Game Review Data
Game Title
Lady Sia
TDK Mediactive
1 Player. Battery Save.
Andrew Blanchard



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After the success of Shrek - Fairytale Freakdown, TDK Mediactive have opted for an original character for their GameBoy Advance debut. Lady Sia is a Warrior much like Zena. She can run, jump, climb, fight with a multitude of powerful weapons. She can even do magic. The question is, does she make for a good game?

Screen Shots


Lady Sia is set in 24 very varied levels of platform adventure spanning over four worlds. Actually terming it a 'platform' title is possibly doing it an injustice as there really is far more to it than that. In the first world things start simple, finding everything and completing the objectives set should provide little problem. It's also very difficult for the main character to fall to her death as she appears very athletic. Altitude alone will not damage you at all. Water, fire and spikes all will though, and water in particular will kill you instantly. The levels do get increasingly difficult as you jump from world to world and even though your main character can look up and down you'll still, at times, employ a leap of faith. This won't always be a success and can make levels a little repetitive when starting over a number of times but, hey, that's what platform games are all about.

One thing that all levels do have in common is their core objective i.e. to get 100 percent on completion of a level. It doesn't matter if you don't but doing so opens up even more levels. To achieve this you must collect the various crystals and rescue all the hostages. The games map does, however, allow you to return to any level to have another attempt at a perfect score.

There are some minor problems with Lady Sia and unless you're watching what you're doing the whole experience can become very frustrating through no fault of your own. Firstly, whenever Sia gets hurt she won't scream or stumble but her health will deplete and unless you're aware what's happening you'll find yourself dead in no time at all by standing on something you believe is completely harmless. There's also the attack mode. Occasionally you may have to perch yourself on a rock or pole in order to attack an enemy. The problem here is that when you swing your sword you move forward, three or four swings and you're in the water, on the spikes or falling miles away from what you're trying to hit. Finally, end of level bosses are a little easy and rather than employing the right combination of jumps and sword swings, it's usually a matter of finding the weak spot and hitting it 3 times. It can all be over in a matter of seconds.

The gamescreen contains a great deal of information but never gets cluttered. There's your life, which is represented by a heart, actual lives left and hostages rescued. TDK have wisely taken the best option for saving and provided the game with a built-in battery which saves your progress automatically after the completion of each level. There are four save slots and one 'guest' slot which has no save capability.


Your general controls are pretty simple to master and as well as the usual 'D-pad' for directional use, 'A' and 'B' for jump and action are in use here. Things get a little more complicated as you progress through the game. For example, holding down the 'L button' allows you to creep around so as to not wake sleeping guards. You'll also have to master various button combinations for casting spells in order to complete your quest. There is, however, a wonderful little option which allows a tutorial mode to be switched on or off. This can be of great use when you first play as a whole range of gameplay tricks will be shown to you including advanced movement. The 'help' in question actually materialises as a cloaked figure who follows you around, just don't do what I did and kill him.


The graphics throughout are wonderful and although a great deal of the media and even the TDK promotional material lead you to believe that they are anime-style, they're not. They actually resemble classic 'Asterix the Gaul' artwork from the various environments Sia will encounter to the characters on screen. The use of colour is extremely pleasing to the eye and you'll be convinced at times that you're actually playing a living comic book. The animation is also of a very high quality with the main character doing a variety of moves with ease and smoothness. In addition to this, sections of the background are animated such as rope bridges that sway and flags that flap in the wind. Even when the on-screen sprites become larger there's no feeling of slow down or compromise on the quality of the game.

Sound & Music

There's a very cinematic theme to all the music, which is incredibly clear and every track appears to have been composed to match a given level theme. The various incidental sounds that you sometimes have to rely upon to indicate that something dangerous is lurking around the corner are also very well done. A really nice feature here though is in the options where you can not only turn the music and sound effects on or off but can even alter their volumes to get the sound just right. Developers take note.

Final Comments

Overall, this should be just what you're looking for in a GBA platform game. Great graphics, sound and gameplay. Everything appears to be pitched just right and, minor niggles aside, this would be hard to improve upon. It also features some of the best dialogue I've seen in a game which helps to push the story on at a very pleasing pace. This is a great start to the GameBoy Advance game catalogue from TDK and remember, this is the first generation titles so just imagine what we'll be in for in a few years time.

@ EAGB Advance 2002. All rights reserved.