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The Greatest Game You Never Played - Skyblazer

Oct 14, 2006
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Before the Playstation and during the SNES/MegaDrive era, Sony was purely an electronics and music company, right? Not so. They also had a games development studio by the name of Sony Imagesoft.

Sony Imagesoft hasn't been remembered as a studio that produced anything memorable or remarkable, but during the SNES era, they created something unique. They created an action platformer that dared to go where no game of its own time or since has tried to - Indian/Hindu-themed fantasy crossed with a bit of Chinese.

The Box Art


The US Boxart - it's very 90s


The Japanese Boxart - it's very DBZ

The Story

The Skyblazer Manual said:
Before the dawn of history, in an age when great sorcerers walked the lands and mystic creatures abounded, the world existed in a constant state of turmoil and war.

The evil Ashura and his powerful warlords waged an eternal war to crush the Mystic Pantheon and stamp out the light of reason once and for all.

Eventually a great sorcerer, Sky-Lord, arose and defeated Ashura, banishing him from the realm forever. Centuries passed, cities rose and fell and eventually even the great deeds of the Mystic Pantheon and the evil Ashura passed into legend.

Until one day, a gifted apprentice sorcerer inadvertently freed Ashura from imprisonment. One by one Ashura began to capture and irrevocably transform the descendants of the Mystic Pantheon, making them his evil warlords.

As the last free descendant, you are Sky, set upon a quest to free the young sorceress Arianna and face Ashura in mortal combat to end his tyrannical rule once and for all.
The story is simple, but effective and mythical in its qualities. You have a long-dead war that has been revived and you, as the last survivor of an heroic bloodline have to rise up and defeat the baddies.

Like with most myths, no further explanation is given as to Ashura or his origins. That detail isn't important - it's your hero who is the focus.

Sure, it's basically your "The princess has been kidnapped - you must save the princess" kind of storyline, but the presentation of it in this game will change that into a quest for the ages.

The Gameplay

You play the game on a world map across three continents. At first this is linear, but as you get further into the game, you get branching paths that let you choose which level to tackle next.

The game's world features a staggering variety of levels - forests, cliffs, skies, temples, fortresses, rivers and even a level that's basically a waterfall of sand. Each is beautifully decked out and the indian-style music that plays makes them a joy to explore.

There are three basic modes of play in this game:

1) Action Platforming:

This is the main mode you'll be in for most of the game. You hit Y once, and Sky will punch. Hit it three times in succession and he'll do two punches and a roundhouse kick. Jump and hit Y, and he kicks in the air. Pretty basic stuff.

The real fun comes from his spiderman-like ability to cling to walls and from his magic.

At certain points in the game, you gain extra life and a new magic spell to work with. These magic spells do various things, like restore your health, shoot you horizontally across the screen (useful for crossing spike pits), cast lightning down upon your foes and even transform you into an invincible phoenix for a short amount of time.

Some spells, like the Starburst can be throw-away, but others, like the Comet Dash are exceedingly useful and necessary for you to complete the game. Otherwise broken bosses become pussycats if you're packing the right spells. The key is to experiment.

Careful though, as your magic is exceedingly limited and should only be used when necessary.

2) Side-scrolling Flying Levels:

Some levels have you flying across the screen using your standard bullet spell, the Dragon Slash to clear monsters in your way. Think Gradius, but with a Super Saiyan on a kite instead of a spaceship.

3) 3rd Person Flying Levels:

These levels come up when you need to fly between continents. They're basically bonus levels where the key is to obtain as many gems as you can (100 gems gets you a 1-up) without touching the floating spikes.

Screenshots

No description of this game can really do it justice. The game is simply beautiful and if you disagree, you have no soul:


The first level - Sky using the Dragon Slash


The Tower of the Tarolisk - Sky facing The Beholder


The Cliffs of Peril - The first of the side scrolling flying levels


Temple Infernus - Sky facing Ifrit


3rd Person Flying - Sky takes to the sky


The first level - Facing Ashura for the first time


The Falls of Torment - Prelude to one of the hardest levels ever.

Vids and Music

Trust me, it's even better in motion. The faux-indian music in the background is the best part. It imparts on the game a mournful, mythical atmosphere. Here's a sampling:

The beginning of the game / Faltine's Woods / Temple Infernus

Petrolith Castle (Ice Palace)

Sand Rivers of Shirol

Falls of Torment / Lair of Kharyon

Gateway of Eternal Storms

Final Thoughts

This game was simply amazing. Unfortunately, being a Sony game, it is unlikely to appear on the VC any time soon. Also unfortunately, being rather obscure, it's also unlikely to appear on PSN or see a current-gen remake (which would be glorious, by the way) either.

You can track down used copies of the game on eBay if you have a working SNES, however - and it's well worth it. This game was truly a gem.

