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SNES REVIEWS : Soul Blazer - 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:

76- Soul Blazer:

Year: 1992.
Genre: Action RPG (I guess).
Publisher: Enix.
Developer: Quintet.


This game can be described in one sentence; swipe, swipe, swipe ,swipe, swipe, echo. Done. Really, you walk around as this stereotypical hero and defeat hordes upon hordes of monsters using one attack button, and a rare push of the magic button.

Sound boring, it is not, it is really not.

You are an angel sent by “The Master” (who is God) to the dead world killed by Deathtoll. And here is where the fun is. First you come into a desolate world devoid of life. However, as you defeat the hordes of monster you release the souls taken prisoners by the monsters and you see life grown in front of your eyes as you progress.

This is the basic principle of Soul Blazer, but how it fares against my criteria:

The Fun Factor:

Swipe, swipe, swipe ,echo. Push base, release prisoner, watch the scene where life is seemingly created. Do it again a 1o more times, visit the town and see what life can help you with. Swipe, swipe, swipe, echo. Do it again.

This might sound repetitive and boring but it gets addictive, SERIOUSLY addictive. The sense of progress as the towns grow in front of your eyes is priceless. And even though you will feel tiered after a couple more swipe fest, you will refreshed every time something interesting is released.

Also, the numerous items you get are cool to have, and even though most of them are pointless after using them first, it is still cool collecting them. It gives you a sense of having done stuff, even though what you mostly do is push the B button like lunatic.

And when you can’t take it anymore with all the swiping, enters the epic boss fight which will test your swiping abilities to the max.

Score: 9

Challenge:

This game is easy, it is supposed to be a dungeon crawler but is not challenging enough to qualify for that distinction. Swiping never gets challenging, and the enemies are never too much to deal with, bar some rare moments. Also, the game never punishes you for your death, only taking away your Gems (which are only used to cast useless magic) which can be recouped easily.

In fact, if it were not for the boss battles, I would give this game a 1, but the bosses really gave me a fight. So much that two of the bosses I managed to defeat with only two or one hits left for me to die. Those fights will satisfy most layers as they are difficult but not unfair. Although two bosses were tedious and boring after a while as the fight dragged on but they showed their lack of attacks.

The end boss was easy so the game gets blasted for that as well, Dethtoll was such a tool (get it, toll, tool, no, ok).

Score: 4

Style:

Although not a fan off the visual presentation of the game, it was solid. However, the music was simply outstanding as it pumped to combat, or made me enjoy strolling around town (although the town theme got old eventually). Seriously, that such music was created in 1992 game is amazing. I have great appreciation for music, and great respect for game music. This game deserves both from me.

On the mechanic of life the game provides, as mentioned, the effect of progress is hugely satisfying, and seeing houses and plants grow in front of you is cool. And your own sense of the redeveloping town is refreshing. However, outside from that, you feel the game poorly relates to what is happening. Villagers seems curiously apathetic towards the lack of population in the village, and n one comments on the sudden resurgence of life. One NPC will tell you to do something, and will continue telling you to do the same thing centuries after doing it. That could have been easily addressed.

I feel a 7 does no credit to the score and the concept, but the fact that a previous game “ActRaiser” employed the same concept better makes even a 7 too much, but the theme of the underground lab makes me unable to do anything. GOD I LOVE THIS THEME.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWC_6lYUoks&feature=related

Score: 7

Playability:

The graphics are pretty standard for the age, and although the sprites look outdated, nothing in the graphics interfere with the gameplay. The sound is s mentioned excellent. And there is nothing wrong with the gameplay. The question is whether you can enjoy an outdated Action RPG.

My answer to that is yes. This game can be enjoyed given you enjoy its kind of games, but if you are not easily addicted by such games, then the swiping will turn you off. But if you love these kinds of games, you will love this one, which can be finished in 15-20 hours.

Score: 6

Lorde Spencer’s Score:

I am quoting some random review I found in Gamefaq on the game. This game should not be fun, but it sure damn is. From the first moment you swipe, to the last moment you swipe, you are in an adventure of epic proportions where weirdly enough, the most time you spend in this journey you spend in swiping. And it is abnormally fun.

I doubt it would be as cool if not for the soundtrack and the interesting premise behind it. There is a sense of accomplishment in the release of life from the hordes of monsters you kill, and the music keeps you enjoying that accomplishment.

Having said that, putting this games against more innovative games like Zelda shames this game, and you have to wonder about the laziness of the staff in some aspect. My heart is not with this score, but my mind is sure is.

Score: 6


[u]Overall:[/u] 9/4/7/6/6 32/50

This game was gets the same score as Shadowrun, which I think is fair. In my view the best game are the games that create challenging innovative world that is fun to be in. Those two games each took part of that.

I guess we will have too see down the list for those rare gems.

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

1- There are no miss-able items except the emblems.
2- Looking for the emblems is somehow difficult, and the item it gives you is largely useless.
3- Swipe like a pawn in chess, stand diagonally to your enemy rather than in front of him.
4- Talk to everyone to get clues in what to do next.

That is it for Soul Blazer.

Coming up is #74, Illusions of Gaia which is considered a sequel of Soul Blazer by many. Which will put it into a harsher test with me

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

For previous entries in the SNES reviews, see:

90- Blackthorne
78- X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
77- Soul Blazer

Thank You for reading
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