Review by JericoPaladin
"Started a Great Trilogy, Great Game."
I played Soul Blazer after both Illusions of Gaia and Terranigma, but I played it, and played it to the end.
Graphics 8/10- It's a '92 game, god damn it. It's fine for that time, everything is clear, its pretty easy to distinguish everything from something else. So, it's fine.
Sound 7/10- Not bad. Again, it's a '92 game, I'm pretty liberal here.
Story 8/10- Well, they've chosen to omit an introduction, The Master gives you the short version of everything right at the beginning. You've been chosen (created? probably) by The Master to resurrect the rest of the world. Too bad its plagued by monsters. You have to kill monsters to expose their lairs, and seal the lairs to resurrect various life forms.
Its a simple concept. Maybe this is why not too many games do it. And if they do, Soul Blazer is one of the earlier ones. Sealing Monster Lairs has been seen again in Act Raiser, and Soul Blazer had two games modeled after it, Illusions of Gaia and Terranigma.
Gameplay 9/10- Here we go. The system is simple. You have a sword with which to attack with. There is only one kind of swing persay, just the Attack button. But holding L or R makes your character (had no pre-assigned name, you give him one) hold his sword like in phalanx formation, right in front of him, like a spear. You can walk into enemies to harm them this way, and your sword apparently attracts gems this way. If they're in your line of sight, they float into you.
Dungeons are dungeons, but tend to be well-organized enough, and not overly long-winded, which makes for great classic Dungeon Crawling while in there. Enemies are usually generated by Monster Lairs. Once you kill all the enemies from that Lair (which can send them one at a time, all at once, or at a certain pace when you approach them), you can seal it by stepping on it. This causes something to happen, like a resurrection, or a bridge changes, or a path opens, etc: Other enemies come from elsewhere, and they respawn when you leave and return to the dungeon, whereas Monster Lairs remain closed no matter what.
Once you resurrect things, you can talk to them back in the safe area. Though there aren't many dialogue choices (usually Yes or No to questions), talking to everyone is usually a good idea, as you can get goodies, hints, or even important items.
Inventory is split into Weapon, Armor, Magic, and Item.
Weapons are all swords of varying strength, and most have some special enchantment, like the Psycho Sword can paralyze invincible enemies (Metal monsters, which need to be killed with the Zantatsu Sword).
Armor is armor of varying strength (to repel blows), and may have enchantments, like Ice Armor allows you to step on hot surfaces.
Magic is something special. Usually used to attack the enemy. The magic doesn't usually come from you persay, but from a collection of Souls circling you. I'll explain later. It takes Gems to use Magic, which you usually collect by killing enemies. Pheonix however, comes from you.
Items can vary from Medical Herbs (completely restore health if it hits zero) to things like Leo's Paintbrush (enter a painted realm) and a Dream Wand (see into people's dreams.) You don't ever use items instantly, they are just equipped, and used when necessary, like Strange Bottles, if equipped (good idea in a dungeon if you don't have a Medical Herb), save all your Gems in case you die. If you die, you are just sent back to The Master's Altar.
Souls are willing life forms you've resurrected that wish to join you in your journey. They have various benefits. The first two, for example, are Soul of Magician, who lets you cast spells, and Soul of Light, a mole's soul that illuminates darkness and lets you see enemies you otherwise couldn't see.
You gain experience by killing enemies, and leveling up increases your health, strength and defense.
Replay Value 8/10- The benefit of most Dungeon Crawlers is that you can replay them easily. If you wished there was more of Soul Blazer, just keep playing. If you drop it for a few months, you could pick it up later and play it again, unlike many other games like RPGs.
Overall- 9/10 (not an average- A fun, early Dungeon Crawling RPG that is both fun and addictive to the old school types.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/08/02, Updated 11/08/02
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