"For an Ys ripoff, I suppose I was expecting worse."
Plot / Concept: 6 / 10
Trying to skip / ignore that the entire premise of the game sounds like something right out of an Ys game...
You probably spend the first... 60% of the game going through towns and solving problems for people. You do not get into the real part of your mission as Champion of Light until you have dealt with a whole bunch of towns and dungeons already.
From there, the story picks up and becomes a lot more serious and even a bit interesting, especially at the Dwarf Cave when you intercept the Princess for the first time in a fun little cut-scene that helped to emphasize what was going on. The only nit about the last part of the game is it devolves into a chase mission where you are constantly 1 step behind the enemy at any given time, allowing them to reach their final objective with you in tow.
Gameplay: 3 / 10
The gameplay is somewhat passable. Character could move around at a somewhat decent speed, attack, use spells, etc. The menu system was rather sluggish when trying to access stuff, as well as switching between rooms in the game.
The monsters in-game had a 'little' bit of variety in terms of attacks. Some of them launch themselves at you and some throw magic around to defend themselves, for instance
A severe nit about Lagoon is the abysmal 'hit box' for your character. You have to be so ridiculously close to the target to hit him, you must always put yourself within a dangerous striking distance. This can make boss battles very difficult.
Now for the unusual similarities to Ys.
- Item and Inventory system is 'literally' a perfect match for Ys. The equipment system used 5 swords, shields, armor and rings, EXACTLY like Ys. The item system was a list of stuff, including a limited number of items you could carry only one of each at any time, EXACTLY like Ys. There was trim around the inventory and items pages... maybe not exactly like Ys, but sure felt familiar.
And for some differences.
- Attack button. You have to swing your sword in Lagoon.
- Magic system. Ys' magic system was based on a mix of attack and support magic. Lagoon allows you to combine staves and crystals to create different kinds of spells. However, where in Ys, magic is necessary for boss fights and parts of the quest, you can get through Lagoon without magic if you want to. It is rather useless in boss fights, unless you equip rings.
- Rings. In Ys, rings are useless against bosses and very useful on the field. In Lagoon you can equip them anytime, even during boss fights, but they cost a LOT of magic to operate, so it pushes you into doing what you have to do and getting it done ASAP.
Controls: 8 / 10
The controls were good enough. You main action buttons were the necessary A & B buttons and the 4 directions were solid enough. It did not feel glitchy or unresponsive.
Music: 6 / 10
Good for the most part, it suffers from two areas.
One is the sound font system. It sounded so cheap it seemed like they were trying to avoid paying anymore than they absolutely had to and I feel the quality of the music suffered as a result.
Two is how short the tracks / themes were. They were so short, leading to a great deal of repetition. That added some 'drudging' around through the dungeons and castles as you try to search through them. At least Sigfried's castle had an interesting interlude in the middle of it's track.
Sound Effects: 4 / 10
SNES games were capable of some decent sound effects if the effort was put into them. This was not the case with Lagoon. Most of the 'sound effects' were merely effects made by the sound fonts used within the game. A 'bell' sounded like a bad instrument, for instance. It was not a case of Lagoon not trying, but Lagoon not trying hard enough.
Graphics: 5 / 10
1990 was an interesting year for SNES games. The 'real' projects had simply not happened yet. Even games like A Link to the Past had not been made/released yet, forcing games like Lagoon to set the standard for such things like graphics. Lagoon... was a bit iffy.
A lot of rooms and dungeons looked rather bland, without little variety and winding long tunnels to add to the length of the game, also making it easier to get lost. A few areas looked a bit more inspired, like Sigfried and Lagoon Castle, with more interesting architecture, but still suffering from any variety in the tiles.
Lagoon featured some close-up shots. Given the gap between young and old in the game, the portraits and 'scenes' certainly worked well. The style was consistent and thorough, working to the game's advantage.
The character sprites... hit and miss. A lot of monsters certainly worked well and I was pleased to see they were not re-using the same half a dozen sprites for so many different monsters. On the flip side, I was not impressed with a lot of the townsfolk and less with the main characters. Your character, for instance, looks like he suffers from a small black hole on top of his head.
None - Low
Once it's beat, the game offers nothing above and beyond. 'Maybe' for the story it might be worth replaying, but...