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Live A Live

Traditional RPG
  • 2 September, 1994
A 4 total ratings
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Final Fantasy on Crack - Live A Live Review

A Live A Live review Author: Jeriaska Published: May 11, 2006
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||thumbnail`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/title.jpg`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/title_thumb.jpg ` Prepare for insanity `right||Live A Live (rhymes with drive a drive) soars on wings of manic Japanese weirdness. Unlike Hanjuku Hero, Live A Live still holds enough of its shit together to prove entertaining to an American gamer, staying true enough to its Final Fantasy routes to claim the title of a legitimate RPG, but on crack. Perhaps the strongest feature is the score by Yoko Shimomura at her manic best years before she earned stardom status with Kingdom Hearts. Shimomura just went nuts on this game, really playing to the craziness of the many genres thrown together in this Battle Royale of an RPG.||thumbnail`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/akirahouse.gif`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/akirahouse_thumb.jpg `Welcome to Akira?s suburban apocalypse`left||
||thumbnail`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/captainsquare.jpg`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/captainsquare.jpg` Captain Square `right||
Live a Live has no story, per se. Rather, the game boasts eight (count 'em) unique stories that you can play through Mega Man style in any order you choose. Enemies are encountered through random battles, and battle scenes take place on a grid, allowing you to attack enemies from various positions. The eight episodes are each bizarre in their own fashion. In the Prehistoric chapter you play as a caveman named Pogo who befriends an ape named Gori and battles against dinosaurs to win the love of his sexily rendered cavebabe Bell. In a Techu-esque chapter, you play as Oboro the katana-wielding ninja, running around Tokugawa era Japan. This chapter is complemented by its Chinese equivalent in which you play as a sagely Kung Fu master and his apprentice Lei.||thumbnail`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/pogo.jpg`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/pogo.jpg` Pogo`right||

In a delightful Old West episode you play as Sundown, a Clint Eastwood clone, who has a showdown with a gatling gun toting outlaw. Then there's the WWF Wrestling episode, styled after Mike Tyson's Punch Out, with a dead ringer for Hulk Hogan named Max Morgan. Perhaps the least fun chapter has you playing as motorcycle racing would-be badass "Akira" in a post-apocalyptic suburbia who lives with his mom and is forced to do errands. You are transported to a spaceship for the futuristic episode, ala 2001: A Space Odyssey, where you play a robotic egg named Cube and meet the world's coolest superhero, Captain Square.
||thumbnail`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/charselect.jpg`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/charselect_thumb.jpg` Choose your character`right||

||thumbnail`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/orsted.jpg`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/orsted.jpg` Orsted `left||
After you have completed these quests you can play as the Erdrick-like Medieval knight Orsted. The final chapter takes place in a snow-capped mountain and has all your friends teaming up to face one giant boss, a hero from one of the previous chapters turned bad (guess who). In an obvious jab at Square's rival flagship series, Dragon Quest, you are asked whether or not you would like to battle the supervillain, and declining lands you a lame ending.
||thumbnail`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/sunset.jpg`/media/Live%20A%20Live_review/sunset.jpg` Sunset `right||
I would give this game a perfect score if not for the fact that certain episodes are just impossible to get through, at least for a gamer with sub par Japanese reading skills. Needless to say, completing three episodes only to be locked in Akira's purgatorial wasteland indefinitely, until having to start over, is no fun... though in a detached frame of mind, the fact that Live A Live doesn't actually work subtly adds to its charm. One comes away with the feeling that the entire game is a kind of playable glitch and that none of it should have been possible in the first place. Perhaps the only satire on RPG's, not to mention a completely cracked out trip, Live a Live is worth the expense of importing or emulation. Just don't get too mad when the game refuses to make sense.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "Live A Live soars on unsteady wings of manic Japanese weirdness"
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Endoplasmic Reticulum
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Member since October 03, 2003
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