Title : Beyond Oasis
Publisher : Sega
Developer : Ancient
Genre : Action Adventure
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1995
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $15-$20
Few games had an impact on me for the Sega Genesis in terms of having a long lasting effect on my gaming obsession. I was never really a Sega Guy. I was always a Nintendo follower. Hell, I only had a few games for my Sega Genesis growing up, and most games I did play, I usually played at my friends house.
Seriously, out of all my friends I was the only one who played Super Nintendo. It was kind of weird. I would expose them to Nintendo, and they would expose me to the Sega. Maybe it was because my friends weren't that into Mario or Zelda like I was. They preferred the fast paced games like Sonic and every god damn Madden NFL game out there.
But, there was one game out there for the Sega Genesis that got me hooked. A game that reminded me a lot of the Zelda I had grown to love on my Super Nintendo, but with a new twist. I had read the previews for this game in one of my gaming magazines. Wish I could tell you which one, but remember when you read those previews, you would basically save that page and look back to it over, and over and over again.There was only one other game that ever did that to me, and that was Ultima Online, but that's another story. It could have been just a paragraph, but from the screenshots I saw, and the way I described it. I needed it.
That game, was called Beyond Oasis. The LARGEST ADVENTURE GAME EVER (according the box anyway). For me though, it really was. Thankfully, if you don't own this on the Genesis, you can actually download it on the Wii Virtual Console! WOO HOO!
But it's time to relive some childhood adventuring, and play the original.
In Beyond Oasis, you play as Prince Ali (ALI ALI..ALI A BABA!!! Strong as ten regular men definitelyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy..he faced the galloping hordes..A HUNDRED BAD GUYS WITH SWORDS!) Okay, okay. Sorry.
In the beginning of the game, you find a hidden amulet with mysterious powers of controlling four elemental spirits. Dyotto (water) Efreeti (fire) Shade (shadow) and Bow (plant). I assumed that Shade was more like an "air" elemental, and Bow was leaning toward Earth, but whatever I guess they were trying to be a bit different here. But for every gold amulet, there's a silver amulet with opposite powers capable of taking over the world! Sure enough, someone has gotten their hands on it and is unleashing the powers of chaos. It's up to you, Prince Ali, to stop him.
If you've played overhead adventure games, this game will come across very familiar. It feels a bit like the Legend of Zelda, Soul Blazer, or even the classic Crystalis from NES (oh God, I can't wait to review that). Hell, there is even a nuance of Secret of Mana in here. Imagery in this game takes on a much more cartoony look than what you may be used to. It feels like you're watching a cross between an American and Japanese cartoon. There's a hint of anime in it, but it's done incredibly well. The character designs and environments are simply amazing.
As you continue your travels, you'll gain new abilities, weapons, and special items to assist you. You'll need bombs to blow up certain walls, or your crossbows to reach switches from far away, but this is expected. The game does a good job of incorporating platforming elements, which was actually a pleasant surprise. It gives the game a more three-dimensional feel, where you sometimes have to jump across different levels of the map to get to your goal.
The game requires quite a bit of exploration, and the map moves a lot like all the games I mentioned above. Each area is it's own little zone, and once you get to the edge of the screen it shifts to the next part. So if you find yourself being chased by enemies that are too powerful, just run to the edge of the screen and get the hell away.
The map is fairly large, and contains a slew of different environments. The dungeons are pretty well designed, but unfortunately the puzzles are just too easy. This is the games one downfall if I were to give it one. Unlike, let's say Zelda where you have to work to figure out how to get through a dungeon, Beyond Oasis is a bit too straight forward. There's a lot of hand holding. Go to an area, get a quest from someone, go to a dungeon, beat the boss, recover a spirit, and move on to the next area. Simple, but effective. Like I said, just wish the puzzles were harder.
Combat is insanely fun in this game, and its mainly because you have the ability to switch between your special elemental powers to assist you with your battles. The enemies are smart enough to kick your arse in most instances, so you've gotta be smart in your battles. The great thing about it, is that the combat is smooth and fluid. So many times have I played an adventure game like this where the action moves to slow. This one? It's perfect.
There's so much more I could say about this game, but I'll go off on it after awhile because it really is that good. If you're looking for a great adventure game for the Sega Genesis (because there really are far too few), you'll need to pick yourself up a copy of Beyond Oasis. A hidden gem, in an otherwise large Sega library.
Now I'm going to go back to singing Prince Ali.