View Full Version : Work together to revive the world! Let's Play Soul Blazer!

The Dread Cthulhu
01-31-2009, 11:33 PM

Hello. Iím sure that some of you will be wondering who I am, and the sensible among you will be wondering more about the game. So before beginning, let me put those fears at rest.

Iím the Dread Cthulhu. I like games, though I am incredibly newbie about them all compared to the rest of you lot. The first console I owned was a GBA, which I got in 2002. So I havenít been around the scene for long. And thereís not much else to say.

So what is Soul Blazer? Well, itís by Quintet, the same people who did ActRaiser. Both games take some pretty obvious inspiration from other, more well-known games. ActRaiser is a cross between SimCity and a sort of Megaman-y side-scroller thing. The problem is that, in my opinion, it doesnít do either of this particularly well. As a result, Iíve never been that fond of ActRaiser. Soul Blazer, on the other hand, is strictly in Zelda territory. It doesnít try to shoehorn anything inappropriate in, and it works brilliantly. Just so thereís no doubt later, this isnít one of those LPs where the guy doing it hates the game. I personally adore this game, even with all its bad translation, story thatís more plot hole than plot and crappy collision detection.

So, whatís the story? Well, let me give you the opening spiel. The game gives you this as an attract mode, but it would take 14 pictures to get the message across and, frankly, Iím not sure this story is worth it.

Wise men tell a tale late at night of a great King destroyed by the temptation of evil. The Freil Empire, as it was called in those days, was ruled by a powerful man, King Magridd. It seems most people thought the King was a fair and kind ruler. There were some, however, who felt the King himself was ruled by greed. One day the King happened to overhear two guards talking about a man named Dr. Leo. Now Dr. Leo was considered by all to be a great inventor and a genius. The King stayed up many nights wondering how he could use this great inventor to make him even more wealthy. All of the sudden the King had an idea. He ordered his guards to capture Dr. Leo and bring him to the castle at once! Soon Dr. Leo was brought to the castle. The King confined him to a small room and ordered him to invent a machine that would summon the king of evil, Deathtoll. Dr. Leo finally completed the machine. The King instantly called upon Deathtoll, hoping they might strike a deal. After many days the deal was complete. The King would bring Deathtoll all living creatures, and in return, Deathtoll would give him a gold piece for each. One by one, all living creatures began to disappear. Soon the world was completely empty. Two people were watching this catastrophe, the Master, and you, his follower. ďThe King was very foolish to be tempted by evil, however I will give him another chance. You must go down to Earth and revive the World!Ē the Master said. On a ray of light you descended to Earth...a warrior sent to revive the living and punish evil. A SOUL BLAZER!

Thatís...possibly the worst plot Iíve ever heard ever. Why didnít the King realise that making a deal for ALL living things would go tits-up? Why didnít the Master do anything about this before the worldís desolate? How can you revive the living anyway? Well, nevertheless, thatís the story weíve got to work with. And there will be quite a lot of story throughout.

Gameplay wise, Soul Blazer is quite unusual. The game has Zelda-style swordfighting, and some of the enemies come straight from various Zelda games. The main difference is that most of the monsters will come from small lairs on the ground, and contain a small amount of monsters each. Once Iíve killed them all, Iíll be able to seal the lair. This will (usually) either open up the next area of monsters or release a soul in the overworld. Depending on which of the 6 main areas Iím in (there are 7, but the last one is much shorter and mostly consists of the final boss), Iíll be releasing different sorts of things. Sometimes they wonít even be animate.

Iíll probably be going into a fair amount of depth on everything. The updates will probably be quite short. Tone-wise, this one will probably be most like Tantoís Fire Emblem LP.


So here we are. As youíll note, along the top of the screen we have our level (Weíll probably be in mid-20s by the finish), EXP (due to the finite nature of the monsters, grinding is near impossible), GEMs (the gameís MP, not currency as you might guess) and our health. The area itself is a hub, and Iíll explain that in more detail later. Anyway, the voice of The Master tells us that we need a name, if we are to converse with the living. Lunacy. Does the sky need a name? Does the river? Regardless.


Weíre Cthulhu. Mostly because I love the idea of Cthulhu, the Great Old One and great Enforcer of the dread city of Rílyeh wandering around a wood rescuing squirrels.


Hell yeah. The Master then insists that we go and save the world for all creatures. Well, nothing to do here except go into the blue square on the left.


So this is our tutorial room. Itís a little strange, considering that the entire first zone is basically a tutorial zone, but whatever. Youíll notice a chest at the top, and a red circle to the right. That circle is a monster lair, and weíll be sealing hundreds of the things over the course of the game.


Various status stuff. You could probably work out all the stuff on the first screen without any help. The second screen will be made clearer in a moment.


And weíve got our first weapon, the bizarrely named Sword of Life. Itís pretty useless, since all the other swords will carry other nifty features, but hey! At this point, we're beggars. Quick note on the swords; there are two styles of sword fighting. I can either swing it at my enemies, or hold it in front of me and walk into them. At the start of the game, swinging will do about 2 damage every 3 seconds, whereas stabbing will do about 1 damage per second. The problem is that stabbing never gets stronger, but swinging does. At the start of the second area, thereís a monster which is impossible to deal enough damage via stabbing to kill before it heals completely. Itís basically a big warning sign telling you not to stab anymore.


And hereís Cthulhu showing off his stabbing move. Notice that the first monster has spawned. This is the simplest enemy, and we wonít be seeing it for very long. It will attempt to kill me by walking towards me. I take collision damage, and thatís about it.


He dies quickly, and this gold sphere appears. Thatíll be explained in a moment.


The goblin things that follow him go the same way, and leave this behind them.


When I stand on it, it makes an old man appear. Typical. God knows what heís here for, Iíve already got the lame starter sword.


Epileptic Tree (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EpilepticTrees) #1: The game takes place during the Masterís rule during Season 3 of new Dr. Who.




Hey, he said ĎTake this!í Itís not even trying, is it? The guy gives us something called Flame Ball Magic.

The Dread Cthulhu
01-31-2009, 11:41 PM

Oh good. None of that ‘barred school’ crap here.


Yep. For all intent and purposes, the monsters drop MP. This guy, the Soul of Magician, is our first Soul. He gives us permanent abilities. The fact that you have a Soul is shown by...


...this. So now I have a ball of light encircling me. Here rises the biggest problem of the game; the magic system is sort of crappy. The fire comes from the ball, not from me. That makes aiming a bitch, and makes the simplest strategy ‘hit with sword’. I will get other magic, but it’ll all be costly. The other issue is that the only punishment that dying gives you is the loss of all your GEMs. This doesn’t seem like a punishment at all, until you reach the final boss which actually requires magic to hurt it.


This is the hub. This is implied to be floating; think of it as the Sky Palace from ActRaiser. The gold block at the top is used for saving and moving around the world. The bottom block will teleport me down to Earth, at the beginning of the area. The first area is always peaceful; the souls I restore will go there. Along the way, I’ll open up more teleports so I don’t have to trudge across the level. The left block is normally halfway through, but here it’s the tutorial area because the level is so short. The right block, which isn’t open yet, always teleports us to just before the boss.


Here I am in the Grass Valley Shrine. Like I said, there are no enemies here. Top-right is the teleport; bottom-left is a set of stairs down.


As I head down, I hear a small voice. Three guesses what the voice is.

Mysterious Voice: There are many creatures being held in the Underground Castle. If you can release those creatures, the village will be reconstructed.


Yeah, it was a tulip. That tulip just to the left of us, to be precise. It’s never explained why it’s there, considering that Deathtoll took all life. Epileptic Tree (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EpilepticTrees) #2: The tulip is undead.

Four words I never thought I’d say.

Next time: How about being one of my children?

02-01-2009, 03:05 AM
This game is famously short but it packs more cool ideas into its seven areas than most games manage in twice that length.

02-01-2009, 03:59 AM
The tulip is undead... yes, it all makes sense now...

I love this game. It's one of the only action rpgs I can actually beat, too.

02-01-2009, 04:43 AM
I adore this game. It was my first JRPG, or should I say, the closest I got to one thanks to Nintendo not releasing JRPGs in Europe.

02-01-2009, 04:45 AM

As I head down, I hear a small voice.

My how the mighty have fallen.. It use to be The Call of Cthulhu....

Now it's The Call to Cthulhu... by a tulip... alright undead tulip..... I think the High Priest of the Elder Gods has gone off his rocker.

02-01-2009, 11:16 AM
Soul Blazer is still a masterpiece. The part where your mighty warrior rampages through a city of tiny toy soldiers remains one of the most entertaining stages in the history of games.

02-01-2009, 11:43 AM
Soul Blazer is one of those games that I've played so many times I bet I could go through it with my eyes closed. I never understood why it's so good - most of the enemies are boring to fight and the game is the exact opposite of challenging, but gosh darn it, it's fun for some reason! Also, the music is AWESOME.

I'm interested in seeing how you tackle it.

Dadgum Roi
02-01-2009, 11:46 AM
This is on VC, isn't it?

Octopus Prime
02-01-2009, 11:47 AM
This is on VC, isn't it?

It totally freaking SHOULD BE.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-01-2009, 11:52 AM
This is on VC, isn't it?

Nope. But it's by the people who did ActRaiser, which is. So there's high hopes for it.

Soul Blazer is still a masterpiece. The part where your mighty warrior rampages through a city of tiny toy soldiers remains one of the most entertaining stages in the history of games.

That stage is awesome. My favourite's the underwater one, although there's no one level that I can't stand.

02-01-2009, 01:18 PM
This is on VC, isn't it?

Not yet, but hopefully they'll remember OH WAIT AWESOME GAME DEAD BRAND BETTER WHORE IT OUT

02-01-2009, 04:09 PM
did anyone else ever find shrink-wrapped, boxless used games in a K-Mart? because that is totally how I got this game!

I had no idea what it was at the time, but it was cheap and A GAME so I bought it anyway. it was a good decision!

Red Hedgehog
02-01-2009, 04:56 PM
Soul Blazer is one of those games that I've played so many times I bet I could go through it with my eyes closed. I never understood why it's so good - most of the enemies are boring to fight and the game is the exact opposite of challenging, but gosh darn it, it's fun for some reason! Also, the music is AWESOME.

Yeah, it's definitely a game that ends up being a lot more fun than it should be when you actually analyze everything that make it up. I think it's the exploration/adding new things to the world aspect.

02-01-2009, 05:04 PM
Yeah, it's definitely a game that ends up being a lot more fun than it should be when you actually analyze everything that make it up. I think it's the exploration/adding new things to the world aspect.

Town-building is the best part of so many games.

02-01-2009, 05:06 PM
Man, the story is excellent, I can't let that go by. You have to imagine Soul Blazer as if it were straight out of a fairy tale (and to continue the analogy, Actraiser would be out of Greek legends.)

The most interesting part of the combat is how your sword does more damage and hit stun at the end of the swing. It's an asymmetry sort of reminiscent how Link's facing direction determines which side he can hit more easily, except the ramifications are greater in this game.

The sweet spot is more to your side than your front, and changing directions will flip it around, plus there's that crab walk button to think about. So despite the simplicity of the game, maintaining an ideal position against your enemies requires full concentration.

02-01-2009, 08:55 PM
did anyone else ever find shrink-wrapped, boxless used games in a K-Mart? because that is totally how I got Final Fantasy 3!

I had no idea what it was at the time, but it was cheap and A GAME so I bought it anyway. it was a good decision!

One of the biggest strokes of luck for my young gamer self ever.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-02-2009, 07:36 AM
I forgot to ask, does anyone have any feedback on how I can improve this? I've got write-ups for all of the first world, and screenshots for most of the second.

Octopus Prime
02-02-2009, 07:41 AM
So far I see no problems with it. Keep on going as you're going.

02-02-2009, 07:49 AM
Seems fine to me.

02-02-2009, 08:46 PM
Keep on keepin' on, I'm sure that the legions of us who have played this game to hell and back will add anything you miss (and have suggestions for what you need to show us).

The Dread Cthulhu
02-03-2009, 01:04 AM
Keep on keepin' on, I'm sure that the legions of us who have played this game to hell and back will add anything you miss (and have suggestions for what you need to show us).

To be honest, I didn't know the game was so well-known. I thought it was one of those small, obscure things that barely anyone played.

02-03-2009, 05:34 AM
To be honest, I didn't know the game was so well-known. I thought it was one of those small, obscure things that barely anyone played.

Same here. My only guess is EVERYONE was hard-up for an action RPG at the time or emulation spread word of its greatness far and wide.

Octopus Prime
02-03-2009, 07:50 AM
Same here. My only guess is EVERYONE was hard-up for an action RPG at the time or emulation spread word of its greatness far and wide.

That or, you know, the fact that this is Talking Time.

Games like Soul Blazer is what we be about! For always!

The Dread Cthulhu
02-04-2009, 10:00 AM
Last time on Soul Blazer, we chickened out just before entering the first dungeon. Well, no point holding it off any longer. Letís go into the Underground Castle.


These three pictures sum up one major part of the dungeons in the game. Monsters come out of lairs, we kill them. After a certain number, theyíre all gone and it turns into the gold circle. We step on that, something happens and it turns into the red square. Sometimes, itíll just open up further areas. Sometimes, it will release a soul into the world.

Most of these shots are quite samey, and I wonít be showing you all of them. I will show you all the souls I release, though, because they often have something plot-relevant to dispense. Also are the items I collect and any interesting things going on in the levels.


The next thing I do is to release an old woman, who comes free with a two-storey house. Itís never mentioned why the souls disappearing makes the buildings and such vanish as well. It would have been quite creepy to walk around a completely deserted town.


Two new enemies. The green plant things subscribe to the ĎGoombaí approach; walking towards Cthulhu and trying to bash into him. The blobs of water are our first respawning monster. Some enemies respawn whenever you leave the map. Unfortunately, leaving the map includes releasing a soul, which is a necessity. This can get irritating after a while. The water monsters themselves are relatively simple to deal with; they move very slowly but erratically.


Ah, a Medical Herb. This is one of the most common items in the game, if not the most. Its job is simple; it will restore us to full health if we croak. The game lacks any more minor health restorers, so weíll stick with this one. There are other ways to restore our health, though; we can retrieve a soul or gain a level. Since we can only carry one herb, collecting another will also heal us to full.

Basically, weíre not short on healing. The existence of all these heals means that you shouldnít try to keep up with my health; it will go up and down like crazy.


Another feature of the dungeon are these random blue jewels lying around the place. These contain things which youíll see down the page a little. The fire in the top left is another respawner, and one of the most annoying. Takes a lot of hits, and does a good bit of damage. Most respawners weíll leave; that one is going down every time.


Whatever this jewel is, itís incredibly patronising.


Itís a fairy. If you look at the top, itís just given us 30 EXP. A trifling sum normally, but it doubles what we have right now. It also gives us the option to return to the Valley. Since Iím doing well right now, I refuse.


Tool shop owner comes with everything you see here. Batteries not included. Also, you can get two items from the tool shop. Unlimited Magical Herbs and goat food.


Tulip: There once was a water mill here before the village was destroyed. I hear there is a man in the mill who runs the elevator in the Underground Castle.

I don't know why the developers felt the need to tell us this; there's a pretty clear sign that this is the case coming up.


Hey look guys! A new enemy! These guys will actually shoot balls of magic at you. You see, if our magic had been like that I might have actually used it!

The Dread Cthulhu
02-04-2009, 10:09 AM

Those guys die and reveal a bridge guard. Heíll let me into the second half of Grass Valley.


New enemy! These little green flies buzz around your head quickly, doing lots of damage. They're the most annoying enemy down here.


Hell yeah. Killing those gave me the Dream Rod, which lets me go into peopleís dreams. Sadly, it doesnít come with a metal glove.

Incidentally, killing the flies brought me up to Level 2. I didnít get a shot because the level up screens are incredibly bad; they consist of the words ĎLevel upí flashing on the screen once for about half a second then disappearing.




Ivy. It lets me down into a cave, which contains an excellent item. I forgot about it to begin with, but I get it before I finish in Grass Valley.


Standard procedure. I open up what we call a ĎDoor to Beforeí; a simple way of getting back to where I am. Sadly, itís a conveyor belt which takes forever to walk along in the wrong direction.


Ah, so the tulip wasnít lying to us.

Water mill keeper: Darn it! This stupid wheel! Itís so hard to turn!

Back in the Castle, we find an elevator.


Oh, itís Dr. Leo again. You know, the guy from the intro.

Well, we canít go any further in the Castle just yet. Letís talk to some of the people.


Hey peanut gallery! What do we say? Hang on. You can rescue every soul around here and no children never appear in her house. Epileptic Tree #3: This is the female version of James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2. She killed her children, but canít remember.

Yes, I know there are children wandering about outside. This is more fun.

Next time: Lisa, you must tell everything that you know to the person in front of you.

02-04-2009, 10:47 AM
To be honest, I didn't know the game was so well-known. I thought it was one of those small, obscure things that barely anyone played.

Heh, the only reason I beat/played the game is that K-Mart or something used to sell used SNES games right around the time the PSX came out, so I picked up this, Megaman X, and Actraiser 2. I only regret* one of those purchases.

Good job with the LP so far, I'm enjoying this as I've only went through the game once.

*Well, not really regret, but I only beat two of the three games.

02-04-2009, 04:58 PM
The weird thing is, if it weren't for the imaginative setting and script this game would just be single-player gauntlet. But rebuilding the locations piece by piece is a perfect dangling carrot to keep you interested.

02-04-2009, 05:10 PM
Yes, I guess? I doubt it could hurt.

Itís never mentioned why the souls disappearing makes the buildings and such vanish as well. It would have been quite creepy to walk around a completely deserted town.

I think removing any sign of human existence from an otherwise barren landscape gives a greater sense that something truly apocalyptic has happened.

02-04-2009, 08:18 PM
I remember loving this game. Unfortunately, I've never played it without using an emulator.

02-05-2009, 09:43 AM
SoulBlazer is the third SNES game I ever played (after Mario World and Lemmings) and is still a personal favorite. I don't own a copy, which is a fucking travesty.

I never got sick of constantly flashing back to see what new people/objects were being restored back in town. There actually is incentive to murder every single monster beyond simply leveling up.

02-05-2009, 10:07 AM
SoulBlazer is the third SNES game I ever played (after Mario World and Lemmings) and is still a personal favorite.

ooooh now there's one to consider for VLPing next time you're doing them. I adore the music and the funny little green rodents.

02-05-2009, 11:19 AM
ooooh now there's one to consider for VLPing next time you're doing them. I adore the music and the highly explosive little green rodents.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-08-2009, 06:32 AM
After tallying up the votes for and against becoming a surrogate son to the village chief's wife, the results are in! Yes wins in a landslide!


Well, whaddya know. Turns out Talking Time has a heart after all. We just helped out a lonely old woman who may or not be a murderer.

Letís look around the town a little more.


You must be kidding. Youíre a tool store! And you only have Medical Herbs? Why they didnít translate this as Ďgeneral storeí or something is beyond me. Although I suppose it does explain where the architect weíll rescue later gets his stuff from. But, bleh.


Especially considering that Iím the only one who will ever cross it. Bizarrely, after this he will stand on the bridge and move when I cross. Itís hard to feel that I caused an epiphany in the man when he does exactly what he did before.


Here we are. This is what weíre actually here for; turning this wheel will let us get into the second half of the Underground Castle.


Well, what do you know? The guy in charge is a moron. His entire job is turning this wheel, and he's forgotten to do even that. At least he tries to recover the situation via a cheap plug.


I didnít design this picture to be near-identical to one of the earlier ones, but it is.


After going up the elevator, we release an old man, who is actually stuck up there at this point. Bet heís glad we rescued him.


Yep, weíre all done there.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-08-2009, 06:42 AM

And so we reach Underground Castle East.


Oh for Godís sake.


Hey guys, look! Itís a room of PAIN. The torches shoot fire at right angles, making attacking the things incredibly tedious. The fact that I do that rather than use magic should tell you everything you need to know about magic.

One of them releases a tulip. Bloody hell, how many of these things are there? Just to mess you about, the other releases arguably the most important NPC in the game.


Lisa is our generic love interest. She doesnít show up much, but she does turn out to be important by the end of the game. Sheís the daughter of Dr. Leo. Sheís also asleep right now.


And one of the last completely essential NPCs is released. The architect lets us climb up the hill, which is where the building is that contains the boss of this area.


Oh look, thereís a simple monster lair there. Sure, those flies are annoying, but itís an easy lair to clear.


Oh, it gave birth to another. And thereís more flies coming out of it. Gimme a second.


Oh, youíre kidding. Four lairs of those flies I had to kill, each containing about five flies. Hell, the last one forced me to use the Herb. Hopefully the reward will be good.




Oh, I hate this bit. Combination of those flies and the magic spitting demons makes me feel like Iím in a shooting gallery.

I release a tulip.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-08-2009, 06:54 AM

You couldnít really see it, but there was an annoying conveyor belt section in the middle of that. This Door to Before stops that from being a hassle.


Yeah, we're almost at the end.


This house contains the final boss. There isnít actually a ghost in there.


There are metal monsters and spirit monsters, both of which can only be hurt with the correct sword. Since I won't have the necessary sword when I meet up with them, I'll have to let them live.

One thing commendable about this game is that there's very little necessary backtracking. There's a little right at the end, and the few aforementioned monsters who refuse to be killed without the right pointy stick, but for the most part it's optional.

The Underground Castle finished for the time being, we head back out and investigate our newfound named NPC.


Weíre going to do something a bit weird and go inside a random personís brain. That isnít creepy at all, huh?


So weíre inside her dream. Interestingly, the Door to Before can be seen here and is completely locked. Presumably this is because, technically, you could do this dream before opening the way up.


Thatís all sheíll say. Her father has been abducted, it makes some sense.


The way to continue is standing on this. Youíll see that the top-left path is open now. Dr. Leo also starts talking.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-08-2009, 07:03 AM

I don't think it's explained how Dr. Leo contacts his daughter through her dreams. Then again, fictional dreams tend to not require that much suspension of disbelief. For instance, Angela Petrelli in Heroes was revealed to have the power of prophetic dreams, and that this was Peter's first ability. Nobody really saw that coming, because nobody thought that an ability which loads of characters have anyway would qualify as an actual superpower.


This is one of the reasons I really like this game. This is surprisingly emotional stuff for a game which could have had a very simple storyline of kill monsters, beat boss, continue. Another of my favourite, more philosophical segments is coming up soon.


Did she just tell us to get out of her house? In an action RPG? Next they'll be telling us not to steal things right in front of them.

Then again, can't really blame her.

