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  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Fighting Moric for the second time can be this if you've equipped multiple characters with the right accessory. To wit: Whenever someone dies, he attempts to Zombify them. If he does this to a character immune to Zombification, they revive normally.
    • Qualna. Actually justified, as he dislikes fighting and is more skilled in diplomacy.
  • Awesome Music: The developer puts a tremendous amount of effort into the soundtrack, and it shows. See for yourself. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that it's all composed with a basic MIDI library. Specific examples:
  • Demonic Spiders: Happy Johnnies. Giant cactusmen with ADHD that can one hit kill you, (well, unless you have over 1000 life, which no one does until the end) and they're pretty hard to squish too due to their high evasion. Although, they can be reduced to Goddamned Bats by magical attacks, which can't miss.
    • Pixies. They're fast, start with every stat buff cast on them, are resistant to all natural elements and almost impossible to hit physically, can inflict most negative status effects on you, open the fight by trying to inflict confusion or sleep on your entire party, and then slowly pick away at you while you can't fight back. Elwyen can help reduce them to Goddamned Bats with her dolorous dirge though. She just has to resist the initial sleep attack...
      • Sharla and Solaar can also help, because their heal spells remove confusion and sleep, respectively.
    • Any Ether-elemental enemy. Almost all of them are immune to the physical element, have extremely high defense, and are resistant to almost every element in the game. It doesn't help that there is only one attack in the game that they're weak against, and you're unlikely to get it until late in the chapter.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Gope. He was put in Chapter 3 because the fans demanded he reappear; originally, Pseudolonewolf had intended him to be a one-shot character to reward players to listen to their officer and grant mercy to the bandits who do not wish to fight them.
    • Saul seems to be turning into one, due to him being a walking Funny Moment.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Gloria's stat-debuffing spells can make some enemies and bosses pathetically weak. She can nullify/use the four Natural elements. She can use her Elemental Powers to attack multiple targets... She has the only life draining reaction command for spells. Yeah, she's the most versatile character in the game, except possibly for Legion.
    • Against undead, the silver weapon + QUARRY: Undead combo available to several characters starts out dealing at least 300% damage for a normal attack, and even more if the target is weak to light, which most undead are. This is particularly notable for Vehrn in Chapter 2, who can combine it with his Disrupt Undead ability to deal out 1500 damage per turn, and for Sslen'ck in Chapter 3, whose incredibly high strength lets him do around 4500 damage per turn (which is probably quite therapeutic).
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    • Phoenix Downs prior to their massive Nerf in the Chapter 3 updates: when thrown at undead, they inflicted an average of 5000 damage, with an apparent damage range of 1000-10,000! This allowed players to farm the Zombie Locksmith (who usually got One Hit Killed) for his then-rare drop of the Keyblade (which used to be only 1% drop instead of 50%). Also allowed players to steamroll the Zombie Dragon Bonus Boss in two turns without any effort.
  • Guide Dang It!: In chapter 3, certain characters won't join/advance a quest unless you have the right person in your active party. There's often no clear indication who you must have and why.
    • Probably the worst example is the Lost Monastery, which you require Legion in your party to unlock, specifically because Bostolm was one of the priests there. There are hints (constant muttering about pixies, Air dominating Earth, and the simple fact that they're the only party member who would really know about it), but it's certainly not intuitive.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Donovan and Sharla's theme, Duet, is this trope in music form.
    • Some of the dreamstones that you get. Others are real Tear Jerkers, though.
    • A smaller one is the The Lost Monastery. A place that is filled with Nightmare Fuel and is a general Tear Jerker, after you beat the final boss in the place and get the item that was keeping all the souls trapped there, all of the enemies and zombies in the area are gone, and the creepy music that played is now gone, showing that while the stone might go on to an evil man, you have definitely helped the poor souls trapped in the Monastery.
  • It Was His Sled: Emela being the Water Guardian. This was speculated on Fig Hunter for so long that it was no surprise when it was revealed for those who frequented the site. Other websites, especially Kongregate, had similar speculation that resulted in cries of "I Knew It!!"
