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The Lost Kingdoms video game duo (also known as Rune in Japan) was the Gamecube's answer to the RPG genre before Paper Mario grazed it. They were created by From Software and published by Activision outside of Japan (where they were published by From themselfs).
The first game centered on Princess Katia of Argywll, whose country is being invaded by a black Fog of Doom infamous for leaving nothing in its wake. Katia's father- the king of Argwll- has left the castle to try and stop the advance of the fog, but has not been seen since. When the castle itself is invaded by the black fog and the monsters that dwell within, Katia takes up a royal artifact called a Runestone, which lets her summon monsters that can fend off the horrors of the fog. She then embarks on her own journey to discover the source of the fog and find her missing father.
Timeskip two hundred years later for Lost Kingdoms II. This time, you play as Tara Grimface, a secluded woman that helps her adoptive father with his group of thieves, the Band of the Scorpion. All she really cherishes in the world is the Runestone she's had ever since she was a young girl and her father for raising her. As she tried to make out her world, they get a tip from someone that one of the nearby regions has been mass-producing, albeit weaker versions of Runestones and decided to drop by for payday. From then on, Tara must save the world from one of the other gods that have been releases on Argywll by one of the lesser kingdoms and their greedy king, Leod VIII. They also did what Final Fantasy XII would become known for in pretty much the same style; etching out random battles.
The games were a strange but effective combination of Card Battle Game and real-time combat. You build a deck of monster cards, and can then use these cards in battle to channel the powers of the creature within. Some would simply summon the monster into battle, but others gave you standard RPG effects like special attacks, healing or buffs. New cards could be acquired from treasure chests, fusing existing cards, buying them off a mysterious merchant or by capturing weakened enemy monsters.
The first game was a good game providing an enjoyable but different experience, while the second game was considered a wonderful revamp of the original. Unfortunately, due to very poor advertisement of both games, a third game was never given a chance to come to fruition. Both have a rather hidden fan base scattered throughout the Nintendo fans.
These two games provide examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Shavel Passage
- Action Commands :Summoned monsters in the second game have two attacks you can select from.
- Anti-Grinding (You couldn't level up unless you progressed with the storyline in the first game)
- Somewhat true: Katia and Tara couldn't level themselves up, but their creatures could still gain XP for copy/transform/fuse. A dedicated grinder could level up their decks to maximum, but wouldn't have the mana or HP to cast anything on the high end. This was a game-breaker in the first game, as the casting system made it possible to cast everything in your hand at your leisure. Provided you didn't mind being a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
- In the first game, if you quit before a mission was done, you would keep all the EXP you got, and have to play through again.
- Awesome but Impractical. The God of Destruction. Reduces everyone on the screen to 1HP, including you. Averted in the sequel.
- Ghost Armors and Chaos Knights. Badass looking dullahans, very poor as a weapon type.
- Back Tracking: Averted in the first game, where after clearing a stage, it's locked off until the end of the game. Made card grinding a tad difficult.
- Bare Your Midriff
- BFS. Sol and the Jade Giant monster in the second game.
- Bleak Level: The burial grounds and the final level.
- Bonus Dungeon: Plenty to go around, the Proving Grounds in II being a more traditional version of this trope in action.
- Boring but Practical: Basilisks have a small chance of petrification and can cancel each other out, which can prove lethal against Runestone Masters.
- Cast From Hit Points once you run out of Magic Stones. The first game stopped at 1HP, leading to yet another Game Breaker.
- Character Level: Unlike 2, the first game has you level up at story-related points (after each rune stone was recovered).
- Charged Attack: The Valkyrie's second attack, although it's rather foolhardy to use, since it limits you to a 3 card hand until you use it.
- Combination Attack
- Counter Attack: Crystal Magic in the second game, just make sure you actually get in range or the card's for naught.
- Cursed with Awesome: The Berserker's attacking anyone is actually a benefit more than a penalty due to inability to command independents. The willingness to chase Tara makes them very easy to lead to the correct target (as soon as Tara is even the smallest unit further from it than the nearest enemy, Tara is ignored entirely, and Tara is quite a bit faster) and can always be dismissed if they threaten any allies (While you need to pay summon cost again to continue their lifespan, it's pretty low for its power). Combined with their high rate of fire for it's attack (which is still better than otherwise comparable cards), and it's quite the useful card.
- The Master Berserker causes everything to attack anyone. This makes Weapon cards hurt you, but causes enemies to tear themselves apart and leave you alone.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: The opening cutscene in II makes you think "Holy crap she's not to be messed around with". Several of the cards she uses are ones that she hasn't actually acquired yet.
- Dance Battler: Several cards, most notable the Mandra Dancer.
