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Lufia II Being Remade on DS

Square Enix changes the genre and switches to 3D visuals for Lufia prequel.

 
A classic RPG returns on the DS.

Famitsu.com got the scoop last week on Square Enix's revival of the classic Taito RPG series Lufia. As promised, the site's print edition scored the specifics this week.

In development by Neverland, the original Lufia developer the new game is titled Estpolis and is for the DS. The Estpolis naming is similar to the Japanese naming of the series: Estpolis Denki.

The DS version is a remake of the followup to the original Lufia, released to Japan in 1995 as Estpolis Denki II and to North America as Lufia II Rise of the Sinistrals. For those worried about not being able to follow the story, Lufia II is chronologically a prequel to the original.

As far as remakes go, this looks like it will be more new than old. On top of fully 3D visuals and a full voice acting cast, the genre has changed from encounter-based RPG to action RPG. The story and gameplay systems are also seeing considerable change.

I personally haven't played Lufia (I was a Genesis and TurboGrafx man at the time), so when comparing the story content in Famitsu, I'm going off the original's Wikipedia entry (there's a big spoiler in the storyline section, so you probably shouldn't read it). Famitsu lists the same cast of characters, including hero Maxim, heroine Selena (listed in the Wikipedia entry as Selan), and tough guy Gades.

The game's new action-based combat system looks like it will be heavy on the action. You have access to a party of at least three characters who can be switched between on the fly by tapping face panels on the bottom screen. Famitsu suggests mashing the attack button to make your current character perform combos and launch the enemy into the air. While the enemy is in the air, you can swap in a new character and continue the combo.

You'll also have to switch off between characters in order to make use of particular skills and abilities required for clearing dungeons. The dungeons promise lots of tricks and traps, including collapsing floors and puzzles that should be familiar from other action RPGs.

For the most part, the game takes place on the top screen, with the character select panels, a map, and other options shown on the bottom screen. Get into a boss battle, though, and the battle expands to fill both screens, with your character controlled on the bottom screen. The magazine does not clarify what happens to that neat little character swap system during these sequences.

Estpolis hits the DS on February 25. An official site with first trailer will open on November 25.

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