It’s good to be the Spirit King!!!
If anyone wondered why the Genesis game was called Beyond Oasis, here’s your answer. Legend of Oasis is the PREQUEL to Beyond Oasis. All the events described in Legend of Oasis happened a long time ago, roughly 1000 years, before Beyond Oasis. Somehow, there were more spirits in the past than in the future. With six known spirits, and one more only hinted at in the manual (don’t worry, we’re looking for it), this game is a lot bigger than its 16 Bit counterpart. Though there are a couple of holes in the story line, and it takes awhile to get the control down, Legend of Oasis is well worth the money.
With almost no load time, this game delivers some superb graphics. Size is completely variable in this game. The characters can grow and shrink according to whatever item they happen to pick up at the time. When you grow, the number of pixels stay the same, so the graphics get a little blocky. There doesn’t seem to be a lower limit to how much you can shrink other than the amount of “Tiny Thyme”(oooh, bad joke) available. After about four of the item, you can barely even see your character anymore. The enemies are the usual big and mean monstrosities that are out to kill you. They chose an interesting viewpoint for Legend of Oasis. Just like in Beyond Oasis, you control the action from three quarter angle, not sideview or top down. This way, you get both depth and height.
The control is a little more difficult than in Beyond Oasis. The X button acts as both a special move for the spirits and as the way of desummoning them. If you press it twice at the wrong moment, you might just lose the spirit at an inopportune time. On of the best things about the control in Legend of Oasis is the wide variety of moves and weapons. Each weapon has its own special moves associated with it. Though you technically can do the moves from the start of the game, the game will tell you about most of them eventually. The addition of “Street Fighter” type action into an RPG is a refreshing change and sure to please many people.
Unfortunately, they decided not to include a couple of good aspects from Beyond Oasis, besides the turban. You no longer have an inventory, so cheese and meat are almost pointless except for quick fixes. Instead, you can hold one and only one elixir. If you happened to pick up another, you automatically use the one you have. Personally, this was amazingly annoying and made Legend of Oasis lose some of that RPG feel.
Another big turnoff of Legend of Oasis is the background music. With annoying crescendos at the oddest times, you really wish you could just turn the volume off. Unfortunately, at the other end of the spectrum are the sound effects. With the clattering of bones, a skeleton arises from its century long sleep. If only there was some way to nix the music, but keep the sound effects, then I’d be a happy boy.
For the RPG starved Saturn, Legend of Oasis is a welcome addition. While not a true RPG, it combines some of the best qualities from both the action and RPG genres. Though an oddly situated prequel, Legend of Oasis is definitely a keeper. Who knows, maybe they’ll come out with a sequel to the prequel? (Wait, wouldn’t that be the original game? I’m so confused . . . )