Live A Live Walkthrough & Guide

Welcome to our Live A Live Walkthrough. Live A Live is arguably one of the most unique Super Famicom/SNES role-playing games - and it's now getting a new lease of life and a long-desired Western release with a HD-2D Remake for the Nintendo Switch. With its unique structure and many gimmicks, we thought Live A Live was the perfect game to craft a complete walkthrough and guide for. So, here we are.

This guide was written for the Switch version, but everything charming about the SNES original has been kept intact, however, including level layouts and the combat system - which means this guide is suitable for the SNES or Switch remake versions of the game. SNES players should be aware that there may be minor discrepancies with that version, as some small elements of the game have been changed. This page acts as our Live A Live Walkthrough Hub, featuring both advice on the basics and links to full walkthroughs for every chapter in the game.

Live A Live Scenario Walkthrough Guides

Live A Live is made unique by its structure, which gives the player a number of different scenarios - referred to in the remake as chapters - to play. Each chapter is its own separate and discrete RPG adventure - and each is also quite different. You're initially presented with seven chapters to choose from - and after playing all seven of those, you unlock another. After completing that, a final chapter unlocks. Here's the walkthroughs for each chapter:

Unsure which order to play the chapters in at the start of the game? You're in luck, as we have a separate guide that covers Which order to play the Live A Live Story Chapters in.

Below, you'll find brief descriptions of each of the chapters and links to their walkthroughs - a little more detailed than the simple list above. Ultimately, however, which chapters you choose to play and in what order is your choice - and our descriptions below will help you choose without our outright advice, if you wish. 

Prehistory

The earliest story chapter in Live A Live, head back to Prehistory as Pogo.

The Prehistory scenario is where language has not been invented yet. In this chapter you will be navigating through the main story with pictures and grunts. This route will play more like a conventional JRPG, with a crafting system, a lot of combat, and will most likely get you adjusted on how fighting works due to how frequent it is. The chapter difficulty highly depends on how knowledgeable you are on the crafting system. This route lets you forge the strongest weapon at the start of the scenario negating a lot of the difficulty.

Imperial China

Live A Live sends you to Imperial China, where martial arts master Shifu searches for a successor.

Imperial China lets you play as a Kung-Fu Master that is looking to train some disciples to pass on his skills. The main protagonist does not level up in this route. The unique feature of this route is the training regime to pass on your abilitles. This route is very easy and straightforward, highly recommend for players starting out.

Twilight of Edo Japan

Take on the role of mysterious Ninja Oboromaru in the Live A Live Edo Japan chapter.

This scenario is the most non linear route of all the scenarios. The route is basically one giant dungeon and will play like a Metroid game. You can take any approach to clear the dungeon, but there is a ton of hidden secrets. To make the best out of this chapter, several replays might be required to see all the secrets in this scenario. It is highly recommended that you are familiar with playing Live A Live before tackling on this scenario.

The Wild West

The Sundown kid visits the town of Success... just in time for a showdown. This is Live A Live's Wild West scenario.

In this scenario, you will play as a gunslinger to help a town to defend against the local bandits. This scenario gives you a time limit to gather all the available traps to even the odds against the enemy ring leader. This scenario is actually super easy now compared to the Super Famicom version as you can see which object can be gathered, making it much easier to find items for trap purposes.

Present Day

Take on a challenging boss rush as Masaru Takahara in Live A Live's present day story scenario.

In this route, you will play as a martial artist trying to be the world's strongest. The scenario here basically consist of a boss rush where you get to select bosses in any order. The gimmick of this chapter is that protagonist can learn his opponent's trademark move if he successfully get hit and survive their trademark move. The chapter difficulty is based entirely which boss order you choose. Starting the wrong order might make you miss out on some moves. Although any skill you miss out can be obtained much later in the game by leveling the protagonist.

The Near Future

Take on the role of Akira in Live A Live's near future chapter.

This is another route that will play like the standard JRPG. The unique gimmick of this scenario is that the protagonist can read people's mind allowing extra interaction playing this chapter. The scenario features a small world map to explore and combat occurs when touching enemy sprites.

