In case you haven’t had enough of 16-bit console RPGs, here’s another!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve come to enjoy many of the classic RPGs of the era, despite never having a Super Nintendo growing up (I was fortunate enough to grab a TurboGrafx-16 back in those days, although not quite fortunate enough to acquire the CD attachment with which I could’ve further damaged myself playing Ys Book I & II for hours on end). It’s unfortunate really, as such games require a fair deal of time investment to get through, whereas work and borderline alcoholism have severely limited my ability to focus on extracurricular activities over the years.
But I digress.
Lufia & the Fortress of Doom takes the standard ’90s RPG formula and more or less gives it right back to you without trying too hard. Linear storyline taking place in a fantasy setting? Check. Endless random encounters and turn-based combat? Also check. Add your typical character and inventory management as well, and you’ve got yourself a game! SHIP IT!!
So, now wait a sec, you might be thinking, “Well, most Final Fantasy games do about the same, so what makes them ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE in a manner dissimilar to Lufia?” While I can’t really vouch for the power of the Scorpions delivered in video-game form, I’ll try to play along…
For starters, the storyline is fairly weak. In a gist, a group of “evil beings” that were thought to have been defeated nearly a century earlier seem to be making a comeback, and—brace yourself—they want to destroy everything. Not really sure why; it’s just their thing. Either way, the main character ends up being the one who has to venture out to save the world, along with his stalwart party of companions. Now, I may be able to forgive a generic storyline (which is often the case with most video games), but the dialog was so awkward and painful that I almost tried to locate the Japanese version just so I wouldn’t understand what was going on (fortunately, exhaustion and alcohol eventually took care of that issue).
Combat isn’t too special, either. Everyone takes turns attacking, casting spells, defending, or using items. Encounters are, for the most part, random, so moments when you’re trying to get somewhere so you can save the game and switch the TV to America’s Next Top Model before it starts can be a bit frustrating when you’re interrupted every now and then by an angry bowl of Jell-O trying to pick a fight.
I mean, I didn’t completely hate this game. It’s effective enough as a time waster. You can do better with a console RPG, though. You can also do much worse.