Trials of Mana

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The Mana Tree is dying (again), so the Mana Goddess sends a number of its fairies to the world below and find someone worthy to restore it. All but one perish on route due to the steady loss of magic, and the Fairy that does make it settles for the first person it can find. Naturally, that happens to be the character that the player choses.

Trials of Mana, known as Seiken Densetsu 3 in Japan, is the third game in the World of Mana series, released in 1995, and is the first one that never made it Stateside in its original form. It plays very similarly to its predecessor Secret of Mana, but instead of being able to charge attacks, the meter builds with a successful hit on the enemy.

Trials of Mana also differs from other games in the series by offering a cast of six characters, of which any three can be chosen to make the party. Most notably, the lead party member determines which of the three Big Bads the heroes take on.

Before 2019, fan translations were the only way to play the game in English. In June 2017, it was included in the Japanese Seiken Densetsu Collection for the Nintendo Switch and two years later, the compilation was released in North America, where the game was given an official English localization and the title Trials of Mana.

Tropes used in Trials of Mana include:
  • Abusive Parents: Angela's mom has no use for her daughter. Unless there's no other ritual sacrifices handy...
  • Accidental Pervert: Hey, it's Angela! And she's sleeping at the inn! Let's go talk to her...
    • She doesn't take as much offense if you're playing as Lise, though...
  • Actually, I Am Him: Don Perignon. Thankfully, it doesn't take nearly as long to unmask him as Sage Joch.
  • Adjective Noun Place: Many of the location names follow this format (at least in the Fan Translation) - Castle City Jad, Magic Kingdom Altena, and Sand Fortress Navarre, to name a few.
  • Always Night: Moonlight Forest, also encompassing Mintos and the Beast Kingdom. As Kevin switches to werewolf form at night, this is his preferred terrain.
    • Two of the game's final dungeons (Mirage Palace and Dark Castle) are constantly enveloped in darkness. This doesn't count as moonlight, though; Kevin gets no bonus.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Whilst fighting the The Dark Lich.
  • Amazon Brigade: The kingdom of Rolante of which Lise is the princess and the kingdom of altena.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The citizens of Sultan and Deen have various tones of dark skin, but their hair is rather colorful and vibrant as opposed to being black.
  • Annoying Arrows: Hawk's traps--in particular, fittingly enough, the "arrow" trap.
  • 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 of them can be the main character (which gives them additional screen time and determines who the final boss will be). The rest become NPC's who you may or may not run into at various points. Thus, every playthrough with a different party combination can become this.
  • Anti-Magic: The Anti-Magic spell, of course. It removes all magic effects.
  • Aerith and Bob: The two Navarre ninjas, Bill and Ben.
  • Apocalyptic Log: "DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE...", found on the Ghost Ship.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Level 2 and 3 techs. While they do have awesome attack animations and some damage every enemy on the screen, a lot of late-game enemies (and some bosses) will answer them with an equally devastating tech in return, which (if it's something that hits the whole party) can easily spell Total Party Kill.
  • Awesome but Practical: Hawk's "Ninja Master" class gains the ability to multi-target his Shuriken ability. This means you have a fast-casting ability that hits all enemies on the screen, does significant damage, knocks enemies back, and lowers their evade. All for only 1 MP. Fans have dubbed it the "1 MP Wonder".
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Kevin. "Monk" is even one of his classes.
  • The Baroness: Bigieu.
  • Badass Adorable: Carlie especially.
  • Badass Cape: Koren is very proud of his cape. He even worked it into his title.
    • Eagle's cape and shoulder pads are nothing to sneeze at.
    • Both Heath and Elliot don these after being corrupted.
  • Badass Long Hair: Hawk, Duran, and Koren.
    • The Dark Prince gets a flowing mane as part of his archdemon look.
  • Badass Normal: Duran, Angela (until you get the first spirit), Hawk and Lise first classes. They only have their prowess with weapons to survive through waves of monsters and enemies.
