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 About 4.6 billion years ago, the "Sun" had nine smaller stars and named the third one "Gaia".

The Sun: My dear Gaia! Please listen to me. From this time forward, every 1 billion years, you will have children called "Life". One of them will be able to help you to build a new era. Each child will must endure a difficult trial. You might think it's too severe, but it is necessary. The trial is a test of Nature: "The survival of the fittest". If he passes, I will allow him to be your partner and to enter Eden.


A very unusual and highly obscure Action RPG for the PC 98 and SNES, in which you play a creature which evolves in order to survive the dangerous prehistoric world and eventually to join Gaia, a personification of Earth, in Eden. However the evolutionary process has been disrupted, and it is slowly revealed that there is an overwhelming force behind this.

The game received little attention upon its release, but has since become a cult classic and a pioneer of the evolution gaming genre. It is noted for its unique gameplay system, sprawling world and its epic, eon-spanning scale.

It was developed by a small company called Almanic, under the publishing of Enix.

Related Tropes:

  • Boring but Practical: The Angler Horn isn't used to attack, but it makes Level Grinding easier.
  • Braggart Boss: Many of the bosses are like this, especially Debustega.
  • But Thou Must!: Making it worse, the game also likes to show you just how much damage you did when you do what Thou Must. The game makes clear that you're repeatedly committing genocide against multiple other species to clear the road for your own evolution.
    • It's not so much for your own benefit, the crystal-enhanced creatures greatly unbalanced the natural order and would have caused far greater problems if not stopped.
  • Colony Drop: How the Dinosaur Age chapter ends.
  • Collision Damage: Of the near infuriating kind.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Fort Bird-Man has a bit of this aesthetic; flying Mayincatec castles built on crystal-powered technology. Even more so, the Rogons and the Martians.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Dying in the game only results Gaia resurrecting you at the cost of half of your saved up EVO points. Not much of a penalty when you don't have very many saved up.
  • Degraded Boss: The Kuraselach Leader, boss of Chapter 1, reappears in Chapter 5 as a regular (but rare) enemy.
  • Easy Levels Hard Bosses: A lot of the main areas are pathetically easy, but most of the bosses are excruciatingly difficult.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Even after the Dinosaur Age chapter.
    • When you get a new body, you'll even find your previous fish form to be better than the base amphibian, and the same for each evolution afterwards.
      • Though oddly, using a green crystal to devolve back into a fish proves to be a significant power-down compared to just swimming as an evolved, later life-form type.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: The Kuraselache and their King in the first epoch, with the King becoming a standard enemy in the fifth epoch.
  • Evolutionary Levels: A necessary concession to the game mechanics. There are some exceptions in that it's not a clean "leveling" and there are many Mutually Exclusive Powerups.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Bird-Men.
  • Fish People: The Rogons.
  • Flunky Boss: The battle with Bolbox consists mainly of fighting the creatures he spawns and occasionally avoiding his own attacks.
  • Gaia's Lament: During the Age of Amphibians, much of the world has turned into a barren wasteland due to the insects' overeating of the plants. Fortunately, the world gets better.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The Rogons. Most of the rest of the enemies have some kind of foreshadowing, even if the plot's a bit thin and unconnected, but the Rogons are both required and have nothing to do with anyone else.
    • The final boss definitely qualifies as well. You have zero idea of what's awaiting you as you head through the final dungeon/area.
  • Goal-Oriented Evolution: The object of the story, as well as the game's central basic mechanic (unless the player is more concerned with creating entertaining life forms than functional ones).
  • Goomba Stomp
  • Green Rocks: The crystals.
  • Hit Points
  • Hopeless Suitor: Bolbox, a hideously mutated single-celled organism, wants to be the one to enter Eden with Gaia.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Trilobites from Chapter 1 and the Nautiloids from Chapter 3 can morph their bodies into a round shape and bounce around to attack. If you happen to be close to the ground and one of them does this beneath you, they'll basically ricochet between you and the ground until you die.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Two-Legged Mammal.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Gaia is naked.
  • Instant Death Radius: Cro-Maine can hit you from almost halfway across the screen when he swings his club. Not only does it do a lot of damage, it'll send you flying right out of the level, and you'll have to start all over again. Meaning that he will have full health again, but you won't unless you went and ate some T-Rex meat to recover.
  • Interspecies Romance: You and Gaia (especially if you're not human). Bolbox also has an interest in Gaia, for a more extreme example.
    • Consider that some proponents of the Gaia hypothesis think humanity is supposed to be the ecosystem's reproductive system.
  • In Universe Game Clock
  • Irony: Bolbox proclaims itself to be the pinnacle of evolution. When you finally see it, it turns out to be something resembling a giant amoeba. Single-celled organisms being the beginning of life/evolution.
    • Bolbox was "Volvox" in the original Japanese, and volvox is an extremely basic green algae. Algae is trying to kill you!
  • Leap of Faith: Jumping off the top of Mt. Brave is the only way to evolve into a bird.
  • Leave Your Quest Test: Tyrannosaurus, Birdman King and Rogon King will each offer you a choice to join them and abandon your quest to reach Eden. If you accept, you will see a cutscene of the possible outcome then get sent back to the world map.

