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Stand Tall and Shake the Heavens.


Xenogears was released by Square Enix in 1998 for the original Playstation. Considered either a flawed masterpiece (by fans) or a steaming pile of shit (by non-fans), it is nonetheless a cult classic. It is particularly remembered for a uniquely convoluted plot spanning ten thousand years, themes cooked out of Gnosticism, Jewish mysticism and Jungian psychology, and an atmosphere that was remarkably Anime-like for its time, leading to the game's infamous hour-long cutscenes.

Xenogears is the story of Fei Fong Wong, a sensitive painter (and spectacular martial artist) with a past he's conveniently forgotten, who believes himself a normal person and wants merely to live out his life in the backwater town of Lahan, up until the moment it gets razed down into the ground by a mechanical fighting machine called a Gear. With his fate bound to this rather unique Gear, and searched after by the Gebler, the military force of the celestial empire of Solaris, our reluctant hero has to flee, aided by the town doctor, Citan Uzuki, who is nothing but more than he seems.

Of course, rather than just hide in a hole in the ground or something simple like that, Fei instead gets caught up with the struggles between a rebel prince for his kingdom; a swordfighting bishonen villain from the inner circles of the Empire of Solaris; the Ethos, a mysterious church with gunslingin' priests that have a stranglehold on the world's technology; and most notably an officer of Gebler named Elhaym Van Houten, whom he conveniently calls "Elly" before learning her name. Tossed across the globe in search for a place where people don't try to kill him and perhaps some explanation for his Mysterious Past, Fei and his growing crew of unlikely companions start to uncover the forgotten past of the world and learn of its true underlying struggles that go back thousands of years.

All of this, of course, goes right to the heart of the issue of who Fei actually is, which Fei desperately tries to figure out while combating some five fairly well written villains, who on top of everything, have the distinct advantage of being in a game which gives them more screen time than most party members and a surprisingly fair chance of getting what they want. This is about the point where things get really weird, as the disk changes, and Fei learns he has a monster living inside his head. Himself. Most of the rest of the story is actually narrated by the main characters sitting in wheelchairs over still images of cool stuff happening. It's an awesome story, though, honest.

It has been suggested that the primary reason for sudden change in style on disc 2 is due to Final Fantasy VIII's production. Squaresoft pulled team members and resources away from the Xenogears production team in order to more efficiently get Final Fantasy VIII done on schedule. This may be because they considered that game more important (being a Final Fantasy title).

Interestingly enough, the game's creators have stated that in its early development stages, Xenogears was planned to be Final Fantasy VII, and later, Chrono Cross.

The game was written and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, who later on would become the founder of the Monolith Soft studio. Music for the game was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda.

Followed up a few years later by Xenosaga for Play Station 2, a Spiritual Successor franchise and Continuity Reboot. However, it was developed by Monolith Soft, which was formed by Xenogears team members that left Square Enix after the completion of the original game. Also, the game was produced and published by Namco. Many believe didn't live up to the original game, although many others believe it surpassed it.

In 2010 it had yet another Spiritual Successor, although In Name Only: Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii. Also developed by Tetsuya Takahashi and Monolith Soft, but this time produced and published by Nintendo. Although this one was arguably more faithful to the spirit of the original Xenogears.

Now up on the Playstation Network.

Tropes used in Xenogears:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Karen and Kahn Wong: Karen was possessed by an ancient spirit and began to conduct horrific experiments on her son, Fei, upon learning he was the Contact, and years later Kahn stalked and psychologically tormented Fei under both the guise of the Wiseman and unwittingly as Grafh, though he did it as a Stealth Mentor in both cases.
    • Elly's parents, meanwhile, love her and want the best for her... they're just intractably linked to the Evil Empire that wants her and her boyfriend dead.
  • Ace Custom: The most powerful normal Gears are these. Among the heroes' models, Heimdal, Brigandier, Stier and probably Renmazuo come to mind; the others are mainly Lost Technology.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Shevat and Solaris.
  • Aerith and Bob: Sophia, Maria, Billy, and Stone... meet Krelian, Seraphita, and Lacan.
  • After the End:
    • Zeboim was a civilization with technology analogous to our world Twenty Minutes Into the Future. Miang and Cain engineered its destruction because of lifespan shortening genetic damage of its population. Nearly all the Gears excavated from the ruins of the world originated in the Zeboim era.
    • Five hundred years ago, Grahf unleashed the Diabolos to reset the world.
  • A God Am I: The climax of the game involves a debate between Fei and Krelian's giant floating head.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • This is a big part of Krelian's backstory: the man flipped his shit when Sophia sacrificed herself. He loved her, she thought they were Just Friends. He reasoned that a just God would not let Sophia die while Solaris continued to exist, thus there was no just God in the universe. His resolution to fix this problem led him to became the Magnificent Bastard Chessmaster that many fans considered him to be.
    • Domina also loves Ramsus, but he's so wrapped up in his own issues that he can't see it. Citan and Jessie set him straight by the end of the game, though.
  • All There in the Manual: All there in the Japanese-only "Perfect Works"-- otherwise, good luck in understanding the whole thing, though there are fan-translated scans available online.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Remember terms within -dashes-? Well, in the Japanese version, these dashes were <pointy brackets>. You see, Xenogear's text system did not really support Furigana like, for example, Xenosaga's did, and so used one term without brackets to show what the character saying this term is meaning, while using the brackets to designate how they were supposed to be spoken. Like so: Stand back, Surface Dweller<Lamb>. In keeping with traditional english syntax, the best way to designate this in the US version could have been something like this: Stand back, Lamb(Surface Dweller). Unfortunately, the translator either did not know this or, more likely, thought it would look ugly, and thus let the characters use both terms most of the time, putting the furigana term -in dashes-. This leads to some oddities, though, such as Fei not getting what Elly means when using the term lamb, even though he must have gotten from the syntax that she was referring to "surface dwellers" (and thus would have to ask a completely different question). Furthermore, some stuff got lost or confused, such as the term Time(Reversal) of the Gospel, which was rendered -time- of the -gospel- In the English version. Much subtext is lost or changed this way...
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. Bart and Sigurd both have two seperate character portraits to ensure that their eyepatches always cover the correct eyes.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: It's heavily implied that Fei-Fong Wong and Elly begin a sexual relationship near the conclusion of disc one.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: To count them all: firstly Deus spawned the human race to repair the damage it sustained and Miang is its primary agent across human history to ensure humanity grows the right way. Secondly, Cain and the Dazel Ministry create of Solaris, a country founded by Cain to originally take control of surface to better direct its development, and though at first resort to using force eventually use subtler methods to control it. Third, Krelian wants to manipulate all of the latter to achieve his own ends and travel the Path of Sephirot. Fifth Grahf, who is badass enough to make a conspiracy all by himself, wants to use Deus' power to rule the universe, or destroy it. Finally, the Zohar itself wants to use the -Contact-, in this case Fei, to destroy Deus and free itself.
  • And Now for Something Completely Different: The introduction for the game features a spaceship whose systems, under mysterious circumstances, lead to its destruction and crashing onto the planet. This event, and what it has to do with the main plot, is not explained until near the end, but most of the specific events and characters featured in it are really not important at all.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The rise and fall of Zeboim, or how Miang fixes her mistakes.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The sequentially final boss, Miang, or what's left of her, is pathetically easy.
  • Apocalypse How: A Class 2 occurs by the end of the game. According to the backstory, Miang induces these at regular intervals. Also, before the start of the game, there was the interstellar war that Deus was built for. It is unclear how destructive it was, possibly ranging from Class 0 to almost Class 3.
  • Armies Are Evil: Although many of the antagonists are members of Gebler, the only truly evil member of the armed forces is Miang.
  • Artificial Human: Emeralda, and also Ramsus, and even the whole of humankind.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Krelian, after he loses no less.
  • Assist Character:
    • Margie assists Bart once; she was once meant to be a Player Character, who got demoted NPC status.
    • Miang assists Ramsus every time he fights the player, until she becomes a boss herself.
  • Attack Drone: The Aerodes on some gears are basically the funnels or bits from the Gundam series: small remote weapons controlled by special people (elementals in xenogears' case) that mount small beam guns to execute multi-range attacks.
  • Badass:

 ???:That was pretty interesting. But dropping a warship on me is cheating... Take it back!

    • Grahf: Also taking on a party of gears with his bare hands, and his badassness transcends mortality, mostly as a response to his snapping out of his Heroic BSOD caused by the death of the current incarnation of Elly, back when he was Lacan. He also enjoys giving other characters a level in badass.

 Grahf: My fist is the divine breath!

  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Several party members, but Fei is the best example.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Sigurd is a rare male example. Emeralda does this too when she grows up.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Played straight, toyed with, explored and subverted. While the main character is a bona fide Chosen One, it could be argued that the entire story of the game is a cosmic, magnficent Gambit Roulette perpetrated by one of the central villains in an effort to first fulfill the destiny of the universe and then subvert it so that he can have his cake and eat it too.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Elly, who upon seeing her father be killed in Solaris, briefly manifests more of her powers than she should be able to (since she hasn't accessed all her genetic memories yet.) The villains who provoke this reaction are still so much more powerful than her at the time that it doesn't help, but it does show she will become someone that you really shouldn't mess with.
    • There's also a sketch in the Perfect Works of Margie showing off a stash of concealed weaponry hidden under her cloak.
    • Fei. One on the nicest fellow you will ever meet, he is also the most powerfull being this side of the Wave Existence: if you get on his literal bad side Genocide will ensue
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Gazel Ministry keeps track of your movements through the game's save points.
  • Bland-Name Product: Bartweiser.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: Actually averted. There are many errors in the translation script, but considering that the translator was all alone on this project (after other translators actually quit or begged to be reasigned to another project), had a VERY tight deadline and even had to do some coding himself, this is forgivable. You certainly cannot say he lacked dedication either - the man took to sleeping in his bureau in order to get the game done!
  • Blood Knight: Id. When he shows up, asses get kicked.
  • Body Horror: When humans start reverting to their true state: the Wels, a.k.a. body parts for Deus.
  • Body Surf: Grahf and Miang have existed like this for 500 and 10000 years, respectively.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Bloody Bros., reincarnations of Redrum, who appear as normal enemies in Solaris. And you have to fight two at once! Thankfully they're rare.
  • Boss Rush: If fighting Elly's strike team AND the Elements more than once wasn't bad enough, Disc 2 is literally nothing but boss fights broken up by at least 6 hours worth of text.
  • Break the Cutie: Elly, who gets to see her parents get killed, and then watch as her entire civilization is destroyed. Not to mention immediately afterward that she learns that Fei is Id. This leads a brief Heroic BSOD
  • Bridge Bunnies: In the opening movie.
  • Broken Bridge: A mix of this and Dronejam is lampshaded to hilarious effect.

 Bart: That Margie! Leaving a stuffed animal in a place like this! Because of this, we can't get into the bridge.

