Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Trials of Mana

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trials_of_mana_remake.png
When these six destinies entwine, their world will be born anew...
Art from the Super Famicom release 

When the world was shrouded in darkness, the Goddess of Mana drew forth the Sword of Mana to smite the eight Benevodons, monsters of destruction.
She sealed the horrors inside the eight Mana Stones, bringing the realm back from the brink.
Weak from rebuilding the world, the Goddess changed into a tree and fell fast sleep for years.
Advertisement:
However, the forces of evil sought to free the Benevodons to gain control of the world.
They started a terrible war to further their plot and destabilize the kingdoms. Peace was at an end.
Mana itself began to disappear from the world and the Mana Tree to wither...

Trials of Mana, long known as Seiken Densetsu 3,note  is the third game in the Mana series. It was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or the Super Famicom, if you prefer) in 1995. Trials of Mana was infamous for being the first Mana game to never receive an international release, though fan translations did exist via emulation. An official export was an incessant request from fans for over two decades; on June 11, 2019, twenty-three years, eight months and eleven days after the game's release in Japan, ToM in its original SNES form was finally announced for official release worldwide in English, French, German and Spanish on the Nintendo Switch as part of the Collection of Mana... alongside a full 3D remake being reveal to come out on April 24, 2020 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC.

Advertisement:

As for the game itself?


The Mana Tree is dying (again), so the Mana Goddess sends her faeries to the world below to find someone worthy of restoring it. All but one perish en route due to the steady loss of magic, and the remaining Faerie settles for the first schmuck it can find. Naturally, he/she happens to be the latest incarnation of the Mana Knight.

ToM plays like a souped-up version of its predecessor, Secret of Mana. The percentage meter, which limited the frequency of melee attacks, is gone. SoM's charged attacks have been replaced by Limit Breaks (or "Techs"). The Tech meter builds with each successful hit on the enemy. Each character has a unique weapon type, and there is no leveling up spells or weapons like in SoM. (A wise choice, because the Level Grinding in SoM was tedious.) You can also store items in your backpack and switch out which items you want on your item ring. This increases your survivability, as you can now carry more than nine healing items with you as you travel. However, to retain challenge, the game doesn't allow you to access this menu if enemies are on-screen.

Advertisement:

In a departure from the norm, ToM revolves around six characters of which any three can make up your party; your first choice determines which of the Big-Bad Ensemble you eventually take on. Each comes with a different set of skills, made more complicated by divergent class progressions: Your teammates start the adventure in a default job, but have opportunities to pursue Light and Dark paths later on. Unlike in most JRPGs, there are no takebacks, and the fruits of your labor may not become apparent for a while.

The gameplay, music, and graphics of the Super Nintendo version were very highly regarded at the time of its release, with the latter two being some of the finest quality work ever produced for the SNES. ToM also has high replay value, since it requires three playthroughs to see even most of its content, and due to the almost infinite number of parties and class changes (character interactions do change depending upon who's in your party, and the characters who aren't in the party will still appear from time to time as NPCs), it'll likely take vastly more to see all of it.

While it remained obscure to general audiences for decades due to its lack of official translation and release, it was something of a Cult Classic among fans of the Mana series, and it could be found on more than a few "best action RPGs" lists, particularly those focusing on the 16-bit era. Storywise, it would later get a prequel in the form of Heroes of Mana.


Provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The level cap is 99, in a game where the second class change occurs at level 38, which is designed for a player to reach it with a little endgame grinding. Also, the enemies stop leveling with the player once they reach level 50, which should give an idea of just how absurdly high this cap is.
  • Accidental Pervert: If, as a male character, you talk to Angela while she's sleeping at the inn in Jadd, she'll accuse you of being this. If you play as Riesz (the only female who can get into this situation), Angela just expresses annoyance at being woken up.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Averted with Mintas. For once, the inn at a tiny village which doesn't see much traffic is priced accordingly, rather than being expensive based on its importance to the plot.
  • Adaptation Name Change: After a fashion. The fan translation, back at the turn of the millenium, ran into a problem with the length of the character names: the game only allocated space for six letters/characters in any given player character's name. When Neill Corlett tried to change this, he discovered that attempting to lengthen character names caused a multitude of other bizarre issues. Rather than spend months trying to hack away at this one problem, Corlett and his team decided to simply shorten two of the names of the characters to fit in six letters (Duran, Kevin, Riesz/"Lise" and Angela being good to go already). So it was that Hawkeye was shortened, sensibly, to "Hawk" (which worked well anyway with his friend Eagle), and Charlotte became "Carlie", an uncommon diminutive of Charlotte (but one that was still very fitting for the character). As a result, though, and as a result of how long the fan translation was the only English version available, it's fairly common to hear people call the characters in question "Hawk" and "Carlie". The official release manages to get around this restriction; this includes using a smaller and narrower variable-width font for a lot of in-game text, including character names.
  • Adjective Noun Fred:
    • Many of the location names follow a format that uses a title followed by the place's name in the fan translation. Castle City Jad (officially translated as Jadd Stronghold), Grasslands Kingdom Forcena (Valsena, Kingdom of the Plains, in the official translation) Magic Kingdom Altena (Altena, Kingdom of Magicians, in the official translation), and Sand Fortress Navarre (Nevarl Fortress in the official translation), to name a few.
    • Molebear Moors. No prize for guessing what kind of wildlife you encounter here.
    • Dragonsmaw is called Dragon Hole in Japanese. It's a ruddy big hole, and there are dragons in it.
  • Aerith and Bob: Hawkeye, Eagle, Belladonna, Lord Flamekhan... and Bil and Ben. Would you believe it's the last two who pose a genuine threat?
  • After-Combat Recovery: The party members fully recover HP and MP after boss battles. This does not apply to normal battles, though fallen party members are still revived with 1 HP in those cases.
  • Alien Sky: Kevin's story begins under a full moon and two smaller new moons, in a forest kingdom of eternal twilight.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • The area connecting Valsena to Stonesplit Gap is called Molebear Moors in the official translation.
    • The full name of the harbor town of Palo is Palo Port in the official translation.
    • On Beuca Island, a village of peaceful Tomatomen called Tomato Town acts as a pit stop for the heroes, where they can rest and buy items.
    • Hero King Richard gives the party the Ferry Flute, used to summon the turtle Vuscav to travel across the ocean.
  • Alliterative Title: The books on the Ghost Ship's bookshelves are called Death Diary, Curse Column, and Blood Book.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: After their hometown gets ransacked by foreign armies, your hero sets out to become strong enough to avenge it. (Barring Charlotte, who originates from the neutral city of Wendel). Circumstances eventually see these cities liberated, some sooner than others.
    • Jadd is seized by the beastmen as a staging point for their Wendel invasion and serves as the initial gathering point for the heroes. After the Priest of Light's second barrier shoves the beastmen out of Wendel, they give up on taking the city and withdraw; presumably even Goremand's magic can't pierce it.
    • Valsena is scouted by the Crimson Wizard, who leaves a trail of bodies in his wake before Duran causes enough ruckus to force him to withdraw. He comes back in time with an army of magical constructs for a full-scale attack, but you arrive just in time to thwart it.
    • Laurent is enslumbered by somnoa powder and the Nevarl army attacks in full force, leaving several casualties behind, King Joster included. The debilitated Amazon army withdraws, then manages to enlist Sylphid's help to reverse the invasion strategy and retake the Citadel.
    • Altena, Ferolia and Nevarl are in the process of being corrupted from within, via the Crimson Wizard, Goremand and Belladonna's manipulations, respectively (though in Goremand's case, the beastmen were itching for a fight with the humans and he merely pointed them at Wendel). Only after the chaos that ravages the Sanctuary of Mana do you get a chance to oust one of the invaders, based on your main character of choice; said character's primary antagonists wipe out the remaining competition for you.
  • Always Night:
    • Duskmoon Forest (Moonlight Forest in the fan translation), also encompassing Mintas (Mintos in the fan translation) and Ferolia (Beast Kingdom in the fan translation), lies under the influence of the Moon Mana Stone which causes it to always be night, and therefore the Beastmen are always werewolves. Since Kevin switches to werewolf form at night, this is his preferred terrain.
    • Two of the final dungeons, Mirage Palace and Dark Castle, are constantly enveloped in darkness. This doesn't count as moonlight, though; Kevin gets no bonus.
  • Amazon Brigade: The kingdom of Laurent (Rolante in the fan translation) of which Riesz is the princess, and the kingdom of Altena of which Angela is the princess.
  • Annoying Arrows: Hawkeye's traps—in particular, the "arrow" trap. Tripping the booby trap on a chest might also trigger it.
  • Another Side, Another Story:
    • Out of six playable characters, you can only choose three to build your party for any given playthrough, and only one can be the Mana Knight (which grants him or her additional screen time and also determines who the final boss will be). The remaining three become NPCs who you may or may not cross paths at various points. Thus, every playthrough with a different party combination can become Another Story.
    • Another thing to consider is each character has a rival who is also the Big Bad's right-hand man. Rivals have an adversarial relationship with at least two main characters (e.g. Goremand orchestrates the murder of Karl, then makes off with Heath).
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • When sleeping at a Trauma Inn in a city which has a Night Market, the game gives you the option of being awoken at night so you don't have to wait around for the market to open.
    • Picture this: A boss fight is just around the corner, but it's daylight outside, and that's a bit of a disadvantage with Kevin. The answer is Dreamsee Herb. Switching day and night means a lot more when one of your characters is a freaking werewolf.
    • If you're at a loss about to where to go, just look for a spring and jump on it. (It's like a cannon except that it shoots you straight up instead of to another location.) You can use the Mode 7 view of the land to take a look around. You can get a general idea of where the nearest town or castle is.
    • When riding on Flammie, the game is helpful enough to pop up a text box which tells you where you're supposed to be going to further the plot. This alternates with a box that tells you where you're at, making it fairly easy to find your way around.
  • Anti-Magic: The "Anti-Magic" spell, of course; it removes all magic effects. "Counter" boomerangs all magic back onto the caster, which proves fatal to specialized mages like the Crimson Wizard.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The captain's log, or Captain's Dieary as it's called in-game, in the captain's room of the Ghost Ship contains an ominous message instead of being an ordinary captain's log.
    "deathdeathdeathdeathdeath
    deathdeathdeathdeathdeath
    deathdeathdeathdeathdeath..." *eeek!*.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
    • Your lead character accumulates only two companions in their party. Despite each character having their own backstory and conflicts, there is still a central plot-line which ties it all together. It seems like they only join your party in order to get to Wendel more quickly.
    • If your third party member is Charlotte (who joins in a predetermined location), then someone who was not chosen as a party member will be the one to release you from jail in Jadd. Unfortunately, he or she will inevitably be a little too slow in boarding the ship to Maia, and is left stranded on the pier. Oops.
  • Archnemesis Dad:
    • The Crimson Wizard explains to Valda that to open the gate to the Mana Sanctuary, a cursed spell must be used to release the energy of the Mana Stones; the spell will kill its caster. Valda agrees that Angela should cast it, saying she's the shame of the Royal Family for not being able to use magic. Angela can't go back because she knows will be sacrificed, so she's got no choice but to run.
