Yes the truth of the matter is that the Gamecube is lacking in software titles. Where PS2 and XBox are just pumping out game after game the lonely Nintendo console sits back and prepares for the unleashing of the dogs with such instant classics as Metroid Prime, Mario Sunshine, and of course Zelda. In this slow time Cube followers are left pounding away with Smash Bros. and scaring the shit out of themselves with Resident Evil. They all shout out “when lord is gonna be my time!” Fear not fellow Nintend-ites your time will come soon! Until then we must settle for what we have and what we have here is a mediocre yet very original RPG. Let us delve into the world of Lost Kingdoms!
The first thing I noticed about LK is that it doesn’t have the visual appeal that most GCN original titles have. Sure most PS2 ports are identical, except for the obvious aliasing problems fixed, but this game almost looks like a DC game! The character models sport very low poly counts and the environments leave me wondering, was this originally on another system? The only thing that leads me to believe my little black Cube is even powered on is the super high resolution and the dynamite frame rates. The visual appeal is definitely lacking here, but what it lacks in eye candy it makes up for in originality.
The game is based upon a system of cards, each card contains a sort of beast that the main character, Princess Katia, can call upon during battle. Using your cards wisely is the key to this game. The system is based on the overly stale elemental system. Each card has an attribute such as water, fire, blah blah blah. Sorry it is just that it seems when a developer is low on ideas he/she automatically throws elementals into the bunch thinking this will add strategy! Using the cards against foes is key to success, if you face a fire monster put his ass out with a water card boo-yah!
The lack of any spoken dialogue also hurts this title, it is even more of a clue that this game was originally planned for another small console (hint hint). The music, albeit very low key, is very nice and soothing. The battle music as in many RPG’s gets stale after a few bouts but is forgivable as it does set the mood for combat. When in combat you are restrained to a certain area of the level and you have only the deck you have set to do battle with. It consists of four cards so choose them wisely.
Where this game fails is that it relies so much on the card system and yet gives you so little to bargain with. Finding cards is rare and using them almost becomes tedious. Such as the Lizard man card which is very damaging against foes yet is very hard to aim. The lack of cards makes this game a headache even before you learn how to play it correctly, I found myself restarting the game over after a few death until I learned more about the cards themselves and that kills the fun almost instantly!
In the shallow Gamecube section at your local store this game may seem inviting, especially with a two player battle mode. My advice to you is not to be drawn into temptation. This game is for die hard RPG fans that are starving for something new. If you are prepared for the learning curve and the required learning then definitely dive in as Lost Kingdoms adds something to this genre we haven’t seen in ages…..originality!