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File:1891-legend-of-dragoon-002-qlcjn 1424.jpg
"You are free to sever the chains of fate that bind you..."
—Opening cinematic

The first RPG developed by Sony Computer Entertainment, The Legend of Dragoon was released for the Play Station in Japan in December 1999, North America in June 2000, and Europe in January 2001. It was heavily advertised with emphasis put on the development time (three years) and the size of the development team (over 100 members).

The game tells the story of Dart, who has been wandering the world for the past five years searching for the being who killed his parents and destroyed his hometown: the Black Monster. While traveling back to his adopted home of Seles, he is suddenly attacked by the legendary dragon Feyrbrand, and survives only through the intervention of a mysterious warrior woman named Rose. When Dart arrives at Seles, he discovers that the town has been attacked by the army, and his childhood friend Shana has been kidnapped.

This sets the stage for The Legend of Dragoon's plot, which begins as a simple Damsel in Distress story while Dart tries to rescue Shana, but quickly becomes a larger story concerning the fate of nations, peoples, and eventually the entire world. Dart must unravel the mysteries surrounding the dragoons, the mythical Dragon Campaign that took place 11,000 years ago, and the events happening in the world around him.

Despite an unenthusiastic critical response, the game sold fairly well. An engaging battle system that allowed characters to perform "Additions" via well-timed Action Commands was a big success, as was a Troperiffic plotline that manages to shift smoothly between genuinely moving, Narm Charm, and So Bad It's Good. The latter was helped by an inconsistent localization, but the game does manage an impressive amount of Playing With Tropes given its otherwise Cliché Storm story of a young man with a mysterious power embarking on an epic quest in a Standard Fantasy Setting. Oh, and there are dragons, too, so that's pretty awesome.

Fondly remembered as one of the last big games of the PlayStation era, The Legend of Dragoon is something of a Cult Classic, with a small but loyal fanbase even years after its release.

The Legend of Dragoon is now available on PSN in Japan and North America.

Absolutely no relation to Panzer Dragoon.

Tropes used in Legend of Dragoon include:

  • Action Commands: Used for physical attacks. Normally you just have to hit X with the proper timing to move to the next hit in the combo, but occasionally an enemy would Counter Attack (indicated by the combo timer changing colors) and you would have to hit Circle instead, or else take damage (and lose the combo).
  • Adipose Rex: King Zior definitely, umm... measures up. Not only does he have the build for it, but you only ever see him in two places, sitting on his throne (which is in the most luxurious throne room in the entire game by the way) and the banquet hall.
  • Aerith and Bob: The dragons. You have Feyrbrand, Regole, and... Michael.
  • The Alcatraz: Hellena Prison.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The multi-form Final Boss. Can also be created by the player if they summon their respective Dragons or use a Dragoon Special.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Several, each trying to manipulate events to their own ends since the Dragon Campaign.
  • Anti-Grinding: Non-boss enemies hand out pitiful amounts of XP while Additions and Dragoon levels are easy enough to level up that you don't even need to grind.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: The Moon Children.
  • Arm Cannon: Super Virages, as well as the Divine Dragoon.
  • Autobots Rock Out!: Two of the boss themes.
  • Awesome but Impractical: At Dragoon Level 5, each character gets a spell that summons a dragon to attack the enemy. It sounds like an incredible attack... until you realize that you could do the same amount of damage with only a couple weaker spells for a much lower cost. The only one really worth using is the White Silver Dragon, since it does a lot of damage and heals the party, and Sea Wave Dragon for boss killing, with proper set up, thanks to Meru's complete spell specialication and absurd speed.
  • Awesome but Practical: Because of your limited inventory, you probably won't have very many status-healing items. So if you're in an area with a lot of enemies who use status effects, it's generally more economical to burn a Dragoon level to undo the status instead.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Dart and Lavitz, upon meeting for the first time.
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Bad Moon Rising: The Moon That Never Sets.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Ghost Ship on the second disc, and the Death City of Mayfil on the last disc.
  • Big No: Of the Say My Name variety.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: The English translation of the game's script varies wildly in its accuracy and ability to convey information.
  • Bonus Boss: The first Super Virage and the Polter Armor on disc three, as well as the spirits of the original Dragoons, the spirits of the dragons in Mayfil, and the One Hundred Percent Completion boss in disc four.
  • Boring but Practical: By the time you max out characters' final additions, you'll probably be doing more damage with them than you would in dragoon form, meaning you're better off not transforming into a glowing winged Magic Knight if you just want to beat someone silly.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One NPC in Lohan, and it's semi-justified. It's just the fact that he specifically calls them "minigames."
  • Broken Bridge: Varies from justifiable to just plain silly.
  • Call Back: Dart and Lavitz have a conversation in Lohan which ends with Lavitz joking about accepting a drink in return for his advice. In the epilogue movie at the end of the game, Dart puts a drink next to the painting of the now-deceased Lavitz.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Twice! The Black Monster destroys Dart's original hometown years before the game begins, which is what motivates him to become a warrior in the first place, and the Sandoran army attacks Seles and kidnaps Shana in the game's opening scene, necessitating a rescue from Dart.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Inverted when you pull off an addition; they only call out the name of the attack after they do it. Played straight with Dragoon magic.
  • Chaos Architecture: The interior of the Moon changes to reflects the heroes' respective pasts. The best is saved for last, with a giant multi-screen display of burning Neet.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The main cast, most bosses and some minor enemies all wear clothing that matches the color of their corresponding element.
  • Combos: Every character except Shana and Miranda (whose weapons don't lend themselves to it) use "Additions" as their basic physical attack, requiring the use of Action Commands to complete successfully. Dragoon form has its own version, separate from the standard ones.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: CPU character losing? Guess who gets initiative.
  • Coup De Grace Cutscene: Dart's finishing move, which is subverted a couple of times. Lavitz and Haschel get their own as well.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The old Wingly civilization. Melbu Frahma's former castle is shown to have a distinct Ancient Grome aesthetic in a flashback.
  • Cutscene: Both Full Motion Video and the occasional in-engine scene, typically using the battle engine, which allowed for more detailed graphics.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Doel’s Castle.
  • The Dragon: Kongol to Emperor Doel before his Heel Face Turn and Lloyd to Emperor Diaz until the end of disc three.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Virages. The Divine Dragon arguably comes close to Eldritch status, as well.
  • Elemental Powers: Each Character/Monster/Dragoon fought/encountered in the game adheres to one of Light, Dark, Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Lightning, or Divine/Null. All attacks, including basic attacks, are affected by this affinity. Also, the dragoons themselves:
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Of the "mutually strong against/weak to" type. Light opposes Dark, Fire opposes Water, and Earth opposes Wind. Thunder and Divine/Null are neutral, neither advantaged nor disadvantaged against other elements.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: Right before the final battle, Dart gets the Divine Dragoon Spirit and Rose the Dragon Buster sword from a dying Lloyd.
  • Evil Counterpart: Virages were used by Winglies to combat the Dragons in the Dragon Campaign. In game, Greham, Doel, Gehrich, Lenus and Zieg become this to the respective members of your party, not necessarily matching up on elemental lines.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The Winglies in their heyday dabbled in this, resulting in entire cities devoted to the regulated birth and abortion of Winglies based on their magical potential and the siphoning of all the world's dead souls into Hell.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The souls of the original Dragoons are trapped in Vellweb, living out a mirage of their former existence.
  • Fantastic Racism: First Winglies against everybody else, then humans against everybody else — especially Winglies.
  • Fight Woosh: One of the PS1 era's longest and hardest-to-emulate (that is, for playing on a computer, not mimicked by another game).
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Dart and Lavitz
  • Flashback Effects: The first time we glimpse the Dragon War, it's in Technicolor. When Rose flashes back to Zieg's death a second time, however (after he reveals himself to be Not Quite Dead, the same scene is Deliberately Monochrome.
  • Flower Motifs: Roses are played with for three characters. First is obviously Rose herself, with the standard beautiful exterior and thorny personality. Second is Miranda, who has a hatred for roses because they were the favorite flower of her abusive mother. Third is with Albert, whose Rose Storm spell uses roses to symbolize royalty and revolution, in contrast to the Blossom Storm spell used by Lavitz.
  • Foil: The original Dragoons are this for the current ones, highlighting the dominant trait for most of them to imply Generation Xerox. Rose, Zieg and Kanzas are the biggest examples as they highlight what Rose used to be and what Dart and Haschel could be had they taken a single wrong turn in life.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: The four Sacred Sisters of Mille Seseau.
    • First Sacred Sister Miranda: The mannish one, she appears to be in command of the Mille Seseau military and hands out Armor Piercing Slaps on a regular basis.
    • Second Sacred Sister Luanna: The wise one, she's spiritually empathic and able to detect a person's true feelings.
    • Third Sacred Sister Wink: The naive one, who winds up very close to being kidnapped by the Gehrich Gang, with the implication of worse.
    • Four Sacred Sister Setie: The innocent one, the youngest and she appears to treat Luanna as an older sister.
  • Game Breaking Bug: The game has become known for inexplicably hanging at certain points when played on anything but an actual PS 1. Some of this is semi-explainable; for example, if you destroy multiple parts of a boss at once when said boss has a special move that activates when a part is damaged, the game can hang because the emulator can't resolve the conflict.
  • Generation Xerox: The modern Dragoons are similar in appearance to their counterparts from the war and wield the same weapons.
  • Genius Loci: The Moon that Never Sets.
  • Ghost Ship: Or Phantom Ship, rather.
  • God Is Evil: Soa, the creator god, intended to destroy and rebuild the world every 108 years.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Moon Objects and Stardust.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Dragon Campaign and most of the Serdian Civil War.
  • Guide Dang It: The Stardust quest. Good luck finding all 50 of them without a guide, since most of them are hidden extremely well.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Based on some of the flashbacks regarding Neet, Rose has a healthy dose of this.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Dart and Lavitz, to Shana's chagrin.
  • Hour of Power: Whenever a character transforms into Dragoon form, they have a limited number of turns, indicated by an "SP" bar and number, after which they transform back to normal, and must attack again to build up SP.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Wingly Forest.
  • Hitchhiker Heroes: Played with. The shear amount of coincidences involving how the characters meet up acquire their dragoon spirits leads to Rose voicing the opinion that there may be higher powers at work.
  • Hulk Speak: Both Kongol and his brother Indora, which implies all Giganto talk like this.
  • Idiot Ball: Almost all the characters at one point or another, but mostly Lavitz.
  • Infinity–1 Armor: The Blue Sea Dragoon Spirit Armor for Meru is outmatched in stats by the Sparkle Dress, which also blocks two common status conditions, as well as arm blocking, with the downside being the lack of total protection against water attacks that the Blue Sea DS Armor has. The Sparkle Dress also beats Rose's Dark DS Armor in Magic Defense at the cost of slightly lower Physical Defense, making it more useful in the endgame and against bosses.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Dragon Buster, which is grabbed right before the final boss.
  • Juggle Fu: Dart's initial Dragoon Magic attack, Flame Shot, has him throwing his sword into the air, charging a ball of fire in front of him and shoulder-tackling it to the target. He catches his sword after the impact.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Lavitz Slambert, as he is fatally wounded: "Dart, survive... and..." He dies in Dart's arms before he can finish.
  • Large Ham: Commodore Puler, man of the sea!