  • Bad Dreams: Carlie's prologue starts out with a nightmare of her parents abandoning her.
  • Berserk Button: Do not mess with Kevin's wolf friend.
    • Or Angela's mom.
    • Or Lise's little brother.
  • Big Bad Ensemble/Evil Overlord: The Dragon Emperor for Duran and Angela, the Masked Mage for Kevin and Carlie, and the Dark Prince for Lise and Hawk.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: All three of the potential Big Bads are actively involved in the plot, resulting in a lot of Evil Versus Evil. Eventually one will come out on top -- the victor will be the side most actively involved with the primary character.
  • Big No: Angela gets this at the start of her scenario, right before unleashing her magic for the first time.
  • Big Badass Wolf: The Beastmen transform at night, gaining a sizeable attack bonus.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Kevin's and Angela's specifically and how. Although both are subverted.
  • Bishonen: Hawk, especially in his final classes.
  • Black Knight: The Darkshine Knight.
  • Black Magic: Supposedly, the Masked Mage was exiled for practicing it. The skulls floating atop a moat of blood around his house don't dissuade this.
  • Black Magician Girl: Angela.
  • Black Market / Merchant City: Byzel is a merchant city by day, and black market by night.
  • Blade on a Stick: Lise's weapon of choice.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Koren, the blondest one in the game, is a total bastard.
    • The Dark Prince possesses the body of a blond kid, fulfilling this trope by default.
    • The heroes can become blonde (or blonder) through class changes, too. Carlie, Lise, and Kevin are already light-haired, but Angela and Hawk are both dark-haired, and their class-changes with blond hair are both dark-dark.
  • Boring but Practical: In contrast to Awesome but Impractical above, level 1 techs. They may just be a slightly-more-damaging normal attack, but they won't be countered, they will be enhanced by elemental sabers, and can still hit multiple enemies if they are bunched together.
  • Book Dumb: Angela keeps dodging her studies, to the point that her own mother believes she has no magic talent.
  • Bonus Boss: Black Rabite. Evil in its cutest form!
  • Boss Rush: Before facing the penultimate boss.
  • Bottomless Pits: A Fate Worse Than Death to Duran's father. He got better... In a twisted way.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Heath is forced to follow orders from his father, Masked Mage, the Big Bad from Carlie and Kevin's story, and if you have Carlie in your party the fight becomes a bit of a Tear Jerker.
    • Also the Queen of Reason, Valda, who is Angela's mother.
    • Most of the ninjas and thieves of Navarre are under Bigieu and Jagan's control.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Alteans by the end. With the Mana Tree dead by the end the mana and magic will cease to exist to at least for a thousand years.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live
  • Cats Are Mean: Bigieu morphs into a big cat when you fight her.
  • Character Development: It is highly recommended that you play the three routes with both of each routes central characters (Duran/Angela, Kevin/Carlie, and Lise/Hawk) for this purpose.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Your first character.
  • Crash Into Hello: Carlie into Heath right at the start of her story.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: And, of course, it doesn't go off until you've accomplished all you've needed to and you have a way off the island.
  • Child Mage: Carlie.
  • Clear My Name: Bigieu's Frame-Up of Hawk.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hawk's Nightblade class utilizes poison, blow needles, and bashing the enemy's face in with a wrench.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: An unspoken variant - the occasional pre-eruption tremor from the volcano on Bucca 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 and an inn!
  • Cool Airship: Altena has a seriously badass looking blimp. In addition, the Beastmen travel by giant hawk, and the Navarre raiders... have boat with a bunch of balloons tied to it, of all things.
  • Cool Mask: Masked Mage, natch.
    • Hawk's Nightblade class sports one, and some of his equip-able armor is of the Cool Mask variety.
  • Crystal Prison: Each of the God-Beasts fits snugly into a Mana Stone.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawk is very fond of this, throwing sarcastic commentaries all around.
