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Illusion of Gaia

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Title Screen

Illusion of Gaia

Also known as: Gaia Gensouki (JP), Illusion of Time (EU)
Developer: Quintet
Publishers: Enix (JP), Nintendo (US/EU)
Platform: SNES
Released in JP: November 27, 1993
Released in US: September 1, 1994
Released in EU: April 27, 1995


GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article
PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

The second part of a spiritual "trilogy" including Soul Blazer and Terranigma, Illusion of Gaia is a straightforward action-adventure game with RPG elements. The game is heavy on the common premise of exploring and reviving a dying world like its spiritual "relatives", just... a bit less so than they are.

Both the US and European releases took different interpretations of the original Japanese title, which translates to Gaia: The Age of Illusion.

Unused Items

Unused items yay

Items that aren't found anywhere in the game. They also work for the most part. You can write their value to 7E0AB4 to replace the first slot of your inventory with them.

  • Iog-note.gif 05 - Incan Melody: Description: "Told by father to go to Incas with melody." Oddly, its name is "Inca Melody" in the inventory, but if equipped it's called the "Incan Melody". This seems to be an early/alternate version of the Melody of the Wind, as attempting to use it gives you exactly the same message. There doesn't seem to be anywhere you can play this song, and there's no corresponding unused song in the data.
  • Iog-diary.gif 15 - Blue Journal: Description: "Journal found by fireplace." This gives you the option to choose between three different topics: "Tower of Babel", "Mystic Statues", and "Great Wall of China", but the text for them is nothing more than repeating the "chapter title". The text when using this item indicates it's Lance's father's, and given this and the subject matter it was probably supposed to be obtained at Watermia.
  • Iog-gold.gif 1B - Bag of Gold: Description: "Prize from Russian Glass". Obviously, this was supposed to be the prize for winning the drinking game. Evidently you were supposed to buy the four Kruks at one point; in the final game, you're given these beasts right off for winning.

Most of the invalid values are also replaced with Mystic Statues. They have no graphic nor description and don't do anything.

Unused Graphics

Early Final
Not quite finished, there. Mushroom!

Loaded into VRAM in the inventory is what appears to be a very rough, early version of the Mushroom Drops item. The design is the same, but is little more than a sketch, with no real detail.

Early Final
How pleasant. Oh, cheer up, statue.

Likewise, these... things, which appear to be rough early versions of the Mystic Statues, are also loaded into memory on the inventory screen. It's unknown if this was their intended purpose, but they're right next to the statues in the data.

Before After
Kinda bare. Flowers!

For some odd reason, the Gorgon Flower you obtain in Angkor Wat is stored in two pieces; the plant itself and the flowers on it are separate sprites. Though this appears to be because the plant and petals use different palettes, it's also possible the plant, sans flowers, was intended to be used elsewhere.

Eww.Poof!...flame.

Some blue slime, smoke, and flames, also loaded into memory on the inventory screen. These come right after Will and Freedan's Dark Power icons, meaning they were almost certainly intended as a trio of powers for Shadow, who otherwise only gets any abilities from the Aura flame item. The slime seems to correspond to Shadow's ability to morph into liquid, and the flame may be the Phoenix used in the final battle. The smoke's purpose is unknown, however.

Kirby!

Small 8×8 filler/placeholder tiles which, oddly enough, bear a striking resemblance to Kirby.

IOG Shadow UnusedSprites.gif

Unused sprites for Shadow seemingly flying. It's unknown what they're for, but they look as if they could've been an early running animation.

Unused Text

A few bits of text are rendered unused by the simple fact that there's no actual way to talk to certain people outside of cheating.

First world problems.
Neil's father: You can't
go wrong by taking over
the Rolek Company.

During the Euro sequence, you can speak with Neil and his mother, but there's no legit way to actually reach his father, so this line is never heard.

You don't say?
This is a green apple.

Also in Euro. While it's possible to speak with this woman normally, talking to anyone from behind the counter will result in them scolding you, and the man at the counter effectively blocks you from speaking to her that way, either. Nevertheless, she does have something to say.

IOG DifficultLillyText.png
Lilly: I shouldn't say
anything bad about
Will's cousin, but
this inventor...

