Retronauts Pocket Episode 7 May or May Not Have Died for Your Sins

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Sorry, everyone — this is a sort of hit-and-run posting, as I’m currently in the final stages of packing up my life into shipping containers to relocate to the east coast. But I still managed to find time to assemble Retronauts Pocket Episode 7, which serves as an answer to Kickstarter backer Daniel Worthington’s request to talk about Illusion of Gaia. Since one Super NES action-RPG isn’t quite enough to fill an entire episode, we delve into the overall catalog of Gaia‘s developer, Quintet. Sadly, the ambition I mentioned here (to track down and talk to some Quintet folks at TGS) didn’t pan out, though I did hear an explanation of why the studio is so elusive. However, that’s someone else’s story to tell, so I won’t talk about it here. Suffice to say… getting an inside track on Quintet is going to be tough.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this discussion. I can’t actually tell if this episode is any good or not, but that’s probably just because my entire brain is in “oh god the shippers are coming in 12 hours” panic mode. So… if I’ve led a terrible discussion, I apologize. Especially to you, Daniel Worthington. If you hate this show you paid for, I’ll make it up to you somehow. I do feel good about the episode cover art, though, so at least that’s something…?

Description: By request of backer Daniel Worthington, Bob, Ray, and Jeremy delve into the history of 16-bit RPG masters Quintet… or at least as much history as we can dig up. Those guys were pretty mysterious.

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Musical inclusions this episode:

  • 7:22 – Actraiser “Fillmore”
  • 18:01 – SoulBlazer “Dr. Leo’s Paintings”
  • 26:23 – Illusion of Gaia “Sky Gardens”
  • 37:51 – Terranigma “Zue”
  • 47:11 – Actraiser Symphonic Suite “Bloodpool/Cassandora”

21 thoughts on “Retronauts Pocket Episode 7 May or May Not Have Died for Your Sins

  1. The thing that had the biggest effect on me when I played Illusion of Gaia way back when was the Angkor Wat section. Unlike the rest of the famous landmarks, I had never heard of Angkor Wat, and it made me want to go there one day. I still haven’t fulfilled that dream yet, but maybe some day!

  2. Congrats on 7 years (Oct. 2006-Oct.2013).

    By my count you are on episode 181 including all the mini shows. Bob, for reference, that would put Retronauts in Season 9 of The Simpsons (Lisa’s Sax).

    Thanks again for all the effort.

  3. Season 9, back when The Simpson’s was still good. Retronauts has been consistent, regularly listen on my commute to work. Keep up the good work guys and welcome back!

  4. You said Yuzo Koshiro and that name seemed so familiar. I then looked over and saw my copy of the Etrian Odyssey Untold soundtrack…

  5. Best wishes with the move! Regardless of what happens with the logistics of future episodes, just remember that your fans support you and appreciate the many hours of entertainment / banter / Mega Man 8 voice-acting impersonations you’ve brought us over the years.

  6. Loved the episode. Would love to see a livestream of Terranigma. I discovered that game when I was in college and I couldn’t put it down until I completed it. I know Quintet left abruptly, but the legacy they left in the SNES era will be remembered fondly.

  7. Another great discussion! Unfortunately Illusion of Gaia is still on my “to be played” list, but I adore both ActRaiser and Soul Blazer. What always hooked me about ActRaiser is not only the two genres featured together, but the ways in which they’re intertwined. You have to beat the action sequences to get further in the sim, but then your character levels up as the population grows, and so many of the goodies you find in the sim only come into play in the action levels. So I always felt driven to play both sides of the game as well as I could, to max out my stats and my score. Good times.

    And friggin’ Soul Blazer. I just played this game earlier this year and could not believe what I’d missed out on. I completely agree that its story is way more affecting than ActRaiser’s, despite the similarity in theme. So often in ActRaiser, the people were nameless and faceless; you simply looked down on them from way up in the sky. In Soul Blazer you’re more directly involved in all these little side stories, meeting individual characters like Lisa and the snail riders and Turbo the dog, and it makes a huge difference in the emotional payoff. It’s such a beautiful game, and retroactively one of my favorite SNES games.