  • Leitmotif: Several main characters get their own themes, which play during a character-specific moment.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Villude Volcano.
  • Level Grinding: Character levels, of course, but also their Addition levels and Dragoon levels. Kongol gets it the worst, since he spends the bulk of the game with only two additions, one that maxes out at 50 SP, the other at 20, while others get ones that generate up to 200.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Moon Children.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Dart's attitude towards Shana. He snaps out of it by the end of disc two.
  • Lost Tribe: The dragons, obviously.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Lenus can turn into this. She can spam four or more attacks at once in the later stages of the battle, and one of her attacks will hit your whole party for 1/3 to 1/2 of their HP. If you get to this point, you're pretty much reduced to praying she doesn't use that more than once in a turn. Not going into Dragoon form can help lower the number of attacks she does but she will always hit hard regardless of what you do.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The end of disc three.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Divine Dragon can do this, apparently utilizing some kind of organic howitzer growing from its body. Dart gets this ability once he acquires the Divine Dragoon Spirit, and it's appropriately fired from his shoulders.
  • Magic Knight: The Dragoons.
  • The Magocracy: Wingly civilization before the Dragon Campaign was basically this.
  • Medieval Stasis: The world as Dart and pals see it is apparently mostly unchanged from how it was 11,000 years ago, except there aren't Wingly cities floating all over the place oppressing people. Well, they aren't floating, anyway. This is a major plot point in the game, as it's revealed that Soa intended for the world to grow stagnant and then be purged by the God of Destruction. It's at that point that the plot of the game turns into Screw Destiny.
  • Metal Slime: The overworld is filled with Palette Swapped birds who each have extremely high defense, in some cases up to outright immunity to physical or magical attacks. Their own attacks do a fixed 1/10 of your total HP, and they tend to run away. Defeating them tends to net bonus EXP or money, but the real advantage is their physical immunity lets you spam Additions and build them up, provided you can slow or stop the birds from running off.
    • Same goes for OOPARTS, a small robotic enemy also encountered infrequently in overworld areas. Just be sure to double-emphasize the "slowing or stopping" part, because these guys will One-Hit Kill one of your party members before fleeing.
  • Mirror Match: The Indora battle is very much like fighting Kongol with Kongol.
  • Mook Bouncer
  • Mouth Flaps: A couple of the later FMVs wind up with spoken dialogue that falls short of the mark by about half a second.
  • Mushroom Man: Humanoid fungi appear as monsters.
  • Face Your Fears / My Greatest Second Chance: Twice during the game — First to power the Psych Bomb, and again while battling the Moon's manifestations.
  • Noob Cave: The forest just outside of Seles.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: The Wingly cities used to be this, before they all plummeted to the ground. Now they're Ruins for Ruins Sake. Zenebatos and possibly Kadessa are at least somewhat airborne.
  • 108: The number of species at the beginning of the world, the number of years between the appearances of the Moon Child, and the number of times the Black Monster has destroyed the Moon Child. The 108th species, by the way? The God of Destruction who is meant to cleanse the world of all life.
  • One-Man Army / Person of Mass Destruction: According to the fluff, Dragoons were capable of wiping out entire cities during the war with the Winglies.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They generally don't follow the standard Eastern or Western dragon design, with several of them looking quite bizarre. Exactly eight dragons exist, one for each element. They're apparently non-sapient (but seem intelligent enough to follow instructions), and inherently magical (they power the Dragoon Spirits). Apparently they go insane and become evil if they live too long, but eventually reincarnate after they die.
  • Overly-Long Fighting Animation: Along with Final Fantasy, this game is probably one of the earliest offenders (though you can turn off some of them). Dart's Divine Dragon transformation takes so long, the game actually shortens it after you use it a couple of times!
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Toward the end. The final boss fight can take hours, even if you're well prepared.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Shana and the princesses at the party in disc two. Queen Theresa and Charle also qualify if you really look at what they're wearing.
  • Point of No Return: Once you enter the final dungeon, you can't leave. If you have anything you want to do elsewhere, it must be done before you get to the end of Mayfil.
  • Police State: The Law City of Zenebatos. It's just ruins now, but it used to be a mammoth bureaucracy where robots hauled you to prison for the most minor of infractions. You actually have to mess with the law system in order to get to certain parts of the city!
  • Port Town: Donau is where you'll find the Queen Fury, a hulking iron steamship.
  • Power Crystal: Doubles as each Dragoon's Transformation Trinket; is handheld when not in use.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Characters are winged when in Dragoon form.
  • Preexisting Encounters: The Phantom Ship, Death Frontier and one room in the Forbidden Land has these. With all of them, either the enemy is actively pursuing you or you can position yourself to wind up in an enemy's path indefinitely, making all of them very good spots for "auto-fire X button" grinding.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Princess Louvia.