While this isn't unused, most players will never see it in a playthrough because they'd need to talk to Lilly before Kara finishes walking in Neil's Cottage. There's no way to talk to Lilly from the left side of the table, and Kara blocks her from the right side after she's done walking, which isn't much time at all. As a result, the player needs to run extremely soon after gaining control to see it.

DEFENCERK
DARKCOREK
BLACK4K

These text strings show up at ROM offsets 0001E640 and 0001E6C0 in the US version. They're right after the names for Freedan's Dark Power abilities, so it's possible they're related. What the "K" at the end of each string means is unknown.

Akira Ageta

This name is present numerous times in the ROM at offsets 00037FF0, 000D7FE0, 00137FE0, 00157FE0, 00197FE0, and 001FFFE0. It's often found before "Quintet". This person isn't listed in the credits of any version of the game, but it's possible they had a hand in its development.

Unused Music

A simple snippet of the title/main theme, with slightly different instrumentation. Possibly intended as a short "victory" fanfare after completing major events.

Miscellaneous

Islands belong to the sea.

This more standard RPG-ish island map is technically present in-game, during the "attract mode" prologue, but it's rendered in Mode 7 and shown so low that it's virtually impossible to make out any details. Moreover, only the bottom three islands and the island with Babel Tower on it are even visible at all normally. Interestingly, the top two islands seem to feature towns or castles, using a more elaborate version of the graphic normally displayed for these on the in-game world map.

But it's all grey...
Unused park/shrine
Subtle
01 01
Yeah?
ALTO

The city shown in a strange Mode 7 cutscene at the end of Angkor Wat is considerably larger than what can actually be seen and includes a number of hidden details, like a Japanese shrine and various signs and logos. Viewing the whole map reveals that it is actually a depiction of the area around Shinjuku station in Tokyo, the biggest train station in the world. It is fairly accurate; there is a well-known shrine in that location, and the big street on the right is Yasukuni-dori. The names on the signs are also parodies of real-life Japanese department stores (e.g. "Yotohashi" instead of "Yodobashi").

Regional Differences

Graphics

Japan US Europe
Gaia Gensouki.gif IOGTitle.png IoT-title.png

The Japanese release had a fully animated title screen. Since the game was released under a different name in Europe, the title screen was changed to reflect it.

Japan US/Europe
What the heck is "Banri Castle?" Fix one mistake, make one mistake.

With a lot of areas being renamed in the international versions, it stands to reason that the world map would be modified accordingly. To fit in the longer names, a few trees were removed around the Moon Tribe Camp, the Natives' Village, and outside Neil's Cottage. Curiously, despite fixing a few obvious misspellings ("Cotage", "Nasca"), the American version introduces one of its own, changing the correctly-spelled "Angkor" to "Ankor".

Japan US/Europe
IoG-Gaia Gensouki2.gif IoG-EdwardsCastleNA.png

Some tiles are different in the international versions. For example, the background in Edward's castle had animated clouds and less shiny floor tiles in the Japanese version.

Japan US/Europe
Religious symbolism? That'll never do! So much better...?

As if it wasn't obvious enough that the "school" in South Cape is actually a church, the statue on the back wall was a large cross in the Japanese version.

Japan US/Europe
GaiaGensouki Viper.png IOG Viper.png
Japan US/Europe
GaiaGensouki ViperRefight.png IOG ViperRefight.png

The Sky Garden boss, Viper, was changed from a bird to a bird-statue hybrid for international versions.

Gameplay

  • The text speed is considerably faster in the international versions.
  • The first boss, Castoth, was made considerably more difficult in the international versions. In the Japanese original, all you have to do is attack its head repeatedly, but in the international versions you first have to attack and disable both of its hands before the head becomes vulnerable. This makes the fight much longer and more dangerous.
  • The earthquake attack can be used to stun bosses in the Japanese version. This is not possible in the international versions.
  • Herbs fully recover your health in the Japanese version, but they only recover 8 HP in the international versions.

Other

  • When choosing any of the highest level file menus (Play, Copy, etc.) in the Japanese version, the screen goes black briefly. This was removed in the international versions.
  • When hovering over a file to play, the camera scrolls over to the location on the world map that the file was last saved in in the international versions.