You could be forgiven for mistaking SoulBlazer: Illusion of Gaia for another "cute" RPG. Enix's delightful follow-up to its 1991 classic SoulBlazer starts out with another mop-topped kid staying after school, playing with his pals, and treating with pigs and princesses.
Blaze of Glory
Sweet stuff, eh? Well, it's a deceptive start. You'll soon realize this enormous role- playing game for the Super NES is comparatively grownup. You're cast as a boy named Tim who's living with his grandparents in the seaside town of South Cape. His explorer father is missing -- lost during an expedition to the Tower of Babel from which only Tim returned -- and Tim has shown a curious ability to move certain objects with his mind. Obviously, he's adventure material, and, sure enough, Tim is asked by the king (who's been acting peculiar) to bring him a relic.
It's standard RPG advice, but talk to everyone, and, then talk to them again should circum-stances change. (If you can't get out of South Cape, you probably need to check in with Lola.)
You're eventually dispatched on a tour of the ruins of the world to collect Mystic Dolls. (Don't ask.) Along the way, there's much traveling (sometimes with a companion or two), much talking, much fighting, some shape shifting, and, happily, much solving of puzzles by brain or brawn (or both).
You can coax the unlucky fisherman on South Cape's dock into pulling up &red gem. Just keep after him and duck into seaside caves and houses in between visits to the dock.
View to a Thrill
Graphically and sonically, this sequel is at least on a par with the first SoulBlazer, and that's good news. The buildings are bright, rich, and solid, the effects are persuasive, and you've got to dig that view from the parapet on the third floor of Edward Castle. The music, ranging from semiclassical to bopping platformer funk, is great. Some of it is actually very memorable.
The most notable addition to the SoulBlazer canon is a travel mode that places your party on a rotating Mode 7 map of the continent, which is more presentation than game play. In another switch, the first game's sideways crab walk has been changed into the ability to break into a run.
The difficulty is nicely pitched. The designers entice you into the game slowly, with simple tasks, and by the time you enter the Inca maze -- the first really tough nut to crack -- you'll be hooked.
The game, however, has sacrificed the central theme that gave the original Soul- blazer (and ActRaiser before it) a distinct sense of direction and purpose an impression that your good works have an ongoing impact on the game world. On the other hand, Illusion of Gaia enjoys a sense of worldliness that SoulBlazer didn't have. The earlier game took a justifiable pride in being a sort of small-town RPG that took you through the same terrain many times. Here, out in the wide world, you never know quite what's coming next, and that's the best thing that could be said about an RPG.
Download Soul Blazer
- Super NES - Enix
- Theme: Adventure
- Available: July 1992
You have been chosen to restore the six stones that control evil. You must utilize mystical swords and powerful armor to destroy the traps that are holding creatures. As you accomplish certain tasks, many creatures will offer you their souls that provide special powers. Eight levels of mystical beauty include visits to haunted houses, underwater paradises and forest lands. Take on hideous bosses at the end of levels!
I found the duality of the adventure contained within Soul Blazer to be amazingly addictive. The action never really overtakes the role-playing portion of the game and that segment of play isn't extremely challenging, but there is an addictive quality in the liberation if a village (and its mysteries) that grew on me.
The timing is great on this cart. By now all of the quest game players would have beaten Zelda 3 and are now looking for another challenge. Here it is! SB is equally as challenging, but actually more fun to play. Spectacular graphics and a lengthy quest make this cart a must have for all who like to think their way through a cart.
A great action adventure cart that's loaded with great graphics and sounds and a long quest. The game is fast and the pace is just right if you need a little action with your role-playing. The quest is a little easier than I expected and can be solved in a few hours. Great music and visuals keep you coming back for more.
Soul Blazer is the answer for you Zelda fans who need more excitement. It may not be better, but at least you can entertain yourself for about four hours or so. Soul Blazer features excellent graphics and music, but lacks in quest depth. Look around for its shelf appearance and snatch it up while it's still hot! Worthy!
