Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wii Virtual Console Wishlist Part 2: Soul Blazer

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of my favorite games of all time. Since it's release on the Virtual Console, I have played through the whole game twice, finishing it the second time in about 7 hours. LttP was released in April of 1992 for the SNES, and after playing through it more times than I can recall, I quickly became hungry for another game that follows a similar formula. The game I ended up finding was Soul Blazer.

Soul Blazer was released in December, 1992 for the SNES. It was developed by Quintet and published by Enix. It is the spiritual sequel to ActRaiser, also on the SNES, and both are considered part of the "Soul Blazer series." While ActRaiser and Soul Blazer share a lot of the same gameplay elements, and one of the main characters even share the same name between both games, Soul Blazer is not considered a true sequel. 1994's Illusion of Gaia is considered the 3rd in the "Soul Blazer series", but once again, none of the games are directly connected outside of their gameplay elements and development staff.

The gameplay in Soul Blazer is a mix between ActRaiser and A Link to the Past. You control "The Hero", an angel sent by "The Master" to release souls imprisoned by King Magridd and Deathtoll. Deathtoll offered King Magridd gold for every soul that the King imprisoned. "The Hero" enters different areas of the world, and as he defeats all of the enemies on screen or all enemies of a certain type, a soul is released back into the nearby town. The released soul can be a person, a house, or even a tree or flower.

Gameplay is very reminscent of Zelda games, in that you view everything in an overhead perspective. The controls are fairly basic and consist of swinging a sword or using magic. You could switch to new more powerful weapons and armor that you find along the way or are given to by released souls. You can later return to old dungeons and defeat previously invincible creatures to completely release all souls from an area. While very basic, the level design and graphics were unique enough to make the game stand out, looking more realistic than the cartoonish and round Zelda. Soul Blazers greatest asset though was not gameplay, but the music. The game's score is one of the best to be found on the SNES, especially in the early days of the console.

The biggest thing standing in the way of Soul Blazer being released is Square/Enix. No games from the publisher have reached the Virtual Console yet other than ActRaiser, and with Squeenix porting and remaking their flagship Final Fantasy games left and right for the DS and PSP (where is my FFVII remake?) it is looking very unlikely that the Virtual Console will see games from the publisher. I could see Square/Enix opening their own shop on the Wii, making their own rules and pricing structure, but it doesn't look promising for the immediate future. Hopefully, when Square/Enix finally does release more older games, Soul Blazer will be among their list of games.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have played Soul Blazer countless times ever since its release. It is up there on my top 5 along with other hack n slash games like LTTP. The day I recieve news on a remake or rerelease of Soul Blazer, I will be in heaven. All I have to do now is wait... it might be forever.