reviews\ Oct 7, 2001 at 8:00 pm

Lady Sia - GBA - Review

Lady Sia, recently released by TDK Mediactive, is one of the newest platformer titles on the market for the GBA system. And be forewarned: Don’t be fooled by the lead character and her bouncy blonde hair. This is no cakewalk game meant to just give little girls something to do with their GameBoy other than play Barbie games. Lady Sia is a scrolling platfomer for the GBA, featuring many of the same types of obstacles, rewards, and goals that you’ve come to expect from this particular genre of game – but adding some unique little tricks and features that make it a step above the average.

Lady Sia, a headstrong and quite capable princess, has watched her people and her land fall under the rule of the evil T’Soas and his hordes of beastmen. While many of the advisors spend their time trying to practice diplomacy with the enemy, the impatient Sia sets off on her own to bring down the rule of T’Soas and to free as many prisoners as she can along the way.

Overall there are 36 maps and 32 different enemies. The basic premise: progress through each level to attain items,.additional attacks, magic, and complete quests. For the more thorough gamers, there are prisoners to free and jewels to collect in order to improve your play “rating.” Not only will you earn a higher rating by collecting jewels and freeing prisoners, but you will also be rewarded points for the amount of magic and life you have remaining at the conclusion of the field.

Level design is fairly demanding and sometimes tricky, forcing you to adapt if you really want to excel. Many times you will need to manipulate levers and other landscape features to progress – so get your puzzle solving abilities ready. The levels are also fairly extensive, and are helpfully divided up by “waypoints” so to speak where Sia’s progress can be marked so that when she dies she doesn’t have to go all the way back to the beginning of the field.

Lady Sia will eventually be capable of a substantial number of physical, magical, and, well “gargantuan” attacks. What is mean is, she can use sword techniques, magic spells, and of course, transform herself into a Sasquatch (now there’s something you don’t see every day and it’s a nice touch). Basically, instead of having all of these abilities from the get-go, you will need to acquire them as you go along during the game. This is where the tutorial feature (easily turned on or off at any point during the game) comes in handy. You can fumble around and try to figure out your new abilities for yourself, or the game will automatically give you instructions when a new spell is learned. As far as stomping your enemies as a Sasquatch (and other magical abilities), magic does take mana. Both mana levels and life levels can be replenished along the way much in the same way you collect jewels.

Jump and fight – jump and fight. The staples of platforming at it’s heart, from there it’s the icing. Most of the time, Sia’s controls are incredibly easy and have really cool little extras like having her totter to warn you you’re getting closer to the edge or having her use her sword as a sort of grappling hook to hoist her to the next platform. However, there’s sort of a weird momentum that propels you into enemies as you fight and you could suffer quite a bit of damage if you think you’re just going to hack and slash your way through your enemies. Once you get used to it though, it’s alright and it should only set you back for a bit.

The graphics are amongst the better I have seen for the GBA so far. The colors and shadings are bright and well animated, lending to the game an atmosphere both serious and somewhat lighthearted at the same time. Once again, you are reminded to take Sia seriously and not expect it to run like a Saturday morning cartoon.

Overall, Lady Sia is more than a worthwhile experience on the GBA. It offers breadth, scope, and a quality graphical presentation and level design. The game offers plenty of challenges, tempting the more avid gamer into raising their ratings even after completing the fields to fulfill their quests. So get your best battle cry ready and head on out as the feistiest warrior princess to hit the handheld world.

Gameplay: 8.5
Lady Sia performs well as a platformer , giving enough challenge for the average gamer, and even more for the perfectionist at heart. There’s a great tutorial for beginners that is almost essential for knowing which new abilities you’ve acquired and how to use them. There are some minor control eccentricities which can sometimes throw off the experienced gamer and sometimes frustrate.

Graphics: 8.5 
Graphics are amongst the better I’ve seen so far for the system.

Sound: 7
Music is original and appropriate for the GBA system.

Difficulty: 8.5
The tutorial section is really well documented and can easily be turned on or off depending on the gamer’s preference. Some controls can feel awkward at first but are ultimately manageable.

Concept: 9 
Lady Sia satisfies on many different levels. It’s a great platformer, a long in-depth game, pretty nice to look at, and of course offers a bit of “girl-power” for the up and coming lethal ladies out there. Lady Sia backs up the original concept with great gameplay and it makes for a truly unique experience.

Overall: 8.5
Lady Sia is a magnificent platformer for the GBA system and is bound to be a hit with fans of the genre, as well as warrior princesses everywhere.


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