Approximate Release Date: November 27, 1992
Genre: Action RPG
In Soul Blazer, you aren’t tasked with saving the world. You have to restore it.
That’s just one of the many similarities that exist between Soul Blazer and ActRaiser, Quintet’s earlier Super Nintendo game. In both, you play as an agent of The Master, the world’s chief deity, as you rebuild a world destroyed by demons. Soul Blazer takes a micro-oriented perspective, having everything revolve around individual towns. As you explore dungeons and defeat monsters, you release the living creatures of the town. Townspeople will give you items and side quests, plants will provide new paths and offer advice, and animals will … look cute, I guess. Everyone loves goats.
Saving townsfolk in Soul Blazer involves destroying monster-generating tiles scattered throughout dungeons. Some tiles will unlock passages or items, too, which can be rather annoying when you earn only 12 measly magic gems after fighting four or five waves of annoying bats. In the early going, these tiles are the only way to progress in town and dungeon, and there isn’t much variety in the baddies. These creatures are really dumb and will follow the same pattern out of the tiles. I found great success just standing in the same spot and mashing the sword attack button. It works well!
Too well. It highlights how simple the combat is. It’s not bad, just limited. Don’t expect Soul Blazer to stack up well to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It’s the setting and gimmick that make Soul Blazer worth playing. Traveling between the dungeon and the town and seeing how each affects the other is a great motivator. The townspeople are more fleshed out that you might expect, making their side quests meaningful and worth doing.
Ultimately, Soul Blazer is a little rough around the edges. Quintet’s later SNES titles will continue dealing with the themes that make this and ActRaiser interesting while improving the gameplay drastically. This means Soul Blazer feels a little unnecessary in hindsight, but it does enough with the central premise to make it worth booting up.
Tomorrow: Another PC classic comes to the Super Nintendo in Wing Commander!