Linkle Liver Story - Reader Retroview  

Engrish Ahead
by JuMeSyn

Click here for game information
Very Easy
Less than 20 Hours
+ Very cute
+ Easy to pick up & play
- No challenge
- Unremarkable save for cuteness
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   Before anything else, the title of this has to be mentioned. Linkle Liver Story makes no sense whatsoever, as Linkle is not even a word and no Liver makes an appearance in the game. But some brilliant marketer at Sega of Japan stuck those words, in Roman text, onto the box and on the game's title screen, leaving it indelibly marked. Would that this bizarre name at least had anointed a noteworthy game, but Linkle Liver Story is simply an action-RPG. Certainly it is different from other action-RPGs, but not enough to attract attention on its own merits.

   Taking the role of a fox-girl who appears to be named Cachoo, the player must navigate a number of stages in search of various items to use and bosses to beat into the dirt using an overhead view. Cachoo (whose name only appears in the manual, the player has to give her a name upon starting) has several options for fighting. Her standard weapon is of course usable, with up to four variants she can switch between on the fly. The weapons vary from spears to axes to mallets to boomerangs, though the boomerang's long wind-up time makes it unattractive. She also has her friend Puchimuku, a floating thing that appears to be Kirby merged with an elf. Holding the attack button down will send Puchimuku off to strike from afar. Cachoo can jump, run, and oddly enough can deflect certain projectiles by spinning in a circle and having her large tail bounce them back.

   For the most part Linkle Liver Story is far more 'action' than 'RPG.' The weapons system is the main claim to RPG-hood in this title. Enemies drop little orbs upon death, which Puchimuku will handily float around and collect should the player not want to. One location features no enemies at all, instead having a four rooms with three plants each. Cachoo can use the collected orbs to, first, create various weapons for use with each of these flower groups. Each flower group has seven different weapons to create, and once created each weapon can be infused with elemental properties based upon the elementals Cachoo currently has. Each of the four basic elements (earth, wind, fire, water) goes up to level 4 as the game progresses and Cachoo locates the flowers scattered around the levels that grant increased elemental benefits. Though there are 28 total weapons in the game, Cachoo can only hold 4 at a time, each infused with whatever level of elemental property the player deems appropriate. And the elemental attributes do make a difference, with numerous enemies dying in one hit from the appropriate element. Certain bosses can be made very easy with the right element, to the point where Cachoo can simply trade hits with them and come out on top.

   Aside from this weapon system, nothing is complicated. The few items that can be used outside of weapon fabrication fall into the categories of healing and dungeon escape; everything else is gained and used automatically.

   Visually most of Linkle Liver Story is colorful and cute. Indeed, the cute aspect needs to be emphasized - there are no humans in this game and every character is an anthropomorphized animal. Save for a few background and foreground effects, nothing here could not have been done on the SNES by dedicated programmers. The Saturn is not strained by any of it. Aurally there is no voice acting save in an animated introduction, but the music is quite pleasant. Many tracks are quite catchy, though my failure to remember any must drag the score down a tad.

   As to the story, it doesn't make much sense through the language barrier and the sheer number of fetch quests that bog it down are not helpful. In essence, some foolish mole named Tsurumogu has awakened an evil being named Wangaro and the massive repercussions of this must be dealt with by Cachoo and her friends Robin, Barrel and Lalala (it's either Lalala or Rarara, pick one). Had talented translators gotten hold of this something worthwhile might have been extracted, but the story is quite boring and predictable in Japanese.

   Linkle Liver Story is not a long game. Even with my tendency to get lost rearing its head, I needed about 12 hours to finish. Players better at not running around fruitlessly can easily finish in less than 10. And there is no reason whatsoever to replay the game. Challenge would probably be greater to any RPGamers with no action skills, but even they can attempt to grab the proper weapons for a situation and slug it out. One annoyance should be mentioned; the game only allows saving from the world map and if an area lacks a continue marker, plenty of progress can be lost through carelessness.

   Any RPGamer with a Saturn looking for an easy-to-play Legend of Zelda clone on the Saturn might find Linkle Liver Story worth investigating. It provides little challenge and less originality, but as a cute and fluffy action-RPG it works. Its being in Japanese poses no real issue either. One day with it is enough to explore everything the game has to offer, and it can then be set aside.

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