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Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is the fourth game in the Arc the Lad series. The narration begins with Kharg, a young man who happens to be descended from noble blood, training with his mentor, Lloyd. Everything is fine and happy, and we meet up with two other characters (his friend Paulette and a forest-dwelling child named Maru) before monsters called Deimos attack one of the nearby mines for their main source of power, Spirit Stones.
After that, the story switches over to a half-human half-Deimos young man named Darc, who is enslaved by a froggy hag named Geedo. Needless to say, he doesn't get treated very well. After meeting up with an Orcon named Delma, her brother Densimo, and being betrayed by both Densimo and Geedo to his father's murderers, he claims that his ambition is to become King of the Deimos.
Each hero is also asked by one of the last remaining Sprits in the world to Save the World, and thus begin on an epic quest to do so, crossing paths multiple times and discovering some interesting secrets about themselves?.
The game is a tactical RPG with a plot twisting through about every trope in the book. But the writing is good, the voice talent is well-seasoned, and despite being fairly into the Cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, it has some serious Crowning Moments and is well worth playing.
Tropes used in this game include:
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Dilzweld is rather Anvilicious about it.
- An Axe to Grind: Ganz, and possibly Volk. His weapon's rather unusual.
- Badass: A good deal of the main characters, though Ganz deserves mention.
*cracks his neck* I'll grind you to fine powder!
- Badass Boast: Volk's entire monologue to Darc in Chapter 2 of his story. HOLY CRAP.
- BFG: You're required to collect a beam cannon for the Big Owl to progress the plot.
- Bi the Way: Samson. One of his battle quotes is "You'd better run, before you fall for me." He says it to everyone.
- Big Bad: The Divine Ruler/Lord of the Black Abyss
- Big Badass Wolf: Volk, Volk, Volk!
- Big Damn Heroes: A minor example, when Darc and Lilia are surrounded by monsters in the Cave of Truth. It's Kharg who does the Big Damn Hero-ing.
- Body Horror: The Altered Deimos have what appear mechanized armor bolted onto their right arms. See also: Demon Droguza.
- Blow You Away: Kharg and Darc. Kharg literally does this to some Dilzweld soldiers in a cutscene.
- Calling Your Attacks: Standard for every player character, and sort of used with the enemies - each move has a different animation/quote, especially for bosses. Being the stereotypical RPG hero that he is, Kharg has special, flashy animations for his two ultimate attack moves.
- Cheerful Child: Maru. Bebedora, on the other hand....
- Continuity Nod: Peisus Library contains books that reference the events of the previous games.
- Cosmic Keystone: The Five Great Spirit Stones, plus the Ark that holds the Divine Ruler's power.
- Cree Summer: Plays Tatjana.
- Curb Stomp Battle: The battle against two (yes, two) Dilzweld soldiers, just before you recruit Bebedora. She's just been unsealed and is now controlling their brains. Bet she didn't expect Darc and crew to be so tough.
- Dark Is Edgy: Subverted in Maru's case. He does a lot of Standard Status Effects and many of his special moves are Dark-aligned, but he's one of the nicest people you'll meet. Bebedora may play this straight. She doesn't really show any signs of edginess in her personality....
- Dark Is Not Evil: Both played straight and subverted. The Big Bad is Dark-aligned, but so are Maru and Bebedora, two of the heroes. And Darc isn't really a bad guy, either.
- Determinator: Kharg and Volk, as displayed by their battle quotes at critical health:
Kharg: Nothing can hold me back!
Volk: I don't care if my fangs are broken....
- Detached Sleeves: Kharg's got them.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Ganz and Camellia.
- Disposable Woman: Kharg's mother. Said to be a great warrior, she gets killed without even having a chance to fight.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Dilzweld's leader, Darkham, has short black hair, is trying to purge the world of Deimos, and is unafraid of
the United Nationsthe World Alliance. Hmmmmm....