Next time: Cthulhu, received the Brown Stone.

02-08-2009, 10:58 PM
I love the dream sequence music.

02-09-2009, 04:11 AM
Just linking to to give a taste of the Soul Blazer soundtrack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP5emCsGjSI).

02-09-2009, 09:22 AM
The opening theme of Soul Blazer: A stack of fifths.
The opening theme of Final Fantasy 6: A stack of fourths.

The more you know. *shooting star logo*

Someone should make a disco version of the Soul Blazer soundtrack. I mean that in the most reverential way possible.

02-09-2009, 10:50 AM
Someone should make a disco version of the Soul Blazer soundtrack. I mean that in the most reverential way possible.

I think the music from the first dungeon would be especially appropriate.

02-10-2009, 05:59 PM
Man, I've always loved the music in Dr. Leo's lab.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-12-2009, 09:47 AM
Last time on Letís Play Soul Blazer, we rescued a woman and went into her dreams. She told us to leave, and she wonít say anything else until we try to. Then this happens.


Sheís awfully forgiving for someone this goddamn creepy.


So why did she hide it? It's not as if she had time to hide it while Deathtoll was taking everyone's souls.

So now we have to go find the brush.


I head back into the Castle and go into the area unlocked by the dream.


Excellent. This old man delivers the philosophical scene I mentioned last time.


And hereís the brush. Weíre not quite finished here though.


I was a bit of an amateur and missed two lairs earlier. Neither are essential, but itís nice for completionís sake.


This lets us get into another cave area. Somethingís just occurred; how come the grass is still here? Grass is alive. Epileptic Tree #4: The grass is undead.


This oneís a lot more interesting. He gives us goat food, but his way of doing it is mildly amusing.


BOLLOCKS! I missed the level screen again! Iíll be sure to get it next time.


To make up for it, hereís the status screen. Note the deficiency I have right now.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-12-2009, 09:56 AM

This is the first part of the section I like. File this away.


One of the stretches of ivy leads us into...


...a cave. This might as well be named Paydirt Cave, so good are the rewards.


Excellent. Like I said, I could have got the Armour earlier, but it slipped my mind. The armour itself is pretty vanilla; other armours will protect me from water, fire and space (?) but this one will do nothing but stop damage. Still very handy to have around. The GEMs...less so. The Armour has provided us with one more point of defense.


The fairy also gives us 80EXP.

So I go back to Lisa, and talk to her. Hey guys, I hope youíre ready for exposition!

Lisa: Oh! You have found my fatherís paintbrush. I will now tell you what I know. One day, as I returned from shopping (for herbs and goat food?) I found a note. Lisa pulled out a note and began to read. ďLisa, I wonít be able to see you for a while. If you have any problems, please see the Village Chief (Donít ask about the kids, there are just too many memories). Take care of your friends,
Turbo, the dog,
Lue, the dolphin,
Nome, the snail,
And Marie, the doll.Ē
The animals mentioned in the letter (A DOLL IS NOT AN ANIMAL) were once my fatherís pets. I donít understand what he is trying to say though. I know youíre a complete stranger, but will you please search for my father?

All of these creatures are found, in this order, in the next four areas. Generally speaking, they have something useful to say.


Quick restock.


At first, you look at this and think ĎAARRGH! I donít have that much cash!í. Then itís ĎThis is like that Magikarp salesman in Pokemon, he isnít actually going to charge meí. And then you think ĎI donít have any currency at all, actually.í

Note the currency itself; Ďdollarsí. This would imply that this takes place in the real world. Of course, all the other evidence is to the contrary, but the spiritual successor to this, Illusion of Gaia, is sent on Earth. Thereís also some connection between them; the boss Iíll be fighting in a bit here is the bonus boss of Gaia.


So whatís the goat food for? Well, unsurprisingly, you can give it to one of the goats. This will give you some hints as to where to go.


Oh, what the hell. Not that we really need the advice.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-12-2009, 10:03 AM

So what is this Ďpainting?í


In the house on the hill, thereís a frightened man and a painting of the Chief. I equip the paintbrush and...


Weíre in.


The new dungeon is...strange. One of the main enemies are these bird things. They can only fly at right angles, but theyíre really, really fast.


The lair on the right opens the way. The left releases a tulip. This setup of two lairs, one for a soul and one to progress, will be repeated a fair bit here.


PAIN ROOM. These things shoot fire like itís going out of fashion. Cleverly, Iíve not got a shot of them actually doing that, so youíll have to take my word for it.


Hmm. Which route to take? The two carpets are both conveyor belts in reality, one taking me both ways.


OH SHI- these guys are the worst in this entire area. Spear throwers who will spend the last bits of this level blocking every possible way in. Screw these guys.


Dead-end from before not dead-end anymore.


Hey guys! Guess what sort of monster was here! (Seriously, guess. I managed to miss that shot somehow).


How the hell can you tell the difference?


Words donít describe how annoying this bit is.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-12-2009, 10:08 AM

I missed the screen (Sorry, I did a really bad job of this area) but I released some more ivy.


And the other one opens the way forward.


As you can see, getting a Medical Herb when I already have one restores my health to full.


Weird enemies aho! These things are the easiest here Ė they slowly jump towards you. The biggest danger is the conveyor belts; they all try to take you into the spikes.


Not pictured; those spear throwers all meeting their delicious end. Pictured: our first metal monster. If youíll recall, we canít touch these guys until we have the Zantetsu Sword. Weíll get that at the start of Area 5, so weíve got a while to go yet.


The metal jellyfish things are going around the blocks in the middle.


At last! A bloody shot of it. As you can see, it was hardly worth the effort.


We release a goat into the world. Itís nice to know weíre really doing good. Note the location; itís near the man who lost his wife to an illness.


That lair at the top-left belongs to the metal jellyfish. Obviously, we canít do anything with it until we have the Zantetsu.


Weíre free to take out our homicidal rage on these bird things, though. Even if our only reward for it is a bloody tulip.




Okay, now this is getting strange. Thatís a hell of a well-made clubhouse.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-12-2009, 10:11 AM

Longest conveyor belt ever.


You’ll notice that there are no screenshots of the fight. This is because this bit is terror. Spear carriers come out through the gaps, the metal jellyfish hurt you in their revolutions if you go anywhere near them, and you’re constantly being dragged away from them.


It was all worth it, though, because now we have THIS!


A quick way back there whenever we feel like it. This is also one of the things that heals us up.


There are no words. This is the only place where I’d consider using magic.


And these boys have carved a cave out of the side of the mountain.


And so we stand in front of the boss of this area. Deep inside his hollow shell is the soul of a gentle chieftain. Let’s go save the guy.


This is Solid Arm, also known as Metal Mantis. He’ll read our memory card, make our controller shake and have split-second timing until we switch our controller to...

Oh, never mind. This Mantis is actually pretty easy. He’ll stay at the top of the map the entire time, moving left and right. His goal is to get in front of us and shoot fire. If we move away from him too quickly, he’ll also resort to fireballs.


This shot illustrates our strategy. We run up the sides with sword out and stab into him. Then, before he can swipe at us, he runs away again.


You can do this on any of the belts, but it’s harder on some than others. The guy also does a hell of a lot of damage.


When he swings, he also becomes completely invulnerable.


Once he starts to flounder, he shoots single fireballs at a diagonal. This is more dangerous, but we’ll definitely cope.


Success! A lucky fireball took me down, but luckily my Herb stopped that from being a disaster! See you in Illusion of Gaia, you big metal thing!


The game considers it to be a standard monster, though, complete with lair.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-12-2009, 10:55 AM

Hey, listen. I only said I would be your son as a joke, you know?

The game decides not to teleport us out of there, but thereís a portal right outside and we have full health. Not too big a deal.


You see? Thatís atmosphere. No storyline significance at all, but it just gives the game a sense of depth and that these people arenít just there to provide an excuse for killing things; theyíre real people. Even if they only say one thing. Letís head back up to the chief and listen to what he has to say.

Chief: I feel as though I have been surrounded by darkness. In that darkness I heard my best friend Leo. (Strange that he doesnít call him by his first name) He told me to give this Brown Stone to a person named Cthulhu. I donít know what the Brown Stone looks like (Like a stone thatís brown, perhaps?), but this is a stone that I received from him the day before I disappeared.


Awesome! This gives us the power to get up around 7, but get outta bed around 9.


So here it comes, the sound of drums...


Baby baby baby! You are my voodoo child, my voodoo child.


Donít say maybe, maybe.


Itís supernatural, Iím coming undone.


Oh great. One down, five more to go.


And so we come to the end of this update, and the end of Grass Valley. Coming up next time, itís tulips times a billion. You know how there were humans here? Not anymore.

Sorry for the Doctor Who reference, by the way. Don't know how many will get it.

Next time: I donít know what the Green Wood looks like, but this is a wood that is green.

Octopus Prime
02-12-2009, 03:34 PM
Don't worry, I got the reference. And it was well apreciated.

02-12-2009, 09:21 PM
I love the creepy surreal world music.

It's the auditory equivalent of someone tickling your neck from behind when you think you're alone.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-16-2009, 09:55 AM
Hello. Last time on Let’s Play Soul Blazer, we retrieved one of the least powerful sounding quest items in the history of everything. Now, we continue into the next world.


These are the choices that the gold square at the top gives you when you stand on it. Record is the save function, and Move is self-explanatory. We choose the second.


The few houses are where we just were. The wood’s our next destination. In the first picture, you can see World 4, and World 3 is visible from the wood. I really like the design of the mountains for some reason, but I don’t like the fact that the river goes down a waterfall and then flows away from the sea.


Nice little feature here; the hub changes colour. It was embarrassingly recently that I realized that the hub is the diamond over the world, and it’s showing the main colour of the area below.


The teleport brings us out of this door, in the middle of a dazzling forest. Why these things don’t count as living I’ll never know.


I failed at screenshotting here; I missed the entrance and the type of monster. Both will be rectified in a minute.


Get used to the animal releases, folks; there will be a LOT of them. Also, that wooden bridge you can sort of see is the entrance to where I just was.


These guys are frustrating, and are one of the reasons why this is my least favourite world. They pop out of the water, shoot fire and then jump back in. It’s hard to damage them without taking damage myself. They are killable, despite the fact that...


...these are the enemies I mentioned in Update 1 as being unkillable with the stab. When they re-emerge from the water, they are healed completely. I like to think that this is the developers being kind and holding this up as a signpost that, hey, the enemies are getting clever.

Note the two bush type things on the areas above me. They’re far away from me, right? I can deal with them later.


WHAT THE PFARGTL? Bushes, for very little reason, can reach out and try to molest you. These guys are the number one reason why I don’t like this place. Often they’ll all spawn at once in one place, and it’s impossible to get anywhere near them. This isn’t especially annoying, but it is bad design, and it’s enough to make this level the worst.

Rumours that Bush is available as a playable character remain unconfirmed.


Heading up here reveals another lair. That mud thing is the same type of monster as the first lair, and it’s pretty dull; its strategy involves walking at you. Sun Tzu it ain’t. Hell, it would have to aspire to be Zapp Brannigan.


Can’t believe I’m putting my life on the line for this.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-16-2009, 10:07 AM

I cut them off at the source and open the way. This world has this outside swamp areas, and three shrines. This first one is the Water Shrine.


Here we are. Water looks sort of disgusting.


This monster has got confused and is walking into this edge. Every one that follows does exactly the same thing. I almost feel sorry for them.


These monsters have been created solely to keep these two bridges hidden. What a pathetic existence.


Oh, great. Another pointless animal. What could it possibly have to offer me?


...All of the first words to pick once you come back to life...and theyíre those ones? What?


No way across here. Weíll come out there at the end of the level, though. So where do we go?


Back at the beginning. The only reason we went out there was to make sure we could get the sword off Mr. Suspension of Disbelief.


This seems a good time to mention the different types of Monster Lairs. Some will release one monster at a time, only producing another once you kill the predecessor, some will only produce a monster when you go near and some will release them all at once. Monsters like the Mud Things here are only any threat when theyíre all coming at once.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-16-2009, 10:15 AM

They open up the way.


These animal releases are pretty much the only releases GreenWood has to offer.


I head up this side to try and get to the treasure chest I saw earlier. The lair releasing all of the bushes at once makes life very difficult.


Hell, I have to use my herb up. Somehow, this retracts the waterfall.


Wow, what a waste of effort.


Hard to show this in screenshots, but the spears are quickly coming out of the ground and going back in again. They also go around in those squares clockwise. Fighting clever enemies on this can be tricky. Fortunately, Iím not.


That rescues one of those fairy sapphires.


The other group of mudmen die with about as much dignity, leaving me a lair to seal, a gem to investigate and a chest to open.


You were not watching over the world. You were trapped. But thanks for the EXP.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-16-2009, 10:18 AM



Great. A mole. Iím sure thatíll help my cause to kill the evil demons in the world, wonít it?


Yep, this mole is actually our second soul.


This is the bottom level of the Water Shrine. Weíll go around a bit here and then head back up on the other side of the water. And...it's one extra-long update and one short one, or two reasonable ones with one jarring ending, so that's it for today.

Next time: You will not lose any GEMs should your life meter reach

02-16-2009, 10:56 AM
I'm sorry, but this...

Also, that wooden bride you can sort of see is the entrance to where I just was.

was oddly hilarious to me.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-16-2009, 12:12 PM
Fixed. Though I did consider otherwise for a few seconds.

02-16-2009, 01:30 PM
I'm sorry, but this...

was oddly hilarious to me.
They're called "dutch wives."

02-16-2009, 02:30 PM
I spend a good bit of time looking at that image, sure I was missing an obvious carving in the picture before I figured it out. -_-;

02-16-2009, 02:32 PM
I've heard that phrase before, and I would love to know how it came to be used that way.

02-16-2009, 10:13 PM
If I were to criticize this game I would point out that nine times out of time you're just looking for the place to stand that causes the monsters to run into your sword like idiots. But only a nitpicky fun-hating person would criticize Soul Blazer, so I won't point that out.

02-16-2009, 10:28 PM

These guys are frustrating, and are one of the reasons why this is my least favourite world. They pop out of the water, shoot fire and then jump back in. It’s hard to damage them without taking damage myself.

There's actually a really great way to deal with them. I'm not sure if it only happens when you're facing up on the screen, but at the apex of a sword swing, it stays in position for a while and has a chance to deal double damage if the enemy stands still long enough (alternately, if you time your swings right, some enemies can get hit twice by the start and end of a swing). The secret is to stand right out of the range of where they jump, facing up, and mash that sword button until they explode.

In fact this is a strategy that's good enough to get through just about any enemy you can't poke your sword into. It's especially great with the boss in Leo's Laboratory, and in the model towns.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-19-2009, 01:49 PM
If I were to criticize this game I would point out that nine times out of time you're just looking for the place to stand that causes the monsters to run into your sword like idiots. But only a nitpicky fun-hating person would criticize Soul Blazer, so I won't point that out.

Many of the bosses have a point where you can stand and not take any damage. I'm not experienced enough with this to know all of them off by heart yet, so I won't be doing that. A no damage run of this would be perfectly possible, and I'd be amazed if nobody's done one.

Hello. Last time on Soul Blazer, we made it to the bottom of the Water Shrine. Still looking for something resembling a shrine.


Hey, seeds! Apparently theyíre rather tasty as well. I wonder if thereís a character anywhere who would enjoy having these, and would give me a weapon in exchange for them.


After finishing off the mudmen, I seal the lair.


Hey, another lair! This should be simple.


JESUS CHRIST I AM SCREWED. Oh well, nothing for it but charging straight in and slashing like a 13 year old fanfiction writer.


Huh. That wasnít too bad.


Hey guys! You have exactly ONE guess as to what weíll be using this crocodile for.


Oh, nothing there. Or so the game would have you think.


Oh, thanks for hiding that for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. So, we have a strange bottle. What does it do?


Oh, good. I was terrified of our life meter reaching. Also, the item screen may look a bit familiar to anyone whoís even touched Link to the Past. Which should be all of you.


My ominous senses are tingling. We havenít seen the last of these guys.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-19-2009, 02:02 PM

ĎHey guys! Itís a servant of God, come to kill us and remove the soul that holds us together! Whatíre we gonna do?í
ĎLetís walk into this wall. Heíll get suspicious and run awayí
ĎGosh, you really are the smartest man made of wet dirt Iíve ever metí.




That's just annoying. There's no reason for it to spawn on the other side of the wall, it's just there to pad the game a little.


Of course, if it had been worthwhile I wouldn't mind.


Ah, weíve found a way back up.


Nice bit of foreshadowing here. These things teleport around and take a while to kill.

The first time you play this, you think ĎWow, those things are alive! But they only attack in the light!í. Then you think ĎBut there was that mole a while ago who said he could bring light to darknessí. Then you think ĎHang on. There were fifteen of themí. I donít actually have to fight all of them, but itís not a cop-out either.


...Yes, that's a stage.

...Yes, the deer is on it.

...No, I don't have a clue.


And, finally, weíre out of there.


After killing the mudmen, I come over here to get the chest. As you can tell by the enemy health bar, and the GEM on the ground, there was a dragon here. There was no way to see if that was the case, and I almost ran into it. This is how NOT to do enemies.


Hell, it was only guarding GEMs as well.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-19-2009, 02:08 PM

These mudmen just spew out of the portal and walk towards me. I cannot make enough fun of these guys.




Oh, good. This lair is very useful.


Because it turns that inexplicable wooden head into a teleport. And we have a few things to do back in GreenWood.


Not willing to give us a sword to rescue his friends out of the goodness of his heart, he turns us into a delivery service before handing over the goods.


If anyone wants to enlighten me why the swords have levels, please do. I donít think itís a minimum level of usage, because itís impossible to do a low-level run or anything due to the nature of the game. But anyway, we have the also bizarrely-named Psycho Sword. It freezes metal monsters for a second or two. This is less useful than it sounds. But it is stronger than the Sword of Life, so itís worth it.

I suppose you could do a run without using the upgrade swords, with the exclusion of the special swords to kill the odd enemy and the final weapon that I like to call 'Definitely Not the Master Sword'


Here are our new stats with the sword equipped. Note that weíre still walking around in the tired old Iron Armour from Grass Valley. Itíll get an upgrade in...160 screenshots.


We decide to tell the crocodile that, yes, we do want to use him as a rudimentary bridge. If we say no, he calls us wimps.


Thatís what your mom said!

Actually there isnít any point in going over him yet; it leads to an island dead-end. Instead, we go into the hole just above him.


Another soul. As Iíve mentioned, heíll give our circling ball thing a light.


I like how thatís all he has to say about me. Iím going around rescuing immortal souls and freeing them from a demonís war machine, and he can do exactly the same job as a candle, yet he makes himself sound like a god and me like a fucking clown.


Soul get!

The Dread Cthulhu
02-19-2009, 02:13 PM

This would have been better if he hadnít gone right out and told us, I think. Anyway, we can now go and clear out the basement.


Turns out only a few of the statues are alive. Those ones are slightly darker than the others, and are therefore okay to kill. OMG GAME IZ RACIST


Its death gives us a squirrel. Considering that squirrels can climb and are small, itís convenient that their homes have massive human-sized holes and stairs leading up to them.


The top-left and...this one were the fakes.


We get a mole that isn't a servant of God.


And this is the Fire Shrine. Weíll be invading it next time.

Maybe this one will have evidence that people used it as a shrine and not just the developers giving it a cool-sounding name.

Next time: Weíll be invading the Fire Shrine.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-21-2009, 11:17 AM
Work's sprung up on me, so it'll be longer than normal before the next update, for anybody who's following this.

02-21-2009, 11:21 AM
Looking forward to it!

The Dread Cthulhu
02-23-2009, 01:53 PM
Hello again. To reiterate; weíll be invading the Fire Shrine this time.


It starts out with five extending platforms. This makes screenshots very hard to understand, but Iíll try to keep it clear. Note the scorpions; theyíre made of metal, so I can only stun them at this point.


Those weird dinosaur things gave me a chest, containing an Herb. Always useful.


Thereís a dinosaur lair just above me, and the ghost face thing above the lava comes from the lair on the far right. For some reason, they donít count as spirit monsters, so my sociopathic sword is in perfectly capable of killing it.


The Fire Shrine is another of those twisty areas that sends you down and then up a couple of floors before letting you reach the place you could see right at the start. Iím not too fond of this concept, especially when it seems as lazy as this. Pretty much the entire area could be skipped if Cthulhu managed to unglue his feet from the ground.


Hooray, I released a dog! And a ...restaurant? Kay.


The second floor is a horrible maze level. The glowing walls are just decoration, though later weíll come across similarly glowing objects that arenít.


This is the first of a few chests that contain nothing. Just take you completely by surprise. Considering that the number of useful items in chests in this game is...limited, to say the least, itís not as if anyone will be cursing the designers for not including 50 superfluous gems.


The biggest problem here is the scorpions. They take up the entire corridor, and stunning them doesnít mean they wonít hurt me if I run through them. This leads to a fair bit of waiting at intersections trying to see which route it will go. Not fun.


The strange ghost heads are pretty easy, for all their screaming and ignoring the maze.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-23-2009, 01:58 PM

The dog is patrolling the graveyard. One of the problems that Green Wood has right now is that its guardian, Turbo the dog, died fighting the monsters. Not Ďhad his soul used to power monstersí. Died. Weíll meet his ghost, but the whole thing still confuses me. I always assumed that the souls disappeared and then monsters appeared, but apparently it was a more gradual process. Heís not even the only ghost around here.


Youíll have to take this on faith, but these monsters are different from the ones that just walk towards you. They teleport very short distances, and if they cross over you while teleporting they still hurt you. In a normal area, theyíre manageable. Here, theyíre much more difficult. The fact that they're identical to a much more wimpy monster means that every player will get a nasty shock.


That crocodile means that we can actually get to the graveyard.


The exit isnít difficult to find; weíre just stuck searching for monsters to kill. The scorpions come out of lairs as well, so we canít finish this area yet.


Squirrel. Notice the mole holes; weíll use them to get around. Itís not just cruising across crocodiles for us.


Well, enough of that.


New enemy; these fire things will shoot fire at me. Itís not the most original of concepts, if Iím honest.


And another mole to expand our underground routes.


This path glows red-hot and then cools. If I'm on it while it's red, I'll take some pretty serious damage.


The squirrelís up on the stage as well.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-23-2009, 02:04 PM

Came from the top left route. So many options. I plump to run across the fire.


*frustrated noises*


Hooray! New magic.


I always imagine this said in a sarcastic voice, though the reasoning escapes me.