The Distant Future

Live A Live has you take on the role of a little spherical robot called Cube in its Distant Future story.

The Distant Future is a route mostly devoid of combat through the main story. This scenario is heavily focus on its story and might be a good chapter to play if you want a breath of fresh air. 

The Middle Ages

Live A Live's final stand-alone chapter is only unlocked after the others - and it puts you into the boots of Orsted in Medieval times.

This scenario will appear after clearing all seven of the starting scenarios. When you see this scenario, you should be pretty well aquainted with the game by now. This scenario features random encounters in the same manner as found in older Final Fantasy games and other classic RPGs.

Live A Live Endings & Finale Walkthrough

The finale of Live A Live will bring all of the characters together - but you still have a choice about how you're going to play it, and the fate of the world.
The finale of Live A Live will bring all of the characters together - but you still have a choice about how you're going to play it, and the fate of the world.

Once you finish all eight of the core chapters of Live A Live by finishing the first seven chapters in any order you like and then taking a trip to Prehistory, you unlock the game's finale. This climax brings the various characters together from across the timelines for one final showdown with the ultimate evil - and you actually have a choice of how it goes, since Live A Live has multiple endings.

You can side with - and play as - the bad guy, leading to Live A Live's bad ending. Or alternatively, you can do the right thing and play as the good guys. Doing this will involve picking a protagonist, and then recruiting the other protagonists to fight along your side before going in for a final encounter. We, of course, have walkthroughs to help you with both routes:

Final Scenario - True

Final Scenario - False

This is the false route of the final scenario, picking this scenario will let you do a boss rush and clearing it will lead to the fake ending. 

The final scenario will pop in after clearing all available scenarios. In this route, your clear save data will be used here. if you need to adjust or change any of your previously cleared routes, you will need to clear their final chapter and overwrite the clear save data. 

General tips for Live A Live's Combat

Battles in Live A Live aren't too complicated, but they are quite different to many other JRPGs.

Live A Live doesn't quite feature a standard battle system for Japanese RPGs of the time. In fact, it's more like a hybrid between a typical JRPG and a tactical RPG. We detail individual strategies for each of the bosses in the game throughout our Live A Live walkthrough as linked above, but we do have a few tips to keep in mind as you go into the game for the first time:

Positioning is everything.

Positioning is the element of Live A Live that most closely resembles tactical RPGs, in that combat takes place on a grid of squares that you move around. Combat moves of characters and enemies, friendly or not, all have a set range - and so absolutely key to practically every combat encounter in the game is trying to ensure the enemy is in range of your attacks, but that ideally you aren't in range of theirs. 

This isn't possible in every encounter, but in many it is - where you can spend movement in order to continually stay out of an enemy's line of fire. If an enemy can only attack in a specific direction, you should work to approach them from the opposite direction. Getting behind enemies is hugely advantageous. 

Similarly, think about the position of your allies in battle in the same way. You generally don't want allies close together, as this might allow the enemy to hit multiple allies at once. However, for healing, it's efficient to be close by each other, as there are many area-of-effect healing skills. Find a nice balance.

Battle when you get the chance

Generally speaking, you should treat Live A Live as a combat-heavy game. Each of the game's chapters isn't that long, and with the exception for if you decide to deliberately try to get a 0-kill run in the Edo Japan chapter, you should not run from battle and should stand and fight.

You will need all of the experience you can get for some of Live A Live's most brutal encounters - so make sure you're racking it up. You shouldn't need to grind much or indeed at all, but if you hit a brick wall remember grinding is an option to give yourself over the hill.

Be aware of Weaknesses, Resistances, and Status Effects

Like any mechanically rich RPG, Live A Live features a range of elements that act as strengths and weaknesses for both friend and foe - and likewise, there's a range of status effects that can effect you and your enemies - in Live A Live, they're known as Detrimental Statuses

Make sure you familiarize yourself with these and make the use of them. Exploiting enemy weaknesses can make an impossible-feeling encounter breeze by, while falling afoul of something like Paralysis or Intoxication can ruin a fight for you - or can be inflicted on an enemy to ruin their day.

