Video Game / Soul Blazer

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SoulBlazer, known in Japan as Soul Blader, is a Super Nintendo Entertainment System console role-playing game developed by Quintet and published by Enix (now Square Enix). SoulBlazer was released on January 31, 1992 in Japan, on November 27, 1992 in North America, and on January 27, 1994 in Europe. Similar to the company's previous game ActRaiser, the player takes the role of a divine angel/lesser-deity/avatar, sent by a divinity called the Master to rebuild a ruined world. SoulBlazer was scored by Yukihide Takekawa.

According to the game's backstory, a greedy king made a Deal with the Devil, gaining the power to exchange the souls of living things for gold coins. As the king's treasury grew, the population decreased until practically nothing was left alive. That's when Light Gaia (called the Master in North America and Europe, originally God - effectively the Abrahamic God) sends his servant Blazer on a mission to destroy monsters and release the captured souls of a world's inhabitants. Blazer is armed with a sword, and has the ability to speak with any living thing and be understood. He battles the hordes of Deathtoll (also known as Dark Gaia) with the assistance of his Soul helpers.

It was followed up by two spiritual successors, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, which are unofficially considered part of a trilogy.

This video game contains examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Reaching level 50, the maximum level allowed, is completely useless. Your attack and defense stats stop increasing after level 25, and your hit points (of which you have more than enough at level 30 or so) stop increasing after level 47, meaning the last three levels do absolutely nothing. Have fun spending a day and a half of your life Level Grinding for 41 million pointless experience points.
  • After Boss Recovery: The game gives you full recovery after the boss is dead, to make sure you don't die horribly trying to get to the teleporter out of the dungeon. Of course, dedicated death-seekers can still find a way, though unintentional post-boss deaths are also possible. Particularly after the first boss, where a number of currently-unkillable monsters lie between you and the exit.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: A tougher variant than usual, because Blazer just walks over relevant tiles of the world and automatically picks up things he finds. They're not marked with any kind of gleam, and in a few instances you have to push objects with no indication that it's possible or accomplishing anything.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. Blazer is unambiguously right-handed.
  • Anti-Grinding: The game limits the number of enemies. When they're dead, the Mook Maker shuts down. A few places have infinitely-spawning enemies to grind on, but they're more difficult than usual.
    • Until right before the Final Boss anyway, then it's easy to grind. However, the game still averts it as you really don't need to grind at all to beat the boss.
    • Also, it's possible, albeit time consuming, to "reset" monster lairs. Each one contains a set number of enemies to kill; leave one alive, and then either leave the screen or free a creature from a previously-emptied layer, and the count will be returned to full.
  • Astral Finale: The last area — the World of Evil — resembles outer space. Heck, the room just before the Big Bad's shrine is called "Dazzling Space"!
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Flame Pillar and Spark Bomb spells, which get attached to fixed positions and are generally too difficult to use in combat when Light Arrow or just a basic sword swing are so much more dependable.
    • They can be useful against enemies that are stationary or confined to a small area, though.
  • Backtracking: In order to beat the game, you must backtrack to defeat previously-invincible enemies in early areas once you obtain the appropriate swords.
  • Big Bad: The King of Evil, Deathtoll.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation
  • Break the Cutie: Lisa is taken hostage by Queen Magrid and gets to watch her father die saving her.
  • But Thou Must!
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Blazer's influence on dreams usually causes changes in reality.
  • Collision Damage: Occurs even when enemies are paralyzed; see Mercy Invincibility, below.
  • Continuing Is Painful: You lose all your gems when you die. As gems are your magic, this can be especially annoying towards the end, as you can't hurt the final boss without magic. This is even part of the storyline: the boss is aware of the fact that you can never die and mentions it before the fight in a highly philosophical manner.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The lava areas in the Fire Shrine and the Durean volcano. Granted, you are an angelic avatar or whatever, but that doesn't explain why you still get hurt by hot coals directly above the aforementioned lava.
  • Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming: The bit at the very end.
  • Deflector Shields: The Soul of Shield provides you with one against the falling lava rocks at the Durean volcano. But nowhere else.
  • Difficulty by Region: In the Japanese version, the first boss room had two conveyor belts pushing away from the boss and one normal bridge. If the player has a Medical Herb and is at a sufficient experience level, they can just stand directly in front of the boss, eat the damage from its attacks while swinging their sword rapidly; the boss will go down before they do. The International versions instead have three conveyor belts, two pushing toward the boss and one away from it. This forces the player to use hit-and-run tactics instead.
  • Door to Before: The transporter tiles serve this function (one generally appears at the end of the first combat zone in an area, and another near the boss lair), as do various stairs and passages opened by clearing monster lairs.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Phoenix-based projectile unlocked in the middle of the last level.
  • Esoteric Motifs: The three Red-Hot items needed to summon the Phoenix bear resemblance to the imperial regalia of Japan — the Mirror is the most obvious, while the Ball is the jewel and the Stick is the sword.
  • Eternal Engine: The basement of Dr. Leo's Laboratory.
  • Frictionless Ice: Though you can cancel the effect by wearing the Mushroom Shoes given to you by a kid you rescue.
  • Ghost Ship: Serves as the boss arena for the ocean area.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: Done with the Big Pearl, Harp String, Delicious Seeds, Goat's Food, and Mole's Ribbon items.
