You Can Play Six or Seven Games, or Just One! Let's Play Live-A-Live!

Today, I wanted to share a game that I adore. It was the first game I had to use a translation patch for, and I’m really glad that I did.

I’m not sure how well-known it is; it’s unreasonable to think that no-one has heard of it, but I think it’s also unreasonable to assume everyone knows about it.

But for everyone that’s in the dark, I want you to think of the creative process for a game. It’s time to pick a setting, but the team decides “Naaahhhh…” and just makes all of them. They just can’t choose between…

Ninjas and Secret Missions!

Cowboys and Antiquated Slang!

Cavemen and Romantic Comedies!

Sci-Fi and Workplace Drama!

Wrestling and wrestling and MORE WRESTLING!

Kung Fu and Thieves!

Mecha and Psionics!

Everyone, I’m glad to introduce you to…

LIVE A LIVE (or possibly LIVE A EVIL)


What kind of game is this?
This an RPG by Squaresoft. In addition to the different settings, each story has its own gimmicks. While the core battle system does not change, all kinds of things can affect what happens between battles. The battle system itself is a limited Tactical RPG; each character has a 7X7 grid they can move around on during battles. I’ll share details when we see our first fight.

What is the policy on spoilers?
Nope nope nope absolutely none please don’t even think about it.
Each of the stories may seem cliché and predictable to most, but please let the game present the plot on its own terms.

How can I, an audience member who will never post spoilers, participate?
There’ll be a couple of things to vote on, so let’s get to the first one: Chapter Select!

Can I just look at a specific chapter?
Here is the Table of Contents. Just click a face!
(The artwork is from the cover of the OST)

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In the Bakumatsu Era of feudal Japan…
The shinobi remain in the shadows even amidst the upheaval of societal change.
To one such man, secret orders are given.
Sneak past countless guards and traps to rescue the hostage!!!
Can he kill 100 men!?!

In ancient China, an aged martial artist lives high atop a windy peak.
He has begun to feel the need of a suitable successor for his technique.
His disciples train hard, but only one will come to harness their master’s power.

Behold the transport ship Cogito Ergosum, en route to planet Earth.
Inside, a new kind of lifeform is being created.
The robot created by Kato the mechanic will become intimately involved as events spiral out of control on board…

A fierce youth has entered a global fighting tournament to experience and learn the combat styles of the world!
He will see man unique techniques, and will use them to achieve the ultimate goal:
The title of “Strongest in the World!”

In a time when the west was wild and criminals were many…
A haggard traveler with a price on his head wanders into Success Town, the recent target of a notorious outlaw gang.
Work quickly to set traps and take down the Crazy Bunch!!!

The Stone Age! The day a free-spirited boy and his friend Gori come of age has arrived…
In a time before spoken communication, man possessed a keen nose indeed.
Through his sense of smell, man could find any beast or avoid lurking danger.

In the not-too-distant future, there lives a boy with the power to read other peoples’ thoughts.
His teenage years are troubled, and he gets into many fights.
And yet, over his shoulder silently watches a sleeping giant, the robot Buriki Daioh…

Put your votes in the poll below! I also want names, but that process will be less democratic. If you have an interesting name for a character, just PM it to me or post it. When the time comes, I’ll pick my favorite.

You can name as many characters as you want, but please only give each character one name. Six characters per name; I know, I know, some of the defaults are longer than that.

The Kung Fu master’s name will actually be the name of his fighting style, i.e. “______ Style Kung Fu” and the Cowboy’s name is a nickname, i.e. “The ______ Kid”

I’m going to leave the voting open until Thursday at 10 p.m. I’ll be able to start working on updates on Saturday, with the first one hopefully coming out on Sunday. In the mean time, pick your favorite!

  • Ninja!
  • Kung Fu!
  • Sci-Fi!
  • Wrestler!
  • Cowboy!
  • Caveman!
  • Mecha!

0 voters

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I’d like to see the adventures of “The Baby Kid”, personally

If you are doing this screenshot, make sure you include link to the soundtrack as people need to hear it. It’s so good.

Live-A-Live OST - Live A Live (Title Theme)

Also, Kung Fu. PunchyKicky Style Kung-Fu to be specific

I thought I put in a link to Tindeck; I’ll fix that right now!

I know exactly how much of an undertaking this will be, so… Good luck!

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This is a great game and I enjoy seeing people’s reactions to it. It’s a shame Square Enix never when back to try and innovate with the combat system.

Since it looks like Caveman is winning why not name him Fred?

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For the Kung Fu Chapter: Jostar

I actually remember playing this with an older version of the translation patch. I don’t remember all of what this one changed over an older one, but it added the different fonts for the different scenarios, and I think changed one of the default names to something stupid.

This is definitely an underappreciated gem of a JRPG, and I’m looking forward to your take on it.

