I have a HUGE backlog of SNES game I’ve wanted to play. Most of ‘em are cartridges I picked up at garage sales for a few bucks, but have stellar reputations – Secret of Evermore, Illusion of Gaia, Breath of Fire I & II, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, etc. But it seemed like I could never find the time to fire up one of these O.G. JRPGs.
Well, it seems like the stars have aligned. Seeing as how my 360 is currently out of commission (GRRRRR…) I thought I’d get my feet wet with some old JRPG goodness. (And honestly, ever since I started playing Pokémon Blue I’ve had the retro bug!)
I chose to play Illusion of Gaia because I saw a picture of a quaint little town while doing some research on it. Yep. That’s my reason. And it turned out to be a good one, because I friggen’ LOVE this game so far! It has all of the JRPG elements I’ve been craving, however the combat isn’t turn based, which I wasn’t expecting (it plays like a Link to the Past) but that’s just dandy with me. Variety is the spice of life, nahm’sayin?
At first the cartridge wouldn’t work, but with one good breath of warm, moist human air I got that bad boy running 😉
My journey started off at school at South Cape, and apparently me and my three buddies (Eric, Seth and Lance) are the only ones who attend. GOD I love these older games. HA! Anyway, demons have appeared outside of town and our teacher lectured that if any of us have to venture very far we need to bring our parents. I mean, it makes sense… parents can defend against raging, roaring demons after all. Riiiiight. After school was over Lance told me to meet him and the others at the usual spot – “the cave at the seashore”.
If I were younger I would totally have a crush on Will. I know myself, and I know that I have some weird fetish with amazing hair. Will appear to have amazing hair.
As soon as I left school I explored town (which happens to be the same town I saw in the photograph which prompted me to play IoG) and one of the things I came across was Gaia, “the source of all life”. Gaia told me that “only one with the Dark Power can see this space. You are the chosen one.” Well, shit. I always thought one of the staple moments in JRPGs is when your character is told that he is the “Chosen One”. Oh well. At least we got that out of the way relatively early on. And what’s this about the “dark power”? I thought heroes only had, like, “light” and “majestic” power. Hmmmm.
I then met this Jeweler Gem dude who can apparently control the Seven Seas. Riiiiight. Whenever I find Red Jewels I’m supposed to bring them to him. I think I’ve brought him three so far. Oh. He’s also a master of disguises. WhatisthisIdonteven. I wonder if the reasoning for him being a master of disguises will ever come into play, or at least make any sense. I’m willing to bet that each character model in every town for the jeweler is different, and Enix was like “OHAI that doesn’t make sense. If Will gives the jewels to one character how does this other character have them in the next town? I KNOW! We’ll make him a master of disguises!”
Apparently this is a thing that is happening. Also, Seth’s parents fight a lot and Erik is rich.
I then visited my own home. It looks like Will lives with his Grandma Lola and his Grandpa Bill. I was told to go play with my friends while dinner was being cooked or something. AKA “You have to do something else before we can initiate this cut scene” SO I went and found my brosephs at the Seaside Cave. Seth was pwning Lance at cards when Erik ran in with his panties in a bundle. He told us that the Edward Castle princess had ran away.
My buddies kinda brushed this off and instead had me show them a, erm, skill I have. If Will flails his flute around he can move certain statues, and apparently I am psychic?
I mean, I’d like to think that I actually guessed the correct card, but I think the game is rigged so no matter which card you pick you’ll always find that damn Ace of Diamonds. Whatever bro. I then left the cave and headed back to Will’s house, where I, uh, found a pig.
Oh, this game…I'm already in friggen' love with it.
May 10th, 2012: SO MUCH STUFF
Just because it's funny
Oh man you guys, Illusion of Gaia has been great. I mean it when I say it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
You’ll notice I haven’t updated the game log – but if I had to make a guess I’d say I’m probably about halfway through the game. (I’m basing that solely off of the three mystical statues I’ve accrued, and it t looks like there are six total.)
I’ve found Illusion Gaia can be difficult, especially when you’ve somehow managed to consume all of the limited herbs you’re given, which leaves you without any means of healing yourself in the middle of battle. Not that I, like, did that or anything. Nosiree. There’s no way I would have wasted two herbs by accidentally pressing the wrong button. Nope.
Okay, so if it isn’t pretty obvious by now…I totally, accidentally, consumed my last two herbs.
