Lufia - Retroview

I've Got the Generic Blues

By: Robust Stu

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 3
   Interface 2
   Music/Sound 3
   Originality 0
   Plot 2
   Localization 4
   Replay Value 1
   Visuals 3
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

35-40 hours



   Lufia and The Fortress Of Doom is a game a lot of people like and I've heard good things about it, so when I found it in the used games bin one day I decided to give it a try. It was a decent game with some good features, but I found it to be a bit generic for my tastes. Unfortunately, generic often means "Stu is ready to throw this game out the window by hour five."

   The story goes that many years ago, your ancestor Maxim and his roving band of adventurers fought their way into the Fortress of Doom and defeated the Four Sinistrals who were wreaking havoc upon the unsuspecting countryside. 100 years later, you (a descendant of Maxim) and your friend Lufia get caught up in the return of the Sinistrals, who have again arisen to once again terrorize the world. Along with Lufia, Aguro the Soldier and Jeran the Elf, you must stop the Sinistrals from arising and once again unleashing their wrath upon the world.

   The battle system has generic written all over it. You have four characters that can fight, use magic, use an item, or run. The battles are turn-based, and have this annoying feature such that if you have a group of the same enemies, you can only select to attack the group, and therefore have no idea which of the enemies you're actually going to hit. This presents the obvious problem that you can spend the whole battle chipping away at one member of a monster party, then out of nowhere start attacking the other while the first one continues to attack, and there's nothing you can do about it. The battle animations were really lame, too, as your characters and all the monsters looked like they were dancing instead of attacking, and looked very silly doing so.

These are the bad guys
These are the bad guys  

   The music was fun and jaunty, but that's pretty much all there is to it. They used the same two or three tunes for pretty much every dungeon in the game, which kind of took away from the enjoyment of the soundtrack. A little variety would have been nice, because as it is, every time I entered a dungeon I thought to myself "I feel like I've been in this dungeon fifty times already." The sound effects were all right, but were not very realistic, and were really nothing to write home about.

   Being as generic as it is, I can't give this game a good score for originality. In fact, it's very UNoriginal. All the plot points were EXTREMELY cliched, and pretty much everything else in the game has been seen before and since in other games. I've said it before and I'll say it again, stealing ideas from other games does not make a good game, you have to at least be a LITTLE creative and come up with some stuff that will set your game apart and make it look unique.

   The localization was pretty good, however. All the lines were easily understood and came across crystal clear in perfect English. Having said this, it's unfortunate that none of the lines had any flair to them. Everything was very bland and vanilla, and with the exception of a few things Lufia and Artea said, everybody sounded the same in that there was no hint of personality.

   I don't think this game has much in the replay value department. It's a fairly long game, and the dungeons are all mazes that will leave the most patient of us tearing our hair out. Personally, I couldn't wait to get done with this game, and haven't even thought about playing it again since. If you've been through it once, unless you really enjoyed it I'd let it sit for a while before picking it back up for another go round.

You are one UGLY...dude
You are one UGLY...dude  

   The visuals had a couple of problems, in that a)they look like they could have been done on the NES and b)were not particularly pretty to look at anyway. Everything about this game, from the backgrounds to the characters and monsters were very bland. We have to use that dirty word again, generic, to describe the graphics in this game. They weren't actually bad, just generic, and it gave the game a very flat feel that I believe could have been avoided.

You have to do a pretty decent amount of leveling up to get through this somewhat difficult game. Combine that with an inordinate amount of time picking your way through mind bending mazes and puzzles to get through the dungeons, and you're looking at least 40 hours of your life you'll never get back.

Like I said, this was a very generic game. While it wasn't actually bad, it wasn't particularly good, either. It just felt like Taito one day said "Hey, let's make an RPG," but they then slapped it together in two weeks and pumped it out the door without putting any effort into it. If you're really hard up for an RPG and there's nothing else in your local EB, it'll keep you going, but other than that, I'd skip it.

Recommendation to avoid.

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