  • Darkskinned Blonde: Kevin and most of the beastmen
  • Dark Is Evil: Zable Fahr is the Dark god-beast. Also the Dark Prince.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: You can use darkness element spells and weapons, and the darkness summon spirit Shade is not evil, though Zable Fahr God-Beast is That One Boss for some people. Your characters' class alignment can become dark (or dark-dark).
  • Deal with the Devil: Koren offered part of his soul to the Dragon Emperor in exchange for becoming the world's greatest wizard. (Previously, Koren was a nobody, just like all the other men in Altena.) The Darkshine Knight did the same thing after falling into a bottomless pit.
  • Deconstruction: One of the earliest examples of RPG deconstructions, and as a result a very subtle one; many of the tropes are played straight, but the main characters are minor twists on traditional archetypes--
    • Kevin and Carlie are half human hybrids, but rather than gaining glamorous pasts in return for their exotic blood, they get physical deformations and apparently-stunted mental ability.
      • Carlie/Charlotte is not as dumb as she sounds - she speaks in a kawaiiriffic, affected way, but that's an affectation, not a sign that she's particularly stupid. An airhead, yes, but she is not mentally absent. Neither's Kevin - he's very with-it but for whatever unholy reason he talks like Gau in the translation.
    • Duran is a knight seeking revenge on a wizard--the most clichéd of any of the heroes, and at first glance a typical RPG protagonist, especially a Squaresoft one. Unlike Cloud or Cecil, though, Duran acts exactly like a mercenary would--he's a hairy, smelly, selfish, uncouth alcoholic brute.
    • Angela is a haughty princess who rebels against her family and wants to experience the outside world...because the queen is being manipulated by one of the game's dragons and Angela is almost sacrificed by her to revive an evil god, then almost freezes to death in the wilderness trying to find help. She is also a mage that can't cast magic (at first), which certainly doesn't help her cause much.
    • It also deconstructs the Chosen One. Whoever is your character becomes the hero that has to save the world literally because he/she was standing at the wrong place and got hijacked by a distressed fairy. Oh and screw whatever goal you had before that : the priest you were searching for will just tell you "save the world and it might resolve itself on the way". Thank you, we totally needed that.
    • It's also amusing how the Fortune Teller will tell Angela to "Go to Wendel..." and then the other person nearby says "Hey! That's the same thing she told me! I just wanted to know if my child was going to be a boy or a girl, and she told me 'Go to Wendel...'"
  • Determinator: Duran.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: 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 peaking out from under the sheets of the beds, but by toggling sprite layers using an emulator you can see that not only are the rest of the characters' bodies there, they have panties or boxers as well--and that those panties change color depending on the character's class.
    • Also the game is very famous for this by making you meet the characters you didn't choose every now and them. Exclusives scenes may happen too depending of what character you have in or out of your party.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Not only do you kill the 8 God-Beasts, ancient evils that predate the world, but the final boss has the combined powers of all 8 of them, and the Sword of Mana, which is what sealed them away in the first placed and used to help create the world.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Angela's Sorceress class tech. So sexy it hurts...the enemy.
  • Doppelganger Attack: What? You expected Deathjester to fight fair?
    • A minor example are the Shadow Zeros in the decayed Mana Holy Land. They copy one of you characters and their special attacks, the problem is that the attacks also hurts as much as yours.
    • This is also the Nightblade's skill.
  • Double Entendre: When playing Hawk's intro, if you talk to one of the guards at the door of the throne room, he says about the Rolante amazons "I bet they're all cute ladies. I want to poke them with my dagger." Think about it...
  • The Dragon: Deathjester for the Masked Mage, Koren for the Dragon Emperor, and Jagan and Bigieu for the Dark Prince. Funnily enough, Deathjester, Koren and Bigieu are far better developed as characters than their bosses are.
    • Arguably there are three pairs of Co-Dragons with Bigieu/Jagan, Deathjester/Heath, and Koren/Darkshine Knight.
  • Dragon Rider: Flammie the Dragon acts as a Global Airship for the party.
