Lufia 2: Rise Of The Sinistrals - Retroview

Delightfully Simple Refreshment

By: TheShroud13

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 7
   Plot 9
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 9
   Difficulty Very Hard
   Time to Complete

35-55 hours


Title Screen

   One of the first RPGs I played, Lufia 2 played a major role in getting me into the RPG genre. I first played the game around the same time I played Final Fantasy 7, and being able to place both games in the same tier of gaming quality is a compliment to both games. Lufia 2 is the prequel to another wonderful RPG, Lufia and the Fortress of Doom. The game takes a stereotypical fantasy storyline and melts it into one of the finest role-playing games nobody's played. If you've played either game, you'll notice some similar characters, and settings, making it one of the few series' that actually includes common ground and some familiarity.

   The game's battle system is relatively simple, and a staple video game battle system. You have your attack, magic, defend, item, escape, and a nifty new twist, IP (Item Points). The IP system is the predecessor to the now popular Limit Break system, providing rewards for taking damage. Many items have special IP attacks, that when you get enough IP, will unleash a powerful desperation attack, nothing really fancy, but it was a nice addition to the game. The system is simple enough that it doesn't annoy you, and has enough originality to actually make combat fun at times. Combine that with absolutely no random encounters in dungeons, that makes for an oddly fun battle system. It is much improved over Lufia 1's system, and is among the better RPG battle systems. The menus are easily negotiable, and there are no extra-special magic systems for you to spend hours reconfiguring, making a very friendly menu system. Everything is easily laid out, and colors help showcase what changes equipment will make.

   The interface is simple, and provides you with all the information you need to know about your party. It is a fresh blend of old-school and new-school making it very enjoyable.

The Appropriately Named 'Doom Island'
The Appropriately Named 'Doom Island' 

   The music of Lufia II was one of the big things that got me into the game. I simply loved some of the tracks, including the Fortress of Doom, the Boss Battle, among others. The music in the game is not a masterpiece musically, but the music is entertaining enough, and gets the emotion through when it needs to. Every track adequately represents the mood of the area you are in, or the event that is occuring, and I enjoyed every moment of it. There are some catchy rythms, and some very good melodies, and I don't think there are very many songs in the game that I absolutely hate. The sound in the game is not exceptional, but it gets the job done, and paired with the music, makes an absolutely perfect 1-2 combo.

   While the plot isn't original, I enjoyed the story significantly, as it provided enough alterations to an old theme that I could enjoy it. The story is based around our hero Maxim, a monster hunter, and his quest to investigate why monsters have suddenly grown in numbers, as well as an odd light that appeared recently. With the guidance of the mysterious Iris, Maxim embarks on a quest where he falls in love with the warrior Selan, whom he eventually marries and has a child with. There's a lot of fetch quests throughout, and the story is relatively linear, but the story still gives ample character development to our heroes, and provides enough alterations on a proven formula to make it all worthwhile. The ending is particularly wonderful, and if you can get your way there, then you will be treated to a wonderful ending to a wonderful game.

   The game's translation has its mistakes, but it doesn't really distract from the game. Most of the translation troubles are in the misspellings of monster names, and some other things throughout the game, but I never noticed them, so they couldn't be that bad.

"I Is The King, Mon!"
"I Is The King, Mon!" 

   The replay value of the game isn't wonderful, but it is better than some, as you can still discover some new goodies the second time through thanks to the "retry" mode, which will give you extra experience, that way you can get through the game quicker, and fully appreciate the story of the game. If you beat in on "retry", you will then be awarded with the "gift" mode, which will allow you to explore the Ancient Cave with the party of your choice. The ancient cave is another wonderful thing in the game. When you enter, your characters will be stripped of all equipment and blasted down to L1 while you are in the cave to give a very challenging venture through the cave's 99 levels. Every item you get from a blue chest in the dungeon is yours to keep, while the red boxes are yours for the time in the cave only. The ancient cave is a very good quest for bragging rights, and it can have some fruitful benefits.

   While the game isn't about eye candy, the graphics aren't half bad for a 16-bit adventure. It doesn't provide the graphical pleasure of Chrono Trigger, but it has some very nice looking dungeons, sprites, monsters, and backgrounds.

   One of the true innovations about this game, however, is the mass difficulty that comes from the game's puzzles. The actual combat is relatively easy, but there are some really difficult puzzles throughout the dungeons, towers, etc. that you will find throughout the game. This adds a whole new dimension to the game, and makes it a lot tougher than some RPGs, and all the more fun to play. Combined with an easy interface to try and solve the puzzles with, you can really actually have a ball with some of the puzzles, although a certain grass related puzzle is a real pain in the arse.

That's One BIG Dude...
That's One BIG Dude... 

   Lufia 2 remains one of my favorite role-playing experiences to this day. After experiencing a wonderful bunch of wonderful games such as the Final Fantasies, Chrono Trigger, and others, Lufia 2 still stands out as a wonderful RPG. If you haven't played this game, I urge you to do so, as it is a wonderful little gem. It's so simple and complex, and original, yet clich?. This game has enough elements of olde style RPGs, and enough of its' own blend that the game is really magnificent.

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