I am now left without any healing properties. DO YOU KNOW HOW TEDIOUS IT IS TO RUN BACK TO THE SAVE PORTAL EVERY TIME I NEED TO HEAL?! Ugggh. I had no clue the herbs were limited! Like, they’re finite. It’s not as if I can run to a shop keeper and buy 99 Herbs for 50 gil each. In fact, money isn’t a thing in Illusion of Gaia. It’s just you, your weapon, your limited inventory and a random save portal. Oh, and about twelve billion enemies.
My understanding of the story is quite limited, but here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“When the game begins, Will stumbles into a "Dark Space" where he meets a strange being called Gaia. Gaia tells Will that he must leave his home and save the world from a coming evil. A comet is approaching, and it will bring ill fortune to the world. It is later revealed that the comet is in fact an ancient weapon used during the last Blazer War, and has the power to change the shape of the world. In the ruin of Ankor Wat, it is discovered that the comet's repeated approach and effect on the Earth has prevented the world and mankind from evolving into a more modern state. Will and his friends travel the world and collect artifacts known as Mystic Statues.”
Ummm…I’m not entirely sure WHY I’m collecting these Mystic statues. Maybe it was explained to me at some point and I simply forgot, but whatever – sometimes it takes odd acts of valor in order to save the Earth, so I shall simply do what I’m told so that I may save it. ::puffs chest out:: Other than that, IoG is a very simple game. Like I said before, there aren’t badass weapons to find and equip (although Dark Knight Freedman is a pretty badass weapon himself) nor are their moniez to collect nor epic items to purchase. Admittedly I’m enjoying the differences – I can’t recall the last time I played a JRPG like this one.
Anyway, here’s a brief recap on the places I’ve been so far (WARNING -- I was very sick while playing this, so my memory is quite fuzzy):
Larai Cliff: The dungeon portion of this area was easy, but for some reason I had a bitchin’ of a time with that boss and its stupid floating head/hand combo. But once I found the “safe” zone, aka the corner where his attacks couldn’t get me – it was a piece of cake.
Incan Gold ship: I somehow boarded the Incan Gold Ship as the King, and everyone wanted my nuts. The people had been waiting for me before they set sail in an attempt to flee…something. Something that was bad and trying to take over the poor bastards. We set sail and everything was peachy – I even found the second mystic statue. But then I fell asleep, woke up and discovered I was actually on the GHOST Incan Gold ship. Creepy.
Stranded with Kara: The ship was eventually attacked by a giant sea monster or some shit which caused everyone to fly overboard. I ended up being stranded with Kara for at least twelve days, and Will admitted to himself that he had feelings for her. Cute. We were eventually saved by a man and a dog.
Freejia: This was the next town we ended up in; it was a cute little town to explore, but then I found out there was slaving and all of that other mambo-jumbo in the Diamond Mine. I saved people and all of that good stuff, and ended up with reuniting with my friends in town. We then headed to meet Neil (Will’s lost inventor cousin).
Sky Garden: We ended up looking at the Nazca Painting, and from there I was teleported to the Sky Garden because I looked at a rock in the painting that represented the Condor’s left foot. I fought many a bastards in the Sky Garden. After defeating the bird boss, Viper, and jumping off of a cliff onto a moving airplane and crash landing in the ocean I ended up at…
Seaside Palace: My buddies were, like, half of a buddy. I think Lilly said it was like their soul was missing or something. Folks were being turned into terrible monsters, thanks to some machine running in the basement. I found a purification stone, used it and everyone was happy again. Squeee…
Now, I am in Mu.
And let me tell you, Mu and I have NOT become good friends.
Trust me, you'll find out why.
May 14th, 2012: Me and Mu
Didja watch it?
You, my friends, are watching raw emotions. AHHH. HAHAHA. UGHHHHHHHHHHH.
If you haven't figured it out by now, the vampires are the final boss in Mu, a level in Illusion of Gaia.
May 15th, 2012: VAMPIRES ARE MY BITCHES
It was time to face them again.
It was time to buckle down, grit my teeth and save my friend from a, uh, bomb.
Fucking vampires in Mu. UGHHHHH.
I’m pretty sure the entire world knows about the unfortunate events that plagued me last week, so I won’t go over that SNAFU again (plus, the wounds are freshly healed) so I’ll get right to it.
Every photo you see below represents an attempt to defeat the vampires.
