Taito’s Lufia series has enjoyed moderate success over a number of platforms and releases over the decades, but this Game Boy Advance release (out in 2002 in Japan, and 2003 in North America – it never got an official European release) is the best game in the series, in my opinion.
What makes it so good? Its simplicity and variety, and the fact that it mixes the best elements of a lot of level-grinding adventures, including Pokemon-style capturing and mixing of monster sidekicks.
There’s also a neat, randomised dungeon to beat called “The Ancient Cave”, which is separate from the main storyline. Ultimately, though, Lufia: The Ruins of Lore avoids many of the features that make a lot of older level-grinders such a chore to play. The controls are intuitive and nothing in the game feels arcane or half-baked.
Lufia: The Ruins of Lore is a colourful, wholesome, engrossing and fantastic experience from start to finish, and completing the game is a challenge (although I managed it, so anyone can).
More: Lufia: The Ruins of Lore on Wikipedia
Lufia: The Ruins of Lore Game Boy Advance title screen.
Buying monster capture discs at the library.
The dialogue in The Ruins of Lore is simplistic, but well-written.
Buying a Zircon Sword for 38 thousand gold pieces.
The battle scenes have all kinds of nice special animated effects.
Green-haired Rami lights a fire stand. I wonder what will happen…
Torma has a rope that pulls the party across inaccessible gaps.
Foolish monsters! How dare you underestimate me?!
A quick check of the status screen. I’m carrying a number of monsters with me.
A broken dome in the town of Eristol.
What do you mean?! I never stop training for battle!
Drained the water away and found this… So what now?
I found a horse inside the guts of a large monster.
Map screen showing Rangoon Town.
Inside the gut of a large monster. That looks suspiciously like a sphincter!
Battles are mostly random, but in certain situations you can see the monsters about to fight you, and obviously you have to defeat them to move on.
As in most Zelda-style RPGs: beds and sleeping play a part in the story.
After every successful battle the party is awarded Experience Points.
A friendly tent village. Maybe here I can get what I need to move the story forwards.
Found a big dragon at the top of this castle. Prepare for combat!
During battle you can do all the usual things: fight; attempt to run; cast magic spells, defend, or fill your breeches.
Attached monsters can be trained and upgraded to make them more effective in battle.
If you surprise the enemy, you get to move or attack first – often without reply on the first round.
I’ve got a Golden Dragon called Vigil in my party now. You can name all your captured monsters.
Equipping the Egg Ring on Bau. Looks like it increases all my main stats considerably.
Having placed all the coloured shards in the correct places, I’m now waiting for the ground to start rumbling.
Leaving footprints in the snow as you walk around is a nice little touch.
Fighting The Beast Half, having fully prepared for this penultimate boss battle.
At level 48 I have pretty much mastered all my job skills.
Fighting Odin in the final boss battle! This is gonna be a tough one…