    • Kevin overhears the Beast King, telling Goremand that now that his son can turn into a werewolf, Goremand's job is done. Kevin is furious that the Beast King, his father, used Goremand's magic to make Karl attack him! He smashes through a wall and puts you in control. Go up to the King and after a short conversation, try to hit him. The King boots you clear out of his castle.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Level 2 and 3 Techs. While they do have awesome attack animations, a lot of late-game enemies and some bosses will answer them with an equally devastating Tech in return—which, if it's something which hits the whole party, can easily spell a Total Party Kill. (This is to prevent spamming.) Furthermore, Hawkeye and Kevin can strike twice with their Lv. 1 attacks, which negates the Lv. 2 attack boost; even more so if they have saber spells, which stack with Lv. 1 attacks but not the higher ones. When fighting an immovable boss character, the ability to strike from anywhere in the arena is not as important as raw DPS output.
  • Bad Moon Rising/Gigantic Moon:
    • The beginning of Kevin's story. On this fateful night, we see the meeting between the Beast King and Goremand, followed by the awakening of Kevin's werewolf form.
    • The fight with Dolan takes place on the roof of Chartmoon Tower, with a humongous third moon hanging in the background.
  • Badass Cape:
    • The Crimson Wizard (his full Japanese title, Wizard of the Crimson Lotus, is shortened to Koren in the fan translation) is very proud of his cape. He even works it into his official title.
    • Eagle's cape and shoulder pads are nothing to sneeze at. Hawkeye gets his own cape if you pursue the Dark-Dark path.
    • Heath dons a black cloak after being corrupted by his father's energy.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: All three potential villains are actively involved in the plot, resulting in a lot of overlap. The battle at the Sanctuary of Mana whittles the rogues gallery down to one: The remaining stragglers make a final appearance to inform the Mana Knight of what transpired here.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Ghost Ship, Chartmoon Tower and Mirage Palace. Zombies, sexy vampires, werewolves, and ghosts galore.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Almost too many to list.
    • Each of the villains resides in one. Even Drakonis has a throne room built into the fixtures of his caves.
    • Altena, Valsena, Ferolia, Nevarl, and to a lesser extent Laurent. These are a pain in the ass to negotiate in the tutorial, let alone once they fill up with enemies: Empty Room Psychs, staircases to nowhere, and a forked road to the boss which has a one-in-two chance of bypassing the healing statues entirely. Your lead character is given the opportunity to map out their base in the prologue; you should take it.
  • Big First Choice: The first character the player picks for his party determines which of the three routes the game takes at the end, including which group of villians the heroes have to face.
  • Bittersweet Ending: No matter who the heroes end up beating, the final boss murders the Mana Goddess before you can get to him, leaving behind the Faerie to become the new Goddess. It's stated that it will be a thousand years before Mana fully returns to the world. On the plus side, the world is saved, and a few remaining threads are tied up, at least. (Angela and Kevin make peace with their parents, for example).
  • Black Market: Beiser is a merchant city by day, and black market by night.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • On reflection, Lv. 1 Techs. They may just be a glorified melee attack — but they won't be countered, can be enhanced by elemental sabers, and can still hit multiple enemies if they are bunched together. Even better, Hawkeye and Kevin have double-strike capability. (Hawkeye wields two daggers, Kevin delivers a one-two jab and uppercut.) The one-two punch carries over into their level ones. So they deal out the same damage at a faster rate.
    • Hawkeye as a Ninja Master gets the ability to multi target all his previous spells. This lets Shuriken hit all enemies, lower evasion/accuracy, cause knockback, and deal good damage, all with a fast cast time and costing only 1 MP. Fans call it "The One MP Wonder".
    • Angela's Dark-Dark class, the Magus, gains no new elemental spells but has the highest INT of all her classes. This turns her humble level 1 spells into fast-casting low cost powerhouses.
  • Bonus Boss: Ladies and Gentlemen, allow us to introduce to one of the best villains to have ever graced a Mana story. A monster whose legendary viciousness and severe lack of remorse have left him miles ahead of even the most celebrated of bad guys. He’s cute, he’s fluffy, he’s going to pluck out your eyes with a rusty penknife…it’s the Black Rabite! Boasting the highest amount of HP you can have in ToM, there's a reason the final boss theme plays when you enter his cave. Sadly, this boss is only approachable in the Duran/Angela storyline.
  • Boss Rush: In the last dungeon, a trio of bosses return to harass you some more. The lineup will differ depending on the quest you've chosen. At least you don't have to fight the Benevodons again.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Loki and Heath are forced to follow orders from their masters, Dragon Lord and Masked Mage, respectively.
    • The True Queen, Valda, who is Angela's mother. It becomes clear by the final act that Valda has no control anymore; she is acting under the influence of the Crimson Wizard, who is secretly serving one the "three evils", namely the Dragon Lord.
    • The ninjas and thieves of Nevarl are under the control of Belladonna and Malocchio (his title in Japanese, Earl of the Evil Eye, is shortened to Jagan in the fan translation).
  • Broken Bridge:
    • The Altenish invaders trap you on the bridge and command their Machine Golems to attack you; when you win, the invaders bail towards Valsena while the golems self-destruct on the bridge. It never gets repaired at any point afterwards.
    • At the heroes' request, the Faerie undoes a barrier spell at the entrance to Cascade Cavern. However, it turns out the shield was put in place by the Priest of Light to keep the Beastmen out! By the time you return from Laurent, the Priest has Faerie-proofed his barrier, so it's safe to say you won't be returning to Wendel. Flammie can still land you there, but the only land route is locked down.
    • On the way to the Dwarf City, you can instead head south as a matter of curiosity. Unfortunately, the merchants of Beiser have been tipped off about the upcoming invasion by Altenish forces, and aren't allowing any foreigners into the city at present.
    • Many doors in the game can't be unlocked without supernatural help. For example, you need Lumina to enter the Dwarf City, Sylphid to spread pollen over Laurent, Gnome to open a cave on Beuca Island, Salamando and Undine to open a path to Mintas (for whatever reason), Luna to get into Lampbloom Woods, and Dryad to reveal a path in the Jungle of Visions.
    • The Mirage Palace is invisible to the naked eye. It won't appear until you have a magic mirror in your possession, won by defeating Zable Fahr.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Altenish by the end. With the Mana Tree dead by the end, the mana and magic will cease to exist for at least a thousand years. This means any magic-casters in your party are SOL in the epilogue, as well.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: Cascade Cavern is filled with water, and has waterfalls on both the exterior and interior.
  • Cave Mouth: A dragon's head serves as the entryway to the Dragonsmaw, as well as its namesake.
  • Character Development: It is highly recommended that you play the three routes with both of each route's central characters (Duran/Angela, Kevin/Charlotte, and Riesz/Hawkeye) for this purpose. It doesn't hurt that each pair tends to complement each other's abilities well.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Your first character sets out on a journey to save their homes, and stumbles across a faerie and two others heroes who've been wronged.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: And, of course, it doesn't go off until you've accomplished all you've needed to and you have a ticket off the island. Malocchio is there, but he doesn't bother to attack and assumes that all three of you will perish in the eruption. He leaves after that, and Vuscav evacuates you before it erupts.
  • Chokepoint Geography:
    • The final dungeons are inaccessible by sea or air. The Mirage Palace is separated by the Jungle of Visions outside of Pedda (Pedan in the fan translation), the Dragonsmaw lies at the center of the Crystal Desert, and Dark Castle resides on a craggy island, only reachable via the Night Cavern.
    • The party gains transportation earlier than they do in SoM. The world is yours — so long as there's sand. Almost every town resides near a beach or riverbank, but just reaching it is almost a puzzle in itself; Ferolia and Lampbloom Woods are the hardest to find.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: How the Faerie manages to revive the heroes after a (seeming) total party kill by the final boss, who gloats that only the Mana Sword could harm him. The Faerie insists that the sword wasn't destroyed; rather it exists in the hearts of the three warriors. Emboldened, the party is restored to full health and is suddenly able to inflict damage on the enemy.
  • Class and Level System: One which might take a bit of grinding to really exploit. The first class change can be achieved when the character is at Lv. 18 (roughly after the Machine Golem fight in the snowfield). This is done by touching any Mana Stone that you can encounter during the game. The second change happens at Lv. 38 (usually earned in the final dungeon... or the Shimmering Ruins if you grind like hell); only the Mana Goddess herself can bestow this class, and you need a special item harvested from ??? Seeds, with each class having a separate item.
  • Climbing Climax: You will find the Dragon Lord and Dark Majesty not in their throne rooms (they've vacated), but on the highest peak of their headquarters. The Masked Mage teleports you and Heath to the roof of his manor to duke it out.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: An unspoken variant — the occasional pre-eruption tremor from the volcano on Beuca Island serves to add a bit of urgency to the fact that you're supposed to be finding a way off the island before it erupts. Mercifully, there is no time limit; there's even a town with stores, as well as a totem pole that acts identically to a golden Goddess Statue, providing both free healing and saving!
  • Cool Airship: Altena has a seriously badass-looking blimp. In addition, the Beastmen travel by giant hawk, and the Nevarlan raiders... have a boat with a bunch of balloons tied to it, of all things.
  • Cool Mask:
    • The Masked Mage lives up to his title.
    • Hawkeye's Nightblade class sports one. And some of his equip-able armor is of the Cool Mask variety.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Charlotte rams into Heath right at the start of her story.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Kevin and most of the beastmen have dark skin and light hair.
  • Dark Is Evil:
    • Zable Fahr is the Dark Benevodon, wielding darkness out of malice, unlike the good-natured Shade.
    • Dark Majesty is the primary antagonist behind Belladonna and Malocchio, and he has a fitting name.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The default control scheme in Trials is the inverse of Secret of Mana. While in the former game B was the Attack/Confirm button and A was Dash/Cancel, in Trials it's the other way around. Players coming right from Secret are liable to hit the wrong buttons when trying to attack.
  • Damsel in Distress: Belladonna fitted Jessica with a cursed necklace which will tighten and choke the life out of her if she learns the truth about Eagle. Once the cat's out of the bag, though, Belladonna has Jessica and her father thrown in jail as insurance against Hawkeye; Jessica's imprisonment is because the curse prevents any brainwashing.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: You can use darkness element spells and weapons, and the darkness summon spirit Shade is not evil, though the Benevodon of darkness Zable Fahr is. Your characters' class alignment can become dark (or dark-dark), which is just a fancier way to say that the classes are more offensive based and enfeebling in their specialties. Even their descriptions are up to the player. For example, the Nightblade: a ruthless remorseless coldblooded murderer who revels in the act of stealing lives, or an assassin who preys upon the villainous, corrupted, and nonredeemable in the dark? The Death Hand: a brutal, tasteless savage who turns to internal turmoil for the sake of limitless power, or a wielder of a well kept secret martial art that makes use of unorthodox but effective means to swiftly ensure quick and painless death on opponents? You decide.
