(Hey, it’s post 200!) I recently played “Lost Kingdoms II”, sequel to, you guessed it, “Lost Kingdoms”. I already summarized the basics of the series in the post on the previous game. You know, you summon monsters with cards and such. So that leaves me with more time to discuss the other aspects of this game. So let’s start discussing.
This game takes place about 200 years after the first, and the main character is a thief named Tara, a young woman with a mysterious past. Story-wise, the Kendarians have somehow learned how to mass produce Runestones, the magical stones that allow people to control monsters (though, they are weaker than the real things). As the story progresses, you figure out just how they are doing this, and you find out who Tara really is.
This game is much fancier than the previous one. You see, the previous one was fun, but lacking in many areas. In this one, they went all out. For one thing, the levels look much nicer and are much more interesting. The music is better. The graphics are a little nicer (strangely, though, Gurd looks worse than ever). I think more story is thrown in, and there are more characters, such as Tara’s friend, Sol. The map screen is divided into several screens now, with much nicer artwork rather than the mainly brown, un-detailed version of the last game. It’s also much easier to get money because now any excess magic stones you get count as money. The previous game made you sell cards to get money, which I simply refused to do. They also added voice acting, though, which is not very good. That was not an improvement.
They also made changes to the most important part of the game, the monsters. Now, instead of 105, there are about 226, I believe. All I have to say about that is a big fat YES. They’ve also added machine creatures and creatures you can transform into, allowing you to control the creature for a short time. These particular creatures are extra useful because they can be used to jump up ledges, fly across gaps, or break through obstacles. Or you can just pummel some enemies, if you so choose. The battling has also been changed. In the last game, you would randomly get into battles with enemies you can’t see until the battle starts, but now enemies are seen roaming the levels and can be fought or fled from at your choosing.
Overall, this is really quite a fun game. I still don’t care for any of the characters, and I think the voice acting ruins things a bit, but the much better levels and huge variety of new creatures, such as the Valkyrie, new dragon creatures, Gorgons, and Thanatos, makes this game great. And because of the transform creatures, you have a reason to revisit levels to get things you couldn’t get before. These creatures also help you get to an extra level that I particularly wanted to mention, Bhashea Castle, which I like very much. This is the castle that was overrun by the Black Fog in the original game and is never seen in that game. It is now in ruins and haunted by creepy and powerful monsters like the scary Death and the formidable Stone Head. And if you can solve some puzzles and get all four blades, you can reawaken a powerful warrior…. I love that level, especially the first time I played it. It was just so spooky and awesome.
After getting all 105 creatures in the first game, it bothers me quite a bit that I can’t get all the cards in this one. I got 225 out of 226. It’s upsetting. I remember from the past that you only have one chance for two of the cards. If you open this chest on the Bridge of Sarvan, the Lucky Lion is forever locked away (well, in that file). I knew this, so I was careful, and now the Lucky Lion is mine. But, then there’s the Barometz. I knew it only showed up a short time in the first part of Alanjeh Castle, but did I get it? No. No, I did not. When you finish a level, you often can choose these cards that are flipped over. I thought I could do that and get my Barometz that way. I guess not. It bothers me so much. That empty space in the catalog is like a punch to the face. And what kind of sicko would punch a duck? Huh? What sicko indeed! Why do you deprive me of my Barometz, company who made this game? Why do you indirectly land a blow to the face of this innocent duck? Have you no souls? Did the God of Harmony steal them from you as it did to the innocent folks in the game? Is that what happened, you sick people! Is it? Is it!
Ahem, cough, hmm. I am proud to say that I was able to, at least, get nearly all the cards, including the Emperor. Actually, this brings up a story that can be considered amusing or horrendous, depending on how you look at it. Last time I played the game, I got every card except for the Lucky Lion (yes, I even obtained the elusive Barometz). I decided to start a new file and play through to the Bridge of Sarvan and get my Lion, so I can at least say I have every card, even though they aren’t all within one file. And then guess what happened. I overwrote my file with the 225/226 cards, even losing my beloved Emperor.
So finally, this time playing through the game, I decided I was getting the Emperor back. Perhaps I must explain, though. After beating the game, a new level opens up called the Proving Grounds. It is 25 levels of unimaginable horrors (but not really, but it can get pretty bad) and at the very end awaits a powerful creature called the Emperor. This is one tough beastie who used to defeat me countless times, and after losing him in my last playthrough, I vowed to conquer him again.
It only took two tries this time. The first time he destroyed me, not unlike a hungry child attacking a bowl of Jell-O (and I’m the Jell-O). The second time I got lucky and learned a great trick. Leave an immobile, independent creature in the middle of the room, and the idiotic Emperor will repeatedly try to attack with pillars of fire, but far enough away that they never reach my creature. So this left me to attack him while he was too distracted to massacre me as he usually did in the past. His health started to get very low, and my heart started racing. Soon, the Emperor shall be mine again, after all these years apart! Once his health was almost gone, I threw a Capture Card at him. Nothing. Crap! I threw another, and I captured that son of a… Oh, glorious day! The duck is the victor once again! Sound the trumpets! Prepare a banquet! Vacuum the carpet! There will be merriment like never seen before!
So anyway, this game really improves on the original in almost every way. Except the voice acting. And the knife that is forever embedded in my heart for not having every creature. “Lost Kingdoms II” feels like a much more solid game, while the original was a little bit of a mess. For a while, though, I used to like the original better. I liked Katia better (even though she had no more personality than Tara). I liked that there was no voice acting, and it felt simpler and more pure, and with less monsters, you could get more attached to the few (if 105 can be called few) you had. But, now that I have replayed the sequel, I can’t help but admit it is really a much better game than the original. But, both have a place in my video game library. The original, simpler “LK” and the much fancier, much improved “LKII”.
Twice as Lost Duck