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Lufia & the Fortress of Doom, released by Taito for the Super Nintendo in December 1993, is the first game in the popular series. The game's story contains the typical group of heroes out to stop the reawakened evil of 100 years past, but differentiates itself through its emphasis on interpersonal relationships. Much of this centers on the hero and his childhood friend, Lufia, who is involved in one of the biggest and most emotional spoilers in video game history.


Best time: 5:27 by David Kim on 2006-07-02, done in 34 segments.

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Author's comments:

First, I want to thank the following people:

Forgotten One here. The first thing that comes to my mind is: Wow. This whole endeavor started with a thread back in February. I must admit, I didn't think too seriously of it until Enhasa offered a $100 bounty for the game. He then asked me to run the game, so I decided to give it a shot. When I was younger, it was one of the two RPGs I played extensively. Hopefully, I wouldn't get tired of the game. After nearly six years, my memory about Lufia was fuzzy, so I ran a few practice runs off the emulator.

The first practice run wasn't very promising. I finished the game well over the soft 7:00 limit for the Speed Demos Archive. However, I got into the swing of things and started another practice run, shaving off an hour and a half. Each run got shorter and shorter until the final practice run was the most optimal one I could manage without save states. My practice runs allowed me to keep track of my monetary earnings, allowing me to know which items to purchase ahead of time. Each purchase made in this game is done with a reason. After my fourth practice run was completed, I finally had a time to beat on the SNES: five hours and thirty-four minutes.

This speed run also doubles as a low level run of sorts. Leveling up is a time-consuming affair, but it is necessary. I doubt it is possible to finish the game with levels lower than the ones achieved in this run.

There are three points I want to make about the battle system in Lufia and the Fortress of Doom.

As a note, this run has been optimized without Mimic or Core abuse. These two enemies reward the player with an incredible amount of experience points considering their location. I seriously contemplated slaughtering them, but I decided against it in the end because I couldn't kill one, period. A 5:00 run may be possible if this was used because you would save at least a few minutes building levels. A couple of my Segments will show the frustration with Red Core harvesting.

I hope you viewers enjoy the run. If you're still reading by this point, I'll mention specific mistakes in the Segments.

Segment 1: Introduction
If you haven't played Lufia 2: The Rise of the Sinistrals, you may want to skip this segment. Lufia 1 begins with the end of Lufia 2.

I name the main character David, after myself. Officially, the hero is nameless.

This segment went as flawlessly as possible, with two glaring mistakes. I accidentally told Selan to attack during the battle with Amon. As it turns out, I didn't lose any time.

I never saw Daos attack before and he ends up doing it twice, saving me a couple of seconds there.

The tactics against the Sinistrals were optimized by Enhasa, who I thank graciously for his assistance. They're the same for the most part; Maxim and Guy attack, Selan casts Thunder, and Artea casts Dread twice before attacking. The only exception to this rule is Erim, who essentially forces Selan to attack.

By the way, check out Selan's HP. None of my characters will ever break 400 HP.

I finally gain control of David about 13 minutes into the game. My inability to pick up the Swing Wing would be my second glaring mistake. A couple of seconds was lost there.

This is the first time I finished this segment in 14 minutes. This was a great start.

Segment 2: Alekia to Sheran
This is the first segment that needed plenty of restarts because of spiders. These monsters are an instant run killer. Running is a crapshoot, and David doesn't deal enough damage before being annihilated.

In order to progress through the story, all you need to do is enter Sheran. There is no need to talk to anyone inside. Seeing is believing I guess.

I wish I could walk on the world map without fighting any monsters.

Lufia finally joins with her Flash spell. Random encounters are now much more bearable.

I admit I could have picked up all of those items more cleanly.

This is the first time Gades has killed me. Usually, I commit suicide before Gades has a chance to react. On the other hand, the viewer gets to see how much damage Gades deals to poor David. When I fight Gades for real in the end of the game, it's not much different. In case you were worried, I didn't lose any time.

Darn NPCs. Why can't I just shove them out of my way?

