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Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals

Genre: Role-Playing Game
Publisher: Natsume
Developer: Neverland
Release Date: 1996

Written by: Squall

First off this game is actually a prequel to Lufia and the Fortress of doom (the first game in the Lufia series). You start the game as Maxim; a monster killer in the small village of Elcid later on you find out your job is to defeat the Sinistrals (basically 4 powerful bad guys; who serve as the final boss of the game)

Along the way like most traditional RPGs, you meet characters who will aide you on your quest, buy items and equipment to make yourself stronger, gain experience etc. This game is actually played a little bit different than most common RPGs; on one had, the random battles ONLY occur on the main map screen when you are walking from a town to a dungeon, tower, etc. However, for the most part of the game, you have to make your way through Caves, Towers, Shrines, and Mountains; typically when you get to a new town, there’s something that’s going on and it will require you to go somewhere. (IE: go to Flower Mountain to collect flowers for some sick person, go retrieve a key some dumb-ass kid lost in a cave…..or had it stolen from him by a monster or whatever)

So as you walk through the caves, or whatever; the first thing you’re going to notice is that the monsters move when you move; and if you encounter a monster, you’re going to be forced into a battle. Speaking of battles; the battle screen almost resembles Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, you have your characters near the screen, and the enemies furthest from the screen, though sometimes the scaling is way off….but outside of battles; most of the enemies are a little smaller than you) Plus on the battle screen; when you select your actions; it shows your HP/MP as numbers; but when you are attacking/getting attacked; your HP and MP is shown in BAR…but the enemies attacks are shown in number? What the hell up is with that? Plus the fact that when you use physical attacks/physical IP skills; you don’t actually attack the enemy, your character jumps forward a little bit slashes with his sword or what not; and the enemy is shown to take the damage. So something tells me that telepathy battles take place.

You can use various sub-items like bows and stuff to stun a monster for a few places; but they will not kill him. These sub items also serve a purpose; as you may need them to access certain points of the level. The hardest thing in the game is the fact; that unlike most traditional RPGs, this game has a lot of puzzles that you have to figure out to advance (and this is also where your sub items come in handy; in the event you messed up and want to start from scratch, you have a sub item called “reset” which you can use to take the screen back to how it looked before you entered; however the monsters may reset with them). Also you can find capsule monsters; which you have to feed weapons and items too in order for them to evolve and get stronger.

Along the way you’ll buy/find equipment that has an “IP ability” which is a skill attached to the equipment. Each IP ability has a different amount of IP points that it needs to be executed; you only gain IP points by taking damage (If you’ve played Final Fantasy VII and know how the limit breaks work, you’ll know what I’m talking about); These skills vary from spells (speaking of spells; most of the spells you have to buy in the game for each character who can use spell(s) and there are some skills that certain spell casters can not use)

This game is known for having a few glitches; one such glitch is that when you’re on your equipment screen; when you switch charters; some of the words from the previous characters appear and as a result you’ll see something like this: Character 1: Equipped with an Insect Crush Character 2: Equipped with a Rod So if you go from character one to character 2; character 2’s equipped weapon will say: Rodect Crush (as you can see; the runoff of insect crush is shown; while rod takes priority)
Another glitch that the game is known for is later on when you get to the Submarine shrine and have to navigate it…….I think the only way to show you how fucked up it is…… to just show you footage from when I played through the game not too long ago.

Some of the cool thing about the game is that there’s a casino where you can play games and win “coins” to buy prizes; plus nearby there is a shop that will sell everything that you’ve ever sold/feed to a capsule monster (which can be very helpful if you want them to grow)

At least when you beat the game for the first time, you can play the game again in “retry” mode. Pretty much going through the game again from start to finish; but you get four times the experience and gold, so you’ll level up faster and make more gold quicker. After you beat the game in retry mode, you can then access “Gift mode”. Which means you can go through the ancient cave on this island. You can also access the area on the main game; the only difference is that in Gift mode, you can choose which 4 characters you want for your party; in the regular game, the 4 characters you go there with, you are stuck with them. Basically it’s just a 99 level dungeon of fun. When you enter the game, you are stripped of practically everything; you start at level 1 with no equipment/spells; as you go through the floors, you can find items and spells in chests; as well as fight enemies; naturally as you progress deeper and deeper; enemies get harder, but the items/spells you find are better to balance it out. What happens at the end……….have fun getting there and figuring it out for yourself.

Graphics: Graphics; Ok but nothing spectacular; most of the later enemies in the game are just re-colored versions of ones you’ve already seen, but just stronger. 3.0
Sound: While some of the sound effects are sub par (as well as that annoying beeping to symbolize characters talking) the music is all right. 2.5
Playability:Some glitches can really annoy the hell out of you; controlling is ok; 3.0
Bang for your buck: At least they gave you reasons to play through again; and the ancient cave is really there to prove if you are a bad mother (shut your mouth) 2.5
Overall, despite some of the technical aspects, its a RPG that also helped shape future ones. Its a good game to play if you want a challenge. 2.8 / 5.0