  • Dangerous Inn: Sleeping in one room in the middle of the Ghost Ship will make monsters spawn and attack you right away, and oh, you don't get the recovery you were expecting.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even for a series whose theme is all about a cute and charming fairy tale aesthetic meshed with very stark and mature story elements, Trials of Mana was and is the only installment that marked where the mature elements were at their highest. Human sacrifice? The want of those of the underworld wishing to take over the world of the living? Warfare that veers on near genocide? This isn't even including equipment and spells described in overseas guide books and official materials. A suit of armor made from the bones of demons feared to bite into its user's flesh and turn them into bloodthirsty murderers? A mask reminiscent of serial killers meant to scare and unleash the killing instinct? A skull themed glove with pointy finger claws meant to rip and tear at the head of the opponent? A spear made for obscene amounts of collateral damage and to remind people of the threat of violent giants that once terrorized the world in the past? It's there.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Duran, Charlotte, and Riesz have nothing but fond memories of their late parents, whereas Angela and Kevin had to flee their kingdoms after defying their parents, and Hawkeye is in the same boat with his parental figure (who unbeknownst to him is actually his grandfather).
  • Death Mountain:
    • Heavensway and the Gusthall (Path to the Heavens and Corridor of Wind are the fan translated names, respectively) both provide a steep, treacherous climb for the heroes, with the latter being a cave on the former.
    • Beuca Island (Volcanic Island Bucca in the fan translation), because Chekhov's Volcano is a mountain which you climb and then descend into.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Very early in the game, every playable character except Charlotte is stuck in a town. While there, Angela can be seen asleep in the inn if she is not the main character. Since Angela is implied to be naked in bed, she will get angry at you and call your character a pervert if you wake her up. However, if the main character is Riesz — the only other female main character that could speak to Angela at that time — Angela won't be angry at being woken up.
    • The third party member is usually recruited via jailbreak. However, if the player selected Charlotte as the third party member, she joins in a predetermined location much earlier. Should this happen, one of the three possible party members not chosen by the player will be in the jail cell instead of Charlotte. The foresight comes from an extra scene where this character gets left behind when the heroes flee the town; if Duran is the character left behind, he'll berate the heroes for abandoning him when they meet him in the Molebear Moors much later.
    • When the party stays at an inn, they all shift into their respective "sleeping" animations. In normal gameplay, the only thing the player sees of these are the characters' heads peeking out from under the sheets of the beds. However, not only are the rest of the characters' bodies there, they're wearing underwear that changes color depending on the character's class.
    • Should you have enough money, you can agree to pay the outrageous price and just buy the Nitromyte from Watts. If you do, the king will tell you about a shortcut to the boss room via a strange statue, which does nothing if you went through the dungeon in the normal way. You still get the Mana Spirit, but you'll skip the rest of the dungeon.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Not only do you kill the eight Benevodons (note that the Japanese characters used to represent this are the same ones used to represent the Mana Beast in the previous game, although the Japanese name, Kami Kemono, probably is more accurately translated as God-Beast), ancient evils that predate the world, but the final boss has the combined powers of all eight of them, and the Sword of Mana, which is what sealed them away in the first place and was used to help create the world.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: You can customize your team to your liking, even going so far as screwing yourself out of any healing magic or other desirable buffs whatsoever by, say, picking Hawk, Riesz and Angela, for example. None of them ever learn any health restoration, ever. Such teams are popular in Self Imposed Challenges, since any mistake can mean a party wipe. They also deliver high damage and serious debuffing capability, allowing them to bring quick death to the enemy, as well.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Elliot is a minor character in Hawkeye/Riesz's path, and the younger brother of Riesz. He gets captured and sold into slavery by the Nevarl thieves during the raid on his castle. Much later, the party learns of Elliot's fate from a slave trader, but Elliot has already been sold to a gentleman with red eyes (hinted to be Malocchio).
    • If Charlotte is in your party, she overhears a sailor mention that the Priest of Light has put up a new, stronger barrier around Wendel to maintain its neutrality. But he used a lot of energy in the process, and has since fallen ill. The only cleric who can heal him is Heath, and it seems he's gone missing...
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Everybody's hometown gets invaded, either by the baddie for various nefarious reasons, or the heroes themselves in order to kick the bad guys out.
    • Poor Astoria. The quaint river village is doomed to get pummeled to pieces by Ludgar, no matter what.
  • Doppelgänger Attack:
    • Did you really expect Goremand to fight fair?
    • Grand Diviner's Doppelganger spell is called Double Spell in Japanese. The spell is not, as its original name suggests, a doublecast but instead splits Angela in two, doubling the enemy's pain, hence the name change for the localization. This is also the Nightblade's skill.
  • Double Entendre: When playing Hawkeye's intro, if you talk to one of the guards at the door of the throne room, he says about the Laurent Amazons "I bet they're all cute ladies. I want to poke them with my dagger." Think about it....
  • Downer Beginning: All the characters get off to a troubling start, and they go off on their journey to set things right.
  • Dracolich: Dragon Zombies. You encounter them in the Dragonsmaw. More ominously, they also appear in the Mirage Palace, implying that the Masked Mage has reanimated the slain Dragon Lord's troops.
  • The Dragon: There are three pairs for each of the three overlords—Goremand and Heath for the Masked Mage, the Crimson Wizard and the Darkshine Knight for the Dragon Lord, and Malocchio and Belladonna for Dark Majesty. Because they get more screen time than their bosses, they're also better developed characters.
  • Dragon Rider: Flammie the dragon acts as a Global Airship for the party.
  • Dual Boss:
    • Inverted with Bil and Ben, master ninjas. These two are fought twice: first in Laurent and again in Burning Sands. At the start of the battle, Bil & Ben will fuse into one body. Strangely this is when they are at their weakest.
    • Inverted again with Zable Fahr. The one on the right tends to use all the Shade-taught magic like Evil Gate and Dark Force. The one on the left tends to use physical attacks. Once you've destroyed both heads, a third, center-facing head will appear while the other two regenerate (just like you would if you used an Angel's Grail). At this point the battle shifts a bit, as the center head is the target you have to destroy to end the fight. You can still destroy the other heads, but they'll just regenerate.
  • Dug Too Deep: The Dwarves mention that Watts went missing while investigating something strange in the latest tunnel. Turns out, what he was investigating was the Jewel Eater, a giant mole-like creature.
  • Dual Wielding: Hawkeye dual wields daggers. Kevin dual wields gloves/claws/fists (if you want to call them that).
  • Dump Stat:
    • Dexterity for everyone but Hawkeye, who uses it for some of his spells. This is due to it being poorly implemented: it was intended that for every point of Dexterity you had your Evasion Rate would go up by 1%, but instead the game uses the character's class's base Evasion. This would have made it useful for weaker character like Angela, but the point of the stat ceases to exist. Though it's often speculated that it increases your chances of randomly executing a short animation composed of invincibility frames when attacked, which is technically different from a "Miss", so the point of the stat might not be entirely lost.
    • Luck should increase a character's critical hit rate but ends up being useless because that mechanic wasn't implemented properly. Its only real use is evading traps from chests, which usually aren't that big a deal anyway since you can easily heal back up outside of battles.
  • Dying as Yourself: Heath and Darkshine Knight, the latter of whom is actually Duran's father, regain their senses upon defeat. Alternatively, if the Dragonsmaw is infiltrated by enemy forces, the Darkshine Knight announces that he, too, will soon disappear, since the Dragon Emperor's magic was the only thing keeping his zombified body alive.
  • Early Game Hell: Starting off as Charlotte or Angela (or both as your first two characters) is notoriously difficult. What keeps Charlotte from being useless is that she has a heal spell; Angela has magic that takes out most of her magic pool, freezes her in place, and is too impractical to use on anything but bosses.
  • Easily Conquered World:
    • Beastman are remarkably effective against whole cities. Unless you're Duran or Kevin, bumping into the Beastmen here will prompt some of them to ask if you're trying to pick a fight. This pretty much results in them trashing you with a single hit and you waking up in the inn with 1 HP so it's not recommended.
    • Citadel Laurent, AKA "The Castle That Never Fell." Well, that's tempting fate, isn't it? The Nevarlan thieves are too cunning to attack directly, instead spreading a sleeping pollen which puts the Amazons' lights out. The King is struck down in his own throne room without any resistance whatsoever. On the flip side, it also seems to be an Easily Liberated World. The Amazons take back the castle because the thieves never figured the former might use the latter's own tactic against them.
  • Empty Room Psych: Every room in the Chartmoon Tower (Moonreading Tower is the fan translated name). Behind one door is the staircase; the other three are enemy nests.
  • Epic Rocking: The soundtrack contains a few very long tracks, with "The Sacrifice, Part Three", at 8:05, and "Return to Forever", at 8:39, taking the cake.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Quite a few, including the Priest of Light and Malocchio. Two of the main villains (Dragon Lord and Dark Majesty) are addressed by title only. However, Land and Heroes of Mana retcon their real names as Drakonis and Stroud (the latter also being the name of a very different character in Sword of Mana), respectively. Belgar is the name of the once-noble priest who degenerated into the Masked Mage.
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • Heath's monochrome costume while in the service of the Masked Mage.
    • Your own characters can have this while picking Class Changes.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Masked Mage is also referred to as a Priest of Dark, in opposition to the Priest of Light, who exiled him in reaction to the Mage dabbling in the dark arts.
    • Each of the six playable classes has a counterpart monster line, that has most of the same moveset (with later Underground Monkey versions sporting the skills from the upgraded classes, usually of the Dark line). Duran has Knights, Angela has Magicians, Kevin has Werewolves, Charlotte has Dark Priests, Hawkeye has Ninjas, and Riesz has the Bee Lancers.
  • Evil Overlord: The Dragon Lord for Duran and Angela, the Masked Mage for Kevin and Charlotte, and the Dark Majesty for Riesz and Hawkeye. They all seek to liberate the magical forces that bind the world together and destroy humanity.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Crimson Wizard, The Masked Mage, and Heath, Charlotte's playmate and supposedly her mentor. The former's a Smug Snake who loves to throw around his magical superiority, and the latter two are actually The Dragon for their respective bosses.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The three evil factions (Ferolia, Altena and Nevarl) are all fighting for the Mana Sword, and are in fact a greater danger to each other than the PC group. This all comes to a head when the path to the Sanctuary of Mana becomes open for the villains to invade; all three factions come in well before your party does because your party needs to waste time to find a means of transportation up into the Sanctuary of Mana. Who comes out on top is dependent on your party: if Riesz or Hawkeye is the hero, the Nevarl thieves will have already killed the Dragon Lord and the Masked Mage. If Kevin or Charlotte are the hero, the beastmen will have killed the Dragon Lord and Dark Majesty. If Angela or Duran are the hero, then the Altenian forces will have killed the Masked Mage and the Dark Majesty. From then on, they focus entirely on the player party.
  • Evil Weapon: The Mana Sword is an artifact sought after by the evil nations, as it is the key to reaching the Mana Sanctuary. The lead villain hopes to pervert the sword by committing evil acts, turning it into an instrument of evil. Ultimately subverted when the sword resists the villain's attempt to wield it.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Eventually, one will come out on top; the victor will be the side most actively involved with the primary character. By extension, this also determines how the finale will play out in terms of dungeons.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Ultimate equipment, along with the Lv. 3 class changes, only be obtained via seeds dropped by specific enemies. Even if you can't wear it, you can still sell it for mucho dinero.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Your team can go from the Burning Sands to the Frostbite Fields without so much as a coat. Originally averted as Angela comes close to freezing to death in the latter, but played straight when she can waltz right through it later in the game.