I would leave Lilah in Alekia, but Lufia stops you from going any farther than the Cave to Sheran.

I lost a couple of seconds when I forgot to pick up the Great Potion and backtracked to pick it up.

Segment 3: Sheran to Treck
Here, I realized I'm behind a level compared to my practice runs. For the rest of the game, I will be one level behind until Glasdar Tower.

I get excited when a Kobold drops a Mid Arrow. You will see why in the next segment.

The music playing during Guy's funeral is my favorite piece of video game music. It's a shame I get to enjoy it for a couple of minutes.

I raid Guy's grave for a Short Sword because I'm despicable and need the weapon.

I lost a few seconds there because I had a brain fart and forgot what I had to do during my second visit to Treck.

Segment 4: Two bosses to Grenoble
The four Demon Lords are the first boss of the game. Each of the Demon Lords has about 50 HP plus or minus a few HP. They have four actions: Attack (about 10 damage), Dew (10 damage to the party), Mirror (reflects spells), and Strong (heals around 30 HP). In this battle, a 51 HP Mid Arrow killed one Demon Lord outright. In a different attempt, a 48 HP Mid Arrow killed one. I hate the random monster stats.

What happened to the ship the Demon Lords came in?

Foul Water ensures a random battle every step. It is a desirable item because it speeds up level building compared to the traditional method. I use it here because I need the extra levels to survive the next boss.

Miracles are probably the most important item in the game. They restore all HP and MP, and revive any dead characters. I need as many as I can get.

I lost a couple of seconds in one battle because I forgot who I told each character to target.

The Goblins can only attack, making this the most one-dimensional boss fight. However, since there are three of them, I have one hell of a time trying to kill one. This is the reason why I saved the remaining Mid Arrows. This battle would have gone very well if I didn't lose a few seconds reviving Lufia.

It does cost 5800 Gold to purchase Plated Mail. I love the little things in this game.

I believe Lou Shaia keeps one Gold for himself despite the fact I let him go. He can have it for all I care.

What exactly stops a guy from getting the Fairy Kiss?

Segment 5: From Grenoble to Medan
This is the first of four segments where the loading screen is not recorded. I apologize.

Mercifully, this is a short segment. Its purpose was to unlock Kirof and Medan for Swing Wing use, as well as pick up Mid Arrows and better weapons for the next boss.

I made one mistake here, which may have cost me time. I forgot to pick up the Hi Potion and Sweet Water in Kirof for the next segment.

Segment 6: Old Cave Level 2 and Northwest Tower
This is the second segment where the VHS didn't record the loading screen. Sorry.

This is one of the worst segments in the run. As I said earlier, I forgot to pick up the Hi Potion from Kirof. I could survive the Apprentice easily if I had it. Without it, I would be forced to use a Miracle or Ex Potion, which hurts me in the long run. I kept the Segment because I didn't need to heal against the Apprentice, even though the random battles were hell and I made a wrong turn in the Northwest Tower.

You can thank StrangenessDSS for my route in the Old Cave. She told me it would be sloppy if I had picked up every chest.

That battle was the closest I ever came to death with Lufia in the Fairy Kiss portion of the Old Cave.

I went out of my way to pick up those stat potions because they are as good as a level up.

In the planning stages, I anticipated the Apprentice would be a difficult battle until I read dinobotmaximized's FAQ. He detailed a quick and easy strategy against the Apprentice using only Mid Arrows. This is the strategy you see here. Regardless, I had to be careful against the boss because he relies on the AGL stat, which would allow him to perform two actions to David's one.

Segment 7: Old Cave Level 3
This the third segment where the VHS didn't record the loading screen.

I sold the Silver Wick because I earn 150 more gold than if I traded it in at the Old Cave.

Segment 8: Ghost Cave
This is the last time the loading screen is not recorded. I wish I caught those mistakes much earlier.

I purchase those Potions so I don't have to rely on Strong in the Ghost Cave. I need to gain a couple of levels in the Ghost Cave in order to deal with the boss.

