One of the last great games on the Sega Genesis was Beyond Oasis. The story featuring a blond Aladdin look alike, with aesthetics featuring a middle eastern flare. The environment contributed to the puzzle solving by allowing you to summon different elements, all under your control. The sequel (technically a prequel), took this mechanic to the next level, adding two more elements and sharper colors. Too bad it was on the Sega Saturn.
The Legend of Oasis is a prequel to Beyond Oasis. Protagonist Leon is given the Golden Armlet, as it’s twin the Silver Armlet (though they’re not entirely clear on what it does other than it’s bad) is once again in evil hands. Leon quests to collect the now six (up from four) spirits to combat this evil.
The four spirits from the previous game return, Dytto (water), Efreet (fire), Bawu (earth – changed from Bow because why not), and Shade (guess). The new comers are Brass, the spirit of sound, and Airl, the spirit of air. These new additions added fun gameplay mechanics and pushed players to think in different ways with the puzzle solving and summonings. I don’t know how two more spirits exist that weren’t present in the original (again, prequel), but whatever.
Also returning was the item management system. A variety of melee weapons, swords, flaming swords, axes, etc. were present, as were some ranged weapons like bows and bombs. Everything, save for your starting dagger, had limited uses, making players juggle their inventory. While I’m sure PC games had used this mechanic before, the Oasis games were the first place I experienced it.
Moving from the Genesis to the Saturn in only two years didn’t give developers enough time to master the console. Legend sported a sharper color palette to be sure, but little else. For a slight bump down in fidelity, this could have easily been on the Genesis. That doesn’t take way from this being a fun game and worthy sequel, just not next gen worthy. There was the opening anime like sequence which took advantage of the Saturn’s hardware. I remember standing (likely slack jawed) before the display window of Software Etc. watching it play on loop. It wasn’t for a few more years before I could play it though. The movie still holds up, ignoring the odd character design (why does Leon have such a massive torso and tiny head?), and the skeletons. They look terrible.
The Oasis series is one my favorites. Yes, they are only two games in the series but that doesn’t take away from the quality. The series’ only fault was releasing both games at the wrong time. The first game came out at the end the Genesis’ life cycle. The Saturn was looming in the distance and many developers were shifting to prepare. Traditionally, games released at the end of a consoles life are some of the best as the developers have mastered the platform. I think this is true here, with some of the best graphics I’ve seen on the system. These end of life releases are also prone to becoming buried, lost in the shift from one generation to the next. The sequel had a number of strikes against. This game should have obviously been on the Genesis, not the Saturn. There was no bonus from being on the platform, only the detriment of being on a low selling console. Doesn’t detract from the game itself, only its place in history.
For me, these type of games hold up graphically as long as the graphics do. Look back on at Saturn, N64, or PSX 3D game, it looks like garbage. Legend of Oasis is still a very playable game today (if you don’t mind some tricky jumps). Now if only someone would start re-releasing Saturn games other than freaking Nights.
Did you own a Saturn? Play either Beyond or Legend or Thor-asis? Comment below!
Did not find all the secrets here.