  • Cain and Abel: Well, yeah.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: So, so very much, Fei.
  • The Cameo: Lucca from Chrono Trigger appears near the beginning to explain part of the game engine.
  • Capulet Counterpart: Elly. She starts the game on the side of the enemy, but soon becomes a vital part of Fei's team. And yes, they do eventually kiss. And have sex. Then again, they have been lovers for one hundred effing centuries: Their current incarnations are implied to be the first to live happily instead of, you know, getting murdered by the Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Character Filibuster: The true climax of the game is Fei and Krelian's debate and what's better, a life free of pain but also bereft of individualism or a life of suffering but with people you love and care about.
  • Chekhov's Gun: You think that there might be a badass story about how Bart and Sigurd lost their eye? Nope, turns out it was caused by a mechanical accident on the Yggdrasil. However, their eyes do play a bigger role in a future event.
  • The Chessmaster: Krelian and Miang.
  • The Chosen One: Fei Fong Wong is the slayer of god and the Contact.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Big Joe. He was once a famous boxer from Zeboim until he got hit on the head and started thinking he was Elvis, yes that Elvis. He then got locked in a cryogenic chamber and emerged 4,000 years later and began wandering the planet generally making a wonderful ass of himself. Eventually, once the world goes to shit, he ends up back down in the ruins of Zeboim as a merchant selling the best Gear equipment in the game.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: there is an infamous scene where the heroes' Humongous Mecha are crucified at the top of a mountain with the sun setting behind them - creating an unintentionally hilarious moment if your party contains the Team Pet, Chuchu. This led to the Memetic Mutation "Chu-chu died for your sins."
  • Crutch Character: Bart too. He's useful for most of the first disc, and is the first to get his Infinity Plus One Gear, which has abnormally high HP for that point in the game. But towards the end of the game there's not much he can do that somebody else can't do better.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Half of the game's dialogue. The Gazel Ministry to the point of hilarity.
  • Curb Stomp Battle:
    • Weltall-ID- dismembers Ramsus's Wyvern then drops the Yggdrasil on Bart.
    • Grahf shows up and beats the shit out the party aboard the Goliath. For emphasis, he's on foot and your party members are all in Gear, and even then, the only thing keeping him from being That One Boss is that he won't attack Elly.
    • Ramsus shows up out of fucking nowhere in Vendetta and tears Weltall limb-from-limb at the end of Disc One.
    • Fei pays him back at the start of Disc Two.
    • Elly gets mauled by a pair of Krelian's -Wel- Gears and that's virtually the last that's seen of her for the rest of the game.
    • When Grahf does fight you in his Gear, it's a Hopeless Boss Fight. Although it is possible to win the battle by making use of certain equipment for your gear and spamming the hell out of him with accuracy-lowering status afflictions, for which you are rewarded with a rare item. But nonetheless, his Gear is still standing upon his "defeat" and the scene following the battle is the same as it would be if you were defeated.
    • Oh, and that piss-poor final boss Urobolus that pretty much is no challenge at all? That's Miang. Feel better about that battle now?
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Too many instances to count. Usually in the flavor of "spectacular failure right after defeating a boss".
    • There are 'multiple occasions in which people die because Billy conveniently forgets that he has a gun.
    • Inverted with Bart. Bad things happen to people ((Namely Fei)) when he does have a gun.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Gears can fly. FLY. But apparently something happened that rendered their flight systems out of commission when they got to the "Tower of Babel" Arc.
  • Cute Bruiser: Maria. Useless on foot, but an unstoppable monster in her Gear.
  • Degraded Boss: Redrum, whom you encounter in the sewers of Kislev, is widely considered That One Boss. Later, a Palette Swap of him called Bloody is encountered on the Wels ship as a miniboss, and in Solaris, two of them, called Bloody Brothers, can be fought at once in random encounters. All iterations have similar same stats and get progressively easier to fight.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You kill God. Twice. The first time is in the cargo hold of the USS Eldridge, where the remains of the original Deus are found; the second time is the resurrected Deus, which serves as the game's Final Boss.
  • Diesel Punk: Look at Kislev's slums.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable:
    • The premise of the game is to kill "God". Though it turns out to be a physical false god that's simply trapping the benevolent metaphysical god in the material universe. It's still pretty damn tough though.
    • An in-battle example is Alpha Weltall at Mahanon. It is defeatable, but the deck is so stacked against you that the game continues on as if you lost. It is the only winnable scripted battle in the entire game.
    • It is also possible to defeat Rico, but probably only with gameshark cheats, whereas it was possible to defeat Alpha Weltall without gameshark cheats. The game still continues as if you had lost though.
  • Depopulation Bomb: A combination of the Limiter Release, the turning of the Gaetia Key, and Deus's reactivation turns approximately 90% of the populations into -Wels-, then ultimately into either Seraphs or just spare parts for Deus. This is the in-game reason why almost all the locations you visited on disc 1 are inaccessible on disc 2 - every single person that you met there is dead. Only the wreckage of Shevat and Nortune are inhabited - the former by the only humans on the planet even trying to survive, as the latter contains only nihilistic gladiators wailing on each other in the arena.
  • Detonation Moon: Fei's Big Bang spell
  • Deus Est Machina: It's even named Deus. Played a little more straight than usual; Deus actually is the creator "god" of humanity, though not "God" as is usually understood.
  • Disaster Democracy: When the world is reduced to about a few thousand people at the end of the game, they hide in the arctic circle and band together to survive.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Grahf and the "Executioner" (Miang) are the last playable bosses on Disc One, but the disc goes on for at least another hour after that and culminates in an unplayable Curb Stomp Battle between Weltall and Ramsus's new Omnigear Vendetta.
  • Disc One Nuke: Elly's Aerods with an Ether Doubler equipped. Mass destruction. Or if you do not want to use fuel, her normal spells with an Ether Doubler can achieve lesser but still broken results.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Fei's hometown of Lahan gets razed, and almost all of his friends get killed off in horrible fashion. "I don't like Gears or fighting," he eventually says. The Call didn't care.
    • Happens again mid-way through the game with Elly when Id tears Solaris a new one.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Twice. Within 30 minutes of each other, no less. Though there is a good reason for that...
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Miang's Omnigear Opiomorph is glimpsed in storage in a vat of water (for some reason) deep in the inner workings of Solaris. The ominous music that plays in the background and the fact that Citan gets all creeped out about it instantly tells you that this will not be the last time you're going to be seeing this thing. And boy how'dy, you'ld be right about that. The water was apparently full of nanomachines, as stated by Citan. This comes up again when you actually fight Opiomorph, plot wise. No matter how much damage you inflict on it, the nanomachines will repair it.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The game ends on a hopeful note despite its crushing cynicism.
  • Earth Is Young: Played with. In an inversion of the norm, the official Ethos church doctrine states that humans evolved from apes. In actuality, the humans that live on this planet were created by the giant bio-weapon Deus 10,000 years ago in order to act as spare parts to repair its damage. The humans that created Deus presumably evolved from apes on Earth but they are mostly a separate gene pool from Deus' created humans. So yeah.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Deus. Technically, its an Eldridge Abomination.
  • The Empire: The Sacred Empire of Solaris.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Miang. Do not underestimate her.
  • Enneagram of Personality: Used extensively and accurately for almost all the characters.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: A few of them, two notable examples are Krelian's blue hair turning beige after he joined Solaris and Emeralda's hair suddenly shortening after she grows up.