Each battle was started with a full tank of health, but – and this this an annoying thing about Illusion of Gaia – anytime you die you spawn with only HALF of your total health. Seeing as I died, you know, a LOT, and seeing as the vampires health would be fully restored as opposed to my half-restoration, I’d have to reset the SNES every time I died. There was NO way I was gonna fight those things with half of my health.
But I think I finally found the secret to killing those bastages. Besides dodging their attacks (HURRR) I found that I would have a three second lag period at the beginning of the battle, during which I could slash the fuck out of the male vampire. He was the WORST to deal with. IT WORKED SO HARD.
The first time I defeated the vampires I only had three seconds left. This time I had 80. YEAH! ::pats self on back:: AND I had over half of my health remaining. Exciting shit.
After I defused the bomb (which was an act that took a few seconds, so I’m wondering if I would have been able to do that with only three seconds remaining anyway) Lilly decided to un-fairy herself and finally make an appearance. You mean to tell me that bitch had been chillin’ in my pocket that ENTIRE time and she didn’t try to lend a hand? You’re on my shit-list, girl.
We needed to get out of Mu, so we took the same Seaside Tunnel that the other people took to escape Mu WAY back when. But that tunnel must have been long as FAWK, for over two weeks had passed and we still hadn’t found our way out. In a random twist of randomness, Seth somehow contacted us via Morse Code. You know, Seth, the guy who was swallowed by Riverson, that giant Sea Monster on the Gold Ship? Yeah. THAT Seth.
Apparently his body has changed to Riverson’s, and Seth said Riverson told him evolution is being affected by the light of a comet. So, like, is he talking to himself, then? In any case, Seth (or Riverson?) said he wanted to “continue the journey” with us, but because he is uh currently a massive sea creature he is unable to do so. ORLY. I dunno, man, having a massive sea creature on my team be rather beneficial. JUST SAYING. Way to be selfish. I’m going to start calling him Selfish Seth.
We eventually made it out of Seaside Tunnel and travelled to the land of Angels (or something) and oh boy -- once we did things started to get REALLY sappy.
15 year olds…they have so many raging hormones…
May 18, 2012: Lovey Dovey Mushy-Wushy Emo
Maybe it was because I had settled in this land of Angels (who apparently are just descendants of the Mu people) but I feel like every character in Illusion of Gaia hit puberty and was shot in the ass by cupid or something.
Lance And Lilly sittin’ in a tree…so, clearly, Lance has the hots for Lilly. I mean, she’s only 14, so…right. I’ll just stop there before I escalate this situation to a whole ‘nother level of creepy. He asked Will for advice on how he should confess this love for her. I think my options were a kiss, a bouquet of flowers or a necklace. I chose a necklace. Why? I don’t know -- probably because “Give her a sealed copy of Earthbound” wasn’t an option.
As I explored this town, I discovered the people are rather…dull.
Kara had ran off earlier to be by herself, which is never a good thing, and as expected I found out she had been, like, abducted by a painter named Ishtar.
I eventually found Kara, but you see the problem was that she was sorta-kinda trapped in a painting. I also eventually found homeboy-painter who told me I needed to solve several “CAN YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO ROOMS?!” puzzles before he’d give me the magic powder which would allow me to release Kara from aforementioned painting. Oh, also, after sprinkling the powder on Kara’s picture Will would need to kiss it. Yes. I did not make that up, nor am I on drugs.
First of all, the puzzles were insanely easy because I had my handy-dandy camera on me and snapped photos of each original room before they were switched up. This made spotting the differences, you know, easy and such.
Once I completed all three or so puzzles I was instructed to report back to homeboy-painter. And when I did, he had, uh, painted himself into a portrait NOT before leaving the magic powder for me in the room. Okay. So, homeboy-painter snatched Kara up, turned her into a painting, had be figure out a few different “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE!” puzzles and then he gave up the magic powder that would save Kara only after turning himself into a paiting.
Kara then began a real thing (again) and we headed back to the Angel ‘hood. From there it was decided we needed to head to The Floating City, or Watermia.
May 21st, 2012: Bodily Fluids
We made our way to Watermia, where we were posted up in some random kid’s house named Luke. It seemed like nice enough place, until, you know, Kara told me she had heard that the townsfolk gamble with their lives. How lovely.