I equipped the Water Ring so I can kill Flamespooks and Willowisps in one Dew spell.

In one of the battles, a Swordspook drops a Scimitar. What you see Aguro's ATP increase drastically. What you don't see is me pumping a fist in jubilation because it makes the boss so much easier.

The Ghost Ring is the most important item to pick up in this dungeon. I believe it increases damage against Ghost-creatures by 150%.

The Phantasm is the first serious boss roadblock in the run. It can deal at least 30 damage to the entire party with its Spark spell, confuse or put the entire party to sleep, and can use Shield (increases MGR) to resist Lufia's spells. The longer the battle takes, the harder it becomes.

All of this would be true except I picked up the Scimitar. Watch Aguro make mincemeat of this boss.

Segment 9: Belgen's Caves
There is a Dais save here because I decided to go back and redo this segment. As you can see, this segment was better than its predecessor because I saved seven minutes.

The speed runner is overjoyed to see his second Scimitar.

The poison was a stroke of bad luck. Since I don't have an Antidote, Lufia will have to deal with it until I can get David to learn Poison (heals Poison, oddly enough).

No matter how many times I play this game, Jerin still looks like an infant.

Segment 10: North Tower
Normally, I would restart after two deaths as it happened in this segment. However, the following boss battle was the best one I ever had in all of my practice runs, forcing me to keep the Segment as whole. Just think of this as a testament to the randomness of this game.

I suppose death is one way of healing Lufia of poison.

The Flash Ring is the most important accessory in the game. It increases the damage of her Flash-related spells by at least 150%. In fact, her damage output now surpasses the two guys because of her AGL.

I hate the Follower. He can cast Frost, confuse a party member, or deal 20+ damage with his normal attack. When the Follower falls below a certain amount of HP, he adds the following actions to his repertoire: Bolt (deals 40 - 70 damage to one target), Jolt (heavy physical damage to one target) and Stronger (heals around 80 HP). When he enters this phase, he's near death, but his AGL makes it difficult to deliver the final hit. I've never seen such success against him at a low level, and the fact that Aguro delivers the finishing blow after nearly perishing makes it sweeter.

Segment 11: Lost Forest
This is a straightforward and quick segment.

I love the scene touching on Lufia's jealously. I don't know what she did to David though.

If you don't talk to the old woman in the basement, you will be unable to get the Hope Ruby.

Segment 12: Blue Tower
This quick segment is dedicated to obtaining the Green Jade.

This would be one of the closest things to a sequence break in this game. It turns out you can skip the Green Tower entirely before returning to place the Green Jade there. You don't have to see the broken red sapphire cutscene in order to get the Hope Ruby.

I never knew that about rubies and sapphires. The more you know, I suppose.

Segment 13: Red Tower
You'll notice a segment was already saved here in Grenoble. This recorded segment is the better one obviously.

Normally, this would be where I raid the 4th level of the Old Cave. However, I have to be at level 15 to enter the 4th level and I'm still at 14. As a result, I switch this Segment with the 14th one, so I end up fighting the Water Ghost.

Before, I considered the Water Ghost to be the most difficult boss in the game. His normal attack deals at least 30 damage and his Ectoplasm spell drains a hefty amount of MP. His most devastating attack is his Water spell, which smacks the party for at least 50 HP. However, I did some experimenting during my practice runs and it paid off handsomely. The Big Arrows I purchase back in Segment 11 are used to rip the Water Ghost a new one. The basic strategy has everyone but Lufia throwing Big Arrows. She casts Flash instead, which deals as much damage as a Big Arrow. Whenever necessary, the party heals themselves with the Hi Potions I bought along with the Big Arrows.

With this in mind, the Water Ghost battle didn't go as planned because the Water Ghost cast Ectoplasm on Lufia, nearly draining her MP completely. I had to scramble to find some way to replace Lufia's damage output. A couple of slashes ended up doing the trick, because I killed the Water Ghost on the last Big Arrow in my inventory.

