What’s Lita Ford doing with Siegfried and Roy’s lion?
This little girl can dream and hope and stab with the best of them.
RELEASE DATE: October 1992
The opening scenes of The Legend of the Ghost Lion (or simply, Ghost Lion, depending on how you like your eggs) are hilarious for all the wrong reasons. The protagonist, Maria, is being told the “legend of the white lion” by her parents. Back in the day, the white lion attacked their village and slaughtered a whole mess of soldiers that challenged it. But one plucky young lad “summoned up all his courage and threw his spear at the lion.” The white lion disappears into a cave, one spear richer, never to be heard from again. The end, right? The lion’s gone. What’s left to talk about? Well, Maria’s parents decide that the white lion’s presence, or lack thereof, is a “mystery” that needs to be solved and they leave her by herself in the town. “If you need anything, go see the village elders,” they say heartlessly. Never mind the fact that Maria looks all of eight and is probably blubbering for them not to go. The parents leave, and what a shocker, they’re never heard from again. Serves ’em right, is my opinion, but like the caring daughter her parents don’t deserve, Maria decides to go find them. Thus, The Legend of the Ghost Lion begins!
“I’m sure you can find some twigs and berries to eat in the forest somewhere! Oh, and don’t go swimming in the lake unless you swim out really far!”
Despite the clumsy intro, there is some unusual charm to this Dragon Warrior-ripoff. You play as a heroine who’s about as strong and capable as female protagonists came back in the Nineties (and even today). You don’t really have a party, but items that contain spirits who can fight alongside you or protect you. The back of the box describes this as an “RPG for beginners,” and I’d say that’s just about right. It’s hardly a bad thing, though. The battles themselves are your typical turn-based affairs. They aren’t really difficult, which is nice when it comes to exploring the world. Leveling up isn’t achieved through battles, but through exploring areas and finding “shards of hope;” battles are more about gaining money than anything else. The story is obtuse at best, but it’s leagues more interesting than the thousandth variation of “Save the princess from the evil warlord in time for tea, old sport!” The only problem I have with this game is the problem I have with all other old-school RPGs: what the butt am I supposed to be doing, and in what order should I be doing it. I know these games were all about exploration and figuring things out for one’s self, but I’m not a kid and I don’t have time for that anymore. Thankfully, this isn’t Final Fantasy which, despite my love for it, makes you grind and grind until your hands are ineffective nubs. The Legend of the Ghost Lion is a soft, light-hearted RPG that will make even the crankiest gamer crack a smile.
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