  • Expy: Fei Fong Wong is an homage to mythical Chinese hero Wong Fei Hung, previously played by Jet Li in the Once Upon A Time in China series and Jackie Chan in the Drunken Master series.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Played, but downplayed, by Bart. Bart is something of a Badass in that he's a pirate captain, prince/king, rebel leader, sailor (man of the sea!), mechanic, and warrior/gear pilot. But he's also shown to have a real soft side and defies most tough guy tropes. Sigurd plays it straight, being essentially a pirate 1st mate and ex-elite badass from Solaris.
  • Face Heel Turn: Hammer turns on the party because he cannot stand being a Muggle in the midst of extraordinary people.
  • Fantastic Racism: The people who live in the city of the sky refer to the surface-dwelling humans as -lambs-. It's also hinted that demihumans don't have it that great. Life's not easy when you look like a llama.
  • Faux Action Girl: Elly is supposed to be one of the elite in Gebler, and beyond that is also The Messiah. You'd think that would count for something, but half of the time she's still a Damsel in Distress. She does manage to be, by far, your most powerful Gear character throughout most of the game, mainly until she's no longer in your party. Yes she relies on magic and is weak physically but she still kicks ass.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Yui. Not only is she the greatest swordsman in the world, but she's also the greatest cook.
  • Final Exam Boss: Deus is a lot easier if you take out its four "pillars"
  • Five-Man Band: The first five characters to join the party fit this dynamic nicely:
  • Flashback Echo: Elly speaks to a mob of wels, offering to sacrifice her body to them in order to ease their pain. In the middle of her speech, the game flashes back to Sophia, one of her previous incarnations, saying the same words.
  • Floating Continent: The cities of Shevat and Solaris.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: Grahf has a tendency to do this, along with a more general tendency to be a ridiculously Large Ham whenever he makes an appearance. "Dost thou desire the power?"
  • Follow the Leader: It's the story of angst-ridden protagonist sucked into circumstances he barely even understands who hates mechs and fighting, and is prone to going on destructive rampages with his mech. The game also has tons of Contemplate Our Navels and vague foreshadowing, anOmniscient Council of Vagueness, tons of Faux Symbolism, and a Gainax Ending. Does any of this sound familiar?
  • Forever War: The war between Aveh and Kislev has been going on hundreds of years, and none of the participants remember why it started. By the time it ends though, the protagonists have much bigger problems to deal with.
  • Freudian Excuse: Probably more than half the cast uses this to some degree. Most notably, of course, is the main protagonist and main antagonist, Fei/Id/Grahf and Krelian.
  • Gainax Ending: The entire second disc. All world map exploration and mini-games were left out of Disc 2 and replaced with cutscenes of the characters sitting on a rocking chair and telling the player about their adventure. It's been rumored that this was due to a sudden, severe lack of time and funding.
  • Gambit Pileup: By the time you reach the second disc you're probably thoroughly confused as to who's working for whom. The three top-level factions are Krelian/Miang, Cain/Citan, and Grahf.
  • Gnosticism: The overall story of Xenogears is an almost exact re-telling of Gnostic mythology. Surprisingly averts Faux Symbolism in the sense of how true the game stays to the original Gnostic religion. So many games mindlessly rip names and ideas from ancient religion without grasping the broader context; the creators of Xenogears obviously did their research.
  • Genetic Memory: Fei and Elly can remember each and every one of their past lives this way, but not until close to the end of the game.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Between the presence of several rather bloody cutscenes, subversive religious messages, and sporadic sexual content including at least one pixelated penis, it's almost a wonder the game got away with a T rating in America.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Citan does this to Ramsus near the end of the game.
  • God Is Evil: The creator of mankind turns out to be a previously broken malevolent interstellar war machine in severe need of death. Well, the creator of the humans on that planet, anyway. The creator of the entire universe shows up later on, who's basically a decent guy (for a Cosmic Horror anyway) who just wants to go back home after being trapped in the universe he accidentally created for billions of years.]
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Elements. They waffle between this and Quirky Miniboss Squad becuase they're actually some pretty tough recurring bosses, but while Domina at least is a rather credible threat to the party's wellbeing, the other three... aren't.
  • Goomba Stomp: The typical result when someone tries to take on a Gear or Gear-sized enemy on foot. The key word here is typical.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: Zeboim, an ancient civilization that blew itself up through nuclear war. A good deal of its technology was lost. It's also revealed that another incarnation of Fei and Elly were here, when they created Emeralda.
  • The Gunslinger: Billy and Jessie. Shows off some awesome Gun Kata as Deathblows.
  • Grey Goo: Deus is literally made of the stuff.
  • Heel Face Turn: Emperor Cain has come to regret his actions over the past 10000 years, including personally killing Elly's first incarnation.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Happens many, many times to Fei.
    • Maria during her fight against Achtzehn.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Id. He is actually a villain, and the "comedic" part is all Black Comedy, but he's so awesome that no one really cares.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Fei wants Elly and eventually gets her.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: A few encounters with Grahf and Id. It is possible to defeat Grahf in his Weltall, but the odds are so stacked against you that it's nigh-impossible unless you're very lucky. Id is impossible to win against even if you cheat, as he'll start dealing damage much faster than you can heal.
  • Human Popsicle: Big Joe, a celebrity from the Zeboim era who was accidentally cryofrozen for 4000 years. No really, it's All There in the Manual (Perfect Works, in this case).
  • Humongous Mecha: All over the place.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender: Ramsus was genetically engineered to be an artificial -Contact-, but was literally thrown in the trash heap as a baby after Fei was discovered. To his credit, he survived and crawled his way up to a position of status and made life a living hell for all his detractors simply by continuing to exist. Which was all part of the plan.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Fei and Elly, Maria and Nikolai, Elly and Id, Fei and Grahf.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Along with Lampshade Hanging and Meaningful Name. Who names their factory "Soylent System," anyway?' In Japan, Soylent Green isn't an iconic movie where everyone knows the twist, so Japanese gamers wouldn't instantly put two and two together.
    • The wels, mutated humans, also consume human flesh as a way to ease the pain of their transformation.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Jumping into the well in Lahan will get you a series of horrible well-related puns.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Kahran Ramsus appears as a primary villain early on, and with his prettyboy features, white hair and usage of a sword as his weapon seems destined to be the Big Bad. By the end of the game his wallflower-like personal assistant has turned out to be the real Big Bad, he finds out he's a failed clone designed to mimic the powers of the Emperor and is abandoned by his masters for his repeated failures. He's basically the only character in the game more fucked up than the main hero.
  • Inevitable Tournament Twice. Once with gears, once without.
  • It Got Worse: Essentially the final hours of Disc 1, and most of Disc 2.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Try explaining this game's plot and characterization to someone with no knowledge of it. Just try. Even a lot of people that have played the game still have no idea what's going on.
  • Karma Houdini: Krelian. After all he did, he still gets to "[go] to walk with God."
  • Kissing Cousins: Bart and Margie. It's suggested that the Fatimas do a lot of this in order to maintain the purity of the "Fatima Jasper" the stunning blue eyes possessed by members of the Fatima royal family... and their bastards.
  • Laser Guided Tykebomb: Ramsus, for Emperor Cain.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Chu-Chu and Hammer.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Alice's Wedding Dress
  • Let's Play:

 This may be explained sixty hours from now, but it will never actually make sense without or even with the three hundred page supplementary texts. Welcome to Xenogears.

  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Somewhat averted. However, Rico never takes his big orange bomb collar off even though he technically hasn't been a "prisoner" of the Kislev Empire for quite some time.
    • Played ridiculously straight with Fei, whose incarnation from 500 years ago, Lacan, is wearing the exact same outfit.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: In the upper range of the double digits.
  • Lost Colony: The Xenogears planet
  • Lost Forever: Lots, not only shop stock changes but within the very first town, where you're presumably just running around getting used to the game, there's a solid handful of items that will later pay off but you cannot get later - including an item you won't get to trade in for a useful item until the very end of the game.
  • Lost Technology: Two layers: the Eldridge-era technology (Babel Tower, Ft. Jasper), and the later Zeboim-era technology (Gears in general). Most all was take from the "Eldridge" though. What is the main reason why you had the remains of a spaceship gunwhale over 40 km in length sticking out of the ground for over 10000 years and chock full of tech not bringing you back up to par? No one but a child was left who understood the original language.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Grahf is Lacan, who despaired after Elly sacrificed herself and told him "Live!".
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Grahf is Fei's father, Kahn Wong. More correctly, he was born as Lacan, a past life of Fei, and is currently possessing Kahn Wong. Also, Bart and Sigurd are half-brothers.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Emeralda is an Artificial Human made by Kim, one of Fei's previous incarnations. Emeralda regards Kim, and later, Fei, as her father.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Id, Fei's Super-Powered Evil Side, is named after the Freudian unconscious of primal drives; Elhaym / Elly evokes Elohim, one of the names given to the Judaeo-Chistian God; Miang / Myah is occasionally spelt Myahle, the reverse of Elhaym in the artbook.
    • Not to mention that Hawwa, used to designate the first Miang, the original woman, is an academic transliteration of חַוָּה, (Ḥawwāh), also known as Hava or Chava, the Hebrew form of Eve.
    • Krelian is properly "Karellen," named after the leader of the Overlords from Arthur C. Clarke's Childhoods End.
    • Ramsus comes from Ramses, better known as Ozymandias, King of Kings. Ramsus is a clone of Emperor Cain, the de facto ruler of all humanity.
    • Citan's real surname when he's Hyuuga is properly spelled 'Rikudou'. For the reason why, it's best to look at the following URL.Ta-da.
    • This game is plagued by some - iffy Romanization. Gebler should have been Gevurah (גבורה) (...Che!?!), one of the spheres on the Tree of Life. It represents severity and judgement. For more information, Wikipedia is your friend! The NA audience missed out on a lot of plot cookies because the poor localization team got rushed to hell.
    • Gear names usually have connotations. They’re usually either Gratuitous Foreign Words (Like Seibzehn and Achtzehn), or named after figures from mythology and religion Alkanshel, Wyvern, and Fenrir, for example.) And then of course you have Calamity and Bladegash…
    • Jesiah is a portmanteau of “Jesus” and “Messiah.” It’s probably to contrast his hatred of the Ethos church, which is obviously based on Catholicism. (“Ethos,” incidentally, means “shared fundamental traits.”)
  • The Messiah: The plot kind of revolves around what this actually means.
  • Meta Mecha: -Super Dimensional Gear Yggdrasil IV- was an entire district of Nortune City before it launched.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Fei, usually as Id.
  • Mind Screw:
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Used for both Miang/Ramsus and Elly/Fei, albeit in slightly different ways. Miang and Ramsus start off using the sheet, then when they get out of bed, Ramsus is wearing Magic Briefs and Miang is nude from the waist up, only showing her back to the camera. With Elly and Fei, Elly does the "sitting up with the sheet pulled up over her breasts" routine.
  • Mouth Flaps: In Disc 1, they're relatively well synced. By the time the budget ran out for Disc 2, They Just Didn't Care.
  • Muggles:
    • Constantly subverted and explored, among others in Hammer, who ends up betraying the party out of despair and bitterness over being an ordinary person surrounded by heroic, special people. He's got a point, too, since...
    • ...In addition to this, most "ordinary" people are fated to be simple building material for the physical body of Deus, and thus consigned to a bitter fate of becoming bloodthirsty monsters in perpetual pain, an injustice that essentially causes the downfall of civilization, and is a matter of significant shame and misery to the game's heroes, who being special people don't encounter such ill effects.
    • Also, in a world chock full of destined heroes, immortal forces of evil and ancient conspiracies, most defined by near-magical superpowers and the power of fate, Krelian managed to become the de-facto leader of the world's strongest nation and the nearest thing to a lord over the fate of the universe, with nothing but the power of science, his wits and manipulation.
    • And arguably, the entire point of Ramsus' character is that he was made to be an imitation of something special, then simply discarded when the real thing turned up. That said, perhaps because of his nature as a clone of Emperor Cain, he can interface with all 12 Anima relics
  • Multilayer Facade: The mysterious masked man called "Wiseman" who fights in Fei's style, the mysterious Darth Vader-like guy Graf who hunts him, and Fei's own father are all actually the same person.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Krelian calls Fei Lacan, while Ramsus only acknowledges him as Id, the Demon of Elru for the majority of the game, and Emeralda calls him Kim until she grows up. Citan, meanwhile, is always "Hyuga," his Solarian name, to all of his former Gebler comrades.
