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  #1  
Old 11-03-2008, 07:17 PM
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Default The Sequel Comes First! Let's Play: Lufia II



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Four foul and wicked beings claimed it for themselves.

They possessed the frightening powers of Chaos, Destruction, Terror, and Death.

The people were horrified. They called the evil ones “Sinistrals”.

The world massed its warriors to battle their dark foes.

But the Sinistrals were all powerful.

In desperation, the people called on their bravest fighters: Artea, Guy, Maxim, and Selan.




???: I feel the energy.
???: A very dark energy. Beware! It's powerful.
???: Selan. Light Magic.
Selan: As you wish.



Selan: So cold! It freezes straight to the heart.
???: Welcome, Maxim.
Maxim: Daos? It's you, isn't it? Show yourself!
Daos: Approach. My chamber is above. I await you.

As the echoes of Daos' voice fade among the walls of his fortress, the heroes grimly press forward...



Those of you who have played Lufia II before know what I am doing here, but newcomers to the series may be confused. The prologue to Lufia and the Fortress of Doom shows the 4 legendary heroes fighting the first appearance of the Sinistrals, while the main action of that game takes place 100 years later. Lufia II is a prequel that tells Maxim's story of how he came to fight the Sinistrals. Seeing part of his story in Lufia I yields a level of dramatic irony that would be absent if one were to play Lufia II alone. If anyone feels that they would much rather avoid the upcoming spoilers, you can skip ahead to where it says, “One year earlier...”. Obviously, I feel that the irony is worth more than the potential for surprise, but your mileage may vary. Also, for this part of the prologue, I will be directly transcribing the dialogue*, so it will be easy to compare in the future. With that out of the way, here's the badass music for the Fortress of Doom itself.

* Not all of it though, as some scenes are completely different between versions and there's no meaningful comparison.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:18 PM
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Progressing deep into the Sinistrals' sanctum, the heroes encounter a glass bridge...



Selan: Maxim. It could be a trap.
Maxim: He said cross. Let's go.
Selan: But....
Maxim: Daos is testing us. He senses our feelings. Don't show any fear!
Guy: You're right. That's what he's doing.
Artea: My power is strong. The hopes of my people energize me.
Maxim: Come on, Selan. We're the world's last and only chance!
Selan: I know.
Maxim: There's still hope as long as Dual Blade keeps its light.
Selan: Dual Blade boosts our powers. It makes us even stronger in the center of this darkness.
Maxim: We will destroy the Sinistals and restore peace to the world. This we promise.
Selan: We promise. Together!
Daos: Ha, ha, ha! I sense your hope. Indeed, it is powerful.
Maxim: Sinistrals! Your reign of tyranny is over! Do you hear me? We will finish you once and for all!
Daos: The woman's energy flows strangely. Is this human love? Such a thing is unknown to us.
Daos: No matter. It is easily smashed.



Stepping through the final teleporter, the heroes can now see the malevolent faces of their foes at the opposite end of this shrine in the heart of Doom Island...

The four Sinistrals are gathered together, but attack individually. Gades, Sinistral of Destruction, attacks first.



As you might expect from a prologue starring legendary heroes, Lufia I gives the player ridiculously overlevelled characters to make these fights pretty easy (my endgame Lufia I party is a full 30 levels lower). Gades goes down pretty quickly, and Amon, Sinistral of Chaos is next to strike.



Amon, too, dies swiftly, and Erim, Sinistral of Death, enters the fray. The game does provide a chance to go into the menu screen to heal up between fights, but I didn't bother until Artea actually died in the Erim fight.

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Old 11-03-2008, 07:20 PM
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Mighty Daos finally deigns to fight us, though you'd think he might hesitate at seeing us slaughter Gades and Amon without breaking a sweat. With our party now fully healed, he doesn't stand a chance.





Daos: Indeed. This shall be the end...... OF EVERYTHING!