Hey all, I’m going to make a tweak to the voting process. I’m going to close the vote at 10 p.m. tomorrow instead. That way, the thread can have one full day to suggest names for whichever story wins. It’s a tie between Caveman! and Kung Fu! at the moment, but it’s still anyone’s game!

Whoah, I know Kung Fu! (Keanu for Kung Fu hero)

You are naming the Kung Fung Style not The Master.

Oh dang teach me to read the whole post.

Uh, in that case, Matrix style

As much as I liked this game, it always felt a bit, I dunno, sort of unfinished? Like a bunch of proof-of-concepts rather than a coherent whole, if that makes sense.

Seconding the fact that the soundtrack is fantastic though.

I say Kung Fu with the name being Wrong Style Kung Fu

And voting is closed. The winner is Caveman! The only suggested name for now is Fred, but feel free to suggest more names in the interim. I will accept both caveman and romantic comedy themed names! I’ll start working on the update on Saturday, when I get the free time.

Bonk is clearly the best name for the good caveman child. Even if he isn’t bald.


OK, let’s get this started!


The caveman won, though only by a few votes.

Our story begins, like all good romantic comedies, with a human sacrifice.

“Hey, should we leave anyone to guard that girl?”
“Nah, she can’t get out. We tied her up!”

“I didn’t realize you were good with knots!”
“Haha what’s a knot.”

I have a question about our hair-flipping friend. This game came out in 1994; were pretty boy antagonists a thing in JRPGs at that time?

I know they’ve been around forever, (Hell, Lucifer is usually depicted as a pretty boy) but I like the idea that Squaresoft was mocking their tropes before they even really did them.

I’ve been calling this a romantic comedy, but it’s really just slapstick with a romance in it.


Finally, we see our hero!..Harassing a peaceful creature.

Thankfully, slapstick is the greatest arbiter of all.

I decided to go with Bonk. I thought it was the most appropriate.

Now, let’s take a look at these two in greater detail.

:radio:Nice Weather, Isn’t It?

Let’s talk about stats. The first two are based entirely on equipment
ATK affects how much damage weapon-based techniques will do to enemies.
DEF affects how much damage certain techniques will do to you.
The remainder are tied to levels, though they can still be affected by equipment.
Pw affects techniques that use strength.
Sp affects how quickly you can use techniques.
Vt affects health and physical defense. I think it’s also used to determine if negative status effects affect you.
IQ is Special from the original Pokémon; it affects how much damage you do and take from mental attacks.

Gori and Bonk have similar stat distributions, with Gori’s being higher. However, Bonk will eventually get a leg over Gori; both through his level ups and his ability to equip more items.

The nerve of some people, huh?

This is the room on the left. This room is important, but not because Bonk can get owned by this fire indefinitely.

This excited man is the key to a secret! When you talk to him, he summons a friend.

You can do this until you have twenty excited men. If you talk to one of them, they all run out except one. However, if you can talk to the last man who walked in…

You get one of every crafting item! The only useful walkthrough for this game recommends abusing this room, as does every LP I’ve seen. I want to take a different approach to this LP, so I’m only going to use this room twice. I’ll show what these items are for later.

I can’t believe that bad jokes existed before language did in this universe.

This is the main room of the cave. Each NPC has a different reaction.

That room on the top right is the cave’s granary.

Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to pilfer it. No :meat: for us.

On the bottom left, we find something more useful.

A crafting room! This is how we update our equipment in this chapter. Here’s a crafting chart that I found on GameFAQs.

  • Beast Fang + Beast Horn = Nose Ornament (Accessory: +8 IQ)
  • Beast Fang + Big Stick = Spiky Club (Weapon: 18 Attack)
  • Beast Fang + Bone = Nose Ornament (Accessory: +8 IQ)
  • Beast Fang + Hard Rock = Nose Ornament (Accessory: +8 IQ)
  • Beast Fang + Hide = Thick Chest Hair (Body: 4 Defense, +4 Power)
  • Beast Fang + Tough Hide = Ooh! Mask (Head: 10 Defense, +15 IQ, Sleep
    Immunity, Mind Evade Up, Wind Skill Evade
  • Beast Fang + Stone Knife = Shock Caltrops (One time use battle item)
  • Beast Fang + Leather Cord = Fang Necklace (Accessory: +2 IQ)

  • Beast Horn + Big Stick = Shiny Spear (Weapon: 14 Attack, +6 Speed)
  • Beast Horn + Bone = Gigigaga Wakka (Boots/Accessory: +2 Speed,
    +3 IQ, Blunt Evade Up)
  • Beast Horn + Hard Rock = Gigigaga Wakka (Boots/Accessory: +2 Speed,
    +3 IQ, Blunt Evade Up)
  • Beast Horn + Hide = Beast Hood (Head: 4 Defense, +10 Speed)
  • Beast Horn + Tough Hide = Ooh! Mask (Head: 10 Defense, +15 IQ, Sleep
    Immunity, Mind Evade Up, Wind Skill Evade
  • Beast Horn + Stone Knife = Clack Case (Body: 8 Defense, +6 Vitality,
    +10 IQ)
  • Beast Horn + Leather Cord = Clack Case (Body: 8 Defense, +6 Vitality,
    +10 IQ)