  • Driven to Suicide: Koren after his defeat.
  • Dual Boss: Zable Fahr.
  • Dual-Wielding: Hawkeye dual wields daggers. Kevin dual wields gloves/claws/fists (if you want to call them that).
  • Dying as Yourself: Heath and Darkshine Knight who is actually Duran's father.
  • Easily-Conquered World: The Beastman tactic of SMASH BASH GLOAT is remarkably effective against whole cities.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dark God-beast knows how to make an entrance. You arrive just in time to witness the shattering of the Dark Mana Stone; once this happens, the heroes are sucked into an empty void where Zable Fahr waits.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Angela is the princess of Altena , Lise is the princess of Rolante, and Carlie is the princess of Diorre by blood even if her situation potentially leaves her with no legitimate claim to her maternal grandfather's position.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Duran and Kevin's Whirlwind Sword and Kick, respectively.
    • Lise's Valkyrie class tech sends out whirlwinds to damage every enemy on the screen, via twirling her halberd.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Heath and Elliot.
  • Evil Overlord: Dragon Emperor, Dark Prince, and Masked Mage.
  • Evil Is Visceral: The Dark Prince's powered-up form resembles a giant heart.
  • Eviler Than Thou: The protagonists have to fight three different fractions of enemies - Altena, Navarre and the Beast Kingdom - who also oppose each other. Depending on which character you choose first, one faction will slaughter the other two in the Disc One Final Dungeon.
  • Evilly Affable: Deathjester.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Koren, The Masked Mage and Heath, Carlie's best friend and supposedly her mentor.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Ultimate equipment -- to say nothing of the Lv.3 class changes -- can only be obtained via "???" seeds dropped by specific enemies.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Your team can go from the Desert of Scorching Heat to the Sub-Zero Snowfield (and both deserve their names) 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.
  • Fallen Angel: The Dark Prince. The Masked Mage's backstory is also riddled with this.
  • 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.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Although the game averts this trope, Angela's Grand Divina class learns Double Spell which combines Lightning, Fire, and Ice (in that order).
  • Flashback Effects: Before recruiting your teammates, each tells their story in an Deliberately Monochrome cutscene.
    • Carlie gets one even if you didn't select her as a teammate at all.
  • Fur Bikini: Lise/Riesz's Fenrir Knight class.
  • Get on the Boat: The only way to travel anywhere until you get more reliable means of transportation.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The very first boss.
  • A God Am I: Every Big Bad.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Kevin and the Beastmen style of fighting style.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The eight God Beasts in the second half of the game.
  • Grand Theft Me: Elliot's fate, provided the Dark prince is the Big Bad.
  • Guide Dang It: The game doesn't tell you this, but certain spells can't be learned unless you've leveled up a particular attribute. This stat differs depending on the character; for instance, Hawk learns new moves by leveling up his Speed.
    • Also getting items for the last class change isn't hinted neither told where you can get them making first timers simply bypass it until even the end of the game.
    • Another 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.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Kevin, the half-beastman, and Carlie, a half-elf.
  • Have We Met Yet?: If you take Angela or Duran's path, the party will run into a younger version of the King of Forcena.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Dark Prince's original body is never seen.
  • Hidden Depths: With the exceptions of the Dragon Emperor and Jagan, all of the villains get fleshed out, well developed personalities and backstories.
  • High Altitude Battle: One of the God Beasts is fought on your own flying dragon.
  • High Collar of Doom: Check out the Legosi getup worn by Jagan!
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The kingdom of Navarre is guarded by these, and Hawkeye can become one.
  • Hostage for Macguffin: Whomever the Big Bad is, their flunkies will inevitably hold the Fairy ransom in exchange for the Mana Sword.
  • Hot Amazon: Lise.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Kevin's intro, after realizing he's killed Karl.
  • Hufflepuff House: Rolente Kingdom is busy keeping the peace up north.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: The Faerie has a bit of trouble remembering that humans can't fly.
