Lufia: The Ruins of Lore
|Lufia: The Ruins of Lore|
North American box art
|Platform(s)||Game Boy Advance|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Lufia: The Ruins of Lore, known in Japan as Chinmoku no Iseki: Estpolis Gaiden (沈黙の遺跡 ～エストポリス外伝～), is a role-playing video game developed by Atelier Double and published by Taito in Japan in 2002 and by Atlus a year later in North America. It is the fourth title in the Lufia series of video games and was released as a "gaiden", or side story, to the main series; as a result, it does not feature many elements common to the rest of the series, such as the Sinistrals and the Dual Blade.
Much like the rest of the Lufia series, The Ruins of Lore plays like a typical role-playing video game, where the player must advance through several scenarios and navigate dangerous dungeons, fighting enemies along the way. Unlike typical computer RPGs, however, the battles are not random, and the monsters are displayed in the dungeon itself along with the characters. Combat only ensues when they come in contact with each other.
Winning battles grants the player experience points which go toward gaining levels, making the characters stronger in the process, and just like Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, several monsters (called "Disc Monsters" in this title and caught in battle in a similar manner to Pokémon) can be captured instead of slain and used to fight with the party. The monsters can be fused with Eldin, Torma or Rami for three turns in combat once a character's Installation Points ("IP") reach their maximum. These points are visible by a gauge just beneath a characters hit points and ability points, and fill up when they are hit by an enemy. In your new merged state, you lose control of the character but gain two abilities. The first is invincibility: while you're merged with your monster partner, you can not be hurt or given status ailments in any way. The second is a special attack (depends on what form you're in) that may or may not do more damage than your characters normally can: this same move is repeated until all three turns pass. Once three turns go by, you and your monster partner revert to normal. It's important to note that you can't merge with your selected partner unless he or she has built up at least three hearts worth of Loyalty with the character (Loyalty can be found on the monster's status menu; the max number of hearts is five). Loyalty is raised by simply having your partner accompany your party and earn experience from fights (the partner does not have to actually be an active fighter to raise its Loyalty).
Characters can also make use of different actions outside of combat. By hitting the B button, each character has a special field skill that can help the party complete puzzles or cross impassable terrain. Certain puzzles or mazes will have to be solved using these techniques at the proper times.
The Job System
Eldin, Torma and Rami can change their current professions at any time once the player has reached a certain point in the game. Each one grants an increase and decrease to certain stats, and they determine which statistics are increased when a character levels. In addition, each job is also given a rank, which is increased by gaining experience after a battle, and certain jobs require a character to have already mastered another one to advance to it. The "Knight" class gives a character increased strength, but lower intelligence, yet the character must have obtained a master rank in "Swordsman" before they can become one. Other jobs include Chemist, Bishop, Rogue, and Brawler. Also, which job you assume dictates what special moves and spells you learn as you battle. It's a good idea to switch jobs between the three so that you have a large variety of moves for each character, such as healing and attack spells for everyone. A typical setup would be to make both Eldin and Torma assume fighting-style jobs while Rami assumes magical-oriented ones, though this reduces diversity in skill among the three.
The Ancient Cave
Similar to previous games in the series, The Ruins of Lore features a massive, optional dungeon called the Ancient Cave. Gameplay in the Ancient Cave differs from the regular gameplay in numerous respects. Only Eldin may enter it, along with his monster companion if he has one. He may also bring only 10 types of items along with him into the cave, not including anything he and his monster may have equipped. You are unable to access your menu in between fights in the dungeon, so keeping yourself healed during fights is vital. There are no monsters roaming around the maps, and the maps are randomly generated each time you enter the cave. Instead, monsters, as well as traps, are hiding in many of the bags and chests strewn about the dungeon, waiting for adventurers to stumble upon them. Each floor culminates in a boss fight at the end of the level. Victory allows you to progress to the next floor of the dungeon. Lastly, the only way to leave the dungeon, short of dying and losing all of your items, is to find and use an item that can only be found in the Ancient Cave, called Providence. Unlike Lufia II's Ancient Cave, this game's version has only 60 floors. The reward at the end is the Egg Ring, an accessory famous from Lufia II which greatly enhances the parameters of a character when worn. Incidentally, it is possible to get more Egg Rings after your first completion so that all four heroes wear one.
