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Lost Kingdoms

Score: 60%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: FromSoftware
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Adventure/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Visually, there's not a lot going on in Lost Kingdoms. The dark style fits the game well, but lacks any kind of flair to make it memorable. The graphics have a very clean look, but the lack of any real detail makes it pale in comparison to other titles on the GameCube. The character models have a very blocky appearance and look more N64 in appearance - bringing down the graphical quality even more. The lack of detail gets worse once some of the frame rate issues come into play. Since everything is very simple, you wouldn't expect any slowdown. This is not the case; fortunately it doesn't happen too often.

Sound is about as impressive as the graphics. The music is decent, but lacks anything to make them a memorable theme. Other sound effects are rather utilitarian and consist of your standard sounds. Depending on your feelings towards voice work, you'll either be pleased or disappointed with Lost Kingdoms. Personally, I was disappointed that there were no voices since they would have at least lent a little more depth to an otherwise lackluster setup.


An evil black fog is sweeping across the land, destroying everything in its path. Legend says that the only thing that can stop this fog is the power of a magic card. After learning that she has the ability to wield this magic card, Princess Katia sets out to stop the fog. The game's story is not very compelling or deep. In fact, the only reason it's around is to give Katia a reason for traveling around the world. So basically this could be a story about Gary Coleman and his quest to grow two inches and it wouldn't have any effect on the game.

Lost Kingdoms reminded me of the original Magic: The Gathering game on the PC a few years back. The main strategy of the game is building your 30-card deck and battling with it. As fresh as the game idea is, there are more than a few major problems that cause the game to stumble and eventually fall into mediocrity. For example, you're only allowed to use you deck once per level which forces you to play by trial and error early in the game since you probably won't have that great a deck. You have the ability to run from battles at the cost of a card, so running is not an option unless you are in serious trouble. As you come across fairies and save points you can refresh your deck and health, but even these are of little help.

The most entertaining aspects of the game are collecting cards and building decks. It's easy to lose track of time while crafting a finely tuned deck. CCG fans should love this part. Lost Kingdoms also offers a fun two-player mode where you and a friend compete using the decks you created. This is probably the brightest spot in an overall dreary gaming experience.


The poor game structure and bad mechanics help to make Lost Kingdoms a pain to play. The game isn't hard, but losing cards and only being able to use your deck once per level make it more difficult than it should be. This alone was enough to make me frustrated enough to quit the game halfway through.

Game Mechanics:

The control set up is easy to learn and play with, which is always a plus. During card battles, each of the four drawn cards you have in your hand is assigned to the different face buttons. Obviously, this means pressing the button plays the card.

Lost Kingdoms is a very ambitious title. On paper, the concept of the game probably looked good. The deck creation adds some depth and replayability to the game plus it's something you don't see too often. The problem is that the execution doesn't come off as well as it should. In an effort to balance out the game, the designers actually made the game more difficult to play and less enjoyable. Lost Kingdoms really isn't a bad game, but the flaws outweigh the fun making it more of a chore to play through than anything else.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated