MonkeyPaw Games is releasing some import PSOne titles you can download on your PS3, and this past week’s was Lucifer Ring. Since it’s all in Japanese, I couldn’t tell you what the story is about, but you play as sword-wielding Nash as he fights his way through goblins, dragons, and other evil beasties (one looks like Skeletor). This 3-D hack and slash reminds me of another PSOne classic called Dragon Valor, but since I imagine no one has heard of that one, I’ll just say it’s similar to Golden Axe with a little bit of Ghosts N Goblins themes thrown in.
Nash has two kinds of attacks, fast and slow, each corresponding to two different buttons. He can also jump with another button and run by double tapping on the D-pad or by pressing the R1 button. You’ll be doing a lot of that because his regular walking speed is so SLOW. As you attack and take hits, a meter will fill up. Press the triangle button when it’s full to unleash a screen-clearing special attack! You can also find pickups in treasure chests and after defeating enemies, and they include healing potions, extra lives, and magic that can turn your sword into elements like ice. Although these pickups aren’t very frequent and you won’t see many of them.
The 3-D graphics are very rudimentary by today’s standards, and the first dragon boss hardly ever moves so that it’s almost humorous. The game is a little short, at only five stages, and I managed to beat the whole game in about an hour on the easy setting. After you beat it, you get a screen that says something will happen if you play again, but I had no desire to. But at least there may be some replay value in there. While the storyline text and narration is all in Japanese, the rest of the wording in the option screen and game are in English, so anyone can play. The last stage has some jumping parts that are pretty annoying, though, especially since you lose a whole life if you fall off a pit. Plus the game could really use some multiplayer co-op. As it stands, Lucifer Ring is decent, but not great. But it should fit the bill if you’re hankering for some classic PSOne tomfoolery.
As an import game, Lucifer Ring isn’t rated by the ESRB. You do hit monsters with sword slashes and magic attacks, and sometimes red flecks of blood fly out. But the visuals are so blocky that it’s not too terribly scary or graphically violent. Enemies just disappear when defeated. Reading skill isn’t needed, and while there are multiple difficulty selections, younger gamers may get frustrated or bored at the last stage in the game.