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Video Game / Lufia & The Fortress of Doom

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100 years ago a band of heroes set off to the evil Sinistrals, a group of four gods who planned to rule over the world from the floating Island of Doom. With the power of the Dual Blade in hand Maxim and his three companions Selan, Guy, and Artea were able to defeat the Sinistrals. Their victory came at the cost of Maxim and Selan's lives, but victory it was. The world is at peace once more, but one man stands on the lookout for the Sinistrals who vowed that they would one day return. Though everyone else was convinced it would never happen the Sinistrals did in fact return and our young hero sets off with a mysterious girl named Lufia on a quest to once more seal away the gods.

This is Lufia & The Fortress of Doom or Estpolis Denki (Biography of Estpolis) for the SNES. Published by Taito before it closed its doors in America and developed by Neverland, Lufia is a rather simple turn-based JRPG. The first in the Lufia series, it would introduce the series setting, the Sinistrals, and the Dual Blade. Gameplay-wise, it was your typical JRPG. You had a party of four characters with preset roles. Some such as Lufia could use magic while others bashed baddies on the head with large and deadly weapons like swords and axes.

This game provides examples of...

  • All Swords Are the Same: Maxim wields two swords, which look alike. Despite that the Sword of Plot Advancement is called the "Dual Blade", there's only one — this game's hero only uses one sword.
  • All in a Row: Lufia, Aguro and Jerin all follow along behind the hero both in towns, dungeons and the world map.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Sinistrals battle in Doom Island follows almost the exact same pattern like the prologue, except all the Sinistrals except Erim merged together to become Guard Daos. It's even more obvious in the Japanese version where Guard Daos is using moves from all of the Sinistrals against you.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Lufia is actively fighting the resurrected Sinistrals. Until she learns that she is Erim, the Sinistral of Death, and it was her initial resurrection that caused the others to return. She betrays the party in her despair of learning all of this, stealing the Dual Blade and bringing it to Daos for him to destroy, but in the final dungeon she remembers her life as Lufia and turns on the Sinistrals again instead of fighting her friends, rejoining the party for the final battle against Guard Daos.
  • Artifact Title: The girl Lufia would go on to name the series in America and Europe.
  • A Taste of Power: The first level has you playing as Maxim's band of veteran heroes. Then you spend the rest of the game levelling the next generation up to the point where they are as powerful as their predecessors (and if you know where to search for, you can also get the exact same equipment of Maxim's gang for your party). It even provides the page image.
  • Attack Reflector: The mirror spell will reflect hostile spells back to the caster. If a mirror is on each party member, a multi-target spell would be reflected four times.
  • Badass Normal: Aguro, who has no magic abilities and just hits things really hard.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While it initially seems like Lufia sacrifices herself to ensure the Sinistrals stay dead, leaving the hero in despair for an entire year afterwards, he suddenly finds her again in the care of the village elder of Arus, somehow having inexplicably survived the power of Dual Blade and her fall from Doom Island, with both her magic and memory gone. Although their relationship has been wiped away, he resolves to make new memories with her again.
  • Bowdlerise: It was either this or "Blind Idiot" Translation, but when the people of Belgen admit to you that they offered Jerin to the monsters in order to stop them from attacking the village, they say they "ransomed" her, when what they actually mean is "sacrificed".
  • Broken Bridge: About half of the entire game is this, constantly trekking from town to town and dungeon to dungeon to find the next MacGuffin you need to proceed- including one overly-long sequence where you need to go halfway around the world to repair, yes, a broken bridge.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Ancient Cave which makes an appearance in every game.
  • But Thou Must!: Jerin is a required party member, so you can make it to the Hidden Elf Village.
  • Combatant Cooldown System: AGI determines how often a character can act, the complexity of their action determines how long it takes them to carry out a command.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Lufia is rather possessive of the hero and doesn't like Jerin getting close to the hero.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lufia hits Hero with a Bolt attack after he pokes fun at the implication that she's jealous of Jerin.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Take a wild guess. Hint: it's an Island. And evil gods live there.
  • Dub Name Change: In the original Japanese version, Jerin's name was "Jurina", Aguro was "Aguros" and Selan was "Serena" or "Selena". This was presumably because of the 5-character limit for character names, which is much less restrictive in Japanese than in English.
  • Easing into the Adventure: Averted - the first dungeon is the final dungeon of the second game, in flashback form.
  • Encounter Bait: Foul water increases the monster encounter rate.
  • Encounter Repellant: Sweet water is somehow used to avoid monsters.
  • Follow the Plotted Line: The people who block you from using the teleporters that bring you to the next town usually have bad reasons for it.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: This game is very hard, incredibly hard, unless you grind at least enough to buy all of the equipment in the current town you're near.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The party consists of two males (Hero and Aguro) and two females (Lufia and Jerin). Although Lufia leaves your party right before the encounter at Doom Island, she rejoins in the final boss battle.