Segment 14: Old Cave Level 4 and Medan Mines
The 4th level of the Old Cave is full of goodies to be found and sold. These items would have been more useful if I was able to use them against the enemies in the Red Tower and the Water Ghost.

Segment 15: Elfrea and Odel
I place the three gemstones in their corresponding towers, opening the way to Elfrea. Finally!

After visiting Elfrea, Jerin learns Elf, which allows you to return to Elfrea. WHY?

Jerin's Elven Bow allows me to hit all enemies. Since Artea's Bow is stronger than the Elven Bow, it must be one the best weapons in the game.

I walk through the cave in a weird pattern because there's a curse preventing me from just walking through it. Of course, I had the pleasure of memorizing the path ahead of time.

Segment 16: Searching for Shaia Part 1
The following segments contain the part of the game I dislike the most. This has to be one of the most useless quests in RPG history.

Odel Castle is full of goodies, but Piron resides in this castle. I hate his name, his job, and what he forces me to do.

I didn't make a wrong turn there in Shaia Lab. I went there in order to unlock Platina as one of the places Jerin can Warp to in the future.

If you can kill it, the Mimicker is one of the monsters that give up a healthy amount of experience points. The key word in the preceding sentence is IF.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Piron?

I had an earlier attempt saved, but decided to redo this segment. I didn't save any time though.

Segment 17: Searching for Shaia Part 2
This segment is a short one. I continue Piron's quest and raid the cave of equipment my party desperately needs.

I would like to reiterate the fact I hate Piron.

Segment 18: Searching for Shaia Part 3
Finally, I can walk across that damned bridge.

In Arus, the Priphea cutscene must be triggered to meet the elder of Arus atop the Tower of Grief.

Segment 19: Carbis and Bakku
This is another straightforward segment. This one is mostly plot exposition.

Aguro brings up a good point in Platina. Who did Professor Shaia test that potion on?

I finally get control of my own ship, the Falcon. Seriously, how many video games have a vehicle named the Falcon?

I love Aguro's reaction in Carbis. It echoes my sentiment exactly.

Segment 20: Tower of Light 1
This segment raids the Tower of Light for its equipment and the powerful Might Helmet for Jerin.

I've always picked up the Might Helmet in every practice run. To tell you the truth, I've never tried going without it, but the bonuses to Jerin's DEF and MGR helps tremendously, especially because it keeps the magic damage to Jerin down to manageable levels.

Segment 21: Heart and the first Alumina Piece
This segment is probably one of my worst ones in the run. The random battles didn't go as well as I hoped and I picked up an item that proved to be worthless later on. Its only redeeming factor is the experience I gain, which ended up helping me keep pace with the practice runs in terms of levels. In hindsight, I probably should have opted for a cleaner segment.

The Engage Ring I find in the Cave East of Herat is one of the most important accessories in the game. It cuts the price of all items sold in stores by 25%, a substantial discount when you factor in the prices of equipment and items at this point in the game. I doubt this run would have been possible without the Engage Ring.

Jerin doesn't eat the food because it refers to a scene I skipped in Herat Castle. The game script on GameFAQs can explain it.

Segment 22: Old Cave Level 5
This segment covers the Old Cave Level 5.

This trip is the fastest one because there is only one room with items worth obtaining. It also happens to be the room Cooper is inside.

A wet Escape doesn't work? The more you know.

Segment 23: Alumina Pieces Two to Four
This was an ugly segment and I should have aimed for a better time. Sadly, this was the best try out of eight attempts and I was losing my patience exploring these caves.

I apologize in advance for the horrible menu manipulation.

Werefrogs are death incarnate thanks to their Flood spell. If one spawns in an encounter, I run, no questions asked.

See those Red Cores? I will NEVER kill one of those bastards. Hindsight says I should've run from these battles.

Segment 24: Frederia and Levels
This is the first level building segment. I chose this location because I needed to match the levels in my practice run. As a high-risk, high reward area, death comes swiftly if I make a single mistake. There is only one mistake; unfortunately, it hurts a lot.