  • Exposition Fairy: The Faerie needs to hitch a ride inside your head, since there's not enough Mana left for her to stay alive outside of it. Fortunately she isn't too intrusive, and usually only speaks in cutscenes or if you clobber a boss. Not having Riesz in your party changes the Faerie's dialog just a bit, as you need someone to help you get acquainted with the "Winged Defender", a.k.a. Flammie.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Tomatomen are fatalistic about the imminent volcanic eruption, saying it's not their place to defy nature.
  • Fallen Angel: Dark Majesty. The Masked Mage's backstory is also riddled with this, both of them falling into evil after deciding if they were going to be treated as evil, they may as well go all the way with it.
  • Fantasy Character Classes: And how! Amongst a cast of six characters, all of them boast Light and Dark paths, with an additional two master paths, leading to a total of 36 classes, starters not included.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: If you stop at a Trauma Inn during the day, you have the option to be awakened in the evening or next morning, though this is rarely a concern for progressing through the Story Arc.
  • Fetch Quest:
    • At one point in the game, you need to get some Nitromyte to get to your next destination, Valsena. The only person who has any is Watts the dwarf, who offers to sell it for an obscene price. Normally, you're supposed to beat a boss, get a Mana Spirit, then get the Nitromyte from the king as a reward.
    • There is a meeting taking place in the Amazon hideout to discuss how the soldiers will retake the Citadel. The Elder there explains that he's not really a strategist so he can't help—but they could look for Domperi, who lives in Koropokkur Woods (everyone there is tiny). Supposedly his advice led Prince Richard to victory against the Dragon Emperor. The only problem is that Koropokkur don't trust humans. In order to disguise yourselves, you need to find the Minor Mallet, only available in Beiser. Thankfully, a cannoneer saves you the trouble of going all the way out there, but it's a one-way trip.
  • Final Boss: Comes in three flavors, depending on which hero is chosen as the main character.
    • Duran and Angela: The Dragon Lord. A tyrant thought to have been slain by Duran's father Loki, but was just hiding. He's been marshaling his dragon armies to try and take over the world again, and he revived Loki as his servant, the Darkshine Knight.
    • Hawkeye and Riesz: The Dark Majesty. A Lucifer archetype and prince of the underworld who wants the living to pay for their "sins".
    • Charlotte and Kevin: The Masked Mage. A fallen cleric who bathed himself in dark magic, losing any semblance of humanity he once had, now drunk with power and wanting to destroy the world out of a twisted logic.
  • First Town: Astoria. Well, it's the first town common to ALL the characters when any of them are the lead. Most characters have to make a stop in Jadd before they ever reach Astoria, with the exception of Charlotte. It's also the first town shop-wise, as Jadd is under a curfew and can't sell you any weapons or armor.
  • Flashback Effects:
    • Before recruiting your teammates, each tells their story in a Deliberately Monochrome cutscene.
    • Charlotte gets one even if you didn't select her as a teammate at all.
  • Flat Character: Malocchio and the Dragon Lord are easily the least developed villains in the game. Although, really, all of the arch-Big Bads suffer from this to a fairly large degree, due to being in the background for so long.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • Grapplavine's main gimmick is summoning various insect creatures to fight you.
    • Malocchio starts off with a couple friends backing him up: A succubus and a werewolf, which is thematically appropriate. Kill these two off as fast as you can, or the three will quickly overwhelm you.
    • The Black Rabite. Using any spell or any Technique above level 1 will result in this happening. He can summon Lv. 99 Demons all day long.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Intolerance" and "Political Pressure", two tracks that play whenever something ominous is going down.
  • The Gadfly: Domperi messes with the party upon their entrance to Koropokkur Woods. He hides his identity when they say they're looking for him and makes them look elsewhere, claiming he doesn't know where Domperi is. After the party speaks to the other Koropokkurs, the last of them mentions seeing Domperi outside, then Domperi reveals himself. He says he technically didn't know where he would be because he was walking around in various parts of the village, and thus didn't know where he would be at any given moment.
  • Get on the Boat: The only way to travel anywhere until you get more reliable means of transportation (first ocean travel via Vuscav, then air travel via Flammie) is by boat, the cannon or, in Kevin's case, swimming the entire distance from Ferolia to Jadd. Evidently he gets sick during long boat rides.
  • Gemstone Assault: The Diamond Shards spell, as its name implies, features shards of diamond piercing its target. It can be used by either Angela or enemies.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The very first boss, Fullmetal Hugger, is a giant, evil crab.
  • A God Am I: All three Big Bads, once they've absorbed the energies of eight Benevodons and taken the Sword of Mana, declare themselves to have overtaken the Mana Goddess in terms of power.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Valda has gotten it into her warped brain that Altena isn't quite overpowered enough — that her kingdom is entitled to each of the world's Mana Stones. When glimpsing the full scope of her plans, Hero King Richard spits back, "True Queen!" with maximum irony. The truth of the matter is a bit more complex. Altena depends heavily on magic just to survive on their frozen continent, and with the Mana Tree threatened, so is the supply of mana that keeps their country going. Of course, unsealing the mana stones and freeing the Eldritch Abominations stored in each one is probably the worst way to solve that problem, but you can thank the Crimson Wizard for giving her that idea.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny:
    • The Golden Goddess statue will replenish your HP/MP, unlike the silver statue which merely saves your game.
    • Hero King Richard and the Knights of Gold have made a reputation for themselves around the world.
    • The Golden Road is a major thoroughfare for merchants traveling between port town Maia and Beiser's black market. Since the monsters took over, hardly anyone travels it, and it's starting to get overgrown with weeds.
  • Great Offscreen War: All that's mentioned about the Dragon Lord is that he led a large clan of Dragons that Hero King Richard fought a war against. The details of it are unknown, but the Dragon Lord was apparently enough of a threat to the World that a faerie was sent to aid Richard. (Despite what you might expect, this is not the conflict covered in Heroes of Mana!)
  • Green Hill Zone: The Rabite Forest south of Jadd is a peaceful introductory area which lets you really get acquainted with the combat system in this iteration. Since you flee Jadd under the cover of night, the Rabites are sleeping at the moment, which means you don't have to fight them.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: After being ambushed by Ludgar in Cascade Cavern, you awaken in a jail cell, with 1 HP to your name. Luckily the enemy was too dumb to strip anything like your equipment and items. There's one guard on duty, and he is easily bamboozled into switching places with your cellmates: Duran taunts the guard into fighting him mano-a-mano, Angela teases the guard by lifting up her skirt, Kevin threatens to call his dad, Hawkeye will pick the lock on his cell, etc.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Unfortunately, the only time the game tells you what level is required for a class change is in an easily-missed book, so you could see a confused person coming back to a Mana Stone repeatedly after each level trying to class change.
    • The game doesn't mention this, but certain spells can't be learned unless you've leveled up particular attributes. Hawkeye learns new moves by leveling up his AGL and LUCK, but dumping points into his INT is useless. However, Duran (the no-frills tank) must raise his SPIRIT at least a little if he wants to learn his Paladin moves, which require MP to use. The requirements aren't always intuitive, and you may waste a level or two trying out new combinations before you see a result. Thankfully, the game rewards every spell you've missed along the way (without any fanfare, just a quick message box) once you meet the requirements.
    • Getting items for the second class change isn't hinted at nor are you told where you can reap them, meaning first-time players frequently don't even get them. Keep in mind, seeds are only dropped by certain foes, and that enemy must die last in order to drop a chest.
    • An evil moment is while fighting enemies which counter skills and spells. Good luck dealing with Darkshine Knight on your first try after you thought you were invincible raiding entire screens with your special attacks of no MP cost.
    • In Dragonsmaw, there is a hidden little alcove in a straight north-south corridor where the Black Rabite awaits. You can only pass through the wall once the Crimson Wizard is dead. It's pretty well hidden and out of the way, and there's no indication anywhere in the game that this even exists.
  • Gusty Glade: Gusthall is filled with statues that blow wind in different directions, and their movement can be controlled with switches. Does it really count as a glade if it's half made out of caves, though?
  • Hailfire Peaks: Beuca Island contains a huge underground spring. A good thing, too, since Vuscav is able to swim inside and ferry you off before the mountaintop blows!
  • Harping on About Harpies: There are harpies hanging around Heavensway who can drop status effects. But they'e guppies compared to Harcypete who can buff and debuff, wield wind magic, pick up your characters and then throw them to the ground, knocking them unconscious.
  • Have We Met Yet?:
    • If you take Angela or Duran's path, the party will run into a younger version of Hero King Richard of Valsena, or Prince Richard as he was known at the time, in Pedda, which is a since-destroyed town brought to the present by a temporal abnormality.
    • If Duran is leading the party, you also run into his father, Loki, in the town of Pedda, just before the battle in which he's going to die. Duran tries to convince his father not to go, but Loki goes anyway. And just to wring a few more tears out of the player, Loki comments that he hopes his son "turns out to be a fine young man like [present-day Duran]."
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Class change is a thing that exists In-Universe instead of just a gameplay mechanic. In fact, Duran's entire (initial) motivation is to be able to get strong enough for one of these.
  • He Knows Too Much: Your next destination after leaving Maia is the Stonesplit Gap, which is the only route in or out of Valsena. Unfortunately, the party runs into a squad of Altenish soldiers and their machine golems. Their presence here is supposed to be a secret, so they decide to kill you rather than compromise their invasion of Valsena. You might think having Angela in your party would mitigate this, but you'd be wrong: the soldiers have orders to kill Angela on sight.
  • The Heavy: Each main Dragon (those are the Crimson Wizard, Belladonna and Goremand) is the one pushing the plot and doing the legwork for their Big Bad.
  • Hidden Depths: With the exceptions of the Dragon Lord and Malocchio, all of the villains get fleshed out, well-developed personalities and back stories.
  • Hidden Elf Village:
    • Lumina explains that the dwarves are using reflective rocks to create illusions. While this doesn't make it any clearer to those of us who aren't light spirits, Lumina messes with the light to 'move' a rock formation which had been blocking the Dwarf City entrance.
    • Koropokkur Woods is a village of small people hidden among Rabite Forest, and is visited when the party needs Domperi's help to free Laurent from Nevarlan forces.
    • Dior is the hidden village of elves in Lampbloom Woods, which is difficult to navigate except at night, when the light of the flowers guides the way to the village.
    • The Ancient Capital Pedda exists in some kind of weird temporal flux: It's just empty ruins when you first arrive, but staying at the inn warps you back in time to the first Dragon War.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Regardless of which characters you choose, their 'angry' sprite is pretty expressive.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: The kingdom of Nevarl is guarded by these, and Hawkeye can become one.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Whoever the Big Bad is, their flunkies will inevitably hold the Faerie ransom in exchange for the Mana Sword.
  • Hufflepuff House:
    • Like Tasnica in SoM, there's a nation on our side which is attempting to help us save the world: Valsena, whose Knights of Gold are busy keeping the peace up north.