 "We shall look into your future."

  • Lego Genetics: E.V.O. runs on this trope. Every time you add or remove a part, the change is done instantly. This can be exploitable in boss battles by changing one's neck from short to long or vice-versa whenever you get low on health, completely refilling your health. The neck is the cheapest part to change, but you can substitute any part and do the same thing.
    • A better tactic - and an even stranger example of this trope - was to grow a cheap horn, which would also refill your health. The horn would 'break' after attacking with it 3 times... and this would somehow count as an evolutionary change, which would refill your health again.
    • Admittedly, EVO isn't exactly clear on whether or not it's supposed to represent real evolution. There's substantial hints that the whole process is being hijacked by aliens, at least in the case of certain enemies, and many creatures berate you for not evolving "the proper way".
  • Level Grinding, until you get the necessary jaw/attack.
  • Magnet Mouth
  • Mama Prime Frog
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The player character can be one, especially as a mammal.
  • Mook Bouncer: The annoying Pteranodons on Mt. Brave will attempt to grab you and drop you off the mountain during your ascent.
    • The Cro-Maine miniboss may count, since his attack will knock you out of the level.
  • Mother Earth: Gaia
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: The monkey/human forms can't bite or get horns, the mammal path loses wings, and the bird path has worse armor and strength than the dinosaur.
    • The top fins in the Amphibian Age.
  • Never Say "Die": You don't kill anyone. You "defeat" them. Especially funny when the bosses declare that "I'm going to defeat you!"
    • Averted in other cases. "Kill only for survival and for food."
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Comes naturally with the ability to mix and match the body parts of different animals. Tiger head with bull horns on a rhino's body, anyone?
  • One-Hit Polykill, if they're all in the same area of your strongest bite.
  • One-Winged Angel: The well-hidden dragon form.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The secret mermaid evolution seems to be a human head and arms on a fish body. And you attack by sneezing... or, depending on your interpretation of the animation, kissing.
  • Palette Swap: Later incarnations of bosses do this, but one changes its skin entirely.
  • Parabolic Power Curve: Some upgrade paths are a bit more unwieldly (e.g. humans may have trouble in the Boss Rush); and one path entirely loses the ability to heal using evolutions until you complete that section.
  • Point of No Return
  • Restart At Level One: EVO points are lost on a new body.
  • Schizo-Tech: Early humans use stone-age Bamboo Technology, but certain crystal-powered species (Bird-Men, the Rogons, the Martians) have access to Crystal Spires and Togas.
  • Schmuck Bait: Go ahead, try jumping onto dry land before you've beaten the first boss and evolved lungs.
  • Scratch Damage
  • Scripted Event
  • Secret Level: In Chapter 3, the cloud level and the River of Asteroid.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Beating the game as a dinosaur, mainly because the Ice Age is slippy-slidey for them, and unlike birds they can't get around that by flying.
  • Side View
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Ice Age chapter, naturally. Mammals don't slide on it, though.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": This occurs due to text constraints and regular letter mutation, e.g. dinichthys to zinichthy, stromatolite to strolite, ichthyostega to ikustega, brontosaurus to brosaurus, tyrannosaurs to tyrosaurs, volvox to Bolbox.
  • Starfish Aliens: The final boss is a gargantuan mutant single-celled organism.
  • Tech Points: You acquire EVO Points and spend them as you wish to evolve body parts.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: The Ikustega boss does this after you laugh at him.

 Debustega: You make me very angry! I am going to defeat you!


Tropes related to the original PC-9801 game:

  • BFG : The Orihalcum cannons.
  • Boring but Practical: Throwing rocks at your opponents does a surprisingly high amount of damage.
  • Darker and Edgier: Or maybe it's the SNES version that is Lighter and Softer.
  • Evil Laugh: The Big Bad does it a few times but a noteworthy one is when it's done so, as meteors fall down on the Earth and she says, "Have you seen my power Gaia? Life on this planet has ended!"
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Is seeing small dinosaurs being swallowed by carnivorous plants bad enough for you? How about seeing dead dinosaurs with blood coming out of their eyes?
  • Kaiju: One of the bad endings has you evolved into this.
  • Let's Play: A Japanese Let's Play of the original PC version can be viewed here with this.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has a couple of bad endings that are usually achieved by making "wrong" evolution choice. It's not too hard to figure how to trigger them. Some others are triggered by making wrong choices in the game.
  • One-Winged Angel: Lucifer has one and it's quite ugly, like her favorite one has melted off. Taken at a whole new level at the end of the game where she pops out of the moon, breaking at least a quarter of it.
  • Satan: In this game, we have Lucifer, who for some reason bears some resemblance to Marilyn Monroe.
  • Stylistic Suck: The images for the bad endings are not as detailed as the one used for the story scenes in the game. Probably justified as those endings are Played for Laughs. Usually.