One of the strangest and least-known Square games from this period is Live A Live, a role-playing game where you do not follow a big, epic story from start to finish. Instead, Live A Live is a collection of eight short stories in which each deals with a familiar cliche or two from various media in a humorous way. You can call it game edition of a collection of short stories.The game was composed of carpentry including Takashi Tokita, who worked with both Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger, and with its bright colors and simple play mechanics seem Live A Live aimed at a younger age than teens and young adults role-playing games usually appeal to.
This does not Live A Live is somewhat uninspired garbage for the youngest. In fact, it is a very progressive Japanese RPG for its time. The game avoids the most common sins in this genre in the 90s and is devoid of random matches. You always see the enemies and can often choose to fight or run. In addition, you can save where you want (some of which was almost unheard of in the console role-playing at the time) and you do not have to busy with healing between battles, when you get back all health when you win. If the idea was that there should be a role-playing game for kids see it actually as they cleared away a couple of the genre’s problems in order to adapt it to their audience.
Although all the stories follow their own gimmicks, they share the same battle system. This is a subtle blend of turn-based tactics of the kind we know from the Japanese tactics games and old cave exploration games like Rogue. As you move, move the enemy himself. The system is not exactly the deepest, but is entertaining enough as it requires you to follow with and knows how to exploit the game character’s abilities.
In ancient days
Some given order is not for the eight stories, except that the latter is unlocked when you played through the seven others. We might as well follow them in chronological order from the distant past to far into the future.
The earliest chapter has the same loose relationship to the natural history as The Flintstones and other stories where the cave dwellers dealing with dinosaurs. Cave Boy Pogo and gorilla friend living in an era where grunting and faces is the newest and most exciting field of communication, and thus told this entire chapter through mime.The chapter deals with the problems Pogo get when a beautiful cave girl seeks refuge with him. A strain with tolpere would sacrifice the girl to his reptilske deity and Pogo own tribe will not know her. The boy gets his full wages to keep the girl away from all the perils of popular culture has taught us that the cave dwellers had to contend with, mainly dinosaurs and mammoths.
The next story takes place very soon after the first, and is added to the old China. The inspiration here is clearly old kung-fu movies, where rugged warriors and bandits clash with punches and kicks. As the ancient grandmaster Xin Shan Quan, look for a student who can inherit your legendary fighting style, a style “that is second thick in heaven or on earth.”The first part of the chapter is to gather and train three promising youngsters, but then Xin killed by brutal rivals from another martial arts school. Thus, you assume the role as one of the three students, and that it should be in these stories, you must track down the killers and avenge the master’s death. On the way there will be plenty of opportunities to kill tigers with his bare hands.
We keep ourselves in Asia and move a little further east for the next story. In the Bakumatsu era in Japan, one is concerned about the cruel warlord Ode May, so you submit superninjaen Oboro to kill him. By Oboro must sneak through the palace of the Ode to perform the mission. The palace is accidentally filled with spirits, ninjas and monsters.If it were not for that they were released several years after Live A Live one would almost think the chapter was a parody of Tenchu and Onimusha, but it is probably either in the same tradition of pirate stories about ninjas on the supernatural adventure.
The palace contains exactly one hundred men, women and monsters, and it is up to you whether you want to play pro and complete the chapter, without killing someone other than the Ode or chop down everything and everyone that comes your way. It’s like an easy straight version of Metal Gear with more ninjas than usual.
From the Far East to the Wild West, the next man out is the gunslinger The Sundown Kid. He is a western tradition a hard and mysterious man who arrives in a small town with a serious bandit problem. Along with the bounty hunter, Mad Dog, he will stop the bandit leader O. Dio and his gang from Robbe citizens, but they do not have enough firepower to deal with rioters.
The solution is to cover the city with the traps before the bandits arrival. The minimal match in this chapter, which is also fairly short. At the end of the chapter frequents a huge struggle, but if you have provided the mining town of traps can reduce the number of bandits quite sharply. Most of the time before the bandits will you spend to run back and forth in town to find useful things that can be used to create traps.
One hundred years into the future meetings we are fighting the giant Masaru in the present chapter. He spends all his time to train and build muscle while he dreams of becoming the greatest martial black performer of them all. One day, he adds, therefore, on the road to meet and defeat the world’s best martial arts practitioners. In other words, a chapter based on Street Fighter and similar fight game.
The setup is unique in relation to the other chapters. You get served up a menu suspiciously similar to the one we know from the classic Mega Man game where you decide to fight against one of six adversaries. All six have to beat if you want to reach the grand final, and in addition you can learn new combat techniques by allowing you to defer to their attacks. Opponents are a strange bunch, including one Hulk Hogan-parody and a fat guy from Hawaii. As in fighting games draw inspiration from the story they like to use this opportunity to fling shit before and after games.
After the world tour in the previous chapter we return to Japan in the near future. An orphan boy becomes involved in a strange conspiracy involving high-ranking people in the community and motorcycle gangs. This chapter has some features from Akira (who is also the name of the kid), but get the most from the old Japanese robot shows.The main character is clear-sighted, and his skills give him the chance to control a giant robot. He could also read the thoughts of others, which offers everything from funny little remarks to information about what you should do you.
Remove future and final
Hundreds of years into the future transport Cogito Ergosum on the way back to Earth with a very special cargo. They have found a giant monster on a distant planet, and highest priority is to get it back to Earth. The ship also has a sophisticated artificial intelligence that takes care of much of the work on board. A monster and a supercomputer on board a ship is obviously a bad combination when inspirations are Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
You play the little robot Cube. You are helpless witness to kill a crew for one of the monster and the computer. This chapter has at least struggle of all the game stories, and apart from a final settlement to end you spend the majority of the time to wander around the ship and talk to the crew. Or rather listen to them, as little Cube can not speak.
After all these original and strange stories wonder you sure what the game creators spared the chapter that locks up after all the others are overstatte. Eighth chapter is distinctive because it does just what you expect from both Western and Japanese RPGs. It gives you the role of a young warrior who must save a medieval kingdom from dark forces. I can not possibly think of anything other than that this was a completely proven choices from Square’s side.
The young warrior’s story comes to begin with usual measures, but the story becomes darker and darker the farther into it you get. It all ends with a rather somber and surprising twist that leads up to the Grand Final. This break time and space together, and all the heroes from the preceding chapters gather for a final showdown with the evil that has haunted the world in the way generasjoner.Det must emphasize how good the developers have to do the different chapters unique. Everybody has, naturally enough, his own music but also the presentation and some game mechanisms emphasize the differences. In romkapittelet hear as increasingly heavy sound of the boat in the background and we have already looked at the little genius storytelling without dialogue in the Stone Age chapter. Oboro ninja can run much quicker than any other game shape and make himself invisible, while the cave boy Pogo can smell if there are enemies nearby. Someone stories are peaceful with little fighting, others are characterized by constant struggle.
Reason why Live A Live is almost unknown here in the West is of course that Square never wasted itself to translate it, a fate that also affected a number of other games at the end of the Super Nintendo’s lifespan. There were no sequels or offshoots, as the great success of the game was not at home. A translation that appeared on the web for almost ten years ago, Live A Live available to an English speaking audience, but it remained relatively unknown. Too bad, because even though it might not be the most challenging or well-written role, it is definitely among the most unique.
Both before and since role-playing game developers in the east and west often kept to safe medieval settings (or the techno-medieval in many Japanese RPG). One can obviously rattled off a host of exceptions, however a clear tendency is the same. Live A Live is a humble little reminder of how much wonder you can do with the RPG genre, if you experiment a little.