Lufia, known as Estpolis Denki in Japan, is an anachronic series of role-playing games developed by Neverland that draw on elements from many other genres, including action-adventure, monster collecting, and especially puzzle games. The main antagonists of the main games are a group of evil Physical Gods known as the Sinistrals.The series consists of:
Lufia & The Fortress of Doom (SNES) - The Sinistrals were defeated by a band of heroes almost 100 years ago, but now they're back and it's all up to you (as a descendant of the heroes) to stop them. It was one of the last few games to be localized by Taito America, which closed its doors before the end of the 16-bit era.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES) - The Prequel following the adventures of Maxim and the other original heroes above. Given a Foregone Conclusion by the prologue of the first. Lufia II is the most critically-acclaimed entry in the series. In North America it was localized by Natsume, which is probably best known for localizing the Harvest Moon games.
Lufia: The Legend Returns (GBC) - The Sinistrals fail to stay dead; heroes attempt to correct this. This one was also localized by Natsume.
Lufia: The Ruins of Lore (GBA) - Gaiden Game set 20 years after Lufia II. A Gaiden Game and thus the only game not revolving around fighting the Sinistrals; instead, it involves an evil empire attempting to resurrect The Beast. Was actually not made by Neverland, but instead by the Japanese publisher of the first three games, Taito. Oddly enough, this game wasn't localized by Natsume, instead being localized by Atlus in North America.
Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals (known in Japan as Estpolis: The Lands Cursed by the Gods) (NDS) - The re-imagining of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals. It was released on February 25th, 2010 in Japan and on October 12th, 2010 in North America by Lufia II's original localizer Natsume. It's now an Action RPG and the characters have been redesigned, which has led to some fans' complaining They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
All in a Row - The entirety of the first game, and in town areas in the others.
All Your Powers Combined - The final battle is the same as the prologue battle up until you defeat Daos, the Sinistral leader. Then, as a surprise, he and the other Sinistrals ( minus Erim)) merge together to form Guard Daos, the final boss. They try to pull the exact same trick at the end of The Legend Returns, too.
Ambiguous Gender - Artea in Lufia II. If you try to look for official arts it won't help and it gets worse if you look at fan art.
The first game makes it clear Artea is male, but the second game is more ambiguous and tends to confuse players who didn't play the first one. The biggest problem is probably that the manual has quite a nice drawing of "Arty" as a woman. Possibly the manual artists weren't clear on his gender either, or they used unimplemented concept art to fill space. Adding to the confusion is that in Lufia II and its re-imagining, Artea can wear women-only accessories and equipment, like the Bunny Clothes and the Fury Ring, which "allows women to express their feelings."
In the DS remake, he was thankfully given unmistakeable male voice acting.
Archer Archetype: Artea in terms of personality. However, he can wield other weapons like swords and rods. He uses guns in the remake but retains most of his personality from the original.
Artifact Title - The series is named in America and PAL nations for a character seen only in the first game. Even stranger is that PAL never got the game she appeared in. The Japanese version averts this by having the (confusing) title Estpolis.
Guy in Fortress of Doom. He stayed alive for years just to tell Maxim's descendant about the threat to the world. In fact, he was willing to help save the world again if it weren't for the fact that he died about a minute later.
Badass Normal - Guy can't use magics but handles enemies pretty well by thrashing them.
Dekar, especially Dekar. He isn't even one of the four legendary heroes and he has no Spiritual Force whatsoever. What he does have is an axe, an ego, and the highest attack stat of any character in the game. In the remake, he gains the ability to use any of weapon in the game, short of the Dual Blade.
Aguro from the first game can deal more damage than magic if equipped properly.
Wain, Dei, Deckard, Aima, and Randolph from the third.
Battle Couple - Maxim and Selan in the second half of Lufia II. Tia and Dekar in the DS remake.
Beam Spam - Erim's main method of attacking in the remake.
Big Bad Friend - In the remake, Iris AKA Erim the Sinistral of Death stays with your party for the majority of the game.
Big Damn Heroes - The first thing Dekar does in the remake is plummeting down from the sky and blasting the boss you just fought into A Twinkle in the Sky. And then he comes out of an alternate universe completely unharmed.
