Illusion of Gaia – Definitive 50 SNES Game #27

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Illusion of Gaia is a smartly simplistic action RPG released for the Super Nintendo on September 1, 1994. It takes 27th place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games.

The story here is exactly what you’d expect from an RPG of the era. Will seems like a normal boy, until we find out he can do things his friends can’t, specifically: move objects with his mind. Will’s got a mysterious past, too. His father was lost on a trip that Will somehow managed to return from, but can’t remember how. This protagonist is also informed early in the game that he must set out to save the world. Oh yeah, and did I mention he’s from a small town?

The settings in this title are somewhat more unique than the story itself. The game takes place on a pseudo Earth, and it includes plenty of real-world references and places. You’ll visit Incan Ruins, the Great Wall of China, and the Egyptian pyramids.

Illusion of Gaia‘s gameplay borrows from the best of sources. Its action portions are often reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. As Will and the other playable characters in the game, you get to hack and slash with enemies from an overhead perspective, move objects, and solve puzzles.

There is a strong, and joyously simple RPG component in this game as well. In Illusion of Gaia, you must clear rooms of enemies in order to earn jewels which boost your stats. Once you’ve earned the jewel for a particular area, you won’t be able to earn it again. There is also very little in the way of item management. The game has no currency, and a limited number of healing items.

Illusion of Gaia can be shockingly linear at times. You are often cut off from previous areas of the game once you advance, and there is little in the way of side-quests.

If you’re looking for an engrossing and complex role playing game, Illusion of Gaia isn’t for you. This title is for those who desire some simple hack and slash with RPG-light carrot-on-a-stick motivation thrown in. The beautiful fantasy score and crisp graphics help too.