Lufia: The Legend Returns (2001)

by Ji-yeong
7 minutes read


Lufia: The Legend Returns is a JRPG that combines traditional role-playing elements with a unique grid-based battle system. Set in a world threatened by the Sinistrals, the game follows the journey of a hero destined to save the land.


Lufia: The Legend Returns is a classic JRPG that takes players on an epic journey to thwart the plans of the evil Sinistrals and uncover the mysteries of the protagonist’s destiny.


“Lufia: The Legend Returns” is a role-playing video game for the Game Boy Color developed by Neverland and published by Taito, Natsume Inc., and Ubi Soft in Japan, North America, and Europe, respectively, in 2001. It is the third game in the Lufia series and the first one to appear on a handheld gaming system.

The game is set in a fictional world divided into four continents. Throughout the course of the story, the party will venture to the various locales of these continents to battle the Sinistrals, enemies returning from the first two games in the franchise.

The gameplay of “Lufia: The Legend Returns” is similar to other games in the series, with role-playing video game elements like random battles. It uses the series’ “IP System”: special skills are not tied to character equipment. Instead, characters gain new special abilities (called “IP Skills”), by finding Ancient Texts hidden within various dungeons throughout the game.

To use those abilities, they must obtain the requisite amount of Spiritual Force (or “SF”). Much of the game takes place on the Battle Screen, where the player’s characters will engage enemies ranging from low-level Red Jellies to sea creatures and evil gods.

Even though nine characters can take part in a battle, only three of them may attack per turn, one per vertical column. Characters in the top row will do more damage when attacking enemies, but will also receive more damage; those in the back row will receive less damage, but also deal less.

In order to make the most of these three turns, the player is able to move the characters around the Battle Screen in between rounds. In this way, it is possible to revolve characters around the field in order to make the most of their different abilities.

If a character loses all of his or her HP during a battle, that character will be unable to participate in the rest of the battle, and will not earn any Experience or Learning Points once the battle is over. The character will automatically be revived after the battle with 1 point of HP. However, if the player revives the character before the battle ends, there will be no penalty.

A new addition to this third installment in the Lufia series is the Spiritual Force, which comes in four types, and lets the character learn one IP skill. The Ancient Cave, made popular in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, reappears in this third installment in the series. As in the original, the Ancient Cave’s layout is randomly generated and consists of 200 distinct levels that the player must navigate in order to reach the bottom.

The story follows a band of friends reunited by an odd girl who’s looking for volunteers to search for the mythical Doom Island and uncover its treasures. Set in Southland, 100 years after the Second Doom Island War, a new threat is nearing its revival and the world is approaching a major change as the Spiritual Force cries once again for help of the chosen warriors.

“Lufia: The Legend Returns” is a captivating game that combines elements of strategy, role-playing, and adventure. Its unique gameplay mechanics, engaging storyline, and rich world-building make it a standout title in the Lufia series and a must-play for any RPG fan.


The protagonist (descendant of Maxim), Sinistrals (Gades, Amon, Erim, Daos), and various party members that join the hero on the journey.


Lufia: The Legend Returns features turn-based combat with a 9×9 grid system that adds strategic depth to battles. Players can form a party of up to nine characters, each with unique abilities and skills. The game also includes puzzle-solving elements, exploration, and character development.


Lufia: The Legend Returns is a worthy addition to the Lufia series, offering a compelling story and a unique battle system. While it may not have the polish of its predecessors, it remains a memorable experience for fans of the genre.

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