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For most of my playthrough I had mixed feelings about Illusion of Gaia, and ultimately by the end I felt it was an underwhelming experience.
Gameplay, Dungeons:
Illusion of Gaia's strongest aspect is certainly its solid gameplay and well designed dungeons. The game primarily focuses on the dynamic between Will and one of his forms, Freedan the Dark Knight, when it comes to progressing dungeons and solving various puzzles. The strengths and skills of both characters are to be kept in mind to ensure thorough exploration and clearing of enemies, and I appreciate that one form doesn't necessarily make the other useless for that reason. The game also does not have a typical leveling system, instead encouraging the player to beat all enemies in an area to gain stat upgrades. I found it to be a good system that also ensured the player gets a good grip on combat and handling of the various enemies, and because of this system, exploration of dungeons also feels more natural. This way the player is both rewarded with stat upgrades and various treasures found through exploring.
Dungeons were probably my favourite part. I appreciate the variety in both aesthetic and enemies, keeping the experience fresh, and each dungeon has its own puzzle gimmick as well, none of which really frustrated me. The Sky Dungeon is definitely my favourite~
Boss fights tend to be on the difficult side, although the challenge certainly isn't consistent. That said, I found them fun, but there is a focus on pattern memorization that may lead to more trial and error than necessary with them. I also wish that there were more bosses, but ah well.
Shadow is the second form you obtained, and while he is fun to use, I do wish he could be obtained earlier. His lack of skills aside from the Aura (why it's used as an item, I have no idea) compared to Will and Freedan's rounded out repertoire also makes him feel more underwhelming than needed.
Story, Characters, and World:
The weaker aspects of the game relate to its story and characters mainly. It's just....kind of boring, honestly. There were a lot of interesting plot points the game explores, and there's a focus on the theme of light and dark as well the coming-of-age of Will and his friend group. It was handled in a way that didn't really keep me engaged; progression felt more abrupt than natural and some things just kinda happen, really.
I think a big part as to why I felt this way was that the characters themselves are for the most part, uninteresting too. Your group of friends show promising potential for character growth, but it never really gets explored or its just the bare minimum. It really just feels like they're there for plot progression only, sharing almost no interesting insights on what occurs around them nor do they seem to feel any sort of impact from them. Seth probably gets the worst of it. The most interesting I found were Lily, due in part how often she accompanies you in your journey, and Kara, the main heroine who actually does have decent character growth, and a developing relationship with Will. Overall, they're probably the most underwhelming aspect of this game.
What the game does better however is its world building and it's relation to the "dark" and "light" sides of human society. No two locations are the same, allowing us to see a variety of different aesthetics and cultures to each city. It helps that they tend to be interesting settings, such as the floating rafts of Watermia or the underground homes of the Angel Tribe. Most of these settings also show a "dark" side to them, which is to the evils or misfortunes of society. Slavery, Cannibalism, Suicide, stuff like that. It can come across jarring, going from more of a peaceful happy tone to this darker sad tone abruptly, but I feel that was the intention and as such, I appreciate the idea.
Other Notes:
The game is super linear and doesn't allow for much backtracking, however I believe there's an extra dungeon and bosses if you get all 50 red jewels. I didn't get them all, so I can't comment on it unfortunately.
Overall:
If I were to recommend Illusion of Gaia, it would be primarily for its gameplay really. The story and characters are unimpressive to say the least, so don't expect much in that regard.

Bastard!!'s quite the unusual fighting game for the snes. It certainly makes quite the first impression: the visuals are really awesome, levels are like 3d fighting arenas, everyone's cursing here and there (they say "bastard" about 4 or 5 times btw), a lot of destructive spells filling the area, yadda yadda.
Unfortunately, when you actually play this game the problems with it become immediately apparent.
Bastard!!'s gameplay isn't particularly that fun as much as the visuals may want you to believe. It mostly boils down to using your basic projectiles to hit your opponent according to the direction they're moving towards. But by God is it actually hard to hit them. Characters usually move fast enough to avoid getting hit by most projectiles, so trying to only use the basic projectiles in a fight would probably take more time than necessary (I remember as a kid it would take me about half an hour to finish each fight in story mode lol).
What you really need to do is use your special spells to beat your opponent. A few are kinda useless but for the most part they do a great deal damage to end a fight in about a few minutes. You can also try doing a melee attack by moving to the other side and hoping you come across the opponent, and yes its not really easy to do. Sadly, as good as the spells are the button inputs for most I found way too complex for my liking. I'm not particularly great at fighting games, so perhaps more experienced players would be better able to handle them, but personally I just opted to use the Easy Spell Input hack, which makes it easier to activate spells. Regardless, depending on how skilled you are this game will take you like 30 minutes at least or 6 hours at most. Bleeeghh
When it comes to the story, this game provides minimum details. It's not a big deal considering the main focus is the gameplay, but if you do want to experience a more detailed story then I would suggest the manga or animes. The dialogue does come across quite funny though, considering all the cursing and lack of much context.
