Skies of Arcadia

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"'Impossible' is just a word to let people feel good about themselves when they quit."
Vyse

A Role-Playing Game for the Sega Dreamcast featuring pirates who sail the skies rather than the seas.

The story centers on Vyse, a young air pirate (long before Final Fantasy XII, mind) who, along with his best friend Aika, rescues a Mysterious Waif named Fina from the Valuan Empire. Fina is on a mission to gather six powerful crystals, but the Valuans want them too, because they are used to control six gigantic living weapons with enough firepower to devastate continents. Three guesses why they want them.

One of Skies of Arcadia's draws was the world the game took place in: Instead of the conventional RPG world of oceans, mountains, deserts, etc., Arcadia is a World in the Sky - islands and continents float in the air separated by vast stretches of open air - which is not buzzed through with aircraft but sailed in ships. This makes the Global Airship a prerequisite just for getting around. Another of the game's more charming features was its generally upbeat and optimistic tone: the vast majority of RPGs at the time, especially post-Final Fantasy VII, tended to feature Darker and Edgier themes with brooding heroes, making the courageous and impossibly optimistic Vyse almost seem retro-chic. Vyse, Aika, and Fina also stand out as one of the few main character trios who balance each other perfectly without descending into a dreaded Love Triangle subplot. Finally, the Dreamcast was severely lacking in RPGs, making this a solid draw for that particular crowd.

The game's setting also included an "Age of Sailing" undercurrent of discovery. As the characters seek the Moon Crystals, they also rediscover lands isolated or lost since the great disaster centuries ago. In addition, the overworld is filled with "Discoveries": places, creatures, and landmarks that are hidden in various places. If found, the knowledge of their existence and location could be sold for a tidy sum, if you were fast enough to beat your competitors to the punch.

Skies of Arcadia is one of those games that has a list of flaws a mile long (clichéd story, broken battle system, Random Encounters), but manages to be great fun despite (or arguably because of) that, even through multiple playthroughs. There's definitely something to be said for piracy in airships.

Skies was later rereleased on the Gamecube as Skies of Arcadia: Legends, which reduced the insanely high overworld random encounter rate and added a few Bonus Bosses and Sidequests.

Now with Character Sheet.


