword Beams, etc.) when your life meter is full.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: If you install the game to your hard drive to reduce load times, it will randomly crash. This is especially bad seeing as the game has no autosave.
  • Game Within a Game: The three minigames are implied to be this, as you're not the only one implied to be playing them.
  • Generation Xerox: Dotnia's legendary savior was your grandfather. Guess what you get to do.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The hero starts their adventure waking up at an inn; they've been summoned by the King.
  • Hammerspace: There's no way you'd be able carry your sword otherwise.
  • Harder Than Hard: Spelunker Mode. Also qualifies quite literally as Nintendo Hard.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Your character's name. You can also choose the name of custom heroes.
  • Heroic Mime: In keeping with the retro theme, the main character says nothing throughout the quest.
  • Homage: To classic gaming in general, and to The Legend of Zelda specifically.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle against Fuelle, as you don't have the necessary spell to make him vulnerable.
  • HP to One: Getting hit by a Blue Roper will drain all your MP and drop your HP to a single half-heart.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: All sprites walk on the spot, even when not moving.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Your swords can magically grow when you have full hearts.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Aside from attacking with physics-defying swords, you can also wield a fish.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Giga Sword becomes this if you spend a lot (and we mean a lot) of money upgrading it, but only for a hero at full health.
    • For a hero not at full health, the Infinity Plus One Sword is the Moonlight Sword, which you get for completing every sidequest, and when fully powered up is the most powerful sword you can have when you don't have full hearts, which not only reduces your sword to a much-reduced length and width but also typically downgrades your attack power by a sizable amount.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Excalibur, the best sword you can buy from King Block. It may not kill bosses as fast as the above blades, but max the power and it can one-shot everything but Golems and Knights. As an additional bonus, it's a King Block sword so (after the patch) unlike the two above swords once you get it you'll always have it.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Grey keys are standard finds in any dungeon, but on rarer occasions you may find Red, Blue, or Green keys too.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Averted in this game. Two shops in different towns may sell the same item, but not for the same price. You actually can shop around for the best deals - typically items will be cheaper in earlier areas of the game, so it's actually beneficial to travel back to Raejack Village to buy certain items like Red Potions and Sleeping Bags.
  • Killer Rabbit: Literal carnivorous rabbits are common low-level enemies around the central plains and forest.
  • King Mook: Not in the traditional sense. Some enemies will randomly have a crown above their heads. They look no different from the rest of the group, and the only difference is that they move faster.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Appearances by practically every Dragon Quest IV character (with slightly altered names), in addition to Dragon Quest II, Dragon Quest V, Final Fantasy II...
  • Literal Metaphor: How do you "book" enemies for your Bestiary? You equip the Bestiary book as a weapon and whack them with it.
  • Literal Split Personality: Princess Iris, split into the three fairies Ai, Lee, and Sue.
  • Loading Screen: Accompanied by illustrations in the game's signature pixel style, many of which are references to classic retro games. A compilation of the loading screens and the games referenced can be found here.
  • Made of Explodium: Everything you can destroy - from enemies to pots to little clumps of grass - explode in a glorious shower of tiny pixels when you hit them with a weapon. Your character will also do the same thing if you happen to lose all of your hit points.
  • The Maze: Getting to the second dungeon, the Forest Temple. One wrong turn will return you to the entrance.
  • Meaningful Name: The fairies Ai, Lee, and Sue. Put them together and you get AiLeeSue, a (Japanese) phonetic pronunciation of "Iris", the princess and the true identity of the three combined fairies.
  • Metal Slime: The Crystal Slimes have a fair amount of HP and are very fast. The NPC who gives you the quest to kill ten of them initially tells you that the best way to defeat one is to corner them.
  • Mini-Game: Dash Circuit, which has you run around a lap 3 times as fast as possible; Blockout, a Breakout clone; and Block Defense, a Tower Defense minigame.
  • Money Spider: You can make a small fortune by killing bosses. Certain enemies (zombies, Centathrows) drop gold coins frequently.
  • Mook Bouncer: The puddles of darkness in the Dark Tower, which not only deal damage but also warp you to the beginning of the floor they were encountered in.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Onyx
  • Multiple Endings: Aside from dialogue differences based on your character class (Hero/Scholar/Royal), saving the princess also factors in, but can't be done in the same run as the regular ending.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first few dungeons aren't so bad, but once you get to the fifth dungeon... half of the puzzles rely on finding red/blue switches to open or close matching blocks that block various passages. Die (and have to restart) with the switches in the wrong position and you could end up repeating half the dungeon just to get back. And this is on top of having to locate keys to open the doors. Oh, and the temple's boss is a dragon with significantly more HP than previous bosses...
    • Not to mention that filling your Beastiary changes boss strategies into Endurance Battles, i.e. Hitting them with a rather weak Book.
    • Getting the Wing Sword and Wyrm Sword. Pre-patch 1.01, the Wing Sword was quite possibly too hard to even qualify for this.
    • Spelunker Mode, due to being a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • No Bulk Discounts: Averted. Items such as torches, lamps, arrows and bombs are sold in packs, and the packs are always less expensive (per unit) than they are if purchased separately.
  • No-Damage Run: You're awarded a trophy for any boss you can defeat without taking damage (preferably, but not necessarily, at full HP). To make this a bit easier, even if you didn't get the trophy, you can choose to "revive" the boss for a rematch and try again.
  • No Hero Discount: You'll have to chop through countless minor enemies and grassy patches to afford everything you'll need.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If you say yes twice to Fuelle's offer to join him and rule half the world together. Doubles as a Shout-Out to Dragon Quest.
  • Nostalgia Filter: This game partly spoofs it by having old game mechanics in a 3D world, and through the backstory.
  • One-Winged Angel: After you beat Fuelle once, the Dark Orb turns him into an incarnation of the Dark King Onyx.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: If you stay the night in Raejack after rescuing the princess, one of these is implied by the innkeeper (and you'll also get the "Have a nice night?" trophy to go along with it).
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They're generally of the Western variety, but four Hero sprites are small dragons with interesting summaries (e.g. "too small to breathe fire or fly").
  • Pause Scumming: One of the most common ways to beat the teeth-grindingly hard Dash Circuit minigame. It helps that you can change directions in the pause menu.
  • Permanently Missable Content: A lot of items and sidequests, actually, some with criminally short windows in which they can be obtained/completed. Particularly notable instances include the fairies Ai and Sue, the Ultima spellbook, the "Have a Nice Night?" trophy, and the entire From Cave sidequest. Extra frustrating in that some of the trophies require you to pretty much get every single item/sidequest that can be lost in a single playthrough.