Illusion of Gaia is a hidden gem of a SNES game with a unique take on RPG mechanics. Rather than leveling up normally, the player must defeat every enemy in each room to gain permanent stat increases, though beating the game without doing so is entirely possible. There are also a few small tricks the player can easily perform to save time and perform minor sequence breaks, like skipping part of a dungeon section. The game’s story takes a boy named Will all over the world with his friends in search of his missing father and the truth behind the mysterious comet approaching the planet.
The latest and fastest Illusion of Gaia run from LeHulk sees the game defeated in just under two hours. Not only does he make some of the trickiest dungeons and most frustrating bosses look laughable, but his constant use of the tight enemy hitboxes and aforementioned tricks will have viewers constantly thinking “If I’d known about that…!”
Much of the strategy is self-explanatory even to those unfamiliar with Illusion of Gaia. The two that may require description are, when certain enemies are defeated, they open a path for the player. By pausing after killing these enemies, that path is treated as opened by the game even before the animation finishes. The other trick is the slope run. At several points, the player must run down a steep slope in order to get to the top of another. LeHulk skips this by jump-attacking into a slope and initiating the dash, eliminating the need to start at the top of the initial hill.
Illusion of Gaia is a spiritual successor to another game called Soul Blazer, as it features a secret optional boss that appeared in Blazer. The story is rife with depth with a fantastic musical score and plenty of challenge that rarely holds the player’s hand, if at all. With no virtual console release, interested gamers will have to track down a SNES cartridge in order to play the game for themselves.
Matt Eschbach is a PC, Mac and Android indie game developer and fiction writer. His works have won multiple monetary awards from various contests. Graduating college in 2012 with a major in Game Design, Matt spends his time making stuff up and then building it. His favorite hobby… is sleeping.