Soleil is a fantastic RPG, and much under appreciated.
Soleil was an RPG released for the Megadrive. It was a Zelda style game starring a boy armed with a Sword. On his birthday he is cursed by a mysterious fortune teller who gives him the ability to speak to animals and monsters, but no longer able to understand humans. That’s about it for plot. There is a lot of time travel in the game, caused by a mysterious hurricane which keeps appearing. Basically you travel around the game world collecting animal friends along the way.
The animals all have different skills which prove beneficial. These abilities range from abilities for your sword (such as the ability to throw it, and then control it to hit switches, or to give the sword different properties) to other abilities, such as the ability to jump.
What was great about the game is that by being able to understand the monsters you meet you come to the realisation that the humans are all basically bastards, and the monsters are completely misunderstood. For example, at the beginning of the game while still able to talk to humans you travel to a Castle where you see the King present a brave Warrior with a golden sword. Throughout the game this ‘brave’ warrior turns up hunting monsters who you know to be innocent, and they run in fear from him who they see as the monster.
There is actually a boss in the game who doesn’t even attack you. After killing him, he asks you why you felt the need to always destroy. It really makes you as the player feel like a jerk.
Another bit I found really clever is one of the time travel levels. The village you come from had the legend of a hero who in the past had saved the village after a bunch of monsters had invaded it. Going back in time to this event, you meet the monsters. They managed to escape the Castle dungeons they were locked up in, before hiding in the village church where they were found and butchered. As they lay dying they question why they have been killed just for being different, and say they only ever attacked humans out of defence. This provides a very different outlook to the humans version. Things like this happen throughout the game.
Religion plays a heavy part in the game. One part of the game sees you climbing the Tower of Babel. When you get to the top you actually enter Heaven. In Heaven God shouts at you before sending a demon to battle you. After it’s death God condemns you and all humanity for the violence they cause. Then he casts you out.
The game also has its bizarre quirky parts. On the beach level Sonic is there sunbathing. When you try and talk to him he says something like ‘I’m too cool to talk to you’. He serves absolutely no purpose in the game. Fairy tales are used in some parts of the game. The first quest is basically Little Red Riding Hood, ends with a fight with a Wolf in an old woman’s cottage. Later in the game one of the quests is based on the Wizard of Oz.
Other bizarreness can be found in one of the later boss battles. You are in a small Pac-man type maze and basically have to collect these items to destroy the bosses who are chasing you round.
This game is amazing, and as far as I can tell, is a hidden gem, recommended!