Note 1: This game was played on a Panasonic 3DO, FZ-10 model. It was connected to a 40-inch HD-tv with composite (yellow, red, white) cables. *As an aside, I recommend getting an S-video cable (and possibly a connecter that converts the signal so you can run it through an HDMI input if you have a newer TV). S-video would look much better than composite; unfortunately, I did not have an S-video cable at the time of this review, something I will be rectifying before playing any other 3DO games.
Note 2: This will be a mini-review. There are some other great websites with information about this game as well!
Very Brief History: Lucienne’s Quest was released for the 3DO home console in 1996. It is one of only a handful of RPGs released for the system.
Story: Lucienne, the young apprentice of the powerful Kokindo, a sorcerer, is on a quest to defeat the evil Death Shadow. The beginning of the game sees Lucienne, following her master’s mysterious depature, set off on her journey with one companion, Ago, a young man cursed with becoming a werewolf at night. The quest begins with the simple task of curing Ago, but soon Lucienne becomes embroiled in a much bigger story, meeting companions and discovering more about the mysterious Death Shadow as she travels across the land.
Gameplay: Lucienne’s Quest is a traditional RPG. The game is split into a couple of different modes. Lucienne travels the Overworld on foot, walking from town to town (or handily using magic to transport). When entering towns, buildings within towns, or dungeons/towers/caves, the game switches to an (obviously) more confined screen, allowing she and her party to interact with other characters or explore. Battles occur randomly, and relatively frequently, both in the Overworld and within dungeons/towers/caves. When a battle occurs, the game switches to an isometric viewpoint. In battle, Lucienne and her party must vanquish a party of foes (or attempt to escape battle) before moving on.
Leveling Up: As Lucienne and her companions (you meet and are joined by several over the course of the game) fight and win battles, experience points are awarded. A decent amount of grinding is required to strengthen your characters, and is usually a good idea before entering dungeons/towers/caves, where a stronger boss character may await.
Weapons and Armor: Lucienne and her companions begin the game with low-grade weapons and armor, but through acquiring money from victory in battle, they can purchase new armor and weapons from shopkeepers in towns in the Overworld. Better weapons and armor are occasionally found in treasure chests or won in battle as well.
Magic: Lucienne can perform a variety of magic spells, from attack spells to cure spells to a useful teleportation spell that will instantly transport you to any of the locations you’ve previously visited. Other characters can use magic as well (they have MP, after all), but often in a more limited context – ‘magic items’ that are found can be used by any of Lucienne’s companions, if they have enough MP.
Saving: The game can be saved anytime Lucienne is in the Overworld. Typically, after a battle, it’s a good idea to ‘Rest’ (also, only done in the Overworld), which restores all of your party’s HP, then ‘Save.’ The game records how long you’ve spent playing, as well. You cannot Rest or Save anytime you enter a town, building, or anywhere else on the Overworld (although you can stay at an Inn in town, which restores both HP and MP). Because of this, it’s always a good idea to Save prior to entering an area you know is dangerous. Or, it’s a good idea to leave the area occasionally before trying to beat the entire thing, Rest then Save.
The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade:
B – Lucienne’s Quest surprised me after an hour or so. My first reaction was, ‘Pretty good, nothing special.’ And mostly, that’s probably true, but I soon became engrossed in the game, and time flew by! As far as RPGs go, it is quite linear – I never got stuck for more than one minute trying to figure anything out (there are occasionally light ‘puzzles’, like moving a bookcase to uncover a door). You basically move from one location to another on the Overworld map as you progress through the game.
The grinding, which some may like and others may not, I would describe as ‘An average amount.’ One complaint I do have is the lack of variety in enemies that the game throws at you – it could have used a lot more than what’s here. I loved the musical tracks, however, and while some got a bit repetitive, it was mostly enjoyable.
The 3D nature of the game was a bit jarring at first, but mostly because that’s not the type of game I personally usually play, and particularly not ones from the 1990s. I got used to it though soon enough. I should also note, during battles, the game has a unique feature where ‘obstacles’ (like trees) are sometimes in between you and your foes, and you must either navigate a path around them to attack or run into them and miss your foe. I wish the developers would have done away with this aspect, as the 3D nature of the battles sometimes makes knowing how to attack an enemy unnecessarily confusing, although far from unplayable.
The characters themselves are what make the game truly worth playing. While there are much deeper 1990’s RPGs out there, this one has enough character development to be enjoyable. Lucienne herself is a bit of a fireball, and the game makes a good effort to get you to care about her and at least some of the other characters. Some of the exchanges made me genuinely smile or occasionally even laugh, although I should point out that there are some grammatical errors in this game that really should have been caught and fixed before it was released.
Looking for something different that’s not overly long or overly complicated? If so, then I definitely recommend Lucienne’s Quest. Overall, I absolutely enjoyed it.