Bittersweet Ending - In Lufia II, the four Sinistrels are defeated, saving the world from their rule, with the heroes able to withstand one last attack from them in their dying breaths... with the exception of Selan, who soon dies in Maxim's arms. Maxim has his companions teleport away and dies soon after from exhausting his energy to stop Doom Island from crashing into Parcelyte. The game ends with their companions celebrating their victory and anticipating the two's return, unaware of (or, possibly, unwilling to accept) their fate.
The DS remake has an alternate happy ending where Erim/Iris sacrifices herself to save both Maxim and Selan as a reward for beating the game on a second playthrough.
The first game qualifies as well. Lufia, who we're now aware was really an amnesiac Erim all along, is seemingly killed after the final battle, leading to hero to go on a Journey to Find Oneself. The game then cuts to a year later, and shows the hero meeting Lufia again, apparently alive and well - but with no memories of him. He doesn't seem to mind, though, so it might not be that bittersweet.
Except that it's made very clear that Lufia living equals the Sinistrals reviving. Not to mention that the childhood friend, the one he just went through hell for, forgets everything. And if he doesn't kill her, he dooms the world to yet another war with the Sinistrals, with thousands of people dying. The first two games barely pass the Downer Ending mark.
Killing Lufia herself, then still wouldn't have helped. The loss of memory and magic seems to imply that Erim =/= Lufia. Meaning that the Sinstrals will revive anyway; which is what happens in The Legend Returns.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: Lufia: The Legend Returns was riddled with typos, bad translations, and grammar problems galore. No surprise, considering the publisher's previous track record. Lufia II had a few gaffs, as well, such as completely forgetting to translate the Gratze Empire's name, leaving it in the text as the garbled "'3y Kingdom".
Narm Charm: Some of the typo's are hilarious however.
Block Puzzle - Lufia II features an enormous amount of block puzzles, ranging from "push the same-colored blocks together" to "push every block into a particular position, then bomb them in a very specific order while pressing certain switches". Surprisingly, these were almost never cases of Guide Dang It, and perfectly workable on your own (if a bit frustrating at times).
There are a couple of very hard block puzzles, but they're purely optional unless you're going for a perfect game.
Boisterous Bruiser - Dekar. To the lesser extent, Guy and Gades. In the remake, Guy and Dekar's boisterous intensities are reversed.
In Lufia: The Legend Returns, both of these bosses return as Bonus Bosses, as well as a new one: Iris.
Bonus Dungeon - The Ancient Cave. Saving is not allowed, and the player must either beat the whole dungeon or use a special randomly-generated item to escape. In Lufia II, the dungeon has 100 levels, character levels are reset to 1 upon entering, and only specific kinds of equipment can be taken in and out. Ruins of Lore has 60 levels and doesn't reset levels or equipment but only allows the main character (and his monster) in. The Legend Returns resets levels and has 200 levels. Naturally, this is where the best equipment can (sometimes) be found.
Boss In Mooks Clothing: The Gold Dragons in the Ancient Cave in Lufia II, they are more dangerous than the Sinistrals.
Cap - The Egg Dragon, a Bonus Boss in Lufia II, has the largest amount of HP the game allows for. However, the developers obviously thought nobody would be silly enough to use a healing item on it, so they did not ensure that its HP could not exceed that number. As a result, you can easily defeat this boss—which normally must be faced in a New Game+ with the ultra-expensive equipment set—by using a low-level healing item on it, thereby causing its HP to wrap around, and then attacking it once. A pretty spectacular blunder in a game where killing bosses within a certain number of rounds would yield a nice item reward...
Character Exaggeration - The original heroes in the prologue of Lufia I speak much more formally than either the main characters or their own selves in the prequel sequel, leading to a somewhat bizarre occurrence in the final dungeon where the party enacts a conversation that was fairly ominous in the first game but actually sounds somewhat silly in the breezier language of the prequel.
Chekhov's Gun - Earlier in Curse of the Sinistrals, you will find unexpectedly the secret hideout of Berty and Betty. Much later in the game, you'll have to go to their secret hideout and request their help to obtain the energy cores from the cities, after that Daos made that your allies in the other cities couldn't help you by fear of being destroyed instantly if he finds that they helped you.
