Lagoon is an action role-playing game developed by Zoom Inc. and published by Kemco for the Super Nintendo in 1991. A cursory glance at the game leaves no question as to which moderately successful action RPG released around the same time inspired its inception. Unlike that game, however, Lagoon took its position as a first-generation SNES title as clearance to be subpar.


An RPG without a compelling story is like a porno with a compelling story; that is, it ain't natural. As for Lagoon, Gamespot sets the scene thus: "Lakeland has a drinking problem." Indeed, some evil rotten forces are afoot in this bucolic kingdom and, as so many evil rotten forces are wont to do, they raise all kinds of hell. They accomplish this feat by somehow contaminating Lakeland's water supply. A Wise Old ManTM entreats a young hero named Nasir to find out why. Nasir can best be desrcribed as the  red-headed stepchild of Link and Jim, Hydlide's resident brown banana. Speaking of...


While the homage to the Legend of Zelda series continues unabated in the gameplay, Lagoon is actually more reminiscent of yet another loathsome turd of an RPG, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (more on that game in another node). Since said game wouldn't come into being for another year there were no grounds for a theft of intellectual property lawsuit. Nasir is a feeble meatsack to the various baddies. And, much like in Hydlide, he is not even remotely close to being able to rectify this. It seems he and Jim shop at the same bargain bin armoury, because Nasir is packing a mighty spork (or dog doo stick, as it were). Natch, his attack range is pitiful, and to make matters worse most of the monsters flit about so erratically you'd think they'd just partaken of a healthy dose of meth.

Hmm...the enemies. I'll admit I didn't get far enough in the game to see the entire bestiary, but what I did see was enough to convince me that Zoom truly phoned it in. Of course the perennial slimes reprise their Hydlide role as the obligatory entry level beasties. And once again the assholes require multiple hits from Jim Nasir's spork sword to lay them low, which really bogs down the action and makes leveling up extra tedious. Speaking of which, much like in Hydlide leveling up to astronomical proportions is nigh mandatory. And, once again like Hydlide, this will top no one's list of fun activities. Nasir can also regenerate health when standing still but does so at an agonizingly slow rate, and since Nasir takes more hits than a welterweight boxer this further nudges the plug on the gameplay's life support. So yeah, it's no good. In fact, it kind of blows.

Strangely enough, Lagoon does have one redeeming facet of gameplay; so much so in fact that I will go out on a limb and say I'd like to see it in more games. Nasir can craft magic spells by mixing and matching assorted staves and crystals, and executes said spells with a touch of the shoulder buttons. This unique alchemy-esque magic system and ease of casting almost makes up for the other gameplay atrocities. Almost.


The graphics in Lagoon are decent, if a bit pedestrian. Incidentally, they are also reminiscent of yet another game that did not yet exist at the time: Illusion of Gaia. Nothing is sacred anymore. At any rate the graphics are nothing to write home about, but at least they don't add to the already endemic suffering the game inflicts on its victims. The sound is a different animal altogether. Most RPGs have a medieval swords and sorcery theme and a rich orchestral/classical-sounding soundtrack to go with it. On the contrary, the music in Lagoon rocks, quite literally. The score is rife with snare drum, bass, and BADASS guitar. Metallica has nothing on this puppy. It would seem, though, that the soundtrack is exceedingly rare, so anyone wishing to embarrass themselves by headbanging to game music will have to make do with YouTube clips.

Replay value

Lagoon is so underwhelming in its mediocrity that it is totally feasible to see everything it has to offer with a single playthrough. It is also so frustrating to play that it undermines video games' raison d'être: providing a relaxing, leisurely pastime. It is really only suitable as something a person might have on a desert island in the absence of better games. Now this raises a few questions. Many people have lists of things they would be content to have on a desert island, usually books and music and such. So where were you planning on plugging that shit in, o brilliant one? That's what I thought. Plus there's the notion of someone getting marooned at sea with only the clothes on their back and one bad video game. That is how you know it's a bad day. Pro tip: Carry a copy of Final Fantasy VI on your person at all times, just in case. Better grab an extra-long extension cord too while you're at it. And always wear clean underwear. You just never know.


Zoom Inc. Frankensteined the hell out of at least three good RPGs and still managed to end up with something that was less than the sum of its parts. So unless you're a dyed in the wool devotee who loves all games as God loves all his children, you could probably get by without ever experiencing this blasphemous clusterfuck of a game. There wasn't even so much as a quick walk-on appearance by Brooke Shields, and that is a crying shame. I like Ms. Shields, with the big ol' boobies. Alas, I doubt that even boobies could salvage this wreck. 

See it in craptastic action here.