Sinistrals are back to being a nuisance, once again plotting to resurface their giant floating fortress (of doom) and bring the world to its knees. And only one hero can stop them: Maxim, swordsman of Elcid!
...Wait, isn't he dead? Oh, right; this is a prequel.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is the second in the Lufia series and the prequel to Lufia & The Fortress of Doom. The conclusion to this game was known by anyone who had played at least ten minutes of the first one, but the whole story had more to tell. Legendary swordsman and progenitor of heroes Maxim is but a simple monster hunter at the outset, eking out a meager wage with his companion Tia. On a trip to the caves near the town, Maxim encounters a mysterious woman named Iris, who hints at his great destiny. With Tia tagging along behind him, Maxim learns of the Sinistrals, four mighty gods who seek to take over the world. Now on a quest to stop them, Maxim gradually forms his soon-to-be-legendary party (Guy, Selan, Artea) along with some heretofore unmentioned allies, including Blood Knight Dekar and Dr. Lexis Shaia (of the recurring Shaia clan of mad scientists).
Lufia II threw out the random encounters from the first game, replacing them with monsters you could see on the map. Said monsters react to the movement of the player, adding an element of strategy (a la EarthBound), and can even be frozen with use of a tool. More notably, the game also introduced puzzle dungeons to the series, similar to those seen in the The Legend of Zelda games. With a series of tools (and liberal usage of the Reset spell) at the player's disposal, Lufia II's dungeons are a good deal more memorable than the former's dungeon crawls. Combat is also switched up for the sequel; as characters take damage, their IP increases, allowing them to activate Limit Breaks built into their gear. As if that weren't enough, the player can collect a series of Mons to raise into formidable assist characters (acting as an AI-controlled fifth party member). These additions would help make Rise of the Sinistrals the agreed-upon high point of the series even today, though not enough to rescue the franchise from obscurity. However, the series' brief revival in 2010, Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, was a loose remake of this game, albeit redesigned as an Action RPG.
Contains one of the saddest video game endings ever devised. Yes, even though it was spoilered by the prologue of the first game. Proceed with caution.
This game provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: Iduras strikes at Maxim and Selan by kidnapping their infant son.
- Ambiguous Gender: Though the first game made it clear Artea was male, the second was a bit more fuzzy on this matter. Official artwork didn't help much either.
- Arrows on Fire: One of several skill items available. Aside from being used to activate switches like a normal arrow, it can also be used to burn grasses and bushes from a distance.
- Artifact Title: This game has no Lufia or anything to even do with her, except in The Stinger, which contains dialogue from its predecessor.
- Badass Normal: Guy and Dekar, who are the only characters to have no magic (although they can still use IP techniques) but can just dish out and take a lot more damage than anyone else in exchange.
- The Battle Didn't Count: Played absolutely straight if you beat Gades at Gordovan West Tower. After beating him, he decides to stop messing around and just blows you all away.
- Bittersweet Ending: The world is saved, but Maxim and Selan, who are both Doomed by Canon, die. On the lighter side, their son survives.
- Cursed with Awesome: Played with when it comes to cursed equipment. After having a priest remove the curse, the item can be freely equipped and often ends up boasting even better stats than when it was cursed.
- Cutscene Incompetence: There are several scenes where Amon overpowers your party as part of a cutscene even if you're strong enough to beat him (if you could defeat Gades the first time you likely are).
- Dungeon-Based Economy: The town of Gruberirk is built around this, as most of the economy comes from items found in the Ancient Cave dungeon.
- Elemental Powers: The game's spell system allows anyone who can use magic to learn almost all available spells, even though some are exclusive to some characters. Uniquely, several elemental-based powers can only be accessed by certain capsule monsters and IP abilities.
- End Game Results Screen: After the ending there's a statistics screen that displays how many of the 164 chests you have opened in the main game, among several other stats. (Ancient cave chests are counted separately in its own page)
- Fill It with Flowers: Lexis does this for a little girl in his hometown, and leaves the party in order to do so.
- First Girl Wins: Subverted. Maxim spends the first part of his journey with Tia, and it seems as if they're obvious love interests. He ends up with Selan in the end though.
- Foregone Conclusion: If you've played the first game, you know how this will end, since this is a prequel and the first game opened with this game's ending.
- Game-Breaking Bug: If you Press Left on the Stereo/Mono setting it affects your stats giving you 999+ to almost everything and it takes an inordinate amount of time to display the battle results and save/load...assuming it doesn't glitch Maxim's name or kill your party first. In the American version, the Submarine Shrine and the final floor of the Ancient Cave are graphically trashed.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- No explanation is ever given as to why every dungeon, building and even natural cave contains numerous convoluted puzzles.
- It is quite possible, but difficult, to beat Gades in the first encounter with him. However, when you fight him the second time the dialogue still states that he beat you. Then again, The Battle Didn't Count.
- Giver of Lame Names: Guy does alright when coming up with impressive titles for most of the party, but Selan is rather annoyed that the best he could come up with for her was "Magical Wife Selan". Even more so when the villains start calling her that.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Tia, Dekar, and Lexis are fully controllable party members, but eventually they are all dropped in favor of the main four. Particularly jarring for Tia, who had a close connection with Maxim before Selan came into the picture.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first fight against Gades. You get a sword if you manage to beat him, although that's difficult without New Game+.
- Improbable Weapon User: Lexis's weapons of choice consist of pliers and screwdrivers.
