Illusion of Gaia - Review

Illusion of Gaia


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 9
   Originality 5
   Plot 7
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 9
   Visuals 9
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete 15-25 Hours
Crstalis GBC

  Illusion of Gaia was released by Enix for the Super Nintendo system sometime around 1994. As far as I can recall, it was not advertised much, and never became an overly popular game. Overall, I found it to be an excellent and fast paced game, however, and still play it occasionally even now.

   This game really plays a lot like Zelda 3 in some ways. You have little blue orbs that represent your life instead of hearts, but the concept is exactly the same. You can press the "Start" button to access a map in places inhabited by enemies. This map will tell you how many enemies are in the area, and how many treasures there are. If you defeat all of the enemies in a particular area, one of your attributes will increase. For example, you may become stronger, have your defence raised, gain more orb/heart pieces, etc. If you decide to skip past these enemies, you may find yourself too weak to progress with the game. Besides, fighting enemies is not a tedious thing at all. It's actually very fast paced since it's in the style of the Zelda Series, and most people should find it pretty enjoyable. Depending on what form you are in, you will have access to different special attacks. But most battles will simply be fought using one attack button. Simple, but still fun.

Personal Pocket Dimension  

   The menu system in Gaia isn't too bad at all. While it might have been nicer to be able to carry more items, it might have made the game too easy. You cam change form as well as Save your game in areas known as Dark Space. Portals to Dark Space can be found in both towns and dungeons, and are often neccesary for solving the puzzles in an area. This was one of my favorite aspects of this game. The controls are also very simple and intutitive.

   Gaia has what I would consider to be some of the best music on any SNES RPG. It can go from cheerful and pleasant to mysterious and foreboding depending on what's happening in the story and where you are in the game. Also, though it can be kind of simple at times, I really like most of the sound effects. For example, the sound your weapon makes when attacking the enemy and when the enemy is defeated actually adds some satisfaction to these fights.

   One thing that this game lacks is originality. Nearly all of it's features have been seen in other games in the past, and it really doesn't add much new to the genre. The only main feature I can't recall seeing before is the use of the Dark Space area to change form in dungeons and other areas.

A sword is a decent weapon.  

   In this game, you play the role of Young Will. Will's father, Olman, was lost at the Tower of Babel on an expedition when Will was very young. As the game begins, Will gets a letter from the King of Edward Castle, asking him to bring his father's ring to him. When he arrives, he is thrown in jail and must find a way to escape. And so the game begins. As you would probably expect, there are several plot twists and surprises as the game goes a long. The story can also be surprisingly serious at some points, though there is always a lot of humor. It really doesn't compare to the spectacular plots of games like Final Fantasy 6 and Lunar, but it's good enough to make the game interesting.

   I did notice some parts of the story that didn't make a lot of sense, but aside from that, I think the localization was very good. There were no serious problems or mistakes that were blatantly obvious.

   This is a game that you will probably play through several times. First of all, the game is generally very fast paced and fun to play. There is also the optional task of trying to collect all 50 red jewels to access a secret area. Aside from this however, there aren't that many optional tasks to do. If there were more, the replay value would be extremely high. As it is, I would rank it above average.

Slime Beating
This is NOT a decent weapon.  

   The graphics of Gaia are excellent for a SNES game. There's a lot of detail, especially in the towns. The character you control looks very good as well, in his various forms. Everything is in a traditional overhead-style perspective, similar to Zelda. However, Gaia's graphics are much more detailed and nicer, in my opinion than Zelda 3. Different towns have their own unique looks, dungeons are usually interesting looking, and most of the enemies and bosses are detailed. However, the overworld is actually very plain looking, and really uninteresting. However, you only see it briefly, and are never able to travel around on it without the computer controlling where your characters move. It's more like a simple map than an overworld. Because of this, that graphical flaw doesn't really matter as much. I think that a better way of doing the overworld would be something similar to FF Tactics or Grandia, where you moved the cursor to the place you wanted to go, and were taken there quickly. It would've looked nicer, and getting around would have been a little faster and easier.

   For the most part, this game is very easy. But because of this, there is little frustration, and it makes it fun to play at anytime. The only real challenge comes from trying to find the Red Jewels as I mentioned above. They are often cleverly hidden, and if you miss one, you are often unable to go back again to get it.

   Giving an estimate as to the games length is very difficult, since there is no game clock on the menu screen. I would have to estimate it as between 15 and 25 hours long. Considering that this is an action-RPG, I think that length is more than decent.

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