Control Room Puzzle - Lufia II had quite a few of these (though thankfully, the switches directly affected whatever platform you were on, keeping the whole thing nice and self contained), often in two difficulty flavors apiece - "Required", and "Complete". Only a few switches were required to be turned in order to proceed with the dungeon, but most players would still try and complete the puzzle absolutely for the excellent loot.
Cosmic Deadline - Lufia II is noticeably rushed near the end. Two rooms in the game (one mandatory, one optional) are nothing but graphical glitches, and the final two dungeons (or four, depending on whether you count the three towers as one or three) are completely devoid of the game's trademark puzzles.
Cutscene Power to the Max - Lufia II has Dekar, a ludicrously over-the-top warrior who boasts of his incredible combat skills. When you first meet him (and in other subsequent cutscenes), he shows off his incredible skill by using powerful and implausible abilities such as the aptly-named "Blastmaster" that wipe out hordes of enemies at once. While actually in your party, though...
Not really; his ridiculous ATK and GUTS rating made him about the best IP user in the game. Have Dekar use Bomb Attack and watch everything die.
Fixed in the remake. Perhaps too much, as now there's pretty much no point in using any other character then Dekar for dealing with mobs, and Maxim for dealing with bosses.
Once you get Dekar's Blade, he can pretty much mop the floor with final Bosses, including Master Jelly itself.
Degraded Boss - Many, many bosses in all of the games. With the exception of the Sinistrals, you don't fight an actual unique boss until around the halfway point in the first game. In the remake, they simply throw mooks at you in nine out of ten 'boss' encounters.
Demoted To NPC- Although still an important character, Lexis is no longer a party member in the DS remake of Lufia II.
Devil but No God - There's no sign of any "good" counterparts to the evil Sinistrals.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything - In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals one can make a bit of unorthodox playing and whatsnot, and the characters react accordingly to it. The first example is in Tanbel Abandoned Mines, just before the part where Tia teaches you how to grab a box with her suitcase. If you move it beforehand, some interesting chat happens.
Disc One Nuke - In The Legend Returns, the game's strongest weapon, the Alumina sword, is sometimes dropped by normal enemies very early in the game.
Dub-Induced Plot Hole - Lufia II suffers from this. Due to Nintendo of America being hard-liners against religious anything in games released in the US at the time, the Sinistrals had to be changed from being called gods to being called "super beings", and "pray" to "wish". In the first reference, this worked ("You talking about the super beings out to rule the world?"). In later references it became more awkward ("I wonder what I should wish for."). And in the religiously-devoted endgame town of Narvick, it completely fell apart ("There's super beings and there's evil beings, right? So if there can be evil super beings, why no good evil ones?").
When Lufia II was released in Germany, it was simply called "Lufia" (the first game hadn't been released there), and the Dual Blade was renamed to "Lufiaschwert" ("Lufia Sword"). And Lufia III did this again.
Evasive Fight Thread Episode - A recurring theme in Lufia II, where the hero Maxim is constantly challenged by other famous warriors, including fellow party members Guy, Selan, and Dekar, to see if he is truly the best. Such duels either occur off-screen with no clear winner given or are never able to occur at all, though it is usually implied that Maxim would indeed win these fights. The trope is even subtly parodied when Maxim first meets Guy and they challenge each other to a duel, only to have their duel interrupted by monsters suddenly teleporting into the middle of town just as Guy leaps into the air to strike the first blow.
Evil Makeover: In the remake, Erim gets this instead of hair color change when she goes from Iris to Erim.
Expy - Lexis in Curse of the Sinistrals is essentially Doc Brown in appearance and demeanor. As a bonus, most characters refer to him as "Doc", and he often exclaims "Great Scott!"
In a more closely-related example, your party in the first game is similar to the four heroes who challenged the Sinistrals in the intro/second game. The redheaded hero, the love interest with magic, the strong fighter without magic, and the elf. They even have the same four hair colors, though the hero is the only one to share a hair color with his expy.
