Posted on January 2, 2019
Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book/ライブ・ア・ライブ完全攻略ガイドブック
Worth getting? Yes!
Table of Contents
Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book Overview
Here’s an awesome guide for an awesome game – Live A Live for the SFC! To my knowledge, there’s only one other official guide for the game, which I haven’t picked up yet. The Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book, however, has two editions – the standard edition which i’ll be reviewing, and a “Limited” edition which includes a mini OST that I believe has each character’s theme song on it. As far as I know, the actual contents of the standard and limited editions are the same.
This is one of those guides that’s just cool to own. There’s so much going on inside, from amazing art, detailed descriptions of basically everything in the game, and even interviews with the developers of each separate scenario in the game – these cover the mindset of the teams during development, their goals at the time, and they’re thoughts on RPG development back during the Golden Age of 16-bit RPGs. Definitely a great read if you understand Japanese!
I can’t recommend this guide enough! Anyone who’s a fan of the game will probably have lots of cool and fun stuff to look at during this overview, so I hope you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy it!
The Words/Picture ratio is going to be out of whack this time, so be prepared for lots of pictures, just because! Due to the amount of pictures (20 or so…), pictures most likely won’t be related to the text around them this time, so I apologize in advance!
If you’re interested in what I thought about Live A Live, check out my review here!
Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book “Guide” Section
This section is essentially the entire guide book. Unlike most of the other guide books i’ve covered so far, the “Data” sections and everything else are all included within the walkthrough portions of the book. Item lists, art, and bestiary snippets are all included right on the same pages as the maps and everything else, so for this overview i’ll probably just stuff everything into the section to keep things easy.
Live A Live is a game that is split into different scenarios, each set in its own respective era. The Live a Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book follows this pattern and covers each individual character’s scenario, complete with illustrations for each character, the items and equipment that show up in their chapter, as well as a super detailed walkthrough with tons of pictures to make sure anyone can figure out what to do next.
While Live A Live wasn’t particularly a hard game to figure out what to do next, there was one thing that was rampant throughout the entire game – secret stuff! Live A Live was filled to the brim with obscure, secret items and equipment that were incredibly powerful. This guide covers every single secret item and how to obtain it. You’re gonna love having this guide when you play Oboromaru’s scenario!!
This first thing you’re gonna see when you open up a character’s chapter is a brief description of the backstory and events leading up to right when you’re able to control the character. After that, you’ll be greeted with some awesome illustrations of your main character, party members for the chapter, and even some side characters! The illustrations are in a really cool semi-SD-y (super-deformed, small body + big head) style, but somehow come off looking “cool” instead of “cute”.
After catching up on the backstory and characters, you’re usually presented with a map of area you’ll start out in. Though the maps can sometimes be small (1/4 or 1/2 of the page, compared to some of the FF4 guides that had 3/4, even sometimes full-page maps), they’re marked with important places/items/events. Next to the maps you’ll have separate screenshots of each individual room that can be accessed from the current map. These screenshots also include markers to make sure you won’t miss anything during your adventures.
The advice given in the guide is really solid. I might just be bitter coming off of the Star Ocean Official Guide Book’s complete lack of useful information, but what the Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book doesn’t manage to cover in words, it covers in pictures and art. Since I bought this guide after already beating Live A Live, I haven’t actually used it to progress at all during the game, but just from reading the guide itself, I can assure you it’ll definitely get you through any rough patches you might run into.
Depending on the which section you’re reading, the items and equipment index is usually either in the middle or the end of the section. Each one comes with illustrations for most weapons, armor, accessories, and items that you’ll be able to find in that particular section. What’s really cool, in my opinion, is the sheer variety of stuff that you’ll find. Considering there’s a caveman era, wild west era, sengoku era, futuristic era, and much more, it’s cool to see the illustration for Sundown Kid’s revolver and then seeing stuff like Cube’s Power Jack or Oboromaru’s gear.
Illustrations aside, each item has a detailed description of what it does and where you can find it. Equipment has its +stats and/or damage/defense listed. Items that are obtained from shops or chests have the page of that given map listed within the description, making it easy to find specific items whenever you need to.
The bestiary is usually shown when you run into a boss during the chapter. The monsters that can be found during random encounters are usually shown with a blown-up sprite and a description with their weaknesses and level/stats shown. Bosses, however, usually have their own nicely drawn illustration along with a screenshot of their in-game sprite. A list of all of the bosses abilities, weaknesses, attack patterns, and attack ranges are listed. In a separate section below, there’s usually a separate section telling you what type of strategies to use in order to easily beat each boss.
After reading each character’s section, the very last part of the guide book finally covers the secrets hidden in each chapter. Things like showing how to find secret bosses, how to prepare for them, and what they drop are covered in great detail. A short interview of members from each chapter’s development team are also shown at the bottom of the page, giving insight on what they were thinking and trying to achieve during while developing Live A Live!
Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book Review
Coming in at just around 140 pages, the Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book will keep you busy for quite a while, even if you aren’t using it to actually play the game. As I usually do with guides from this era, i’d have to recommend it even as just a simple art book if you’re even just slightly a fan of Live A Live.
The fact that they went through all of the trouble to draw each character from Success Town in Sundown’s chapter, even though they were basically all just side characters, really makes it seem like they poured tons more effort into this book than they needed to. Sometimes the book seems more like a manga than a guide book!
The Live A Live Complete Walkthrough Guide Book overall is easy to use, filled with tons of art and information, and makes a great addition to anyone’s collection. Assuming you can actually find one, definitely try to get your hands on a copy!
That’s the one difficult thing about this guide book – it’s not only rare, it’s EXPENSIVE. I got my standard edition copy for around $25 domestically in Japan about half a year ago. It’s jumped up to about $45 nowadays.
The price for most other guides here for SFC games (depending on the game, of course) are usually around $10-$15, so paying almost double the regular price then and almost 4 times the price now is hard to justify. If you’re looking for the Limited Edition that actually still has the CD intact, you’re looking at probably $60-$70 now (was about $40 when I got my standard edition).
Considering the game itself is running at about $40-$50 domestically, paying more for the guide than you’d pay for the game is a bit crazy, but I won’t say it isn’t worth it. Considering not only how rare the guide books are, but also how awesome of a game Live A Live is and how cool all the characters and stories are, adding the Live A Live Complete Walkthrough to your physical collection is definitely worth it! I really can’t recommend it enough!
Worth getting? Yes!
If you still haven’t check it out yet, take a look at my review for Live A Live/ライブ・ア・ライブ for the SFC!