Also, shame on each and every one of you for not playing this when it first came out >:-( You're the reason we can't have nice things.
 

drohne

hyperbolically metafictive
Jun 6, 2004
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yeah it's SUPER RAD

interestingly it was directed by a certain kazunori yamauchi before he discovered his vocation to not releasing racing games
 

Tiktaalik

Member
Aug 6, 2004
12,871
0
1,430
Hmm I thought I owned all the good SNES games but I've never even heard of this one before. I'll have to keep an eye out for it from now on.
 

Sinatar

Official GAF Bottom Feeder
Jun 7, 2004
36,859
0
1,745
Edmonton
I have in fact played it. It is quite a good game. Definitely not the "best game I've never played" (assuming I hadn't) but it was a solid action adventure.
 

t3nmilez

Member
Jul 23, 2008
489
0
840
I vaguely remember playing this game. From what I remember, it was deep-routed in Indian mythology and the music was very Indian. That's actually all I remember about the game, just another generic platformer otherwise.
 

Drkirby

Corporate Apologist
Jan 29, 2008
42,342
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Florida
If anything, you should of made the topic title "Skyblazer, one of the best overlooked Gems" or something. I have been told like 20 games are the best game I have never played, and I only think like 1 or 2 of them have a chance of being right.
 
Oct 14, 2006
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akachan ningen said:
Why would you say something as asinine as that? Lots of people have played this game.
Hyperbole, duh.

I wanted to draw attention to a great game that most people on this forum have probably never even heard of. Not including mine, this thread has a grand total of sixteen replies. Sixteen. If that's not obscurity, I don't know what is.

EDIT: Instead of focusing on the absolute accuracy of the thread title, why not make a comment on this awesome game?
 
Oct 14, 2006
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*sigh*

I guess I'll try one more time to resurrect this thread, but it seems I was one of the lucky few who was crazy about this game. Oh well. Here's a picture of a squirrel in a winter coat:

 

GDGF

Soothsayer
Jun 6, 2004
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viciouskillersquirrel said:
*sigh*

Here's a picture of a squirrel in a winter coat:

Long ago when I was a young child I was taking a walk through the streets of my neighborhood. It was a pleasant day. I remember feeling the warm glow of the sun on the back of my head. I remember the sharp smell of freshly cut grass. I remember the buzzing of gnats and I remember a very large shade tree with a squirrel resting just at the base of it. Being a young child curious about nature I wondered closer for a better look. It just sat there. Closer still. It was not afraid. I watched him go on about his squirrely business (I believe he was chewing on an accorn) until, at last, he grew tired of my prying eyes and darted up the tree. Seconds later he returned with no less than a dozen other squirrels in tow and they all chirped madly as they chased me away.

This is an absolutely true story.
 
Oct 14, 2006
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GDGF said:
Long ago when I was a young child I was taking a walk through the streets of my neighborhood. It was a pleasant day. I remember feeling the warm glow of the sun on the back of my head. I remember the sharp smell of freshly cut grass. I remember the buzzing of gnats and I remember a very large shade tree with a squirrel resting just at the base of it. Being a young child curious about nature I wondered closer for a better look. It just sat there. Closer still. It was not afraid. I watched him go on about his squirrely business (I believe he was chewing on an accorn) until, at last, he grew tired of my prying eyes and darted up the tree. Seconds later he returned with no less than a dozen other squirrels in tow and they all chirped madly as they chased me away.

This is an absolutely true story.
:lol

You don't mess with squirrels man.
 

Aokage

Pretty nice guy (apart from the blue shadows thing...)
Feb 28, 2007
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Superb game. I actually participated in testing Karura-oh at Sony Imagesoft when I was 12 or 13. INSIDER SKOOP: The power ups were all kanji in early versions, but they were changed to icons in both the US and Japanese finals.

This team's previous game was equally badass, despite the license -- Hook. I remember hearing they consisted of ex-Capcom peoples.
 

djtiesto

is beloved, despite what anyone might say
Jul 26, 2004
28,052
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Long Island, NY
Awesome game, up until the rotating tower with the Mega Man style disappearing blocks... that part frustrates me to no end, and I give up the game at that part :(

I like the slightly-Indian themed setting and music, too. Pretty unique as far as games go.
 
Oct 14, 2006
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Aokage said:
Superb game. I actually participated in testing Karura-oh at Sony Imagesoft when I was 12 or 13. INSIDER SKOOP: The power ups were all kanji in early versions, but they were changed to icons in both the US and Japanese finals.

This team's previous game was equally badass, despite the license -- Hook. I remember hearing they consisted of ex-Capcom peoples.
I remember Hook. A friend of mine had it and it too was an awesome game.

How did you get that testing gig?

Tenks said:
I've never played Final Fantasy VII
Don't believe any of the hype. Don't believe all the hate, either.
 

CTLance

Member
Jul 21, 2007
11,844
0
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Bavaria, Germany
I remember reading about this in one of the hintbooks back in the days. Heh.

Also, completely OT, but:

I miss stuff like this. There's something about handshaded crystals on a limited color palette and resolution that just cannot be aped by shaders and polygons. I notice this ever-so-often when i see a S-E game, they've lost that ability completely.