The not quite dead Sinistrals move to encircle the heroes and begin channeling their energy through each other into a destructive, resonating flow. Artea recognizes that such a wave of energy could cause untold destruction, taking the world itself along with them in their death throes. Maxim charges Daos, but is knocked back by the encircling power.





Daos: Ha, ha, ha! Fools! Our dark powers are vast. Your feeble efforts are no match against us!
Maxim: Give it all you've got!
Artea: Maxim! Selan can't take much more of this!
Selan: I'm...... I'm fine. Everyone! Concentrate!

The spinning waves of dueling energy flows look a lot like the previous screenshot but spinning, while a humming sound effect plays.

Daos: AAARGH! You filthy pests!

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  #4  
Old 11-03-2008, 07:21 PM
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Ultimately, the Sinistrals' energy waves are disrupted and their soul remnants are dispersed. The surge of energy also flings the rest of Maxim's party around the room...



Maxim: Guy? Are you alright?
Guy: They'd have to do more than that to stop me!

Maxim: Artea!
Artea: I'm fine.



Selan: We.... finally did it, Maxim.
Maxim: Selan? What's the matter?
Selan: We finally restored peace to the world.
Maxim: Yes. We did. Let's go home.
Selan: No. I'm not going home.
Maxim: Selan! What are you saying?
Selan: The eruption went through me. I can't....even....speak....
Maxim: No! Selan! Selan!
Selan: I.... wish I could.... stand on our.... land with you once again.





Without the Sinistrals' power to maintain the floating island, the Fortress begins to crumble. The glass bridge is the first to be destroyed, and Guy and Artea must quickly leap backwards to avoid plummeting...

Guy: The fortress is breaking up! Artea. The warp magic!
Artea: Maxim and Selan are too far. I can't take them with us!
Guy: Can't we do anything?
Maxim: Artea! Guy! Don't worry about us. Save yourselves!
Artea: Maxim?
Maxim: The Sinistrals are defeated. You must tell the people.
Artea: But....!
Maxim: I can't leave her here alone! Please understand.
Artea: ........
Guy: Let's go, Artea!
Artea: Guy! You can't mean...
Guy: Maxim said we should go. He's right. It's the only way.
Artea: ........
Guy: Artea!
Artea: Maxim. The world will know. I promise you. Goodbye, my friend......



Maxim: Selan. I love you. I'll always love you.

Thus, the battle ended.
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2008, 07:22 PM
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One year earlier...



Several mysterious spheres of energy fly towards the glowing structure on the horizon. After a brief moment, the three orbs fly out and away. Then, a fourth flies into the building...



The figure on the throne is Arek, and he poses what must either be a rhetorical question or a test of loyalty to Erim. “Who should rule, Sinistrals or humans?” Erim answers predictably, and Arek reveals why he would ask such a question. It would seem that the Dual Blade has begun resonating, signaling a time of judgment. Understanding what must be done, Erim turns into a ball of red energy and flies off...



Let's Play Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals!

Lufia & the Fortress of Doom came out in that window between Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy VI. As a young lad with a ravenous appetite for RPGs and a game rental store nearby, box art featuring a floating island and a sword was too hard to pass up. I'm pretty sure I only played through it once, maybe twice, but when Nintendo Power announced Lufia II was coming out, I was so excited I preordered it (and who did that back in 96?).

I haven't kept track of how many times I've played through Lufia II, but my last playthrough was in 2005 (more on that later) and I'd easily rank it as one of my favorite SNES games, so I'm ready to (Let's) play it again.



Our story begins in the quaint village of Elcid, where Maxim works as a “monster hunter” and his not-quite girlfriend Tia works at the Weapon & Armor shop. Unfortunately, the standard RPG cliché of more monsters every day has caused inflation that devalues Maxim's economic viability, forcing him to work harder to maintain his standard of living. Tia recommends Maxim think about transferring his skillset to another line of work, and coyly suggests he join her as a shop owner.