  • Idle Animation: They've all got one. Carlie rocks back and forth, Angela plays with her hands, Kevin stretches, Hawk taps his foot while holding his head, Lise touches her hair ornament and Duran scratches his head.
  • 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 Holy Mana Day.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Most of the Beast Kingdom, except for Lugar, who is actually a legitimate threat.
    • This may be or not subverted after all if you challenge any beastman during the Jad raid they knock the hell out of your character, except Duran who's seemly is the only smart enough to notice picking a fight isn't good now, with a single attack and to add insult they aren't even in their wolf form.
  • Inn Security: Twice. Sleeping at an inn is required to make the fairy appear, and later on in a free boat ride leads to the characters being trapped on the Ghost Ship.
    • Dangerous Inn: Sleeping in one room in the middle of Ghost Ship will make monster spawns and attack you right away, and oh you don't get the recover you were expecting.
  • Interface Spoiler: The game leads you to believe that opening the gate to the Mana Holyland 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: Chiquichita and Josephine.
    • Given that they're the same race as Neko, expect racketeering and sky-high prices. Oh well, a cat's gotta eat.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Duran and Angela.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The Thieves Guild of Navarre at the beginning.
    • Double since the Wanderer and Rogue class allude to when Navarre wasn't a desert.
  • Klingon Promotion: After defeating the Archdemon, the Dark Prince becomes a bona fide Prince of Darkness.
  • Knife Nut: Hawk in wields dual daggers, and his Ranger class tech hurls a bunch of knives at every enemy on the screen.
  • Lady Land: Rolente and Altena. Both armies are comprised of all-amazonian soldiers, though Rolente still retains a male monarch.
    • Rolante might not be necessarily a male monarchy, since the Queen died in childbirth and Riesz might be too young to assume the throne.
  • Light Is Good: Wisp is the light elemental Spirit.
    • Notice that Rise has blonde hair and blue eyes?
  • Light Is Not Good: Lightgazer, the God-Beast of Light. Also there are several enemies which uses 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.
  • Living Shadow: The Ninja Master attack 'Shadow Dive'. The character merges with their shadow, moves around as it, then pops out to surprise the enemies.
  • The Lost Woods / The Maze: Lampflower Forest and the Jungle of Illusion.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Duran, the Darkshine Knight is your father.
    • Heath, the Masked Mage is your father.
    • Carlie, the Elf-King is your other grandfather.
    • Angela, King Richard is your father. Alluded to in the original game, but confirmed in the prequel.
  • Magic Knight: Duran's Sword Master 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 Saint Saber imbuement in addition to a healing spell, but it's quite useful against Zable Fahr, the God-Beast 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 SD3 is Lise, 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: Angela's Delvar class is rather unimpressive compared to the Sorceress class, but taking it allows her to eventually gain access to the Rune Master class, which has a spell capable of delivering 999 damage to any enemy at her level or lower. Even the final bosses, really.
  • Master of Illusion: The Masked Mage. Fittingly, he makes his home in the Jungle of Illusion and hides his mansion under the veneer of an Invisibility Cloak.
  • Meet the New Boss: The Masked Mage is definitely heir to the previous game's Thanatos. In fact, his final boss form is named Dark Lich.
  • Mirror Match: Kevin and the Beast Kingdom's troops all share the same werewolf sprite. 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.
  • Motive Rant: At least two for each plotline
  • 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).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: An example which isn't really relevant to the main plot line in the long run occurs early on in the game: the Faerie takes down a magical shield at the entrance of a cave so the party can reach Wendel and talk to the Priest of Light. The shield is intended to protect the city from invasion, and after the heroes get rid of it, the Beastmen get their chance to attack. The Priest of Light manages to cast another shield and keep Wendel safe, but he falls seriously ill as a result of the strain.
    • Also, a pair of plot-important things go bad as a result of the party's actions:
      • Oh, you found all the Elementals, and now you can create a portal in order to enter the Mana Holyland! Oh yay! You made a portal... in the sky. And you don't have an airship. But it won't go to waste, because every evil faction in the game CAN fly.