The fire magic fired from the orb in the direction we were facing, but the orb rotated so it wasnít much use. The light magic fires from all directions, but it still comes from the orb. All this does for me is make me more irritated at its potential.


Trial and error time, guys!


The idea is to go up the left path, seal a lair that extends the middle path, go across the middle path, seal a lair that extends the right path and go along the right path. The right path at least has the courtesy of giving you a safe place to hide from the fire damage when you realize itís a dead end, but the middle path ensures that youíll take some damage.

This sort of represents Soul Blazer as a whole. Bad design decisions, incredibly repetitive but still addictive and enjoyable.


The game probably thinks itís doing us a service in giving us more power for our ďlightĒ arrows. Itís worth noting that the hardest item to get in the game, the Magic Bell, lets us use unlimited magic while itís equipped. Even if I was a magic user, I wouldnít want to, for a reason Iíll explain...soon.


This is a square. The corners are safe, but the sides are fiery. We must proceed with hasty.


One fight with teleporting dinosaurs and invincible scorpions later, we have another lair ripe for sealing.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-23-2009, 02:08 PM

Anytime somebodyís sleeping you can get something good by going inside their dreams. The fact that it tells us that theyíre asleep when we release them is a sign that Soul Blazer loves us.


Man, there are a lot of moles around here.


You can see above that these monsters are spawning steadily and are moving around the corridors to reach me. I prefer this to the old Ďstand around waiting for monsters to spawní shtick, and itís a pity that more lair arenít like this.




Much less so.


Last lair we canít do nuthiní about, since its inhabitants are currently going around flaunting their metal skins. Letís go up a level. Doubtless the maze level we forced our way through earlier will make a vicious return, testing our skills to the limit.


Or theyíll pull a Temple of the Fiends on us. Nevermind.


We kill whatever hellish spawn was there and open up the way forward. But is that a staircase I spy to the right?


It was, and thereís a room with those freaky heads down there.


And another squirrel for the collection.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-23-2009, 02:09 PM

And weíre out. Looks like we have a short raft across to the next temple.


Well thatís just mean.


Wonderful. Kill thousands of monsters and what stops me is passport control. Iíll have to go by customs next time.

Next time: I didnít know that he was a ghost.

Sky Render
02-23-2009, 02:42 PM
If anyone wants to enlighten me why the swords have levels, please do. I donít think itís a minimum level of usage, because itís impossible to do a low-level run or anything due to the nature of the game.

Actually, that's exactly why swords have levels. It is, in fact, possible to get a few of them before you're a high enough level to use them; I've done this on at least one play-through. You can get the Recovery Sword long before you can use it.

02-23-2009, 08:59 PM
I use the light arrows quite a bit, actually.

The Dread Cthulhu
02-24-2009, 08:56 AM
Actually, that's exactly why swords have levels. It is, in fact, possible to get a few of them before you're a high enough level to use them; I've done this on at least one play-through. You can get the Recovery Sword long before you can use it.

That's true, I suppose.

I use the light arrows quite a bit, actually.

Meh. I can see that they're not completely useless, but the orb thing always turned me off them. The only magic I tend to use in a playthrough is the Rotator, because that does come in handy for a few enemies near the end.

02-24-2009, 01:15 PM
I like the orb thing. It's a little harder to line up your shots, but I always appreciated the convenience of not having to be in a line with your target.

02-24-2009, 05:42 PM
Am I the only one who abuses the hell out of walking against a wall, which makes the orb keep going in whatever direction, then sniping bad guys while on the other side of the map?

Also, you MUST get some screenshots of using tornado magic on the model soldiers. It's a SoulBlazer rite of passage!

02-24-2009, 07:44 PM
Am I the only one who abuses the hell out of walking against a wall, which makes the orb keep going in whatever direction, then sniping bad guys while on the other side of the map?

You are not!

02-25-2009, 02:51 AM
Am I the only one who abuses the hell out of walking against a wall, which makes the orb keep going in whatever direction, then sniping bad guys while on the other side of the map?

That's the only time I used magic, to my recollection. Good times.

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 10:25 AM
Hello again. This time, weíre going to deal with a few issues we have here and then make a dash at the Light Shrine.


Cthulhu winds his way through the path and back home.


Arenít dogs meant to have mega super hearing?


Iím not sure if this is more or less creepy than the Lisa thing.


The bird apparently dreams of being underground.


We learn that Turbo the dog hoped to kill a demon by himself. Honourable gesture, very stupid.


The main point of these dream sequences is to open up a route in the real world. But what could we want with a dead end underground?




All well and good, but I canít get on the rafts. And whatís the Guardian of the Woods?


Well that was depressing.

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 10:32 AM

If only we had a way of getting underground and reaching his remains.


Back in the real world, we find the dogís bones.


As good as his word, I find some leaves there. We can now get to the Light Shrine. However, we have another errand to run quickly.


This mole tunnel runs through and to the island in the south-west corner.


We also find quite a bossy mole.


The bird informs us that someone nearby is asleep, and we go into the treeís dreams.


We get rid of some flowers.


He seems blissfully uncaring about the loss of most of his body. Heís a stump, for crying out loud.

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 10:37 AM

Back in the real world, we find the Ice Armour.


Wow, I can think of an area it would have been nice to have this.


The rafts stop being so incredibly snobby and let us ride on them.


These flowers have been around in the outside segments for a while, but this is the first screenshot I got of them. Their attack is sending out tiny butterflies at us. A picture of one of these butterflies once adorned the Goddamned Bats of TV Tropes, a page about incredibly annoying enemies. I donít think theyíre that bad, but I do make a point to kill them immediately.


I also kill some of the mud men to get another mole. There are a few things to do back in GreenWood, but Iíll do them once I have a teleport set up.


I find a dog that stands up on this stage.


There it is. You can also see one of the aforementioned butterflies.


Swords? Where weíre fighting we donít need swords. Weíre going to do battle amidst ancient Egyptian laser beams!


This floor is a complete mess. The idea is that sealing the lairs retracts the lasers (which donít do any damage; theyíre basically fancy looking walls) and lets you continue. This basically means that there are a lot of monsters but not many soul releases.

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 10:43 AM

Hereís a Ďfor instanceí. I kill these enemies and open that way forward. This area is so boring itís taken me ages to convince myself to do the write-up. In fact, Iím going to skip the three lairs that only let me go on and reach the next bit.


Oh. These fire things are harder than they look. I have, for the first time in this LP, died.

Iím actually surprised it took this long. Iím not all that good at this game normally. But this does mean I get to talk to you about the consequences of dying.


In this case, nothing. Normally Iíd lose all my gems, but apparently I had a Strange Bottle equipped. Otherwise, the game is very merciful as to dying.


I also find a jewel that I forgot about earlier.


Iím back baby.


The fire things die more easily this time, and the entire room dissolves. Four lairs later, Iím here.


Ready to head down. Unfortunately, Iím stupid. You see, Iím playing this through on emulator and using savestates after I finish an update. So, the first time I play this through, take all the pictures and then forget to save it. So, I have to do it all again. The problem is that on the second time through, I find another lair up here and seal it. This releases a squirrel. The perfectionist in me is pissed off. We will still go find the squirrel and talk to him, as he gives us an object required for 100% completion.


Anyway, we go down the stairs to the final floor of the area. Because itís so dark, itís difficult to manoeuvre.


We open the wall up here, leaving the torch.

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 10:50 AM

After some more of these teleporting things, another lair is sealed.


And another crocodile, which saves us the trouble of going through the mole tunnels.


We find a couple more lairs. These are actually very helpful.


One releases a mole. You canít see this, but this is literally just a mole outside. Iím not an expert, but that canít be too healthy.


The other gives us a teleport back home! Which, you will have realized if youíre paying attention, that the boss is a stoneís throw away. But we have an errand to finish off in Green Wood first.


The light is so


This bitís a little annoying. You need to go slowly for her to keep up with you, and she needs to be exactly over the right hole for it to register.


Once weíre right, she says this then disappears. Waiting there will do you absolutely nothing. You need to go into the hole to progress with this plot thread.


We find a mole and a chest down there.


This mole decides to lie to us. He then talks for quite a while about how there used to be a Ďcute female moleí living here until she was taken away by evil creatures.


So weíve looted the dead moleís stuff. What next?

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 10:56 AM

...Okay, he literally vanished into thin air.


We chat to the mole standing behind him, whoís recovering from having watched The Sixth Sense.


Alright, I feel obliged to present this in full.


Another lovely bit of background information. Superfluous, but dammit you want to go kill every monster in the most disgusting way possible after a few more scenes like this.


The Shield Bracelet is very useful. As it says, as long as itís equipped weíll take half damage. Later weíll be getting objects that double our attack, and much later one that halves damage to us and doubles the damage we do. However, the key phrase is Ďonce itís equippedí. Something I havenít touched upon in great detail is the way the items work; only if theyíre equipped. This might sound fair, but consider the Medical Herb. It works the same way as a fairy in the Zelda games; revives if you die. But Zelda doesnít make you choose between being revived or being able to attack. Soul Blazer does. This means that in bosses weíll be switching between the Shield Bracelet and the Medical Herb for if we get into dire straits. The item in the game thatís hardest to get, the Magic Bell, has the effect of giving unlimited magic. But, because of how the items work, you have the choice of doing double damage and twice the defense or having unlimited magic.

And if youíre wondering why I of all people are annoyed at not having unlimited magic, the final boss can only be damaged by magic. And dying loses you all your GEMs.


And the final lair gets sealed.


Man, the darkness makes it less dramatic. Boss time!

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 11:03 AM

Thereís another of these off to the left. These three heads are the bosses. Once I move near them, they come to life and start attacking. The first one shoots electricity, the second water and the third fire. They are also very easy to beat once you know the places you can stand and they canít touch you.


So, in this case, itís here. I get impatient and go attacking him elsewhere, and so I take a bit of unnecessary damage.


Still, he dies very quickly.


Bloody hell this boss is boring.


The only damage I took was right at the start, when I hadnít got into the right position. Just the guy in the middle left.


The battle resulting from the fire statue was so ferocious that it actually broke IrfanView. Really, you should have been there. I am lying; this is the hardest fight of the three, and Iím very bad at it. So bad, in fact, that I forgot pictures. Sorry.


On a side note, the designs on those bricks scare me.


We release the Not Deku Tree.


Heís going to give us the Plot Coupon once we get back.


Why do they all say that when Iíve just rescued them?

The Dread Cthulhu
03-09-2009, 11:05 AM

Weíre well on our way now, folks!


This section is the worst of the game, Iíd say. Weíll be moving into much, much better territory next time.

Next time: Look for the Bubble Clothing.

03-09-2009, 04:53 PM
Greenwood is not great for gameplay, but it has some of the best parts of the story. Even though they're just routine fetch quests, there's something touching about the tales of Turbo and Monmo. And a tree dreaming that it's a bird - that's pretty heavy for a video game.

The Dread Cthulhu
03-19-2009, 02:45 PM
Update will be late because I have showed an inability to learn from my mistakes and forgot to save the first part of St. Elles.

03-19-2009, 04:14 PM
I was just thinking about this game the other day and then low and behold the LP jumps to the top of the forum list while I'm visiting. My brother borrowed this game from one of his friends and we played the hell out if together.

Everyone is right too, there really isn't anything great about it, but you love freeing people and then finding out what you can get from them. The music was also amazing.

I think what struck me most the first time playing it were some of the names: Turbo, Psycho, etc... Not the names you usually find in a fantasy title.

The Dread Cthulhu
04-04-2009, 08:31 AM
Hello again. Weíve had a bit of a long break, but weíre back now. Having cleared out three temples and three stone heads, we can now move onto the next area. And itís a good Ďun.


This is it. St. Elles. The main feature of the area is visible here. Rather than the linear style of Green Wood, St. Elles is divided into seven areas; the normal hub, the enemy-filled hub , four areas filled up with enemies and the boss area. If that sounds overly complicated, it isnít. This is my favourite area in terms of layout.


This is Saint Elles. It starts off incredibly small; in fact, these two shots basically show everything it has to offer so far.


These statues really matter. Weíll be progressing through the levels through these things.


I seem to be doing okay right now.


Before I access the second hub, I need to go find some armor.


Messing up the established order of ĎTeleport 1=Hub, Teleport 2=Halfway, Teleport 3=Bossí again, Teleport 2 is the only way to access the majority of Southerta.

Also, the backgroundís changed again.


Southertaís a tropical island. The locations are pretty stock here, but the gameplay makes up for it.


Out of interest, this is what we look like now. We also have two souls; the soul that lets us ignore magic and the soul that lights up the darkness.


The first enemies we discover are these little palm trees that shoot nuts. Slightly more threatening than it sounds.


Yeah, pretty much all the souls weíll release are dolphins or memaids. It starts to get annoying after a bit.


Making our way up the other side, we find a lair of...monkeys throwing rocks at us. Theyíre pretty easy to beat so long as you stay sensible.

The Dread Cthulhu
04-04-2009, 08:34 AM



Killing all the Kongs opens up this stretch of land. One of the nice things about this area is the way the fish work. In water, they leap out, attack you, then go back in. If you lift up the land by sealing a lair, though, they flop around helplessly. Awesome bit of detail.


We go down and head to the right.


There we find an Asshole Bird who shoots tornadoes at us. Theyíre quite tough, but this lair only contains one of them.


This are also features rocks that move around slowly. Theyíre not much of a threat.


He went down easily and, hey, free lair.




Okay, an easily stopped ambush, but itís still a shocking moment.


One of the lairs releases a mermaid.


The other tries to release a mermaid, but fails. This is is because Iíve accidentally sequence broken, and Iím meant to have released this area via a different lair.

The Dread Cthulhu
04-04-2009, 08:42 AM

We then spend a little while hunting down these rock things.


Finding them all opens up this stretch of land. I havenít really talked about it, but this is the worst area of St. Elles. It all looks very samey, and itís easy to get lost and end up missing one vital lair.


The old tornado bird lair opens another route up there.


This lair, which used to house some sort of monster, now gives us a treasure chest.


It gives me a Medical Herb, which is always nice.


I head up here. This is also a chance to see the fish in its natural environment.


I then edge around the island. I donít know what the point of that monolith is, unless this is some sort of 2001 homage.


We find another lair ready to be sealed. After the time we spent trying to reach it, the effect is quite therapeutic.




Okay, this is annoying. Itís another rock hunt, and there's loads of them in this quite large area. At least we get a musical cue when we kill them all.


The lair removes the lake here, revealing another lair and a slowly dying fish.


Killing the monsters from the lair gives us this building.

The Dread Cthulhu
04-04-2009, 08:48 AM

Sigh. And another bit of subtle dialogue goes out the window.


Well, time to head back to the teleport, I guess.


Wait.We have some more things to kill.


We get onto this island and kill the palm trees there.


Which gives us a mermaid, and the old one we couldnít release.


Heading back to the hub.


Inside the temple/palace/place, we find a mermaid.


But youíre a mermaid! Either youíre a strange mermaid who can live on land, in which case you probably shouldnít even have a voice, or Iím underwater! Make up your minds here guys!


But she does give us things, so itís all good.


Always a bonus.


And this is what we look like right now.


Here we are in the OTHER hub area. Only this one is filled with things that want to kill you. Note that the Bubble Armour does exactly what it says on the tin. Also, see that this is entirely sea. But in the palace, the water goes up to around knee level. What the hell?


The seahorse retreats away quickly if you mess up in attacking. The sea urchin moves incredibly slowly, has a ton of HP but takes loads of damage. Neither will be much threat to us.

The Dread Cthulhu
04-04-2009, 08:50 AM

The urchins regenerate, so thereís no urchin lair anywhere. The seahorse lair literally saves us 5 seconds in going around the fallen pillars.


And hereís a staircase leading upwards. Wonder where itíll take us?


Southerta. Where, as you can see, thereís just one monster lair remaining. Part of me thinks this is really clever, part of me wonders how many kids spent ages scouring the island for that last lair before they figured it out.


This is the idea of this Ďworldí. Towards the end of each section, theyíll be a lair that releases a statue. Talking to it lets you get into the next area. It does get a little repetitive, but itís still a very nice concept.


And so we unlock the route to Rockbird. Sounds like an Aerodactyl to me.


And there we go. All ready for our adventure into it next time.

Next time: Rockiní birds.

04-04-2009, 03:29 PM
Wandering the bottom of the ocean, fighting giant sea urchins is the kind of craziness that makes this game as dear to me as Link To The Past even though it's not technically as well-designed.

04-04-2009, 04:05 PM
Wandering the bottom of the ocean, fighting giant sea urchins is the kind of craziness that makes this game as dear to me as Link To The Past even though it's not technically as well-designed.


04-05-2009, 09:55 AM
Wandering the bottom of the ocean, fighting giant sea urchins is the kind of craziness that makes this game as dear to me as Link To The Past even though it's not technically as well-designed.




I really wish Rush Limbaugh hadn't ruined that word...

The Dread Cthulhu
05-04-2009, 09:57 AM
Okay, time to deal with this. I'm approaching mega super exam season, so I need to keep my head down and revise properly. That and running an LP seem to be a bit at odds, so this is closing down until exams are over, in about a month. I know updates had been sporadic before that, because of coursework and whatever. Sorry about all this.

I will leave you with something, though. In the Sandbox thread, someone said that I should talk more about why Soul Blazer is special to me. My reasons are a bit unusual, and I doubt I could incorporate them in, so I'll do a spiel now and get people discussing, hopefully.

I thought about it, and I realized that it doesnít have any massive significance to me. But the story is fairly interesting, I suppose.

In my quest to catch up on the years of games Iíd missed, I had downloaded a torrent that claimed to include every RPG ever made. Well, not quite. All of the Nintendo ones up to N64 and GBA, the ones on the Sega System and nothing beyond that. Possibly a few hacks as well. Nice torrent. Among these was Soul Blazer, as youíd expect. One Sunday, I tried it. I donít know why. Maybe Iíd heard it was the spiritual predecessor to Illusion of Gaia. Maybe Iíd heard that it was by the ActRaiser people, which Iíd played and liked. I suspect, thought, that I just liked the title. Itís a cool title, in all fairness.

And I liked the game. It was unique. It was interesting. I remember looking at a clock and thinking ĎI have 8 hours where I can just play thisí. Of course, I didnít. I got stuck in GreenWood; one of the most frustrating parts of the game is not knowing where to find one soul, and getting completely stuck. Still, it was the idea I remembered. The ĎI have nothing to do but play this gameí. The sort of innocence we all lose as we go through life. And this wasnít even that long ago, for me.

I have a few games Iíll always remember as being firsts. Lego Chess was my first game, I believe. Lego Racers was my first Ďproperí game. Super Mario Land was the first Nintendo game I played (thereís a story behind that one too, which Iíll probably tell another time). Super Mario Advance 3 was the first Nintendo game I owned, and came with the GBA which was my first console (which thereís yet another story behind, although quite an embarrassing one). SMRPG was the first game I downloaded (well, I suppose. The guy who sent it to me included Mega Man X as a freebie since I hadnít played it, but I wanted SMRPG since it didnít get released over here until VC). And Soul Blazer was the first game I only found through downloading.

So the game is special to me. Not in the way I suspect itís special to the rest of you, but in a more modern way. If you have a game that is to you what Soul Blazer is to me, say. Iím intrigued whether Iím the only one who noted such firsts even in the clinical world of downloading.

05-05-2009, 01:10 AM
The first game I played through as a ROM was Final Fantasy V, for obvious reasons. But I have a little story about Soul Blazer that I don't think I've told here yet. Back in the SNES days, I played it a lot, always as a rental. I'd go to the video store with my mom every week or so and I had some reliable titles to fall back on if there was nothing new. Despite liking the game a great deal, I never owned it because it was kinda short and there were always higher priority games to request for birthdays and such. Time passes... To the present, more or less. In retrospect I know that it was a mistake to pass up Soul Blazer, which seems more memorable now than many of the SNES games I own to this day. I mention this to my girlfriend and she gets it for me for my birthday.
http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/6935/bubblebobble64.png (http://img411.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bubblebobble64.png)

The Dread Cthulhu
05-29-2009, 12:35 AM
Not an update. We're still on hiatus. Just felt I should deliver some bad news.

The external hard drive with the Soul Blazer file on it got wiped. If an update takes a while, it's because I'm playing through all the game up to this point again. With any luck, I'll get that done during the hiatus, but no promises.

Sorry guys.

And also for making you possibly think there was an update. Whoops.

Seth Marati
01-02-2010, 09:05 PM
Good news, everyone! After talking with PapillonReel and The Dread Cthulhu, I've decided to adopt this thread and continue it to the end. What does this mean for you, and for this Let's Play? Well, for one, since Cthulhu has abandoned any future connections with this project, we need to give our protagonist a new name.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Crambert.


You said it, chief.

I'll be picking the game up from where Cthulhu left off; you can expect to see an update tomorrow. But first, a quick look at some bits in Greenwood that weren't featured in earlier posts.

First, the Bremen Town musicians animal performers have all been released, so let's go check them out.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00143.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00145.png

Such professionalism.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00147.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00164.png

Neat trick! Now for the audience participation segment.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00172.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00174.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00178.png

This is easier than it may look. It's also pretty cute. After watching them run around for several seconds, I make my decision.


The present is a medical herb, which I have no use for. But at least there's entertainment to be had.


We can also talk to the deer on the left side of the hub area.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00086.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00107.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00092.png

When the animals start talking to you, it's usually a good idea to hear what they have to say.

Seth Marati
01-02-2010, 09:06 PM
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00092.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00112.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00113.png

The deer proceeds to ram his head over and over into the tree.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00117.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00120.png

The vibrations cause a fairy crystal to fall from its branches, which Crambert has the sense to deftly sidestep lest a bonk on the noggin put a premature end to his quest.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00127.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00128.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00130.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00132.png

Intriguing. Infinite magic, eh? It looks like we have a long-term sidequest on our hands.

Say, wasn't there another squirrel we released in a tree to the right?


Man, these squirrels must be really well-off, to be so generous. I wonder what--

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00135.png http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/SethMarati/LetsPlaySoulBlazer/SoulBlazer_00137.png

Hot damn! One minute in, and we're already 1/8th of the way there! If this keeps up, I'll be handing out magic attacks like they were nickels in no time! Spoiler: it won't.

That's all for now. Join us tomorrow in St. Elles, where Crambert picks up from where Cthulhu left off and we begin in earnest.

01-02-2010, 09:08 PM
Yaaaaay~ I love the non-DQ Enix games, and am glad to both a) see Soul Blazer picked up, and b) see a hiatus/abandoned game continued!

01-03-2010, 10:15 AM
Arise from your grave and all that! Looking forward to this playing through!

