Review: Lost Kingdom

I've got to truthfully say, before I bought Lost Kingdoms I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. However, as a card-battling RPG, as well as one of Gamecube's first RPG's, I couldn't turn it down. Luckily, I was not disappointed. What I found was an extremely unique game that quickly became one of my favorites.


I have to admit, there's really nothing special in the graphics department. It's really pretty average, and often too zoomed out to see much detail. They kind of remind me of Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, but are not quite as detailed. However most of the monsters are pretty cool looking, and I like some of the effects, such as the swirling ripple when you enter a battle. And the cinematic sequences, though few and far between, are considerably better. Yet, as I'll explain later, this is one of those games that proves that graphics don't really matter.


Again, there's not a whole lot here either. The monsters' sound effects in battle are not too bad, and the battle music is exciting and creates an appropriate mood, most of the rest of the music is too soft and can be termed as "interesting" at best. Even worse, this is the only Gamecube game I have ever played with absolutely no voice acting. But you'll hardly notice the difference once you get into the game.


Now this is where this game really shines, as all truly good games should. The best way I can describe it is, for those of you card-battlers, as a slightly dumbed-down Yu-gi-oh or Magic: the Gathering duel, but in real-time. There are three basic kinds of monsters: Independent, which wander the battlefield on their own; Weapon, which appear only for a moment to attack then disappear; and Summon, which also only appear briefly to perform certain special tasks. Independents not only attack the enemy, but many can act as traps, or support other monsters in a variety of ways. Summon-type creatures can do everything from attacking every enemy on the field, to restoring your health, to putting used cards back into your deck. Monsters are also divided by the five attributes: water, fire, wood, earth and neutral. Water beats fire, fire beats wood, wood beats earth, and earth beats water. Neutral cards aren't affected by attribute, and are often quite rare and powerful. Attacks can have special effects, such as poisoning, petrification, paralyzation, cursing and charming (confusion).

At the start of the level the game randomly shuffles your 30 card deck, but you can only hold four in your hand at any given time. Using these cards requires you to pay a certain number of magic stones depending on the monster, which will be replenished as you damage enemies. These stones also count as experience for your entire deck, so it is wise to gather as many as possible. Otherwise only the cards that make the final blow will gain the experience. If you don't have enough stones to pay for a card, you can pay with HP - at 10 HP per stone it had better be worth it. Also crucial to your survival are the Deck Points that are scattered around most levels, which refill your HP and allow you to add new cards to your deck - ones that you have found or captured in the level so far, to help make sure you don't run out of cards.

As you wander the scenic levels, at any time a random battle may occur, as in most RPG's. But instead of being taken to some separate battle ground, the fight takes place right there, and the scenery often affects the battle. Different types of terrain can slow you down; objects, such as trees and wagons, can be destroyed, and often produce magic stones, open new pathways, or hide cards or elusive red fairies. Red fairies can be traded for rare cards with the scholar Alexander, once you meet him. At the end of each level you are given a rating from one to five; depending on this rating you can pick 1-3 of 6 down cards, 5 of which being enemies from the level, and one the level's boss. Don't worry if you don't get the boss, there will always be chances later. However it's best not to try to finish the level in one try; considering that you can abort a level at any time and get to keep anything you've gained.

Experience doesn't play as huge a role as one would think, however. Cards don't actually level up, meaning they remain exactly as strong no matter their amount of experience. This can be interpreted as good or bad: at least you don't HAVE to spend time leveling your monsters up. It is a good idea, though, as experience is used to pay for copying cards and transforming them, which can provide you with very good cards later in the game.

Another great aspect of the game is the 2-player battle mode, in which two players can load their decks and go head to head. There's even a Fair Play rule, if you want to use it, banning all the extremely powerful cards. You can raise the stakes of the battle by betting cards, and to the victor go the spoils.


The simplistic controls greatly add to gameplay, as it is easy to pick up and start playing right away The only challenge is learning to aim some of the Weapon and Summon attacks, but most are easy enough. What else can I say? Controls don't get much easier than this.


Wow, they were pretty accurate when they said 20 hours. I've beaten the game with 104 of 105 cards in almost 21 hours. Of course, that was including doing every level (some are optional), and training every card to the point where I know all of their transformations. That doesn't take too long, though, if you know where to train. I'm guessing it would still take about 17-18 hours without struggling to get as many different cards as possible. Yet after doing all that I don't really feel like playing it again, so I guess the game doesn't have much replay value. Still, I suppose I've played it at least as long as I've played Resident Evil, which isn't too bad when you think about it.

Final Say:

Overall this is an awesome and original game. I would definitely recommend it to any RPG-fan and especially those who enjoy card-battling. Also a great idea to get if you know someone else who is getting it, the two-player battles are challenging and drive you to do well in the main game. Hopefully only the first of a long list of great RPG's to come to Gamecube.


N-Europe Final Verdict

Original and fun. What else can you want in a game?

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Lots o' cards to get
Easy to play


Some levels are short

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