An old school RPG made for the SNES by Taito in 1993.

This was the first game created in the Lufia series, but not the first in chronological order. That would be the prequel, Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals. Lufia 1 starts with a prologue where you briefly play as Maxim, hero of the prequel, in what is his last battle. This sets the scene for what appears to be a simple story of the bad guys coming back and history repeating itself, but there are some twists involved...

As for gameplay, Lufia works mostly like an early Final Fantasy, with some small peculiarities. Enemies in the battle mode can be arranged into groups when more than one of the same class of monster is present. Spells and attack items can target one enemy, all enemies, or one group.

Unusual trademarks of Lufia are the Isle of Forfeit, the Dragon Eggs and the Old Cave.

The Isle of Forfeit is a mystical place where all the items you sell off in the game end up to be re-bought if you choose.

The Dragon Eggs are a set of 8 scattered throughout the world. When all are found and presented to the dragon for a reward, they are scattered again, landing in previously used treasure boxes.

The Old Cave says, to hell with plot, go have a treasure hunt! The Cave can be returned to throughout the game. Every 5 levels of experience, you gain permission to explore the next level of the dungeon. Each has better treasures scattered around, plus one special trophy item that can be cashed in for a nice reward.

These ideas are fleshed out much further in Lufia 2. The Isle adds a huge gambling center with unique prizes. The Dragon eggs.. stay about the same. But the Cave, (now known as the Ancient Cave) becomes a massive 99-level undertaking, with replay value as well, almost an entire game in itself.

Now for the review. Lufia was good for its time, but not quite a classic. The overall plot was good, but it was stretched out far more than it had to be over what adds up to be a big game of connect-the-towns. Or, connect the caves and towers, which look exactly alike except for color... However, be prepared for backtracking and side-tripping at any moment. The game will use its linear plot to mislead you and lull you into an inattentive state, then it'll hit you with a bottleneck that requires finding some item in some place that was only briefly alluded to 10 towns ago, and good luck finding out where it is. Without a map, just finding the next town on the to-do list can be a big pain full of aimless wandering. This can be exciting for those who want more of an explorer role in their RPG's, but frustrating for those who want to get down to business. Fortunately, many of the background tunes are very good, but some are just tedious, especially when you're getting sick of walking through another tower.

Overall, Lufia 2 does everything much better, but the two games have enough interesting ties to each other that a die-hard fan should consider checking out the original.

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