Beyond Oasis (Genesis) review
"For the longest time, I considered Beyond Oasis a RPG, because it had characteristics of one. It took place in a fantasy setting where knights, beasts, and mutated rats roamed lands, caves, and dungeons. Your character, named Ali, has health and magic bars that are labeled as H.P and S.P, and he can also travel around in an overhead perspective, picking up various weapon and health items that can be stocked in a magical inventory screen. It just had the markings of a role-playing game. "
For the longest time, I considered Beyond Oasis a RPG, because it had characteristics of one. It took place in a fantasy setting where knights, beasts, and mutated rats roamed lands, caves, and dungeons. Your character, named Ali, has health and magic bars that are labeled as H.P and S.P, and he can also travel around in an overhead perspective, picking up various weapon and health items that can be stocked in a magical inventory screen. It just had the markings of a role-playing game.
However, upon recently playing through the title, I had a hard time accepting it as a RPG. The game was just way too simplistic to be considered one. Thanks to the small size of the island that Beyond Oasis takes place on, there's really not that many places to explore. Even more so when a huge chunk of the island is inaccessible when you begin. Shoot, there's only two villages, a grand total of ten buildings. Only three of which can be entered... Surely, the caves and dungeons make up for that, right? Not the case. They're actually pretty short and easy, consisting mainly of finding colored keys in chests and enemies in order to advance. Really, anyone playing this title for the first time can finish it in about four or five hours, and less than three after that.
If you focus on all these "shortcomings", Beyond Oasis does sound like a disappointing role-playing game. That is, if you view it as a role-playing game. On the front of the box, it claims to be an adventure game, but even that's stretching it. So is the boast that it's the largest one on the Genesis... Exactly what is it, then? Well, another thing I noticed about this title upon my recent playthrough is just how action-oriented it is. I mean, I always knew there was a lot of action before, but I never realized how much emphasis was placed on it. Literally every important area you end up visiting is usually heavily patrolled by a group of soldiers, beasts, zombies, exploding snakes, you name it. And they're all eager to get a piece of you.
What do you have to fend back? A dagger. It may not look like much, and if used the wrong way, you could easily be thrown into a world of hurt. Thankfully, the kind developers, Ancient, made Ali quite flexible, and gave him an assortment of helpful moves to use with the dagger, executed by performing fighting game-esque motions on the controller. If used properly, you can easily take out a room filled with five or six goons in a matter of seconds; you can begin by charging into a gang using a backward slash, which propels at least three of them into the air, flipping around wildly until hitting the ground. Before anybody has a chance to retaliate, you quickly respond with another move, this one involves swinging your fiery dagger around Ali, knocking back any poor soul nearby. Finally, you then use your somersault dagger attack on the last victim, who was lucky enough to survive that long.
You'll pick up various other weapons on your quest, like swords and bombs, but you'll still use your main weapon most of the time, since it's the only thing in your arsenal with that much flexibility. If it weren't for the fact that you were forced to use certain weapons to turn on switches, you'd probably forget you had anything other than your trusty dagger. You're more likely to use your Spirits, which you obtain in caves and dungeons on your travels, in combat. They prove to be very resourceful with their abilities when you summon them for help. If you're running low on health, you can call out the Water Spirit, Dytto, if water happens to be nearby, and order her to heal you. Need some added brute force? Summon the fire spirit, Efreet, by doing the obvious. With these Spirits, your dagger skills, and the other weapons you hardly use, it's really rare to die unless you're being reckless.
So, the more I rushed into fight after fight, where enemies were constantly trying to surround me, the more I realized that this title had a beat em' up mentality to it. Really makes sense when you factor in all the other simplistic things in Beyond Oasis. I doubt this was ever intended to be some epic game to be revered by all, but instead, just a short, action title where you run around with your athletic character, beating the snot out of anyone during your journey. Though, it's too bad Beyond Oasis isn't a little bit longer, and a bit tougher. I wish I could say that the Sega Saturn followup, The Legend of Oasis, provides a better experience, but it somehow manages to screw that up by being a repetitive remake.
Community review by pickhut (March 30, 2009)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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