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Capsule Review - Lufia and the Fortress of Doom

Title Lufia and the Fortress of Doom
Developer Never Land
Year 1993
Platform SNES
Capsule Rating
Capsule Review: In its prime, the Lufia series was a fine potential contender to such juggernauts as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Breath of Fire. Unfortunately for it, it didn't make it past the SNES (though it will make a comeback for the GBC, we're told). It's not entirely without reason, as while Lufia 2 would deserve very honorable mention in the future, the first installment (and half) of the series really isn't anything special. That's putting it mildly.

The story is extremely simple - descendant of legendary hero has to kill some bad guys with the help of some allies. This is somewhat given life by the bad guys, as the Sinistrals are certainly a colorful bunch if there ever was one. Aside from that, though, nothing here is too special, and the villains suffer from the overall colorfully annoying cheeriness of the game (nothing wrong with said, but it sort of hinders any emotional impact the plot might be capable of delivering). The plot is further hindered by "fetch quests" - go to castle A and learn that you have to go to cave B to solve puzzle C to kill boss D to get item E to give to guy F to get item G to give to king H to gain access to cave I and solve puzzle J in it, coming out the other end to castle K, where you'll have to repeat the entire process over again. And that's just not much fun. There's a (fairly good, actually) puzzle element in the game, but more often that not it's just something to take up more time. Oh, and lastly - remember how in Final Fantasy I, how when you ordered two guys to hit a monster and the first one killed it, the second one would swing at empty air, wasting his turn? Yep, that fine source of needless annoyance is present.

If that didn't make it clear to you, Lufia has nothing to offer. It's average at best in all aspects, but its shortcomings aren't charming like, say, Lunar's - they're crutches that make the game tedious and give you no reason to play it. The best part of the game is the intro, featuring the legendary heroes of old fighting the Sinistrals ages ago and telling the tragic end they came to - thankfully, that would be the part developed in Lufia 2, a far better game in all aspects.

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