Tropes used in Skies of Arcadia include:
  • 100% Heroism Rating: One of the few benefits of a high Swashbuckler Rating is that NPC shopkeepers- especially on Sailors' Island- will gush over your celebrity status. Still won't give you a discount though. In addition, getting the title Vyse the Legend - which involves getting 100% Completion - unlocks an optional boss fight and a few other perks.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Silvites. Twice.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Shrine Island and Soltis.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Hydra, though is no need for runways since Skies lacks fighter ships.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Despite his omnicidal behavior, Fina consistently grieves over Ramirez. Immediately after defeating the guy, Vyse opts to give him an honorable, sailor's funeral. Which they do, and it was nice.
    • Gregorio and Belleza's death, especially since both are Anti-Villains.
    • Also all of Valua. Despite the fact that Empress Teodora and Alfonso did that whole enslaving and taking over the world thing, you can't help feel sorry for them.
  • All That Glitters: The "gold-paved" kingdom of Rixis. If Aika could punch an entire city in the face, she would do it.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Repeatedly. First, Galcian lays waste to Dyne's base. Then the Delphinus is (briefly) recaptured by Belleza during her coup d'état in Yafutoma. Last but not least, Ramirez traces Vyse's ship back to Cresent Island, destroying his base again.
  • All Your Colors Combined: The Prophecy special.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Every S-Attack spawns one.
  • Animated Armor: Guardian, the boss of Shrine Island. A tough cookie in its own right -- and you face more of them in the final dungeon, except this time, they're in mint condition.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: After getting your own pirate base, you can design the buildings in various styles depending on the carpenter you choose to build them.
  • Anti-Grinding: The bounties level up with you, and exponentially besides. Best not put off fighting them too long...
  • Apocalypse How: The Rains of Destruction that stopped the Ancient Civilizations' endless wars by destroying them happened a few thousand years before the game begins and were a class 2. A few Silvites managed to escape this by flying into space, primarily because as the people who caused it they decided not to use the appropriate superweapon on their own moon. Their decision to call the Rains a second time resulted directly in modern-day Valua being hit with a Class 0.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Four characters at a time, three of which are always Vyse, Aika, and Fina. For most of the game, this is justified by having the characters come and go as the plot demands, but even after Gondor has called for aid you can still only bring four people with you, with the rest stuck doing nothing on your airship.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Alfonso is the only Valuan Admiral without any sense of honor (except De Loco, who is demonstratively insane), and it's made clear that the only reason he even got the job is because he comes from an extremely prominent family. Averted with Enrique, the Prince. Also averted by Illchymis who wants to heal the sick. This trope is also what causes Ramirez to go mad. Ironically, he ends up siding with the most sinister of the bunch.
  • Arm Cannon: The Guardian robots have cannons that extend out from their palms.
  • Atlantis: Soltis. Also serves as The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Attack Animal: The Gigas and Cupil.
  • Attempted Rape: By Vigoro on Aika. Of course, this being a T-rated game, he didn't get far, and the dialogue was not explicit.
  • Awesome but Impractical: For her Omega Psyclone attack, Aika throws her boomerang into the air, jumps up maybe one hundred feet to grab it, somersaults, and throws multiple copies of it into the ground, which creates the fiery outline of a hexagon, which then explodes and turns every bit of ground as far as the eye can see into a pit of magma. Then that explodes, dealing... half as much damage as Vyse whacking someone in the face with the Vorlick blade would. It's useful while you're grinding until you get your spirit levels high enough to be able to use Rain of Swords on the first turn, as it will clear out most weak enemies and do a decent chunk of damage to stronger ones.
    • Prophecy and Blue Rogues. The former calls down a moon on your opponents for a huge amount of damage to all enemies. The latter calls members of your crew to either deal damage to your enemies or heal your party. Either attack also makes enemies skip their turns. However, you can only use these attacks after the story event where you get the Delphinus, you have to charge your spirit points to max, and the attack takes all your spirit points. By the time you've completely filled the spirit bar, you could've probably done comparable damage just whacking your enemies with basic attacks and a few special moves.
  • Badass Spaniard: Since Valua is an expy of Spain, this trope fits a number of characters, including Galcian, Enrique and Gregorio. Oddly, despite his Spanish name, Ramirez is not actually Valuan.
  • Bamboo Technology: The Ixa'Takans use this.
  • Beehive Barrier: The Dome of Light that protects Soltis.
  • Best Friends: Vyse, Aika and Fina.
  • Betty and Veronica: Played with and arguably averted because neither girl actively pursues Vyse.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Rupee Larso. Nice kid, doesn't like violence... But when you get his HP down below half, he can pull out his Berserk Rupee attack for devastating damage.
  • BFS: Grand Admiral Galacian uses one of these. Looks out of place because nearly every other hand weapon in the game is realistically-proportioned. Vyse's Vorlik Blade certainly isn't ideal for holding in one hand. And the Sky Fang... well, enough said.
  • BFG: Lots.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The name of Ramirez's flagship, the Monoceros, is in fact Greek for unicorn.
    • Given that the Valuan Empire draws heavily from the era when Spain was an absolute world power, this occurs. Alfonso, Gregorio, Enrique and Teodora are typical Spanish names. "Belleza" means "beauty", and the "loco" in De Loco's name means "crazy". Also, Gordo the Round's name, "gordo", is actually Spanish for "fat", while "Domingo" is the Spanish word for both "Sunday" and the name "Dominic".
  • Blind Idiot Translation: Thankfully not the game itself, but the instruction manual for Legends is... something.
  • Blinding Bangs: A little girl standing on the balcony of Sailor Island's inn.
  • Blood Knight: Vigoro says he doesn't care whom he works for or to what end as long as he gets to fight.
  • Body to Jewel: Silvites carry Silver moon crystals in their bodies.
  • Bonus Boss: The Bounties in the remake; special mention should go to Lapen, Daikokuya, and Lord Bane. Piastol is an example of That One Bonus Boss, since she has to be fought four times before finally giving up, and she gets much stronger with each iteration. And then there's Air Pirate Vigoro.
  • Book Ends: The game starts with Vyse and Aika retrieving the Moon Stone from Shrine Island, which turns out to be the entry way to the final dungeon.
  • Bowdlerize: The original Japanese version of the Dreamcast game had rum as the mainstream drink, which was changed to juice called "loqua" in the U.S version, several drunken characters (namely a bald man on Sailor's Island with what appears to be vomit stains on his mouth) were removed, a character's outfit ("Bellena" the dancer, actually Admiral Belleza in disguise)was censored somewhat, and Aika almost getting raped by Vigoro in a Valuan prison cell was toned down heavily. Before the final battle, there's also when Ramirez grips his sword's blade, making his hand bleed, emphasizing his rage. This was also taken out. All of these changes were carried over to the GameCube remake.
    • All of these changes were also carried over to the Japanese version of the aforementioned remake as well, ironically. There was also the replacement of a lot of kanji with hiragana so that younger players could read the dialogue.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: All of the quests to earn the Three Secrets, which also includes another boss fight.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Aika and Fina.
  • Broken Bridge: As you might expect from a game that gives you the Global Airship right away, the Broken Bridges in this game are a little more creative than usual, typically requiring you to upgrade your ship or get a better one in order to proceed.
    • The Valuans went a little overboard with this in Ixa'Taka: a gargantuan chainlink fence strewn between two cliffs. Once Vyse sends them packing, the wall is dismantled.
  • But Thou Must!: You can't change the plot by refusing to do things, but you can drop your Swashbuckler rating by trying.
    • It's worth a playthough just to pick all the incompetent-sounding choices. Aika comes out sounding like the real hero!
    • Eventually, though, the game starts offering up win-win decision trees. Sorry, but thou must.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Dog = Huskra.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The S-Attacks.

