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  1. Materials Science 201: Everyone you meet will talk enthusiastically about how some fantastically rare metal (iron, say) would make the best possible armor and weapons. Oh, if only you could get your hands on some! However, once you actually obtain iron -- at great personal risk, of course -- everyone will dismiss it as yesterday's news and instead start talking about some even more fantastically rare metal, such as gold. Repeat until you get to the metal after "mythril" (see The Ultimate Rule).
  2. Seventh Inning Stretch (Elc Rule): At some point in the game the main hero will receive a deadly story-driven injury and will be put in a hospital instead of having a mage heal him. This will leave him out of commission for at least the length of two sidequests; the female lead will also be temporarily out of commission as she steadfastly refuses to leave the hero's side. Ultimately a simple vision quest is all that will be required to bring the hero back to normal.
  3. Vivi's Spellbook Principle: Over the course of the game, you will spend countless hours learning between twenty and one hundred skills and/or spells, approximately three of which will still be useful by the end of the game.
  4. Gender Equality, Part 1 (Feena Rule): Your average female RPG character carries a variety of deadly weapons and can effortlessly hack or magic her way through armies of monsters, killer cyborgs, and mutated boss creatures without breaking a sweat. She may be an accomplished Ninja, a superpowered secret agent, or the world's greatest adventurer. However, if one of the game's villains manages to sneak up and grab her by the Standard Female Character Grab Area (her upper arm) she will be rendered utterly helpless until rescued by the hero.
  5. Gender Equality, Part 2 (Tifa Rule): If any female character, in a burst of anger or enthusiasm, decides to go off and accomplish something on her own without the hero, she will fail miserably and again have to be rescued.
  6. Gender Equality, Part 3 (Luna Rule): All of the effort you put into maxing out the female lead's statistics and special abilities will turn out to be for naught when she spends the final confrontation with the villain dead, ensorcelled, or held hostage.
  7. Gender Equality Addendum (Rynn Rule): In the unlikely event that the main character of the game is female, she will not be involved in any romantic subplot whatsoever beyond getting hit on by shopkeepers. (See also No Guy Wants an Amazon)
  8. Stealing The Spotlight (Edea Rule): The characters who join your party only briefly tend to be much cooler than your regular party members.
  9. "Mommy, why didn't they just use a Phoenix Down on Aeris?" Don't expect battle mechanics to carry over into the "real world."
  10. Gold Saucer Rule: The strongest weapons/items/spells in the entire game can only be found by doing things like racing birds.
  11. Evil May Live Forever, But It Doesn't Age Well: Even though it took the greatest armies in the world and all of the world's greatest magicians to seal away an ancient evil in an apocalyptic war, once said ancient evil breaks free three fairly inexperienced warriors can destroy it.
  12. Sephiroth Memorial Escape Clause: Any misdeed up to and including multiple genocide is forgivable if you're cool enough.
  13. Doomed Utopia Theorem (Law of Zeal): All seemingly ideal, Utopian societies are powered by some dark force and are therefore doomed to swift, flashy destruction.
  14. Party Guidance Rule: Somewhere in the last third of the story, the hero will make a stupid decision and the rest of the party must remind him of all that they have learned from being with him in order to return the hero to normal.
  15. Bad Is Good, Baby! The heroes can always count on the support of good-hearted vampires, dragons, thieves, demons, and chainsaw murderers in their quest to save the world from evil. And on the other hand...
  16. Good Is Bad, Baby! Watch out for generous priests, loyal military officers, and basically anyone in a position of authority who agrees to help you out, especially if they save your life and prove their sincerity innumerable times -- they're usually plotting your demise in secret (at least when they can fit it into their busy schedule of betraying their country, sponsoring international terrorism, and stealing candy from small children) and will stab you in the back at the most inconvenient moment, unless they fall under...
  17. General Leo's Exception: Honorable and sympathetic people who work for the Other Side are always the genuine article. Of course they'll be busily stabbing you in the front, so either way you lose. Eventually though, they'll fall prey to...
  18. The Ineffectual Ex-Villain Theorem (Col. Mullen Rule): No matter how tough and bad-ass one of the Other Side's henchmen is, if he bails to the side of Good he'll turn out to be not quite tough and bad-ass enough. The main villain will defeat him easily. But don't weep -- usually he'll manage to escape just in time, leaving you to deal with the fate that was meant for him.
  19. All The Time In The World (Rinoa Rule): Unless there's a running countdown clock right there on the screen, you have as long as you want to complete any task -- such as, say, rescuing a friend who's hanging by one hand from a slippery cliff edge thousands of feet in the air -- no matter how incredibly urgent it is. Dawdle or hurry as you will, you'll always make it just in the nick of time.
  20. Ladies First (Belleza Rule): When things really start falling apart, the villain's attractive female henchman will be the first to jump ship and switch to the side of Good. Sadly, she still won't survive until the end credits, because later she will sacrifice her life out of unrequited love for the villain.
  21. Trial By Fire (Cecil Rule): Any dark and brooding main characters will ultimately be redeemed by a long, arduous, quasi-spiritual quest that seems difficult at the time, but in the great scheme of things just wasn't that big of a deal after all.
  22. Key Item Rule: Never discard, sell, or otherwise remove permanently from your possession any items you begin the game with or acquire within the first town. This is especially true for items that seem to have no practical use, because of... (see Lost Forever)
  23. The Law of Inverse Practicality (Key Item Corollary): Any item that you can acquire will have some sort of purpose. Those that seem to be useless and have no practical value at all, always tend to have great power later on. The earlier you get the item, the later in the game it will be used. The longer the span of time between acquisition and use, the more powerful the item is.
  24. Way To Go, Serge: It will eventually turn out that, for a minimum of the first sixty percent of the game, you were actually being manipulated by the forces of evil into doing their sinister bidding for them. In extreme cases this may go as high as 90%. The clear implication is that it would have been better to not get involved in the first place.

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