    • Downplayed with a chest of drawers in Dr. Leo's Lab. It offers to store a Medical Herb for you, and there's really no benefit to taking up its offer; it's located all the way in the attic, away from where such a storage could be useful.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The king's wife manipulated Dr. Leo into summoning Deathtoll to the world.
    • The Mermaid Queen isn't the picture of niceness, either. At least according to her subjects before you release her.
  • Insistent Terminology: The game always capitalizes your source of mana as GEMs.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Several types are invincible until you obtain the correct sword.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The Dream Rod lets Blazer enter any sleeping creature's dream.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Swords can only be swung if you meet or exceed their level requirement, although they can still be equipped and held out while crabwalking. Armor and magic have no such locks.
    • Under normal gameplay conditions, the only time you're likely to encounter this is with the Recovery Sword, depending on when you backtrack to kill certain metal monsters with the right sword.
  • Level Up Fill Up
  • Light Is Not Good: Arguably. The World of Evil makes its home within the aurora borealis up above the Mountain of Souls.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Your magic spells can't hurt rock-tossing metal apes, but lightning can. Justified in that it's explicitly lightning coming from the Master.
  • Macro Zone: In one level, Blazer is shrunk down to fight toy soldiers in a model of a town.
  • Mercy Invincibility: The enemies have it for a short time after they spawn. One of your swords has the power to stun enemies that it can't damage. They not only enjoy invincibility during that time, but can also damage you if you walk into them.
    • Your character also has it upon getting hit, and one type of armor can extend the duration.
  • A Million Is a Statistic:
    King Magrid: I know this sounds strange, but in the world of humans, if a person kills one man, he is a murderer. But if he kills 100 people, then he is praised as a hero.
  • Meaningful Name: Deathtoll, a demon who buys the souls of the living in exchange for wealth. Doubles as Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
  • Mook Maker: The majority of enemies in the game come from these, although there are some "free-range" respawning enemies.
  • Money Spider: Averted, as you neither receive nor require money at any point in the game. While the number of Strange Bottles is limited, you can obtain unlimited Medical Herbs from the right townspeople (or plants, or animals).
  • Musical Spoiler: The dog in the Greenwood area.
  • Orbiting Particle Shield: The Rotator spell turns your spirit companion(s) into this; holding the button down causes it to orbit you faster and drop down small damaging orbs in quick succession. It's very easy to run out of gems if spammed for too long without the Magic Bell.
  • Our Souls Are Different: All living things have them, and they can be restored to life if they're ever sealed away by demons. Their shape also doesn't change their souls; for example, a tree that is made into a cupboard is still that tree, which you can then talk with like it was still a tree. Also, some of them can assist angels directly with special powers.
  • Phantom Zone Picture: Of the Portal Picture variety; it's an abstract piece called "The World of Evil" with the soul of the artist trapped within.
  • Plot Coupon: Several instances:
    • The six Stones to open the World of Evil.
    • The three Red-Hot items used to free the Phoenix.
    • The eight Emblems of the Master that are exchanged for the Magic Bell (which allows you to cast magic without expending gems).
  • Reincarnation: A central theme in the SoulBlazer trilogy.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Among the many errors in the English localization, one spell is called the Magic "Flair" in-game, though the instruction manual does label it Magic Flare.
    • Makes you wonder what could be done with 37 pieces of magic flair...
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The King of the Mountain of Souls is instrumental in calling the Phoenix.
  • Scratch Damage: Can be avoided with the Light Armor.
  • Shout-Out: The English names for the Doctor Leo and his daughter Lisa are a shout-out to, of all things, Leonardo daVinci and his most famous picture, the Mona Lisa.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The mountain areas in the 4th area.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: And plant too.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Actraiser. Similarly, Illusion of Gaia is the successor to this game.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The Bubble Armor surrounds Blazer in a magical bubble full of air, allowing him to enter the underwater dungeon and stay underwater indefinitely.
  • Talking Animal: But only because Blazer is an angel. He cannot understand them as a human in the ending.
  • Talking to Plants: And they talk back! Even after they've been cut and turned into something else like, say, a chest of drawers.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: The Zantetsu Sword. Zantetsu means "iron-cutting", tying in with its purpose of killing metallic monsters.
  • Uncommon Time: The music inside Leo's painting and model towns has a drum track in 7/8 time and all other instruments in 5/8.
  • The Unpronounceable: Non-name variant; characters will sometimes throw diagonal arrows into their dialogue when telling you where to go.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: If you do well and avoid dying, you'll have more gems than you know what to do with, thus enabling you to spam magic to your heart's content. If you die frequently, you'll have fewer gems... which necessitates more close-range combat, and an increased chance of damage and death. Saving often and resetting after death is recommended.
  • Useless Useful Spell: All of them (minus the last spell), when dealing with bosses (except the final boss) or metallic/spirit enemies that your sword can't damage.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia
  • Visible Invisibility: After finding the Souls of Detection and Reality, the soul orb that orbits Blazer will expose a specific radius of invisible things to make them visible to the player.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Metal Mantis.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Commas are very often omitted where needed or, added where not needed.
  • We Are as Mayflies: In the Mountain of Souls, Blazer meets up with a group of people who live for only one year. They make the most of their lives and are incredibly happy.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Big Bad is a believer of this and wants to teach it to the hero, by killing him again and again. It might explain his actions in the game.

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