  • Big Stick + Bone = Shiny Spear (Weapon: 14 Attack, +6 Speed)
  • Big Stick + Hard Rock = Thump Axe (Weapon: 10 Attack, +10 Power)
  • Big Stick + Hide = Burning Club (Weapon: 8 Attack)
  • Big Stick + Tough Hide = Bang Bang Drum (Glove: +12 IQ)
  • Big Stick + Stone Knife = Smoulder Spear (Weapon: 25 Attack,
    +10 Speed)
  • Big Stick + Leather Cord = Swish Whip (Weapon: 10 Attack, +16 Speed)

  • Bone + Hard Rock = Stone Knife (Ingredient, One time use
    battle item)
  • Bone + Hide = Beast Hood (Head: 4 Defense, +10 Speed)
  • Bone + Tough Hide = Bang Bang Drum (Glove: +12 IQ)
  • Bone + Stone Knife = Smoulder Spear (Weapon: 25 Attack,
    +10 Speed)
  • Bone + Leather Cord = Buzzing Bone (Weapon: 22 Attack)

  • Hard Rock + Hide = Thick Chest Hair (Body: 4 Defense, +4 Power)
  • Hard Rock + Tough Hide = Gatsun Glove (Glove: 5 Defense, +16 Power)
  • Hard Rock + Stone Knife = Venus Figurine (Accessory: -10 Speed, Mind
    Evade Up, Earth Skill Evade Up, Wind Skill
    Evade Up, Water Skill Evade Up, Fire Skill
    Evade Up) (Can also be used as a one time
    use area heal item)
  • Hard Rock + Leather Cord = Bola (One time use battle item)

  • Hide + Tough Hide = Thick Chest Hair (Body: 4 Defense, +4 Power)
  • Hide + Stone Knife = Leather Cord (Ingredient)
  • Hide + Leather Cord = Wild Dress (Body: 48 Defense, +10 IQ)

  • Tough Hide + Stone Knife = Wild Armor (Body: 24 Defense, -8 Speed,
    +10 Vitality, Blunt Evade Up, Sharp Evade
  • Tough Hide + Leather Cord = Wild Bag (Weapon: 40 Attack, +20 Power,
    +8 IQ)

  • Stone Knife + Leather Cord = Buzzing Knife (Weapon: 30 Attack)

With the items that I have, I made the following loadout.

Even with these second-rate items, Bonk is already catching up to Gori. Gori’s bare loadout is not a coincidence; the only items he can equip are Head, Feet, Body, and Accessory items. And even then, his choices for each category are smaller than Bonk’s. Now, Bonk’s ready to come of age!

Bonk is going to learn how to hunt! Which just makes me more suspicious of his earlier mammoth-attacking!

The hunting grounds are outside, but only through the door on the left.

After a quick demonstration, Bonk is allowed to prove himself. He can use his nose by pressing the Y button. After that, it’s just a matter of following the stench clouds.

:radio:Kiss of Jealousy

…I think Bonk got lucky for his first hunt.

This game’s battle system is one of the things I like the most about it. It incorporates just enough from Turn-Based games to make things interesting.
All of your attacks come from a list of techniques. While there is no “basic attack” per se, it’s pretty clear what Bonk’s main attack is.

Bash Bash has no defining features. It, along with Gori’s NGAAH! technique, serve as the closest this chapter gets to basic attacks.

Gori, however, gets a second technique! EE is a long-range scream. However, since it is IQ-based, Gori can’t really make the most of it.

Here’s a good example of the situations this battle system creates. Those red squares are the only places this creature can attack. If I had attack from the lower-left, Bonk wouldn’t have gotten hit.

This fight also lead to a level-up! Bonk learned Bang Bang, a kicking attack that pushes the opponent backwards in addition to dealing damage.

After the hunt is over, the elder gives Bonk a quick reminder on how to smell before departing. Our caveboy is now a caveman.

When he returns, he can see that the cave is empty. Everyone else has gone to bed.

Our heroes follow suit, and Bonk enjoys his first night of sleep as a man of his tribe. I’m going to leave him to it.

Unfortunately, fate decides otherwise. Gori is missing! We’ll have to find him…next time!


I really love how this chapter has no dialogue. It’s one of the many things that give the game its charm.

I don’t know if there’s anything you can do about it, but the still screenshots are all cropped on the top and bottom in the post. Going to imgur shows the full picture, but it’s really annoying to do that for the screens where text is completely cut off from the top.

EDIT: Testing using a direct image link, instead of to imgur