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Title: Illusion of Gaia
Author:Enix
Rom Player: ZSNES
Reviewer: Tawna Evans

Synopsis: This game is deep. Not only do you get to travel around the globe, visiting numerous legendary sites, but you also delve into the perplexities of spiritual and physical evolution. According to this game, when a comet approaches, all living things under-go transformations. New creatures are born that benefit the world, though if evolution is abused, new demons are created, as well. Through the game, you will meet beings who have left their bodies, encounter slave traders, witness the future (our present), and ponder over mysteries that left their mark in Earth's history.

The main character in this game is a young boy named Will. He lives in a small port town set in the post-Renaissance era. After school, Will hangs out with three other boys named Erick, Seth, and Lance. The adventure begins when princess Kara disappears from the castle, and hides out in the town. Will meets her-- and her pet pig Hamlet-- at his house. The castle guards find her, and drag her back to the castle. The next day, the king requests the return of his ring that Will's father took from him. Since Will's father has been missing for over a year, Will and his grandparents don't know anything about a ring. Therefore, Will visits the king empty-handed. As a result, the king tosses Will into the dungeon. While in prison, Will hears the voice of his father, who summons Will to gather the six Mystic Statues that are scattered throughout the ancient ruins scattered around the world. Will escapes from prison, with the help of princess Kara & her pig, and a magical young lady named Lily, who can transform herself into a drifting flower. Together, the three of them journey off to the first of the ancient ruins. Afterwards, they meet up with the South Cape boys, who join Will on his expedition around the globe. They will accompany Will as he visits the Inca ruins, the Nazca Plain, an under sea continent called Mu, the Great Wall of China, a ghostly temple known as Angkor Wat, the pyramids, and the Tower of Babel.

The story in this game sure is great! Not only does this game delve into a variety of philosophical issues, but you also witness Lance and Lilly falling in love with one another. The music in this game effectively poignates the moments they have together. The other characters change and grow in their own ways, as well. Will's older cousin takes over his parents' corporation in an effort to put an end to the trading of slaves. Kara's pig sacrifices himself as a meal for a starving African village. Near the end of the game, you will meet Hamlet as one of the spirits dwelling at the top of the Tower of Babel, and Will realizes that animals are no different from humans. In addition, he will also realize that the Earth is alive, as well. I think this alludes to the mystery behind the title of this game.

The game-play is reminiscent of Zelda. Will wanders around in all directions, and attacks dodges, and uses other techniques as soon as he learns them. At different points in the game, Will can transform into a powerful knight. He will also learn new techniques that help him on his quest. Will collects numerous items that are stored in a menu, and he can select them when needed. As a bonus, you can challenge the collector of red gems if you collect all fifty of them. He's more challenging than the final boss at the end of the game! When facing off against him, mastery of running is essential! You do this by rapidly pressing the control pad twice, and holding it the second time. This is the same method you use to run in a fighter game. The controls are pretty simple; you use little more than the control pad and three buttons, which is nice. I also love the fact that Will starts off with simple techniques, and Will learns more advanced techniques after progressing further through the game.

What do I have to say about graphics, music, and originality? They're all pretty good. The graphics on SNES games tend to look fantastic, and this game uses the technical capabilities offered by this console. The music effectively sets the mood, along with the sound effects. However, it might be nice to experience a variety of battle music when exploring the different ruins around the globe. The only cultural music you find is at the Great Wall of China. The game-play adds hardly anything new, in terms of originality. When changing locations, the view changes to a "map view" that scrolls around when the adventurers change directions while wandering from one location to another. The computer controls this view. It's different, but it seems a little odd. However, I sure love witnessing a game that sends a message to the player. The Illusion of Gaia gets into some serious stuff, which is something I've never before seen a video game venture to do. Perhaps most game companies are too afraid to get into any tricky "political" areas? I applaud this game for doing so!

Best Cheats: Nothing Entered

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 8
Music/Sound: 7
Originality: 8
Overall Rating: 9



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