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Old 06-28-2018, 11:11 PM
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Default LttP: Gaia's Soul Blazes into Illusions

PROLOGUE:
I missed the 16-bit generation. When the Genesis and Super NES (and to a lesser extent the Turbo Grafx, Neo Geo and other consoles) duked it out for supremacy, I was not graced with either console from my parents nor could I afford one. I stuck it out with my NES, acquiring used games from KMart and the like, or played on my Commodore 64, a recent acquisition that came with a bunch of PC classics. Once the Nintendo 64 came around, I was given that as a Christmas gift in 1996, and beyond the rare borrowing of a Genny or SNES I just skipped past that entire era of gaming.

I've made efforts to remedy that in the intervening years between their launch and the present day. I own a SNES (2nd model), bought a bunch of SNES and Genesis games via emulated means (Virtual Console, compilations, ports, SNES Classic), and searched high and low for the legends of the SNES I had heard so much about to add to my collection. I've had many of the greats in cart form: Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy II and III, EarthBound, Demon's Crest, Secret of Mana, Super Mario All-Stars, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, and Lufia II, to name a few. But one developer's titles have remained elusive. Quintet.

While I happily own Actraiser on the Wii Virtual Console, their other games Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia have continued to escape my grasp. High on my list of desired SNES carts, I've been waiting for the day to experience what I have heard are two of the finest action RPGs available for the system. And thanks to Issun, I get to begin that journey.

I know next to nothing about these games, beyond that they are connected in some ways through narrative and gameplay and some very rudimentary memories of screenshots and articles from my youth. And this thread will chronicle my journeys with both games as I make my way through them for the first time.

I do ask that any spoilers be under covers, and to try to withhold hints unless I want for them. Ultimately I wish to have my experience be as organic as possible. But I do want to also have Tyrants follow me on these quests and partake in the adventure as I explore these worlds with eyes unclouded. I hope it'll be an interesting thread!

SOUL BLAZER, CHAPTER 1 looms...
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  #2  
Old 06-28-2018, 11:16 PM
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:07 AM
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Soul Blazer is one of my favorite SNES games. I hope you like it! I've not yet played Illusion of Gaia, although I did pick up a copy several years ago. Perhaps I should do that soon.
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Old 06-29-2018, 06:43 AM
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Terranigma was also part of that Quintet series, wasn't it?
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Old 06-29-2018, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
Terranigma was also part of that Quintet series, wasn't it?
It is, but Issun didn't have it to lend it to me, so for now this will only be the first two games in that trilogy.
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Old 06-29-2018, 11:33 AM
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Soul Blazer is my favorite Quintet game, so I hope you enjoy it as well! Get your crab walking and sword swinging on! I just love the rapid rhythm of cutting through the monster lairs one after another, releasing townspeople and changing the dungeon along the way. If your lent cartridge doesn't include the manual you can readily find it online here, and get the full organic 1992 experience!

One small, final note about Soul Blazer is that there are mechanics pertaining to your character's sword swing that are extremely easy to miss (and not explained in the manual) but once discovered it adds a little more dynamism to the combat.

But I won't dare try to backseat game by handing out any secret tips, so I'll just coyly hint by saying there is a "sweet spot" on your sword swing arc and let you experiment on your own to find it.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:32 PM
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Just wanted to let you know that this thread convinced me to start Soul Blazer again, with the intention of playing it and Illusion of Gaia (and Terranigma, which I've finished before and absolutely adore) to enjoy the full Quintet trilogy. I started last night, so I'm eager to see your first impressions.

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One small, final note about Soul Blazer is that there are mechanics pertaining to your character's sword swing that are extremely easy to miss (and not explained in the manual) but once discovered it adds a little more dynamism to the combat.

But I won't dare try to backseat game by handing out any secret tips, so I'll just coyly hint by saying there is a "sweet spot" on your sword swing arc and let you experiment on your own to find it.
What's this? I didn't know about this?! But what does it mean...?
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:33 PM
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Oh yay! That's exciting! I plan on setting up the SNES tomorrow and spending a little time with it to get my bearings.
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
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What's this? I didn't know about this?! But what does it mean...?


Go forth and uncover its secrets!
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Old 07-01-2018, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dosboot View Post
But I won't dare try to backseat game by handing out any secret tips, so I'll just coyly hint by saying there is a "sweet spot" on your sword swing arc and let you experiment on your own to find it.
I'm pretty sure I know what you're talking about and man, I abused the hell out of that when I beat the game sans savestates for the first time a few months ago. (P. sure I abused it every other time I've beat the game too, for that matter.)
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Old 07-01-2018, 06:49 PM
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Crap my day slipped away and now my SNES TV room is baking in the California sun. I'll have to start this bright and early Wednesday morning. Looking forward to beginning this!
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:39 PM
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Only finished Gaia once, played but never finished Terranigma, and I've played through Blazer about 30 times.