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Lufia: The Ruins of Lore takes place 20 years after the events of Lufia II, making it the third game in the series chronologically. After the defeat of the Sinistrals by Maxim, the world has enjoyed a season of relative peace. However, this is threatened when the Kingdom of Gratze, a growing military superpower, allies itself with a mysterious man named Ragule and declared war on its bordering nations. Their primary goal is to scour the world in search of a powerful monster known simply as "The Beast", that, once under their control, would all but insure their conquest of the world. The game is told from the perspective of a young man named Eldin, who, during this age of conflict is traveling the world in search of adventure and intrigue. On his journey, he meets a young priestess named Rubius who is searching for mystic shards and stones that will allow her to enter a fabled holy land. One of the places she needs to go to obtain one is Ragule's fortress, and once they arrive, they meet the despot and realize that if the world is ever to be at peace again, he must be stopped at any cost.
- Eldin: A boy who dreams of being an adventurer and has trained himself to use a sword in order to survive in the harsh world. Until he meets Rami, his life has no real direction, but he is soon thrust into a struggle for the fate of the world. In battle, he mostly relies on his physical strength to vanquish enemies, and his ability to wear heavy armor gives him great defense. Out of battle, his special skill is swinging his sword to cut down tall grass or other impediments.
- Torma: Eldin's best friend, a young man with wild blonde hair who has trained his body to be a powerful weapon. Like Eldin, he is not gifted with the use of magic, so he instead utilizes his battle prowess and skill with weapons such as chains and boomerangs. Out of battle, his special skill is using a rope to cross otherwise impassable chasms.
- Rami: Eldin and Torma's childhood friend, she is an aspiring magician who joins the party on their quest. Her high AP and Intelligence make her a good candidate to learn magic from Masters. Out of combat, she can create a small flame that can be used to light things such as candles.
- Bau: A member of a hobbit race who was changed into a dog-like monster and has thus been shunned by the other hobbits because of it. He can not learn any magic or special abilities, yet is a powerful fighter that tends to cause the most damage in your party. Out of battle he can use his hammer to smash objects that block the party's way. Later on in the game, Bau finds out from a character that he is referred to as a 'Magic Fencer', a fighter who learns the power of monsters. This implied that he would have been able to learn the attacks of monsters similar to the Blue Magic ability of the Final Fantasy series. However, Bau is unable to learn any monster's attack moves throughout the course of the game, so this is merely story information with no actual gameplay relevance.
- Dekar: A warrior from the past who aids Eldin and his group. Though he has aged since Lufia II, his spirit remains as wild as ever.
- Ragule: A power-hungry man who seeks to use the might of the Gratze military to not only cause unrest for the other kingdoms, but to aid him in his search for the Beast.
- Rubius: A priestess who is searching the world for magical shards and seeks to put an end to Ragule's reign of terror. While Rubius travels with you for the whole game, she does not fight in actual battles, but she can be selected as your lead character in dungeons (though this is mostly because you can use her special ability to read the ancient languages you come across in various places).
The game was released to overall positive reviews. It received an 8/10 score from EGM and a 7.75/10 from Game Informer. A dissenting view came from Nintendo Power which awarded it only 3.4 out of five. On the review aggregate site Metacritic the game has an overall score of 76/100. On the similarly themed site GameRankings it has a slightly lower score of 70.75% putting it on par with Lufia & the Fortress of Doom which has a 70.5.
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- "Lufia: The Ruins of Lore". Game Informer (120): 96. April 2003.
- Star Dingo (April 2003). "Lufia: The Ruins of Lore Review for Game Boy Advance on GamePro.com". GamePro: 63. Archived from the original on 2005-01-21. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- Kasavin, Greg (2003-06-06). "Lufia: The Ruins of Lore Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
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- "Lufia: The Ruins of Lore". Nintendo Power. 168: 68. May 2003.