Lost Kingdoms is a Japanese role-playing game whose random battles play like a cross between Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon. It may not be the king of cool but it's certainly the queen of quality. Considering it's had next to no advertising or hoopla (up until very recently it was still be referred to by its Japanese name of Rune), it really is quite a shock to find out that Lost Kingdoms is really pretty good, even more so because it involves collecting what can only be described as virtual Top Trumps cards. There's a typically overwrought plot to explain all this but quite frankly at this stage there's no need to make the game seem anymore hokey than it already does. All you need to know is that Lost Kingdoms, unusually for an RPG, is split into a series of missions that involve you collecting and then using magical cards in the aforementioned randomly occurring battles. The cards are divided into three sorts (magical attacks, creature summons and miscellaneous) all of which are further classified as being Earth, Water, Wood or Fire types. It's all as complicated as it sounds but the various in-game tutorials allow you to dip your toe in slowly enough to appreciate the fact that the whole system has been very well designed and balanced. The game is far from perfect--the graphics and controls could've done with a bit more work for a start--but it is refreshingly different, particularly on the thus far RPG-less GameCube. --David Jenkins
- Real-Time Action RPG Gameplay combines best features of an RPG with Pokemon style card-based battle system.
- Collect and Summon over 100 Unique Guardian Creature Cards each with their own special attack moves.
- Face off in Real-time battles against hordes of evil monsters.
- Journey through 24 immersive 3D worlds, with over 20 Hrs. of gameplay.
- Two-player Head-to-Head modes of play.