The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés


Stolen directly from here. I'm just listing my favorites. If you have no idea what this is about, just forget about it. Warning: it's LONG.

2. "No! My beloved peasant village!"
The hero's home town, city, slum, or planet will usually be annihilated in a spectacular fashion before the end of the game, and often before the end of the opening scene.

5. Logan's Run Rule
RPG characters are young. Very young. The average age seems to be 15, unless the character is a decorated and battle-hardened soldier, in which case he might even be as old as 18. Such teenagers often have skills with multiple weapons and magic, years of experience, and never ever worry about their parents telling them to come home from adventuring before bedtime. By contrast, characters more than twenty-two years old will cheerfully refer to themselves as washed-up old fogies and be eager to make room for the younger generation.

6. Single Parent Rule
RPG characters with two living parents are almost unheard of. As a general rule, male characters will only have a mother, and female characters will only have a father. The missing parent either vanished mysteriously and traumatically several years ago or is never referred to at all. Frequently the main character's surviving parent will also meet an awkward end just after the story begins, thus freeing him of inconvenient filial obligations.

7. Some call me... Tim?
Good guys will only have first names, and bad guys will only have last names. Any bad guy who only has a first name will become a good guy at some point in the game. Good guys' last names may be mentioned in the manual but they will never be referred to in the story.

8. Nominal Rule
Any character who actually has a name is important in some way and must be sought out. However, if you are referred to as a part of a posessive noun ("Crono's Mom") then you are superfluous.

11. Let's start from the very beginning. (Megaman Rule)
Whenever there is a sequel to an RPG that features the same main character as the previous game, that character will always start with beginner skills. Everything that they learned in the previous game will be gone, as will all their ultra-powerful weapons and equipment.

12. Poor little rich hero (Meis Rule)
Furthermore, no matter how cool, rich, and powerful the hero or his family may have been before the game started he will be almost broke and destitute by the time the game really picks up.

13. The higher the hair, the closer to God. (Cloud Rule)
The more outrageous his hairstyle, the more important a male character is to the story.

14. Garrett's Principle
Let's not mince words: you're a thief. You can walk into just about anybody's house like the door wasn't even locked. You just barge right in and start looking for stuff. Anything you can find that's not nailed down is yours to keep. You will often walk into perfect strangers' houses, lift their precious artifacts, and then chat with them like you were old neighbors as you head back out with their family heirlooms under your arm. Unfortunately, this never works in stores.

15. Hey! I know you!
You will accumulate at least three of these obligatory party members:
- The spunky princess who is rebelling against her royal parent and is in love with the hero.
- The demure, soft-spoken female mage and healing magic specialist who is not only in love with the hero, but is also the last survivor of an ancient race.
- The tough-as-nails female warrior who is not in love with the hero (note that this is the only female character in the game who is not in love with the hero and will therefore be indicated as such by having a spectacular scar, a missing eye, cyborg limbs or some other physical deformity -- see The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Rule.)
- The achingly beautiful gothy swordsman who is riven by inner tragedy.
- The big, tough, angry guy who, deep down, is a total softy.
- The hero's best friend, who is actually much cooler than the hero.
- The grim, selfish mercenary who over the course of the game learns what it means to really care about other people.
- The character who is actually a spy for the bad guys but will instantly switch to your side when you find out about it.
- The weird bonus character who requires a bizarre series of side quests to make them effective (with the ultimate result that no player ever uses this character if it can be avoided.)
- The nauseatingly cute mascot who is useless in all battles.

16. Hey! I know you too!
You will also confront/be confronted by at least three of these obligatory antagonists:
- The amazingly good-looking and amazingly evil long-haired prettyboy who may or may not be the ultimate villain.
- The villain's loyal right-hand man, who comes in two versions: humorously incompetent or annoyingly persistent.
- The villain's attractive female henchman, who is the strongest and most competent soldier in the army but always lets the party escape because she's, yes, fallen in love with the hero.
- Your former ally who supposedly "died" and was forgotten about, until much later in the game when he/she shows up again on the villain's side and full of bitterness.
- The irritatingly honorable foe whom you never get to kill because, upon discovering the true nature of his superiors, he either nobly sacrifices himself or joins your party.
- The insane clown or jester who will turn out to be surprisingly difficult to subdue.
- The mad scientist who likes creating mutated creatures and powerful weapons 'cause it's fun (and also handy if uninvited adventurers show up.)
- The adorably cute li'l creature or six year old child who fights you and, inexplicably, kicks your butt time after time.

24. Dimensional Transcendence Principle
Buildings are much, much larger on the inside than on the outside, and that doesn't even count the secret maze of tunnels behind the clock in the basement.

30. Bed Bed Bed
A good night's sleep will cure all wounds, diseases, and disabilities, up to and including death in battle.