Apparently Cupid’s arrow is still lingering in the characters’ asses, because A) I got ahold of Kara’s diary and found out that she, like, wants to wish over a lotus leaf so that her love will notice her. And I did receive verification that she did in fact wished over a lotus leaf B) Lance and Lilly pretty much got married. But more on that later.
Lance found his long-lost father in Watermia. But I think he had lost his memory and didn’t remember how Lance was (or something rather unfortunate like that). But someone in town told me that there was an insect whose bodily fluids could cure any ailment. Ahem -- [insert perverted line about bodily fluids here.]
With that little tidbit of knowledge, I headed back to our temporary housing and we celebrated Lilly’s 15th birthday by giving her birthday cake. Lance, however, had other plans and OTHER means of celebrating her birthday. Like by dragging her outside and confessing his undying love for her.
Too bad she turned into a fairy and flew away. Yup. You feel that, kiddo? That’s called the sting of REJECTION!!!
The next morning Lance left me a letter explaining he was going after the, ahem, bodily fluids of the aforementioned insect in hopes of reviving his father’s memories. He also left a rather Blarghy note:
As it turns out, this great insect resides at The Great Wall of China, or in Illusion of Gaia terms, China’s Great Wall. After defeating a buttload of enemies and such, I ran into fairy-Lilly. She too had been looking for Lance, but since I was clearly more capable of finding him than she was she decided to be a little poon and chill in my pocket. SOUND FAMILIAR? THAT’S BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT SHE DID WHEN I WAS FIGHTING THE VAMPIRES. That WHORE.
Sigh. With Lilly in pocket I continued my quest to find Sir Lancelot.
May 29th, 2012: I'm a little teapot...
By the time I ran into The Great Wall of China’s – I mean, China’s Great Wall’s boss I hadn’t found Lance yet, but s’all gravy because I defeated this thing called a Sand Fanger and from it a Mystic Statue materialized. Isn’t it funny how that works? I mean, it’s like he had the damn thing sitting inside of his stomach and he was somehow able to survive all this time. And after I killed him it was like “OHAI TAKE ME!” ::floatfloatfloat::
Then I found Lance. He was, for whatever reason, standing at the end of a hallway. Lilly un-unfairied herself (poon) and confronted Lance – she said she had been worried sick about him, Lance apologized (or something) and told her that he was able to extract some, ahem, bodily fluids from the Sand Fanger to use to heal his father. Lilly then re-fairied herself (again, poon) for about 12 seconds before un-fairying herself and then told Lance that she loves him and that she wants to be with him forever. Lance then exclaimed that love was like “a million summer days!” and we rolled back to Watermia. Oh, love…
See? I told you he said that.
Once we were back in Watermia I participated in a drinking game. The game was as follows: there were five cups, one of which contained poison. You and your opponent would switch off drinking the entire contents of a cup until someone either ingested the poison, thus dying, OR until everyone was still alive and it came down to the last cup. Clever, Squeenix. Clever.
Thank GOD Will is psychic because the very freakin’ first cup I chose to drink was the one filled with poison – but Will stopped me from drinking that one. He was like, hey, dumb bitch, WRONG CUP. So I chose another, my opponent chose a cup, so on and so forth until it was my opponent’s turn to drink the very last cup. Since we were both still alive, it was obvious that the last cup contained poison. But instead of admitting defeat he, um, drank the cup and died.
BUT this turned out to be a good thing because the deceased’s wife gave me four Kruks, which are weird camel-esque creatures. But seeing that I had six characters in my party and only four Kruks, two characters needed to stay behind or leave my aprty. AND WHO WOULD BE MORE APPROPRIATE LANCE AND LILLY?!!!
Ahem. Sorry, sorry. I just think this whole “I LOVE YOU!” spiel is silly. I know it’s a 1994 SNES title, but my God, I’ve seen little to no character interaction between the two, so it’s very eyeball-roll inducing. How am I supposed to believe you two love each other when you’ve shared maybe, what, 15 lines of dialogue? I mean, at least Will and Kara spent like 15+ DAYS together on a raft, and THAT was depicted before my very eyes.
The four of us, sans Lance and Lilly, rode to Euro on our newly acquired Kruks. Neil’s parents were the big kahuna’s in Euro, and they ran some sort of…like, business. A trading company. I can’t remember the specifics except that it was shady and some of the townspeople were skeptical about the honesty of it all. There was also talk about this epic “teapot” at Mt. Kress that supposedly reflected one’s true form if the contents inside were poured on them.
