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Illusion of Gaia (SNES) artwork

Illusion of Gaia (SNES) review

"Illusion of Gaia is one of the very well hidden gems for the Super Nintendo."

Illusion of Gaia is one of the very well hidden gems for the Super Nintendo. It's very similar to Zelda, but throws in a couple new elements and some cool new features.

In Illusion of Gaia, you play the role of Will, the son of a famous adventurer who was lost in the Tower of Babel. Will somehow mysteriously made it back, but he has no memory of what happened. He's thrust into an engrossing adventure that will hold your attention. He's helped along the way by his friends though, and he finds out that he has mystical powers.

The gameplay is a bit like Zelda, but it's updated. The only things you have to equip are items, such as herbs and magic jewels (more on those later). For the most part, you gain strength by defeating all the enemies in a room, usually around 15 to 30. You are then awarded a jewel which raises your base HP, strength, or defense. If you miss a jewel then there's usually no way to recover it.

Enemies will also leave behind gems. Collect a hundred gems and you're given a ''renew''. If you die and have a renew, you're automatically brought back to life at the entrance of the room you just fought in. In rare cases, enemies will leave behind health powerups.

Another VERY unique feature that Illusion of Gaia has from other adventure type games is the ability to change forms. During the game, Will has the opportunity to transform into two ancient warriors, Freedan, acquired early in the game, and Shadow, who is gotten late in the game. Will and Freedan each have their own distinct abilities, as does Shadow.

Will uses his flute as his main attack. He also has three special attacks that you learn while on the journey. Will's attack is less damaging then Freedan's sword, but it has the useful ability of playing songs. You'll need these songs for various things, such as opening passageways.

Freedan's sword is more powerful then Will's flute. You'll also need its greater range to hit switches. He has three seperate abilites then Will.

You can switch between these characters in Dark Space, a place where Gaia inhabits. She's a mystical-looking face, and a supporting character. Dark Space is where you can save your game and restore your hit points. Also, you can only interact with other characters when you're Will. Freedan is only available in combat situations.

The combat is handled well. Nothing is overwhelming, and you can execute special attacks by either tapping buttons or holding them down. The normal enemies are neither too hard or pushovers, and the bosses are challenging but not impossible.

There's a fun little quest that will occupy you for most of the game. During the game, you'll come across magical jems. Collect them and hand them into Jem the Jeweler for various enhancements. Collect all 50 in the game and you get to see Jem's secrets.

This side quest might seem small, but it's a very fun diversion and actually makes you want to play the entire game over again and get all those jems you missed. And Jem's secret is worth the trouble :)

Graphically, Illusion of Gaia is a feast. There's rich multicolored graphics everywhere in the game. The world map is very nice. You travel through ancient places in the real world, such as the Nazca Desert and Angkor Wat.

A rich ochestra highlights Illusion of Gaia's sound. It's present in all areas of the game, along with the errie mystical sounding music. Effects are well-done, with metal clashing on metal effects.

Illusion of Gaia is the best adventure game on the Super Nintendo with a deep story. While it can be considered a Zelda knockoff, it's much more, and it has a good story to back it up. Highly recommended at any price.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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