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Surging Aura
Japan MP Inc. * GENESIS * 24 MEG * Now Available JPN


In this edition of "Awesome Japan Exclusives," we have the latest Sega Genesis RPG: Surging Aura. Prince Muu is exiled from his homeland due to an evil mage and his monstrous army. As it turns out, the once-believed deceased Rufeed has taken demonic possession over the powerful, royal archmage. In the course of his revival, the court has been slayed and Muu is banished. It's time to save the kingdom of Pasfelda and avenge your father's legacy atop the throne! Phew, what a story! In the vein of other Japanese RPGs like Lunar, Surging Aura from the developers at Japan Media Programming features a predominately anime-styled aesthetic. Animated cutscenes do wonders in telling the story.

In the face of a tyrannical foe, players will navigate the world of Surging Aura in standard RPG fashion. Battles are fought from a first-person view not too dissimilar from Phantasy Star, and utilize a timed/turn-based battle system like the most recent Final Fantasy games. We hope you like random battles - They pop up nonstop! It is best to pay close attention as the combat plays out, because enemy units will strike even if the player is merely clicking through the battle menu. All in all, aside from the beautiful illustrations and the above-average story, there is little else in this Sega RPG that separates it from the pack in any meaningful regard. Japanese Mega Drive owners should try it out, though.

Printed in Issue #25, May 1995
Ultima VII
FCI/Pony Canyon * SNES * 8 MEG * Now Available


You are the Avatar. By stepping through a mysterious moon gate, you are transported into the mythical land of Brittania. All appears well on first glance, however a seemingly benevolent charity named The Fellowship has infiltrated all aspects of society. This group, veiled in mystery, may just be responsible for a string of sudden jailings and kidnappings. Their objective: Revive an extra-dimensional being set on conquering all life. Perhaps that awful, sassy Guardian bloke has an idea. Ultima VII: The Black Gate on SNES is a PC portover delivered by FCI and Pony Canyon. This cart features revamped and improved graphics and controls from the previous outing on home console, even in its tiny box.

Ultima VII tries its darndest to mesh its top-down action gameplay with the traditional dungeon-crawler and puzzle elements that the series is known for. Combat is mindless, real-time button-mashing as opposed to anything too imaginative. Traversing dungeons can be tough with various types of locked doors and dead ends. Not to mention, the areas and treasures reset once you leave, opening the door to easy riches. You must interact with everything to progress, which can be a pain due to the mouse-controlled interactions. On the upside, dialogue trees are extensive, and a Fast Magic system can create instant spell access and speed up the battling. Still, it's a marked step-down from PC.

Printed in Issue #25, May 1995