About Live-A-Live

History

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JSLive-A-Live is a Squaresoft RPG; released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo in Japan. The unofficial English translation was completed in December of 2001 by Aeon Genesis Translations. Squaresoft experimented with a different type of battle system for Live-A-Live. It revolves around a grid system, giving you the ability to move around characters in a small battlefield. It carries some characteristics from strategy/RPG games and action/RPG games, so it's hard to say exactly what its genre is. Much like SaGa's feature, which allows you to choose your own characters, Live-A-Live goes beyond that by giving each character their own RPG adventure.

Battle System

It's a bit like Final Fantasy Tactics and a bit real-time. Characters move around in a grid-like battlefield. There's no movement span, so you can move around as much as you want, but there's a string attached, enemies randomly move around and attack each time you move. There's barely any armor/weapons that your characters can equip; there aren't any stores at all throughout the game. Rather, you obtain armor/weapons either by picking them up from defeated enemies or by finding them in hidden places like pots n' stuff. You can also pick up cure items and attack items. Best of all, all attacks can be used infinitely. HP is restored after every battle (like in SaGa games). When a character's HP reaches zero, you can revive them with a cure ability/item, but you need to hurry to use them or else your character will disappear if they get hit again. They're not gone forever, they return with full HP after you win the battle.

My Opinion

Even though Live-A-Live is the second shortest RPG in existence (Tenchi Muyo RPG is the shortest), I still think it's a great game. Its mini-storylines are unique and creative. They would leave a lasting impression on you since no other SNES game has storylines like this. The music has its own interesting style and it blends into each scene nicely. The style of the graphics bear a striking resemblance to that of Final Fantasy 5. The battle system is definitely original. Each character has their own unique arsenal of attacks and special abilities. I think Live-A-Live's strong point is its variety. Before I get into that, first let's take a moment to consider exactly what variety we have available to us. Here are all the (English) non fantasy SNES RPGs:

• Earthbound ~present day RPG

• Cyber Knight ~future RPG (fan translated)

• Cyber Knight 2 ~future RPG (fan translated)

• Front Mission ~future RPG (fan translated)

• Front Mission: Gun Hazard ~future RPG (fan translated)

• Inindo: Way of the Ninja ~ancient China RPG

• Robotrek ~present day RPG

• Super Robot Wars 3 ~future RPG (fan translated)

Before fan translated RPGs came to be, we only had a mere three RPGs that provided us something different than the usual wizards and warriors. Then when fan translated RPGs blessed our lives, we were provided with a larger variety of future-type RPGs. All in all, there's just 2 present day RPGs, 5 future RPGs, and one ancient China RPG (ugh, Inindo's so awful it's almost not worth mentioning). Live-A-Live breaks the mold by providing us with 7, yes 7 different RPGs in one. They're short RPGs, lol, but that's not the point. In addition to genres already covered, Live-A-Live gives you the opportunity to experience a few that have never been covered: a ninja RPG, a 'Wild West' RPG, and a prehistoric RPG. And unlike Earthbound and Robotrek, Live-A-Live's storylines aren't cutesy. The serious and sometimes sinister storyline elements are very refreshing.

Live-A-Live has so many hilarious quotes. Like this. There's also this on-going joke throughout the chapters with some kid's father dying and he's like, "NOOOO!!!!", like this. Oh, and there's a secret chapter once you finish all 7 characters. Since it's a secret chapter, my section on it is also a secret. Bwaha! >:D The link to it is hidden somewhere within one of the sections. I'll give you one hint: move your mouse near a big word.    ...But if you're not in the mood for a hunt, move your mouse over the rectangle below for a clue.

on the main page, move your mouse to the left of the logo

The two elements that I would say are the highlights of Live-A-Live are the dialogue and the battle system. Both are genuinely unique! The dialogue is loud and more mature than what we're used to with the wholesome tone in regular RPGs; it's refreshing. The one-of-a-kind half RPG/half strategy battle system is a very much welcomed change of pace. These elements make Live-A-Live stand out from other SNES RPGs.

The only negative thing I can say about Live-A-Live is that sometimes it's tedious to find out what to do next. The temptation to peek at a Live-A-Live walkthrough would be hard to resist. Also, some of the final battles are quite hard. Overall, the game is excellent. I'd recommend it to any retro RPG fan.