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Video Game / Lufia: The Ruins of Lore

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The power of the gods... Where will it lead those who seek it? The path to prosperity... or the road to destruction?

Twenty years have passed since Maxim and his team of adventurers defeated the Sinistrals. In that time, treasure hunters have begun to seek out the many ruins of dungeons to claim their treasures. A boy named Eldin, following in the footsteps of his father who left home years ago and never returned, is signing up to become the newest of these treasure hunters, but he and his friends are going to be caught up in a much bigger adventure...

Lufia: The Ruins of Lore, known as Estpolis Gaiden in Japan, is an RPG for the Game Boy Advance and the fourth game in the Lufia series. Unlike the other games in the series, it was developed not by Neverland, but by Taito, the original publisher of the first three games. As its Japanese name suggests, it is a Gaiden Game, and while many gameplay elements are derived from its parent series, the plot takes an entirely different direction.

Lufia: The Ruins of Lore contains examples of:

  • After-Combat Recovery:
    • Monsters that fall in battle are revived afterwards with a tiny amount of HP.
    • Blunt Hit makes it so party members hit by it revive after battle with 1 HP, at the cost of effectively being fainted.
  • Barrier Maiden: Irmis, Rubius' twin sister. Rubius joins her in the ending.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Beast is resealed forever, Gratze ends its invasion, the heroes are all happy... And Rubius and Irmis are both sealed away with the Beast for all eternity.
  • Bonus Dungeon: As per series tradition, the Ancient Cave. This time, it has sixty floors, and only Eldin can enter, although he keeps his levels and equipment and may take items into the cave, unlike in previous games.
  • Continuity Nod: This game has a ton of it, from recounting the events of Lufia II via books scattered throughout the world, to the returning enemies and music from said game, to Dekar being one of the party members who join you along the way.
  • Degraded Boss: Any boss without a unique design is often gonna be turned into a regular enemy later on.
  • Dual Boss: Late in the game, Ragule sics three Monster Cronies at Eldin's party, but the boss battle itself is only against two, likely due to how the battle system handles the positioning of enemies with very large sprites.
  • Dungeon Town: Gratze Kingdom serves as this and so does the Land of the Dead near it.
  • Expansion Pack World: The sunken continent of Eristol located just north of Gratze wasn't at all there in Lufia II.
  • False Utopia: Eristol, a utopian civilization built on constant sacrifices to the Beast, which was created by Odin. In the present day, it's long been sunken into the bottom of the ocean.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hobbits despise humans and non-hobbits. In their words, humans "offend their eyes". They also have a field day exploiting Bau, a hobbit turned Beast Man.
  • Forced Transformation: Bau was originally a hobbit who was forced into performing a Fusion Dance with a Doben, turning him into a Beast Man incapable of making use of the Job System but has the highest raw damage output in the party to compensate. He also got an Irish accent in the process.
  • Gaiden Game: Unlike previous games in the series, The Ruins of Lore doesn't take place in a new region, instead taking place in the same one as Lufia II, albeit a truncated version of it.
  • Generation Xerox: Ragule is a descendant of Odin, creator of the ancient Beast Goldiark.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Bau first joins as this, before becoming a permanent member. Sadly, Dekar is this too.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]:
    • Eldin's name can be changed to something else at the start of the game.
    • You can rename captured monsters in a similar way to Eldin.
  • Heroic Mime: Eldin gets only one line in the game, if you don't count the "got item" text, which is changed slightly to match who the currently controlled character is.
  • Job System: Eleven different jobs, though only available for the three main human characters. Jobs determine stat modifiers and allow Eldin, Torma, and Rami to learn skills.
  • Lazy Backup: Up to four members can be active in battle. Monsters that fall are automatically replaced with the next member, but it's Game Over if all active human members fall, even if other human party members remain out of battle.
  • Money Spider: Zigzagged. Gold drops aren't guaranteed at the end of battle, being handled much in the same way as regular item drops. This is often mistaken as a bug, but is very much an intentional feature.
