RPG Review #42: Soul Blazer

NuMetalManiak
You will notice I am dropping "old" at the beginning of these things, well it's because I really stopped caring whether or not the game is old in question or not. Retro RPGs and newer ones will likely be put in the same category, although it's usually the newer ones with a lot to do. So, Soul Blazer, a.k.a. "the reason I am not playing Illusion of Gaia right now" is an action RPG by Enix, and is the first in the series of games that includes the aforementioned Illusion of Gaia as well as Terranigma, all of which are on the SNES and I will get to some time in the future. The games were actually developed by Quintet, and were only marginally successful in a similar vein to the company's ActRaiser series, which is a totally different genre altogether. This focuses on the first game here which is none other than Soul Blazer.

Gameplay: This plays as you might expect an action RPG will go. You got your sword (B button) and you' got your magic, which requires gems taken from enemies to use with the Y button. You got equippable armor and items as well. You got an experience system which will mean character level ups while killing monsters in the level and stat increases. As far as swordplay goes, our hero here swings in a wide arc, where the right-hand side of the hero does the most amount of damage. The player can also thrust his sword forward with the L or R keys and strafe, which can be a tactic when dealing with certain enemies, those dumb enough to run into the sword. Magic varies but is cast from a constantly rotating circle.

The game is separated into about six or seven areas, with different themes and styles. But upon entering a new area of the game, the player finds little to do as the place is barren. As it goes on though, the area will be rebuilt as enemies in the dungeons are killed and things are freed. The stuff the main character frees always talks, whether it's a human, a goat, a bird, or even a door. Sometimes, it's necessary to go through a dungeon until you can't no more and then go back to the home area and then talk to NPCs to get what you need. Along with that are Master's Shrines, where the progress can be saved and allow the player to warp to other locales in the respective area.

As far as enemies go, most enemies in the game come from monster lairs, where they usually spawn in and you need to kill them all. It's kind of like playing in a Zelda game and being trapped in a room where every monster needs to be killed in order to continue, but there's not too much to be bound by in Soul Blazer unless we are talking about boss fights. Killing all enemies from a specific lair effectively cleanses it, walking over it frees something in the section of the world the player currently is in. Or it may provide a section of dungeon to continue on the journey. Or it could provide a chest of goodies. Point is, unlock them all. Some of the enemies in the game require certain swords to be equipped in order to slay them. Overall, this game is quite typical on the gameplay, but is quite enjoyable. Grade: B

Characters: The main character is a heavenly angel sent by his unseen master to restore the places which have been made barren by the game's evil force, Deathtoll. He is a silent protagonist and you choose the name. Other than that, there are few plot relevant characters such as King Magridd, Dr. Leo, her daughter Lisa, and a few talking animals they kept as pets at one point. There's not much to say really. Grade: C

Plot: Much of the plot is already given by the game's introduction if you decide not to skip it. This king known as Magridd wanted power, sought the help of Deathtoll, and got more than he bargained for when everything disappeared and now our main character has to restore everything the way it was and kick Deathtoll out of existence. Quite typical

Okay to be more specific, he goes through each locale, starting with the quaint village, rescuing Lisa and the village chief by rummaging through a castle and paintings (it's like Super Mario 64). The next destination is a forest with shrines and talking animals, then a mermaid palace under the sea, then the snowy mountain where dwarven elves live, then Dr. Leo's laboratory where cats, mice, and even doors talk and mechanical enemies wander the pipes. Then to the land of Magridd itself, and then freeing such people such as Dr. Leo and the king and queen. Apparently Dr. Leo wanted to run away at some point but he dies anyways, and the king apologizes for wanting power. Then the protagonist goes into the final area, the World of Evil, and takes on Deathtoll. Afterwards, he is sent to the earth as a human except he has no memory. Wonderfully simple for a plot, most people probably won't pay attention but that's fine. Grade: B

Music: Apparently the soundtrack was released on Apollon records in 1992. The SNES music was pretty light, and I didn't hear it well sometimes. Pretty forgettable actually. Grade: C+

Overall Grade: B-

Soul Blazer is what most action RPGs end up following in its gameplay. It is pretty much a classic fantasy-based action RPG with almost arcade-like gameplay and it is quite short too, considering how I beat it in just a week. It's from an often forgotten SNES series, and is worth a look despite its simplicity.

Comments

Great review m8. I can't believe this is your 42nd RPG review. Wow. - visitor