As said before, the game looks visually impressive. This extends to the portrait art and out of battle sprites as well, all of which look good. The font of the english fan translation I found a little hard to read, but no doubt it fits with the aesthetic of the game and series in general. Music's also great, a lot of tunes I found really catchy.
Overall, Bastard!!'s worth a try if you're interested in checking out more unique or unusual fighting games, or are a fan of the series.

The red balls, beware of them.
Brain Lord’s an action rpg with a heavy emphasis on puzzles (hence, the title). Clamoring for something like that but you’ve already played every other popular snes action rpg? Brain Lord’s worth a shot.
Story, Characters, and the Vibes:
Brain Lord starts off on a bit of a serious note. Your dad’s journey to find a dragon seems to be in vain as he’s implied to have died, so now it’s up to you to complete the task and continue the dragon warrior bloodline.
But, for the most part? This game actually seems to have a rather laid-back, inviting tone to it for the most part. Your primary objective is to still find a dragon, but you and your tight-knit group of friends still wanna take part in dungeon-related jobs and get that sweet, sweet, reward money. There’s really not much to say about the story, you explore each dungeon for specific reasons, with things getting more serious by the end and requiring you to beat some demon lord. There’s a very explorative atmosphere to it, which made me feel encouraged to inspect every nook and cranny of dungeons.
What really shines is the cast of characters. Your group of adventurer friends are a good bunch, providing nice exposition and hints surrounding each dungeon and town, and NPCs in general are pretty friendly. Sounds rather simple, but what I especially enjoy is how not just you but the world around you is also progressing forward. Your friends take initiative to explore the dungeons themselves, and you’ll often be speaking to them as you progress through various enemies and puzzles.
As such, I found myself quite liking the support cast, especially your group of adventurer friends who felt alive and charming on their own. It helps that the dialogue itself is quite decent and funny at times.
Battles, Puzzles, Dungeons:
While Brain Lord isn’t particularly ambitious or revolutionary in what it sets out to do, it feels disciplined in its mechanics. The gameplay is fairly solid and the game takes no time in making you familiar with how it works.
Fighting is fairly standard, with some nuance provided through a variety of weapon types, each getting the job done and providing for a playstyle that suits you best. Like something strong with some range? Morning Stars sound like the best for you. Want something long-range and fast? Boomerangs! Fairy Jades, little companions you can find or buy that help you out, also add more fun into the mix. There’s about 9 types of fairies, each with their own abilities, such as healing or shooting projectiles, so trying them out and seeing what suits you best (or switching them depending on the situation) is quite fun. Finally, magic is another important gameplay element. Most focus on attacking, though some provide an additional effect or have a different purpose to begin with. It’s a nice addition to make fighting less frustrating.
Puzzles are the meat of this game, so much so I’d say that fighting takes a backseat in this game. While they start off simple, like say moving a rock to a button, they get more complex the more you progress and will certainly give your brain a jog. Of course there’s some frustrations, annoying gimmicks, and a few instances of backtracking, but generally, the puzzles are pretty solid (as they should be for this game anyways, gotta make the title of Brain Lord have meaning!). I should also mention that platforming is also an important aspect to this game, and mainly why you’re given a jump button to begin with. It can be a bit off-putting at first due to the bird’s eye perspective, but it shouldn’t take too long to get used to and master platforming.
While it may be disappointing to know at first that the game has only 5 dungeons, each one is gigantic. With a good amount of floors, puzzles, locked doors and keys, most of your game time is spent in dungeons. As much as I like this structure, it does become apparent that dungeons start to feel like a slog at certain points (shout outs to the ice castle, with its massive amount of loops and backtracking). Gets more frustrating if you don’t like certain gimmicks or puzzles (Dark Zones gave me a headache). I appreciate that each dungeon is distinct with its own sort of atmosphere, supported further by what your objectives are in them and what your friends are doing. For example, the Ruins feel very explorative, with your objective mainly being finding various treasures and such, meanwhile the Ice Castle is filled to the brim with traps as you try and rescue hostages.
Other Aspects:
Brain Lord isn’t visually outstanding (though you may notice some similarities with how The 7th Saga looks. Makes sense, both are by the same creators.), but the main appeal I found was the music and sound design. It’s just really good in the ears, man. I love the music especially, lots of good catchy tunes that stick in my head for days.
While there’s some world building here and there, you’re mainly occupied with two towns, a few roads, and the dungeons. It’s a bit of a shame, as I would have liked to know what this Ouk tribe was or find out more about the Abell civilization. But regardless, I can’t say I dislike what we did get to see of the world at least.
Overall:
Brain Lord has some good, has some bad, but its strengths definitely outweigh its weaknesses. It’s a good time, so give it a shot if you’re looking for some snes games to try.