- Deadly Gas: Hydra (although in the first game, it just made the screen flash green) and Zombie Dragon.
- Death Cry Echo: Quite a few cards have sound attacks that pierce defense, the Mandragoras and the Banshee being the most prominent.
- Death Is a Slap on The Wrist
- Desperation Attack: The Jack-O-Lantern card has a cheap, yet powerful piercing attack that cuts your HP in half, leading most people to wait until their HP is minimal until they use it.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Both games, and you can catch one of them!
- Difficult but Awesome:
- The Catapult card in the 2nd game has an annoyingly specific range, with a very small window between its minimum and maximum. However, when used against foes that don't move fast (Bosses generally do not, with half being completely immobile.) or are tall enough to be hit at closer ranges (again, bosses) it will quickly turn them to shreds.
- The help menu for machine and neutral cards will note explicitly the neutral and machine elements are hard to raise, but are strong against the other alignments.
- Discard and Draw: Fits this trope to a T since you do use cards to attack.
- Disc One Nuke: Grind your cards enough and you can have several of these, as shown on the back of the game's box.
- The Dragon Knight in the first game, which you start off with.
- The Banshee, can be gotten rather early by evolving a Ghoul and will completely ruin everything in your path while making grinding a ton easier.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Wood->Earth->Water->Fire->Wood. Neutral does 25% more damage to the other elements while Mech takes 25% less from the other elements.
- Everything Is Better With Penguins
- Everything's Better with Princesses
- Most of the tropes in that index have a Card relating to them.
- Fight Like a Card Player
- Gotta Catch Em All: The magic cards AND the red fairies.
- Grim Reaper: The Death card and monster. Attacks with a Sinister Scythe, of course.
- Guide Dang It: There's no hints at all as to how to obtain The Four Gods in the first game, which you could miss until the end of the game, after you need them.
- Just try to get a Golden Goose or a Jack-O-Lantern in 2 without importing cards from 1. It's a giant pain.
- Some cards require a capture card to obtain. Two of the monsters are in the Proving Grounds.
- You won't get all of the card combos via Red Faires, so good luck figuring out the more obtuse ones, especially Just Visiting. How many people thought of combining two Doppelgangers?
- Hell Hound: There's a monster call Hell Hound, which is one of the best jump cards available (and it's the first boss of the game). There's also the classic Cerberus, another Jump card, but it's mainly for attacking.
- Kamehame Hadoken: The Crystal Rose, which fires a long ranged ice beam that hits like a truck.
- Lag Cancel: Quick usage of some Weapons cards in tandem is usually faster than just using the same Weapon card over and over.
- Lich: The first major boss in the original game. He's fairly tough too, thanks to a special attack he has that involves the minions he summons.
- And the Lich card itself, being a rather good Earth Weapon card.
- Lost Forever: The Lucky Lion card can easily be missed at Sarvan if you open the wrong chest. Likewise, the Chariobot and Barometz cards cannot be obtained after Kendarie attacks Alenjeh Castle.
- Non-Elemental: As mentioned above, Neutral fits this role, being marginally more powerful against everything but other Neutral types. Same with Machines in 2, but defensive instead.
- Non Lethal Bottomless Pits: The second game. Fall into one a poof your back where you transformed (with said card discarded however).
- Ouroboros: One of your high level mons can evolve into one. It's one of the best Orbit cards in the game to boot. Just don't send out Master Berserker.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Katia and her father in the first game. Audrianu in the second.
- Sequel Hook: It's established there is an entire 2nd continent unseen (recently connected to the first) that has a Runestone.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Obeniox Gorge
- The Four Gods: The Great Turtle (Genbu), White Tiger (Byakko), Blue Dragon (Seiryuu) & Great Phoenix (Suzaku).
- In the Proving Grounds, one of the last rooms requires you to fight all four of them at once. 
- Transformation Is a Free Action. Both games have this, but in the first game you were completely invulnerable to short-duration attacks if you used a card at the right time.
- Too Awesome to Use: Any of the cards with max attribute levels are too expensive to even try without dying, although they're the best way to build attribute levels when Z-Charged. Of course averted once they are maxed out, but you'll probably get an elemental weakness in the process and make cards of other elements be harder to use.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Black Dragon. If it takes damage, so do you. The God of Destruction can't touch you at all if you are at the very edge of his battle arena, and the God of Harmony is vulnerable to his brother's card.
- To make matters worse for the God of Harmony, its first incarnation is vulnerable to any card with a sustained ability (Sandworm and Wraith for starters) and it's final boss form can be taken out by Vampire's Death Spell, a well placed Mechapult or Doppleganger (the latter requires the player to beat the game first, but still...)
- ↑ Master Berserker is a godsend here