"Moons, give me strength!"

  • Camera Screw: The Great Silver Shrine. Outside, you're upside down. Inside, the camera rotates a lot so that you're always right-side-up. It gets weird.
  • Captain Obvious: In the Moonstone Mines:

Alfonso: Sorry if I was interrupting one of your monologues, but I came to inform you that Vyse has infiltrated the mines.
De Loco: Did you figure that one out all on your own? What gave it away, the blaring sirens?

  • Chef of Iron: Gordo and his bistro.
  • The City Narrows: Valua's Lower City.
  • Cleavage Window: Fina, although a small one. It even has a non-fanservice purpose: the exposed skin is right above Fina's shard of the Silver Moon Crystal.
  • Colony Drop: The Prophecy Crew Special command drops one of the moons onto the enemies Vyse and Co. are facing. The Silvite Elder do this with the Silver Shrine in order to help Vyse and Co. past the Beehive Barrier and into Soltis.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Blue Rogues and Black Pirates. Guess which faction of Air Pirates are Just Like Robin Hood and which are the evil cutthroats.
    • The moons, moon stones and civilizations.
    • Galcian's admirals. It's like watching a Gothic reenactment of Dick Tracy.
    • During the Blue Rogues special attack, the back ground color seems to indicate whether the featured crew member is attacking or healing.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Two of them, in fact: Prophecy and Blue Rogues.
  • Compensating for Something: Vigoro's ship has one very large cannon.

Vigoro: Hey Vyse! My cannon's bigger than yours!
Aika: Talk about trying to compensate... That guy's got a complex.

  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The reason why you'll be using Delta Shield every turn for the last third of the game is because if an enemy uses a Silver Instant Death spell, it will wipe out at least two of your four party members. Worse still is that even though you choose your actions at the start of each battle round, the computer is under no such restriction: therefore, it will use an instant death spell the second you decide not to use Delta Shield.
    • This is why the optional Gamecube battles are so time-consuming. Most of your skill points will likely be spent on re-casting Delta Shield, Justice Shield et. al over and over again.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Duccat's Island portion overall.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The final part of the Convection, Schmonvection dungeon involves you dumping water on a Lava Pit to cool it off so that you can walk on top of it.
  • Cool Ship: The Delphinus has elements of both a Cool Boat and a Cool Plane, given how ships work in this game.
  • Crystal Prison: The Silvite Elders intentionally seal themselves in these as a form of life support.
  • Cutscene Boss: You'd think that if there were just one enemy in the entire game that you should be allowed to fight, it would be that smug jerk Alfonso. Instead, he goes out with the Empress when Valua gets totaled. Of course, by then, you've put him through the Humiliation Conga so many times, a boss fight with him would probably be a joke, anyway...
    • Hell, Teodora herself qualifies for this. She's the main antagonist well, until it starts to rain, that is, yet she is never even shown in anything but her throne. Not only that, but she never even meets Vyse and the gang in person before she is smashed.
  • Dirty Coward: Alfonso would have you believe it's just egotism, but no.
  • Dual Boss: Sinistra and Destra, Jao and Mao.
  • Easily-Conquered World: Only Nasr possesses a fleet to withstand Valua, and Ramirez makes short work of them.
    • Justified in the advent of Soltis' rising. Hard to defend against laser-accurate meteor showers.
  • Eggshell Clothing: Maria's pet Hamachou.
  • Eldritch Abomination: All of the Gigas.
  • Elemental Powers: Each color of magic represents a different element, and each has a different effect.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: The Moon Stones in your weapons all correspond to other elements, six in all. Also applies to magic.
  • Encounter Bait: The Black Map.
  • Encounter Repellant: The White Map.
  • Eternal English
  • Evil Brits: The Valuans, by and large.
  • Evil Chancellor: Kangan in Yafutoma.
  • Evil Counterpart: A Bonus Boss in Legends, which consists of counterparts to Vyse, Aika, and Fina.
  • Evil Laugh: Pretty much all of the Valuan antagonists, apart from Gregorio.
  • Expy: Drachma and Rhaknam are Captain Ahab and Moby Dick respectively.
  • Fanfare: The demo mode music.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Nasr = Middle East, Valua = Britain/Spain, Ixa'taka = Native/Central/South America, Yafutoma = East Asia, Soltis = Atlantis, Glacia = Antarctica, and Mid-Ocean = Mediterranean Sea.
  • Fetch Quest:
    • The hunt for the fallen Moon Stone at the start of the game and later, the hunt for Daccat's Treasure. Both are necessary sequences in the plot and not actually detours.
    • The quest to help a woman in Esperanza get reunited with her mother in Nasr (in Maramba), which involves each of them asking you to get things from the other.
    • Getting all the moonfish in the Gamecube version. You get awesome rewards and backstory for every few fish you bring, so it's not too frustrating most of the time.
  • Fight Woosh: The screen breaks when you hear the woosh. In the Dreamcast version, this woosh was preceded by the console's trademark loading noise; since the random encounter rate is ungodly high in the Dreamcast version, this was something of a godsend. Simply opening the menu and changing a weapon when you heard the fight load would stop the fight from happening.
  • Final Boss Preview/Hopeless Boss Fight: Galcian and Ramirez at any point besides their final appearances.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences:

'THE TIME HAS COME...'
'...FOR YOU TO DIE.'