31. You can't kill me, I quit. (Seifer Rule)
The good guys never seem to get the hang of actually arresting or killing the bad guys. Minor villains are always permitted to go free so they can rest up and menace you again later -- sometimes five minutes later. Knowing this rule, you can deduce that if you do manage to kill (or force the surrender of) a bad guy, you must be getting near the end of the game.

32. And now you die, Mr. Bond! (Beatrix Rule)
Fortunately for you, the previous rule also applies in reverse. Rather than kill you when they have you at their mercy, the villains will settle for merely blasting you down to 1 hit point and leaving you in a crumpled heap while they stroll off, laughing. (This is, of course, because they're already planning ahead how they'll manipulate you into doing their bidding later in the game -- see Way To Go, Serge.)

56. But they don't take American Express.
Every merchant in the world -- even those living in far-off villages or hidden floating cities cut off from the outside world for centuries, even those who speak different languages or are of an entirely different species -- accepts the same currency.

75.Xenobiology Rule
The predatory species of the world will include representatives of all of the following: giant spiders, giant scorpions, giant snakes, giant beetles, wolves, squid, fish that somehow float in midair, gargoyles, golems, carnivorous plants, chimeras, griffons, cockatrices, hydras, minotaurs, burrowing things with big claws, things that can paralyse you, things that can put you to sleep, things that can petrify you, at least twenty different creatures with poisonous tentacles, and dragons. Always dragons.

77. Dungeon Design 101
There's always goodies hidden behind the waterfall.

80. Wait! That was a load-bearing boss!
Defeating a dungeon's boss creature will frequently cause the dungeon to collapse, which is nonsensical but does make for thrilling escape scenes.

99. You do not talk about Fight Club.
Any fighting tournament or contest of skill you hear about, you will eventually be forced to enter and win.

104. Place transvestite joke here. (Miss Cloud Rule)
If the male lead is required to dress up like a girl for any reason, he will be regarded by everyone as much more attractive than any "real" girl. If the female lead cross-dresses as a man, she will be immediately recognized as who she is by everyone except the male lead and the main villain.

113. Missing Master Hypothesis
Almost every strong physical fighter learned everything he/she knows from some old master or friend. Invariably, the master or friend has since turned evil, been killed, or disappeared without a trace.

114. Missing Master Corollary
If a fighter's master merely disappeared, you will undoubtedly find him/her at some point in your travels. The master will challenge the student to a duel, after which the student will be taught one final skill that the master had been holding back for years.

116. "You couldn't get to sleep either, huh?"
If any character in the game ever meets any other character standing alone at night looking at the moon, those two will eventually fall in love.

124. Dealing with beautiful women, part 1 (Yuffie Rule)
All good-looking young females are there to help you. This rule holds even when the girl in question is annoying, useless, or clearly evil.

125. Dealing with beautiful women, part 2 (Rouge Rule)
All good-looking middle-aged females are out to kill you. This rule holds even when the woman in question has attained your unwavering trust and respect.

128. Law of NPC Relativity (Magus Rule)
Characters can accomplish superhuman physical feats, defeat enemies with one hand tied behind their back and use incredible abilities -- until they join your party and you can control them. Then these wonderful powers all vanish, along with most of their hit points.

136. Gender equality, part 1 (Feena Rule)
Your average female RPG character carries a variety of deadly weapons and can effortlessly hack or magic her way through armies of monsters, killer cyborgs, and mutated boss creatures without breaking a sweat. She may be an accomplished ninja, a superpowered secret agent, or the world's greatest adventurer. However, if one of the game's villains manages to sneak up and grab her by the Standard Female Character Grab Area (her upper arm) she will be rendered utterly helpless until rescued by the hero.

137. Gender equality, part 2 (Tifa Rule)
If any female character, in a burst of anger or enthusiasm, decides to go off and accomplish something on her own without the hero, she will fail miserably and again have to be rescued.

141. "Mommy, why didn't they just use a Phoenix Down on Aeris?"
Don't expect battle mechanics to carry over into the "real world."

170. Poetic Villain Principle (Kefka Rule)
All villains will suddenly become poets, philisophers, and/or dramatic actors when a) they first meet the hero, b) they are about to win or their evil plan is finally ready, c) some major event in the game is about to begin, d) right before the final battle, and e) right before they die, when they will frequently be feeling generous enough to reward you with some homespun wisdom about making the most of life while you have it.

179. Weapon Rule
There's always a hidden creature who is much harder to defeat than even the ultimate bad guy's final, world-annihilating form. It's lucky for all concerned that this hidden creature prefers to stay hidden rather than trying to take over the world himself, because he'd probably win. As a corollary, whatever reward you get for killing the hidden creature is basically worthless because by the time you're powerful enough to defeat him, you don't need it any more.

180. The Ultimate Rule
Anything called "Ultima (whatever)" or "Ultimate (whatever)" isn't. There's always at least one thing somewhere in the world which is even more.

181. Know your audience. (Vyse Rule)
Every woman in the game will find the male lead incredibly attractive.

If you actually read all that and made it this far, I salute you. Now go out and get some fresh air.

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