You can see the Detrimental Statuses by pressing the minus button during a battle; review and get to know them and the icons that represent them. For elements, keep an eye out in battle for the text that warns you if a particular attack is Resisted or Effective. 

Finally, some skills can change the tiles of the battlefield to be of a certain element - filling a tile with water or setting it on fire, etcetera. When this happens, manage it carefully, as some bosses will try to manipulate the battlefield to make it more difficult for you to hurt them. 

The formation screen is a well-hidden piece of battle strategy.

The Formation Screen is a surprisingly useful tool

If you go into the Live A Live menu, there's an option to bring up a 'formation' screen that lets you move your characters about in a diamond formation. This diamond formation is how the party will deploy into battle - so the one at the top tip of the diamond will start at the tip of the spear in combat, the one on the left will be on, er, the left... and so on. You get the idea.

Anyway, this can be a surprisingly useful tool in battle, as it can set up the character positions for the start of a fight. It also determines party action order - the character at the top will go first, then around to the left, down, and around in an anti-clockwise fashion.

It's easy to go the whole game without engaging with this menu, but it is nevertheless extremely useful and highly recommended - especially in some of the chapters where you have a full four party members.

Passing Turns and Healing can be smart

It's easy to think that choosing to pass a turn, or choosing to step back from battle to heal, is cowardice - that you should just go for it. It feels like this is even more true in Live A Live, given how short its chapters are. However - don't. If a character gets downed, heal them, as they can be very quickly eliminated from the battle entirely. And if your positioning isn't quite right for an attack... hold your fire. 

This is specifically useful when fighting enemies where you're exploiting a weakness, as the characters who don't have an attack for exploiting that weakness can pass their turn, giving the main damage dealer another chance to step in and dish out an effective attack.

How Long is Live A Live?

Live A Live has a lot of content, but it's quite brisk for a 90s JRPG.

Before you head off into the game and off to the various walkthrough pages that spur off from this main Live A Live walkthrough guide hub, you might be wondering exactly how long Live A Live is, and how long it'll take you to beat. We've completed it a number of times and have crunched the numbers for you.

Assuming you're not skipping any of the story sequences, we'd estimate that start-to-finish on a basic play-through, Live A Live will take under 20 hours to beat - and for more experienced hands in the Japanese RPG of this era, you might be able to finish it in fifteen hours or less. Some of this will depend on the choices you make during your play-through, as Live A Live is full of optional content, and some routes are longer than others. For instance, playing Edo Japan in an average way is far quicker than aiming for a pacifist run or the 100-kill run.

If you're looking to do anything, you can probably add another 10 hours, meaning for a completionist run Live A Live is up to 30 hours long. This is because in order to see absolutely everything you'll have to replay some chapters several times, including replaying the final scenario of the game multiple times to see all of the variations on the ending.

These numbers are arguably on the short side for a game of this type, but this is due to how Live A Live is constructed. The beauty of the game is its anthology structure - you can play it a chapter at a time, and some chapters are barely an hour long. Others are much longer, more like truncated versions of traditional RPG adventures. This makes it a perfect game for a handheld machine like the Switch - you can stop and start your play-through easily.

How do you Pronounce Live A Live?

A common question now that Live A Live has received a full western release is a pretty simple one, but an obvious one given the name of the game: exactly how do you pronounce 'Live A Live', anyway? Ah, a good old pronunciation conundrum. Fun.

Live, of course, is a word that can be pronounced two ways. There's live like jive, such as how you might see a musical artist live in concert. Then there's live like give, such as how you live your life day-in, day-out.

So, which is it? Well, the official stance, as showcased in Nintendo and Square Enix broadcasts where hosts say the name of the game out loud, is Live like Jive. So Live A Live; go see that band Live-A-Live. There you have it.

If you choose to continue to say it that way is up to you, of course... just as there's still 'Aeris' folks, there's sure to be pronunciation purists here...

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