Welcome to the second Retro Rush Review in a six-part series of import games released weekly by MonkeyPaw Games! This review will cover Lucifer Ring, the Japanese PS1 classic, now playable on the PS3, PSP and PS Vita.
Lucifer Ring -
Platform: PS3 / PSP/ PS Vita (cross buy)
Developer: Toshiba EMI
Publisher: MonkeyPaw Games
Lucifer Ring is a 3D action-adventure hack and slash game in which you play as the hero of Freisia, Nash in a quest to Stop the Dark Wizard, Bair from using the 4 rings of Lucifer to open the gates of hell.
As you walk through the various stages, enemies will appear and a red line representing a wall or forcefield will appear on either side of you and keep you from moving any further in the stage. The number of enemies you must defeat will be represented by a number in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Once you defeat the required number of enemies, the walls will disappear and you can move on to the next section of the stage where the same thing will happen, only with different enemies. Some stages have platforms which must be traversed by precise jumping, which is not always easy, as there is a fixed camera angle that you cannot control.
You have two types of slashes, weak and strong. Weak slashes are faster and you can usually hit your enemies multiple times before they will get a chance to hit you. Strong attacks are slow, but hit hard, knocking out some enemies with one solid hit. Using a combination of weak and strong slash attacks, you can defeat enemies faster than just regular hits alone. Combine variations of jumping and dashing with the two types of slashes for the best results. You must move around and avoid getting hit by your enemies, as there is no blocking mechanism in the game.
Sword Types & Power-Ups
You will start out with a standard sword. As the game progresses, you will find different power-ups, extra lives, healing herbs, potions and special, more powerful swords in boxes and treasure chests along the way. Finding the Fire, Ice, Thunder and Holy swords will be helpful in defeating the game’s enemies quickly and effectively. There is a special bar below your health bar that builds up power whenever you hit an enemy. Once the bar is filled and flashing, you can execute your sword's special attack.
At the end of each stage, a boss creature will appear. Figuring out each boss’s attack pattern will be the key to defeating it. Run from attacks and strike with combos when the boss is in a vulnerable state. After defeating each stage boss, you will get one of the Lucifer rings. Once all Lucifer Rings are collected, you will face Bair, the Dark Wizard.
In some stages you will be able to jump to different sections or take alternate paths in the game that lead to different exits. These special exits will take you to areas not normally seen, and may lead to extra challenges and treasures.
Graphically, the game looks dated, most likely due to the low polygon count of early 3D graphics on PS1. The fixed camera makes platform jumping frustrating, because if you miss, you’ll fall to your death and the game is over. However, you do get an unlimited amount of continues in the normal mode of the game, so you can start close to where you left off. Battles can get repetitive and the limited amount of space you have to work with (between each of the red forcefield lines) makes it hard to avoid multiple enemy hits in a row. Yet, for an early PS1 hack and slash, the game moves at a pretty steady pace. It’s interesting to look back on a title such as this and see how far we’ve come with this type of game. If you’re looking for a basic, no-brainer slice and dice fest with early PlayStation graphics, look no further than Lucifer Ring.