Let me guess, I need to find it? 😉
May 31st, 2012: Here piggy piggy...
As expected, I needed to find the Spirits’ Tears. To be completely honest I can’t remember WHY I needed them -- hell, maybe I was never told the reason -- but in any case I traversed to Mt Kress to locate those damn things. It was a very strange dungeon with a lot of mushroomy looking things and vines and spiders. Ugh. I hate spiders.
After I acquired the tears of the spirit variety I went back to Euro and poured them on Neil’s parents. Yep. I just waltzed on over and poured a teapot full of tears onto the parental units of Neil. As if that wasn’t weird enough, the tears caused their “true form” to appear and they were, uh, moon people? Moon spirit people? Spirit tribe people? MOON TRIBE PEOPLE. There we go. Fourth time is the charm…
Why that was significant I know not, but this meant Neil had to stay in Euro and run the trading business. The remaining three of us went to the Natives’ Village because Ankor Wat was nearby and AND Ankor Wat…well, Ankor Wat didn’t have a Mystic Statue NOR a boss. In fact, I’m having trouble remembering what the exact point of Ankor Wat was. I know I picked up some glasses, and that I was told my destiny by some dude…OH! I found the Gorgon Flower.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Before we actually left for Ankor Wat we were reunited with a dear friend in Euro.
I would like to know how exactly Hamlet "asked" for Kara...
Upon arrival to the Natives’ Village we noticed it was abandoned and all that remained were, uh, skeletons of people. OH YEAH, welcome to THE village, folks! COME LOOK AT OUR WORLD-FAMOUS SKELETONS AND ENJOY OUR HOSPITALITY! Ahem. The weather was also piping hot, so Kara suggested that we stay in one of the abandoned huts for the night. Sure. That doesn’t sound shady at all. Nope.
Sure as shit we woke up TIED UP with natives dancing all around us with a fire pit in the middle. Apparently they were starving and were going to eat us. Well that’s all well and good until Hamlet the pig, my favorite character (despite the fact he’s only made four or five brief appearances) decided to trot on in and, you know, THROW HIMSELF INTO THE FIREPIT SO THE NATIVES COULD EAT. UGHHHHHH. I totally KNEW where that was going as soon as Hamelt appeared but I was in sincere denial. But, like…he just threw himself into the fire pit.
Mourning my little pig friend, I went to Ankor Wat.
June 10th, 2012: Well, shit.
Dark Gaia -- you're a whore.
Soooo here's the thing. I've come to a complete standstill in Illusion of Gaia. You see, my friends, I've gotten as far as I possibly can -- which is to the final boss. This is fantastic and great and all, but there are a few things plauging this experience.
The first time I fought against Dark Gaia my ass was beat; rammed; smacked up; killed. I died so hard. And because I was forced to use one of my three herbs leading up to the battle with Dark Gaia (you sorta-kinda have to fight all of the prior bosses BEFORE taking on Dark Gaia) this left my crippled ass with only two herbs. Herbs only recover, like, six or seven hearts. I have 20 hearts. THOSE BALLS ARE INERT.
I do have nine "continues" that allow me to start the battle over again. However, when you start a battle over via a "continue", your health is reduced to half (ie; ten hearts) and you are not given your herbs back. So, when the herbs couldn't carry me through the first battle (read: I used both of them within five seconds) and I was beat, rammed, smacked up and killed I was given nine tries to defeat Dark Gaia with half of my health and NO herbs. Hello, impossibility.
"But Britt! Why don't you just start the battle over again so you can start with your two herbs?"
Oh, faithful reader, I would love to do so -- however, I am stuck with 20 minutes of gameplay before the final battle ensues. And, yeah, this fight is HARD, especially when I only have two herbs to my name, so I know I would die several more times before I got the knack down. Do the math, and I'm looking at roughly two boss attempts or less per hour. I would get SO frustrated!
And what's more -- I really don't care if I finish Illusion of Gaia.
Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed Illusion of Gaia, but the repetitive formula got a little too tiring for this chick, especially towards the end. The story was simple as could be, I had no investment in any of the characters (hell, truth be told I don't give two shits about the main character) aaaaand...well, this is a minor bitch, but I swear the game's soundtrack only had ten different songs. (That definitely did NOT help in the repetitiveness category...)
But I am a completer...kind of...so I will watch the ending on YouTube and then shelve Illusion of Gaia.