    • "IN DIRE NEED!" "WE CALL FORTH!" "THE POWER!" "OF THE ANCIENTS!"
  • Five-Bad Band: Galcian and his roundtable of Admirals.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Delphinus is armed with the Moonstone Cannon, which is basically an Expy of the classic Wave Motion Gun.
    • Zelos' 'eye', which is eerily fixed on the Delphinus during your fight.
  • Floating Continent: Every single one, in fact, though Soltis has been on the actual surface for a while now.
  • Fog of Doom: A signal that Rhaknam is near.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Dark Rift may fool you into thinking it's the most terrifying environment imaginable. Deep Sky takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Foreshadowing: You can see a verdant-looking Soltis in Fina's narrations.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Loqua. It's stated that it's just juice, but it's treated as a type of liquor or beer, and the tavern in Esperanza has a couple people who are Drowning Their Sorrows in it. In the Japanese, it's more openly liquor.
  • Gangsta Style: At short range, Gilder fires his pistol like this. At long range, he uses a more sensible two-handed grip. Somewhat justified since "short range" for Gilder essentially means placing the barrel right in the enemy's face.
  • Giant Mook: The Giant Looper.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: Lots of 'em.
  • Global Airship: You get several throughout the game, though the Delphinus is the only one that can (eventually) fly absolutely everywhere without restriction.
  • God Guise: Fina is treated as a goddess upon stepping into Ixa'taka territory. This stems from the fact that an ancestress who looked just like her and helped subdue the Green Gigas was in their cave paintings
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Vyse's "eyepatch".
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The ending, when absolutely everyone you met that has a ship shows up to help Vyse and friends.
    • This particularly impressive as Gondor did not even call for aid. When the events that lead Vyse into a Heroic BSOD occurred, Drachma, Gilder's crew, as well as all the Air Pirates in the game, both Blue Rogues and Black Pirates alike, as well as the Yafutoman navy and the Tenkou, and finally Vyse's father all just show up unnannounced at Vyse's base because they know he is the only guy crazy and determined enough to take on Galcian's Armada.
  • Gotta Catch Em All: The Moon Crystals, the quest for which forms the bulk of the plot; Moonfish, a sidequest; Chams, to get the Infinity Plus One Blob; the discoveries; getting 1000 fish for one of Vyse's ranks; hunting down the 8 bounties...
  • Green Rocks: Moon Stones, also available in Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow, and Silver. Also the mysterious Black Moon Stones with the power to reverse energy; they're only mentioned in passing and have been a fertile ground for Epileptic Trees in the fandom.
  • Guide Dang It: It is pretty much impossible to find all the Moonfish, Chams, Treasure Chests, Crew Members and Discoveries for the shiny 'Legend' title in the Game Cube version of the game without consulting some form of guide.
  • Gundamjack: The Delphinus was intended to be a prototype for an all-new fleet of Valuan warships. When Vyse jacks it, he puts a serious crimp in their plans.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Valuan gun troopers are generally amongst the weaker of enemies (even when compared to swordsmen) and Gilder, while a character firmly on the 'physical' side of physical attacks vs. magic, is less powerful than Vyse and Drachma. Can be partway-explained in that personal firearms in Skies of Arcadia are still at the flintlock stage.
  • Gunship Rescue: The Little Jack comes to Vyse's rescue at the end of the monorail chase. Just as Galcian has Vyse cornered in the engine car, Drachma blasts it in half with a well-placed shot.
  • Gun Slinger: Gilder. He even has a move by this name.
  • Handsome Lech: One hero, Gilder, and one villain, Vigoro.
  • Heel Face Turn: Prince Enrique, Admiral Belleza, Admiral Gregorio, the Elders of the Silvite Civilization.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Vyse wields two swords.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Admiral Belleza, Admiral Gregorio, the Elders of the Silver Civilization. Note a pattern?
  • Homage: As the game opens, Fina is captured by a Valuan ship in a sequence reminiscent of Star Wars a New Hope.
  • Hufflepuff House: Different varieties of Blue Pirates, from the Dyne family to Centime, Gilder, and Clara. All of them join the final fight against Galcian.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: The Bonus Bosses in Legends are a particular Egregious example, but there's plenty of lesser examples too.
  • Industrial Ghetto: Lower City. They built the warships here, and workers are treated like dogs.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Justified in the sewers, of all places. The weapons merchant in Maramba knows the story of how they came to be there.
  • In The Name Of The Moons: You'll hear it a lot.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Daccat's "treasure"... Or so it would seem, at first. Actually subverted since you can sell the "treasure" later for 20,000 gold.
    • The real point of the exercise is to reunite Vyse, Aika, and Fina. See? Greed really is good.
  • Just Eat the MacGuffin: Averted. The Moon Crystals are objects of incredible power, and can control ancient bioweapons. The main point of the plot is to acquire these so the villains can't use them, and yet it never really occurs to our heroes to simply throw them overboard. Even the one character who does think of it decides not to.
    • Of course, the avoidance of this trope is mostly a set up for the Plot Twist.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The Blue Rogues.
  • Kill Sat: After a fashion.
  • King Mook: Elcian and the Giant Looper.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
  • Last-Disc Magic: Once Vyse acquires his own ship, "Prophecy" and "Blue Rogues" appear in the battle menu (but only if your Spirit's at max). Not exactly "last disc" magic since it's unlocked roughly at the game's halfway point, alleviating its cheapness.
  • Last Villain Stand: As long as Galcian has Soltis, he's still in the game, even with his fleet destroyed.
    • Once he's killed, Ramirez decides the world must burn for not accepting Galcian as its rightful ruler.
  • Leave No Survivors: Let's just let Galcian explain:

