Whenever I decide that I want to revisit a game from my past I am filled with 2 emotions, excitement and fear. The excitement stemming from the fact that I am about to play a game that once gave me joy, that left an imprint in my brain enough that I want to play it again. The fear in the thought that the game may not measure up to what I remember, therefore tarnishing my memories. For example, a year or 2 ago, I decided to revisit Resident Evil 2, the first game to really scare the pants off me. Unfortunately the controls aged so poorly that it has tainted my opinion on the game. Yeah I still remember my 11 year old self crapping his pants when the licker bursts through a window, but a little bit of the shine has been taken off the apple. Even so, I still can't resist myself sometimes; enter Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals.
Lufia II was released as the SNES was nearing the end of its life cycle, so it was unfortunately missed by many. After playing it again, I can tell you that it is one of the most cliche ridden RPG's you could come across.
Sure the game has only been out for like 15 years but who am I to release potential spoilers?: Love Triangle between the Hero and other female characters, different color = new enemy, Hey you made it to a new town... Here's a fetch quest!, I am an unkillable boss who is surprisingly easy to defeat the next time we meet, Hey look a castle in the sky, Hidden village of elves who hate humans, we need an airship!, Bad guy helps you all game only to reveal self as villain, No real reason for villain to destroy world, You killed me once but I'm alive again and many more!
And I loved every replayed minute of it.
There is really so much about this game to love. First off, the game looks pretty great for a SNES title with vibrant character sprites, detailed monsters and fantastic looking spells. The puzzles in this game can range from the most pedestrian to pretty challenging. I've played the game before twice and still had trouble with some of them on this go around. One of my favorite things is a cliche that they broke, the "spellcaster is weak" cliche. With the exception of 1 character, your spellcasters can rock almost the same about of damage as your main character.
Bosses tend to be ginormous in this game
Lufia II also has a nice spin to the "secret/hidden/deep" dungeon crawling quest. The ancient cave is a dungeon comprised of 99 levels. All of your weapons, spells and armor are removed upon entering and your level is reset to 1. You must battle through the dungeon relying only on items and spells that you find. Only upon reaching level 20, do you start to be able to find "Providence" the only item that can warp you out of the cave. Here's the kicker, you are only allowed to keep the items found in blue chests and none of the grinding you do in this dungeon carries over. Even worse than that is in my playthrough, I found 6 blue chests making it all the way through the dungeon, and 4 of the items were the same thing! That said, you can get some of the best weapons and armor in the game down there, so it can be extremely addicting.
Yeah... Chances are 2 of those are really hard mimics
As my spoiler suggests earlier, the story is a bit cliche'd. But that's not to mean that it isn't very well written. The writing pulls you into the story with witty dialogue and develops the characters amazingly for 16 bit sprites. I found myself with as strong an emotional bond to the characters as any game today. There are enough twists and turns among the cliches to keep you interested and the ending is truly fantastic. Luckily for me, I forgot enough about the game and was able to almost witness this through fresh eyes.
After playing this again, a bit of faith has been restored in replaying games. I'm glad I replayed it, it is exactly how I remembered it. Maybe it is just that turn based RPGs just age a little better. If you haven't played it, do yourself a favor and give it a shot, hopefully you won't be disappointed. That said, I really need to start working on my backlog instead of putting 70 hours into games I've already played...