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Illusion of Gaia

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Reviewed by Graham North Illusion of Gaia. The ONLY Role Playing Super NES game that I've EVER bought that didn't have the Squaresoft logo on it. For that matter, the only Role-Playing game for ANY system that I bought which didn't have the Squaresoft logo. This is Nintendo's own, and they did well. The game is based on a young school boy named Will who, one year ago, went on an expedition with his father and some adventurers to the Tower of Babel. He remembers nothing of it now, except that his father did not return yet he somehow made it back. Will has now discovered that he has some sort of telekinesis powers which definitely scare his friends more than he'd want it to. He has the ability to move object in line with him from afar, as well as other powers which you'll discover along the way. The journey begins in home town South Cape, where a letter from the king requests that Will bring him the renowned Crystal Ring, of which he knows nothing about. From here you, as Will, will discover many items and treasures through your journey with the help of your friends, acquaintances, and the Spirit of another Dimension, Gaia. It's a long, hard, demon and puzzle filled road, but with faith, Will can prevail.

Graphics 4 out of 5

The graphics in Illusion of Gaia are at the general level for it's time and game type. Nothing extremely special or new, yet enough to appreciate them. The game, made in late 1995 around the time of Final Fantasy 3, doesn't live up in graphics to its rival, as realism is decreased by more cartoony graphics, though perhaps not intended as so. Nonetheless, an improvement in the category from it's real-time predecessor in Secret of Mana. Though characterizations in the two games are equal, if not the battle given to the Dwarves and Sprites of Secret of Mana, the background, house and level detail of Gaia DESTROY the "same-stuff-with-a-change-of-color" backgrounds of Mana.

Music and Sound 4.2 out of 5

The sounds of Gaia, rather advanced for their time, were second in '95 only to Final Fantasy 3. Both of these games FINALLY introduced different songs for almost every level, though Gaia's effects could use some work. Though mainly as realistic as could be given through opening doors, whistling wind, collecting jewels and such, the sounds of hitting demons and walls could are those that perhaps should have been tuned up. Besides that small detail, the songs and sounds of Illusion of Gaia could still rank fairly high in Super NES games in 1998, in my opinion.

Game Challenge 4.1 out of 5

For the actual game itself, I wouldn't, and couldn't have given Gaia anything over 3.5 or so in the Challenge category. But this game was saved by it's nearly impossible "I've-owned-the-game-for-almost-three-years-and- STILL-haven't-beaten-it" red jewel collection. The jewel collecting itself isn't that hard, especially with the entire guide to finding the 50 jewels on the back of the instruction booklet. But not only is it a problem that if you miss ONE you can't get the secret, but the secret itself is a problem. Once you give all the jewels to the Jeweler, he transports you to a weird level with what looks like enemies from the mine level, but WAY harder. If you can manage to sneakily kill ALL the monsters (like 60), then you get to face the REAL form of the Jeweler, a huge monster that I still can't beat. He's got these huge claws that drill you, and you only get 1HP off of him per shot (equalling 40 shots to kill him, and he takes off like 5HP per shot. Not to mention that he can EASILY hit you, but it's almost impossible to hit him. I think I got him down to like 6HP once and he killed me.) So with that, challenge has been boosted by 0.6 because of the Gem the Jeweler.

Game Play-Fun 4.6 out of 5

Fun. Really fun. That's pretty much all you need to know about Gaia. Though the replay value isn't as great as one would hope, due to the limits of the game (where and when you can go places with who or what), but nonetheless, fun. Between cool looking and interesting monsters, and a terrific story-line which, though full of anachronisms, is very informative including a trip to find the Incan treasures. Also, with the switching of characters in battle from Will to Freedan the Warrior, then to Shadow, the game is full of surprises and puzzles to keep you playing until the end.

Overall 4.4 out of 5

Quite frankly, Illusion of Gaia is an excellent game. I don't buy many games in comparison to some people I know, but this game is DEFINITELY worth shovelling out 50 or 60 bucks to keep. Between fighting monsters in the Incan Ruins, finding secrets in the Pyramids, discovering bones in Ankor Wat and finding the Red Jewels for Gem the Jeweler, this game is ready for you, so get ready for it.

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