    Thanks as always, guys.

  8. Jeremy, you should absolutely play Terrnigma should you get the chance. It sounds like neither you nor Ray got past the first section of the game (understandable, as it’s very much like Illusion of Gaia, and gets slow and repetitive pretty quick); once you get to the overworld, it actually plays much more like Soul Blazer, with more free form (although still following a general direction) exploration, dozens of affecting little stories, and even some slight sim elements (once humans exist, you can influence the growth of their cities in little ways). It’s just a game full of really cool ideas, and it feels like it’s always changing. This doesn’t necessarily work everytime, to be sure (the game has some pretty bad pacing issues, as I’m sure you can imagine), but it definitely makes it an experience worth seeing the whole way. That said, doing a Let’s Play may well lead to certain doom.

  9. I’m from Europe, so I can confirm it’s not just gloryfiyng the import title – Terranigma really is the best of the bunch. Hell, it’s my favorite 2D action RPG ever.

    • I’ve got to get to it. I’ve got it on emulation and after all the chatter about it here and on the episode, I think I have to finally take the spin.

    • Yeah, I’m serious about doing a livestream of the game, or something. It’s always been high on my to-do list. I used to own the UK cart but never worked out a way to use it with my US setup. Apparently it’s much easier going the other way round.

      • Started playing last night. Didn’t get very far, but only because I’m busy, not because it isn’t enjoyable. I really like how much it feels like an update of Illusion of Gaia, in terms of graphics and overall control. Actually, the graphics are really impressive for an SNES title. It looks a lot like Alundra, but I hope the dungeon designs are better (I like Alundra but god it has some awful dungeons).

  10. I’m away from Retronauts for a few weeks and I come back to find this gem of an episode waiting for me! The Quintet quadrology was one of my favorite series of games on the SNES. I have yet to play Terranigma, but I hear it’s worth it. Soul Blazer I rented so much from Hollywood video as a kid that they eventually gifted me the game, saying I’d paid way more for it in rentals than I would have just buying it. And Illusion of Gaia I recently revisited in a retroview on Honest Gamers:
    Review Link
    Anyway, I haven’t finished the episode yet, but I was too excited. Had to post.

  11. Finished! Great episode. Brilliant covering of Illusion of Gaia, which really hits on what always caught me about that game. It seemed to just put forward this incredible sense of realism and consequence that wasn’t present in games of the time (and really still isn’t around that often).

    Couple of notes:

    1) Soul Blazer did not have limited healing items! You could only carry one at a time, but there were an infinite number of “healing herbs” in the game. There was a place in each town where you could get a free herb, and it was always under different circumstances. For instance, in Leo’s house, it grows on one of his plants who asks you to be careful while picking it… while in Grass Valley, you get it from a shopkeeper you saved (her son gives you goat’s food).

    2) Illusion of Gaia: the two fighters were a warrior (Freedan, maybe was the name?) and then Shadow, the Cosmic Warrior, who could turn into an incorporeal form. You play most of the game as Freedan, with Will having to take over for a lot of the puzzle solving (The Sky Garden is a memorable highlight of this). Shadow you don’t get until the last two dungeons: the Pyramid, and the Tower of Babel.

  12. Illusion of Gaia was always one of my favorite games. The mysticism in it was pretty powerful when I was a little kid. I never played Secret of Mana, so I didn’t realize at the time that it was so influenced by it, but it’s still a great game.

    Just wanted to comment on the last episode too, in that it’s always weird to hear people bag on the Genesis sound hardware so heavily. I would generally consider myself a Nintendo fanboy but I have a lot of love for both, but I always felt that it was clear that the Genesis music quality was better. You can play clips of Techno Cop and stuff, but what about Puggsy, Landstalker, Bio Hazard Battle, Addams Family, etc!

    • I don’t get why people keep saying we were bagging on the Genesis’ sound capabilities. Our discussion of the system’s sound struck me as sincere admiration with a frank assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of its chip versus that of the Super NES.

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