Live-A-Live Final Stats, Thoughts, and Trivia

At certain points, it may have sounded like I did not like Live-A-Live that much, because that was true. Certain scenarios have their annoyances, but overall, L-A-L is a lost, yet flawed gem.

Graphics

A mixed bag. Environments and protagonist sprites are pretty average, leaving some incredible enemy sprites to steal the show.

Sound

The OST by legendary composer Yoko Shimomura has some standout pieces, like “Cry-A-Live”, which plays during sad moments; the main theme; “The Bird Flies in the Sky, the Fish Swims in the Water”, the theme for the old master’s scenario; and “Megalomania”, one of the finest JRPG battle themes.

There are some clever moments within the OST itself; Oersted’s theme, “Wings That Never Reach”, segues into the main theme.

One of the Demon King’s attacks, Saint Alicia, produces a sound so complex that most emulators have trouble fully replicating it, sort of like Lavos’ notorious roar in Chrono Trigger.

L-A-L has some frustrating parts. On paper, it may sound less than the sum of its parts, but in practice, it is more. It has that X factor, whether you call it heart or soul, it’s definitely here. The game has feeling, a sense of purpose, humor, sadness, and even some creepiness.

The game has an aesop, one that can be hard to hear, but is always important: Anyone can become evil if they feel enough hatred, no matter who they used to be.

There are subtleties that are easy to miss, like how if you try to get the Armageddon ending with Oersted, you can see how easy it is for him to trigger it if he wanted to. But if you choose to play through the end as the heroes, he doesn’t use it. Why is that?

All of Oersted’s incarnations have mutations of the name “Odio”. Odio is Spanish for “I hate”.

The Legacy

Surprisingly, there is some. For starters, Gideon Zhi of Aeon Genesis saw enough value in the game to translate it (kudos!), and then he did an improved deluxe translation in 2008. I need to check it out someday.

Particularly interesting is that L-A-L is nigh-forgotten in its homeland. It’s more popular abroad! Consider that “Megalomania” and “The Bird Flies in the Sky, the Fish Swims in the Water” both made into Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call as DLC songs when they could have used tracks from, say, Chrono Cross instead.

The game’s director has always wanted to do a remake, but the game’s lack of popularity in Japan has held it back. However, the game did make it onto the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console – in Japan. What a tease.

If Square Enix ever translated that version, I think it would be a lose-lose situation for them, because it would be compared to the Aeon Genesis translations. I don’t know if Square Enix would put as much effort into translating a 20-plus year old game of theirs…

Surprisingly enough, L-A-L has a fangame that mashes it up with Touhou. It’s called Touhou-A-Live.

Rank ‘Em: The Chapters

  1. Inheritance

  2. The Strongest

  3. King of Demons

  4. Contact

  5. Secret Orders

  6. Wandering

  7. Mechanical Heart

  8. Blood Flow

Yuan’s was my favorite story; Masaru’s had my fav gimmick and presentation, but it was too short; Oersted’s was important; Pogo had the unique gimmick of no dialog; Oboro/Sunset/Cube are kind of a tossup; and Akira’s was just a dog, and I’m not alone in thinking that. Frustrating progression and the most squandered potential. Inspired by both Akira AND giant mecha anime and manga? How did this chapter not kick all of the butts? Sorry, but when it comes to Akira’s chapter, we don’t dig giant robots.

Should you play L-A-L? If you’re looking for a different yet manageable JRPG, then yes.

I would love a sequel, but only if it’s done right. I don’t think I would like it to be episodic like the Final Fantasy VII remake.

I have fantasized making a sequel to L-A-L myself. 😛

Final Stats

The characters’ stats are increased or lessened depending on their equipment.

Yuan

Pogo

Sunset

Cube

Level

22

20

17

Seven

HP

362

873

243

310

Attack

20

40

29

30

Defense

40

28

31

46

Power

139

177

52

26

Speed

139

74

131

28

Constitution

119

91

46

102

IQ

114

22

132

155

Overall:

  1. Pogo: 1,231

  2. Yuan: 933

  3. Cube: 697

  4. Sunset: 664

The Tragedy of Oersted

Oersted had a hard life. We learn nothing of his backstory, but it’s safe to presume that he didn’t have much in his past. Why else would he have such a breakdown when he lost his friends, home, and reputation? It was all he knew.

Oersted may have found the path to evil on his own, but he was not truly set down it until other people put the idea of becoming the Demon King into his head. All alone, he became what others thought he was. He became what they made him to be.

In life, when we’re unhappy and seem to be out of options, we can rely on others as a crutch, but if we let them dictate who we are and they don’t have our best interests in mind, it can be a path to misery.

This LP is one of the ones I’ve been wanting to do. I wanted to do it not just to revisit the game, but to also promote it. I’m trying to get some noise heard on social media about some of Square’s older properties like L-A-L and the Seiken Densetsu collection on the Nintendo Switch in Japan.

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