    • Also, just because the Amazonian army was devastated doesn't make them any less formidable: one of the girls mentions dressing up as a waitress and hanging around Nevarl pubs to track troop movements.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Niccolo, as the cat pops up several times during Hawkeye's story to break him out of prison, lend him a vital hand against Belladonna, and take care of Jessica so Hawkeye could carry out his mission without worrying for her.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: The Crimson Wizard and Belladonna, posing as Evil Chancellors of sorts to the north and south, work independently to provoke fighting with their neighbors. The Crimson Wizard reveals that he hypnotized the True Queen into becoming a warmonger, and Belladonna basically prostitutes herself out to Lord Flamekhan. By the time Hawkeye notices something's amiss, she now has mind control powers over the entire ninja clan, including Eagle and Bil/Ben.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Isle of Oblivion", anyone? It lies in the middle of the world. It is the center of all Mana energy — and that's where the three enemy nations converge for a fight to the death.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: The Faerie has a bit of trouble remembering that humans can't fly.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The days of the week are named according to the Mana Spirits, thus affecting the strength/weakness of their corresponding magic. It's also free to sleep at an inn on Mana Day.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The official Trials of Mana localization pretty much borrows from the localization of Heroes of Mana, given the latter's status as a prequel. However, where Heroes kept the names of the spirits Jinn and Wisp, the Trials localization used Sylphid and Lumina, their names from Secret of Mana and its remake.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain:
    • Most of Ferolia, even Ludgar to a degree.
    • This may be subverted after all; if you challenge any beastman during the Jadd raid, they knock the hell out of your character (except Duran, who seemingly is the only one smart enough to notice picking a fight isn't a good idea now) with a single attack, and to add insult to injury, they aren't even in their wolf form. To be fair, though, for most characters this is literally right after the first trek through the overworld, and the beastmen sent to raid Jadd would logically be pretty tough. By the time you trade blows with them again, you'll have already reclaimed a kingdom from a clan of ninjas as well as fought ghosts and elemental beasts many times the size of your character, so it may be something along the lines of Can't Catch Up on the part of the beastmen; they can go toe-to-toe with the forces of Altena and Nevarl on equal standing, but by this point your team is just much stronger than them.
  • Inn Security: Twice. Sleeping at an inn is required to make the faerie appear, and later on in a free boat ride leads to the characters being trapped on the Ghost Ship.
  • Interface Spoiler: The game leads you to believe that opening the gate to the Sanctuary of Mana and acquiring the Sword of Mana will be the game's big finish. It's somewhat undermined by the fact that unless you've spent an inordinate amount of time Level Grinding, you're nowhere near the level needed for your second class change, and at that point in the game, have no way of getting the MacGuffins needed for it anyways.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Chikeeta and Josephine earn a living as traveling salescats, and they prove to be just as shrewd as SoM's Neko. The real kicker, though, is a couple of ghost merchants who will sell you the weapon and armor upgrades aboard the Ghost Ship.
  • Item Get!: Your lead character does this after pulling the Mana sword out of the root of the Mana Tree.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Chartmoon Tower is filled to the brim with staircases, some of which don't even help the party reach the top floor.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The Thieves Guild of Nevarl at the beginning. Doubly since the Wanderer and Rogue class allude to when Nevarl wasn't a desert.
  • Justified Save Point:
    • The HP/MP replenishing statues of the Mana Goddess are tributes to the deity, usually placed in the vicinity of Mana Stones to ward off outsiders. There are one or two statues in the final villain's lair... but they're headless, placed there in direct mockery of the Goddess. They also don't refill your energy.
    • The Goddess is a human totem. The Tomatomen of Tomato Town do not worship the Mana Tree, but they have a HP/MP restoring totem pole, regardless.
    • The Masked Mage keeps his own save statue at the nexus of his base (it's shaped like a skull).
  • Justified Tutorial: If you're new to the game, it's quite possible to die here. The game won't let you game over, though:
    • Starting up Duran's quest line, the first thing you'll notice is that it's a callback to previous characters in the Mana series. It's also the most meta of the starting scenarios, and it seems that Duran's the one you're expected to start out with. To begin with, just like in Final Fantasy Adventure, we start out with a gladiator battle, except he's not a slave. Valsena also has a large library which gives a good bit of information for players, particularly regarding the class changes.
    • Our introduction to Riesz sees her out patrolling on the cliffs above Laurent accompanied by her retinue. After winning, Riesz takes a moment to to wax introspective about how more monsters are appearing lately.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: The heroes can become blonde (or blonder) through class changes, too. Charlotte, Riesz, and Kevin are already light-haired, but Angela and Hawkeye are both dark-haired, and their class-changes with blond hair are both dark-dark.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • At the start of Kevin's story, Goremand influences your pet pooch to go rabid and attack, forcing you to put him down.
    • Ludgar and his men destroy Astoria for no reason, other than it was on the way toward their real target, Wendel.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • For some reason, the area around the Mana Tree is lousy with Rabites and their derivatives. King Rabites can call other Rabites, and have a full screen attack (Rabite Rainstrom) which actually hurts, doing well over 100 damage to the entire group.
    • The Black Rabite. It looks like a black version of one of the cute and weak enemies found at the beginning of the game upon first glance, but it's actually a demon-summoning, magic-spamming, deadly monster.
  • King Mook: Harcypete is a scaled-up version of the Harpies you encounter in Heavensway. Two of the Benevodons, Dolan and Lightgazer, resemble a werewolf and one of those Beholder enemies in the Jungle of Visions, respectively.
  • Lady Land: Laurent and Altena. Both armies are comprised of all-Amazonian soldiers, though Laurent still retains a male monarch (granted, it's not made clear if King Joster was the regent before his wife passed away, though it was clear Minerva was the leader of the armed forces, and in the ending Riesz ascends the throne as Queen Regent). We also learn that the Crimson Wizard's original motive was to show up his female classmates at Altena. Once the red-haired stepchild of that realm, he's now the world's most powerful sorcerer.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: With the winds turned off, Laurent can't be retaken by the Amazons. You need the power of Sylphid to spread the thieves' pollen and knock them all out, a fitting end to their treachery.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Unless you go out of your way (or just plain hack your save) to get it sooner, you won't be able to get the final class change until just before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The party narrowly misses a clash between the Dragon Lord, Masked Mage, and Dark Majesty in the Sanctuary of Mana. It must have been one hell of a fight, as the resulting bloodbath leaves their armies and the Sanctuary in tatters. Only Goremand, the Darkshine Knight, and Belladonna live to tell the tale; Belladonna and the Darkshine Knight take their own lives as penance, while Goremand just shrugs and beats a hasty retreat! (Though he admits his chances of escape are slim to none.)
  • Lethal Lava Land: Fiery Gorge lives up to its name as a cavern of fire and lava. (No actual damage from convection, though.)
  • Level Scaling:
    • Chest traps scale to your level, not the level of the enemies that drop them. A Lv. 18 or Lv. 38 Chest Monster is no fun at all, and a bomb trap, which does several hundred damage to everyone in the party could result in a party wipe. Especially if you're coming out of a tough fight.
    • This is the whole gimmick of the Benevodon hunt. After you defeat a Benevodon, the others become more powerful and the level of the enemies surrounding them also increases by two. This necessitates a bit of leveling up throughout the process just to stay competitive.
  • Light Is Good:
    • Lumina is the light elemental Spirit, and is firmly on the heroes' side.
    • Notice that Riesz has blonde hair and blue eyes, and won't stand by while her kingdom is invaded by Nevarlan forces.
  • Light Is Not Good: Lightgazer, the Benevodon of Light. Also, there are several enemies which use Light-based attack spells to destroy your party.
  • Limit Break: Three levels of them, the second and third being learned after the class changes. The second and third limit breaks are different depending on the class chosen.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards:
    • Early game, the physical attackers do tend to be more powerful than the casters (who need a meat shield to tank hits for them while they stand immobile to cast), and pure casters do outdamage pure hitters, but most of the main characters end up being some kind of Magic Knight (depending on which of the upgraded classes they choose) anyway.
    • In-Universe, Duran's motivation to get the Mana Sword is because the Crimson Wizard handily defeated him in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Literary Allusion Title: A few songs that don't have Word Salad Titles provide possible examples of this, such as "Where Angels Fear to Tread" and "Long Goodbye". "Return to Forever" is probably a Shout-Out to the jazz fusion act of the same name.
  • Living Structure Monster: Zehnoa, one of the bosses, is a demonic fireplace/furnace that attacks by spitting enemies out of its fire.
  • Load-Bearing Boss:
    • After you beat Belladonna, her section of the Dark Castle collapses, and the party flees across a connecting bridge to the next tower. If Hawkeye is with you, he'll stand over the gap and announce that vengeance is his at last.
    • Fighting Gorva on the deck of the Ghost Ship. This has the effect of freeing the dark spirit, Shade, from captivity. The heroes are nonplussed to discover that Shade is the only thing keeping the ship from vanishing. The Ghost Ship disappears from under their feet, stranding them on the shores of a volcanic island.
  • The Lost Woods: Lampbloom Woods and the Jungle of Visions are maze-like forests. And the Sanctuary itself is maze-like, even changing its layout later in the game.
  • Lost World: The Shimmering Ruins and the Jungle of Visions. Somewhere deep in the forest, the Masked Mage is assembling his army like a regular Colonel Kurtz.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Duran, the Darkshine Knight is your father.
    • Heath, the Masked Mage is your father.
    • Charlotte, the Elf-King is your other grandfather.
    • Angela, Hero King Richard is your father. Alluded to in the original game, but confirmed in the prequel.
  • Magic Knight: Duran's Edelfrei class is the best example from this game; he can imbue his and the other party members' weapons with magic. His Paladin class only gets the Holy Saber imbuement in addition to a healing spell, but it's quite useful against Zable Fahr, the Benevodon of Darkness. The Duelist class can cast Dark Saber, which is not quite as useful in the long run, and the Lord class is basically just a healer in plate armor. The other character that exemplifies this trope in ToM is Riesz, who gets summon spells and status magic (her Light classes are more about buffing the other party members, while the Dark classes cast debuffs on the enemy).
  • Magikarp Power:
    • This seems to be the characteristic of the Light path. The Dark classes spit out a higher volume of attacks and maximum strength levels. The Light classes, comparatively, have little to offer until about ten hours later, when Light-Light finally yields big dividends — especially in the final areas of the game. Hawkeye's first Light class, Ranger, is really underwhelming: No buffs/debuffs, no elemental attacks, and mediocre stats across the board. If you survive long enough to promote him to Wanderer, he'll learn Counter magic — effectively neutering the Crimson Wizard, who won't be able to lay a finger on your trio. It gets ugly real fast.
    • Charlotte is a Squishy Wizard who at least has the ability to cast heal light early on, whereas Angela is also a Squishy Wizard who... starts off with pretty much no magic (or at least, magic that you can use more than a few times). Even if Angela is your second or third party member, she's a liability until she levels up a few times and eventually gets promoted.
    • Angela's Mysticist class is rather unimpressive compared to the Sorceress class, but taking it allows her to eventually gain access to the Rune Seer class, which has a spell capable of delivering 999 damage to any enemy at her level or lower. Yes, even the final bosses.
  • Marathon Level: To reach the final bosses, you must first comb through an alien landscape (Crystal Desert for the Dragon Lord, Jungle of Visions for the Masked Mage, and Night Cavern for Dark Majesty), defeat the Dark Benevodons and a sub-boss, scour the dungeons for three past bosses, and then fight the dungeon boss. There are no gold Goddess statues after the first boss (just headless ones), only a long, hard slog back to civilization if you run out restoratives/MP.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Two of them.
    • The spell Lunatic reduces the target's maximum HP by 20%. It's very good when used at the beginning of boss fights, where it can knock off upwards of 10,000 HP.