Galcian: I don't think they're foolish enough to resist. However, if something should happen... Burn the village and kill them all. Let the bodies rot in the sun and leave one of our flags to set an example for others who may defy us.

    • Subverted, however, in that they weren't foolish enough to resist: the noncombatants were left alone, and the Rogues were taken prisoner and later rescued.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: To outsiders, Pirate Isle is listed on maps as "Windmill Isle". A heroic example.
  • Lighter and Softer: This game was released during a time when companies were pumping out nothing but uberdark Final Fantasy VII clones. Mind, there are still many dark and/or poignant moments in the game, but they don't dominate the story as a whole.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Many of whom can be recruited into your crew.
  • Lost Forever: Pointedly averted, at least when it comes to Chams and Moonfish. Not so much with treasure chests, which are required for Vyse's Infinity Plus One Title in Legends.
  • Loveable Rogue: Vyse, Aika, Gilder, Dyne...
  • Love Triangle: Possibly one of the few love triangles in an RPG where the participants don't care about resolving it- and don't. In fact, it's easy to argue that since only one person seems to express a romantic attraction, it's pretty much non-existent. Romantic relationships and hints between characters certainly do exist, but very little emphasis is put on them, and the role they play in the plot is minimal to nonexistant.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Happens so often with the Moon Crystals that it's a surprise whenever you manage to hang onto one. The last couple crystals do not have this happen, but that's only so you can find all five of the non-silver crystals, and then Ramirez ambushes you by surprise and takes all of them anyway.
  • Magic Skirt: Fina's skirt only flutters up to her knees when she uses magic (Aika's goes higher, but she has shorts).
  • Magitek: Those previously mentioned Green Rocks power everything even vaguely mechanical in this game, with the exception of a few scattered windmills.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: With Steampunk and Schizo-Tech thrown in for flavor.
  • Mega Twintails: Maria in Legends.
  • Metal Slime: Loopers.
  • Mind Control Eyes: Characters who are confused in battle get these. Also happens to characters who are hit by Ramirez's "Silver Nightmare" S-Move in the final boss battle.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Dheerse, Alupas and Rabbats discoveries. The Dhabus used for transport in Nasr seem to be a mashup of camels and T-Rexes with a dash of elephant thrown in.
  • Mordor: The Valuan continent is a craggy, crater-pocked hellhole under the oppression of permanent thunderstorms. The ruined landscape is also partly due to rampant moon stone mining. So in a sense, it qualifies as Types 1 and 2.
  • Nerd Glasses: Kalifa the Fortune Teller.
  • New World Tease: Upper City. You have just enough time to window shop (Aika: This is no time for tea!!), get insulted by the locals, and gape at the glamorous buildings in the middle distance. However, as soon as you're over the first bridge, Vyse is diverted into a train leaving the city -- never to return.
  • No Hero Discount: Subverted; Most shopkeepers steadily rise in prices, but Inns will recognize you the higher your Captain rating is and give you a discount.
  • Not in Front of the Parrot
  • Ocean Punk: In the sky...
  • One True Sequence: Due to the game's linearity, it looks like this is going to be the case at first. But in reality, Valua is nowhere to be seen when the Purple and Yellow Moon Crystals are found, Belleza leaves Vyse's team alone to recover the Red one for her, the Green Crystal was recovered by the very civilization that was guarding it, Valua only attacked Yafutoma after Vyse came back with the Blue Crystal, and the Silvites always had their own.
  • Only One Name: Everybody.
  • Our Founder: One of the carpenters offers to chisel your face, Mt. Rushmore style, on your pirate HQ.
  • Overly-Long Fighting Animation: Every special attack in the game. Subverted in that skipping your own characters' moves is optional (except for Prophecy)... but played straight against bosses, which can be irritating by the end of the game since the bosses have even cooler and longer special moves, which are really annoying the twentieth time they're used. Also played straight in ship battles - you can't skip anything.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Due to the increasing health and and defense of certain types of enemies, it can actually be faster to have your entire party charge up the spirit gauge in order to use Prophecy anytime you come across one such foe.
  • Palette Swap: Largely avoided by having completely different enemies in each area, but upheld by the Loopers as well as a few other enemy types that come in two or three colors. Justified by the influence of the six moons -- you get red Loopers in Nasr, blue Loopers in Yafutoma, etc.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Clara, The Empress, Fina (on the milder end).
