Lady Sia (Game Boy Advance) review
"Even being a girl, I tend to avoid "girls-oriented" games, but when you see something like Lady Sia, it's hard to resist. A fantasy world, a blond chick with a ponytail, a sword, magical powers -- and that's all it takes to catch my attention. The plot is essentially on the standard side, Sia being the princess of a mythical continent invaded by the T'soas, a race of big humanoid rats. Her so-called allies of the neighbouring kingdoms betray her, so she ends up having to save the land on her own..."
Even being a girl, I tend to avoid "girls-oriented" games, but when you see something like Lady Sia, it's hard to resist. A fantasy world, a blond chick with a ponytail, a sword, magical powers -- and that's all it takes to catch my attention. The plot is essentially on the standard side, Sia being the princess of a mythical continent invaded by the T'soas, a race of big humanoid rats. Her so-called allies of the neighbouring kingdoms betray her, so she ends up having to save the land on her own.
Borrowing a lot of elements from both past and recent platformers, Lady Sia packs an impressive adventure, albeit rather simple. The old-school feeling Lady Sia holds has a lot to do with what makes all the game's charm, may it be the attractive art style or the interesting level design. Lady Sia doesn't seem to be trying to aim specifically at girls or guys, nor trying to be something it's not, it simply is an easy to pick up and play sidescroller for anyone up for the adventure.
Sia travels across four different continents each composed of five levels set in a fantasy world, ranging from old castle ruins to picturesque villages, luxuriant elfic forests, dusty decrepit libraries, snowy mountain peaks and other more surprising areas I'll leave to your discovery. The first notable thing that will catch your eyes is the game's creativity in regards of presentation. The hand drawn cinematics are simply artistically beautiful, with so much attention paid to little details, like the shade on objects and plants.
The in-game graphics are of the same caliber, very detailed and stylized, always vivid with vibrant colors. As you travel through these colorful lands, you'll need to make your way across large levels filled with hidden diamonds to collect. Although you can simply reach the end of a level and move on to the next, it's far more fun to look for all the secrets throughout it. The game works on a completion system, in which getting 100% on all the levels inside a world unlocks a bonus stage, a pretty rewarding feature. Getting 100% is very challenging though, as you need to find everything hidden within the stage, all that while completing it with full health and magic power. Sounds easy, but the game actually is pretty difficult.
Despite all, the game's simplistic nature follows the platforming 101 guidelines; run, jump, attack, climb, leap, collect this and that, even with the inclusion of Sia's magical powers, which just aren't enough. She indeed can use button combos to perform magic, but you'll barely use it and forget about it after a while. Even the bosses don't feel satisfying, none of the many bosses you'll encounter in the game are challenging, contrasting with the game's high difficulty level. But even with these few shortcomings and the fact that the game could have included a few more levels, it's still a lot of fun in the long run, also thanks to catchy music that captures well the feeling of the game, despite one or two harassing tunes.
Although Lady Sia doesn't revolutionize the 2D platforming world, it follows in the steps of previous old-school sidescrollers, whilst adding its own personal touch to the formula. It's basic, but it's fun all the way through, in addition of lasting for a very long time, if you're going to unlock all the extra levels. I can't do otherwise but to recommend it.
Community review by wishingtikal (January 12, 2006)
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