So the next classic video game that I started playing in my continuing vain and ruinous pursuit of satisfying my nostalgia is Illusion of Gaia.

I won’t bother spending too much time explaining the plot, nor will I post enough screenshots to connect every story element. I mean, if you want to watch a playthrough, there are probably some available on numerous sites. This is going to be a collection of screenshots and my thoughts as I progress through this game; just as I progress at ever-increasing speeds and levels of contempt through life.

There will be spoilers, of course, but they won’t be as all-encompassing as watching a playthrough video.

Title Card. I played this game as a youth, and beat it, but…
…in my youth I never managed to complete the game’s single collection quest. Hidden through the game are 50 “Red Jewels” that you can collect…
…there is a recurring character that will collect the jewels from you and offer you more and more powerful items in return for the greater number of jewels you collect. I am not certain about the original release in Japan, but the NA release included an instruction manual that had the location of every jewel. Somehow, in my youthful haste, I missed some – there are conditions that need to be met, and I likely decided that several hours worth of progress (or an already overwritten save file) were not worth going back for. This attempt will be different, because I am FUCKING RED HOT in my intention to access this fucker’s secrets, consider that a promise.
One of my favourite elements of the game is a special tear in reality that allows the main character to access a special “pocket dimension” were they receive power, advice, and opportunity from some kind of universal deity. It is hard to see in this screenshot, but there are several parallaxed layers at work here that make this zone particularly impressive and cool-looking. The game may be close to 30 years old, but these areas still look cool, in my opinion, of course.
I can only dream.
Much like the “pocket dimension” areas, the inventory screen, seen here, is just as impressive. The background is animated, and, something rare, the individual items in the inventory are also animated! My inventory here consists of the previously mentioned Red Jewels, the likewise noted Yak, a prison key, a song, and the game’s only HP recovery item, “The Herb” – it is unclear what kind of herb, but I assume it is marijuana and the main character rolls up a Bob Marley blunt and smokes it in order to regain health, just like in real life.
Here the main character explores some Incan ruins – pretty cool scenery. Is there anyone out there that does not appreciate a giant stone head? If there is, fuck you.
Giant, room-filling enemies are a staple of the era, more so in Sega games, but also on the SNES.
A cool trope, the shipwreck survival. Fairly well-down in my opinion.

Okay. I have so far completed, in my reckoning, one-eighth of the game. There are six primary areas, a final-dungeon type area, and of course, the secret area that I seek so desperately. I don’t know if there will be an entry for each zone, so how these posts unfold will be a mystery for me as well.