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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Beyond Oasis

A relative late-comer to the Sega Genesis RPG scene, but that didn't stop it from being an impressive little title.  Being made by Yuzo Koshiro's company it of coursed featured music from him, as well as several sound effects taken straight from Streets of Rage 2.  But even more impressive than that is the visual presentation of the game - gorgeously-animated with popping colors that make it look right out of a higher-end cartoon.  The main character himself (Prince Ali) shows this off better than anyone with the wide arsenal of moves at his disposal - jumping kicks, crouching, swinging his weapon, doing a quick kick to close-by enemies, and even doing a special move or two, whether a sweeping slash that hits everything around him or an even more impressive backflip into a downward stab that deals massive damage.  Even enemies show quite a few animation frames and are surprisingly expressive, which only adds to the experience.  Gameplay-wise, Beyond Oasis can aptly be described as a more action-oriented Zelda - while there are still some puzzles throughout (mostly simple switch-flipping and platforming), the main focus really is on the action, using your plethora of moves to take on and defeat hordes of enemies.  Also aiding you are elemental spirits, rescued by defeating bosses, who can be called upon to perform special moves; however, they continually drain your magic meter while out, and using their moves will drain it even faster, though you can dismiss them early by pressing A, B and C at the same time to conserve meter.  They're also summoned in a somewhat strange way - your armlet fires out a projectile when you press A, and if it strikes a surface (or enemy) corresponding to that elemental, they will be summoned.  You also pick up more weapons from chests - while generally more powerful (and having greater range) than your basic dagger, they also prevent you from doing combos while equipped, and most will break after a set number of uses, so they're best saved for more dangerous enemies or bosses.  It's not an especially deep game, with relatively few secrets to find and little mystery for where to go next (the in-game minimap always points out the exact location of your next goal, and the world isn't particularly large), but it's a polished and fun combat-oriented adventure with a stellar presentation, making it worth a look.

Developer: Ancient
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1995
Platforms: Sega Genesis, various compilations and digital download platforms