  • Nanomachines: The buzzword of Disc Two and late Disc One. Emeralda, Deus, and Miang's Omnigear Opiomorph are completely comprised of nanomachines. It's even stated in The Perfect Works that in order to defeat Opiomorph, every last namomachine that comprises it needs to be completely obliterated at the subatomic level otherwise it will completely regenerate.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The releases the genetic limiters placed on the surface dwelling population by Solaris that made humanity weak, ignorant, and generally fearful of Solair/Emperor Cain by instinct ultimately ends with a good chunk of people mutating into Wels, and then into spare parts of Deus after the Gaetia Key is turned.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Grahf, so very much. "Even if I go to hell, I will live until the end of the world, and if the world does not end; I will destroy it myself." He's such a bad-ass, though, and he had a rather heroic reason: He was trying to fulfill a promise.
  • No Sell: All of Achtzehn's attacks when trying to fight Big!Chu-Chu.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Hammer, after he kills Medena.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Krelian ends up killing them all before they do anything but provide uselessly vague exposition. He also tells them all to shut up as he's killing them, leading to one of his multitude of CMoAs over the course of Disc Two. Their conversation is only vague and useless if you've haven't already completed the game, and maybe even if you did. Many of what is said is actually pretty interesting once you've already know most the story. Either way, their conversations are completely within the context of the story considering their experiences, knowledge, and arrogance, even if many have no idea what they're talking about.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
  • One-Man Army: Fei and Id. Id has destroyed entire countries, and the player as Fei, gets to bust through a team of enemy Special Forces, including a drugged out Elly, and then an entire border fleet, fairly early in the game.
  • One True Faith: Averted; there are at least two major world religions. One of them is evil though, natch.
  • Organic Technology: It's a little hard to see given the limited graphics power of the Play Station, but the artwork in the Perfect Works book shows that all the Omnigears and Deus in its final forms are all in some way organic. There's a line in the game around the time of Andvari's discovery that says something to this effect, but it's easily missable and it's not that big of a plot point in the game until Miang drags her Grey Goo-powered Opiomorph out of storage and whoops your ass with it.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: Deus is very powerful and capable of creating life, but is really just a malevolent interstellar war machine, capable of being destroyed. The Wave Existence is an extradimensional being of unfathomable power, but its only concern is to go back to its own dimension. Its destructibility is unknown.
  • Out of Focus: Pretty much everyone who joins the party after Bart doesn't get much of the spotlight after the plotline where they're introduced. Rico, in particular, is given nothing unique to do after the party leaves Kislev.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Ethos is a church that purports to offer aid and salvation to the unfortunate, and that exterminates the mutant "Reapers" or "Wels" that appear in the world and threaten humanity. However, it is in fact a front for the nation of Solaris, to keep the humans living on the surface docile and under control, and to furnish Solaris with excavated resources and slave labor. Oh, and they also are involved in deploying and keeping track of the Wels as well as exterminating them.
  • Person of Mass Destruction:
    • Id. Part of the reason he freaks Ramsus out so much is that Ramsus once saw Id destroy an entire squad of Gears. On foot and by himself.
    • Grahf also qualifies, given that in one battle, he wastes your characters in Gears while he's on foot. Of course, this is justified considering that he's basically the same person as Id, just from a past incarnation, and managed to survive as a spirit possessing other bodies. Or something like that, anyway.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Subverted: Alice's wedding dress is absolutely beautiful, but she dies before she gets a chance to wear it. Dan hangs on to it and gives it to Fei out of pure spite to remind him that he's the reason Alice is dead. Joke's on Dan though, as the dress is equipable and has some fairly decent stats to it.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Subverted: obtaining adult Emeralda is entirely superfluous to the plot. Curiously, she appears as an adult in the ending cinematic regardless of whether or not you did the sidequest.
  • Post Final Boss: Urobolus.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Fei Wong's hair is dark but turns red when he becomes Id.
  • Power Gives You Wings:
    • Id's Gear has several energy wings coming out of the spikes on its back.
    • Bart also (somewhat nonsensically) gets a pair in one of his Deathblows.
    • The Xenogears itself has energy wings when it goes into hyper mode. The explanation is that the wings are the gears' superheated exhaust.
  • Power Limiter: Nanomachines again. They're inherent in every human to keep them afraid of Solaris and unable to attain the limits of their potential power; these are removed by Gaspar to allow your characters to use Level 7 Deathblows. Also, in the second disc, Fei is given a limiter to allow him to use Id semi-controllably. This breaks down right before he gets Xenogears.
  • Psycho Serum: -Drive-. Which is made all the weirder by the fact that you can buy it from Big Joe at the end of the game. And it gives you permanent increases to your stats-- with no bad side effects or penalties to other stats, no matter how many you use.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Elements, Elly's strike team.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Babel Tower, Mahanon, Ft. Jasper, the Zohar, Kadamony, and Merkava (all parts of the Eldridge) work rather well after 10,000 years of sitting dormant.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Oh, where to start. There's Krelian, Emperor Cain, Queen Zephyr... oh, and Grahf and Miang, though they technically maintain their immortality by body-hopping.