- Double Entendre: May be intentional, with some of Camellia's lines, but in other places, it... well, it's hard to not reinterpret some of the lines.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Lord of the Black Abyss' final form.
- Elemental Powers: Each of the protagonists is aligned with one of the elements, and Ganz gets accessories that add these onto his basic attacks.
- The Empire: Dilzweld
- Exploding Barrels: Several battlefields are littered with them.
- Face Heel Turn: Densimo, if he could even be considered a hero at all in the first place.
- Five-Man Band: One for each hero, along with Sixth Ranger secret characters. As follows:
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Your characters take gunshots from Dilzweld Mooks numerous times without much trouble, but a couple of characters including one who is an actual, temporary, party member go down in one shot.
- For Great Justice: Dear God, Kharg.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Volk sports a very ambiguous scar over his eye. It only intensifies his Badass aura.
- Guest Star Party Member: Samson for the humans and Densimo for the Deimos.
- Heel Face Turn: Tatjana.
- She's also an interesting case - unlike a lot of examples, she actually doesn't change her personality that much after her Heel Face Turn.
- Heroic BSOD: Kharg, after Nafia dies.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Played almost ridiculously straight.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Where to begin? Axel as Kharg, Steve Blum is Volk, Lilia is voiced by Grey DeLisle, Jimmy Neutron is Bebedora, the guy who makes the noises for Appa and Momo voices Densimo, and Bastila is now a Tsundere Orcon. And that's not even half of them....
- Monty Max and Elmira once again find themselves on the same team!
- Hot-Blooded: Kharg comes across this way, especially taking into account some of his battle quotes:
I know we can win!
(Landing a Critical Hit): DIE!!!
Taste the windblade of fury!
- Hot Scientist: Tatjana. Having Cree Summer's sexy, sexy voice doesn't help.
- How Dare You Die on Me!: Darc to his mother, Nafia.
- Humans Are Bastards: Hoo, boy. Are they ever.
- Probably zig-zagged.
- Hulk Speak: Lakelta Brother Tsaw.
- Improbable Weapon User: Several. Bebedora uses her stuffed animal and Delma uses a couple of pokers she found. However, Paulette takes the cake with her weapon, called a "Sling knife". She swings it around in circles to build up momentum and attacks by sending the bladed part into enemies. That's more or less the...only way to describe it. Best part is, she's an attacker; and possibly one of the most flexible characters so you'll see it a lot. You can at least excuse Delma's pokers.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The names of the lakelta brothers. Tsee, Tsaw, and Fulkrum. Didn't get it? Say them out loud.
- Kill It with Water / An Ice Person: Volk
- Lady of War: Camellia.
- Last of His Kind: Droguza claims to be this.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Maru has a habit of doing this. A good example is when he's at critcal health, one of his quotes is "My turn already?"
- Light'Em Up: Tatjana. Also a temporary straight-playing of Light Is Not Good.
- Limit Break: Used with the Tension Gauge mechanic. When it fills up, an aura appears around the character and you can unleash team-up attacks For Massive Damage.
- Living MacGuffin: Lilia.
- Marathon Boss: The Final Boss. Thankfully, because of how the battle system works, you can heal in between rounds.
- Mind Control: This is one of Bebedora's skills, see People Puppets. It never comes in handy in the plot, though.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The Five Great Spirit Stones.
- Ms. Fanservice: HOLY MOTHER OF ALL SPIRITS CAMELLIA. Let's see: large breasts complimented by a Sexy Backless Outfit with an Impossibly Low Neckline? Check! Actually 200 years old and still hot? Check! Battle quotes with a BDSM subtext? Check! Note that while this is her when you first meet her, she gets better.
- Monster Arena: Two for each side. The humans have theirs at Cathena and Lambda Temple, while the Deimos arenas are in Orcoth and Rueloon.
- The Obi-Wan: Lloyd, the Captain of the Defense Corps in Kharg's hometown.