Seth Marati
01-03-2010, 07:32 PM
All right, here we go. Let me preface this by saying that this is my first time ever doing a Let's Play, so I welcome any ideas, suggestions, or criticism you may have for me.

Cthulhu left off right before heading into the next island at St. Elles, Rockbird. We're set to go, but first let's check out some of what we brought back into existence.

This purple mermaid we revived is part of a dancing group. The blonde opposite her is their teacher, and is waiting for the rest of her students to return.


Looks like the Ice Armor we picked up has limited applicability. Really limited, if you factor in how it tends to be found only after making it through the section of the Fire Shrine with red-hot floors.


On the right side of what I assume to be some kind of public forum, since the mermaid queen's palace lies elsewhere, we find some treasure.


Huh. Well, that was easy. Of course, much like it was with the One Ring, actually getting it through hostile territory to drop it into the volcanic fires will be the hard part.

There's nothing left here for now, so let's head underwater again. The music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqcZm8OiozM) in the underwater hub is slow and mellow, a contrast to the pulsing beats of earlier levels.


Which doesn't mean the area itself isn't dangerous. These jellyfish enemies move like the Ropes from the original Legend of Zelda, charging towards you at opportune moments, only with less predictability, making them a moderate threat.


Sealing their lair opens a stairway to the immediate south. A sea urchin bars our way, but not for long. Going past, we head through the passage that was originally blocked by the statue, and loop up and to the right into a coral reef.


Destroying the monsters here opens up a passage by obliterating a patch of coral, which seems counterproductive, given our objective. Especially by modern standards, the presence of coral is a sign that your underwater ecosystem is doing really well. It baffles me why removing it (along with the huge patch of forest from the previous island) is considered progress. Of course, the mere existence of coral here should pose a conundrum, as the land was supposed to have been wiped clean of all living things. I guess we can add coral and tropical forests to our list of undead hangers-on, in which case maybe eliminating them isn't such a big deal after all.

The entrance to Rockbird is just to the right of our current position, but so that we might have a clearer understanding of the larger area, I take Crambert back through the reef to get a look around the hub.


Traveling left past the originally blocked passage leads us to another jellyfish lair, which releases a stairway after being sealed, making a handy shortcut.


Farther left, we run afoul of crab enemies. These guys are vulnerable only while moving, and since they spend two-thirds of their time retracted into their shells, they can be a pain to catch. Worse, my Psycho Sword stuns them completely if I attack them while they're invulnerable, extending the amount of time needed for them to move again. I don't want to handicap myself with a weaker sword, so my strategy is to just camp out near one and begin slashing once he starts to move, hoping his buddies don't get me from behind during that time. It's modestly successful.


To the southwest, we find our second statue.


North of that, the third statue.


And to the east, the fourth and last statue. Remembering their locations will help us know where to go after saving the big mermaid statues.


Returning to the coral reef, we seal a monster lair and free the second mermaid dancer.


And now we're ready for Rockbird.

Seth Marati
01-03-2010, 07:33 PM

Rockbird is an island dotted with pools of water. The music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehRuJtxlzwE) here, as it is with all the other islands, is more intense than the underwater regions. You might expect the music for a tropical island in a video game to incorporate the sounds of steel drums and light wind instruments, since that's how things are done in this industry. But not in Soul Blazer. This game gives you tense, driven tunes that get right in your face and let you know that saving the world is serious business.


In order to make any headway, we're going to have to drain these lakes. The first opportunity comes in the form of nasty tornado birds that presumably inspired the second half of this island's name.


Sealing their lair empties the surrounding bodies of water, revealing treasure. Inside, we find some gems and a health refill.


Those trees lobbing coconuts at me are a real nuisance. Let's take them out next.


Boom! Light arrows, baby! Expect to see magic used much more liberally by me than by my predecessor.


Sealing the trees' lair empties the pond to the left, which houses a pack of gorillas.


Fortunately, gorillas are dumb, and wander into range of my sword one by one. Sealing their lair drains the next pond to the left.


Here we have some trees to contend with while fish take potshots at us.


Sealing the top lair empties the pond above, which is full of gorillas. The one below releases a mermaid.


The gorillas' lair releases another.


Traveling north along the western edge of the island, we come across an apparent dead end. Circling along the nearby lake, we come across a passage blocked off by a rock. Except it isn't a rock...


It's a rock monster! Doon doon doon doo doo doon-doo-doon-doo...


All goofiness aside, the rock monster - the likely other half of this island's namesake - goes down easily, and sealing its lair drains the lake to the left. Now we have a way to get in from the left side.


Shit! More birds! Once they're taken out, their lair releases a crystal fairy, who rewards us with 200 experience points. Since we're getting about 20 points a pop from the monsters around here, this bonus is meager, but appreciated. (As an aside, I'm not sure how these fairies fit in with this world's "Master and his plucky servant" theology.)

Seth Marati
01-03-2010, 07:35 PM

To the east of our position lies another big lake, guarded by a lair of gorillas. Guess what happens once we seal it?


That's right, more gorillas! And rather stupid ones, as they pack themselves into an area that makes them easy pickings for my light arrows. Sealing the lair empties the pond to the south.


Said pond is occupied by rock monsters. One of them is blocking the stairs, so rather than fight our way past, I move to eliminate them all at once with light arrows. The motion passes. Unopposed, I drain the body of water to the left.


It's an ambush! I retreat to the left and dispatch most of the monsters with magic. Sword strikes take care of the rest.


Two of these monster lairs exist just to sustain obstacles that keep us from reaching the other two. Since they're so easily eliminated, I'm almost inclined to ask "What's the point?" but then I remember that they also spawned enemies that attempted to destroy us, so they do obviously serve some purpose.


The other two lairs are more useful. One releases an angelfish with promises of help and magma rain...


And the other releases the next mermaid statue. We're done with Rockbird now! On to the next island.


By the way, have a look at our handiwork. The theme for this update seems to be "ecological devastation". Soul Blazer's successors, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, had more overt commentary on how mankind's proliferation across the planet comes at some cost to other parts of the world, and is sometimes even counterproductive to its own ends, and I can see where they might have gotten their inspiration.


Back in St. Elles, the newly recovered mermaid statue eliminates the southwest statue that was barring our path. I've noticed that this game, like many, demonstrates a "friendly character will help you once you help them" gameplay mechanic, and rather overtly, at that. However, what sets this game apart is that unlike many other video game NPCs, who only deign to help you after being provided with some mode of personal satisfaction, the people in this game wait until providing the necessary help because they're all fucking dead. I didn't first play this game until late 2008, so for me, it was a nice change of pace to deal with characters who initially don't help you not because they won't, but because they can't. Then I remembered that this game came out in 1992, and I felt chagrined by how many games obviously didn't follow this example in design.

Let's check out the characters we released during our last excursion.


This mermaid spells out for us what we figured out a while ago, in case it wasn't obvious enough.


This angelfish, on the other hand, is useful. We have our third soul! This one will protect us form harm should magma fall from the sky and onto our heads during our next outing. Fun times ahead, I can tell.


There's a portal behind this mermaid, but we can't get access it yet. Even though she's only just been brought back to life, and the person who issued her orders shows no sign of imminent return, she remains steadfast, thus toeing the line between loyalty and fanaticism. Whatever the case, she definitely isn't demonstrating any measure of pragmatism, as blocking my way isn't going to help the restoration of St. Elles happen any more effectively.


We're out of fresh NPCs again, so let's check out that passage in the southwest corner.


A lair of seahorses, once it's sealed up, releases a dolphin and restores some terrain.

Seth Marati
01-03-2010, 07:37 PM

Traveling down and around, we bring ourselves face-to-face with a new enemy: electric rays. These guys move slowly and fire balls of electricity at you periodically. They're not very dangerous, but they are kind of scary.


Fortunately, we can position ourselves below their lair to defeat them easily. They aren't getting any smarter, are they?


A lair that once spawned jellyfish releases a shortcut...


And the rays' lair spawns a staircase and a fairy crystal, who gives 250 experience points.


Durean is just up from here.


And here we are. Durean is a volcanic island that leads us in a spiral path up to the top while we dash to avoid falling magma bombs. It's also pretty dark, possibly because of a thick cloud of ash above our heads that we can't see.


The only way for us right now is left. More gorillas get in our way, and I guarantee you'll be sick of these guys before we're through. You can see an orange rock falling in the first picture. The soul we recently picked up protects us from damage should one of them land on us, but it won't protect us from the pillar of flame that erupts from impact with the ground. As such, it's best to continue to avoid them to the best of our ability.

By the way, see that gray gorilla up there? He follows us along the edge of that ridge, dropping rocks on us. He can't be killed by anything we have currently, and hitting him with your sword produces a metallic "clang". Truly, the greatest of apes.


Sealing the gorillas' lair releases Lue the Dolphin, the second animal mentioned in Dr Leo's note. Unfortunately, he's been rebirthed in an inescapable underwater cavern, so we only get partial credit for this one.


Continuing left, with the gray gorilla stalking us, we come upon another gorillas' lair. Sealing this one conjures a bit of terrain to the left with a new monster lair on it.


And it's full of birds. Crap. Once we destroy those, we release a mermaid and some more terrain.


We continue north, and turn into a lair of rock monsters. Destroying these releases the third mermaid dancer.


Farther right, we seal a lair of bird monsters, only to be ambushed by gorillas.


After trashing those chump chimps, we have two monster lairs to seal. The top one releases a land bridge. Destroying the monsters at the other end releases a mermaid.


Sealing the bottom lair spawns some land with a Strange Bottle in a treasure chest. I already have one of these, so I can't carry another, but I'm sure we can all agree that sealing up monsters' lairs is the sort of thing worth doing for its own sake.


Once we get going again, a bird lair gives us a stairway and a shortcut after it's sealed.

Seth Marati
01-03-2010, 07:38 PM

Heading up the stairs puts us on the same ledge as the unkillable gorilla. He's scary, so let's check out this passageway on the right here.


Hmm, magma. But, hey, I have a soul that will protect me from magma, right? Let's try walking across.


Nope. The magma brought my health down to critical levels, and one swift attack from a nearby enemy finished me off. I didn't even equip the Strange Bottle from earlier, which means I lost all my gems.

Not only am I ashamed of my poor performance, but this also means that, apparently, the purpose of the Mermaid's Tears wasn't obvious enough for me. I should never have mocked that mermaid. Now I've paid the price for my hubris.

Since we've been knocked back to St. Elles, I think it would be best to take a look around.


This mermaid guards a portal like the one we saw earlier. We can lie and she'll let us through, but it's more interesting to tell the truth.


Mario would borrow this trick years later for Legend of the Seven Stars.


Yikes! If she's as mean as you say she is, you'd better watch your mouth! Good thing she's trapped in the body of a hideous monster. Or... Wait.


Aha. This portal will bring us to the area where Lue is trapped.


Unfortunately, we can't do anything for him yet. I hope the water in that cavern in only knee-deep like the rest of this place, or he's in some serious trouble.


If we take the other door out of Lue's area, the other mermaid guard reacts with amusing indignation.


The dolphin we released has an unusual request. He wants us to stand on his nose. I would think he'd find that uncomfortable, but I haven't turned down a talking animal yet.


And we were right to do it, because he leads us to a treasure chest with a big pearl in it. Sorry, excuse me. The Big Pearl. It's a curious use of a definite article, since I don't recall any mention of a pearl from before that would suggest that this one is the one we should be looking for.


Down and around from the dolphin, we reach a mermaid that we released earlier but couldn't get to before.


You bet your bippy I do. I puzzle briefly over her barely refusing to specify the monsters outright, but decide it isn't worth it.


This is the Magic Flair. When equipped, holding the magic button charges power in the orb. Releasing it drops a magic ring that damages anything that contacts it. It's actually not very useful against birds, since they tend to move a lot, but against large, stationary monsters, it can do a ton of damage. Pity I lost all my gems from before and can't even use it right now.

Seth Marati
01-03-2010, 07:40 PM
Since the dancers have all been returned, we should check them out, too.


The dance consists of them moving up and down the floor in a line. It seems like we have a minigame on our hands. I try to get Crambert to fall into step with them...


...but the lack of any feedback as to our performance makes things difficult. In fact, I'm not even sure if there is a game here. After trying for a couple of minutes to synch up perfectly with them and getting no response at all, I suspect this is just here to add flavor. Impressing the women on the dance floor might help Crambert score some tail, but it won't forward our goals in the least.


Nice to meet you ladies. I'm sure Crambert would like to get on a first-name basis with you. If you know what I mean. (What the hell do I mean?)


A bit northward is the mermaid plus house we restored before. Since Servas doesn't seem to be around anywhere, we have to assume he still needs to be rescued.


Boy, I wish I'd known that three minutes ago.

Having met all the new NPCs, we head back to Durean.


Once we return to the stairs from before and pick up a few gems, we turn left this time instead of up and try out our new Magic Flair on a bird monster.


It doesn't work very well.


It's the invincible gorilla! Haul ass!


Here lay a swarm of rock monsters. Crambert did slay them all after saying "Fuck it" and switching back to the Light Arrows. The Master chided him for using bad language.


Sealing the lair releases a dolphin near Lue's location. He promises help and immediately repeatedly rams his snout into the wall. Considering how sensitive their snouts are, I'm beginning to suspect the developers of Soul Blazer didn't know particularly much about dolphins.


A monster lair in the middle of a magma pool looks tempting, but we've learned our lesson about dealing with that already.


Instead, we seal another monster lair to the southeast and release some stairs.


As we get reach to the top of the volcano, more monster lairs become more stairs. Now we can pour in the Mermaid's Tears.


It is as Rameses said: "All the magma is unified and pacified." Now we can explore the rest of this mountain.

Seth Marati
01-03-2010, 07:41 PM

Coming back down, sealing a gorilla lair releases the next mermaid statue.


And near the magma that killed us before, we find a new sword.


Sweet. It should say, though, that it has a chance to defeat monsters at once. It's a small chance, but I'll take anything that affords us the opportunity to have our foes vanish by merely touching them. Critical hits can result from slashing or stabbing.


The monster lair that tempted us earlier releases a mermaid near where the queen's palace eventually lies.


Unfortunately, the Critical Sword still no match for the killer gorilla. His destruction will have to wait for another day.


And unfortunately, so will the rest of this update. We have one more island to go, followed by the liberation of the mermaid queen. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of St. Elles.

01-04-2010, 01:08 AM
Great job, Seth! And thanks for linking to the music.

01-04-2010, 01:46 AM
I'm so glad this is back.

01-04-2010, 03:53 PM
Yay! I heart Soul Blazer and its giant sea urchins.

Seth Marati
01-04-2010, 10:24 PM
After warping back to St. Elles, we check on the progress of the other dolphin.


Astounding. I was sure we'd have to release more dolphins to pool together into a team effort before breaking through this wall. Thank you for not needlessly padding the game length, designers!

Lue is the dolphin on the left, and his friend is on the right. Neither one of them is visible behind these text boxes.


Wait, what exactly went down here? Did the queen sell everybody out so she could get her hands on some rare gem? Was the snippy mermaid's description more than just an awkward translation? I'm not even sure I want to save her now.


Whew, okay, we have a lot to take in here. Evidently, Dr. Leo somehow got his hands on the stones that open the way to the world of evil. Maybe they were part of the machine he originally constructed to summon Deathtoll? For whatever reason - possibly to keep that very thing from happening - he gave them to people and animals he could trust, likely paying attention to how they would scatter themselves across the world and keep the stones separate. Unfortunately, evil artifacts being what they are, these stones have the power to corrupt people so that... Actually, that seems a little inaccurate. It's probably more apt to say that these stones amplify a person's innate moral qualities. In that way, they're a lot more like the Triforce than your usual evil artifact; good people will foster peace and happiness, bad people will inflict suffering upon the world. And in light of that, I don't know why Lue's friend suggests the mermaid queen wasn't all bad, since her kingdom clearly went belly-up once she got her hands on the stone, which implies that her own moral fiber was somewhat lacking.

Also, I've realized my idea doesn't make much sense. If Dr. Leo had hidden the stones before Deathtoll emerged, then presumably none of this would have happened. If we continue to assume that the stones were part of the machine, maybe Dr. Leo instead brought Deathtoll into the world, and doubled back once he realized his grave mistake, scattering the stones in a desperate effort to prevent the end of the world (the exposition from earlier did state that it took days for King Magridd and Deathtoll to hammer out an agreement). Once Magridd agreed to bring him all living things, perhaps the campaign didn't go very swiftly or smoothly. I'm now picturing a desperate, drawn-out resistance by the various regions across the world as they struggle to resist Magridd's forces and Deathtoll's ambitions. Shut off from each other by the danger surrounding their homes, they act independently, not knowing if any of their compatriots have lost in the fight against evil, but holding fast as they uphold their duty to protect the magic stones. However, this loyalty eventually undoes them, as the stones find their way into morally dubious hands and the resisting factions begin to crumble from within, thereby allowing Magridd's forces to run roughshod over them before they themselves are eventually betrayed by their king and the evil force behind him, and the world is left a barren, lonely ruin with no one left even to boggle at its desolation.

Wow. I think the game suddenly got a bit cooler.


Oh you have an item for me thanks let me have it.


Nice. I haven't even seen a lightning pyramid up to this point, so I expect this will be highly situational, but I certainly won't begrudge an opportunity to quite literally play God.


By the way, the mermaid we released earlier is an attendant to the queen. Considering how their ruler sold them all out to damnation, I'm utterly gobsmacked by their persistent loyalty.


Time to move on. The mermaid statue we rescued eliminates the fish statue in the northeast corner that was barring our way.


Inside the cave is an expanse of land populated by crabs. I have to say, while this region is fairly featureless, it's very evocative for me. Imagine how cool it would be to walk around a wide open undersea cave with an unlimited air supply.


To the left lies a rays' lair. Sealing it releases a mermaid + house combo on the right side of St. Elles to match the one on the left.


After spotting a passage to the north, we double back to seal the crab's lair, releasing a cute little angelfish.


The passage leads to an underwater river (??). It's moving too fast for Crambert to overcome, but he can fight against the current somewhat to avoid being completely swept away.


Venturing out and back in again sets us downstream in an alcove populated by jellyfish. A candid shot captures the essence of Crambert's pain.


Defeating them releases another angelfish. I kind of wonder why the game seems to be skewing towards them this late in the level, since they don't provide anything useful.

Seth Marati
01-04-2010, 10:25 PM

Continuing the pattern puts us near a lair of seahorses, which releases a crystal fairy who rewards us with 300 experience points.


The end of the river is just to the left. Continuing along the far bank, we slaughter some crabs and eliminate a boulder that blocks the stairway to Blester. By the way, destroying crabs is much more fun now that I have the Critical Sword. Since it won't stun them, I can just hack away at anything stationary until it pops out of its shell and is promptly obliterated.


This is Blester. It's very rainy, and full of apes and monoliths. Essentially, it's the opening to 2001: A Space Odyssey as filmed on location during bad weather.


Sealing the first gorilla lair releases the queen's second handmaiden.


Oh, man, I bet I know what that golden monument does.


Fuck yes. If only this had happened before ape decided to kill ape, we could have avoided that whole HAL 9000 fiacso.


Sealing the apes' lair forms a land bridge to the north. Further along, we release yet another angelfish.


The middle section of the island has offshoots to the left and right. We head left into a rock garden. The local rock monsters mobilize to defend their inanimate brethren and begin attacking en masse.


Clearly these are the most capable rocks we've seen yet, as they've called in for air support.


Once the birds are destroyed, sealing their lair releases a dolphin.


And now that we've eliminated the rock monsters, we can seal their lair to wipe out the entire garden, thereby eliminating the chance of any more rocks becoming mobile and aggressive. Once again I question the game's scorched earth policy as a means of restoring life to the planet.


Let's check out the right half of this area.


Oh, hell.


Screw it, time to magic these buggers back to the Stone Age. And hey, I caught a level up marker! It really is pretty boring, but the health refill that accompanies it is always enough to refresh my morale.

Seth Marati
01-04-2010, 10:26 PM

Sealing the rock monsters' lair eliminates most of the other garden, after which we fight a swarm of birds.


Then we seal another lair, release a mermaid, and head north to the last section of the island.


Oh my God, it's like Christmas came back for an encore.


Invincible monkeys! This time, however, we have the tools we need to tear them a new one.


Where does a 900-pound gorilla dine? IN HELL!


Once we seal their lair, we release the last mermaid statue.


Over on the right, we release another crystal fairy.


Um... Geh... Hmm. I'm trying really hard to bite my tongue here, because you all saw what happened the last time I made fun of someone who offered useless advice.


Sure, might as well.

Upon returning to town, we consult with its newly released citizens.


It looks like the queen is feeling some remorse for her earlier fuck-up. And we're almost dead certain to face off against the specters haunting a nearby shipwreck for her soul.


This angelfish wants to show off for us. He actually leaps offscreen for a few seconds before coming back down. It's completely pointless from a gameplay perspective, but it helps convey the idea that we're dealing with real (fish) people in this game; not everyone is going to provide something crucial to our quest. Some of them just want to be themselves.


This dolphin we released is sleeping. That's our cue to wander around inside his thoughts.


This place doesn't look at all familiar. The dreaming dolphin is at the other end of the hollow waiting to speak with us.


A shiny ball? Didn't we find something like that earlier?


For jogging his memory, the dolphin lets us trip the switch underneath him, which opens a passage in the real world.

Seth Marati
01-04-2010, 10:28 PM

Back in the real world, the mermaid in the house to the right will offer us a free medical herb if we have need of it. We currently don't, so we have no business here.


This angelfish is enthralled with pondering the subjectivity of perception, and decides to share his knowledge with us. I find this utterly charming.


Another angelfish warns us of the dangers in the upcoming coral reef. This angelfish isn't like the other one. He's obviously seen a lot. Perhaps too much for one angelfish to bear.


It looks like I was right about ghosts ahead. Those restless drowned spirits won't suffer the living to wander into their midst. It'll be us or them.


Inside the cave is a maze made of coral. Electric rays put the hurt on us, but Crambert gives as good as he gets and we come out alive.


Ah. This must be Servas. We'll see what he has to say later.


A cavern on the right side of the maze leads to treasure.


Nice. We immediately swap out the Shield Bracelet in favor of this. Extra defensive power may help us survive, but if we can destroy our enemies before they can even get an attack off, that's even better.


A lair in the southwest corner releases an angelfish. This one gives us a hint about the area we're about to enter.


Since we helped that dreaming dolphin refresh his memory, we can enter this cave on the left side.