Fail O'Suckyname: In the remake, which has voice-acting, it's finally revealed that Gades' name is pronounced Gah-dess and not Gah-these. In other words, his name sounds exactly like "Goddess". It's exactly as distracting as it sounds.
Then there are those who thought his name was pronounced "Gay-dees". "Gah-dess" is actually LESS distracting after that.
Fighting a Shadow - Simply depleting a Sinistral's HP does not defeat them. Maxim was awesome enough to destroy some of them physically for a year or two; but for something that lasts a little longer; the Dual Blade is required. And even then you have to negate their Energy and deal with Erim; who can resurrect any "destroyed" Sinistral instantly. (And even all of this may only banish them for a generation or two.)
Four Is Death - The four sinistrals continue to revive and terrorize the world.
Gaiden Game - Ruins of Lore is explicitly so - in addition to being made by an entirely different development team, the game's Japanese title is Estpolis Gaiden.
Genius Ditz: Dekar is cocky, dumb, and bad with ladies. On the other hand, he is one of the finest swordsmen in the series and can be surprisingly insightful as shown when he consoles Tia at the end of the first half of Lufia II.
Don't forget his relationship with his well meaning but incredibly unskilled prince and chancellor.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere - What? Daos suddenly has the ability to summon a giant flaming lobster to destroy the world? Um, why didn't he do that in the first place, then?
In Lufia II it is stated that the war against Sinistrals was actually a test to see if humanity could lives withouth gods. On the other hand, when Daos summon the monster, it is to punish Erim for betraying the Sinistrals. And beside, the games show that he also has at least one definite other option to cause world destruction.
Global Airship - Lufia II has first a boat and then a submarine—which, while slower and underwater, does fulfill many of the same functions as an airship, namely the ability to avoid encounters and access the next areas of the game. Eventually, of course, the sub got another upgrade and was an airship as well. Ruins of Lore technically has a boat pirate ship, but the game just lets the player move directly between locations.
Hopeless Boss Fight - Except for the last game, the Sinistrals can only be killed with a magic sword called the Dual Blade. However, defeating one in combat prior to obtaining it (most likely thanks to a New Game+) results in a rare equipment drop, and a slightly altered cut-scene afterward, where the Sinistral blinks and then blows your party away anyway.
I Am Left Handed - All through Lufia II, whenever you fight Gades, he fights with his sword in his right hand. During the final fight (where he is a LOT tougher), the sprite is mirrored so that the Sinistral is, in fact, left-handed.
Idiot Hero: Wain, the hero of the third game. A Running Gag is that everyone he meets will, soon after meeting him, end up calling him stupid. After a while, it starts to really bother him, and when the leader a bunch of pirates the party is fighting does it, he actually breaks into tears.
Improbable Weapon User - Ruby, your resident gambler in The Legend Returns, fights by throwing cards at her enemies. Also, Isaac's weaponry pretty much consists of whatever you have lying around; stun guns, drills, and the like.
Jack-of-All-Stats - Maxim. His stats are quite balanced. In a party of all attackers, he'll be the mage. In a party of spellcasters, he's the physical attacker. Artea and Selan can make somewhat effective physical attacks, but are stronger as spellcasters.
Keep the Reward - In Lufia II, when you recover a king's stolen crown, you're offered a number of rewards, one of which is "Nothing". If you ask for nothing, you get a bigger reward than any of the other choices would have given you. In Lufia III, if you wish for nothing as a reward for beating the Master Jelly in the Ancient Cave, it will insist that your accomplishment not go unrewarded, and your characters will be given a stat increase when you leave.
Kick the Dog - Daos in the remake kills Erim with the Dual Blade at the end when Erim refuses to kill Maxim and his party.
King of All Cosmos - Arek The Absolute, the true leader of the Sinistrals (seen in the prologue of Lufia 2). Fan speculation was that he was the series' true Big Bad. Turns out he's more like The Watcher.
Klotski - The "World's Hardest Puzzle" in Lufia II.
Made of Iron: In the remake, if you get a rather easy-to-get title for Guy, he takes 0 damage from explosive attacks. This includes being shot by a tank.