- Machine: SNES
- Manufacturer: Enix
The adventure continues - now with even more RPG!
Dragon Warrior V may not be on the shelves yet (or even on the way, for that matter), but RPG fans can take comfort in Enix's sequel to its hit Soul Blazer. While the first game relied on tons of action with sparse RPG elements, the second finds you spending most of your time in town, often chatting with the townspeople for hours between action scenes.
The story starts when Tim, a young boy with a magical staff, hears some news about his long-lost father. Then Karen, a young princess about Tim's age, shows up and causes trouble. Then Tim goes to jail, but only after eating Grandma Lola's famous pie. And then... um, I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Let's just say you travel the globe and stumble through many wacky subplots before you're finished.
Soul Blazer is the second in the series of quest games from the masters at Enix. This game takes a different route than Act Raiser though (Act Raiser 2 will be coming out later this year). With a plot similar to the Zelda series, Soul Blazer will be pure quest game with huge mazes to challenge you every step of the way. Set primarily in an overhead perspective, SB features vivid, detailed multilayered graphics and sound as good as what we loved in Act Raiser. Note the name change to Soul Blazer.
As if his kingdom were the y Soul topping Network, greedy King Magridd of the Freil Empire sells his subject's souls to the devil Deathtoll for a gold coin apiece Needless to say, the heavenly protector of the land, the Master, is not amused. He sends you, the Soul Blazer, to recover his disciples' spirits from the clutches of Deathtoll.
Effortlessly blending hot overhead-view action with a good role-playing plot, Soul Blazer for the SNES is Enix's follow-up to last year's 16-bit smash side-scroller, ActRaiser. The game's not a direct sequel, but the mystical qualities and great orchestrated sound effects are obvious connections.
As the Soul Blazer, you set off on a campaign through six Freil towns to recover the inhabitants' lost souls. At the start of the game, you're the only living being left in the world. You wander the countryside in a no-fighting-allowed, top-down perspective. Once inside a labyrinth, the game shifts to all-action sword swinging and spell casting.
Stashed inside dungeons, Monster Lair are your targets a la Gauntlet. They act as beastie boy generators and spew forth trolls, goblins, death flies, and other unsavory fiends for you to chop to bits. Wiping out these Monster Lairs frees people, plants, and animals from captivity. These newly freed prisoners communicate clues and help you track down Deathtoll. It doesn't end there. You can return later and interrogate them for more insight.
- At any time during Use game, talk to the tool shop proprietor in Grass Valley for a free Medical Herb.
- Touch the Village Chief's portrait with Dr. Leo's Paintbrush and enter the evil World.
The game's fighting is top-notch, and the play control is excellent. You can smoothly run, swing your sword, and use sorceries. At first, the magic seems worthless, but higher-level spells can be useful and devastating. However, the puzzles you face are not complicated and usually require you to backtrack or use an item to pass. Soul Blazer has a standard RPG scenario -- fight, gain levels, collect items, and do the same again -- but it's still well executed.
The thing that keeps you coming back for more is the story of Freil. Redulding each city by unleashing captive souls is rewarding. Yes, one swordsman can save the world. Be forewarned, veteran dungeon crawlers, it's not as hard as you'd think. This game's challenge is mid-level. Beginning and intermediate players will find it most rewarding, and the battery save backs up your progress.
After you release Ivy from captivity, return to the oveworld and climb it to a new area.
Soul Blazer's music score is as beautiful as ActRaiser's. Unfortunately, that's partly because the sound effects are lifted straight from Raiser. The classical tracks, however, are new and they're great. The graphics look good with some nice background touches, including flowing waterfalls and see-through clouds floating over the horizon.
Mind, Body and Soul
Soul Blazer is a successful balance of cross-world trekking, hack & slashing, and RPG adventuring in the tradition of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The story's not too deep and the action's not too intense. The bottom line is this game's just right for soul searchers ready to reach out and touch someone's life.