The back end of this cave is crawling with crabs. We dispose of them without much hassle and seal their lair to reveal a heap of treasure.


Awesome. This puts us 1/4th of the way towards obtaining infinite magic.


I'm still recuperating from my earlier death, so this is welcome.




And a health refill rounds off this bounty nicely.

Seth Marati
01-04-2010, 10:30 PM

Back outside, we head north a bit and activate the third portal. Then it's just a short walk to a rope hanging down from the surface. My first instinct was that this is the rope connected to their anchor, long since buried under the sand, but I wonder if whoever's up there didn't lower this themselves in order to draw foolhardy meatbags on deck for an easy kill. We need to hazard the ship either way, so Crambert swallows his fear and climbs up.


All right, let's do this. The boss music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slMzJB1Hjok) has already started even though we're at the deserted stern of the ship, which tells me we'll have to fight our way across the deck before we can takeout whoever's in charge.

Incidentally, this boss music always makes me feel tense, mostly because the first time I heard it was when I fought Solid Arm, and that guy scares the crap out of me. I played Illusion of Gaia years before Soul Blazer, and he shows up as a hidden boss at the end of a secret level that you can access after completing a game-long sidequest. Once you confront him, he reveals a twist in the plot that throws an entire part of the game world into a sinister new light and establishes himself as a shadowy, evil mastermind, and you fight to the death. I couldn't nail his pattern for a long time, and he remained a despicable, unbeatable boss in my eyes for well over a year. I eventually got the hang of the battle and destroyed him, but the impact he made on my young gamer mind was indelible. To this day, anything that produces a strong enough memory of him gives me chills.


Oh, we're really in for it now. It's become clear that I am not merely storming this ship in order to fight its undead inhabitants. No, I am fighting the ship itself.

Taking on an opponent this big in a direct assault is suicide. Let's try a little psychological warfare. I bet if we can steal the ship's treasure, it will deliver a crippling blow to its morale and we can open up a weak spot.


OH SCREW YOU. You cheapass sons of bitches. I think it's my own morale that suffered for that.


There's nothing for it. We have to continue the attack. A gap in the floor will force us to take an N-shaped path to go forward, but we're getting close. I can see the lair of this world's boss.


And there it is. It's barely visible, but that skull on the ship's prow is its weak point. Once we destroy it, the rest will follow, and this nightmarish flotsam will be double dead.


Of course, that's easier said than done, as the ship's "weak point" just sprouted a pair of hands and grew to ten times its previous size. Not only that, but another hole has opened up behind us and we have nowhere to run. It's do or die time, folks.


What we need to do is attack the head once it dips into range. When it floats above the prow, our sword can't touch it, and the floating hands will attempt to grab us. They deal a lot of damage, but you still want to wear the Power Bracelet instead of the Shield Bracelet.


This is because the Power Bracelet confers just enough strength to eliminate the hands right before the skull dips down to launch a fireball attack. If we sacrifice offense for defense, we won't be able to eliminate them in time, and without an opening to attack, we'll be forced into a battle of attrition that the skull will almost certainly win.


Speaking of attack opportunities, ours are rather limited, since once the skull launches its fireballs, it weaves back and forth while retreating to its post. We have to strike the skull from the side during its fireball attack to avoid being scorched, then swiftly fall back before it swings towards us lest we be crushed.


Around the time it gets back into position, the hands reappear, and we need to destroy them again before we can take another swing at the skull.


The skull is vulnerable again. Now if we can just inflict enough damage...


Success! The curse that afflicted St. Elles is dispelled. Once we seal the skull's lair, the mermaid queen is released.


Along with her palace, which crushes a telepathic statue upon regeneration. My opinion of the queen is already fairly low, and this isn't helping.


Well, at least she seems grateful. Perhaps being returned from the dead has softened her up a bit. Let's go visit.

Seth Marati
01-04-2010, 10:32 PM

Like I said, the statue that was once here has been obliterated. This isn't the best note to start off on, but let's try to contain our discontent for the sake of ushering in this newborn world.


Again, based on what Lue told us about the stones, I don't see why this would have happened if she were a decent person to begin with. I notice Lue didn't have any problems with evil influences while he had the stone. I also notice that the royalty in this game seem to have a big problem with being overcome by greed and the lust for power. I'm starting to feel nostalgic for the time I spent in Greenwood with the animals.


Tuh! How do you like that! She just came back to life, and her first act as the newly rethroned monarch is to spread the blame. Typical executive cowardice.


Thank the Master. The sooner it gets out of her hands, the better. Let's get out of here.


Meeting the queen left a bad taste in my mouth. Let's go visit Servas.


Oh, he's asleep? You know what to do with a sleeping creature, I'm sure.


Oh God. We're back on the ship. Is he having a nightmare? (Music for dream sequences. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l24kSoVXlgk))


Wait, who are those people?


Wow. This game does not shy away from the ephemeral nature of life and the grimness of death. But why is a dolphin dreaming about such morbid subject matter?


Wait, Servas?!

Let's try talking to them. Hopefully they won't disappear or run away.



Oh, Goddamn. Goddamn, Goddamn, Goddamn. That gem we found on the ship was the last worldly possession of a little boy who knew he was going to die, and he wanted to help out anyone else who found themselves in this spot after he was gone just so they could have a slightly better chance of getting out alive. I complained about how paltry the amount had been, but I don't see how anyone could have possibly given more.


When we wake up, Servas, who we now know has been reincarnated as a dolphin, seems not to remember a thing. It makes sense that he wouldn't; once his human form died, any memories he had were bound to the matter of his brain and disappeared as it ceased to function. But what do we make of his gift, then? With no persistent memory of the event, he can't take any sort of moral comfort from his own generous deed, nor can he explain to anyone the significance of the single gem found on a ship's deck. The gem simply remains there, its meaning forgotten, until it's snatched up by someone searching for wealth, who then complains about his gift because he wanted more.

God, am I really any better than the queen?

St. Elles is done, and it's a good thing, too, because Crambert really needs to retreat to his sanctuary and think things over for a while. Another update should go up hopefully sometime this weekend.

01-04-2010, 10:33 PM
I think my favorite part of this game is watching the towns literally build up from nothing. Every flower and terrier and anglerfish feels like a mighty victory.

01-04-2010, 11:10 PM
St. Elles really piles on the pathos, doesn't it?

01-05-2010, 07:34 AM
I am getting so much more out of the underwater area's story now than any of the times I played through the game. @_@

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:48 PM
Welcome back. I apologize greatly for the delay. I'll try my best to make future updates more timely.

When we last left Crambert, he was in the grip of a spiritual crisis. For the uninitiated, when your entire being is comprised of spirit, that's a pretty big deal. How's he doing now? Let us listen... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAUl_Ka61gI)


"Boss "Master, I don't know if I can save the world like you want me to."

"What do you mean?"

"That gem I found earlier. I was angry when I got it, because it was hard to do and I wanted more. You've been watching, right? That gem belonged to a little boy who died in a shipwreck. He deliberately put in in that chest so someone else could find it and use it. He was trying to help, even when he knew his own situation was hopeless. It took a lot of selflessness, and foresight, too. And I got mad about it. I don't think a heavenly being should be behave like this. This kind of greed is what caused the problems we're trying to fix in the first place."

"Crambert, you have ever been my faithful servant. Do not despair because of your imperfection. Evil exists in the hearts of all living things. They cannot escape that, but they can turn away from the darkness in their own hearts and do good instead. You did that when you looked inside your own heart and saw the error you had made. You do not need to be absent of evil. It is enough if you can do good in spite of that."

"But what if I can't? I'm carrying three of the stones that open the World of Evil. Just one of these was enough to turn the queen's mind to evil. And what about King Magridd? He has one, too, and he did a lot of bad stuff. He's the one that made the deal with Deathtoll in the first place. Was it the stones that made me greedy? What if I can't withstand their effects one I get more of them? I could ruin everything."

"Crambert, even before they had the stones, the king and queen were foolish. They thought they saw opportunities for wealth and power, and acted on them without regard for others. They lacked the wisdom to see the outcome of their actions. Only when it was too late did they turn back. You turned back before then. You have the wisdom you need to make the right choice. You do not need to live like they did."

"But... But doesn't that just mean it was luck? I turned back because I saw Servas's dream. If I hadn't, I might still be mad from greed. What if the queen or king had seen something before it was too late? They might have turned back on their own. What if I don't get lucky next time?"

"It does not matter, Crambert. You have wisdom now that you did not have before. I have faith that you will succeed in your task. I ask now that you, in turn, believe in me."

"I... Okay. If you think I can do this, I'll keep going. I promise I won't let you down."

"Excellent. Now, Crambert, are you ready to continue?"



Still nervous, but with his confidence restored, Crambert departs for the next area.


Music for the world map (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scHsy63PrCw)

Before we leave, we can see from here that St. Elles has been brought back into existence. What was once an empty ring now has buildings in it, and those buildings are filled with mermaids. This also seems to answer the question of "What is St. Elles's deal, anyway?" with reference whether it's underwater or not. It seems to have its foundations just a couple of feet below the surface, so that most of the architecture reaches into the air, and the mermaid inhabitants swim in the flooded sections while still being surface dwellers. It makes some amount of sense, actually. The mermaids have human features above the waist, which presumably includes lungs. It's an interesting twist on popular conceptions of merfolk if they don't actually live beneath the water, but are just highly adapted to swimming in it. It's good for dolphins, too, since they need to breathe air as well. You may also recall that St. Elles had numerous drop-offs into submerged pits below the walkways, which both mermaid and dolphins presumably use if they want more swimming room. The angelfish, tiny as they are, are happy with the couple feet of water between the floor and surface.

That wrecked ship is still there, by the way. But now that the spirits have been driven from it, it shouldn't pose any more trouble. Maybe the mermaids can turn it into a lucrative tourist attraction.


And here we are at the next area needing our help, the Mountain of Souls. Another hub lies to the right, above a castle, and yet another is directly above us, in... Where is that, exactly?

Doesn't matter. Let's take a look at the mountain.


The hub for the mountain is a deep, earthy red.


And here's our starting point. We're going to be reviving a population of cave dwellers. Dwarves, maybe?

By the way, since this is an empty town, this music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOVfZd7dWpQ) plays in the background.


Let's take a look around. To the right we have a large opening that currently leads nowhere.


The left reveals a stairway, and a couple more dead ends.


Which means we have nowhere to go but up. Sword at the ready, Crambert. (And enjoy the music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbwx0Gvxl5w).)


Those lumps moving through the snow are giant burrowing rats. They wouldn't be such a big deal if you didn't have to get so close to draw them out, which puts you within range of an attack. They also attack in swarms, which usually means that when you draw out one rat, another is right nearby to take a bite out of you.


Here's their lair...


...But the rats manage to outflank Crambert and back him against the wall. A bad idea, as Cramberts fight viciously when they're cornered. He swiftly cuts them down.


Those other lumps are just snow, but they do a good job of making me nervous. Stupid rats.


Wow, she's teeny. She's got pointy ears, too. I don't think she's a dwarf. I think we're actually reviving a civilization of gnomes.


At the top of the stairs we saw earlier, Crambert gets chased by another swarm of rats into an even worse tight spot then before. The result is about the same, however.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:49 PM

Sealing the rats' lair spawns another lair, filled with bats that shoot balls of energy at us. They're out of range, but here's a neat trick we can do.


Magic spells come from the ball circling us. Normally, Crambert is at the center of its orbit, and if he moves in any direction, the ball shifts to keep up with him. However, if he walks into a wall, for as long as the directional input says pressed, the ball will keep moving in that direction until its orbital point is far ahead of us. From this new vantage point, we can fire spells into areas that were previously out of reach...


...Like so. As opposed to the possibility of magic firing directly from the character, this mechanic makes it trickier to use, but carries greater overall potential. We'll seal their emptied lair shortly.


To the right, we face a new enemy: a yeti. These guys tromp along in your direction, and lunge with their bone clubs when they're lined up with you. The best way to beat them is to fake them out into a lunge, then attack from the side before they can reorient themselves.


It works handily. Their lair releases "Grandpa", which is presumably different from "an old man" in that he has a greater degree of familiarity with everyone in his area. Caves, without much room for expansion or migration, tend to produce close-knit communities.


We can go either up or down. Since the stairs will likely lead us further into the mountain, let's take this slope first and see what we can get.


Aaaaaaah! I'm in hell!


Okay, we've broken through and gotten them grouped together. Now we just have to loop around with our ball of light, and...


Wow! That got 'em! The lone survivor never stands a chance.


I'm still nowhere near pre-death levels of gems, so this is handy. Of course, I've been steadily obtaining a net increase in gems even as I use magic, so I doubt I'm in danger of running out.


Heading back and farther up leads us to another bat lair. I manage to capture another level-up notice in the process.


Sealing their lair reveals more stairs, which we head up to find...


Oh, dear.


These skeletons hop from place to place, periodically detaching their heads and flying them in a circle. Both head and body are invulnerable when they're not joined together, so we have to wait for them to stop attacking and get some damage in while they jump around.


More of them lie over on the left. As a neat graphical touch, when they rise up to attack you, they shake the snow off their antlers before doing anything else.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:51 PM

And here's their lair. Sealing it opens up a shortcut so we can easily climb back up to this part of the mountain.


To the left and down is the bat lair we emptied out earlier. You can't tell from these screenshots, but there's a neat parallax scrolling effect going on with these clouds.


Sealing the lair releases a mushroom, along with a nearby body of water.


Farther up, we encounter another rat pack, and dispatch them with magic. These guys give 65 experience points a pop; we're really riding up the curve here. Sealing their lair releases an almost worthless slope, since the stairs we took to get up here are only a few feet away, and it's faster traveling up those than up something angled and slippery.


We're done with this screen. On to the next.

Those caves, by the way? Completely pointless. I played Link to the Past, Link's Awakening and the Oracles games before I ever played Soul Blazer, all of which featured top-down gameplay and networks of caves in cliff walls. When I first played this game, I kept expecting these caves to lead to an elaborate network of tunnels within the mountain. As I kept playing, nothing of the sort ever happened, and I only gradually realized it wasn't going to. That's one issue with playing unfamiliar games on emulators: going in with an anachronistic set of expectations.


Can you tell which of these lumps are rats?


The rats' nest opens up a path before us, leading to the next lair. This pattern continues for a little bit.


Like so. Over here, we have more ra-


YAAAAAGH! Killer snowball!


These things pursue you relentlessly, and keep pace with you until they build up so much snow around themselves that they become sluggish. Once that happens, you can put a little more space between it and yourself, and try to steer it into a rock, where it will be dashed to pieces.


Okay, now we can take care of the rats.


Crud, not again.


Bats are gone. Let's hope we don't suffer any more setbacks.


A lair of yetis waits at the end of the path, which upon being sealed spawns two more lairs full of rats, while bats on a nearby cliff take potshots at us. In spite of the frigid environment, things are really heating up.


One lair releases another friendly village elder.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:52 PM

And the other releases an enormous snail with a rider on it. I don't know why the gnomes ride snails; even at their small size, it's likely the snails would still be slower. Maybe they're draft animals? Or maybe they're just pets, like some horses (minus the relative speed). I mean, these snails are big compared to Crambert, but they're absolutely monstrous next to these tiny gnomes - about the relative size of a horse compared to a human. And I'm sure the snails are friendly. If you were the size of a gnome, wouldn't you have fun riding one one of them?

No matter what the case is, it's freaking adorable.


Oh, God, not again. Since stepping on a lair briefly removes you from the area, it counts as actually leaving, and any spawnable monsters return once you come back. In this case, it's snowballs.


Oh crap oh crap oh crap




Oh thank God. Stupid respawning snowballs. Now let's get on with it.




*pant* *pant* ...Is it over? I think my heart exploded.




It's a good thing that rock was there, or I'd have had to jump right off the cliff to get away from that thing. Also, we have another cool graphical effect wasted on screenshots: the auroras ripple in a way that looks really cool for SNES graphics, especially considering the game came out in 1992.


Killing the bats that were above us earlier nets us a cornucopia of treasure. Let's see what's inside.




A health refill. This is good. I was hurting for some healing.


...You know what? This is okay. I'll just accept the fortune of my earlier finds and move on.


Oh, hell yes! Am I being rewarded for my own spiritual transformation, or is it just dumb luck? I don't know, but I'm happy. And just what makes this "magic" armor?


Thank you, Master, for this bounty! Im'ma totally humbly serve an' pray to you and shit!

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:53 PM

Atop the slope near the treasure chests, we seal a lair of bats, releasing a boy and opening up more of the cave. He seems like he's waiting for someone. Looks awfully lonely, doesn't he? Hopefully he won't be by himself for long.


And with this area cleared out, we head into the mountain.


This cave is much different from the one the gnomes inhabit. It's cold and blue, covered in ice and snow. No auspice of warmth or hospitality exists here.


I dreamed of you. I dreamed you were wandering in the dark, and so was I. We found each other. Looks like a happy ending for these two. Or rather, a happy new beginning.


See what I meant about hospitality?


Crap, not again.


Now that we're no longer passing through this area in blind panic, we can see a bit of land to the side populated by monsters defending their lairs. That's our objective. To get there, we'll have to cross this frozen stream.


Except that as soon as we set foot on it, we're sent sliding in that direction until we hit a wall.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an ice puzzle.


Let's go the only way we can for now. And hope that deer doesn't wake up.


A monster lair lies in the middle of the ice, but how to get to it? We can't reach it directly from here. There must be a more roundabout path we can take.


Well, going down didn't do anything. Let's try up.


This seems to be more in the direction that we want to go, although we've woken up the bonedeer.


It's of little concern, however.


Phew! Land at last!

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:54 PM

Of course, it's infested with monsters, but that's the reason we came here in the first place. The mountain's throwing everything it has at us - yetis, rats and deer - but nothing can stop my righteous onslaught. Killing them all releases another small section of the world from the grip of evil, as well as netting a tangible bonus for us.


The bottom lair releases a fairy crystal. We'll see to her in a bit.


Sealing the left lair allows us to get something useful upon our return. You may have noticed that there are only two lairs in the surrounding area. Just in case...


...the lair from before is the third, and will be accessible once we return with our new shoes. (This section of the game will henceforth be known as A Farewell to Ice Puzzles.)


With the fairy's help, we net another 300 experience points and a quick trip back to the mountain cave. Let's check in with the people we freed.


This is perhaps the oddest-structured sentence we've seen yet in this game. But it's nice to know the gnomes aren't in danger of freezing to death.


I have a feeling this is meant to be some sort of commentary on how humans often feel life is too short, despite living for much longer than that. Unfortunately, the effect is lost on Crambert, who, being an eternally-existing angel, can only stare on in numb incomprehension.

Also, I'm pretty sure the mushrooms aren't supposed to start talking to you until after you eat them.


Everybody here walks with adorable hopping motions. I love these little guys.


Well, I'm not really a human being, but I can try my best. What do you want to know?


Uh... Sir?


...Sir, are you okay?


You're weird. I'm leaving.

This is a little oddity in the game. This old guy invites you to a discussion, then goes absolutely nowhere with it. I guess we're supposed to infer that Crambert's answer is "No."


Aww. That mushroom was right.


Damn. And I thought it was cold outside.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:55 PM

"Then the human king took her away and gave her to the incarnation of evil. She's probably writhing in neverending spiritual agony right now. But at least she gets to live for way longer than the month she had left."


Ahh, I see. These aren't pampered pet snails or rough, sinewy work snails. These are thoroughbred racing snails.

My guess is that Legend is so named because he takes long enough to finish a race for one to form up around him.


Eew. I wonder how the snails feel about that. "Lift up your foot, Sticky. Daddy's got to borrow some mucus."


This, is how real men solve ice puzzles.

As you might expect, the Mountain of Souls is the only area with ice in it, meaning these shoes are completely useless in later portions of the game. There's a definite pattern emerging: Leo's paintbrush, the Ice and Bubble Armor, the Thunder Ring, and soon, the Mushroom shoes - all dead weight after one concentrated burst of usage. This ad hoc, "one and done" approach to items in a Zelda-esque adventure is usually taken as poor game design, but I think Soul Blazer has an advantage here. Throughout the game, we've been visiting various races and places, each with their own distinct culture. Having items unique to each reflects a diversity in environments, lifestyles, and legends that you get from having multiple distinct civilizations. It adds to the effect of us having an entire world to save, instead of just a particular town, kingdom, or continent; or a world that's supposed to span the largest possible area but nonetheless mostly contains various groups of humans with shops, inns, and so on, all operating in pretty much the same way.


Anyway, now that we have the Mushroom Shoes, we can traverse the ice path, using the slopes we formed earlier as a shortcut on the return trip.


crap crap crap crap crap crap


Crambert decides to put his new shoes to the test. The goo on the soles gives each step a wet, sticky sound. *shplok* *shplok* *shplok* With traction that would put the most expensive running shoes to shame, Crambert's feeling confident. Nothing's going to stop him now.

It seems a little strange that the game would introduce a slippery ice mechanic and have it persist so briefly. Perhaps the designers believed that one taste of that would be all we'd need. They'd have been right.


Sealing the now-accessible lair releases grandpa's wife. She can use magic, but she won't be joining us on our quest as a soul. She's just especially gifted.


*shplok* *shplok* *shplok* Aided by snail goo, Crambert heads down an icy corridor. One monster lair remains in this area.


And it's more goddamned bats. Funny thing, though: these bats can only move at 45-degree angles, like bishops on a chessboard. If you stand in the right spot, they'll dart back and forth close to you, but can never land a blow. Crambert actually stood there for several seconds, pondering the bats' stupidity, before blasting them with light arrows.


Sealing their lair reveals a ramp we don't really need, as well as a passage to nowhere. This needless transformation, taken together with its guardians' incompetence, suggests that this must have been the rookie division of bats.


We are now finished with the first part of the Mountain of Souls, and head into deeper areas. New dangers await.


Those icicles on the side shift in and out of view as Crambert moves left and right, creating the impression of an unseen ceiling. It's like the pipes in Phantasy Star II, only way less intrusive and stupid. Suck on that retroactively, Sega.


The first new enemy we encounter is a green slime. They bounce around, as is their wont. It can be annoying to fight them in a cramped area while waiting for their invincible grace period to wear off, but they aren't too dangerous. One almost wonders what they're doing at this point in the game, as slimes are typically among the first enemies one encounters. Maybe their evil master hoped to take advantage of their semi-liquid nature by placing them in a cold environment. They're probably less like living goop and more like bouncing balls of rubber. Ever been hit with a frozen rubber ball? It really smarts.