- Official Couple: Believe it or not, Maru and Bebedora. This leads to many a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, and is in fact cited as the reason the plot works.
- Sadly, this is completely abandoned in End of Darkness.
- Parenthetical Swearing: One of Camellia's kill quotes is "May you rest in peace." She puts a... special emphasis on that last word.
- Playing with Fire: Paulette and Delma.
- People Puppets: Bebedora is frighteningly good at this.
- Power Gives You Wings: Played with to the point of Zig-Zagging Trope. Kharg gains the ability to learn magic early in the game, but doesn't know why; when it's revealed later in the game that his magic is a result of his Half-Deimos lineage, the shock causes him to grow a pair of wings, which he rips from his back in disgust, making him both a justified case of the trope, and an aversion. Darc is an inversion; he begins the game with wings and spellcasting abilities, but shortly after his wings are torn off, he finds a human sword and decides to incorporate human martial arts into his fighting style.
- Puzzle Boss: The Meshimgen.
- Reliable Traitor: Darc welcomes Delma back into his service even after she stabs him in the back and tries to steal control of his clan from him.
- Right Behind Me: In Darc's fifth chapter, we witness a scene of a Dilzweld soldier badmouthing Deimos and the idea of Darkham using one (Droguza). Cue Tall, Dark, and Deimos Droguza....
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Royal Family of Milmarna, including Maru. Kharg and Darc count as well, due to Kharg being a prince (despite the fact that his country abolished the monarchy) and Darc intends to become King of the Deimos.
- Sacrificial Lion: Lloyd
- Science Is Bad: Played straight and averted. The Dilzweld Empire does a lot of cruel things For Science!, and so they can take over the world (and wipe out the Deimos, while they're at it), but one of Tatjana's battle quotes is "Science protect us!"
- Schizo-Tech: The Dilzweld Army has rifles. While the heroes wield swords, axes, and other medieval weaponry. Justified with the Deimos, who fight with magic while humans use them to fuel their technology.
- Shown Their Work: With regards to gun safety. They do use guns in impossible and often unsafe ways, but the enemies are shown using them better than in other video games. Tatjana attacks with a pistol/blaster, and whenever she has it drawn and isn't using it, she has it pointed down, even if it looks a bit like she's got safety on, she obviously hasn't dropped that habit. Likewise, enemies with firearms held in unsafe positions are shown loading them before attacking, or drawing them from a holster, and some enemies with guns as primary weapons always have them pointed at you.
- Slouch of Villainy: Darc, after taking over Orcoth.
- Spin to Deflect Stuff: How Paulette blocks.
- Stripperiffic: Most female Deimos NPCs, as well as Delma.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Oh, so much. Lampshaded a few times, though.
- Teens Are Short: Subverted to Hell and back. Kharg and Darc, supposedly 17 in the game, look like twenty-something men.
- Tsundere: Delma, a Type A, apparently for Darc. Very easy to see, given one of her quotes when healed.
Delma: You... you looking for trouble?!?
- To be fair, it's pretty obvious that being a Tsundere is how Deimos flirt.
- Darc also acts this way towards Lilia.
- To be fair, it's pretty obvious that being a Tsundere is how Deimos flirt.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Camellia, although it's kind of obvious when you first meet her. She gets better, and how!
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Firbles. Pyrons, their evolved form, though....
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: After The Divine Ruler forces Bebedora into a Face Heel Turn, you have to fight her. Maru, who has been subtly hinted at being attracted to her, is among your party members for this fight. In an outright cruel move, he is the most effective fighter in this particular battle, meaning he's probably going to be doing the most damage to 'dora.
- Weapon of Choice: Everyone has one. They get unique equipment parts to make up for it.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Kirjath, a side character. His body ages and crumbles, but he can't die. Doing his sidequest resolves this fate, and gets you the Goddess Statuette, which gives a substantial HP boost.