  • Reincarnation: Only Fei and Elly reincarnate. The other characters either had an Identical Grandfather (Bart, Sigurd), transmigrated into new bodies (Grahf, Miang), or had really long lifespans (Krelian, Zephyr).
  • Reincarnation Romance: Fei and Elly.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Dominia and Kelvena of the Elements. Not to mention Fei and Bart, Fei and Elly, Fei and Citan, Bart and Sigurd, Tolone and Seraphita, Ramsus and Miang, Elly and Miang...
  • Reluctant Warrior: Fei. So very much. "I hate fighting. And gears..." and he still racks up quite the body count even if you don't count the Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: Elly's Aerods.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • When Miang and Krelian try to kill your party in Solaris, Id emerges. Id who is partially influenced by Fei's emotions. Id's reaction to Elly's near-death is to remotely activate the Weltall Gear, transform it into his own red version, and then use it to destroy Solaris.
    • And shortly after that, Ramsus hunts Fei and Elly down in his newly-minted Omnigear, Vendetta, and tears Weltall to pieces as vengeance for a lifetime of perceived wrongs that Fei is only tangentially (if at all) responsible for.
  • Runaway Fiance: Dan tries to convince Fei to run off with Alice before her wedding, and Fei has the choice of shooting him down or agreeing to his plan. Either way it doesn't work, though not in the expected way.
  • Sand Is Water: You can sail on the desert. And ships can sink in it. Even though people can walk on it.
  • Save the Villain: As part of the deeply poignant ending, Big Bad Krelian ascends into Heaven with the Wave Existence to live in a world without death or loss.
  • Schizo-Tech: A Justified Trope: Emperor Cain and his followers (Solaris writ large) have been developing their own technology for close to 10,000 years and actively working to make sure the surface dwellers don't get their hands on it and become too powerful. Cain and Miang obliterate civilizations that becoming too advanced, incite wars between nations to stunt their development, and employ a Corrupt Church to cover up mankind's true history to keep the populace ignorant.
  • Sinister Minister: Bishop Stone/Stein, anyone? * SHUDDER*
  • Slap-On-The-Wrist Nuke: Big Bang, among other things.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Relentlessly cynical. Almost everything good will, at some point, find itself broken. The lead protagonist harbors a sadistic, amoral Super-Powered Evil Side, and has died, along with his fated love, time after time in invariably tragic ways. Every major location is, at some point, considered to be safe, but most of them are doomed, anyway. And it doesn't even matter, since almost all of humanity is wiped out by the end, just one in a series of near-total apocalypses which have been visited on mankind deliberately throughout the game's history. Wicked, inhuman shadow masters rule the planet from their invisible nation of scientifically-advanced fantasy Nazis. Everyone has their lives manipulated by these people so that they can one day be used as parts to revive the superweapon they all believe is their God. Almost all of the villains are the villains because their idealism was shattered in some amazingly cruel fashion. Just ask Lacan and Krelian. The only thing you can accomplish by saving the world is that a handful of people don't die.
  • Small Annoying Creature: the Team Pet Chu-Chu, one of the most reviled examples of this subtype.
  • Small Girl Big Gear: Maria. Her Gear is so big it can't even fit in the Yggdrasil's hangar.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: The game jacks Elly from you half way through Disc Two.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Too many to count, given the game's near-Blind Idiot Translation.
  • Split Personality: Make a guess.
  • Split Personality Merge: The climax of the "six hours of texts and boss fights" section of Disc Two is an internal battle for control between Fei, Id, and The Coward.
  • Sprite Polygon Mix: The inverse of games like Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy VII. Backgrounds are completely 3D, but virtually all non-gear character models are sprites.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Lacan and Elly. Kim and Elly. Abel and Elly. Do you notice a pattern? Also, Alice and Timothy. Considering that Alice was more in love with Fei than Timothy, it may be more like Fei and Alice if you choose return her feelings and agree with Dan to "steal her away." Poor Timothy.
  • Stat Grinding: Use Drives to max out Chu-Chu and watch her Gear-sized self kick all kinds of ass, and without that pesky fuel gauge to constantly monitor.
  • Stealth Mentor: Grahf was this to Fei, but only because Grahf planned to possess Fei and needed him to be as strong as possible.
  • Super Prototype:
    • Both Elly and Miang's Vierges are a straight examples: both Gears sport a lot of new technology, most of which is useless for regular Gears.
    • Seibzehn and Achtzehn, though future developments of the technology behind them went in significantly different technological directions instead of just being scaled down for mass-production.
    • Alpha Weltall was "super" because the prototype used Lost Technology that the second model's designers didn't have access to. The design compromises involved become a plot point.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Nisan, Thames (=Tammuz), Aveh (=Av), Elru (=Elul), Kislev, and Shevat (=Shvat) were named after months in the Hebrew calendar. The remaining month names Iyyar, Sivan, Tishrei, Heshvan, Tevet and Adar were apparently unused.
    • The three sages of Shevat are named Belthasar, Gaspar and Melchior. Compare Chrono Trigger.