Metal Slime - Cores, which have low HP but crazy speed and defense and tend to flee before the party can attack. Of the cores in Ruins of Lore, however, only Anti-Cores retain notable speed, allowing them to attack/flee 6-8 times per turn. Capturing one is very difficult but greatly rewarding—a late game Game Breaker with a little grinding.
Money Spider - Lufia II has the main character start the game by walking into the item shop and apparently selling the corpses of the slimes he'd killed for the amount of money usually awarded for killing them. This included an argument when he was told the amount he could sell them for had gone down, because of how pervasive monsters had become as of late. The rest of the game just has money awarded at the end of battles, though.
Monster Allies - Lufia II has "capsule monsters", a small group of monsters—each with their own element—that can be found outside of combat and recruited. Ruins of Lore allows you to capture and train any regular monster and teach them skills from other captured monsters. In both games, the player does not control the monster's actions.
Mythology Gag - Loads in the remake, but one that stands out; the Ancient Cave is more computer-ey; there's a readout at the first room that defines the Cave as "Dailasek Version 3". "Dailasek" is a Significant Anagram of Alekdias; or in English, Lord Arek; the Sinistrals Overgod boss that you never met in the original game.
New Game+ - Lufia II's version allows the player to start a new game where experience and gold received are greatly increased, speeding up Level Grinding and making buying the ultra-expensive equipment and beating the Hopeless Boss Fights (including the Bonus Boss) possible. A third "Gift" mode limits the game to the Ancient Cave and allows the player to freely select party members.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - It's revealed at one point that the survival of one of the Sinistrals guarantees the resurrection of all the others. At the end of the first game, the hero chooses to live out a life with Lufia/Erim instead of worrying about the future.
Actually: after the fortress falls, lufia loses all her magic capacities, hinting that she is no longer Erim, but a normal girl with no memories.
Which would have been fine, but canon proves otherwise. Erim is still around, the Sinistrals are still around, the the Hero doomed the world to another feud with the Sinistrals because he couldn't kill the woman he loves. Sure, she's pretty well on the side of good by the third game... But damn.
It's pretty well established that the Sinistrals are able to come back every hundred years without Erim's help, since Maxim defeated her pretty decisively in the first war. Her power just revives them more quickly.
Noble Demon - Erim bounces all over the place with this. In the original game, she was a pure evil entity who briefly turned good and found love thanks to the miracle of amnesia. The prequel Lufia 2 reveals she always had something of a split personality, having simultaneously been both an evil The Dragon to Big Bad Daos andThe Watcher helping the hero all along. The final game, The Legend Returns, drops her back down to pure evil status, being something like a hereditary version of The Virus.
If anything, The Legend Returns makes her fully good, at least after The Reveal.
Physical God - The Sinistrals, Nintendo localization notwithstanding.
Puzzle Boss - Except in Ruins of Lore, the Master Jelly of the Ancient Cave doesn't actually attack you but instead heals everyone and peacefully ends the fight if you cannot beat it in just a few turns. Inexperienced players—expecting the fight of their lives after such a long, difficult dungeon—are in for a rude awakening if they spend their first turns setting up defenses.
Quickly Demoted Leader - Selan is a terribly egregious example. Despite being a renowned general, no sooner does Maxim show up than she's ordered to partner with him, and by partner we mean follow. "Selan, this is your chance to experience being under another's command."
Randomly Drops - In particular, the quality of items found in chests in the Ancient Cave in Lufia II has no relation to the dungeon level. Not so in Ruins of Lore, though.
Sequel Escalation - Inverted in Lufia II, which is a prequel, and ends with the Sinistrals trying and failing to form the final boss of the first game.
Sequel Hook - In Curse of the Sinistrals, after the ending and credits, the player is treated to the scene where Arek and Iris are conversing. Then, Arek summons the Dual Blade and the Dual Blade starts shining in front of Iris. The scene ends as Iris demands to know what the Dual Blade is trying to tell her.
Or to be more precise, New Game+ Hook, clearing the game again on New Game+ grants a completely new ending in which Iris/Erim does something that is quite clearly her acting on what Dual Blade has told her.
During the ending of Curse of the Sinistrals, Lexis mentions that Doom Island crashed into the ocean in Westland near a town called Arus — this is referencing where it is located in Lufia & the Fortress of Doom.