Life Tip for Men: When a young woman is flirtatiously sidling back and forth, and hesitantly pausing every few words, you damn well ought to pay attention to what she's trying to say! Maxim hears only Tia's words, not her body language, and thoughtlessly insults her profession. Tia sulks off and slams the door on him, leaving Maxim free to wander about his hometown.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:23 PM
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Since Maxim's earnings were 33% lower than projected, he decides to venture back into the wilderness to collect more bounties. Before he can get too far, he is stopped and propositioned by an old man who wants to show Maxim a "good time" with some "secret techniques" in a nearby dungeon.



The Secret Skills Cave is a very boring enforced tutorial that doesn't even cover as much material as the instruction book.



The single enemy in the first room is to get the player used to the idea of monsters moving only when Maxim moves. Jellies are annoying in that you can't tell which way is front and get a surprise round by attacking from the side or behind.



Battles are your typical DQ style battle system; you input commands for your whole party each round. Right now, Maxim doesn't have many options, so I'll go into further detail of the battle system a little later.



With that out of the way, it's on to the next room, where Maxim remembers he also has a bow.



Well, arrows anyway. In Lufia II, Maxim gets a variety of tools to help him solve puzzles and navigate dungeons, including Arrows, Bombs, a Hookshot, Hammer, Boomerang, Ice Rod... no, wait....
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  #7  
Old 11-03-2008, 07:24 PM
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Arrows can paralyze distant foes, enabling Maxim to bypass unnecessary battles. Each shot counts as a move; I let that Jelly get one step closer just so I could take a picture of the old man with an arrow in his chest.



So who can guess how we get across this chasm?



Or how to open this locked door? Hint: the door closes when Maxim steps off the switch!



that's just great...



Arrows + discernable anatomy = “Got in first!”
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:25 PM
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Really? And you say there's a switch hidden under one of those bushes?



This one is actually just barely complicated enough that it might qualify as a “puzzle”. Those panels don't do anything unless a pot is placed there; Maxim isn't the right... shape... I guess to activate the switch?



Oh thank god.



This is the most exciting thing to happen in Elcid while Maxim was gone; it's a pretty boring town.

Fortunately, this means Tia doesn't seem to be mad at Maxim anymore, and has gone to the trouble of trying something new for tonight's dinner.

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Old 11-03-2008, 07:26 PM
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What the hell is that?!



uhhh.....



At least Maxim is smart enough to not insult her cooking. After a bite, Tia agrees with Maxim's assessment that navaroa pot pie is highly nasty, and Maxim points out that it's the fish itself that is vile and not her cooking to blame. Maxim valiantly douses it with lemon to make it more palatable, and the young couple jokes about why it's called the “phantom fish”.

After some tea to wash away the aftertaste, Tia asks Maxim why he's always fighting monsters.



Introspective, he is not. Tia says she's “never met anyone quite like you before...” and the once again clueless Maxim fails to pick up any deeper meaning to her words. He simply thanks her for dinner, and they make tentative plans for another dinner date in the future. Maxim then leaves to go to his regular room at the Inn. Poor Tia.

Suddenly, while walking to the Inn...



Ah-HA! Plot beckons!!

To be continued...
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  #10  
Old 11-03-2008, 07:42 PM
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I love this game, I remember seeing it at Target or something when I was in sixth grade, and convincing my mom to buy the game for me. I actually played it without playing the first Lufia game which was a bit of a surprise at the ending. Spent ages trying to figure out some way to save Maxim and Selan, since there was something that looked like a door in the area with the power stone things.
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  #11  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:30 PM
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I got maybe halfway through this game on ZSNES before quitting. It'll be nice to see how it ends finally. I totally forgot about that prequel thing in Lufia I too. Oh well.
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  #12  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alixsar View Post
It'll be nice to see how it ends finally..
Well, you're seeing it right now!
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:36 PM
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Um this isn't the ancient cave I think you're doing this wrong.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:53 PM
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A smoothing filter? Really, now.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gredlen View Post
Well, you're seeing it right now!
Well...yeah, but I want to see the other 1/3 or so of the game as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
A smoothing filter? Really, now.
I was wondering about that too. It seems a bit...odd. The text is very nice, though.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:18 PM
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Bless you for playing this because I have a copy on my shelf that I haven't gotten around to (again) since I no longer have time for million-hour RPG slogfests. Plus I remember practically every puzzle near the end of the game driving me fucking crazy.

