“ Manufacturer: Activision / Genre: Adventures & Role-playing „
Lost Kingdoms is a card-based RPG for the Gamecube.
A mysterious fog has shrouded the kingdoms within the land of Anygwyn. Anyone who enters it never returns. When the King leaves with his knights to attempt to defeat the fog, his daughter Katia disobeys his orders to remain within the castle and takes the Runestone from the castle treasury. The Runestone gives its bearer the ability for control and summon monsters using cards. With this weapon she ventures out to find her father, determined to find a way to defeat the fog.
Exploring each area is very similar to most RPGs as you find chests and stumble into random encounters. Unfortunately whenever an encounter takes place you are placed on a battle screen, which represents a a small section of the map you were exploring. However you cannot open chests or pull levers within that area until you have finished the fight and are back on the full map. Rather counter-intuitively however, this is the only time scenary becomes interactive as you can fell trees, and smash boxes and vases to find hidden items, which you cannot do in the exploration mode. As a result, you may find yourself focusing on breaking scenary objects rather than enemies during fights!
Also you can only visit each ares until the quest in it is done - you cannot backtrack to get extra XP for cards, or to get chests you missed once it is complete. This can be extermely frustrating if like me, you are a completist, particularly if a battle finishes before you have managed to break the items you can seen on screen.
Battles are nicely done and fairly simple. Your deck is displayed on the right, your hand of four cards on the left. Each card is mapped to a button and to play a card you press that button (another card is pulled from the deck to refill your hand automatically). The cards include summons, weapons, independent monsters and "helpers" such as healers or boosters. There is a basic set of elements, but it has little effect - a strong fire card may defeat a weak water card despite their elements. Cards can be found in chests, bought at the shop, or upgraded. You can also capture monsters and turn them into cards, but this is very difficult to accomplish correctly.
The main element of the game is the cards, collecting them, creating decks (you can save multiple decks making it easier to choose appropriate cards.) and trying to ensure you do not run out of them. Each time a card is used in combat it is "used up" and cannot be used again. Although there are ways to restore cards to your deck (blue fairies and deck points among them) it is easy to run out of cards if you are not careful.
The subgame, collecting red fairies to give to a scholar in the kingdom in exchange for cards, is fairly amusing but difficult to complete.
Rather uniquely this game seems to be aimed at female gamers, probably in their early teens or younger, though there is a lot to enjoy for any gamers. The puzzles are simple and the game is linear, as you travel from area to area solving quests. The graphics are standard, and in places appealing, and the spirites and monsters move beautifully. The sound effects are atmospheric, but again they are not outstanding. The control system is easy and very simple.
In general the game is simple and suitable for younger players. For older players it is an amusing diversion with a total play length on about 5 hours. Replay value is provided both by the 2 player mode and the desire to collect all the cards and fairies, although the latter goals are not enough to keep an experienced player coming back.
While this is a Gamecube game, it will play on the Wii, so for fans of RPGs on that console it may well be worth a look. The sequel Lost Kingdoms II is also available and offers more sophisticated play, appealing to older or more experienced players.
As an introduction to the Gamecube or console gaming for younger players, particularly girls, this game is excellent. For older players it provides a brief diversion, but is definitely worth a look if you find it second hand. Second hand copies are easily available online or in most gameshops fairly cheaply.
(an update of my CIAO review)
Lost kingdoms for the game cube is an ok game. I got it over a year ago and paid £10 from a games shop. It took a fair while to get into but after a few hours found myself deeply ethralled. One reason for this is that the games at times is really hard you have random battles and use a deck of cards to summon monsters with. These monsters fight in battle for you and some cards are weapons that you can use to attack beast with. Towards the end i found the game to difficult nad moved on to something else. You can definatly get hoocked on this game and there is a fair amount to do. If you want to complete this game you need to try and collect all the special beast and trade them for more powerfull ones. I spent about 35 hours on it so i rekon its 40hours long