Killing the slimes releases a mushroom. Imagine how hard that would have been in a more temperate environment, where swords have no hope of cutting through belligerent liquids.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:56 PM

Heading back down and to the right, we acquire a new target.


But first, a new enemy. These ice wizards act like the Wizzrobes from The Legend of Zelda, teleporting from place to place and firing magic in a straight line. However, unlike Wizzrobes, they spin in place after and before firing a spell, making it easy to react to them. They can't be harmed while they're spinning, but they do it for long enough that you can easily station yourself at an angle to them and slash away with impunity. Since they're so easy to defeat, I call them Wussrobes.


Sealing their lair opens a path beneath us, but first we have to attend to those slimes we spotted earlier.


And boy howdy, are there a lot of them. Crambert panics momentarily while he figures out a plan.


In the end, light arrows take care of another problem. They're like duct tape.


Sealing the slimes' lairs releases other, friendlier slimy things. If these snails have names, I don't know them. We'll call them Myth and Fable.


A new obstacle lies before us. This ice crystal explodes when hit, firing shards in eight directions. If you can set them off from any distance, they're easy to deal with.


We have five paths branching off from the main way that we can explore. We'll start at the left end and work towards the right. A new enemy waits for us at the bottom of the slope: a new breed of bat that, instead of darting back and forth while firing energy balls, flies around us in a circle, hoping we'll wander into it. If your timing's good, you can fire a light arrow as they loop around you and hit them twice with one shot, killing them.


Here's a neat trick that sometimes goes unnoticed. By holding L or R and pointing at a faraway gem, you can draw it towards you with telekinetic power. Gems are the only object this works on, but later, in Illusion of Gaia, this feature would be expanded into a story element and a vital game mechanic, allowing/requiring the hero, Will, to move obstacles in the same way: facing them and holding R. Much like how the monster lairs in this game are an evolution of the lairs on the area maps in ActRaiser, so does this game's successor borrow and build on some of its ideas.


Sealing the bat cave opens a path below us, but first we want to explore the rest of these paths up above.


Traveling up the second slope, we run into some bats flying out of their lair in the next lane. Destroying them and crossing over to seal it releases another young girl.


At the bottom of the third slope, we deal with some slimes, and the rest of the paths open up to us.


The bats here are emerging from their lair and chasing Crambert before circling him, forming a flight pattern that resembles a backwards P. Crambert leads them to the top of the slope just to screw with their heads and wipes them all out.


But before he can seal their lair, he has to detonate another ice bomb.


The bats' lair opens up a lair below, from which Wussrobes emerge.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:57 PM

While looping around to the lair of the Wussrobes, we happen upon another cadre of the same, wipe them out, and release the cobbler's snail. We can probably assume that this is the very snail who provided the magical mucus.


If these screenshots are to be believed, this guy got so frightened by the sight of me that instead of attempting to fight, he spun right around and blinked himself out of existence. How about that? A shortcut to mushrooms.


Having cleared the previous area, we venture deeper into the ice cave and fight a lair of Wussrobes, taking care not to disturb the ice bombs surrounding it.


Then set them off anyway to see if we can destroy wizards with shrapnel.


It doesn't work, but that isn't going to stop Crambert from showing these pictures to everyone he knows and calling himself "the next MacGyver".


Sealing the wizards releases an old man who jealously guards a wood pile.

"No. Deathtoll can't have these logs, dammit. He can wipe out every one of us, but I'll never give up my inefficient fuel source."


Oh, that's right. These things respawn. Try to MacGyver your way out of this one, bucko.


Heedless of my attempts to goad him, Crambert pulls a Kirby (http://www.brawlinthefamily.com/?p=19) instead. Many bats die along the way.


We have to make yet another loop to reach their la- Wait, what was that?


A secret bridge! This bridge fades in and out of view periodically, becoming visible about 10% of the time. You can miss it if you're not paying attention, but otherwise it's pretty much a gimme. And what's inside this treasure chest?


L-L-Lucky! Between this and the Magic Armor, we shouldn't have to worry about running out of gems ever again, provided that we remember to switch to a Strange Bottle before dying.


I honestly can't remember what was in this monster lair, but it's of little consequence since they all look alike when they're dead.


This winding ice path is the last place ever where the Mushroom Shoes are of any use. Even here, they aren't strictly necessary, if you're up for a deadly game of hockey with the tunnel's inhabitants.

Sealing the lair releases another grandpa, and cuts a large swath through the interior of the mountain. I hope that wasn't load-bearing rock, or this whole endeavor may turn out to be for naught.


At the end of the winding ice path, we release the old man's companion snail. The two of them spend many an hour by the shoreline feeding the cave-ducks, which are probably pale, slimy, and only fed by the gnomes so the ducks don't feast on them instead.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:58 PM

As Cthulhu pointed out, Greenwood's plant pods were once featured on TVTropes' "Goddamned Bats" page. Given these guys' tendency to attack in swarms and just be generally annoying, I wonder if it shouldn't have been these actual bats.

Slaying them reveals a bridge, though, so their existence is justified after death.


What, ho? Another invisibridge! What lies yonder? More treasure?


Afraid not. This is the next new enemy we'll meet in the Mountain of Souls: upgraded wizards. These guys shoot fire instead of ice, and launch it in a three-way spread that makes it much harder to approach them from a corner, as you will almost certainly be hit. It's better to stand just off-center in their line of fire, then rush in between two projectiles and take a few swipes with your sword. Upon dying, they give up 100 experience points, the first instance of triple-digit rewards from a common enemy. Braving danger head-on is risky, but worth it.


Sealing them away releases an elderly prison guard, along with the area in his charge. Seeing as how these creatures live for only a single year, locking someone up even for a day seems cruel. Do the hearts of the adorable mountain gnomes hide depths we cannot fathom?


Over the bridge the bats released lie yet more goddamned bats, surrounded by ice bombs. Once again, the enemies are immune to frozen shrapnel, though the density of the bats allows our light arrows to take out two or three at a time, re-earning those otherwise lost cool points.


Once they're eliminated, we rescue another elderly sentry. This one guards the entrance to our next destination, and will not let us pass without the Lucky Blade. Normally, requiring the player to go out of their way to obtain a nifty hidden item so they can progress though the game is a source of annoyance that actually diminishes the coolness of the reward, but in this case, the blade is so easy to find that most people never even realize what this guy is here for, making his de facto status that of a Wal-Mart greeter.


A final holdout of slimes cavort and gambol in an attempt to stop us. They fail, but what's this? Our second portal! Time to head back again and check in with the mountain denizens.


Two of the jockeys are excited about their chances; the third seems much less enthused, possibly due to hopelessness, but possibly because he's slathered his snail with olive oil for a speed boost, making him extra-confident.


Fun fact: you can release the jockeys without reforming the land necessary for them to race. If the path isn't clear, the jockeys can only wait around while you get your act together.


We have our act together, however, so we're going to follow this girl. Like everyone else in this mountain, she moves with fast, short hops, and it's totally adorable.


The English in this game is getting weirder and weirder.


And............ they're off.


Got it. Think "snail".


I, what? Whoa. I talk to these mushrooms. They share their thoughts with me. They're alive. And you butcher them for clothing? How horrible! Stuck in one spot for their entire lives, they live unable to reach out or communicate with anyone besides the occasional heavenly interloper, then are ripped from the ground, cut into pieces, and processed to hell by you gnomes who need their coverings to stay alive. Why has no mushroom ever shared their fears with me, their private horrors at the picture of their compatriots being killed and harvested? Do they simply not know? Are they separated enough from each other that they can live their individual lives undisturbed until their time comes? Or is the truth something more sinister? Have, perhaps, these mushrooms come to sympathize with their captors and their executioners, you who systematically exterminate them and sport their skins in sight of their still-living kind? The inescapable, undeniable fact of their fate having impressed itself upon their minds until nothing but that idea remains? It's all too horrible to contemplate.



Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 12:59 PM

This old guy's saying exactly the same thing as before. I wonder if he's even noticed his wife is back? Maye the shock of losing her caused his mind to shut down.


Oh? Like, pyrotechnics or




-M I?

*hurf* *bluergh* *haaaagh*

After Crambert finishes puking his guts up from the shock of being teleported, he screws up his courage and asks the old lady to do it again so he can talk to that mushroom.


Mushroom, you don't know how lucky you are to be trapped in this cave. Pray the witch next door never finds you. She'll turn you into a shoe if you're lucky. Magic Powder if you aren't.


I guess time weighs more heavily on some people's hands than others.


I'll stay here on this mountain with you forever and ever okay?


"Because I've completely forgotten which spot I used to bury them in this enormous ridge. And, uh, that was pretty much everything I owned, so can I crash at your place for a while? ...Where you goin', baby? Didn't you want us to be together?"


Have you noticed how there seems to be only children and old people in this mountain? Half a lifetime doesn't seem long enough for a child to reach old age. It would appear that these creatures begin their lives a children, and live them out as such, until one day when they instantly become senior citizens. Presumably, middle-aged adults just aren't cute enough.

Also, I would be reluctant to share personal details which betray the fact that I'm a complete idiot. On the other hand, at least he wasn't dreaming about Spider-Man (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/3/29/).


I don't know whether the mushroom is making a statement about this culture specifically, or about all living people everywhere. If it's the former, I can accept it as an element of this quaint society, but it seems like a stretch to say there are no bad people anywhere. We've dealt with Magridd and the mermaid queen already, and they've fucked things up proper for a lot of people. This is to say nothing of Deathtoll himself. However, one must consider the Master's lesson to Crambert about evil being a choice that people make, not a nature within them. People who do evil could then be subjected to punishment as a corrective measure, but that idea flies in the face of what we're engaged in now: a war between ultimate good and ultimate evil. If there are no absolutes in this fight, perhaps there is no objective measurement, either, and no way of making moral evaluations. And if good and evil can hardly be said to exist, what is Crambert even fighting for? He's already suffered one moral crisis during this journey; he hardly needs to think through another.


Or, maybe "there are no bad people" was just supposed to be taken very literally.


Everyone here is really hung up on this Lucky Blade. I'm not even sure why, as it will become obsolete after we barely even break into the fifth world.






Crambert briefly considers taunting the racers by walking backwards until he laps them, but he has enough weighing on his conscience already without behaving like a tool. He leaves them to their business.


We're entering the final leg of our journey through the Mountain of Souls. I'd like to say that I appreciate how, for the most part, Soul Blazer's level themes are pretty original. Here we have a mountain with caverns leading to an underground body of water. Alongside that, we have a wooden waterworks segueing into a world inside a painting, a triad of temples nested in a remote swamp, and a watery world in which we venture through three entirely different ecosystems. It's more imaginative than the usual fire/ice/grassland worlds setup, and more provocative for the player for it, furthering the impression that this game features a pretty rich assortment of cultures, especially for 1992.


Only a bit more mountain before we no longer see the light of day. Going up yields nothing - not even an invisible bridge - so we go right.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 01:00 PM

Fighting enemies on ice is tough, especially when you are subject to the lessened friction and they aren't. I have a feeling the ice is sympathetic to these also-slippery creatures. It, too, must be destroyed.


I knew there had to be a bridge around somewhere. Lune can wait. There's treasure for the taking.


A lair of fire wizards puts up a brief resistance before we walk all over them, their lair, and the bridge it releases.


The rewards, however, are meager. But Crambert has moved past complaining about such things and instead takes joy from his sense of accomplishment.


But what's this? Another bridge? Surely this will lead to something greater.


Atop a lonely island in an ocean of air, Crambert eliminates some bats...


...and is duly rewarded for the task. This new magic emits destructive energy from the orb that circles us for as long as the button is pressed.


This would have been effective at taking out the bats we just destroyed. At one gem per blast, however, it gets expensive fast. One full rotation costs 12 gems, a price which can't be reduced by the Magic Armor since it's taken one gem at a time. The light arrows remain the overall better choice, but this could prove situationally useful. We tuck it away for the time being.


There's nothing left for us above ground. Into the abyss!


Down here we meet the last new enemy this area has to offer. These stone heads summon icicles from the ground, marking the points at which they'll appear with sparkles before they jut from beneath. Not very threatening on their own, but they make effective support for other, more offensively-minded enemies. They have no lairs, meaning they respawn whenever we leave the screen, making them somewhat annoying.


As luck would have it, the offensively-minded enemies in this portion of the cave are evidently quite stupid. They're dispatched easily.


Sucks to be that kid. I wonder what he did to land in prison? Probably nothing severe, as we already know that the authority figures in this game are complete dicks.


An icy ambush awaits us at the bottom of this hill.


And up above, we find its source. A nearby Wussrobe hopes to utilize the support offered by the stone head.


Naturally, he fails, but Crambert makes up for that by doing irreparable damage to the local ecology.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 01:01 PM

At the bottom, we pay dearly for our environmental shortsightedness as it's revealed that the waterfall had kept suppressed a lair of very aggressive fire wizards.


Holy shit. This would be a good time to use the Rotator, had Crambert not forgotten about it due to its high cost. Misaimed conservation efforts won't make up for your earlier flub, Crambert! Evil has to be punished before you can worry about being thrifty!


Mother Nature, still dissatisfied with our boy, tries to ram an icicle up his ass. Crambert hauls the aforementioned away from danger.


We've now released the third of Dr. Leo's animal accomplices. The fact that Nome's in prison suggests more about the ruler of this place than I want to have confirmed. Why even bother locking up a snail? Turn him loose for a month and he still won't have made it out of your field of vision.


Near another waterfall, Crambert hesitates before sealing the next lair, worried about doing further damage to the environment. Fortunately, it just releases some stairs.


Son of a bitch.

This game seems to adopt a very particular notion of "reviving the world" - namely, making a world most suitable for mankind and creatures like it. Who cares about the other forms of life around here? We've got to make room for houses and herb shops, by God!


Back up on the cliff, Crambert fights with a lair of bats, eliminating a lair of slimes in the crossfire purely by accident. Sealing the bats' lair gives us access to the slimes'...


And their lair releases a crystal fairy, who rewards us with 400 experience points. A tidy sum - it's certainly better than killing four fire wizards for the same amount.


As he heads back down the stairs, Crambert keeps his eyes focused straight ahead to avoid looking at his latest example of environmental destruction.


Rough waters churn below a network of stone bridges in this vast cavern. It's an imposing sight, but Crambert is undaunted, killing evil and taking their stuff without a second thought (though he really could have spared a second thought, since that gem won't make up for the amount spent on firing light arrows way up there).


Hot damn. We're finally getting the hang of fighting these guys, as long as there's only one of them.


Even fungus drinks water.


So many options! Lest he be struck by opportunity paralysis, Crambert abandons all pretense of rational thinking and arbitrarily picks a direction.


Slowly, but steadily, he forms a path for himself in the direction he's chosen.


Then is ultimately forced to turn back as a result of this area's convoluted layout. Crambert laments his inability to jump over and curses being a white boy.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 01:03 PM

Here, a well-aimed light arrow takes out every slime in that lair after they line up in a row. I love when that happens.


The old man's wife, perhaps?


Once we nuke the slimes and Wussrobes on this rock, we'll have two possible directions we can take. We'll head down first.


I have had it with these miserable Heat Miser knockoffs. Time to snuff them out once and for all.


D'oh. Stupid convoluted level design. Fortunately for the sake of convenience, the bats rush towards us and can be taken out without budging an inch. Once they're dead, we rush back and seal their lair.


Hmm. She seems paired up with that other woman a little too obviously to be the old guy's wife. Maybe they're an elderly lesbian couple. They'd definitely be the cutest couple in the game.


Taking the high road, we encounter a swarm of bats.


Their movement inspires Crambert to break out the Rotator spell and fry them all as they fly around him, even as the magic fries their tiny bodies. It's a little pricey, but the Magic Armor and Lucky Blade really ought to compensate for that.


And we've found the third portal! Time for a quick trip back before we wrap things up here.


Aww, they even think alike. I suppose they could be the king's attendants, but I like my interpretation better.


Ignoring the improbability that a mushroom would dream, how does something like that even sleep? This is just silly.


It seems unlikely that winds sufficient to carry spores away would be found underground, but Crambert knows better than to insist on the impossibility of something even though it's already happened. He also knows that weirder things have been said and done in dreams, like when he made to finish driving a loop-de-loop in an uphill waterfall before noon-thirty.


Sealing a lair in this fellow's dream opens up a corresponding bridge in the real world. The boundaries of reality tend to blur quite often in the dreams of this game's inhabitants.

Say, didn't another mushroom advise us to visit any location we saw in a mushroom's dream? It seemed oddly specific at the time, but clearly he was onto something.




Whew. We made it out safely. Traveling back to where we saw the mushroom, we find a new monster lair, releasing a snail. This guy's boxed in just like Lue was in St. Elles, except Lue had help from the other dolphins that showed up when additional lairs were sealed. How is this guy going to get out? There are no more lairs in this entire mountain.

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 01:04 PM

Well, that's not quite accurate. There's still one lair remaining that we need to take care of.


This is Poseidon, the chief monster in the Mountain of Souls. You may be wondering why a sea god is serving as the boss of a level that's predominantly snow- and mountain-themed. Putting aside how this is Soul Blazer, and that's just how this game rolls, recall that in Greek mythology, Poseidon was not only the god of the sea, but also of earthquakes. Even an amateur spelunker can tell you that a mountain cave is the last place you want to be during an earthquake. By driving his trident into the ground, Poseidon can send tremors up through the walls of Lune into the cave where the mountain's inhabitants live. All of them would stand to be killed in the ensuing cave-in, being crushed to death by rocks or suffocating beneath inescapable piles of rubble, except for the truly unlucky ones, who would fall through the ground and into the lake beneath them, and drown in the rough, choppy waters. Depending on his mastery of water, Poseidon could even flood the cavern above, killing everybody as water rushed into their lungs, or powerful currents dashed their tiny bodies against the rocks.

It's a good thing the boss music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slMzJB1Hjok) gets me pumped for some serious violence, because this son of a bitch is going down.


He's not going to make it easy, however. He spends most of his time out of range, first attacking with a bolt from his trident, which is followed by moving in to stab with its massive central point. This is the only time we can attack him, but when we rush in to strike, he can attack us just as easily.


He then fires an energy ball that split in two and tracks us once it's on the same horizontal level as we are. Running downwards and then up again lets you avoid it, but the narrow pathway we fight him on doesn't always allow for that. Afterwards, he dives and resurfaces in another location, and the pattern repeats.


When he stabs, he switches hands with frightening dexterity, letting him thrust anywhere Crambert can run. This scares Crambert from moving into an attacking position, which is precisely the wrong thing to do, as Poseison can continue to fire long range attacks and wear Crambert down in a battle of attrition.


Crambert tries moving in to strike after the fireball passes, but Poseidon has already gone underwater where he can't be hit. He'll have to try again once he resurfaces.


Unfortunately, Crambert fails again to get a hit in, as his enemy's spearwork is simply too advanced for him to counter.


Frustrated and reckless with fear, Crambert moves in close at the next opportunity, inflicting damage, but even with the Shield Bracelet equipped, he's taking more than he can dish out. Stopping to swing his blade makes him an easy target for Poseidon's spear, and every hit Crambert lands will result in a net gain for Poseison. There seems to be no hope of Crambert outlasting his enemy.


Feeling a simultaneous blend of hope and doubt, he tries attacking with the ever-dependable light arrows, but his spirits are crushed when he sees them pass through Poseidon with no ill effect.


Reduced to desperation, he swings his sword wildly even when the boss is not in range. By now, he's used his Medical Herb, and has no other means of healing himself. Crambert feels his energy sap with every hit Poseidon lands, and eventually can no longer even swing his blade without feeling overwhelmed by its weight.


As the beast breaks through the surface again and stares into Crambert's eyes with a face permanently twisted into a hateful laugh, Crambert feels his resolve give out, and he begins to despair. Poseidon is just too nimble for Crambert's swordwork. Every swing is met with a thrust of the spear, and Crambert isn't strong enough one way or the other to outdo his foe. His legs buckle, and he sands stock still, accepting death as the only possible outcome.


But then, inspiration strikes Crambert like a bolt of lightning. Whether a gift from the Master or his own mental prowess, Crambert gets an idea from Poseidon's own nimble style. Striking him may be suicide, but perhaps he can still outmaneuver him. He defiantly holds out his blade.


It's only a question of moving continuously, and staying alive long enough to find an opening.


It works! The instant Poseidon draws near, Crambert thrusts the blade into his flesh, causing steady and constant damage. Enraged by the shock and pain, Poseidon thrusts his spear to stop his tormentor, but Crambert deftly sidesteps each attempt, keeping his sword buried in the scaly flesh.

Poseidon backs off, suddenly panicked at this turn of events. Crambert, emboldened, dons the Power Bracelet for a decisive finish. Once the monster is within range again, another steady stream of damage should destroy him.


Success! Unable to draw a bead on his tiny foe, Poseidon succumbs to a slow, determined assault. With the beast utterly destroyed, the Mountain of Souls is finally safe, and a new tune begins to play (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybYXZewsezQ).

Seth Marati
03-14-2010, 01:05 PM

Continuing the pattern we've established on the Mountain of Souls, there's a cool ripple effect with this water in the background that can't be shown in screenshots.

And why do you suppose the furniture in this room isn't built for gnome-sized proportions? Look at how the king's legs don't even come close to touching the ground when he sits on his throne. Did he buy it secondhand from another kingdom?


To rub evil's nose in our recent victory, we kill a low-level enemy on the way out and score a level-up before leaving for our appointment with royalty.


It's as I feared. Another continuing tradition: the heads of state in this game are complete pricks. This one makes no mention of the stones' evil influence, though. I think he's just a child thrust into a position of power way too early.


"Monsters aren't adorable! Lock him up! And get me a chocolate milk!"


Symbols, as distinct from emblems. It's strange how the king jammed that in there so awkwardly. And am I even sure I want to get my hands on my boss's red-hot stick?


Oh, screw you, pal. It's no wonder he was so eager to mention the Phoenix; he apparently wants me to fetch him the requisite components for summoning its power. I am not handing ultimate power over to this despotic small fry.


Well, okay, maybe I overreacted. If we give the king the benefit of the doubt, it's probable that he wants to help us in a way that only he can: by having his attendants summon the Phoenix for us so that we may use its power. In which case, (red-)hot damn. We have another sidequest to complete.


Ah... Hmm. I don't think my earlier guesses were on the mark. The reason for the closeness between these two isn't a bond shared between lovers, or exemplary professional synergy. I think there was a glitch somewhere in the soul-exploitation/restoration mechanism, and this lady was revived twice.


