Lufie: The Legend Returns
Game Boy
Reviewed: 12/24/2003


Years after the Super Nintendo’s Lufia 2, the saga came back to life with this Game Boy Color release. In this installment, a young man named Wain must defeat the resurrected Sinistrals, who players will recognize from the first two Lufia games.

The story is told fairly well, with one major detail missing: how in the world are the Sinistrals back yet again? The game never explains this. I supose not much could be expected of a GBC game, but the remarkably “average” plot quality in The Legend Returns does occasionally tie-in with Lufia 2, which is nice.

The graphics and sound in Lufia: The Legend Returns are where the game can certainly hold its own against other GBC titles. The system is no graphic powerhouse, but since Lufia outdoes many GBC games in the graphics department, the score earned is an above-average one. The same idea applies for sound and music: they can’t compare to console giants, but are some of the best available on the Game Boy Color.

Sceen Shot
A decent battle system.

Unfortunately, this game lost one of Lufia 2‘s best features: the smart, addicitng dungeonplay. The second game in the series had some of the most interesting, exciting, and satisfying gameplay of the 16-bit era, and remains a classic in the hearts of many. However, The Legend Returns uses nothing but randomly generated dungeons, which feel out of place on a portable system. This means that the puzzle-solving, trail-blazing fun one can have in the other Lufia games has been reduced to simple “where’s the treasure…okay, now where are the steps?” dungeon roaming. It’s fun once in a while, but not for the length of an entire RPG.

At least the battle system is pretty good. It allows your entire nine-member party to be involved with the fight. Your party is arranged into three rows of three members each. Only one member from each row can act in a turn, meaning strategic thinking is needed for character placement as well as which person to use from each row.

Your careful placing of party members in battle also contributes to the learning of new skills. Whenever you obtain a new skill scroll, a given person must have a minimum number in each of four elemental colors to learn it. Arranging them in rows (any way, tic-tac-toe style) with others of the “inate color” (see Chrono Cross) of the skill in question can help them learn skills of that element sooner.

When all is said and done, Lufia: The Legend Returns is a game with an underachieving story and half-assed dungeons, but a solid battle system and good technical merits. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being average.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Good
Story Bad
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Very Good
Replay Value Horrible
The Verdict: 5