- Increasingly Lethal Enemy: The Bonus Boss is completely harmless for three turns, saying supportive things and even healing the party. On the fourth turn, he casts a spell that inescapably causes a Total Party Kill, though thankfully it doesn't cause a game over. It merely sends everyone back to the beginning of the 99-level Bonus Dungeon without their final reward.
- Japanese Ranguage: Asashins (Assassins), Gorems (Golems), La Fleshia (Rafflesia), Hidora (Hydra) and a few other monster names.
- Limit Break: The IP Gauge, which increases as you take damage, and can be used to cast special spells from equipped gear. Predates even the Trope Namer.
- Mock Guffin: Ruby Apple. After the painstaking battle with the giant spider, it was revealed that the Ruby Apple inside the Ruby Cave was actually fake, created by the local glass sculptor. The real treasure didn't exist at all, but somehow the glass creation ended up in the Giant Tarantula's possession in the deepest part of the cave.
- Monster Clown: Literal example. Mosters guarding the chamber for the Treasure Sword in Parcelyte take the form of a clown, minus the scary circus BGM.
- New Game+: EXP and Gold earned in NG+ is 4x the normal amount. (Except the Ancient Cave).
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Subverted? Apparently, if Maxim died fighting Gades, instead of marrying Selan and having a baby, the world would've been at peace, and the events of the second half of this game and the rest of the series would've been averted. But it was Iris who told Maxim this, so is it the truth?
- Percent Damage Attack: Accessed through IP skills which reduce enemies' HP to 1/2 (Fatal Blow) or 1/4 (Battle Fury).
- Puzzle Reset: The very handy Reset spell.
- Random Drop: Even the bosses, which you can only fight once. Good thing is, some of the drops can be found in Ancient Cave.
- Readings Are Off the Scale: When Lexis tried to measure Maxim's energy waves, this happened to his machine as opposed to Guy's (5 times larger than Lexis' largest reading) and Selan's (8 times larger) energy waves.
- She's a Man in Japan: Artea's sex is switched in the German translation.
- Summon Magic: Ice Valk, Firebird, Dragon, and Thunder (the ultimate elemental spells) are treated as normal spells, but their animations involve summoning monsters to attack enemies.
- Teleportation Rescue: Maxim was fated to die in the Ancient Tower after defeating Gades, but Iris warped in to save him by sending him back to Parcelyte.
- Together in Death: Maxim and Selan. Expanded on from the original version of the scene at the start of the previous game, with Maxim having to leave Selan's body to go and prevent Doom Island from falling on Parcelyte. He collapses after expending his energy and Selan's ghost comes to his side as he dies.
- Trying Not to Cry: Tia, due to her name sounding like "tear", was constantly teased as a child because she easily cried. Because Maxim always rescued her, she eventually tried so hard to stop crying that she eventually became Unable to Cry.
- Wedding Smashers: The wedding of Maxim and Selan itself isn't attacked, but they hear about monsters appearing nearby and throw off their wedding clothes to go sort them out.
The Ancient Cave provides examples of...
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Your party's levels drop to 1 every time you enter the Ancient Cave. Your inventory is replaced with a brand new one (which contains 10 potions and your previous blue chest equipment), capsule monster evolutions are reset, play time resets to 0:00, and money resets to 0 as well. When you exit the Ancient Cave, all of these return to normal.
- Anti-Grinding: Each floor has a finite number of enemies, which limits experience and item acquisition.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: In Gift mode, you can choose which characters to be in your Ancient Cave party. There are 6 characters to choose from, and you can take at most 3 of them.
- Can't Drop the Hero: It is impossible to drop Maxim out of your party (unless you use a cheating device).
- Check-Point Starvation: There are no save points in the Ancient Cave at all! It will take at least 10 hours to reach the bottom floor in a single sitting. This is assuming everyone in your party is already geared completely with blue chest items at the beginning of the run. And hope you don't get wiped on the 98th floor...
- Depending on your viewpoint of what "Ancient Cave" is, you might consider Providence a form of checkpoint, since nobody beats Ancient Cave in one run. There are many checkpoints and it takes a long time. Spatially the Ancient Cave contains no checkpoints, but Ancient Cave transcends space as a dungeon that requires multiple entries over time.
- Disc-One Nuke: Depending on your luck, you can get equipment from the blue chests that far outstrips what you can find when you first tackle the Ancient Cave. Particularly lucky players may even get the Gades Blade, which can make several early dungeons easy.
- Luck-Based Mission: Even once you get all of your characters fully decked out in Blue Treasure Chest Gear (the stuff you can take into the cave with you), it is still a battle against RNG if you can actually make it to Floor 99, let alone kill the slime. Sometimes you might get zero healing spells, or you might get a cheap ambush in the 40s where you start meeting enemies with instant-death attacks, and maybe the game decided not to give you very many revive items, to boot. Or, there's always the hilarity of a double Gold Dragon fight and you get blasted by 6 whole-party damage attacks in the same round because again, the game decided that this run should have no smoke balls. Other times, you'll get healing spells out the wazoo and everything will happen perfectly and that particular run through the cave will be ridiculously easy.
- Money for Nothing: Despite all the monsters inside being Money Spiders, you can't take any money you earned inside the Ancient Cave outside.
- New Game+: You can begin a new Ancient Cave run with all blue chest equipment you previously acquired, either in the main game or previous Ancient Cave runs (provided you exited the dungeon alive using a Providence).