    • The Four Elements Dominia, Kelvena, Tolone, and Seraphita are intended to follow the hierarchy of Angels in Heaven: Dominions, Cherubim, Thrones, and Seraphim.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: I am ... a man ... of the sea!
  • Title Drop: "Xenogears" is the name of the ultimate form of Weltall, Fei's gear.
  • Took a Shortcut: Big Joe turns up everywhere.
  • Translation Convention: When Fei and Elly first meet, the latter shouts at him in a foreign language, then she switches to his language as she realizes he can't understand a word she's saying. Later you can only communicate with the Solarians if one of the two Solaris natives (Elly or Citan) are in your party.
  • Turns Red: Hammer and the FIS-6 do this when they're near death. Weltall does this when Fei becomes Id.
  • The Unfought: Krelian.
  • Universe Compendium: Perfect Works
  • Urban Legend of Zelda:
    • A few of them, the two most prominant are that you can somehow use Elly/Sophia's OmniGear El Regerus outside of the one scripted battle it appears in, and that you can recruit Ramsus as a playable character after Elly merges with Deus).
    • Hilariously, you really can get the El-Regrs (Elly's Omnigear) by entering the final floor of the last dungeon and then going back out, but since its pilot is no longer in your party, it is useless. It's also playable in the Kislev battling minigame, but who enjoys grinding that?
    • For extra fun, it's possible to hack El Regerus into the game before Elly takes off, but it doesn't have a model for the overworld, causing a game crash.
  • Useless Useful Spell: When used normally, the offensive Ether skills are far less effective than the characters' combination attacks; however, purchasing an Ether Doubler in Nisan before a plot event makes it unavailable turns Elly's damaging Ether spells into a Disc One Nuke. Congratulations, you now have magic on steroids.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: This is Krelian's justification for turning 90% of humanity into grey goo.
  • Vanilla Edition:
    • Despite the fact that only the one version of Xenogears ever came out (meaning there's no Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Edition to contrast), the final product was supposed to have much more content, including Omnigear forms for Crescens and Seibzehn, among other things to more fully flesh out the second disc. However, time and money weren't in enough abundance to permit this to happen.
    • There was a collectors edition in Japan, it came with a figure of one of the main characters (either Fei or Elly). Good luck finding one though, it was extremely limited.
  • Villainous Breakdown: You wouldn't like Ramsus when he's unstable.
  • Villains Never Lie: This one's a toss-up: Miang lies through her teeth, Ramsus is too dumb to be deceitful, and Krelian is bitingly forthright about almost everything.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Emeralda, whose body is composed entirely out of nanomachines. She physically merges with her Gear when piloting it.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The "script" for Xenogears sure "likes" putting certain "words" inside "quotation marks" presumably for "emphasis".
  • The Watcher: Miang is just fascinated by the absurdities of human behaviour.
  • Wedding Smashers: Elly crashlands in Lahan the night before Alice and Timothy's wedding, pursued by a small army of Kislev gears who proceed to trash the town.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Krelian.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Imagine Xenogears with a fully fleshed-out disc 2. For that matter, imagine Xenogears and Xenosaga as parts of a massive six-game epic.
    • Margie was originally going to be playable, hence the sketch in Perfect Works where she has an entire arsenal hidden in her cloak. Better known is the fact that Omnigear versions of Siebzehn and Crescens were designs but never implimented.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Fei destroys: His childhood home, his adoptive home, and his mother's homeland. His father's homeland of Shevat is also destroyed, but he had nothing to do with it or he'd be 4 for 4.
  • Whip It Good: Bart and his Gear. Perfect Works explains it: As a child, Bart was beaten with a whip so badly he had recurring nightmares, so his handlers Sigurd and Maison decided to train him with the whip in order to conquer his fears.
  • Wife Husbandry: According to Perfect Works, Abel was 7 years old when he crashed on the Xenogears planet and met the first Elly. As shown in an in-game video, this Elly is an adult when they first meet (though technically she is probably less than a month old). Since Abel and Elly are Star-Crossed Lovers... yeah. Hey, it's either this or implied Shotacon.
    • Play Xenosaga 3, and this will explain why Elly is in "adult" form. Her first form, called Nephilim, was a child. However, when Abel gets in contact with the Wave Existence, and becomes the "Contact" himself, Nephilim is rapidly aged to being a full-grown woman, Elly. Because Abel was always alone, and everyone saw him as a tool rather than a child--except probably Shion--I think having Elly older than Abel helps to give him a maternal figure he never had, along with having his eternal love.
  • Wutai Theft: Almost completely averted. All party members who leave temporarily come back with whatever equipment they left with. Except Elly who leaves towards the end of the game (just before fighting Hammer).
  • You Are Number Six: Seibzehn and Achtzehn, German for "seventeen" (though spelled incorrectly) and "eighteen", respectively. Gear shops even prefix Seibzehn's equipment with "#17" instead of following the other Gears' standard of the first four letters capitalized.
  • You Are What You Hate: Kaiser Sigmund's anti-demi-human policies stem from the fact that he's a self-hating (cosmetically passable) demi-human who he fathered a demi-human bastard (Rico).
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Wave Existence.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: A few notable exceptions (Miang, Krelian (before joining Solaris), Seraphita, Kelvena, Helmhoz, and Stratski).
  • You Know the One: At least 50% of the game's exposition. On a good day.