  • Pirate Girl: Quite a few. Aika's the most memorable for obvious reasons, but there's also Clara and her entire ship, including Belle and her two friends who Clara lets you take on as gunners when it comes time to recruit your own crew. Mabel is a member of the Pirate's Isle group, Piastol is kind of along these lines in Legends, and the game's epilogue shows Fina getting onboard with it too.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Surprisingly averted. Vyse and Aika are introduced in the middle of boarding a ship for plunder. But, since they're stealing from The Empire, they remain sympathetic.
  • Plot Coupon: The Moon Crystals.
  • Plug N Play Technology: Drachma boosting the engine from Belleza's battleship and attaching it to his own dinghy.
    • The Delphinus proves incredibly adaptive, incorporating tech from the far east to break the cloud barrier. Normally, only the Yafotuman junk ships can sail that high.
  • The Power of Friendship: Aika was rather annoyed when Daccat's treasure turned out to be this.
  • Power Trio: Vyse, Aika and Fina.
    • Required Party Member: Each of the above characters leaves the party at some point. Once they rejoin, though, there's no swapping them out.
  • Puzzle Boss: Practically all the ship fights, especially the Gigas. The Wanted battles also tend to be so hard that you'll need to plan a very thorough strategy to survive them.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Justified, since it makes sense that the ancients would store their Moon Crystals in a safe spot.
    • The final dungeon, Soltis, is split between the rotted-out periphery (which ought to be clean as a whistle) and the pristine interior, which is still humming with activity despite being exposed to mud and rain for thousands of years.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Delphinus' crew.
  • Ramming Always Works: Admiral Gregorio's ship is specially armoured for this very tactic. Dodging his ramming attempt using a Useless Useful Spell leaves him wide open.
  • Random Encounters: Way too many. However, notably averted when you power up your Cool Ship so it can fly in Upper and Lower Sky, where there are no random encounters, on the world map at least. The encounter rate was thankfully reduced in the Game Cube remake.
  • Randomly Drops: Moonberries, in particular.
  • Rape Is Love: They don't call him Vigoro for nothing.
  • Rare Candy: Seeds come in different varieties, and each increases a single stat. Once you recruit Ilchymis, a shop will become available on your base that allows you to buy as many seeds as you want (except the evasion ones, for some reason), provided you have an insane amount of money.
  • Reconstruction: Of traditional fantasy RPGs after Final Fantasy VII's deconstruction. Its idealism stands in stark contrast to the cynicism of other high-profile RPGs of the time.
  • Recurring Boss: The Zivilyn Bane band of grave-robbing bandits.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Belleza, who performs a Heel Face Turn and a Heroic Sacrifice in the same moment by crashing her own airship into Galcian's escape pod and killing them both. Admiral Gregorio pulls this earlier on to buy the heroes time to escape.
    • The Silvite Elders, who sacrifice their colony to prevent Ramirez from using the Rains of Destruction and break the barrier surrounding Soltis.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Tenkou Pirates Jao and Mao.
    • Strangely enough, Vyse and Aika fit this description as well. While they are both prone to commit crazy actions, Aika tends to be more impulsive and expressive (she also favors fire based magic and specials), while Vyse is the calmer and more level-headed of the two. This also applies to their appearance; first thing you notice about Aika is her vibrant red hair, while Vyse typically wears a blue coat.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Cupil, the huskras (especially Pow) and Piccolo.
  • Riding Into the Sunset: The final shot before the epilogue.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Following Galcian's death, Ramirez decides to unleash Zelos on the world, because the party and Belleza killed him, and it's "what he would have wanted."
  • Ruins for Ruins Sake: Rixis. The entire city is covered in an Ominous Fog.
  • Rule of Cool: Just look at the way that Vyse holds his left sword. Also, many of the special moves.
    • Gilder can just warp to his pirate ship, get it simultaneously inside the middle of a floating continent and out on the open skies, and then open fire on his enemies? ...Okay!
    • Galcian's special attack Terminal. He teleports a hundred of feet above the Hydra, free-falls in a spiraling motion with the resulting shockwave destroying every ship around him and lands his BFS in his target creating a massive explosion that makes the Hydra briefly drift off.
  • Schmuck Bait: What did Aika expect, covering up a hole in her wall with a bright yellow hankie? Poor Vyse.
  • Ship Tease: The game doesn't give you a taste of one of its more unique features, ship battles, until a good couple of hours into the game. In all seriousness, though, just because the game doesn't care about resolving the Love Triangle doesn't mean it isn't loaded with these moments. Between all three characters...?
  • Shrouded in Myth: Occurs as the game progresses, with outrageous rumors spreading like wildfire. You can pay for some at Sailor's Guilds to help you find Discoveries.