A rundown of the enemies in this location:

Griffons are the second easiest enemy to kill for EXP. Unfortunately, it's not saying too much here.

Megaturtles are death on four feet. They're vulnerable if alone, but are certain death in groups.

Mad Wolves are the easiest of the enemies to kill. Three of these enemies give great EXP.

Mega Frogs are plain annoying. They would be killed if it weren't for the fact they can cast Champion, negating all damage I deal to them. I skip most of these battles in this segment.

Despite the setback at the end, the segment made up plenty of missing levels, though I still ended up half a level behind.

Segment 25: Tower of Light 2
The Guardian is the boss who forced me to add a level building segment. He has four spells: Flame, Blizzard, Dread, and Absorb. Flame and Blizzard annihilate David and Aguro, Dread is a welcome respite from the two damage spells, and Absorb's effectiveness varies on the target. He must have a high AGL stat, because he occasionally performs two actions vs. each action the girls perform.

I intentionally let David die here, but not before saving Aguro from oblivion. The two attacks by Aguro speeds up the boss battle by a couple of actions.

Segment 26: Linze and Alumina Piece 5
This is another straightforward segment, mostly for plot development. The Wave Ring gives David a badly needed AGL bonus, as well as boosts in every other statistic.

Segment 27: Alumina Pieces 6 and 7
Again, I should've run from those Red Core battles. The 2nd Red Core battle was the most promising one and then it ran. Much cursing followed it soon after.

Segment 28: Frederia and Levels 2
This is the second level building segment. I went for the Mega Frogs thanks to my increased levels. The main goal was to get Lufia to Level 27 so she can learn Boost and help me survive against the upcoming boss. As it turns out, the Foul Water runs out JUST as Lufia hits 27.

Segment 29: Aisen Island
As you can see momentarily, I actually beat the game when this segment was recorded. When I first finished this run, I ended with a time of 5:31. I wanted to break 5:30, so I went back to the earliest possible segment and save as much time as I could. As you can see, I met my goal.

The minimum level to defeat Bosun and Pirates is Lufia at 27. Unlike the previous battles, this one is a simple hack and slash. I had to watch out for the status-inflicting items and spells Bosun and Pirates cast, which can slow down the battle considerably. Boost staves off the Storm (Flood) spell Pirates casts when he falls below a certain amount of HP.

As bad as it may seem here, especially with the mass confusion, I had worse battles before. In one attempt, I had the entire party asleep.

I made a wrong turn returning to Professor Shaia, costing me a few seconds. Despite the mistake, I still ended up two minutes ahead of the previous attempt.

Segment 30: Doom Island and Dual Blade
This segment continues the plot.

I can't tell you how many times I got lost finding that eddy.

My last practice run ignored the Foul Water I pick up here. This one here is used to level Jerin to 30 later on in the run.

Erim does look like Lufia if it weren't for those evil eyes.

I save in Epro, saving another two minutes on the previous attempt.

Segment 31: Oil Cave
Unlike my previous attempts, I had a conundrum. Jerin needs to be at Level 28 so she can learn Boost and exponentially increase my odds of surviving against the next boss. Unfortunately, she was very far from leveling up, so I was forced to fight nearly every enemy on the way to the Oil Dragon. As a result, I lost two minutes on my previous attempt, but I was still two minutes ahead overall.

As much as I gripe about the randomness, sometimes the game is mind bogglingly predictable. Each and every time I fought two Hydras, it always stared with one Hydra attacking Lufia and the other one casting Water. The first time, I anticipated the pattern and managed the battle perfectly. The second time didn't work because I didn't heal Lufia. The third time I just ran.

The Oil Dragon is simple. He will cast Fire Air (Flame), Oily Air (lowers AGL), Mirror, and occasionally use Dash or attack. When his HP falls beneath a certain point, his Fire Air becomes Vulcan, which is a world of pain only offset by double Boosts.

One thing I would love to find out is the damage formula for magic spells. It seems to me the spell Protect does very little against magic damage despite the fact it raises MGR.