She's A Man In Japan - Oh, what a snarky girl that Artea is. In the German version of Lufia II, anyways.
Short Tank: Tia's character design has been changed to be one of these in the remake. It's actually a practical change that fits her spunky childhood friend character and helps distinguish her from Selan, since two long blue-haired White Mages can be confusing at first glance.
Shout-Out - In Curse of the Sinistrals, A minor faceless NPC in the Gratze Kingdom carries the unfortunate rank and name of PrivatePyle. One of his superiors, who plays an actual (extremely minor) role in the plot, is named Sergeant Hartman.
In Curse of the Sinistral, Maxim and Dr.Lexis' appearance and interactions have a striking resemblance to Marty McFly and Emmett Doc Brown.Up to the point where Lexis exclaims "Great Scott!"
Sidequests - Naturally. Notably, in Lufia II, you can collect the various Dragonballs Dragon Eggs and bring them to the Egg Dragon to get a wish granted (selected from a list). One can keep doing this to get all the wishes, but each time a wish is granted, the eggs are randomly redistributed among all of the chests in the game. In order to recollect them, one must get all the normal treasures beforehand and then use Sonar to find dungeons that suddenly have unclaimed treasure. Exhausting your wishes allows you to take the Egg Dragon on as a Bonus Boss.
Solo-Character Run - Soloing with the main character in Ruins of Lore quickly makes the early game a breeze and allows you to learn the various game-breaking class skills that much quicker. Who needs a party when you can deal random amounts of damage for cheap (Chance Hit), heal yourself fully for free (Sacrifice), skip most normal fights (Tear Gas), and attack all enemies for free (Rapidfire)? In addition, the Ancient Cave bonus dungeon only allows the main character (and a pet monster) in anyway. Good Bad Bugs help with the equipment selection, as well, if you're so inclined.
Solve the Soup Cans - The games contain many unlikely ways to lock a door, occasionally devolving into this trope. A door that opens when all of the grass patch nearby is fully grown, anyone? And you can make the grass grow by walking over it...
Really, Lufia II takes this to a ridiculous degree. But it works.
Stuck Items - Cursed items can only be removed by paying a priest to remove it for you.
Sword Beam - In the True Final Boss fight in Curse of the Sinistrals, the Dual Blade gains this ability as its primary attack. Unfortunately, the game doesn't tell you, and after playing through the game twice most players are too used to fighting at close range to notice.
A Taste of Power - Lufia and the Fortress of Doom starts off with a flashback (to what ends up being the ending of its prequel, Lufia II), which allows the player to play through with four high-level characters and fight some of the final bosses of the game.
Vitriolic Best Buds: The party in the first game is like this. So is the party in the second game, not that the first game showed any of that, usually Guy and someone else. Maxim even lampshades it for an NPC who didn't seem to understand.
Maxim: It's all right. They're not seriously arguing. They argue with each other because they are as equals. If not, then they wouldn't do it.
Wedding Smashers - In Lufia II, Maxim and Selan happily took off the minute after they said their vows to respond to a sudden report of monsters at the castle. It was noted that they'd both been wearing armor under the other stuff. Kinky.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair - This is actually a plot point. The girl with the blue hair, in every game, is Erim, the Sinistral of Death. Yes, that includes Lufia herself. Never trust the blue-haired girl.
Subverted in Lufia II, where Erim's 'counterpart', Iris, actually has green hair, and simply goes to the normal shade of Blue after The Reveal.
Tia is the first girl with blue hair you meet in the 2nd game and is not Erim. Something of a Red Herring as she resembles Lufia from the first game.
If you watch the introduction sequence for Lufia 2 carefully, you will notice when meeting Iris that she and Erim have the exact same hairstyle. So while the blue hair is a Red Herring, there's another distinctive tell.
In addition, Dekar has pink hair in Curse of the Sinistrals. In the original Lufia 2, his hair is dark blue with a bit of a pinkish/purple highlight.
Selan has blue hair as well (obviously done to contrast Maxim's fire-red coif, and what with their blatant matching elemental affinities...)