E3 2001

Lufia: The Legend Returns Game Impressions

Since soon after the 1994 release of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, fans have had their eye on Natsume, watching for a third installment in the Lufia series. At ninety-five percent completion, that game is finally nearing arrival.

While Lufia II took place a century prior to the original Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, the story of Lufia: The Legend Returns is set a century after that of the 1994 game. The gameplay is reminiscent of both its predecessors, with slightly stronger influence from Lufia II. Though the full complexity could not be seen from two hours gameplay, the new game shows that it will include puzzle-style dungeon rooms, though to a lesser degree than were in the second Lufia title. The IP abilities will also appear again, but they will be inherent to characters rather than equipment. IP powers, as well as spells, will be learned by spending "LP,"or Learning Points, at the appropriate times. They accumulate in battle as EXP and Gold do (though slower, as might be expected.) LP is a pool shared by the entire party.

Images of the game might suggest that you can have nine party members fighting at once. This is not entirely accurate. Only the front row of three members can fight in a given battle turn, though each of the three columns can be rotated before a turn starts. If all three members in the front row die, your game is over, regardless of who is waiting behind. Thus, side attacks and back attacks can be even deadlier than the suprise attacks suffered in the original two games.

One of the appeals of the Lufia series has been the witty dialogue between the primary characters, and this is not lost on the new installment. Wain and Seena's reparteť is quite enjoyable even from the very start of the game, and should remind fans of the series of the conversations had between, for example, Maxim and Selan. People who enjoyed one or both of the Super Nintendo Lufia games will almost certainly enjoy Lufia: The Legend Returns. People who haven't played the originals should also have fun with the new title, but might enjoy it more after playing Lufia II.

by Rob Hamilton    

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