Segment 32: Glasdar Key and Levels
This is one UGLY segment. Aguro, Lufia, and Jerin at one point or another perish at the end of battle. Sadly enough, this was the best attempt I got in sixteen tries. In hindsight, I should have tried for better encounters, but this was the fastest I got Jerin to Level 30.

Having three of my characters petrified was the closest I was to recording total annihilation.

The White Ring drastically raises ATP and DEF and increases AGL a little. It's the ring of choice for Aguro.

Here, I was still behind my practice run in terms of levels, so I was desperately seeking a place to gain experience fast. The Glasdar Key cave didn't cut it for me, so I gambled on the Cave to Glasdar Tower. I debated on splitting this into two segments due to the difficulty of the encounters, but I decided against it in the end. I thought it would take too much time to return to Arubus, save, and return to the cave.

The Egg Dragon is my time savior. The +2 levels is the reason I was collecting those Dragon Eggs.

Segment 33: Glasdar Tower
At this point, I run from every encounter.

The Black Ring is a superior version of the Green Ring. The AGL bonus is the same, but the MGR bonus is +40. In my practice runs, having this item meant the difference between a 2HKO and a 3HKO when Jerin was attacked by a damage spell.

Nazeby casts spells of every level and element. Jerin has Mirror, making this battle a breeze. His only threat is the Mace action, which has a chance of OHKO a character outright. I didn't expect Lufia to bite the dust at the end, but the lost experience doesn't hurt her; she wouldn't have gained enough EXP to level up anyway.

I made two trips to the item shop in Arubus because I was uncertain if I had enough Power Gourds to make it to the end of the game. In hindsight, I probably should've just bought 30 the first time I visited the item shop. I believe I end the game with 14 Power Gourds.

Who IS that old man anyway?

Segment 34: The Beginning of the End
With an in-game time of 5:27, you would expect this to span three tapes. In reality, it spans four tapes. The entire fourth tape consisted of this segment because it turned out there wasn't enough tape in the third video cassette.

On a whim, I decided to equip the Wave Ring on Aguro instead of David. I wish I thought of this earlier, as Aguro made better use of the Wave Ring than David ever did in my previous attempts.

I believe you can return to the old man and save after every Sinistral, but I thought this would be more dramatic (and time efficient).

Gades is the most difficult Sinistral. He only performs three actions: attack, Destroy (a grossly powerful attack), and Undead (raises ATP). If he starts using Undead, the party drops like flies because Destroy can now OHKO a party member. Without it, David and Aguro barely survive; solidifying my belief these levels are the lowest ones possible. The strategy was to attack at every opportunity and use an Ex Potion after Gades attacks. This is the best attempt I ever had against Gades on the console, so I kept it despite the setbacks in the middle of the battle.

Amon is a joke of a Sinistral. As far as I know, he can only cast Sunder (reflected for 200+ damage), Dread (lowers defense), Chaos (confuses), and Melanchoy (no idea). Jerin's Mirror makes short work of Amon and he even contributes to the cause when he casts Dread.

Daos is the same. He casts Flood and Vulcan (both reflected for 100+ damage), Thunder (reflected for 50+ damage) Dread, Amnesia (paralyzes), and Stronger. His greatest threat is Amnesia, which can paralyze a character. This is why I picked up the Mystery Pin back in Segment 31, in case he paralyzed Jerin. If I came this far, I wasn't going to let Daos stop me with that spell.

Guard Daos has only two actions: Flood (reflected for 100+ damage) and Figual (confuses). In each previous attempt, I let Lufia perish and David and Aguro hack away. After my previous attempts though, I learned David would be dead weight since Lufia is 1) faster and 2) deals more damage with Bolt. There were some scary parts during the battle, I emerged victorious. I hope you enjoy the finishing blow, because I sure did.

If you wait after the credits are done, you can see my in-game stats. More games should have this feature.

After reading all of this, if you still want to contact me, my AIM is Vagabond0206 and my e-mail is lookingglass1103 AT

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