Illusion of Gaia in Europe was titled as Illusion of Time, while the literal translation of the title in Japanese is "Records of the Illusion of Gaia. The game's setting is in a fantasy based version of Earth, depicting real life locations such as the Inca Ruins, Nazca lines, Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat, and the Egyptian Pyramids. This is a great game, and it gives me great pleasure to review it.
Plot. Will, a young boy who attends school stumbles in an obscure dimension known as the "Dark Space" where he encounters Gaia, who tells him to leave his home and fulfill his destiny to save the world from the coming evil. At night he meets Kara, who then is forced by the soldiers to return to the castle of her father, King Edward. When Will rescues her, he and his friends including a new one, Lilly, embark on a perilous journey to retrieve the six Mystic Statues in different ruins and tombs. As he journeys, he obtains the power to turn into the dark knight Freedan, and the mystic solid form of energy, Shadow.
There are six boss battles in the game, and each gets harder as the player progresses throughout the game. In order to beat the game, players must complete both quests and sidequests alike such as helping defenseless miners. Players raise Health, Strength, Defense, and Stamina as well, and also the jewels they obtain give them lives, so that when they die, instead of going back to the beginning, they can return to where they last entered. Luckily, there is no "Game Over" in the game. Will plays different melodies, which are key factors in this game, and heal with herbs and the roasted leg of yak as well. Sending Red Jewels can open a secret area, where Will fights harder versions of the bosses and monsters.
Concept. Players must guide Will to save the world from the evil that is approaching the world. Illusion of Gaia has a fantasy based setting of Earth, and players get to visit real-life locations as said earlier in the introduction of the review. At times, players must turn Will into Freedan or Shadow, in order to obtain practical powers, and also Will can have them too. Will can fight with his flute, and also play melodies, which are key factors in this game in order to progress.
Design. The graphics are rendered in 16-bit and the game takes an eagle-eye perspective view, like typical RPG games in the old days. Characters are rendered in sprites as well. The looks of this game are very well made, and it gives the game a great view of the fantasized version of the world. My most favorite designed level is that of the Sky Garden, because it is so well designed, and giving a farther look at the Nazca linings.
Music. Yasuhiro Kawasaki was the game's music composer, and he did a great job at doing it. The music of various stages in the game were very fitting to the game. The battle-like themes of various ruins and regions were so well composed that left me in awe of this game. The Chinese theme of the Great Wall of China was so well done, that it fitted it's setting perfectly.
Memories. In 1997, I played this game when my cousin came to the Dominican Republic on vacation, in the time I was living there. Sometimes instead of playing this game, we would play other games like Pocky and Rocky, Toy Story, and NBA Hang Time. Of all the SNES games he had, Illusion of Gaia was my favorite. In 2002, when I had one year with my old PC, I played this on an emulator and finally managed to beat the game. Great days, great memories.
Rantings. Now, my rant for this game is that some of the boss battles are so hard that made me throw my controller at times. The Sky Garden boss was excruciating at times, but the fight against the Vampires was even more bothersome, because they would move one place to another, and their attacks hurt like crap. The Mummy Queen boss was a bother, because she would disappear and had to repeat the same boring patterns to defeat her. The final battle was nerve-wrecking as her weak point would be revealed like every two to three minutes, talk about a long fight.
Good Aspects. The game is a very good RPG, though not as respected as other RPG's like Lufia, Chrono series, Final Fantasy, and Fire Emblem, it is still a great game. Just like it's predecessor, Soul Blazer. I really wish that this game was on the Wii Virtual Console, since Square is now part of Enix. Though forgotten, it has high replay value, and can be played on emulators.
Overall. This is one of my favorite old games, and I still remember the good old days playing this game. This game gets a 7 out of 10.