  • Sibling Team: Jao and Mao, co-leaders of the Tenkou Pirates.
  • Sidequest Sidestory: The aforementioned sidestory that has you trying to reunite a mother and daughter via several fetch quests back and forth between the two.
  • Sinister Geometry: Soltis is unlike any continent you've encountered thus far: Flat as a pancake, with a giant hexagonal cannon pointing skyward.
  • Sink the Life Boats: Vyse is surprised at Ramirez's ruthlessness in this regard. Of course, in this game, "sink" means "cause to plummet thousands of feet."
  • The Sky Is an Ocean
  • Sky Pirate: Pretty much the whole point of the game.
  • Sobriquet:
    • Vyse gets several throughout the game, culminating in things like Vyse King of Rogues or Vyse the Legend. There's also Vyse the Coward if you really screw up the Swashbuckler system, and Vyse the Fallen Pirate during a sidequest in Legends.
    • The wanted list on Sailor's Island shows a name for pirates wanted by Valua including Lone Wolf Lawrence, Angel of Death Piastol and Gilder the Unfettered.
    • The bounties, Baltor the Blackbeard, Goumet Pirate Gordo, Loose Cannon Lapen, Vize the Fallen Pirate/Legend and Daikokuya the Wealthy.
  • Space Whale: Rhaknam.
  • Space Zone: The Great Silver Shrine.
  • Spoiler Opening: If you wait long enough on the "Press Start" screen, you get a different intro made up entirely of actual scenes from the game. Some aren't huge spoilers if you don't know the context, but many spoil major plot twists that don't happen until late in the game, such as the attack on Crescent Isle and the Rains of Destruction falling on Valua.
  • Stab the Sky: Enrique and Drachma's victory poses.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Clara, who is absolutely determined to marry Gilder whether he likes it or not. He doesn't. In her defense, she's pretty much the nicest stalker imaginable. Not so nice is Vigoro and his obsession with Aika. Note that his first meeting with her had him trying to rape her. The game plays further instances of them meeting as comedy.
  • Standard Status Effects: No surprises here.
  • Sucking-In Lines: The Moon Stone Cannon AND the Harpoon Cannon, the latter despite the fact that it is a wholly projectile based weapon.
  • Super Prototype: The Delphinus. It's completely unique, and is far more powerful than the standard Valuan warships. Later, the Spectre-class battleships appear, and are basically slightly less streamlined versions of the Delphinus that lack the Moon Stone Cannon. As Enrique notes that the Delphinus is the first of a series of similar ships, it can be expected that these are the mass-produced models of the same ship.
    • This is supported by the presence of a Spectre-class model in Vyse's office, which was supposedly based on the Delphinus.
    • The Admirals' flagships are clearly Ace Custom versions of Galcian's Serpent-class battleship, except for Belleza's. Ramirez rides around in a jet black version, but later swaps it out for a custom Spectre-class.
  • Talk to Everyone: Especially if you want to find Discoveries.
  • Technicolor Blade: All weapons are forged from moonstones, and change color accordingly. This applies to Dyne's & Gilder's gun barrels, too.
  • That's No Moon: Vyse and Aika mistake Rhaknam for an island when they first encounter it. Eep.
    • Zelos the Silver Gigas, which turns out to be the transformed central tower of the Soltis continent and is possibly as large as the Trope Namer!
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Music during Boss Battles responds to whether you're winning or losing, becoming tense and dramatic when the party is at low HP, and triumphant when the boss is at low HP. Hearing the shift when using a powerful attack or timely heal is highly satisfying.
  • Theme Naming : Many of the Air Pirates - Drachma, Gilder, Daccat - are named after defunct forms of currency. Clara was named Krone in the Japanese version. The latter three are named after the same coin in different time periods. The Valuans all have Spanish names to improve their "Spanish Armada" flavor - even Ramirez, who is actually a Silvite. All of the named ships in the Valuan Armada are named after constellations.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: The optional airship battle versus a giant calamari. As it loses HP, the tentacles start flying off, prompting a hungry Vyse to mutter about what a waste it is.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Alfonso kills his first mate in this fashion at the very beginning of the game to hide the fact that he couldn't stop Dyne's band from hijacking his airship. His superior sees through his ploy and gives him an earful.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Aika's Tomboy to Fina's Girly Girl.
  • Train Job: Although you're "stealing" back Fina, not any riches.
  • Traintop Battle: It's possible to face Galcian very early, on top of the Valuan monorail. Take Aika's word for it; just move along.
  • Trauma Inn: Inns heal all wounds!
  • Tron Lines: The inner ring of Soltis combines these with some sort of Matrix Raining Code. Once reactivated, Shrine Island uses the same effect, only with a decayed, dull green instead of bold red.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The entire Doomed Hometown.
