Beyond Oasis

released on Dec 01, 1994

Prince Ali has excavated a gold armlet which belonged to a powerful sorcerer.
As soon as Ali tried on the armlet, a strange fire with a face appeared and spoke to him.
“The power of the gold armlet is now your’s to wield. Find the four spirits this gold armlet governs and stop the evil ambitions of the one with the silver armlet.”

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I've been seated at my desk for an hour, fingers pressed to my lips as I examine the reem of paper half pulled from the typewriter. Righteously punched onto the parchment in jet black permanence is a single phrase: "Beyond Oasis is beyond suck."
Frightened by the beauty of what I have written, I rip the sheet from the platen and toss it into a nearby bin followed shortly by a lit match. To publish such a work of art would mean condemning myself to living in its shadow for the rest of my days. No, this must not be seen by human eyes...
Ok. Let's try again.
Pfff... uhhh... Beyond Oasis is b... buhhh... it's bad?
Sure, whatever. That works. I mean, with how often it shows up on lists of "classic" Genesis games, it's at the very least overrated. I don't know whether it was beloved at the time (I don't recall even hearing about it), or if this is another case of YouTubers and other retro-heads plumbing the depths of old console libraries for something to talk about. Either way, I feel like I've been sold a bill of goods.
It would be reductive and frankly derogatory to refer to Beyond Oasis as a "Zelda clone," but even as far as other 16-bit action-RPGs go, Beyond Oasis is a bit south of average. There is no satisfying sense of progression outside of checking a few "important" items off a list, and Ali is so lacking in character growth as to feel like a static element, every bit as powerful at the end game as he was at the start. You want fun tools that open up exploration, puzzles that are consistently engaging, or a compelling world to run around in? Play a different video game.
Beyond Oasis plays like Zelda stripped down to its combat, except that is also an uncharitable comparison because Zelda's combat is better than this. Ali is stiff, he's slow, and the arc of his sword swings and resulting feedback is limp and soggy. The dude runs around like his pants are constantly falling off, and you can feel that in-hand. There's really nothing going for this game outside of its art style, which is very good and vibrant and kind of just wasted here on something that is so otherwise underwhelming.
Maybe I just don't like 16-bit action-RPGs. Totally possible given what I think of Secret of Mana, but I also can't deny how bored I was playing this, and how much I thought it drags.

Played on January. This game sucks.

Basically a Legend of Zelda knock-off.
But the changes made to the formula made the copy way better than the original. I really likes the spirit system. And the fighting system which tends to turn the game into a beat them up sometimes is incredible.
This "action packed" version of Legend of Zelda is the perfect one for me.

I really really wanted to like this game more: it's one of the best looking games of its generation and, like many games in the Mega Drive library, just feels unique and has this "distinct" aura.
But, presentation aside, I ended up thinking that the execution of the ideas were a bit... clunky? Unpolished? Poorly realized?
For example, you can jump. Having a jump button in a top-down action game already sounds like a strange idea and sure enough, the occasional platforming you have here is janky as hell.
The game also features different heights/elevations for enemies, obstacles and stuff, and the perspective makes those very difficult to gauge.
This top-down, Zelda-ish action-adventure game also features a couple of instances of "gotcha" design, where enemies spawn right in front of you, with very little time to react. Why.
Bosses are janky as a whole, with many featuring some questionable hitboxes.
Combat in general sometimes requires a dexterity you don't have - Ali moves very slowly, and you can only dash by double-tapping a direction. It's not very graceful.
This one is bordering on nitpick and it's highly subjective, but I think that having a game of this style/genre with no notable progression is a mistake. Ali remains the same throughout the whole game, with the only "upgrades" being the spirits (highly situational for the most part, and mostly used to solve puzzles), and the occasional secondary weapon (that have limited uses, breaking after a while)
There are infinite variants of those weapons, but getting them requires going out of your way, some are fairly cryptic (using the Doppelganger ability somehow reveals hidden warp points?), with the best one (the infinite Omega sword) requiring clearing a 100 floor dungeon. Nope.
I personally thought that the conveyance in the dungeons got poorer and poorer as the game progressed, they felt half-baked in their level design.
Half-baked, that's a good word. Beyond Oasis looks great, it "feels" special, but the end result is just sort of janky and unremarkable, and even annoying at times. A shame, I had some decent expectations for this one.

Every time someone calls Crusader of Centy "sega's answer to the legend of zelda" I feel my chest get tight. Beyond Oasis is a fantastic and brutal adventure with fighting game inputs in place of special tools. Plus, it has a lot more mobility options and dungeons designed around that. It's just in general an adventure game with real mechanical intensity, and I'm always going to prefer Doing Things to Having Things.
Now if we're calling Crusader of Centy "Sega's answer to Link to the Past" that's funny cuz both of those games kinda suck in really similar ways.

A solid RPG for the Genesis with satisfying (yet sometimes frustrating) combat and progression.
I did not expect to enjoy this game as much as I did. It was a solid experience overall. The overall story is simple enough where you are the good prince trying to overcome evil. The plot thickens as you get further into it. Gameplay is solid with progression, equipable weapons, equipment you gather to gain new abilities, and sommonable entities that help you in a meaningul way.
Combat was at times frustrating, but overall pretty satisfying. Feels a lot like a "Beat 'em up'", but you have a couple moves you can do which were to counter certain enemy types. Some encounters felt intentionally lopsided, but that wasnt the majority of the game.
I did not 100% it but did collect the majority of the gems to power up your sommons. Overall, I was very happy and impressed with this game.