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SNES REVIEWS: Illusion of Gaia - Destructoid




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About
Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I am an Iraqi-Saudi living in Saudi Arabia.
-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Seeing as my top 10 games of all time would change depending on the day you ask me, I am just going to put in Random games I don't think are in anyone's top 10 list:

-Blood Will Tell
-Mega Man Legends 2
-Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
-Donkey Kong Country 2
-Suikoden 2
-Some weird game in the PS1 that caused my grandfather to kick me out of the house because it had me giving a girl an orgasm by massaging her feet.

Six is as good a number as any, so here is that:

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For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

This is going to be another legacy review from the forum I first started this task, so I am still embarrassed about showing it here.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

74- Illusion of Gaia:

Year: 1994.
Genre: Action RPG.
Publisher: Nintendo.
Developer: Quintet.


This game is a spiritual sequel of Soul blazer, and is considered a part of an unofficial trilogy. However, this game despite having the same mechanics and style of Soul Blazer is quite different.

First off, the plot is given much more attention here. Second, the leveling up system is different. Third, combat is more than swiping. As Will (the protagonist) you have the ability to change form from three distinctive types. Each with its own combat style. ANd proceeding through the game’s dungeons. You will ned to interchange between the forms to progress.

Other than that, the game plays the same as Soul Blazer, but with more emphasis on combat and puzzles. Which works as a double edged sword. IoG is a more complex and more polished game, but it does not have the addictive charm of Soul Blazer.

Anyway, here is the review:

The Fun Factor:

Although the game does not look as repetitive as Soul Blazer, that is actually deceiving. No longer novel, the dungeon crawling son grows tedious, and with no sense of progress other than finishing the dungeon, combat is not as fulfilling as the Swipe-fest of Soul Blazer.

And needing to clear a room of monster in order to level up makes fighting a chore. However, the change between Will and his knight form makes up of a variety. And playing as the knight is much cooler than using Will.

In this game, the plot is what drives you forward, and while the interactions between the characters is ok. I felt there was little sense from the characters themselves. The only interesting thing about going forward was seeing new places, which IoG makes interesting. Since every town looks different, has a different history, and is strangely peculiar in a different way. Which makes the trip more memorable. It is sad that you will remember the towns far more than you will remember the supporting cast.

This game wanted to go a step over Soul Blazer and have a plot. However, the charm of Soul Blazer’s simplicity outdoes the average plot of IoG.

Less fun than Soul Blazer, but that game was really fun, so not a bad critique.

Score: 6

Challenge:

Here is where this game step it up. Dying costs you. For every monster you kill, you get dark Gems. And for every 100 you get a life. If you die, then you lose a life and redo the room with half your health (the monsters you killed are dead though). However, if you no longer have a life, you do the whole dungeon again. And although that never happened to me outside the first dungeon, the knowledge of it kept me tense.

Even though you get punished for dying, that never becomes a threat once you get a hang of the game. As recovery gates (dark gates) are strategically placed where you need them. ANd since the bad guys a re mainly wimps. There will be however a couple of places where your skills will be tested.

Late in the game, you will have the power to literally destroy everything in front of you as the knight. In which case controlling Will becomes more dangerous since you are used to kicking ass.

It is in the Bosses however that this game delivers. With a minimum number of herbs in the game, and even those not fulfilling enough. Bosses become a n absolute pain. I screamed gibberish at the screen many times a Boss.

When you defeat the hard ones, oh boy do you get a feeling of triumph. I understood the feelings of Inzaghi whenever he scores.

Also, one point for awesome final Boss who has an awesome theme and will wipe you with the floor if you are not herbaly prepared (get it, herbaly, as in having many herbs)

Score: 8



Style:

The graphics are logical improvement on Soul Blazer. However, the music was not. There were less memorable soundtracks than Soul Blazer, and some dungeon music never registered to me and I could not remember it.

There was nothing special the plot of the game was causing, no effects you make on the environment outside of the ending. And aside from a stylistic Babylonian theme, there was obviously some confusion from the director (boarding a plain on its wings, why the frak is this inventor not working for a king if invents freaking airplanes).

All in all, this was downturn from Soul Blazer, and if it were not from some interesting towns and back-stories, I would have given this a lower score. But the towns, the knights awesome hair, and the final boss theme saves this game from a one.
Score: 4

Playability:

The improved graphics, solid gameplay, and existing plot will make this game playable for any RPG fan. However, gamers should not expect a classic here, but rather a solid experience.

Score: 7

Lord Spencer’s Score:

Exchanging forms was really cool, and I wish they had more forms, and a more fluid transformation method.

This game is better than Soul Blazer despite the issues I mentioned. The thing about Soul Blazer is that its simplicity is never aging, while IoG’s improvements have long been outdone by other RPG’s. However, if I take the game in its own context, I see an unpolished gym.

A bummer that what could have been a classic was not potentially realized.
Still a milestone though, not a significant one though.

Score: 7


Overall: 6/8/4/7/7; 32/50

Another game that gets a 32. Usually, sequels are more harshly critiqued than the originals, And for a sequel to get the same score as the original is not bad.

Tips on the game: (don’t look if you don’t want any spoilers):

1- The Red Jewels the Jeweler is looking for are missable, and you should look for them from the start of you want to finish this side quest.
2- SAVE YOUR HERBS, do not use herbs outside of bosses, and if you use more than a herb on a boss, your strategy needs working on.
3- The Last boss is tough as nails, you will need at least 6 if you are a casual gamer.
4- In Euro, there is a line that moves, stay in line to get free upgrades (can only be done once).
5- Whenever you see a dark portal, change shape, more often than not, you will need to anyway.
6- Save often.
7- Study the patterns of enemies for an easier time.
8- Defeat the male vampire first.
9- Make sure you have the key items required to advance.
10- Get at least 20 red Jewels.
11- Defeat every enemy in the room to level up.

Ended the second of the Trilogy

Although Terranigma is not in the IGN list, it is considered the final of this “creation” trilogy, and as such will feel bad on not playing it.

Also, it has a very good reputation, and IGN might have just forgot about it.

So that is what I will be playing.

*****************************************************************

For previous entries in the SNES reviews, see:

90- Blackthorne
78- X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
77- Shadowrun
[url=Ended the second of the Trilogy Although Terranigma is not in the IGN list, it is considered the final of this “creation” trilogy, and as such will feel bad on not playing it. Also, it has a very good reputation, and IGN might have just forgot about it. So that is what I will be playing.]74- Soul Blazer[/url]


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