      • Oh, you killed the eight godbeasts to stop them from destroying the world! And their excess, incredibly strong Mana is going to go back to the Holy Sword, where it belongs... Oh right! You let The Dragon get his hands on the Sword!
  • No Export for You: Far and away one of the most infamous examples in video game history; a translation was in the works, the game was even advertised briefly in Nintendo Power and elsewhere as Secret of Mana 2... and then Square decided to shift development resources elsewhere, to things like Secret of Evermore and Super Mario RPG. A lot of fans are still bitter about this, and worse, it is now the only major World of Mana game to never get an overseas release (even its prequel got one).
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Duran vs The Wizard of Red Lotus, Koren.
    • Kevin vs his father, the Beast King.
  • Non-Human Undead: Dragon Zombies. Neat!
  • Official Couple: Duran and Angela if the player choose either as the main character and choose the other character as one of the three characters.
  • One Curse Limit: An exploitable Good Bad Bug. Using the Chibikko Hammer 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-Winged Angel: All three potential final bosses.
  • Our Fairies Are Different
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Jagan.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Beastmen, who are a race of their own but very clearly inspired by werewolf mythology.
  • Orcus on His Throne: All the Big Bads pretty much lounge around in their hideouts for most of the game and let their minions do the work until they're either killed by one of the other enemy factions are the heroes storm their fortress near the end of the game. In fact, you don't actually get to meet them until you've completed the respective final dungeons.
    • The Dark Prince wasn't totally idle behind the scenes though. He's the one who raised the Dark Mana Stone from the Underworld.
      • And the original Japanese name for one of the bosses in Legend of Mana fought in the Underworld is identical to the name of the God-Beast 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 NA 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).
  • 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 their menu so the character doesn't take damage before the spell executes. However, this also works on enemies preparing spells to attack you with....
  • Pointy Ears: Angela has them, but the rest of the citizens of Altena don't.
  • Power Trio: Any three of the six heroes can be one.
  • Prestige Class: Each character has four classes based on whether they choose the Light or Dark path on each upgrade level (i.e., Light-Light, Light-Dark, Dark-Light, or Dark-Dark).
  • Promotion to Parent: Lise to Elliot.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The God Beasts to the elemental spirits.
  • Reality Ensues: Angela's first trek through the Sub Zero Snowfield goes about as well as you'd expect.
  • Rebellious Princess: Angela.
  • 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 (the main melody and the intro, respectively.)
    • Also, the track "Electric Talk" contains a callback 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 NA name of Seiken Densetsu 2 as well as a stylistic callback to "The Child of the Sprite Tribe", a track from that game, albeit in a minor key.
  • Reformed Criminal: Hawk, sort of.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Dragon Emperor.
  • Ring Menu: Just like its predecessor.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Half of the cast. Angela is the princess of Altena, Lise princess of Rolante and Kevin the prince heir to the Beast Kingdom.
  • Rule of Three: You have three heroes, there are three invading kingdoms, three unique final scenarios with three unique final bosses.
  • Scenery Porn: Path to the Heavens.
    • The journey to fight the Dark God-Beast 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 Cave of Waterfalls, and whoever you selected as the third will join you after they bust you out of the Beastman-occupied Jad's dungeons. Selecting Carlie 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.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Amazingly and beautifully Averted; the three possible player characters you didn't pick will still have their own storylines going in the background, which may intersect with the main plot from time to time.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Dark Prince, having been prophesied as a harbinger of doom, was ousted from his kingdom. His exile invited demons from the underworld to tempt him over to their side, thus dooming the kingdom, which the Prince promptly destroyed.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: There are a number of challenges that can be done with this game, such as Single Character, or No Class Changing.
  • Ship Teasing: If you take Lise but not Hawk to re-take Rolante, he asks her to go easy on Bigieu (as Jessica is cursed to die with her) and plants a kiss on Lise when she agrees, causing her to blush.
