Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is a role-playing video game with puzzle elements developed by Neverland and published in Japan in 1995 by Taito, and in North America and Europe in 1996 by Natsume and Nintendo respectively, for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the second title in the Lufia series. The game is a prequel to Lufia & the Fortress of Doom. It follows the story of the first main character's ancestor, Maxim, and explains the origins of the war between mankind and a group of gods called the Sinistrals. Lufia II made a number of changes from the first game. Dungeons no longer have random encounters and there are hundreds of puzzles throughout the game, ranging from simple to extremely challenging. It also introduced new skills, such as a variety of weapons that could be used to stun monsters or solve puzzles, and IP attacks. In 2010, Square Enix released a re-imagining of the original game titled Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals.
Characters walk around an overworld map and then enter dungeons, where they fight monsters and either buy or find new equipment and spells. The player's party supports up to four characters at once, along with a Capsule Monster. There are various forms of transportation faster than walking, including a warping spell, a boat modified into a submarine, and a blimp. The game includes the casino minigames Pachinco Slot, Black Jack, Slot Machine, Stud Poker, and Action Bingo.
In dungeons, monsters appear on the map, and can be avoided if the player wishes. Motion in dungeons is also turn-based, and monsters do not move unless the player does. The main player character, Maxim, gains a number of tools and weapons which can only be used in dungeons (similar to The Legend of Zelda titles), such as a bow and arrow, bombs and a hookshot. These, along with his sword, stun monsters temporarily and interact with obstacles. Dungeons place great emphasis on puzzles. On the world map, monsters are encountered randomly.
Aside from the RPG standards of 'Fight', 'Use Item' and 'Use Magic', characters have access to IP Skills, which are attached to weapons, armor and accessories. Each character's IP bar fills when taking damage, and is depleted when an available IP skill is invoked. IP Skills take varying amounts of charge to activate. Players can freely wear and customize their characters with sets of these weapons and armor for different IP skill effects and apply them while utilizing tactics during battles. Also, IP Skills themselves cannot be customized, sometimes forcing the player to choose between a newer and stronger piece of gear, or an older, weaker one that has a useful IP Skill.
Capsule monsters are special creatures which the player may only find on specific locations of the world. Once a Capsule monster is found, the party acquires a fifth, computer controlled member. These monsters can be fed items and equipment, and once they are satiated they evolve to a different form, up to a fifth and definitive form, labeled M. Seven of them exist, and each Capsule monster belongs to a different element (Neutral, Light, Wind, Water, Dark, Fire and Soil), and has a different set of skills.
The Ancient Cave, a randomly generated dungeon composed of 99 floors, is presented to the player as a side-quest in the town of Gruberik. Every time the player enters the cave, a new layout is generated, similar to the roguelike genre. Within the cave, the characters are downgraded to zero experience points and stripped of nearly all equipment and items. The player must proceed through the cave's floors, collecting equipment, finding magic spells and increasing levels, with the objective of reaching the Ancient Cave's final floor. There are three ways of exiting the cave: by dying, by reaching its bottom, and by finding and using an item exclusive to the cave, named 'providence'. Within the cave lie two kinds of chests, blue and red. Red chests contain items which can only be used inside the cave for the duration of the playing session. As soon as the player leaves the cave, all items from red chests disappear, except for 'Iris Treasures', which cannot be equipped and serve only as collectibles. The bottom floor of the inn in Gruberik serves as a storage for these items. The rare blue chests contains items which can be used outside the cave and brought back to the cave on subsequent journeys. Some items that can be found in blue chests can also be found by other means, such as monster drops. These can also be taken in and out of the Ancient Cave just as if they were found in blue chests.
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