Enix and Quintet teamed up during the Super Nintendo's lifespan and produced some great games. These companies know how to make a good action RPG. Soul Blazer is one of those games. This addictive game is quite intriguing, as well as confusing at times. Although not officially, the plot seems to tie into Enix and Quintet's earlier hits, Act Raiser and Act Raiser 2. There are many parallels in their stories, which could lead one to believe that Soul Blazer might be, unofficially, the sequel to the Act Raiser games.
In Soul Blazer, you play as an unnamed resident of "The Sky." This basically means that you are a warrior angel type being who lives in Heaven, however, Enix/Quintet decided to remove as much of the religious connotation from this game as possible without completely destroying the story. I have yet to find out if they were forced to do this by someone or, the more likely reason, they did so voluntarily to keep various religious groups off their back, but I digress.
In the game, you are called upon by "The Master" (God) to go to the Earth and release the people from the grasp of evil. When you arrive, you go though 7 areas, fighting many, many monsters. Once all the monsters in a particular lair are destroyed, you then, depending on the lair, either open up a path or item in the dungeon you are in, or you may liberate the people, plants, animals, normally inanimate objects, and so on who were captured by said monster and sealed in their lair. They, in turn, will give you advice, items, or just say various things that NPCs (Non Player Characters) are known to say in various situations. The plot does get simplistic in its nature from time to time, but it is still fairly good. It also contains fewer plot holes than many adventure type RPGs I've played.
The controls for this game are pretty straightforward. One button attacks, examines, and talks; one button casts magic and cancels/closes menus; one button opens your equip menu, where you equip your weapons, armor, magic powers, and items; and the final displays your status. Holding the L or the R key allows you to "crab walk." That is moving around without turning. In battle, crab walking also holds your sword out in front of you. This can be useful for enemies that you need to continuously face.
In battle, you cast your magic via a glowing orb, which orbits around you. It requires timing in order to cast spells because it is impossible to stop the orb from orbiting you. Each spell requires gems in order to execute. You receive these gems upon killing most monsters you encounter. Each spell requires a different amount of gems to execute. Items are automatically used. For instance, if you equip a medical herb, it will automatically refill your life bar when it runs out.
Some items are permanently kept, while some, like medical herbs, can only be used once. It is possible to get more of some of these items that could only be used once. Some, on the other hand, once used, are irrevocably lost once used.
The graphics aren't bad for when they were released in 1992. They are fairly good quality through out most of the game. It does have less of an anime like quality than Quintet's later games. The sprites are more detailed than you would expect them to be, as are the dungeons and caves you go though. It shows a lot of effort went into them.
The sound and music, however, are pretty bad. The music is very repetitive and dull. They reuse many of the music tracks over and over throughout the game. It was reminiscent of the tedious music I'd expect from some older NES RPGs. The sound is a bit sub-standard, even by SNES standards. I've heard better sound and music from Game Boy games.
When all is said and done, Enix and Quintet's first joint attempt at making a true RPG type game was fairly successful. It set the foundation for their future joint efforts in RPGs as well as their later separately made RPGs. Although somewhat simplistic in design, this game is still a fairly good game, even by today's standards. I give Soul Blazer an over all score of 78%.