It looks like I was right about Dr. Leo giving the stones to his animal friends in order to help save the world, but the exact function of these stones is becoming more obfuscated with every development. Are they evil, or are they morally neutral? Did they power the machine that summoned Deathtoll, or are they an alternate, naturalistic method to getting into the world of evil, in contrast with the mechanical, artificial means devised by Leo? When did Dr. Leo hand them off? Why do they even exist? Why are we even bothering? Why anything??

Snails and dogs living together, mass hysteria!


I bet this kid was given a time-out for using bad language. Trying to pronounce... that has got to be hell on everybody's eardrums.

Mechanical monsters, though? You know what that means. New sword ahoy!


We're just about done with the Mountain of Souls, except we haven't solved the problem of this snail yet. There appears to be no way in, but with the battle against Poseidon having made fresh impressions on his mind, Crambert is open to further bouts of inspiration. Recalling the numerous invisible bridges all along the mountaintop, he observes a pattern of things existing where they appear not to. Could the opposite be true, and might something appear to exist when there is in fact nothing?

Suspicious of appearances, Crambert examines the wall for a hidden passage.


And it works! A concealed entryway to a short tunnel leads us to the snail.


Snail, I wish you had limbs, so I could give you a high-five.

This is the end of the Mountain of Souls, and of this update. In order to ensure more regular updates, from now on I'm going to split each world up into two or three postings, instead of tackling them all at once. This should allow for more frequent posts, and dealing with less at a time will be easier on me, which I think is more reasonable all around.

03-14-2010, 03:01 PM
It's good to see this back!

So did you get the Emblem in the location of the dreaming mushroom??

03-14-2010, 03:20 PM
"Hurry, Grandpa! Grandpa's gaining on us!"

03-14-2010, 03:34 PM
A mushroom warning you not to wander around in its dream has to be considered a high point in the history of video game story-telling.

03-14-2010, 05:37 PM
Thanks for the great update!

Seth Marati
03-18-2010, 05:15 PM
It's good to see this back!

So did you get the Emblem in the location of the dreaming mushroom??

Crambert is only semi-capable, but don't worry - he always gets the job done.

04-28-2010, 02:18 AM
A friend was talking about how he stayed home from school today to finish Soul Blazer, and right now I want it on Virtual Console more than anything!

10-22-2012, 04:38 PM
How many Blazers does it take to defeat one Deathtoll? I'm going to jump into this LP and see if we can finally answer that question.

Hi, Ghamer!

When last we left off, we had arrived at Dr. Leo's lab, the fifth area of the game.

The lab has seen better days.

The only living soul (as it were) inhabiting the lab at this time is a solitary door. It says we're going to need a special sword. That implies we're going to get that sword momentarily.

Dr. Leo was apparently a prolific machinist, having a vast network of piping and machinery beneath his house. Here we see two new monsters, Inch Worms and Broombots. Inch Worms creep along and hop sideways across gaps. Broombots periodically spin and shoot projectiles in 8 directions. They're also the two enemies in this area who can be hurt by normal swords.

Here's that special door. See the chest just past it?

you know, it was years before I connected the Zantetsu Sword (and its ability to hurt metal monsters) to the Final Fantasy series mainstay Odinís Zantetsuken attack, translated in various places as the ďiron-cutting swordĒ. Could you guess that I don't know any Japanese?

10-22-2012, 04:47 PM
The other denizens of Leo's lab (which give a useless metallic clang if hit with any other sword) include Fangbots, which stay in one spot except to suddenly lunge forward at you; Speedbots, which zoom around the map and often need to be hunted down; and Helibots, which we'll see more of later--they sprout propellers to cross gaps.

I think something I always liked about this game is that, if youíre moderately patient and have a decent sense of pattern recognition, itís really easy. Pretty much every enemy moves on a grid and has a similar tracking AI, so a little moving back and forth as they spawn can get an entire set to come at you off-center, where you can cut them down without being in any danger.

The fact that the swing range of the sword is huge and requires the blade (noted by, I think, a Nintendo Power article) to be longer than the Blazer is tall doesnít hurt, either. You can actually strike things more than a full block-length away, if theyíre standing to your right. Thatís how you kill the archers in the model towns without magic.

Dr. Leo: Crazy cat lady?


So, I have a theory that this game isnít really about the souls of ďliving creaturesĒ so much as itís an animist fantasy: Most things have souls. We see in GreenWood that freeing one monster lair can unlock more than one creatureís soul, in the form of stumps becoming animate when you release birds. In Leoís lab, we release doors, steps and chests that arenít generally thought to be ensouled in any way. My theory is that the reason that houses appear with people is because those houses also have souls that are being released at the same time.

The reason we occasionally encounter things that appear to be ďlivingĒ (i.e. that talk) that werenít taken by Deathtoll is that, when King Magridd made his deal, those things didnít have souls. The tulip (and the grass) in Grass Valley hadnít sprouted yet. Some inanimate object simply were never endowed with souls (as is the Creatorís whim), or had them added afterwards.

Dr. Leo lives in a McMansion.

All of these are clues to things we need to do. However, we're doing doing them yet. We finally have a sword that can kill metallic monsters! It's backtrackin' time!

10-22-2012, 05:00 PM
First stop: Leo's Painting in Grass Valley. We got Metalpus to kill.

New magic!

Another of the master's emblems!

The Recovery sword, which I can't actually swing yet!

10-22-2012, 05:05 PM
GreenWood, in contrast, is basically only worthwhile for completionís sake, and perhaps for a little leg up on the EXP.

But as a little side benefit, you can put the Ice Armor back on when you revisit the Fire Shrine and totally ignore the damage floors.

This bird just tells you things you already know. I killed an entire floor worth of Scorpions for that?

10-22-2012, 05:10 PM
Finally a brief trip back to Oceania.

Remember that last batch of metal gorillas on the volcanic isle Durean? (Remember to put the Bubble Armor on to walk under the sea. I, um, may have forgotten this at some points.)

Anyway, they unlock a mermaid who gives you the first of the red-hot items. I'm a little iffy about carrying around a red-hot stick, upon reflection.

Next time: I'll return to Leo's lab and continue the plot. Before then, please give me feedback! This is my first LP, and I want to make sure I do as good a job as my predecessors on this one.

10-22-2012, 05:18 PM
I think you're doing a good job, and I'm glad to see that this LP is alive again. Here's hoping you can break the curse.

10-22-2012, 06:29 PM
Nice to see this back! I was just thinking about giving this game another playthrough. This may be my sign!

Sky Render
10-22-2012, 07:04 PM
The return of the Curs'd Trilogy's start! Well, you've got my attention. As long as nobody goes linking the official artwork for the series, we should be good this time.

10-22-2012, 08:20 PM
Glad to see this LP picked back up. There are so many things I love about Soul Blazer, but the music for the pipe section of Dr Leo's lab has to be near the top of the list.

10-22-2012, 09:55 PM
Glad to see this is alive again! This is a great first post for the LP. I've always been a fan, looking forward to seeing your take on it going forward.

10-23-2012, 11:39 AM
Great, now you got me pulling out the SNES emulator to finish this up, along with some other games... Worth it!

10-25-2012, 03:25 PM
I think you're doing a good job, and I'm glad to see that this LP is alive again. Here's hoping you can break the curse.

I'll do my best! I'll got all of the screenshots taken and backed up in three places, so if I don't manage to write and post commentary, it'll be entirely my own fault.

Soul Blazer: Dr. Leo's Lab, Part 2

After a bit of backtracking to retrieve items, we're here again. Time to clear out the rest of the mechanical monstrosities in Dr. Leo's basement.

One of my predecessors commented on the poor game design inherent to special items that are only useful in certain places. And thatís true for things like the Bubble Armor and the Thunder Ring, but not for the Ice Armor. See those red-hot exposed areas? Theyíll do damage unless youíre wearing the Ice Armor. Granted, you take more damage from enemies while wearing the weaker suit, but I find the maneuverability tradeoff worth it.

This is also a good shot of a helibot in action, flying between platforms. Fortunately, they're still vulnerable while doing so.

The Dream Rod also is one of the most useful items in the game, in that there's a sleeping NPC in pretty much every area. Their dreams become much more plot-full in these last couple of areas.

Clearing out the basement allows us to get to the second floor, enter the room upstairs (where the sleeping cat is) and reach the next area, the model towns.

The bottommost part of the basement is where the "halfway point" warp appears.

I wonder what towns they're models of? This kingdom seems to have exactly one town, and neither of the models is Grass Valley.

My theory is that there's actually more to this kingdom than is shown, and the rest of the NPCs are either just "in the background somewhere" because they don't figure into your quest, or they're all released when you defeat Deathtoll.

I'll see what I can do. If it makes you feel better, apparently they don't really like chasing you, they just need to eat.

10-25-2012, 03:36 PM
The cat dreams of a conversation between Dr. Leo and a soldier.

Dr. Leo: Are you going to allow him to make a deal with Deathtoll? King Magridd knows nothing about the value of human lives! No matter how small, all creatures have a right to exist in this world. If the trees in this world were cut in half, the oxygen would decrease and many of us would die.
Soldier: We do what King Magridd tells us to do. King Magridd makes all of the decisions for us.
Soldier: Dr. Leo, you love your daughter Lisa don't you? If you obey, she will remain safe. We wil be waiting for you outside in the airship. Come out when you are ready.
Dr. Leo: But I can do nothing more. Oh, Master! Please help me.

I suspect that Leo handed off the various colored stones to his pets and daughter and had them flee while the soldiers were waiting outside.

Hmm...that could be an issue.

The key from the cat allows me to get past the door with the locked body. There's a helpful chest of drawers there with a present for me.

More mercy invincibility? Yes, please!

10-25-2012, 03:47 PM
Welcome to the model towns, where the monsters are all minature soliders and war machines. The Cavalry on their little rocking horses will charge at you. The Infantry have pretty much the same pathfinding as other ground-based enemies, though they're fast. The Archers are particularly irritating, as their arrows are hard to see and travel through all obstacles.

I havenít been that thorough with showing off the dungeons, but if youíre curious as to the layouts, there are extensive and detailed maps to be had at VGMapper (http://www.vgmapper.com/syssnes/S/SoulBlazer.html).

Dr. Leo has a bit of a rodent problem. No wonder he has so many cats--though he might consider investing in a few more bloodthirsty ones.

This guy is important. In your first time into the model town, you'll encounter flying spikes from nowhere and bombs that don't have a source. You can actually kill the monsters even if you can't see them, but they inflict a lot of collision damage, so it's better to wait until you can reveal them.

Iím really not into using magic in this game, because I find it hard to aim and it makes my GEM total go downóand everyone knows that numbers are better when they go up. The game really wants you to use magic here, and encourages it by putting the archers a block out of your reach. As I noted earlier, Ghamerís sword actually has more than a blockís worth of reach, at least on his right. I killed every one of these annoying mini-archers without magic.

The Japanese name for this game is ďSoul BladerĒ, which is certainly more appropriate to my style of play. I set fire to very few things. I blade pretty much everything that is blade-able and some things that arenít.

10-25-2012, 03:55 PM
I kinda love this guy. After you talk to him, he hops up and down and his handles flap!

The soul of the door allows you to see the invisible monsters. Itís hard to tell in the screenshots, but thereís a slightly offset circle that extends from the soul bubble, the same radius as the light circle in the Water Shrine basement or the protection circle on the volcanic isle.

There are a bunch of chests in the model towns, but they're pretty much all GEMs, plus a medical herb and a strange bottle. (As is typical.)

Clearing out the first model gets us access to the attic, and the second model town.

Praying with the holy mouse functions as a free full heal, which is nice, but kind of pointless, since you fully heal whenever you return to the shrine to save.

Did either of the previous posters mention that you get health back from releasing souls? You do, and the amount increases as you advance in areas. That part of why health levels tend to be wonky in screenshots.

Next time: I'll check out that second model town and Dr. Leo's secret power plant in his basement. I'll probably comment a bit more on mechanics, too.

10-25-2012, 06:46 PM
Dr. Leo has a bit of a rodent problem. No wonder he has so many cats--though he might consider investing in a few more bloodthirsty ones.Maybe the cats are completely stuffed and just can't eat any more mice.

Sky Render
10-25-2012, 07:27 PM
This game's definition of "soul" is getting really out of hand, huh? Now the doors and stairs have souls. Even the town models somehow do. Though I must say, I always did like said models. If only because it makes me feel like I'm Godzilla, stomping down the military for kicks.

10-25-2012, 07:41 PM
Well, it's very Shinto, anyway.

10-26-2012, 12:57 PM
This is about as far as I got renting the game.

10-27-2012, 06:25 PM
This is about as far as I got renting the game.
You only rented it once? I must have rented it a dozen times...

10-28-2012, 12:05 PM
I don't remember. All I remember is that at the end of however many times I rented it, I got this far.

I got to the Pure Land renting Secret of Mana half a dozen times before I managed to save up enough money to buy it.

10-29-2012, 01:42 PM
Though I must say, I always did like said models. If only because it makes me feel like I'm Godzilla, stomping down the military for kicks.

The models are really fun stages, both for the aestetics and the game design--they're a good length, self-contained, they have some cute secrets to uncover, and they have a good variety of enemies.

You only rented it once? I must have rented it a dozen times...

I'm 99% sure that the copy I own is the one that belonged to the independent video rental place, that I had rented three or four times, and that they sold for something like $5 when they stopped carrying SNES games.

Soul Blazer: Dr. Leoís Lab, Part 3

Welcome back! In the real world, thereís a hurricane coming. But in the world of Soul Blazer, weíre getting swallowed into our second model of town.

The second model pretty much looks like the first and features the same enemies and lack of noteworthy treasure. So Iíll talk for a bit about monster generators.

The monster lairs actually function in several different ways, and each area tends to mix-and-match them: 1. Monsters spawn one at a time, and the next one spawns when you kill the first. 2. Monsters spawn at set time intervals, either slowly (which tends to lead to waiting around for the next one) or quickly (which usually means you fight all six monsters at once). 3. Monsters are pre-spawned (which occasionally means that the monsters blink into existence when you uncover the lair by sealing a different one). 4. Monsters only spawn when you come near (which seems to be the rarest type; itís mostly used for the tornado-shooting Firebirds in Oceania).

An interesting quirk of this is that the lair will seal and turn green when it tries to spawn a monster but canítóthe slow timed generators will often have a couple seconds delay between youíre killing the last monster and them sealing.

One of the techniques you learn in this game is to stand just far away so that the monsterís mercy invincibility (which pretty much every monster gets when spawning from a lair) wears off just as it reaches you. Depending on the monster, this can involve taking advantage of the poor pathfinding AI, or just standing a few squares away.

In theory, it is possible to grind in this game. Each area has a few respawning monsters that arenít associated with lairs; and if you only kill some of the monsters in any give lair (but donít clear it) and leave and return (which includes freeing a creature from another lair), the full number will respawn. The thing is, the EXP curve required for higher levels makes it infeasible to grind in most areas, and at no point is this really necessary.

There are only a few things to free here: A mouse, two of the three attic denizens, and the second set of stairs to the basement (which I screwed up the screenshot for, sorry).

Living, talking dolls seems downright normal around here.

I've never found a way that giving an herb to this chest benefits you, but it makes him so happy, I just can't say no.

This plant is important: Itís an Actinidia polygama (silver vine), known in Japan for attracting cats like catnip. (Not to be confused with Actinidia deliciosa, the common kiwi.)

If you equip the leaves, the cats follow you around until you lead them out of the room.

10-29-2012, 01:48 PM
Then you can meet the rest of the mice, one of whom gives you the nearly-impossible-to-use-effectively magic of Spark Bomb, It lays a ring of delayed-explosion bombs that enemies rarely-if-ever blunder into!

Note the continued use of "defeated" rather than "killed". I suspect, given the "souls sealed in monster lairs" thing, they could have used something like "captured" or "sealed away" instead and had something that Nintendo standards and practices would be happy with, but didn't break the player's suspension of disbelief.

The plant over here is your free medical herb supplier for the area.

One of the chests in the second basement area (the power plant) contains the Light Armor. ďNo damage from weaker enemiesĒ is the gameís way of saying ďnow would be a good time to backtrack.Ē Iíve never done any research on how it decides what counts as a ďweakerĒ enemy, but it isnít really a necessary power regardless, as I could obviously do the backtracking just fine without it.

The enemies in the power plant are the same as the ones we saw in the first part of the basement, and it's a relatively short segment.

10-29-2012, 01:53 PM
I find that this gameís bosses are repetitive exercises in pattern recognition; and a little too long once youíve figured out the trick. This guy, the Tin Doll, is one of the most forgettable and is no exception. Heíll briefly stop and be vulnerable, then fire off missiles and laugh (invulnerable through that entire process), then briefly be vulnerable again as the missiles land and he zooms off to the teleporters that line both sides of the screen. As far as I know, he never switches sides using the teleporters, so itís easy to spot where he appears and strike him when he first comes back into the area. Wear the Power Bracelet, hit him during his two vulnerable periods, run from the explosions, repeat. Switch to your Medical Herb if you need to.

Defeating him releases Marie, the last of Dr. Leo's "pets".

Upon reflection: It's not clear whether Marie can actually move on her own, hence the need for Ghamer to take the stone from her pocket, rather than her giving it to him.

Thereís a Masterís Emblem to retrieve by sliding this chest of drawers out of the way. I nearly forgot about it.

This was a rather short update; I mostly wanted to get this area finished and then my ramblings got out of hand. Next time should be longer.

Next time: Magridd Castle!

10-29-2012, 05:29 PM
Yeah, the bosses in this game are a weak bunch. But I suppose all the combat in the game is about finding the right place to stand and then swinging your sword a lot.
But flawed or not, I can't stop loving you, Soul Blazer!

Sky Render
10-29-2012, 08:49 PM
To be fair, given how they coded the engine, there wasn't a lot they could do for boss variety. The complete and utter uncontrollable nature of the servant soul circling your head makes magic a non-option most of the time, and of course the combat is not meaningfully more refined than the original Zelda on NES.

On the bright side, they did learn a lot of lessons from Soul Blader when the time came to make the next game. A pity it took them another game after that to remember that you need to develop ideas before you implement them.

10-30-2012, 08:33 AM
The plant over here is your free medical herb supplier for the area.

Doesn't it run out of herbs eventually? I seem to recall reading that somewhere.

10-30-2012, 02:39 PM
But flawed or not, I can't stop loving you, Soul Blazer!

I was also in the multi-rent club, but I only made it as far a Snail Land before buying it years later.

Yay, Soul Blazer! Glad to see this LP's soul restored.

11-02-2012, 05:46 PM
Yeah, the bosses in this game are a weak bunch. But I suppose all the combat in the game is about finding the right place to stand and then swinging your sword a lot.

Give me a long enough sword and a solid place to stand, and I can revive the world.

...actually, that just makes me think of 3D Dot Game Heroes, the greatest Zelda remake/Dragon Quest parody ever.

To be fair, given how they coded the engine, there wasn't a lot they could do for boss variety. The complete and utter uncontrollable nature of the servant soul circling your head makes magic a non-option most of the time, and of course the combat is not meaningfully more refined than the original Zelda on NES.

I think--though I am not certain--that all of the bosses are immune to magic (except Deathtoll, and then only one spell works). I wonder if they got inspiration for that from the Ys games?

Doesn't it run out of herbs eventually? I seem to recall reading that somewhere.

I'm going to need to try SCIENCE! on that at some point--I've never needed to get more than one from each source (the tool shop, the Woodstein-Trio, the medmaid who makes them, the plant, the inn) in any given run through the game. My guess would be that they're infinite, though. Why bother coding in a limit to the supply?

11-02-2012, 05:59 PM
Soul Blazer: Magridd Castle, Part 1

Welcome to scenic Magridd Castle, the last habitable area of the game. It...has seen better days.

I had lost track of this, but it appears Iíve been in uncharted territory here: The LP archive is actually missing an entry, corresponding to most of Dr. Leoís lab and the opening of Magridd Castle.

The new monsters in the dungeon of the castle include snakes, who'll slither in straight lines when you cross their field of vision; and skeletons, who'll masquerade as piles of bones until you get close.

Good advice!

I think I'll take it!

The only "spirit" type monsters in the basement are ghosts, which are annoying to try to screencap because they flicker. The also can teleport, which means they vanish and reappear some unknown amount of time later right on top of you.

My predecessors expressed irritation about a lot of the enemies, but really, there are only a few that I find particularly irritating. The Spike Statues in Lune. The mini-archers. The teleporting Ghosts in the castle basement (but only when they actually bother to teleportósometimes they just come right at you). And the invulnerable Trap Heads in Magridd Castle (which we'll see soon enough)and Gargoyle Statues in the World of Evil, both of which spit never-ending fireballs while youíre trying to kill things.

The last new enemy in this area are steel balls, which fly very quickly at 45 degree angles and fire rings at you. They are very annoying if you stand in the wrong place and very easy if you stand in the right place.

Sequence breaking oh noes. (This is what happens when you recall someone who's supposed to appear inside a building, but that building hasn't been released yet.)

I think this is the only time a person references "where I had been captured" as a location in a dungeon.

11-02-2012, 06:07 PM
It's nice that you don't even have to go back to town to start off this particular fetch quest.

I think there are actually more soldiers in this castle than civilian humans in Grass Valley.

...something isn't right here.

This secret passage becomes visible a little ways from now; there's nothing hidden in it, it's just a shortcut.

Similarly, this chest is normally invisible. In my case, I knew where it was, so I just opened it.

Oh, right, the King's men took Dr. Leo here, so he's logically still around somewhere.

Singer: He was taken to the torture room in the first basement and never came back. "This harp string is a birthday present from my friend. I am able to play great music with this string." He always told me I could.


11-02-2012, 06:26 PM
Okay, dude, could you just shuffle over...I mean, just a little, there's a...oh, Master-dammit.

Singer: That is a harp string. I promise to use it carefully if you give it to me. Thank you very much. Please sit and listen to my music. Thank you very much for coming. Before I play some music let me tell you my story. I fell in love just once in my 24 years. It was when I visit a mine town, Grass Valley. When I was injured, there was a girl who took care of me. I couldn't tell her my true feelings though......The girl's name was something like Lisa. The music I am going to play now is a song that I wrote for her.

I like to pretend he's performing this instead: ďI am none but a harper, and a very poor harper.Ē (http://www.thebards.net/music/lyrics/None_But_A_Harper.shtml)

...It occurs to me, I always thought that the strings on a harp where individual strings, not one long one. Maybe he'd only broken one of many strings?

The soldier comes up to listen, and we get the card from the floor.

Upon reflection, I think my favorite music in this game is the island music in Oceania, particularly when youíre calling down the lightning on Blester. It just feels like pulse-pounding action.

