Soul Blazer
By Timothy Falk Friday, 13 Nov 2009

I had never heard of this game until rather recently. Maybe a year now. But I found out that one of my favorite games, Illusion of Gaia, is considered a “spiritual sequel” to it. So I decided to give the game a spin. It’s actually a pretty decent game. It’s not going to top any of my lists, but it’s a solid title in the SNES library. The colors are plentiful and vibrantish. It has some decent visual effects that go at certain points in the game. The gameplay is fun, for the most part. The story is pretty decent, if a little preachy. But that’s not very indepth, is it? As the story goes, the greedy King Magdridd has made a deal with the evil entity Deathtoll. For every soul in his kingdom that Magdridd turns over to Deathtoll, Magdridd will receive one piece of gold. Thus, all the souls in the world become prisoners of Deathtoll. Seeing what has happened to his world, The Master (the deity of this world), sends one

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of his agents to destroy the evil and release the souls of the world. The game starts. The first area is also seemingly the easiest. Grass Valley is the part of the game where you’re supposed to get used to the game mechanics and learn the tricks that will keep you alive. For the most part, it serves it’s purpose. It doesn’t guide you by the hand, though. One of the largest challenges a first time player will face is Grass Valley’s big, bad end boss, Steel Mantis. There is one soul in the entire game that mentions the game mechanic “Crab Walking”. Basically, you hold the L or R button, and you can strafe with you character in any one direction at a time. This one soul doesn’t mention that it is THE ONLY WAY to beat Steel Mantis. There is nothing to point out that you have to do that. It took me many, many tries until I figured it out. I dunno, maybe my brain just doesn’t work, but you’d think it’d be mentioned more when it’s such an integral part of the game. It’s actually amazingly useful as the game progresses. Another point about the bosses. Aside from one boss (I can’t recall his name, but it’s a bird while you’re on an airship.), are extremely easy once you know what to do. There’s one boss battle where you don’t even have to move.

You can just stand in one place and destroy him easily. As far as the scenery goes, each world has it’s own motif going on. Grass Valley is normal everyday human world place, followed by Greenwood, a forest run by animals. After that is St. Elles, the underwater world, which also features a volcano island. Then, the Mountain of Souls (Ice place), inhabited by dwarf style people. Then Dr. Leo’s (probably the second most pivotal character in the game) lab, basically styled after a mad scientist’s laboratory, with some town models that you warp into. Onward to Castle Magdridd, and finally to The Realm of EVIL!!! It’s like outer space encased in fire. The magic system in this game is fairly simple. Early on, you get the Soul of the Magician, and from then on, a blue orb circles you. Simply choose a magic, and press the Y button, and the orb will fire that magic in whatever direction you’re facing. The spells you have at your disposal range from mandatory (Phoenix), to practically useless (Tornado). MP in this game exists in the form of Gems. Whenever you kill an enemy, they drop a gem of varying size. One of the sole sidequests in this game nets you a prize that allows you to use magic without using gems. This allows you to spam magic with reckless abandon, which works pretty well. But that’s near the end of the game, so it’s not too broken. The battle system is pretty simplistic. You have your basic sword swing, your magic, and you crab walk “hold the sword in front of you and hope something runs into it”. There are tricks to the sword fighting, though. Crab walk stab doesn’t do nearly as much damage as a regular sword swing. If you hit something with the end of your swing, you’ll do double damage. That sort of thing. The music is actually pretty good, if a bit strange in some places. There is a basic overworld theme that exists in all the non-action areas, but there are several different action area themes. Some sinister, some upbeat, and some strange. Dr. Leo’s lab stands out the most, probably. It actually sounds robotic. But everything fits. Overall a pretty decent soundtrack. All in all, it’s a rather enjoyable game. It’s not something I’ll be playing over and over again, but I may enjoy having another playthrough someday. Now I’m probably going to try and dig up my copy of Illusion of Gaia and play through that. Look for that review at a later date.


3 Responses to “Soul Blazer”

  1. boatransistor Says:

    I have fond memories of buying this used at EB in college and I think Zach watched at least some of it.

    It’s a pretty simple game and was one of the first action RPGs for the SNES. The translation is rather poor but you can still get the gist of the story… you expect that from an early Quintet release in America.

    Illusion of Gaia is one of my favorite games as well. The three games in the series aren’t linked in story but only in mechanics and the main antagonist (Dark Gaia, Deathtoll in the American release). You also see certain other common themes and characters, such as Turbo the dog, Lilly (a main NPC in IoG) and, if you collect all 50 red jewels in Illusion of Gaia, an insanely difficult cameo of a Soul Blazer boss.

    If you have the time, the third entry in the trilogy is Terranigma. It wasn’t released in America but was translated to English for a PAL region release in Europe. So you’d either have to emulate or find the rare PAL cartridge and a converter. Either way is worth it as that’s one of the best SNES games (it’s a travesty that it was never brought to America for religious reasons).

    I like this review and would love to see an Illusion of Gaia review as well.

  2. Zach Patterson Says:

    soul blazer seemed a bit too simplistic for me from what I saw, but Illusion of Gaia seemed like it would be up my alley. I need to give it a shot one of these days. And Terranigma looks great too.

  3. Charlie Goodrich Says:

    I loved Soul Blazer as a kid. It is simple, like Zach said, but for a ten year old it is perfect. It was just a fun game. Illusion of Gaia is much more puzzle oriented, so it’s a little different but still very fun. I picked up a complete copy in good shape a few years ago. Only $20 if memory serves.

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