  • A Girl in Every Port: The party can progressively talk to up to three women throughout the world with sailor boyfriends. Lufia gets vocally suspicious that it's the same sailor after the second one, and the third one is crying after finding out she's not the only one. During the ending credits scenes, the three of them meet up with each other to confront him, and boy does he end up in trouble!
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The manual doesn't explain the intricacies of the game's Combatant Cooldown System, and no-one, not even the FAQ writers, really knows exactly how equipment Weight worksnote . Also, while you can look at a spell's description by pressing the X button, there are no item descriptions for consumables or equipment, so you have no idea what they actually do.
    • Plum Cider. In a game where MP is precious, potions are expensive, and you will need to heal a lot as enemies do lots of damage, it sure would be nice to know of a cheap item that heals as much as a Hi-Potion and almost as much as a Stronger spell that is available from the 3rd town in the game, for only 30 gold per. You just can't use it in battle as it just gives a small ATP buff. Also, you can have multiple stacks of 99 on you at any time, making any dungeon much easier than it would be otherwise.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Elfrea, quite literally; it's the only place in the world where the elves live now, and the only way to get there (before you get a ship at least) is the 'Elf' spell known only by Jerin, which warps you directly to it.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In the first fight with Gades, Hero hits him several times for minor damage, then Gades smacks down Hero with one blow.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Jerin disgusted to find out that she got served a slime for lunch, under the effects of a magic ingredient, courtesy of Lufia.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The hero chooses to live with Lufia/Erim which leads to the continued existence of the Sinistrals.
    • Though it's implied Erim is no longer one with Lufia, meaning their revival in the other game is thanks to Arek.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: You can rob a sword from Guy's grave. That means something.
    • It is possible to loot the sword before talking to Guy.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: Aguro is the only member of the party who doesn't have any magical abilities. Since IP techs haven't been invented yet, this limits his combat ability to bashing one enemy at a time with his weapon (or occasionally using an item if he needs to). Fortunately he's pretty good at it.
  • Nintendo Hard: As was pretty much par for the course for early 16-bit JRPGs. The amount of grind you need to go through, combined with the clunky combat system, meant the game was no pushover to get through. By midgame, every enemy will hit your party for anything from 1/6 to 1/3 of their maximum HP with almost every attack, meaning you have to expend healing resources after almost every single battle in order to keep going.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Averted with the items you sell. There's a shop in a certain town that sells everything you've sold.
  • Random Encounters: The game was plagued with the typically infuriating high encounter rate of early JRPGs. Even keeping Sweet Water on at all times (easy to do as it was cheap at 10g per bottle), you'd still be jumped by enemies every 10 seconds or so.
  • Rare Candy: Power potion for HP, speed potion for AGL, mind potion for INT, great potion for STR, and spell potion for MP.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • It is possible to visit a town that wasn't meant to be visited yet as soon as you get your boat, merely by sailing in a different direction than what they tell you to. Doing this gives you access to equipment miles better than what you are normally supposed to be using at the time. The equipment is expensive, but with enough grinding, it is easily do-able.
    • It is possible with lots of Level Grinding to reach the bottom floor of the Ancient Cave before going any further in the storyline.
  • Skewed Priorities: One of the Alekian knights says he's heard about the trouble in Sheran, but chasing the girl he has a crush on around the castle takes precedence for him.
  • A Taste of Power: You start the game off playing as the legendary heroes off to fight against the Sinistrals at level 80 and a good stock of potions. Oh, and for good measure, two of your characters have the Mirror spell.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • After the nine-year Time Skip, you see that the Alekian knights are slacking off on training, noting that there's no reason for them to train hard now that the world's at peace. Not long afterward, news of Sheran being attacked reaches Alekia.
    • When you meet Guy he proudly tells you that he's "over 100 and still kicking". Then he immediately dies of old age.
  • Territorial Smurfette: Lufia is the only female party member for much of the game and strongly opposes Jerin joining because she's jealous of the attention the hero pays her.
  • Together in Death: Maxim and Selan in the beginning.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Lufia is actually Erim.
  • Tsundere: Lufia is a Type B; obviously deeply in love with the Hero, but often gets pissed off at him and is strongly opposed to Jerin joining the party.
  • Turn-Based Combat: Actually averted, although the manual never explains this at any stage, the game actually runs on a Combatant Cooldown System, where a more complicated action (like casting a multi-target nuke spell) will take much longer to execute than a simpler one (like hitting your opponent in the face). Later games dropped this system in favour of traditional Turn-Based Combat.
  • We Buy Anything: Justified, as everything you sell will be sent to Forfeit.
  • Wham Line: When Daos reveals that Erim (up until now unseen) revived the other Sinistrals... and that Lufia is actually Erim.