Early on in my RPG fandom I was willing to play anything regardless of reputation. This led to discovering many an unappreciated gem, such as Dragon View or Magic of Scheherazade. Then there are the games that were decent but the only reason you bothered playing them were availability. Lagoon falls squarely into that second category. I didn’t even buy it myself; my older brother gave it to me out of the blue. When you’re 13 and don’t have the money to buy your own games you’re more willing to tolerate anything. While I didn’t hate Lagoon I recognized it for the mediocre game it is.
Lagoon was released in 1992 for the US. Its status as a port of an X68000 game is a little known fact. The waters of Lakeland that the people rely on for nearly everything have been poisoned by an unknown culprit. Nasir, the Champion of Light, has been asked to find the source of the corruption and save Lakeland. Released early in the SNES’ life Lagoon, despite being a port fits right in with the rest of the console’s early games that did not stand the test of time.
The closest contemporary to Lagoon would be Ys. Lagoon has all of the standard RPG tropes, you visit villages and speak to villagers about your next objective, collect a range of weapons, armor, and items and you gain experience to level up. Regardless of the weapon equipped you have a retardedly short attack range that causes all kinds of problems. Much like Ys you can equip rings that boost your stats but drain your magic. Speaking of magic, the magic system is a bit deeper than normal. You will amass 5 staves that when used in conjunction with 5 different jewels create elemental spells.
Outside of boss fights your health and magic regenerate at a decent clip almost eliminating the need for healing items. There are very light platforming elements that weren’t in the original that add nothing to the game to be completely honest. It’s sad that that is the extent of the additions to the game because it needed help in the gameplay department.
The issues with the game are many and are not symptoms of its release period. Your attack range is so short it’s laughable. You’ll have to be within kissing range to damage enemies which defeats the purpose of having a weapon to begin with. In the original game you could hold the attack button to keep your weapon drawn to ram enemies like Ys but they removed it for no reason. The hit detection also raises issues, with hit boxes far too small and insanely particular necessitating unrealistic precision for your hits to register. This complicates the boss fights where it’s very easy to get boxed into a corner and watch as your life bar is drained, all while trying to discern the actual target you’re supposed to hit.
Lagoon has an abundance of NPCs that need you to escort them, one of the least favorable parts of any game and as you can imagine the execution is terrible here. The game really loves to saddle you with characters that need to be escorted to progress and unfortunately the path finding AI is atrocious. They frequently get stuck behind objects, move at a glacial pace and in general will piss you off since you can’t leave the screen until they are right behind you. All of these little issues make playing the game a pain. How do you ruin something as simple as an action RPG? Somehow they found a way.
This wasn’t a very good game to begin with and time has only exacerbated its flaws. The only element that holds up is the soundtrack which is still great. But if that’s the case just go to youtube or buy the soundtrack. Play Secret of Mana or A Link to the Past to sate your action RPG needs.
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