    • On the enemies' side, there's Moon Spiral, which deals damage while carrying the same effect as the spell Lunatic to your entire team. This makes the select few bosses having access to this move all the more dangerous.
  • The Maze:
    • Labyrinth of Ice and Duskmoon Forest are maze-like, but not as complex as some of the other mazes in the game.
    • Lampbloom Woods requires that you visit it at night, which signposts the exit with glowing flower bulbs.
    • Chartmoon Tower offers up a game of "Hunt the Staircase" with each floor.
    • Dragonsmaw is a web of similar-looking caverns that loop on themselves, with dragon statues blocking the paths to the Crimson Wizard. Detours open up once you've located and killed the past bosses lurking around the cave.
    • Just getting to the Mirage Palace is a hassle. The jungle is a Zelda-style maze (listen for the chime), leading to Zable Fahr and a chest containing a magic mirror which reveals the Masked Mage's location. The courtyard is protected by a Portal Network leading to various puzzle rooms. The palace itself is smaller but no less confusing: false switches, deadfalls, and a disguised door.
    • Late in the game, the Sanctuary of Mana is struck by an attack from the Big Bad, now supercharged with the energy of all eight Benevodons. The straightforward path to the Tree is now a lot more convoluted, with broken columns and branching paths of lily-pads placed to confound you. This is a good as time as any to level grind.
  • Meet the New Boss:
    • The Masked Mage is heir to the previous game's Thanatos, with a similar boss form and attack animation. The Lich, along with Dark Majesty and Goremand, is a recurring foe in the Mana series.
    • If you look closely, each of the main adversaries has a component or two of Thanatos. The Masked Mage is a necromancer who kidnaps/brainwashes a loved one of the game's white mage. Dark Majesty shares his body-stealing ways. The Dragon Lord converts a fallen warrior (Geshtar in the original, Loki in this one) into an undead knight. Belladonna is also a pro at mass hypnosis.
  • Mirror Boss: The Darkshine Knight is a former Golden Knight, Crimson Wizard is a hopeless student of magic who fast-tracked his abilities due to outside influence, Heath is the orphan ward of Wendel's top priest, Ludgar is the sneering Beastman general who somehow thinks the throne is rightfully his (in contrast to Reluctant Ruler Kevin), Bil and Ben are, or at least used to be, laid-back master ninjas, Heath is fully fledged summoner in addition to his necromancer abilities, granting him all of Charlotte's dark magic.
  • Mirror Match:
    • Kevin and the Ferolian troops all share the same werewolf sprite (albeit differently-colored). The latter use the same Techs as Kevin's top-tier classes. Needless to say, this gets very confusing if he's on your team.
    • Each class the heroes can take has a enemy parallel. Duran has knights. Angela magicians. Kevin with werewolves. Light Charlotte are potos, while dark Charlotte shamans. Light Hawkeye with Chobins and dark has ninjas. Finally, Reise has the bee women and goblins.
    • In addition to Shape Shifters (mostly harmless balls of wax that morph into various monsters), you may encounter their Underground Monkey equivalent, Shadow Zed. SoM vets will remember these as the clones of Randi's party who you fought in Joch's cave. They'll mimic your class changes along with their special attacks. The problem is that they aren't affected by Health/Damage Asymmetry; their attacks do the same boss-killing damage as yours, to your party's still PC-level hit points. If you have Dark classes in your lineup, and the Zeds decide to mimic them (and you didn't bring along any characters who can Silence enemy spells), just flee. You can't win.
  • Monster Clown: Goremand and (ulp!) Zable Fahr.
  • Monster Town:
    • Beuca Island plays home to Tomato Town, a tribal village of Tomatomen. Unlike their brethren scattered about the island and elsewhere, these guys are peaceful and fork over equipment and health.
    • Moonlight City Mintas. If you're playing as Kevin, you'll no doubt recognize this village: it's the place in Kev's intro. The town is full of peacenik humans and pacifist werewolves.
  • Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Despite the large number of huge, monstrous bosses in the game, by far the hardest fights are against the human-sized villains.
  • Mook Maker: Zehnoa. A living doorway which spits out assorted mooks for you to fight, apparently from the pits of Mavolia (Hell) itself.
  • Mordor: Three varieties. Dragonsmaw is a blasted wasteland which is shrouded in pale mist. Dark Castle is lashed by a perpetual storm, resting atop an unscalable mountain. Mirage Palace takes the cake, though: the whole estate sits atop a lake of blood-tainted water, with skulls bobbing up and down in it.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • A role shared by the Priest of Light and the Faerie. The Faerie explains that she is last of her kind who lived peacefully in the Mana Sanctuary, until the world's Mana began fading. The faeries set out from the Sanctuary to restore the balance with the help of the chosen hero, but only one survived. She then urges the protagonist to take her to the Holy City Wendel. The Priest of Light lacks the power to fix the party's problems on his own, but he gives them a history lesson on the Mana Sword and the eight spirits. He then mentions that Cascade Cavern may hold one of the spirits you seek.
    • After booting the Crimson Wizard out of his kingdom, talk to King Richard and he'll give you the 4-11 on where the remaining spirits can be found, along with their respective Mana Stones.
  • My Name Is ???: The ??? Seeds are needed to get the items necessary to unlock the second class change. Since the party will likely reach the required level around when they reach Pedda, chests dropped by one type of enemy outside the city, Beholders, will always contain ??? Seeds.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The levels for class changing are specifically delineated at 18/38. You'll start encountering class-changed enemies (a few with full-screen Techs) at level ten. Your party also has to fill a Tech gauge before unleashing their special attacks, but enemies of the exact same class can slam your party with their abilities right off the bat (they will also frequently use them as counterattacks after you hit them with a spell).
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: The Faerie can sense the presence of a nearby spirit, which usually means that the spirit's soul has been absorbed by the dungeon boss.
  • Nerf:
    • There are fewer special moves (owing to the Lv. 7 percentage meter being replaced with the more streamlined 1-2-3 Tech meter). And the Lv. 3 Techs can provoke a nasty response from enemies, most notably the werewolves and knights.
    • Each spell will have its own casting time before it will actually take effect. This adds some degree of challenge, as it prevents the ability to cast chain-spells like in Secret of Mana (which was really just a glitch which allowed you to always do the max damage possible, rendering all boss fights frivolous).
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: One of the NPCs in Maia, Matelo, is a self-proclaimed paranormal expert, but the townfolk all think he's nuts. He spends his nights on the pier, keeping an eye out for the fabled "ghost ship". Your party encounters his ghost inside the Captain's quarters on the ghost ship. Elated at having finally become a ghost, he plans to scare the crap out of his friends back home, then passes his curse onto the lead character before leaving.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Beastmen, including Kevin, are all martial artist werewolves.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Duran vs. The Crimson Wizard.
    • Kevin vs. his father, the Beast King.
  • No Fair Cheating: Shadow Zeds don't just mimic your appearance. They even copy your current stats. So if you've used a cheat code to make your Strength/Intellect ten times as high as your class can go, say goodbye to your party.
  • Noob Cave: Cascade Cavern, the first dungeon, doesn't pose much of a threat, despite only two party members being present upon entrance, due to the second joining at the entrance. Charlotte is the exception if she isn't chosen as the main character; she joins inside the cave even if she's chosen second, and will also join here instead of in Jadd's prison if she's chosen third.
  • Notice This: In combat ready mode, all playable characters turn to face their foes no matter how they move.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: No matter who the Final Boss is, they will gloat on their apparent victory, as they have just slain the Mana Goddess and is certain there is no one else with the power to oppose them. Naturally this is followed by a declaration of This Cannot Be! when the heroes manage to kill them.
  • Official Couple: Duran and Angela, if the player chooses either as the main character and chooses the other character as one of the three characters.
  • Older Is Better: Ancient Capital Pedda is the best place to shop. Short of the Gear Seed items, their weapons and armor are second to none. This is discussed in-game, as an NPC there says that Pedda's superior weapons and armor make the city a target of the Dragon Lord, while Chikeeta and Josephine discuss the inventory of the shops there in addition to the weapons and armor they sell themselves.
  • One Curse Limit:
    • An exploitable bug. Using the Minor Mallet will make your team miniature, replacing whatever status effect they have, and using it again will invert the miniature status effect turning them to normal.
    • It's also invoked by the plot with Jessica — she was cursed to die if she learned the truth, but that made her immune to magical brainwashing later on.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Annihilate spell, which is known by certain enemies and can be learned by Angela if she promotes to the Rune Seer (Dark-Light) class, will always do 999 HP worth of damage if the target is at the same level as the caster or lower; if the target is at a higher level, it will fail. If the target is a party member or normal monster and the spell works, they're screwed; for bosses it's simply a heavily damaging attack.
  • One-Winged Angel: All three potential final bosses assume a vastly more monstrous form just before battling the heroes.
  • Opening the Sandbox: Following your adventure on Beuca Island, Richard welcomes you back and informs you where the other Mana Stones lie. The problem lies in getting there as no ships sail to those places. Richard hands over the Ferry Flute so you can ride Vuscav. This means you don't have to use ships or cannons anymore. That said, the spiel by King Richard makes it seem like you can go anywhere at this point, but it's not quite as simple as that. Realistically, there are only two dungeons you can visit: Fiery Gorge and Frostbite Fields. The others are closed off until you get the next spirit.
  • Orcus on His Throne:
    • Each of the villains lounge around in their hideouts and let their minions do the work — until they're either killed by one of the other enemy factions or the heroes storming their fortress. In fact, you don't even meet them until you've completed the respective final dungeons. Dark Majesty wasn't totally idle behind the scenes, though: He's the one who raised the Dark Mana Stone from the Underworld. He also sacrifices his first body to rip open the Sanctuary entrance. The reason he doesn't confront you is because he's waiting for his cronies to resurrect his form.
    • The original Japanese name for one of the bosses in Legend of Mana fought in the Underworld is identical to the name of the Benevodon trapped inside this stone, hinting at a link between the two games after all! (The boss doesn't look much like its namesake, though, and the name was changed in the North American release, so aside from a similar case of Dual Boss, there isn't any way you'd know it - you don't even get to see the Mana Stone).
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Beastmen, who are a race of their own but very clearly inspired by werewolf mythology. They transform at night, gaining a sizeable attack bonus. This includes Kevin.
  • Palette Swap:
    • In addition to learning new abilities, each class alters the color of your hair and outfit—at least in the SNES release. But fret not: The status screen shows a detailed image of your new attire, as does the official art. Presumably, the 3D remake will include additional character models for each class.
    • Chikeeta and Josephine both use the same sprite as Niccolo, but their fur is slightly different. This is lampshaded by the hero who mistakes them both for Niccolo.
  • Palmtree Panic: Beuca Island, in addition to being volcanic, is tropical and filled to the brim with palm trees and other tropical plants.
  • Party of Representatives: Each party member hails from one of the various countries involved in the war for the Sanctuary of Mana, and they're even paired by who-is-invading-who:
    • Altena vs. Valsena (Angela and Duran)
    • Ferolia vs. Wendel (Kevin and Charlotte)
    • Nevarl vs. Laurent (Hawkeye and Riesz)
  • Pause Abuse: It was discovered that the charge-up time between selecting a skill or spell and its actual execution continues to elapse even when the player accesses a menu. Thus, the player can select a spell then switch to the menu so the character doesn't take damage before the spell executes. However, this also works on enemies preparing spells to attack you with....