    • Angela is also shown to consider her romantic prospects in her ending, though her preference is not stated.
  • Shout-Out: Bill and Ben. If you're from the UK, the name instantly screams out Weed!
  • Show Some Leg - Angela's line when trying to set a trap for a guard.

"Could you help me change my clothes?"

    • And one of her classes gives her a Limit Break that is essentially her showing some... leg... and charming the enemy.
  • Sinister Scythe: Deathjester.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Duran's Duelist class is adorned with monster skulls.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: In regards to the three potential Big Bads, the Dark Prince is widely considered the strongest, the Masked Mage the weakest, and the Dragon Emperor in the middle.
    • The Masked Mage's boss dark-lich form is also pretty weak design- and spooky-wise as compared to his predecessor in Secret of Mana. Kamen-no-Doushi is, as a boss, really not that scary. In fact he looks rather goofy. Thanatos, on the other hand...ugh, speaking of hands, this troper still has flashbacks to THE GRABBING FROM THE FLOOR.
    • This also applies to the nations each one acts as The Man Behind the Man for. With the exception of Lugar and the Beast King, the Beast Kingdom is absolutely pathetic. Altena is much more organized and effective, and poses a bigger threat, and their villainous actions are limited to the assault on Forcena. Now Navarre...their footsoldiers have severe Lack of Empathy, they slaughter literally everyone in Rolante castle during their takeover, and the mooks you fight in their areas are among the toughest you'll face.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is the Amazon princess supposed to be named "Lise", "Liese", "Riese", "Reis", or "Riesz"?[1] The world may never know.
    • Carlie is "Charlotte" in Japan, changed on the translation for space reasons.
    • Similarly, Hawk is "Hawkeye" in Japan.
    • Bigieu was likely originally either Bijou ('jewel' in French) or Bijuu ('lovely beast' in Japanese). They're phonetically identical.
    • Lugar, whose name works out to 'rugaaru' in katakana, is a semi-pun on loup-garou ('werewolf' in French).
    • And then there's the locations - Forcena/Forthena/Folcena/Valsena. Rolant/Rolante/Laurant. Navarre/Navall/Nevarl. Althena/Altena. *gasp* And that's not even everything.
  • Spiky Hair: Hawk's pal, Eagle.
  • Squishy Wizard: Angela, which an extra helping of squishy.
  • Stationary Boss: Quite a few.
    • Averted with the Dragon Emperor, a screen-filling Final Boss who defies expectation by leaping into the foreground.
  • Stripperiffic: Practically the entire female population of Altena, including 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.. Rolante's amazons also fit this to a lesser degree except Lise, who is in full armor, though in official art she still has a very low-cut chestplate and doesn't wear pants.
  • 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 God Beasts, the sword gets stronger.
    • Also, in Secret of Mana, the only person in the whole world who could use it for anything purposeful was the Mana Knight (though that's subverted by swapping weapons with your allies, but it's presumed to work for them because the Mana Knight touched it and used it to seal the Mana Seeds - that's also the working theory behind why all the other Mana Weapons in that game eventually become powerful.) In Seiken Densetsu 3, 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!
  • Theme Naming: Hawk and Eagle.
    • Bon Voyage and Merci.
  • Third Person Person: Carlie.
  • Three Faces of Eve: Carlie is the Child, Lise is the Wife, and Angela is the Seductress.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: After dealing and retaking Rolante you travel in a Ghost Ship and inside there one of your characters is made unavailable until you defeat the boss of the area.
    • The heroes decide this after the faerie is kidnapped. It's obviously a trap, but they don't have any choice but to go.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Hawk and Lise. Especially if they're both in your party, and one or the other of them is the leader.
    • During the battle to retake Rolante, if you have Lise in your party but not Hawk, Hawk will ask the party to spare Bigiel's life. Lise will agree, and Hawk will kiss her, causing Lise to freak out.
