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Title: Illusion of Gaia (2nd Review)
Rom Player: SNES9X
Reviewer: jay of today

Synopsis: Apparently, this game is about a kid named Will. Will and his friends hang out in a cave all the time, and Will can move a statue with his mind. One day, a princess breaks into Will's house and begins singing with his grandparents. Then guards take the princess away. Will's grandfather tells Will about the sewer system under the castle and the adventure begins. Yeah.

This is a very fun game that unfortunately makes absolutely no sense. It's worth playing for the gameplay alone, but a lot of time is going to be spent figuring out exactly what the translation-damaged text means.

Case in point: Will has the ability to use a special move called the "Psycho Dash." When you gain the ability to use this move, the on-screen instructions (presented to you by a giant head on a block with snakes for hair) tell you to "use A to save energy!" What the fuck? It took me a good twenty minutes to figure out that this cryptic phrase actually meant "hold down A until your guy starts flashing really fast." (and by "your guy," I didn't mean... oh... never mind.)

So, yeah. I think something was lost in the Japanese to English in this one, but I donít know if that's going to be able to justify the plot in this one, or the fact that the game's narrative jumps between past and present tense enough to confuse Michael J. Fox. And I still haven't figured out how these "mystic statues" fit into this storyline... ARGH!

So, anyway, Will goes to the castle, which I assume is to "rescue the princess," but without any valid explanation other than the fact that his gramps built the sewer. Yadda yadda, battle through the castle, etc. He ends up meeting a girl that transforms into a dandelion, who tells him his "mission," which apparently consists of going to a bunch of different towns and something about finding his father, I donít know. The important thing is that the dandelion girl, Lilly, eventually sets up the game's strangest moment, the "JILTED ROMANCE SCENE."

See, this dandelion chick becomes a big part of the "story" by traveling around with Will. Will's friends from his hometown meet up with them later in the game, and behind the scenes (which means I had to figure this out on my own in a painfully head-scratching bout with a cut-scene), Will's friend Lance had been developing a crush on Lilly. Whoa doggie. Lilly's birthday arrives, Lance gives her flowers, and tells her "I Love You...!" Egad. She flips out and takes off. I think this is the first case of video-game rejection I've ever seen. It's very bizarre, and ultimately, somewhat satisfying. Unfortunately, they do get together later, but for a fleeting moment, this game was very Aaron Spelling.

Unfortunately, this game also has several moments that I'm convinced are put in the game solely to bore you beyond belief. One such stinker is when Will and Princess Kara are stuck on a raft for 21 days. Not content to simply tell you this information, the friendly folks at Enix decided to make you PLAY these days. And by "play," I mean "wander aimlessly around a tiny raft until poorly translated text appears onscreen." In a later town, you get to WAIT IN LINE for three and a half minutes! Hell yes!

I know I sound cynical, but with all obvious plot issues aside, this IS a fun game. It's a Zelda-type top scrolling Action RPG, heavy on the fighting. The emphasis is definitely on slaying monster ass, since the puzzles range from basic to Special Olympics. The game's experience points are based on the highly sophisticated system of killing everything that moves on a certain screen. The last enemy chopped down in cold blood will leave a power-up that will increase your STR or DEF. Guess what those mean. This system makes the game pretty easy to get into without a lot of menu wrangling. Just yell "AVAST YE!" and start swinging the sword.

The bosses are fairly challenging, especially the "Vampire Twins," who fly around and shoot stuff at you. Plus, there are Red Jewels hidden throughout the game, which can be traded.

Best Cheats: Nothing Entered

Game Play: 8
Graphics: 7
Music/Sound: 5
Originality: 7
Overall Rating: 7


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