Story & World
Exploring the world of Ibal was loads of fun, at least for the brief times I was solo. Shoving rocks for loot was kinda cool, even if I found myself humming the Zelda reveal hidden tune most of the time. The location of most boulder entrances were fairly obvious, which is both good and bad; bad in that it takes away from the thrill of finding something well-hidden, but good in that I didn't have to spend as much time playing this tripe. The ability to dodge enemies in real-time in the overworld was enjoyable, even though this is suppose to be a turn-based blog. It was a nice change of pace over the usual unavoidable random encounters. Here's a tip for those stupid enough to play this slop: keep to the edge of the screen and you'll avoid most of the evil monsters. Also, stay in school and don't use drugs (unless they're really good). Making a map of the world was pretty much a necessity as there was plenty of backtracking as well as hidden shops and spell-teaching wizards. I also have much love for any game which forces me to break out ye olde quill and parchment.
The story was pretty meh all throughout, except for finding out that Byrn was a super-computer and the all the possible implications of that. The difficulty in just talking to NPCs was made worse that most of them had nothing of value to say, not even a decent flavour text to flesh out the setting. There were a few notable interactions, however, including a man who pickpocketed me for 1,000 (!) golds and a woman who infected me with AIDS after I confirmed my desire to "play" with her. Not to worry though, AIDS only does 10 HP damage which can easily be cured by eating a loaf of bread or just having a solid nap. 8/20
Three stat system (Attack, Defense, Agility) with leveling only increasing HP and MP. Not a whole lot of equipment and certainly none with any kind of special ability. Only a handful of spells are available with the utility and healing spells having the only real value. Like a lot of these old games, attack spells don't succeed as often as a regular attack and don't do considerably more damage or exploit some kind of elemental weakness, so why bother with them? Items were overwhelming various types of healing and restoring magic (for healing). I did buy a boomerang at one point, but it not only missed when it was first thrown, but it most assuredly did not undergo denominalization and was, instead, lost forever.
Swapping members as the story progresses is usually a welcome switch but here it's trading one member for another who functions almost exactly the same, so all that happens is a bunch of items are lost. 3/20
Combat & Monsters
While trying to avoid enemies is fun and all, once combat actually begins, it's time to button mash until it's over and hope that the female doesn't take an errant hit and die instantaneously. The mini-bosses were just as easy to kill as a regular creature, as long as their special defense was negated by some MacGuffin.
Most of the monsters are based heavily on existing creatures and they all do basic melee damage, sometimes attacking all the character in one round. A very special few are able to perform the same blinding attack that the final guardian did, but that's it for monster special attacks. 2/20
Graphics & Sound
The graphics get one point for evoking nostalgic memories of Legend of Zelda, minus one point for ripping off Legend of Zelda. On their own merit, they come in somewhat below average, which coincidentally is the same feeling I have about the music (actually, somewhat below average could be applied to the entire experience). All monsters pop up in a completely blank background so as allow one to focus more on how ugly they are. 5/20
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the economy was solid throughout the whole ordeal. As long as one stayed on top of shoving large slabs of granite around, gold deficit was never a problem. The only grinding I ever did was at the very end for Sho's fire sword, which end up not mattering anyway since their was no proper end boss battle.
There was some non-linearity during the game in that one would have to complete a character's story arc (i.e. get rid of them) before a new character could join. The game is thankfully quite short which, as I'm sure I've done with previous crappy games, actually nets it some pointage. Overall, LoI's unique shortcomings overshadow any mild amusements one might have garnered from the rest of the bog standard gameplay. 7/20
Final Ranking: 25/100