  • Monster Allies: In an expansion of Lufia II's Capsule Monster system, nearly any monster in the game can be captured and used as a computer controlled ally to fight alongside your party.
  • Mook Promotion: The Ancient Cave turns dozens of standard enemies into floor masters, and will often use the Degraded Boss versions of storyline bosses as such.
  • Musical Spoiler: You know Ragule isn't gonna be the Final Boss because the battle against him still uses the standard boss theme.
  • Noob Cave: Lukie Cave, which is also considered to be this In-Universe for anyone looking to get their Hunter's License. It introduces monster capturing, puzzle solving, and character switching in the overworld, and concludes with a Warm-Up Boss against a Goblin.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Near the beginning of the game, the player chooses the color of Eldin's outfit for the rest of the game.
    • Of course, many of the enemies and a couple of the bosses fall under this, though the game sometimes reuses enemy sprites wholesale without altering their palette at all. Two Ancient Cave exclusive bosses come to mind: The Platinum Dragon and Blitz, which look literally the exact same as a Silver Dragon (regular enemy) and Dark Guardian (story boss).
    • Some of the ultimate fusion forms also utilize the exact same design as story bosses but under a different name (Death Sorcerer reuses Dark Guardian's, Soap Knight reuses Monster Crony's, etc.), while others are palette swaps of each other (Dark Elf and Holy Elf, Falcon and Rayearth, etc).
  • Recurring Riff: History of Gratze ~ Ragule is remixed a couple times throughout the game, serving as the basis for the Gratze Kingdom theme, and the alternate battle theme.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The first time Ragule appears in person with a speaking role, under the power of the Beast, his portraits show that he doesn't just have bright red irises, he has bright red sclerae as well. An unused portrait shows him with normal eyes, revealing them to be dark blue-ish green.
  • Remixed Level:
    • Eristol is revisited in the past when it's not ruined or flooded, having slightly stronger enemies and an Underground Monkey version of the present one's boss.
    • The Tower of Guidance, an early game dungeon, is revisited late in the game with an altered layout (by way of an unconscious Gratze soldier blocking the usual way up the tower while a previously blocked path is now conveniently freed up) and with stronger enemies.
    • Shortly after revisiting the Tower of Guidance, you're tasked with traversing through Mt. Ruhie again manually (because you can no longer fast travel to Nazare Village). The layout is unaltered, though the enemies are replaced with endgame ones.
  • Retcon: Gruberik is no longer a lone island located in the middle of the ocean, instead being located on the same continent as Parcelyte.
  • Retraux: The music and sound effects in the Ancient Cave are done in 8-bit.
  • Secret Legacy: Both Eldin and Ragule are descendants of Eristolians, allowing them to make use of the Beast halves they possess.
  • Sequential Boss: The final battle against Ragule and Goldiark, naturally, with only a short cutscene separating the two fights.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Mt. Ruhie, an early dungeon filled with snow you can get stuck on, slope and ice you can slide down on, and frozen objects you need to melt with Rami's lighter in order to break them.
  • Title Theme Drop: The great Dekar's introduction scene plays the title screen music.
  • Units Not to Scale: Particularly noticeable with certain enemies and bosses. Due to the portable's limitations, they appear to be much smaller in their battle sprites than they are in the overworld, particularly with any Dragon type monsters and the Beast Half and Goldiark bosses, who are supposed to be massive but are confined to a 64x64 sprite size.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Light Essences. Not only are there three of them when every prior boss was solo, they're immune to the starting fire magic you've likely grown accustomed to using.
  • When Trees Attack: Aside from the Treant family of monsters, there's two trees that serve as story bosses:
    • The Madeant, a sickly green Treant which is the source of the uncuttable and unburnable trees blocking the way to Ordens.
    • The King Creeper, a gigantic treant with three carnivorous plant-like mouths, that sneaks up on the party in the Jungle Spire, while they're on their way to Narbick.
  • Womb Level: Inside the Behemoth, an Eldritch Location you enter when you first travel to Past Eristol, complete with Heartbeat Soundtrack. It's a giant thing with endless swarms of monsters inside of it, exposed bones, veins, pus bubbles, capped off with the boss being a giant parasitic cell. It's implied to be an Alternate Dimension too, if the description of Void Discs found inside of it are any indication.