The Soul Blazer "trilogy" should probably be a tetralogy; Actraiser is absolutely a prototype for what was to come.
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:48 PM
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If you add Actraiser 2, you can call it the Quintet quintet.
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Old 07-01-2018, 09:10 PM
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Itís a sextet.
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  #15  
Old 07-01-2018, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by four-so View Post
The Soul Blazer "trilogy" should probably be a tetralogy; Actraiser is absolutely a prototype for what was to come.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
If you add Actraiser 2, you can call it the Quintet quintet.
Poor Robotrek is always last or forgotten, and then left sleeping in the corner during the SNES family reunion when the rest of the gang takes the group photo (_ _*) Z z z

Last edited by dosboot; 07-01-2018 at 09:33 PM. Reason: to clarify the comment was being written after reading four-so's and Regulus's posts, before Loki's post had appeared
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Old 07-01-2018, 09:18 PM
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Robotrek, while a mighty fine game, doesnít share the theme of cyclical resurrection, and so isnít part of the sequence.
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Old 07-01-2018, 09:53 PM
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The "Heaven and Earth Trilogy" (SoulBlazer, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma) share gameplay, thematic elements and system. The Actraiser games are very different gameplaywise (and aesthetically), and Granstream Saga is on the PSX (plus I hear it has issues). I guess H&E is like the Dark Souls Trilogy and then the Actraisers and Granstream fit in like Demon's Souls and Bloodborne.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
I'm pretty sure I know what you're talking about and man, I abused the hell out of that when I beat the game sans savestates for the first time a few months ago. (P. sure I abused it every other time I've beat the game too, for that matter.)
I'm still not sure what is being hinted at here. Anyone want to clue me in? Maybe put it in a spoilerpop so WildcatJF doesn't accidentally see.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:52 AM
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I'm referring to the way your sword pauses and can hit enemies multiple times just at the end of its swing so you want to stand with your enemies diagonally forward and to your right when you attack.
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:36 AM
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Indeed, if you want to know what I was alluding to before, Lucas spells it out plainly. (Personally I don't think it's much of an 'abuse' though. I see it as a nice little help but it also adds another little thing you have to keep in mind when fighting/positioning yourself.)

Before I described it as adding a little bit of dynamism, which is why I like using it. Then again, maybe because I'm a fanatic like four-so and have played Soul Blazer 30 times that I don't see a shift of the game's difficulty in my favor as a detraction to my enjoyment.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:04 PM
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Thanks for the tip, guys. I don't think I ever noticed that before but I'm definitely paying attention to it now. Just started area 5 (the laboratory). I'll probably finish up soon and start Illusion of Gaia this weekend.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:47 AM
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Ah, the Heaven and Earth Trilogy. I've played and beaten Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia several times and I really should do so again. Terranigma I've only gone through once, since it has still not arrived in the US and I was forced to play it on an emulator.

What's fun is to see how the games evolved. The sprite work in Soul Blazer is decent, but somewhat muted compared to the other two. Terranigma especially looked gorgeous and really needs to just be released in the US.
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:35 AM
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I've begun my quest! More details forthcoming but I am currently intrigued!
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:56 AM
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https://lvls.wordpress.com/2018/07/0...zer-chapter-1/

I've written up my experience with the first area in Soul Blazer! I suspect future entries will be a little less dense with photos and such...but hey, I did take 200 pics or so while I was playing this morning lol. Enjoy the retroness of the entire enterprise with my grainy photos of a CRT
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:49 PM
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Deathtoll is probably my favorite name for a villain. It's so simple, almost obvious, but I have never seen it used before Soul Blazer. It's also not simply sinister but basically implies what he did to the world after King Magridd sold out. (Yes, I know Deathtoll simply locked people away but the world and it's creatures are essentially dead for all intents and purposes, so "the death toll" is catastrophic.)
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:03 PM
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So how much of Soul Blazer did you just spoil for Wildcat, four-so?
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
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So how much of Soul Blazer did you just spoil for Wildcat, four-so?
Nothing, considering his blog post mentions everything I just said.
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildcatJF View Post
https://lvls.wordpress.com/2018/07/0...zer-chapter-1/

I've written up my experience with the first area in Soul Blazer! I suspect future entries will be a little less dense with photos and such...but hey, I did take 200 pics or so while I was playing this morning lol. Enjoy the retroness of the entire enterprise with my grainy photos of a CRT
I didn't notice that the shopkeeper's son was named Teddy until now! Yes, Teddy was also the name used for the young teen in Actraiser who uncovers the mysteries of Bloodpool (but not before requiring your help getting him back home).

If my memory is correct, he is the only named mortal in Actraiser, so if the developers wanted to include a reference to a NPC from their previous game this was their only real option. There's also the thought to consider that it might have been the localizers who added this reference -- I don't know what the Japanese names are in either game and if they are the same.
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by four-so View Post
Nothing, considering his blog post mentions everything I just said.
...Dang it, I could have sworn King Magridd never even gets mentioned until much later in the story and nothing with any graphical intensity is loading for me right now so I couldn't see the blog post. My mistake.
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Old 07-07-2018, 02:01 PM
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Good read. I love getting to see someone experience these games for the first time!

The bosses in both games are interesting because some are all about patience and learning patterns and others are simply damage races.
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