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • The Jungle of Visions is the earliest equivalent, and a good place to stock up on seeds.
    • The Sanctuary of Mana is the place to visit for cheap EXP gains. Following the invasion by Nevarl, Beastman, and Altenish forces, the realm is overrun with Shape Shifters that reap 900 EXP each. (In the previous game, it was Griffon Hands.) Unfortunately, they don't come out to play until just before the last boss.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: An Enforced Trope. Hawkeye and his feline pal are the only thieves seen doing any stealing: Under Isabella's influence, the thieves' hideout of Nevarl is gearing up for cavalry assaults on whole cities.
  • Portal to the Past: With seven Benevodons gone, the heroes find themselves at a loose end, until they warp back in time and explore Pedda before its imminent destruction. A prophecy is written in stone, which an old man will happily translate for you; the tablet foreshadows the death of the Mana Goddess at the hands of the antagonist, but it also predicts that three heroes will rise up and avenge her. A scholar in a nearby building has a lead on where the last Benevodon can be found.
  • Power Trio: Any three of the six heroes (selected by the player) can be one.
  • Prestige Class: Each character has four classes based on whether he or she chooses the Light or Dark path on each upgrade level (i.e. Light-Light, Light-Dark, Dark-Light, or Dark-Dark).
  • Punny Name: The captain's log on the Ghost Ship, which simply has the word "death" repeated several times in a row, is called the Captain's Dieary.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Angela's prologue has her thrown into the aptly named Frostbite Fields wearing nothing but a highly Stripperiffic leotard. Less than ten minutes later, she starts coming down with hypothermia.
    • In contrast to the Lovable Rogue type of mercenary, Duran is loud, brutish, uncouth, and smells bad. Also, the first time Duran goes up against the Red Wizard, he gets curbstomped, because Duran's never faced anyone who uses magic before.
    • Once Hawkeye decides he no longer wants to be part of his band of thieves because of their growing corruption, they don't graciously let him leave; they try to have him killed. It didn't help that he was framed in the murder of one of their own. When he returns to the gang as a hero trying to stop the end of the world, only two of Hawkeye's former gang members side with him; the rest are all Mooks who have to be cut down.
    • Kevin can transform into a werewolf and kick major amounts of ass, but he can't control it. The first time he transforms, Kevin kills his beloved pet Carl (or so he thinks, as it's just an illusion created by Goremand), and spends the rest of the game hating his power.
    • Both Kevin and Charlotte are Half-Human Hybrids whose genetics give them significant abilities, but also cause a fair share of problems. Both of them have some sort of brain deficiency as a result of being a mix of two species, with Kevin talking in Hulk Speak and Charlotte still having both the body and mindset of a small child despite being chronologically fifteen.
    • Riesz is badass, but she's not a One-Man Army. When raiders invade her kingdom, kill her people and kidnap her brother, she has to run in order to find help. She also never gets a chance to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, instead having to find ways to stop the plans of the Big Bad while putting her kingdom's reconstruction on hold.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • As well as the Mana series' "Mana Tree" theme, two of the boss themes ("Nuclear Fusion" and "Obsession") borrow snippets from the final boss theme of Secret of Mana, "Meridian Dance" (the main melody and the intro, respectively).
    • The track "Electric Talk" contains a call back to both "Into the Thick of It" and "Did You See The Sea" from Secret of Mana if you listen to it long enough.
    • "Meridian Child" also vaguely hints at the track "Meridian Dance" from Secret of Mana.
    • "Long Goodbye" is an expansion of the track "Close Your Eyelids" from Secret of Mana.
    • The track "Secret of Mana" can be considered both a Shout-Out to the international name of Seiken Densetsu 2, as well as a stylistic call back to "The Child of the Sprite Tribe", a track from that game, albeit in a minor key.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Shortly before the final battle, the skies above the Mana Sanctuary darken and turn red.
  • Redshirt Army:
    • King Joster is killed by ninjas from Nevarl, who invade Laurent on Belladonna's orders. Only a few members of the world's strongest Amazon army survived.
    • The Crimson Wizard kills an entire shift of guards and attempts to invade Valsena's Castle. Only Duran survives a direct encounter with him.
  • Raised by Wolves: After mortally wounding Ludgar, Kevin pleads with the Mana Spirit Luna to save him, so she revives Ludgar as an infant. The pup then disappears into the woods to be raised by wildlife, to the alarm of the Faerie. But Kevin reassures us that this is normal for beastmen.
  • Remixed Level:
    • Certain sites, such as Gusthall, Labyrinth of Ice, and Fiery Gorge must be revisited in the game's latter half after the party sets out to reap the eight Benevodons.
    • The Sanctuary of Mana is visited twice. Later on, the path to the Mana Tree is blocked by debris; finding a detour might take a little brainwork.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Half the cast. Angela is the princess of Altena, Riesz princess of Laurent, and Kevin the prince heir to Ferolia. Charlotte also counts, as her maternal grandfather is the king of the elven people of Dior.
  • Rule of Three: You have three heroes; there are three invading kingdoms, creating three unique final scenarios with three unique final bosses.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Heavensway features a view of the ground and sky in certain places, showing the green foliage below and the blue sky above. Sometimes, the ground can be obscured by clouds due to the altitude.
    • The journey to fight the Dark Benevodon will contain some, regardless of which path you pick.
    • Hell, the entire game, why not. It's considered by many to have some of the finest graphics on the SNES.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Whoever you selected as the main character is going to be the one that ends up hosting the Faerie. Whoever you selected as the second character is going to join you outside the Cascade Cavern, and whoever you selected as the third will join you after they bust you out of the Beastman-occupied Jadd's dungeons. Selecting Charlotte as your second or third character kinda throws that off (if chosen and not the hero, she always joins you somewhere between where the other second and third choices join), but the dev team thought of that: If Charlotte's on your team and thus you already have three characters by the time you get locked up in Jadd, the person in the other cell who busts you out will be a fourth hero who never joins your team (if Duran's not on your team, it'll usually be him), and your party leaves the person behind when they escape on the ship, but fortunately the person is able to escape the city off-screen.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Interestingly, you can complete this game without ever having recruited a mage or healer. Magic isn't as devastating as it used to be, and you can scrape by with healing items, but the latter makes boss fights a lot tougher. There are a number of other challenges that can be done with this game, such as single character, or no class changing.
  • Seppuku:
    • Heath and The Crimson Wizard kill themselves after their defeat at the hands of the heroes.
    • Unless your protagonist is Hawkeye or Riesz, the Navarl faction loses big in the Mana Sword sweepstakes. Dark Majesty loses his corporeal form in exchange for opening the way to the Mana Tree, but his enemies steal the body and destroy it before he can be properly revived. Malocchio insists they can still keep to the plan by taking back the sword and unsealing their underworld armies, but Belladonna is unable to go on without her love. Rather than live in disgrace, she murder-suicides herself and Malocchio.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop:
    • Weapon Orbs aren't a thing anymore, and it's not neccessary to level up your weapons or magic. Each character is limited to a specific weapon type, which they've already mastered.
    • The frequency of treasure chests is a lot higher than in Secret of Mana, probably as a consequence of the expanded inventory.
    • There is no real item limit (You can only carry nine of an item in battle, but your backpack holds endless reserves), and the merchants at Beiser sell sword/armor buffs in the form of Scales and Claws. A well-stocked team should be prepared for anything.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Despite the above, this is probably the hardest of the Mana games.
    • The enemies hit considerably harder and more frequently than Secret, making it much more difficult to get past regular mobs without needing to heal afterwards. This is spiked even further since regular spawns in some dungeons may have attacks that can potentially one-shot the entire party.
    • Enemies may also level up along with the party. Although enemies within a given area have a specific cap, if those enemies return in new areas later in the game you won't necessarily be able to just steamroll over them.note 
    • Executing Techs and casting magic spells locks out your controls and freezes the on-screen action until they're complete, meaning it's no longer possible to Stun Lock mobs (and especially bosses) by spamming magic at them. This also occurs when the enemy uses spells and special abilities. It's entirely possible for three on-screen enemies to all use special attacks in sequence, subjecting the player to a Stun Lock and preventing them from acting. It's entirely possible to have a Total Party Kill without even being able to take an action to prevent it.
    • The number of spells characters can learn is much more limited, and is defined by their class. The class system also means that without carefully planning in advance, it's entirely possible to end up with a party lacking significantly in certain types of spells (IE no healing magic).
    • Because of changes to the AI, it's no longer possible to fine-tune your party's behavior by ordering them to stay out of combat. While you can order them to support another party member, this doesn't significantly affect their behavior. Have fun keeping a Squishy Wizard like Angela alive when they keep running right into hand-to-hand combat.
    • In the final dungeons, where no healing statues or merchants are available, you will be forced to fight to your fullest. The removal of inventory limits is therefore less of a difficulty drop than it is acknowledging the game is that much harder than its predecessor.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The area around Nevarl and the Dragonsmaw's outer reaches (Burning Sands for the former, Crystal Desert for the latter) are filled with sand, including sand dunes that push the party downhill.
  • Ship Level: The Ghost Ship, where Shade is recruited and you temporarily lose one of your party members due to a curse.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bil and Ben. If you're from the UK, the name instantly screams out "weed"!
    • The Guardian enemies in the Jungle of Visions have Breast Fire and Rust Hurricane as special attacks, just like the granddaddy for all Super Robots.
    • The Gigantress (wielded by the Crimson Wizard) holds the exact same Japanese name as the Mana Fortress from Secret of Mana (Gigantes) and is likely to be its Start of Darkness.
  • Sinister Scythe: Goremand. The hooded statues adorning the walls of Dark Castle are also sporting these.
  • Sleeps in the Nude: Angela is strongly hinted to sleep in the nude when you visit the inn, lying on her stomach showing her Toplessness from the Back. In fact if she's not your main character, it's possible to stumble across her at the inn at Jigrad, where she'll call you a pervert if you disturb her when playing as any of the male characters.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Altena and the surrounding environs.
  • Speed Run: Taking advantage of several bugs makes it possible to beat the game in about four hours.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Is the Amazon Princess supposed to be named "Lise", "Liese", "Riese", "Reis", or "Riesz"?note  The fan translation ultimately went with "Lise" for readability, while the trailer for the Steam release of Million Arthur: Arcana Blood, in which the character cameo'd, finally gave us an official spelling: Riesz. The official versions of Trials also use Riesz.
    • Bigieu was likely originally either Bijou ('jewel' in French) or Bijuu ('lovely beast' in Japanese). Or both, as they're phonetically identical in katakana. The official localization changes her name outright to Belladonna.
    • Ludgar, whose name works out to 'rugaaru' in katakana, is a semi-pun on loup-garou ('werewolf' in French). The fan translation used Lugar.
    • And then there are the locations — Forcena/Forthena/Folcena/Valsena, Rolant/Rolante/Laurant, Navarre/Navall/Nevarl, Jad/Jadd, Pedan/Pedda, Althena/Altena (each one's last translation is the official translation found in Heroes of Mana and the Switch version of SNES Trials).
