Best SNES Games: Gaia Trilogy Edition

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Best SNES Games: Gaia Trilogy Edition

 

So far, the Best SNES Games features explored specific genres of video games that were released on the Super Nintendo. Today, we’re changing things up to take a look at an underappreciated JRPG trilogy from the classic 16-bit developer, Quintet. Of course, I’m talking about the Gaia Trilogy.

Soul Blazer

Soul Blazer_00000The first game in the Gaia Trilogy, Soul Blazer, was released in North America during 1992. Soul Blazer is about a hero named Blazer who is sent to Earth by the Master to save it from Deathtoll, a demon that has imprisoned all types of life on earth. You must travel to many towns and restore them to normal by defeating demons in a nearby dungeon; defeating demons will release souls from their imprisonment. Eventually, as you continue to release souls, the town will flourish with trees, wildlife, and humans as it once did before, plus you’ll be able to advance through the dungeon.

Soul Blazer is an Action RPG that has some light RPG elements. You gain experience as you defeat enemies, and like many traditional RPGs, Blazer will level-up and become stronger. Other RPG elements such as weapons, armor, and magic also play a significant role. Perhaps the most interesting element of Soul Blazer is the connection between the town’s dungeon, and the town itself. As you release souls, the townspeople will be able to help Blazer, such as running a watermill to activate an elevator in the dungeon.

Soul Blazer is often the most overlooked title in the Gaia Trilogy, but with an awesome soundtrack and stellar gameplay, this is a game that should not be ignored.

Illusion of Gaia

Illusion of Gaia_00000Perhaps the most well-known title in the Gaia Trilogy, Illusion of Gaia, was released in 1994 in North America and happens to be the game that I’m most familiar with.

In Illusion of Gaia, you play as a character named Will who – you guessed it – must save the world from destruction. Will stumbles upon Dark Space and learns of a comet headed toward earth and it’s up to him to destroy the comet and the evil being it contains. To accomplish his goal, Will must travel around a semi-realistic world map to recover six Mystic Statues and enter the Tower of Babel for the final confrontation.

Illusion of Gaia is an Action RPG, which happens to play a bit like Soul Blazer. Will travels around the world in search of the Mystic Statues, and must enter dungeons to clear them of evil. While Will doesn’t gain experience for defeating enemies, defeating every enemy in a given area will level-up one of three attributes: Health, strength, and defense. Will also learns he has the power to shapeshift into other characters, each having their own unique abilities. For example, Will can wield the power of telekinesis to move objects, which is useful for solving puzzles.

Illusion of Gaia is also jam-packed with secrets, including 50 hidden Red Jewels that eventually unlock an optional dungeon. Of course, the game’s soundtrack is also incredible. Illusion of Gaia is a must-play game for fans of Action RPGs and SNES owners alike.

Terranigma

Terranigma (E) [!]_00006Unfortunately, Terranigma never came to North America, but lucky for us western gamers, the game did surface in the Pal region, complete with an English translation.

Terranigma is an Action RPG that shares elements and a common theme with the previous two titles. You play as a character named Ark who accidentally freezes the people of his town upon touching a mysterious box. To free his people, Ark must travel to a number of towers to defeat enemies in order to release the peoples’ souls from their frozen restraints.

Terranigma is often considered to be the best game in the trilogy. Back is the traditional levelling system from Soul Blazer, but with combat akin to Illusion of Gaia. However, as a whole, Terranigma is a much deeper experience than its predecessors, which includes more weapons, armor, and introduces magic rings and pins.

I wish I could say more about Terranigma, but since it’s not easily accessible, and I’ve never entertained the idea of playing it all the way through on an emulator, I have to cut this entry short. Despite my shortcomings, I recognize Terranigma as a must-play Action RPG, one that I’m positive JRPG fans will adore.


Was your favourite SNES game left off this list? Check the rest of our Best SNES Games series to see if it’s represented elsewhere.

Best SNES Games: RPG Edition

Best SNES Games: Platformer Edition

Best SNES Games: Shooter Edition

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