A soldier is sleping on the job.

Dr. Leo: I would not pay attention to my wife and daughter. Still I don't understand. I was praised as a genius, scientist and even the King often gave me orders. I kept inventing things, Water Mill, Elevator, and even this Airship. Finally I invented a machine to call upon evil, only to realize something. Tools are there to make people's lives easier. But when tools start to use people, their culture will decline and they will become unhappy. When I get to the World of Evil, Deathtoll will be called. I don't want to believe this beautiful world will be destroyed. Please, let me off somewhere!
Soldier: Dr. Leo, you may be right. But I must take you to Magridd castle and make sure you do not escape. I have to worry about the present, not tomorrow. I must do my job or be punished. Please try to understand this.

Soldier: If I would have released Dr. Leo, the world would not be like this. I don't know who to obey anymore! There are many thorns in the basement of Magridd Castle. You must take this armor with you. Ghamer recieved the Elemental Mail.


Soldier: Our King is the greatest man in the world. I must say this or I will be punished.

And on that big pile of plot, I'll be signing off for now. Next time: Backtracking! Invisible passages! Dr. Leo!

11-05-2012, 05:57 PM
Soul Blazer: Magridd Castle, Part 2

We're starting this installment with a quick trip back to Greenwood. (In theory, all of the backtracking could have waited until now, or even have waited until after I finished Magridd Castle--I can't use the Recovery Sword until I hit level 22, and the last red-hot item is in the World of Evil anyway.)

The Spirit Balls in the Light Shrine are the only other enemy, besides ghosts, that you need the Spirit Sword to kill. Hunting them all down gives you two useful items. The first is my favorite non-Phoenix magic, the Flame Pillar.

The second is this bird and his attendant stump. I always have trouble sneaking up on this bird, because if you come at him from the wrong angle, he'll fly across the screen and you'll have to chase him down and try again.

I wouldn't have to sneak up on you if you'd just stand there and let me approach you, like every other NPC!

The three red-hot items are the stick, mirror and ball. I'll admit, I'm not certain as to their significance or if they're accurately translated at all. Anyone have any better information?

The left tower is the next segment of dungeon, and you need the Platinum card from beneath the soldier's feet to get in.

Most of the tower looks like this: A swarm of Chess Knights and Grunts seperated by fireball-spewing Trap Heads. I hate the Trap Heads, and the only nice thing about them is that most of the time, clearing lairs removes them. (Though if a fireball has been generated, removing the Head doesn't remove the fireball. I walked into a bunch of those, which will explain my health level in later screenshots.)

Grunts come in two flavors: "Purple", which charge at you and try to stab you, like most ground-based monsters; and "Red", which tend to stand still and throw their sword at you like a boomerang. They're easy so long as you can manuver behind them, out of range of said sworderang.

Chess Knights (which are remarkably similar to the Chess Knights in Secret of Mana) jump in the standard L-shape and stick spikes out in the four cardinal directions when they're standing still. They're fun, because you can predict where they're going to go, and then stand on a diagonal to avoid the spikes.

11-05-2012, 06:07 PM
Soldier: I know everything about the Magridd Castle. I will help you when you come back.

Soldier: I know all of the invisible passages in the Magridd Castle. Would you like to walk the basement with me?
The soul that knows the castle's secret passages joins you!

And with that, I have all of the companion souls. I'm going to guess that their English names were the closest things the translators could cram into the available space. "Soul of Reality" seems awfully highfalutin' for "the guy who knows the castle's layout."

Walking the basement with him reveals the hidden passage in that wall I walked through before. It would also show the Emblem chest, if I hadn't found it already.

The top floor of the left tower has some hidden passages, more Grunts and Chess Knights, and also Golems, which don't really do anything but sit and wait for you to kill them.

Odd that the Queen has her own little house, rather than just living ni the castle proper.

There are a few more townsfolk up here, as well.

And the man himself!

A lot of the earlier areas give the impression that evil came upon them slowly, capturing people and sealing them in lairs one by one, with determined folks (like Turbo) going forward to try to beat them back. Magridd Castle has this major event in medias res when you free everyone. It makes it seem like Dr. Leo and some soldiers were trying to escape when King Magridd made his deal and Deathtoll claimed everyone in the castle, almost at once.

11-05-2012, 06:18 PM
Saving this soldier also rebuilds the right tower, which Dr. Leo is currently at the top of. Something doesn't quite make sense about that, upon reflection.

There's one of Leo's buddies.

The midpoint warp to the shrine is in the bottom of the basement, so the game gives you a gem-fairy to warp out of the left tower.

If you flatter the Queen, she'll give you the VIP card, which is needed to enter the right tower.

These two very quickly turn away from each other when you walk in. It's just subtle enough that Nintendo's censorship board could give it the nod.

This particular sentiment was always embodied by The Carpenters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NUm6wZUP_s)for me.

And on that note, I'll be back in a few days to finish up this castle, because there's all sorts of plot to transcribe for next time. And my least-favorite boss.

11-06-2012, 04:14 AM
If I'm not mistaken, Illusion of Gaia uses that same "oh he just had something in his eye" gag. I wonder if Terranigma has it too?

Sky Render
11-06-2012, 08:26 AM
If I'm not mistaken, Illusion of Gaia uses that same "oh he just had something in his eye" gag. I wonder if Terranigma has it too?

If memory serves, it does. That's something of a running gag in Quintet games, along with Turbo the Wonder Dog.

11-11-2012, 02:04 PM
Soul Blazer: Magridd Castle, Part 3

Todayís feature is the right tower of Magridd Castle, which is stocked with the same enemy set as the left tower (Grunts, Golems, Chess Knights, Trap Heads), plus the irritating Mimics! They look just like treasure chests, then they try to eat you when you go to open them. Standard, but still unpleasant. The tower also features several passages and stairs that are invisible without the Soul of Reality. That first segment pictured is a lot of fun, though: Each lair you seal reveals the next in the sequence, eventually clearing out the entire area.

http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00296_zpsb4f0ee6c.jpghttp://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00295_zpsd554802c.jpghttp://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00294_zps3324c6b9.jpg http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00299_zpseb71175d.jpghttp://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00300_zpsd2f8700c.jpghttp://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00301_zpsb05e27e6.jpg
The rest of Magriddís army is sealed up here, too. Releasing these soldiers finishes rebuilding the town, and also the center part of the castle.

Which lets us retrieve the final Masterís Emblem!

The thing about the Magic Bell is that it really isnít a necessary item. Unless youíre dying a lot or using magic like super-crazy, youíre going to have a ton of GEMs by this point in the game, and very little left to use them on. And it takes the item slot, which means you canít use either bracelet.

11-11-2012, 02:07 PM
At the top of the right tower, just past the second shrine warp, we find the man responsible for all of this.

Dr. Leo: The stone you have collected are keys to open the gate to the World of Evil. They are the Origins of Power for machines that beckon evil. King Magridd holds the last stone. We have to free him to get the last stone. Go then to the World of Evil and defeat Deathtoll.

http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00314_zpsebd3a696.jpg http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag95/gmbeowulf/SoulBlazerLP2/SoulBlazer_00315_zps35b6e3e3.jpg
From off-screen right, a spear flies out and hits the soldier, killing him.


This soldier is super-badass, taking several waves of spears to the face before finally keeling over.

Dr. Leo: But please, release Lisa. She is the most precious thing in this world. Even if I could not see her, she would still be my motivation. I can endure anything by just imagining her face.

Dr. Leo rushes the crowd and sets off a bomb, killing the Queen and her soldiers, but lingering long enough himself for a final speech.

Dr. Leo: Scientists are supposed to invent machines in order to make people happy. But an unexpected scientist may ruin the culture. Some people believe happiness comes quickly. I think it comes with patience. Lisa, I am sorry for leaving you. I am not passing away, rather, I am going to sleep. When a scientist with my knowledge is needed, I will be back. Lisa, be happy, but donít rush yourself. Yes, graduallyÖÖ

One of the themes of the Heaven and Earth Trilogy is the dangers of misusing science, and the need for technological advancements to come at the right time. I think the limited space for details in this game makes the lesson come out harsher than itís intended to be: After all, the water mill, elevator and airship seem to be able to make peopleís lives better. If anything, science (and Dr. Leo) are neutral in this scenario, and it was the evil in King and Queen Magridd that drove the problems.

11-11-2012, 02:13 PM
Under normal circumstances, Iíd honor Leoís wishes and start up the airship right away. But I need to take a quick trip back to town to raid the Queenís house.

You see, the Dragon Bird is my least favorite boss of the entire game. Under other circumstances, leaving to retrieve the Super Bracelet might feel like a waste of time or an unpleasant break in the narrative to me, but not for this guy, oh no.

He has two attacks: flying down at a diagonal and trying to crash into you, and spitting fire down from the top of the screen. The former is when you can hurt him, which would be easy if not for the fact that youíre on an airship, so youíre constantly sliding backwards. The fire attack is really hard to dodge unless you manage to get him to make his first shot to the center of the screen, and then dodge left while he goes right (or vice-versa). In theory you can slip between two fire streams; in practice, I pretty much always get hit. Needless to say, the Super Bracelet (and a medical herb) made my life much easier in this fight. This guy and the Ghost Head are the only places Iíve died in this game since the mid-90s.

Such a welcome sight.

Lisa: I didnít think I would see him again. But because of you I was finally able to see him again. I imagined you fighting monsters whenever I closed my eyes. By the way, I would like you to answer my questions. Are you a real human being like me? I seeÖ..I feel like you are far away even though you are right in front of me. I feel like you are watching us from the sky. I donít know how to express the way I feel. But that is okay, I, I loveÖYou are going to fight Deathtoll, right? I would say goodbye, but I know I am going to cry. Please leave while my back is turned.

I couldn't just leave you on that sad note, so we'll visit a few of the folks we released. This girl is the medical herb provider for this area.

This soldier is glad the internet doesn't exist yet.

King: And killed whomever would not follow me. Once you reach the top the only way is down. I was just a coward. I made a promise with the evil King Deathtoll. Simply because I thought it would impress the Queen. But the Queen was captured by her own desire and passed away. I must apologize to Dr. Leo. I have the Black Stone with me. You must have all 6 of these now. Please go to the world of evil and defeat Deathtoll. This is all I can do for Dr. Leo.

Next time: I do.

11-11-2012, 04:01 PM
Oh man, that scene with Dr. Leo's sacrifice along with Lisa's uncontrollable sobbing after her father's death got such a strong emotional reaction out of me as a kid. I think it was the first time a game had that kind of effect on me. To top it off, you immediately have a desperate fight against the most frustrating boss in the game. Heavy stuff for a nine year old.

11-12-2012, 09:34 AM
It's cool how they use the soul releases to narrative effect at the end with Leo, the Queen, and the King. Makes me think they could have done a lot more with that mechanic.

It's already the game's biggest selling point, though (at least to me), so I can't say it was a squandered opportunity.

11-12-2012, 12:05 PM
I always got far in my Soul Blazer runs, but I never defeated that-
(Heavily censored. Think happy thoughts, we'll be back with you in a bit.)
BIRD! *Breathes heavily* until I found the invulnerable Bracelet. Even then, he was still a pain... Luckily, the rest of the game was much, MUCH easier.

Sky Render
11-12-2012, 12:21 PM
The first time I played Soul Blader, it was on emulator. So I found appropriate the rhythm for that boss fight via savestates to help me. The answer is actually counterintuitive (which would explain why most people have problems with the fight). It requires a combination of good timing with the fireball dodging (tip: the boss tends to move whichever direction is closest to the way you were relative to him when he started spitting the last set of fireballs) and actually attacking where the boss will be during his dives in regards to where you will be due to the airship constantly pushing you downward.

Doing a flawless run of the fight is nearly impossible on real hardware, but it can be done. You just need to have a good sense of the fight's rather convoluted patterns.

11-12-2012, 12:32 PM
The first time I played Soul Blader

I know that's the actual translation of the title, but it looks a heck of a lot like Soul Bladder. I think they made the right choice here.

oblig. Cefca reference

11-15-2012, 10:33 AM
I have a lot of love in my heart for Soul Blazer and have beaten it dozens of times. The resurrection of this LP inspired me to play it again and now I feel like my video game skills must have deteriorated a great deal in a short amount of time. The worlds are still easy and fun to go through, but damn, the bosses are absolutely kicking my ass this time around. I feel like the invincibility period when you're hit is minuscule, so if you stand in the wrong spot during a boss fight you can quickly find 90% of your health evaporated if the boss walks on top of you for just a second. Then you get to sit and wait for the Soul Blazerô title to scroll by again before you can take another crack at it.

Maybe it just seems egregious because I'm playing through Link to the Past at the same time and the combat styles are just similar (yet different) enough that I'm getting thrown off. I must practice my crab walking.

11-15-2012, 02:34 PM
Soul Blazer: The World of Evil

Here we go, folks. Itís all led up to this: Bringing the battle to Deathtollís doorstep.

Master: But you need the Phoenixís help to defeat Deathtoll. When the Phoenix joins you, the palace of Deathtoll will appear in the World of Evil. Ghamer, try to find the three symbols.

The World of Evil is like walking in space, broken up by walls and a few new enemies. Thereís no ďtownĒ area, and sealing lairs is only useful for revealing treasurers and opening the way ahead.

The first of the new monsters, seen above, is the cyclops. He moves like most ground-based enemies, but shoots wide beams at you if you leave him alone.

There are a few monsters in the World of Evil that you canít reach with your sword at all, usually because of those wide walls. I prefer Flame Pillar, which will one-shot them and can be free with the Magic Bell.

This guy, the Bug, flies back and forth in a set pattern and at a set distance, but become invisible and invincible while moving. Heís a classic example of ďstand in the right placeĒ sort of game play.

The Gargoyle Statues are just larger, better-dressed versions of the Trap Heads from Magridd Castle.

Some treasures are better than others, though Medical Herbs are a free health refill if you donít have one.

The second area is very similar to the first. The edges of the areas here are surrounded by these glowing flames, with are as harmless as normal walls. But there a few point when fire will arc from them, and thatís not harmless.

The last new enemy are Rollers, giant silver squares that flip back and forth, end-over-end, and respawn infinitely. Of course, you canít kill them until you find the Soul Blade, so theyíre more of a trap than anything.

The third area is called ďdazzling spaceĒ, and entering it without the Soul Armor on hurts you the same way being underwater without the Bubble Armor does.

I always imagined that the upward trek through the World of Evil was climbing the aurora, into outer space, where Deathtollís flying fortress was. Though in retrospect, given that Ghamer and the Master come from the sky, it should have been easier to reach.

11-15-2012, 02:36 PM
And here, right here, is the reason you canít do a low-level run of Soul Blazer, and the real reason you need to kill everything you find in the World of Evil. Youíre in for a nasty surprise if you zoom ahead without killing everything: You need to be Level 24 to use the Soul Blade, and you canít use the Phoenix without it, so you canít fight Deathtoll. In theory, there are plenty of monster lairs in earlier areas you can skip and there are souls you donít need to release to proceed, except for this little hiccup. Youíll notice I was only level 23 when I picked up the Soul Blade, and I needed to kill another lair full of Bugs in order to use it.

Sealing a lair before you enter dazzling space reveals the shrine warp in an otherwise-inaccessible area. It leads to a chest with the final red-hot item. Back to the Mountain King!

Phoenix: I am the Phoenix. I live on the Mountain of Souls. I will help you revive the world and protect the peace. As soon as I was called, Deathtoll moved into position.

That he did.

King: If you equip SoulBlade and Soul Armor the Phoenix will be able to help you. This is the final battle, the battle with Deathtoll. Please come back alive.

Hereís a secret for you: Snowballs in Aurora Peak are not actually invulnerable, they just can only be hurt by the Soul Blade. And they give a lot of XP! (The Rollers in the World of Evil are still far and away the best place to grind if you feel the need, but I figured people would be interested in knowing that these things can, in fact, be killed.)

My final stats and equipment. I grinded a little on snowballs and rollers to get up to a nice, even level 25, but thatís not really necessary. The highest level is 50, I believe, and getting anywhere near there is completely and totally unnecessary.

11-15-2012, 02:37 PM
Deathtoll: I will put you in a deep sleep.

Deathtollís first form (which we see there) is a joke. He teleports around and throws fireballs. If youíre wearing the Super Bracelet, you can just wail on him with the Phoenix and youíll take barely any damage before he goes down.

Deathtoll: Being alive is suffering for some creatures. You will find out what I mean.

Deathtollís true form, on the other hand, requires a little more awareness, but not that much. The sequence goes like this: Four blue flames will rise from the ground. When you kill them, Deathtollís forehead will briefly flash green and heíll be vulnerable to the Phoenix, then heíll spit three fireballs at you and repeat. As this is happening, twin lasers will periodically come at you.

The strategy is pretty simple: Go in with plenty of GEMs. Stand off-center to the left or right, moving over to dodge lasers or hit the flames with the Phoenix. As soon as you strike the last flame for the third time, turn and start spamming attacks at Deathtollís head. The fireballs he spits always follow the same pattern, so you can always avoid them by standing off-center. If youíre wearing the Super Bracelet, you shouldnít even need to use a medical herb.

It looks like I finished the game with exactly 5,000 GEMs. Thatís kinda awesome.

Suddenly, Ghamer heard a small voice. Ghamer, we decided to stay here and seal the World of EvilÖ.. The World of Evil is a dark world that exists in the back of creaturesí minds. As long as there are inventions in this world the same thing will happen. I will stay and try to stop as much as possible. You are still young, you should experience more. And if you figure out reasons for, all feelings, all connections and existences, you will be wise like the Master. Ghamer, get going.


11-15-2012, 02:39 PM
King Magridd: First of all, let me say thank you. I started to think of many things. I know this may sound strange but in the human world, if a person kills one man he is a murderer. However, if a person kills 100, then he is praised as a hero. I became a king by this theory, but I always felt lonely. Even if I had many men and beautiful women around me, I felt alone. Now I realize no man can live by himself. I am using all the money I received from Deathtoll to construct and build a great town. This is my way of compensating the people I helped defeat. But, I also want to build a town where people wonít have anything to fear, and they can begin to believe in themselves. Ghamer, thank you very much. I will build statues of you and Dr. Leo in the center of town. I promise to tell every generation about your accomplishments.

Marie: Dr. Leo can pass away peacefully. We tool, exist to be used by human beings. We are happy if weíre helpful to the humans. And we hurt if they use us in the wrong way. Even though we would like to tell them not to use us the wrong way, we cannot. This is very painful. But Dr. Leo understood our feelings. The tools Dr. Leo used must have been happy.

Gnome King: Nome was really worried about you. Nome, say something.
Nome: ÖÖ. The King is such a thoughtless man. Dr. Leo has passed away. I miss him very much. There are creatures that only get one year to live. They value of life depends on the number of days spent with fulfillment. Maybe Dr. Leoís life was more fulfilled than many others.

Mermaid Queen: Peace has returned here, to St. Elles. The dolphin, Lue, used to live with Dr. Leo. Itís stranger, whenever he tells me about Dr. Leo and his daughter Lisa. I miss them and sometimes find myself crying. Now Dr. Leo is gone, Lisa must be very lonely. Oh, here comes Lue. He must have heard your voice.

Lue: I decided to return to my home town along with my friends. To tell you the truth, I am to be married. Hey Lala, come in here!

Lue: Ghamer, I wish you luck.

When Ghamer closed his eyes, he tried to imagine Turbo.

Turbo: Like good sleep comes after hard work, good rest comes after an honest life. I will rest well with Dr. Leo.

Ghamer placed the Dream Rod upon Lisaís head.

Lisa: I am all alone. I know that as time passes I will stop feeling lonely. My father used to tell me the key to happiness lies in patience not in haste. I donít know whether you are an angel or human, but I must ask you to do me a favor. I will not ask you to stay with me, only promise me you will return someday. You could tell me a lie, but I feel our promise will give me hope for the future.

Lisa: Thank you. I wish this dream would never end.


All the creatures stopped and looked at the beauty of the sunset. One was with his child, and one was with his friend, creatures were in awe of the scenery. Suddenly, a light ray shot into the sky. However, no one noticed it.

Lisa was standing all by herself. She used to feel lonely when she was the unset, but onw, she thinks it is beautiful. Just like her father changed impossible to possible, Lisa feels she will be happy if she believes.

11-15-2012, 02:40 PM
This dude deserves particular props.

And these three worked together to revive the world.


The Master: I do not know what has happened between you and that girl. But this means that you have not yet established yourself as a heavenly creature. A year has now passed, but your feelings have not changed. You should try living as a human being. Learning how they live. Be warned though. Once you go down to earth you will lose all memory.

Lisa: Whatís wrong with me?

Lisa: I knew you would come back!

Lisa: Itís okay. You donít have to worry. I can tell by the look in your eyes. Itís me, LisaÖDaughter of Dr. Leo the inventor! Please! Donít you remember me? Well, okay. You have never lied to me. Itís just hard to believe you lost all your memory. All right, I wonít ask you again. I guess I have to change my way of thinking. We can create many new and wonderful memories together! Okay, let me introduce myself. I am Lisa, and the goat behind me is Turbo. Come on Turbo, say ďhelloĒ.

Lisa: He looks like a dog I used to have. That is why I call him Turbo. Come, I will show you around.


Thanks to Dread Cthulhu and Seth Marati for doing most of the work here and letting me come in and bat cleanup, thanks to everyone who commented for your support, and thanks to everyone on this board for making it such a great place.

Achievement Unlocked: Curse Broken!

Sky Render
11-15-2012, 04:26 PM
And so yet another SNES RPG joins the roster of "Completed LPs" on the Talking Time LP list. Well done, one and all!

I find it interesting how prevalent the theme of reincarnation is in Japanese games. I mean yes, it is a big part of Shinto and Buddhism both, but it always manifests in nearly the exact same way in JRPGs. Either directly or by inference, someone is the reborn form of a familiar person to someone else in the story (or sometimes both people are getting perpetually reborn and keep finding each other). But of course, either one or both parties are unaware of it.

Anyway, good to see another LP scratched off the list.

11-15-2012, 07:09 PM
Achievement Unlocked: Curse Broken!

Yes! Now we just need the Illusion of Gaia curse to be broken!

11-17-2012, 12:45 AM
This dude deserves particular props.

Well, that's why he gets his name in all caps.

Soren Highwind
11-17-2012, 06:22 PM
I don't think I've ever heard of this game before reading this thread, but it seems quite interesting. Maybe I'll give it a shot one day.

Nice job on the LP, you three. =)

11-29-2012, 06:31 PM
Congrats to everyone who made this LP possible!