  • Squishy Wizard: Charlotte and Angela, which an extra helping of squishy in Angela's case. Both of them can't take many hits from enemies. Charlotte's a White Magician Girl and Angela's a Glass Cannon.
  • Storming the Castle: We have met the enemy. It's time to take the battle to his home address. You can't enter the Crystal Desert, Night Cavern, or Jungle of Visions (apart from the countryside surrounding Pedda) until the Mana Sword is robbed and taken to the villain's respective hideout.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Practically the entire female population of Altena, especially Angela. Nobody freezes to death because Altena is kept temperate due to magic, but Angela comes close to actually freezing to death after being chased out of the castle. Laurent's Amazons also fit this to a lesser degree except Riesz, who is in full armor, though in official art she still has a very low-cut chestplate and doesn't wear pants.
    • The official art of Riesz's fenrir class on almost puts anything Angela has to shame, as it's just a bikini with a wolf hide cape, but Angela still wins the award for the most Stripperific outffit in the game. In her Magus class, she's basically wearing a thong, along with a cape, breastplate, and thigh-high boots.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: The Sanctuary of Mana gets hammered pretty bad. Upon your arrival, the landscape is still verdant, with the only enemies being Rabites. In subsequent visits, the Sanctuary has already begun to wither away, and the wildlife is replaced with creepy Shape Shifters.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • If you liked the party from Secret of Mana, Duran, Charlotte, and Angela make good replacements for Randi, Primm, and Popoi. (Though unlike SoM, Duran can learn his own magic, and Charlotte can switch to offensive magic.)
    • Chikeeta and Josephine. Given that they're the same race as Niccolo, expect racketeering and sky-high prices. Oh well, a cat's gotta eat.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: If you are given a gold statue (which saves your game and heals your party), you will need it. It usually means there is a painful boss fight just around the corner.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement:
    • An interesting case. It's a subversion of how things worked in Secret of Mana. In that installment, the heroes obtain the Mana Sword and power it up by reforging it with orbs gathered from defeated bosses. This time around, you are forced to give it to the villain almost immediately after obtaining it, and you discover that, as you slay the Benevodons, the sword gets stronger.
    • Also, in Secret of Mana, the only person in the whole world who used it for anything purposeful was the Mana Knight. In Trials of Mana, not only do none of your characters use it themselves, it seems the villains are both capable of using it and can also destroy it!
  • Take It to the Bridge:
    • Once you beat the first batch of Machine Golems, the Altenish soldiers run away, and we get one final 'screw you' from the last robot: the Golem self-destructs, taking out the bridge to Valsena.
    • When you corner Belladonna in Fiery Gorge, Belladonna threatens to throw Jessica off a bridge and into the fire. If Hawk is on your team, then Niccolo will appear and hurl a dart at Belladonna's head, saving Jessica. If Hawkeye isn't on your team, then Hawkeye will appear and save Jessica. Once Belladonna withdraws, Jessica gets taken to the nearest town by Hawkeye/Niccolo to recover.
  • Talk to Everyone:
    • Domperi won't spill the beans on Laurent until you've found all of the huts and spoken to their inhabitants, nor will he even reveal his identity until then.
    • During the Mirage Palace segment, the party reawakens in Astoria (or do they? — like everything the Masked Mage touches, it is unclear what is real and what is not). The townsfolk are all mute and loitering around the same areas as before, apart from the merchant... talk to all of them, and the merchant reveals himself to be a ghost; he attacks you in the same house where the party first materialized.
  • Taunt Button: Vuscav the Turtle has a horn that does nothing except amuse a button-mashing player.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Hawkeye and Eagle are both Nevarl thieves named after birds.
    • Von Boyage, Von Jour, and Mercie all use variants on French words and phrases for their names, with the German word "von" thrown into the mix with the official English translation of the male members of the family. All three run the game's cannon travel system.
  • Third-Person Person: Charlotte speaks in third person in the fan translation. She instead speaks like a young child in the official translation.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: The heroes decide this after the faerie is kidnapped. It's obviously a trap, but they don't have any choice but to go.
  • Turtle Power: Life's a beach. Vuscav, a giant turtle wearing scuba goggles and a racing flag, can take you anyplace that is accessible by coastline, where the party can play the Ferry Flute to summon him. He's even equipped with a ship's horn that can be sounded with the A button, but it's purely aesthetic. "Inexplicable" sums him up best.
  • Turns Red: Grapplavine. The fun starts once you've beaten on him a bit, and out pops out some kind of Venus fly trap with eyes.
  • Underground Level:
    • Stonesplit Gap is a cave that initially connects Valsena with Maia. Duran is able to pass through there to get to Maia at the beginning of his storyline, but later on, Altenish forces destroy the bridge, requiring the party to use Von Boyage's cannon.
    • Daria is also known as Gem Valley. As its title implies, it's a gem-filled valley filled with caves, and is close to where Gnome, the spirit of earth, is found, though it's accessed much later than Gnome's location.
    • The Dragonsmaw is the Dragon Lord's expansive underground lair. The save points there are headless Mana Goddess statues, representing the Dragon Lord's hatred of her.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Hawkeye and Riesz. Especially if they're both in your party, and either them is the leader.
      • During the battle to retake Laurent, if you have Riesz in your party but not Hawkeye, Hawkeye will ask the party to spare Belladonna's life. Riesz will agree, and Hawkeye will kiss her, causing Riesz to freak out.
    • Duran and Angela. She eventually falls for him if they're both playable characters. Too bad that Angela Cannot Spit It Out and that Duran never notices.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Whatever you do, do not use a Magical Rope in the Dark Castle. You'll go back outside, but have no way to get back in.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • You. Every time. At least the Mana Sword proves too hot for the villains to handle, and they soon regret their treachery.
    • Also, Lord Flamekhan, Valda, and Heath. To a lesser extent, Bil and Ben.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • It was released in the West in June 2019 in the Collection of Mana multigame pack (along with Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana). This also had official translations into English, Spanish, German, and French; this is the only game in the collection to have a Spanish translation, as only the other three languages are available for Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana.
    • A version of the game is set for an early 2020 release that overhauls the graphics and combat system to be more in-line with eighth-generation gameplay mechanics.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Energy Ball. In theory it should up your critical attack rate, but because of a programming bug critical attacks are practically non-existent. Same goes for spells that affect agility or hit rate, for the same reason.
    • Averted by Angela's Rune Seer skills. Stone Cloud will petrify every single normal enemy who isn't resistant to earth damage, which equates to instant death. For enemies who are immune to earth, there's Stun Gust which silences the enemy in addition to doing massive damage. Silence may not sound that useful, but a number of regular enemies in the game react to Techs and spells (such as Stone Cloud or Stun Gust) with powerful abilities that can trash the party, making them effectively immune to anything but normal attacks. Silence stops those party-wiping reactions.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon:
    • Three of them. You can only visit one per playthrough, though. Which dungeon you got to depends on which of the six heroes you chose as the main character.
    • Subverted. Regardless of which main character you've picked, the decaying Sanctuary of Mana will be the last dungeon.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Some of the Dragons and every Big Bad gives one of these upon defeat.
  • Villainous Harlequin:
    • Goremand has a harlequin-like appearance, serves the villainous Masked Mage, and enjoys devouring the souls of his enemies.
    • Zable Fahr. How fitting that the darkest of the Benevodons would be three Monster Clowns.
  • Virgin Power: Supposedly, the Winged Defender only allows virgins near him, which is why only the Amazons can guard him. Actual events in-game may throw this claim into dispute (for one thing, the Defender turns out to be a girl).
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting:
    • Belladonna morphs into a big cat when you fight her.
    • The Shapeshifters are a bit of a joke since they just take a blue-tinted shape of enemies you've fought before, but don't have any of their special attacks. Shadow Zeds are another problem entirely. Rather than mimicking enemies, they mimic your party members… and have full access to their Techs.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Fullmetal Hugger. Most first-time players fall victim to this guy. He'll slap you upside the head and let you know that bosses cast undodgeable attacks and you better heal after every last one. And if you picked an all male team, chances are Jewel Eater will be this too.
    • Harcypete has the nasty habit of keeping away from your party while casting potent spells. Without the help of coins, magic, or claws the fight can become quite a chore.
    • Zehnoa can be quite difficult for underleveled players as he is a Mook Maker, casts some really strong spells, and if one is unlucky the mooks (which happens to be Shape Shifters) will morph into something that will constantly Poison the party.
    • The Machine Golems fought in the Frostbite Fields or Bil and Ben in the Burning Sands will make short work of players who abuse Level 2 Techs. Keep in mind that these bosses tend to counterattack with a Tech or magic of their own if struck by a Level 2 Tech or a magic. While Bil and Ben are doable, as they might focus in a single character with Shadow Menace, the Golems are not, they will utterly destroy a party using Level 2 Techs by counterattacking with all-party high level spells and you fight three of them at same time. Players should take these battles as a warning that spamming Level 2 Techs or magic will not work on bosses as well as it did in the last game.
  • Warrior Prince: When Hero King Richard fought the Dragon Lord, he was not yet the Hero King — he was merely Prince Richard. In Duran and Angela's route, the party can meet him as Prince Richard in Pedda, just before he departs for Dragonsmaw, due to the city's temporal flux, and he thinks the party's reference to a Hero King is referring to his father. Richard says that Valsena's then-current king, his father, is too old to fight and that he's only the prince of the kingdom.
  • White and Grey Morality: Mostly. There are a few flat jackasses (mostly Malocchio, Goremand and the Dragon Lord) but the three villainous nations have legitimate reasons for their actions (the homelands of two of them are becoming inhospitable, and the third has a generations-long history of being discriminated against by humans) and most of the villains have tragic back stories or motivations.
  • Wild Take: The look on the characters' faces whenever they fall down a pit (or they get hit with a Death Roulette spell) is priceless.
  • Winter Royal Lady: The Queen of Altena, who has both a figurative and literal ice queen. She's concerned with the prospect of magic, and has no patience for her magic-less daughter Angela.
  • Word Salad Title: Many of the music tracks have these kind of names. Examples include Hope Isolation Pray and Faith Total Machine.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Machine Golems are fought twice, and each time in groups of three.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: There's a reason it's called Heavensway. You can even see the curvature of the earth!
  • World Tree: The Mana Tree is the source of Mana in the world in the entire series, and Mana is shown to be the reason magic is able to exist.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Played with. If you didn't pick Charlotte as your third party member, you'll pick up your third after being thrown in the Jadd prison upon defeating the first boss. Subverted if Charlotte is your third party member, in which case your party is already full and your would-be fourth member just helps you break out of jail and is left behind when your party sets sail for Maia.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: The first rule of RPGs holds true, in that all the useful information is at the pub. You can find every potential party member except Charlotte at the tavern in Jadd Stronghold, but nobody actually joins your party until later.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Half of the protagonists are exiled during their intros. Subverted with Duran, who chooses not to go home until he defeats the Crimson Wizard, but can visit his hometown freely anyway after Valsena becomes accessible again; he simply refuses to enter his house. In Riesz's case, it's an exceptional, half-self-imposed case of Walking the Earth and specifically a gender-inverted version of a not-quite Knight Errant.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Hope you weren't too attached to the Mana Tree; it gets destroyed regardless of who becomes the Big Bad, and regardless of the heroes' actions.


Alternative Title(s): Seiken Densetsu 3

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report