ESPECIALLY the one where you have to cut down the weeds that keep growing back in a specific pattern.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:22 PM
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I loved this game so much. Its very puzzle-y, much more than any other SNES rpg I played at the time. Some of the later dungeon puzzles were so damn hard, I was glad I had a Nintendo Power that covered this game.

Good times.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:28 PM
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I love this game to death, and am thrilled to see it LPed.

I'll concur about the filter -- I actually like them, and use them when I emulate stuff, but I know people here generally don't. (When I played LotW, I tried to find a way to play with the filter but take screenshots without it. I failed.)
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:24 AM
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I like how the romantic subplot between Maxim and Tia is started, and then completely abandoned the very instant Selan shows up.

Maxim's a classy fella.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stiv View Post
Gardening
I HATE that one! I don't think I've ever actually done it myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Maxim's a classy fella.
Hey, it's not like he was leading her on. I don't think anybody ever explained to him about the "Girl Next Door" rule.

I'm the same about the smoothing thing. It looks pretty, I guess, and it's better than anti-aliasing or jpging but I still like big blocky pixels.
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  #21  
Old 11-04-2008, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
A smoothing filter? Really, now.
I've done quite a bit of work in Flash and have gotten used to and fond of the vectorized look. It's no biggie to me to switch back to unfiltered; I figured it would be an experiment to see what people thought. And now I know.
It's ok hq2xBold, I still love you!
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  #22  
Old 11-04-2008, 10:59 AM
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Doesn't Tia [die or leave] or something? Maybe I'm just remembering it wrong.

Also, this game's puzzly-ness is what made me stop. I generally speaking don't care for puzzle games, and this game was a bit much for my tastes. It had some great battle music though.
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  #23  
Old 11-04-2008, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alixsar View Post
Also, this game's puzzly-ness is what made me stop. I generally speaking don't care for puzzle games, and this game was a bit much for my tastes.
You are INSANE. Every RPG should have dungeons like Lufia 2's.

I won't answer the Tia question because I bet it will get answered for us over the course of the LP.
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alixsar View Post
Doesn't Tia [[]] or something? Maybe I'm just remembering it wrong.
Yep, the second one. Around the 1/3rd to half-way point, if I recall correctly.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:00 PM
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You get Selan right around the same point, which is part of why she leaves. The other part we've already explored!
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:19 PM
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I like Maxim a lot. However, as a sucker for comic relief, I must admit my favorite character is definitely Dekar. I've forgotten how to miss!
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spineshark View Post
I like Maxim a lot. However, as a sucker for comic relief, I must admit my favorite character is definitely Dekar. I've forgotten how to miss!
This marks you as a wise individual.

The fact that Dekar showed up in it was all that made Ruins of Lore worthwhile, in my eyes.
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:02 PM
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While it does sound rather intimidating on its own, calling the villains of a game the "Sinistrals" is pretty silly if you know what "sinistral" actually means. Yes, according to the English translators, the villains of this series may as well be called the Lefties, because "sinistral" just means left-handed.

Then again, censorship standards at the time wouldn't exactly allow for a proper translation of their name, the Mad Gods. Also, naming the games after one of the characters in the first game for the US release really shot them in the foot in the long run, huh?
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:35 PM
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Oh, good. Two great RPG's from the end of the SNES's life cycle being LP'ed side by side.

One thing that never gets mentioned about Lufia II is that for 1996, this game had some pretty good dialogue.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
Then again, censorship standards at the time wouldn't exactly allow for a proper translation of their name, the Mad Gods. Also, naming the games after one of the characters in the first game for the US release really shot them in the foot in the long run, huh?
The instruction manual refers to the people of Maxim's world as "Lufians". Someone didn't get a memo!
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