  • Prodigal Hero: Dart has been off working as a soldier for several years, before he returns to his village to find it's been ransacked and his childhood friend (yup that sort) Shana captured by the Disc One Final Boss' forces.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Turns out part of the world's creation included a plan to destroy the world and start anew. Time to Screw Destiny then.
  • Random Encounters
  • Recurring Location: Neet in flames.
  • Remixed Level: The interior of the Moon consists of creepy facsimiles of towns you've previously visited.
  • The Reveal: All over the place once you beat the final boss of disc three.
  • Scenery Porn: Some of the (animated!) CG backdrops are drop-dead gorgeous to look at.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The God of Destruction.
  • Second-Hour Superpower: The Dragoon Spirits for Dart and Rose and their abilities are revealed about a quarter of the way through the first disc.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: Some magics.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: The encounter with Shirley.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Kashua Glacier.
  • Sprite Polygon Mix
  • Storming the Castle: Doel's Black Castle in Kazas at the endgame of disc one.
  • Strictly Formula: A different than usual and far from negative example. In the first three discs, all of them have you entering a new country, dealing with some sort of political intrigue, fighting a Virage (though one of them can be skipped), fighting a major boss about a third of the way in, fighting a Climax Boss two-thirds of the way in (two of which qualify as That One Boss), taking out the disc's Final Boss in the Disc One Final Dungeon and, in the second and third, traveling to another destination afterwards where significant plot events happen. This breaks down in the fourth disc as everything is brought together but it still retains large amounts of the formula. Given that each disc could pass for its own game, this can be forgiven and is probably intentional. The game is best played by treating each disc as separate episodes instead of trying to get through it all at once.
  • Summon Magic: The last magic spell gained by each character summons the dragon that powers their dragoon spirit to attack one or all enemies.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: Albert for Lavitz in the first disc, and Miranda for Shana in the third disc.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Mostly green. Feyrbrand can also use blue and grey poisonous slime.
  • Tempting Fate: Early in the game, while hopping across an underground waterfall, Dart warns Shana to watch her footing on the slippery rocks. Shana makes it across fine, it's Lavitz who slips and nearly falls.
  • The Time of Myths: The Dragon Campaign, which is generally acknowledged as a real event, but was so long ago (nearly 12,000 years!) that most information about it is sketchy at best. Of course, there are reliable sources to be had, but they're not available to most people.
  • Transformation Sequence: Whenever the characters activate their Dragoon Power, they assume a dragon winged, knight-like visage, each with unique animation. Dart has two sequences, one gotten very late in the game, and his second sequence has a long and short variation. These can be turned off (replaced by a brief flash) if you find them too long.
    • Emperor Doel has his own sequence when you fight him, transforming in the middle of battle.
  • Toilet Humour: During the fight with Feyrbrand, when he uses his Stun or Poison slime attack, he appears to be literally crapping on the targeted character. May or may not be intentional, but the slime is clearly coming from somewhere south of his legs.
  • Transformation Trinket: The main casts' respective Dragoon Spirits
  • Trick Boss: A handful of bosses (Grand Jewel, Divine Dragon, and Lloyd) will wreck you if you try to use the Dragoon forms, which most will typically only use in boss fights.
  • Vancian Magic: Dragoon magic for the player characters.
  • War Was Beginning: The first disc deals exclusively with the Serdian Civil War.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Divine Dragon has one built into its spine. It later shows up as an Arm Cannon for Dart's Divine Dragoon form.
  • Wendigo: One of the bosses.
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl / You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Winglies have platinum hair, though Meru’s is closer to a pale blue. Damia, the first Blue Sea Dragoon, has blue hair to show her half-mermaid heritage. Haschel’s daughter Claire has purple hair for no reason.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Both Wingly cities seem to be suffering from this. Played very straight with Rose, where it's explicitly stated that the immortality spell may leave your spirit strained and your heart hollow.
  • Wind Is Green
  • Winged Humanoid: Winglies and anybody in Dragoon form.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Played with in two ways: first is that the world will always been in danger of being annihilated every 108 years. The best that's been able to happen is that it gets delayed another cycle. This of course means that The World Is Always Doomed regardless of what relatively trivial things happen in the plot, up until disc four.
  • World Tree: The Divine Tree.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Three of the Dragoon Spirits pick their new masters after the good guys kill off the old ones. All seven of the original Dragoons received their spirits when they killed the corresponding dragon.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: At the end of discs two and three.