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Video Game / SoulBlazer

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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 the Master 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 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:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Phoenix-based projectile unlocked in the middle of the last level. It's the only way to damage Deathtoll.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The maximum level is 50, yet reaching that level completely useless. Your attack and defense stats stop increasing after level 25, and your hit points stop increasing after level 47. Meaning those last three levels do absolutely nothing. Have fun Level Grinding for 41 million useless experience points in a game that can be beaten at level 24.
  • After Boss Recovery: The game gives you full recovery after a dungeon's boss is dead, to make sure you don't die horribly trying to get to the teleporter out of the dungeon. You also get a small amount of HP restored whenever you unlock something with a cleared monster lair.
  • 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, with different sprites when he's facing left or right.
  • Animal Religion: You can free a "devout" mouse in Dr. Leo's Laboratory who spends his time inside a small chapel, and he recommends stepping up to a statue to purify yourself, which refills Blazer's HP.
  • Anti-Grinding: The game limits the number of enemies by tying them to Mook Maker lairs. When the monsters are dead, the lair shuts down. A few places have infinitely-spawning enemies not tied to lairs for grinding, but sometimes they can be more difficult to fight than the lair-based monsters. The area just before the Final Boss has enemies that are easy to fight and respawn, once you have everything you need to fight the boss. However, at that point you don't really need to grind any more.
  • 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: Early Enix translations were never known for their high quality to begin with. The game usually gets its point across, but its word choices can be very strange, and it can be rather clumsy in how it handles religious references.
    Mushroom: This is a prison over there. Well... there are no actual bad people. I guess it is just a punishment room.note 
  • Break the Cutie: Lisa is taken hostage by Queen Magridd and gets to watch her father die saving her.
  • But Thou Must!: During the game's ending, Lisa asks if Blazer will remember her. The only option available to choose is "Yes."
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Blazer's influence on dreams usually causes changes in reality.
  • Collision Damage: Touching enemies in any way hurts Blazer. This occurs even when enemies are paralyzed, so you still have to be careful.
  • Continuing is Painful: You lose all your GEMs when you die. As GEMs are your Mana equivalent, 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 that lava.
  • Deflector Shields: The Soul of Shield provides you with one against the falling lava rocks at the Durean volcano. But nowhere else.
  • Developer's Foresight: If certain souls are released out of order, the game will show a message that they can't appear back in town yet. Similarly, if you release the dolphin that breaks Lue out of jail without first releasing Lue, she will have something different to say about not finding him.
  • 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.
  • Empty Levels: If you want to reach the Absurdly High Level Cap of 50, you'll have to grind for a while. Even then, your attack and defense stats stop increasing after level 25, and your HP stops increasing after level 47. This means that levels 48, 49, and 50 do nothing at all.
  • Esoteric Motifs: The three Red-Hot items needed to summon the Phoenix bear resemblance to the imperial regalia of Japan — the Mirror is a mirror, while the Ball is the jewel and the Stick is the sword.
  • Eternal Engine: The basement of Dr. Leo's Laboratory.
  • Frictionless Ice: Found in the Mountain of Souls. 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.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Clearing out any monster lair that releases something or someone in town will recover a small bit of health.
  • Insistent Terminology: The game always capitalizes your source of mana as GEMs.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Several types of minor enemies are invincible until you obtain the correct sword. There's also a sword that can stunlock them in place but not damage them,
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The Dream Rod lets Blazer enter any sleeping creature's dream.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: A core gameplay element — stepping on a Mook Maker after killing all of its monsters will usually clear away some nearby obstacle or release some sort of NPC.
  • 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.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Your health completely restores when you gain a level. You also recover a few points of health every time you release a monster lair.
  • 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: Dr. Leo's Laboratory has a section where Blazer is shrunk down to fight toy soldiers inside scale models of towns.
  • 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, though it's so brief it's easy to take a few consecutive hits due to Collision Damage. One type of armor can extend the duration.
  • A Million Is a Statistic:
    King Magridd: 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 the spirit circling Blazer into this; holding the button down causes it to orbit around 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).
  • Power Up Letdown:
    • The Lightning Ring lets you fry enemies (including metallic enemies long before you get the Zantetsu Sword) with lightning straight from God, but there's only one area where you use it. Similarly, the Soul of Shield only works in one area, and you even have to use an item later which completely negates its benefit.
    • Emptying some monster lairs can feel very anticlimactic. Besides the usual freed souls and unveiled treasure chests, you can also expect to just reveal more monster lairs, change the scenery slightly or create some extra walkways. One lair inside of a model town just turns a bunch of model houses into GEMs as its reward.
    • Most of the souls that can accompany Blazer have an ability that is only useful in one area in that is only found in that specific region. The only exception is the first soul, which grants the ability to cast magic.
  • Reincarnation: A central theme in the SoulBlazer trilogy. You even meet a few animals who prove to be reincarnations of humans, such as Servas the dolphin.
  • Reincarnation-Identifying Trait: In the end, the main girl has a goat named Turbo, whom she names after a dog who did a Heroic Sacrifice because he "looked like Turbo". After the main characters leave, the goat follows, pausing to do a gesture that's attributed to the original Turbo, indicating he is a reincarnation.
  • 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.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The King of the Mountain of Souls is instrumental in calling the Phoenix.
  • Scratch Damage: Even with maximized defense, the weakest enemies can still do minor damage. Equipping the Light Armor causes these attacks to do no damage at all instead.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The English names for Doctor Leo and his daughter Lisa are a shout-out to, of all things, Leonardo da Vinci and his most famous picture, the Mona Lisa.
    • The son of the tool shop owner in Grass Valley is named Teddy, which is also a name associated with a couple of plot events in ActRaiser.
  • Short-Lived Organism: The inhabitants of the Mountain of Souls only live a year, reaching full maturity at half a year old.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Some of the dungeon areas in the fourth area, the Mountain of Souls.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Blazer can communicate with any type of lifeform. See also Talking to Plants.
  • Spiritual Successor: To ActRaiser. Similarly, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma are unofficially considered to form a trilogy with this game.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The Bubble Armor surrounds Blazer in a magical bubble full of air, allowing him to stay underwater indefinitely in the Seabed of St. Elles.
  • 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 down 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.
  • True Sight: After finding the Souls of Detection and Reality, the sphere that orbits Blazer will expose a specific radius of invisible things to make them visible to the player.
  • 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.
  • Under the Sea: The theme of the third area, St. Elles. You need to find Bubble Armor in order to breathe underwater and explore the depths.
  • 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: Fireball and Light Arrow, the first two spells you get, are the ones that can be trusted to behave the most consistently. The other spells, while dealing more damage, hit enemies far less often because of their mechanics. Spark Bomb and Flame Pillar, in particular, aren't that useful because they're in fixed positions, and there's no way to force the enemy to move onto them.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: After killing Deathtoll, the Master allows Blazer to return to Earth in exchange for losing all of his memories and his ability to converse with any creature except humans.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Metal Mantis requires the player to do more than just walk up to an enemy and swing their sword at it. They really have to utilize their items, magic, and the boss arena to have any hope of winning.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Commas are very often omitted where needed or, added where not needed.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Metallic enemies can only be killed by the Zantetsu Sword, and spirits only by the Spirit Sword.
  • 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.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: All sorts of things have souls that Deathtoll is willing to pay for, including livestock, pets, plants, and furniture.
  • 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.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: The frigid Mountain of Souls plays host to a massive aurora dominating its skyline.