  • Unwinnable By Mistake: Whatever you do, do not use a Magical Rope in the Dark Castle.
  • Unwitting Pawn: You. Every time. AND HOW.
    • Also, Lord Flamekhan, Valda, and Heath. To a lesser extent, Bill and Ben.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Energy Ball. In theory it should up your critical attack rate, but because of a programing bug critical attacks are practically nonexistent. Same goes for spells that affect agility or hit rate, for the same reason.
  • Video Game Settings:
    • Big Boo's Haunt: Moonreading Tower and Mirage Palace.
    • Big Fancy Castle: Too many to list. The Masked Mage and Dark Prince both reside in these.
    • Broken Bridge: Exploded by a mini-boss, no less. That's what you get for fighting on a bridge instead of retreating!
    • Cave Behind the Falls / Noob Cave: The Cave of Waterfalls.
    • Death Mountain: Path to the Heavens and the Corridor of Wind.
      • Also, Bucca, because Chekhov's Volcano is a mountain which you climb and then descend into.
    • Doomed Hometown: Everybody's hometown gets invaded, either by the BigBads 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 Lugar, no matter what.
    • First Town: Astoria.
      • Well, it's the first town common to ALL the characters when any of them are the lead. Let's not forget most characters have to make a stop in Jad before they ever reach Astoria, with, iirc, the exception of Carlie. It's also the first town shop-wise, as Jad has no functional item shops.
    • Gusty Glade: Corridor of the Winds. Does it really count as a glade if it's half made out of caves, though?
    • Hidden Elf Village: Corobokkle Village and Diorre.
    • High Altitude Battle: You'll need to take to the skies to fight Dangaard. The fight takes place on top of Flammie.
    • It's All Upstairs From Here: Moonreading Tower. Why couldn't they put in an elevator?
    • Lethal Lava Land: The Valley of Flames. (No actual damage from convection, though.)
    • Lost World: The Jungle of Illusion.
    • Palmtree Panic: Volcano Island Bucca.
    • Shifting Sand Land: Navarre and the Dragon Hole's outer reaches (Glass Desert is the COOLEST name for a desert, hands down).
    • Ship Level: The Ghost Ship, where Shade is recruited and you temporarily lose one of your party members due to a curse.
    • Underground Level: Gemstone Valley and the Dragon Hole.
    • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Three of them. You can only visit one per playthrough, though.
  • Villainous Breakdown: While some just say few words, some of The Dragon and every Big Bad has this upon defeat.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Deathjester, of course.
    • Zable Fahr. How fitting that the darkest of the god-beasts would be three Monster Clowns.
  • Virgin Power: Supposedly the Father of the Winged Ones 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 "father" turns out to be a girl).
  • We Have Reserves: The Dark Prince reacts to Bigieu's demise as though he just bounced a check or something. But to be fair, she is a card-carrying member of the I Am Legion union if the usual tropes applying to Demons are observed in this world.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Heath.
  • Winter Royal Lady; The Queen of Altena, who has a personality to match.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Jagan will be backed by a werewolf and succubus.
  • Woman in Black: Angela's Magus class.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: There's a reason it's called Path to the Heavens. You can even see the curvature of the earth!
  • World Tree: The Mana Tree.
  • Yandere: Bigieu/Bijou/Bijuu the demoness is only evil because she is madly in love with the demon prince. However, he does not care for her in return, claiming that her death is acceptable should she be killed.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: Played with. You can find every potential party member except Carlie at the tavern in Castle City Jad, but nobody actually joins your party until later.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Also played with. If you didn't pick Carlie as your third party member, you'll pick up your third after being thrown in the Jad prison upon defeating the first boss. Subverted if Carlie 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 gets on the boat.
  • 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 Koren. In Lise's case, it's an exceptional, half-self-imposed case of Walking the Earth and specifically a Gender Bender of a not-quite Knight Errant.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Hope you weren't too attached to that Mana Tree.

  1. With every single one of these being perfectly valid options from various European countries?