    • At least it's not treated as a dramatic or shocking revelation within the game; she wears a Paper-Thin Disguise and the characters comment on how clueless Mardek is when he doesn't see through it.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Moric.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Tally-Ho!" is quickly picking up steam on sites that host this game.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Steele's dreamstone. If you weren't disgusted by him in Chapter 2, then when he threatens to track Emela down with the intent of raping and killing her for what she completely accidentally did to him should do the trick.
    • Rohoph crosses this by the end of chapter 3. If it wasn't breaking his promise and sealing Qualna in a Fate Worse than Death, it's driving Elwyen away. That's when you know he's swan diving off the slippery slope.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Lost Monastery. The priests there were driven to insanity by an object that is eerily similar to the Violet Crystal, but that's not the worst of it. After they'd died, they weren't allowed to continue on to the afterlife, and were instead bound to the monastery as zombies. Even after their flesh rotted to nothing, their souls were still bound there as insane, disfigured globs of ectoplasm. The music there is pretty unnerving, too.
    • It's an in-universe example too: if you talk to your party members, you'll find that even the most stoic of them are incredibly creeped out by the place.
    • Soul Cages. Just soul cages.
    • Here's one mixed with Paranoia Fuel:
    Forgotten Face: A thoughtform of memory and guilt, brought into existence every time you forget about someone you used to know. Though it is mute and its face nonexistent, it seems to be saying to you 'what, you don't remember me? I thought we were friends...'
  • Squick: The bartender in Goznor village gleefully tells you that you don't want any of his beer. It's piss.
  • Tear Jerker: A lot of them.
    • It's hardly a surprise that there's sad moments in the game. The developer, Pseudolonewolf/Tobias Cornwall, has a long history of social anxiety and depression that hinders his ability to function in the real world. Developing games such as MARDEK are a means to make way in the world in spite of that. Despite the tremendous amount of work that went into the series, as well as a plethora of other unfinished projects, it amounted to little in terms of monetary gain for the guy. Even long after he abandoned the current iteration of MARDEK, he has maintained an online community and blog for the entire decade since its release, at one point wondering why he hasn't killed himself at 30.
    • All the crap that happens to Emela, especially if you've had relationship issues yourself, is sure to set you into a crummy mood. All Love Is Unrequited indeed...
    • If you can read Moric's Final Speech without feeling even an small bit of sadness, there is something wrong with you.
    Moric: A mind? What's that, Rohoph? I had a mind once, but you broke it, Rohoph... You broke my body, too. You're forever breaking my things, Rohoph...
    • Meraeador's backstory. If you level him up enough, you find out why he's a pacifist, and also why he's shunned by the townspeople. While the villagers encouraged him at first, "the accident" changed everything. One of his experiments got out of control and ended up killing his parents. The villagers feared him after that, and viewed him as a threat. This is what caused him to vow never to take a life, though he did become suicidally depressed. However, because Mardek and Deugan became friends with him, he snapped out of it and started inventing again. Mardek and Deugan essentially saved his life.
    • At first, the Yellow Soul in Legion seems just like a comic relief character with no depth. However, if you take him to The Lost Monastery (And you have too to get the password to get into the Monastery), you find out who he was before he was put into Legion. Specifically, that he was a priest at the Monastery and was trapped there when the Stone fell and caused everyone to go insane. It is also a heartbreaking moment due to one line he says, without his usual yelling and hyperactivity.
    Legion: What? WHO ARE YOU?! I won't tell you! My friends... I don't want to go inside! I won't tell you that it's 'BAKED FISH'! I WON'T TELL YOU!! And someone of faith needs to say it. My faith... I cannot have faith in a god who does what he did.
  • That One Attack: "Arcane Cataclysm", used by Governance de Magi members. It deals extremely high damage to your entire party.