  • The Unfettered: If you're playing right, Vyse becomes this. Also Gilder's epithet is Gilder the Unfettered.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: A particularly bad case; worse than most. The game becomes much easier the further you progress and the stronger you get. Money for Nothing comes into full effect around the halfway mark, later skills are far too overpowered for the enemies to provide challenge simply by making them stronger and tougher, and once you get the Delphinus, ship-to-ship combat becomes a joke even against bosses.
  • Updated Rerelease: Skies of Arcadia Legends for the Nintendo Gamecube.
  • Useless Useful Spell: All of the Silver instant-death spells have a pathetically low chance of success (except when the computer uses them), with the exception of the strongest Silver spell, which has a 100% success rate and inflicts damage on immune enemies.
    • Actually subverted: On very rare occasions, a boss will just happen to not be immune to one of the Standard Status Effects. For instance, the Rik'Talish is not immune to Stone, and Vigoro II is not immune to Confuse. Of course, finding out which bosses aren't immune to which status effects takes a while.
  • Variable Mix: The music on the world map changes instrumentation depending on what parts of the world you're in. Boss fights also change the music depending on how much HP you or the boss has.
  • Video Game Geography: The world isn't quite as round as the discovery would have you think.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Villains Never Lie: Every word of Belleza's backstory, told in order to manipulate Vyse, is true, she just left out which side of the war her father was killed fighting for.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Belleza's reveal at the end of the Pyramid has her take off her dancer disguise to reveal... a general outfit consisting of more clothing then before?
  • Voice Grunting: Each major character has a few lines of random text played over specific high-energy moments to match the spirit of the text scrolling by. The battles have a lot more lines.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: The Valuan Executioner is plenty tough, though his status-buffing flunkies are the real danger.
  • Walk Into Mordor: Valua. One giant door, opens twice a day, passport required, no exceptions.
    • The only way through the Dark Rift (apart from flying over it, once you get the Yafutoman tech) is the storm's eye, which is relatively calm.
  • Warmup Boss: Alfonso's Right-Hand Attack Dog, Antonio.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Quite a few of them.
    • De Loco's and the Delphinus' Moonstone Cannons.
    • Recumen's Red Ray.
    • Yeligar's Voltigar and Thunder Crash.
    • The Hydra's main Cannon: Hydra Cannon.
    • Zelos' Moon Ray and Great Moon Ray.
  • Weapon of Choice:
  • Weird Moon:
    • The six moons are pretty evenly spread, despite the fact that a geostationary orbit requires the object to be directly above the planet's equator. And of course since the moons provide elementally aligned Moon Stones to power all magic and tech on the planet, the moons are thus Color Coded for Your Convenience. It's stated in-game that the world is believed (then proven, as it's a Discovery) to be a sphere. This raises some interesting questions about the placement of the moons and how Arcadia is, in fact, situated.
    • Even odder is the implication (from the "Black Moon Stone" discovery) that there was once a seventh Black Moon, which possibly sank under the cloud barrier and is generating the Dark Rift. Arcadia ate a moon?
    • Although it's only mentioned in passing, most of the moons have notable effects on the lands they orbit. The Red Moon radiates so much heat, that the lands under it are turned into scorching deserts, while the Purple Moon radiates cold which freezes the lands under it. The Yellow Moon generates perpetual thunder storms, and the Green Moon somehow causes animal and plant life to flourish. The Blue Moon apparently generates strong winds. Only the Silver Moon has no apparent effect on the environment of the land it orbits.
  • What the Hell, Player?: After you return home from your first adventure and Aika splits off, you can peek through a hole in her wall covered by a piece of tissue... if you want to be called a pervert. It's so blatantly Schmuck Bait (the Schmuck being you the player, as the scene doesn't happen unless you investigate it) that even Vyse wonders why she put it there, after falling for it himself of course.
    • This also tends to happen whenever you choose an unfavorable dialogue choice.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: The Silvite Elders' life-support machines.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue
  • With a Friend and a Stranger
  • X Meets Y: In terms of character design, Aika is what resulted when Pippi Longstocking Took a Level in Badass.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Mostly accurate, though played with. Galcian is killed after he successfully raises Soltis. Ramirez, shattered by his death, assumes control and decides to destroy the world rather than rule it.
  • You Must Be This Tall to Enter: Your ship will need to be made of sturdier stuff to surmount the rock barriers, sky rifts, tornadoes, howling vortexes, even bigger sky rifts, and glaciers.