By: Casey Curran
Early 3D games are not something I usually enjoy. There are exceptions, like Crash Bandicoot or Zelda, but I feel that, more than any other era, the mid-90s have not aged well. Lucifer Ring is definitely the kind of game that falls into that category, a title arriving for the first time from Japan on PSN. And I really wish it just stayed there.
Clunky is the perfect word for this game. Attacking has no real flow to it, with awkward pauses in between phases of what I can barely call combos. It is not like there is much depth to the controls, either. Square is regular attacks, X is a charge attack, circle is jump, while triangle is a special attack you can do when you have your meter filled up high enough. These are both very basic and yet so awkward that I was never able to feel comfortable with these controls.
Judged by today’s standards, this game is not a looker. However, since the kind of people who would have any interest in this game would be those who are willing to look past PS1-era graphical shortcomings, I will judge it based on that. In that sense, it employs some really well done backgrounds and enemy models. A nice use of colors helps the objects that need to pop out do their job.
Sound effects, however, are very basic and make the game feel kind of bland as a result. Music is nonexistent with a kind of atmospheric background noise in its stead. This game is not really the kind where atmosphere would play a big role like Silent Hill does, so it just makes the game feel a little more boring as a result.
Lucifer Ring is basically PS1-era 3D at its worst. The game’s aforementioned clunky controls make combat feel very boring and bland, with little depth. To make matters worse, there is no block or dodge button, just double tapping the d-pad for a very limited run. This makes combat either feel very cheap or very tedious as you have the choice of getting hit for no good reason or resorting to annoying hit-and-run options.
There is not much variety, either. The game just sends waves of enemies at you without much else, such as any hidden secrets or other gameplay elements. There was even a section where a treasure chest in the background was teased at me, then invisible walls kept me from getting to it my entire stay in that area. While there is a nice enemy diversity, the enemies are not fun enough to fight to turn this into a positive. Bosses also show up, yet the only way to really beat them is through the aforementioned cheap hit-and-run tactics. Nearly everything that could go wrong with a beat ’em up does here.
If you are looking for a beat ’em up, there are plenty of better options out there, whether 2D or 3D. I think pretty much anything in the genre would both be more varied and more fluid than this offering. Lucifer Ring has aged horribly, and I cannot even imagine this game being well received if it came over here when it first came out.