    • "Heh", a reaction attack used by Bernard in the third game if you try to exploit his weakness to physical attacks. It deals at least 2000note  damage to the attacker and heals him for the same amount.
      • It's pretty easy to get around though, Mardek can just cast "Morality Block", which nullifies one instance of dark or light elemental damage, on your entire team at once. Or equip a character with darkness absorbing equip and attacking him with it, causing the reaction to drain Bernard's health. Or confuse Bartholio, he might attack Bernard, and that DOES count for counterattack purposes.
  • That One Boss: For all their bumbling outside of battle, the World's Saviours sure know how to put up a fight. Depending on your team composition, it can be difficult just to Shoot the Medic First, let alone survive to the end. Thankfully, each of them has an elemental weakness in the second chapter and they were made easier in the remake.
    • Chapter 3 makes it worse. They're fought right after you beat the Fire Guardian. That's right after spending mp, potions and health taking on a powerful boss, you have to fight yet another boss. And there's no saving in between so if you lose to them, you have to beat them + the Fire Guardian.
  • That One Level: The water temple puzzle is much more difficult than the other more straightforward temples. While in the dark and fire temples you just have to flip switches, in the water temples you have to hit the switches in the right order since turning on one closes other passages. It's likely intentional parodying other Water Temples.
    • The dark temple can be really annoying. The entire temple is shrouded in darkness and you can't see more than a few squares around you. Add in a whole bunch of secret passages and you can be walking around in circles without knowing it.
  • That One Sidequest: The third game updates bonus area Cambria with a new tournament - and solo tournaments for each of the playable characters. Have fun level-grinding every single one of them to endgame levels and then fighting enemies that play on the weaknesses of your chosen character. Mardek might not be so bad, but how about Solaar or Meraeador?
  • Unfortunate Implications: In the starting hometown, there's a bookshelf containing a book named "Elements and Breeding", which states: "Elemental traits can also come into play when it comes to love and sexual relationships. Your elemental affinity plays a large part in determining who you're attracted to, and how well relationships with others will turn out for you. Males, being the dominant gender, also like to be the dominant element in relationships; thus they are attracted to females of the element they are strong against first and foremost. Females, secretly lusting to be dominated and ravished, are attracted to men of the element superior to themselves. So such matches work rather well." In the author's defence, it may have been intentional given its over-the-top nature and the game's humorous tone, and another book in a later chapter denounces it: "You may have had the misfortune of picking up and reading through a sordid tome entitled 'Elemental Compatibility', or maybe the similarly vile 'Elements and Breeding', both by some nitwit of a drunkard who claims to have authority on such matters. Bah!"
  • The Woobie:
    • Without a doubt, Emela. Returns home to find her family dead, and she's now forced to, all on her own, become the last guardian of the water crystal, guarding it alone, in an underwater temple full of monsters until the end of her days. However, she finds an injured Deugan, nurses him back to health, and the two start a relationship. Happy ending, right? Wrong. Deugan, who still has issues with his self-esteem and can't cope with a feeling of failure, leaves her and adopts the identity of a new hero, Lone Wolf, and by the end decides to drop his old identity as Deugan altogether. Where does this leave Emela? All alone and heart-broken in a secluded temple. And then Mardek shows up, fails to recognize her, and takes the Water Crystal. Now the temple is dead, but she still has to stay there...
    • Elwyen comes off as quite sympathetic in spite of (or because of) her desperate love for Mardek. Especially after Rohoph's Kick the Dog moment at the end of Chapter III.
    • Two of Legion's souls are woobies:
      • Bostolm is somewhat sympathetic because, despite the fact that he is hilariously mad, he only became this way because of the stone in the Lost Monastary. However, his dialogue with the high priest shows that since he has been trapped in the metal shell, it may be possible for him to regain his sanity.
      • Deena. She used to be a Canonian shaman. That is, until her husband stole the earth crystal and used its power to kill her. He also put the "taint" in the Tainted Grotto, which Deena claims used to be beautiful.


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