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Old 10-12-2013, 02:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sylvan Tale

Ah the Game Gear, Segaís attempt to topple the Game Boy and Nintendoís domination in the handheld market. It was a powerful piece of machinery with a beautiful screen that made us feel like we had a Genesis in our hands Ö..that was until Pokťmon was released and we completely forgot It existed. Looking back it actually had a decent number of games, one of these being a little known gem called Sylvan Tale.

Sylvan Tale is an action adventure game by Sega for the Game Gear, released on January 27, 1995 as a Japan exclusive. It was produced by Motoshige Hokoyama (credited as Hoko Chan) who worked on many games such as Shadow Dancer (Shinobi), the Sonic Game Gear games and Temp Jr. Sylvan Tale stars a boy by the name of Zetts who one day finds a magic sword on top of a giant tree and is tasked with collecting six magic items needed to rid the land of evil monsters. The story is pretty basic but itís the game play, music and beautiful graphics that really make this gem shine and shows off what the Game Gear was capable of.

Gameplay: The game play is similar to the legend of Zelda series, most notable that of Majorís Mask. In the game the main character collects special items that allow him to take on different forms. This lets him defeat enemies, solve puzzles and travel to areas his human form could not. Some of these transformations include a turtle that is slow but has high defense and is immune to spikes, a mole that lets you break boulders blocking your path and tunnel to hidden areas and a merman that lets you Ö..well swim. Though the game is very linier exploring the area around you is important for finding hidden treasure chest. These chests contain upgrades for your heath and give your transformations new abilities that are necessary to conquer the many dungeonís puzzles and bosses.

Graphics: The graphics for this game are surprisingly good. The sprite work is beautiful and ranges from bright and colorful in fields and forests, to dark and spooky while inside dungeons. The characters are also very well done, the main character especially (turning into a merman while on land never gets old!) Some NPCís heads follow you around the room, while others blink or do an animation when you talk to them. Its little details like this that help bring life to a game world and immerse the player in the adventure.

Music: Turning on the game the first thing that you will notice is how good the music is. The music was written by Saori Kobayashi who was also responsible for the music in the Panzer Dragoon series, as well as the upcoming spiritual sequel Crimson Dragon. The music ranges from heroic and upbeat to slow and slightly depressing and really sets the mood for an epic adventure.

Close: If there are any negative points it would be that the game is very linear and short. It can be beaten in less than ten hours but itís time well spent. Itís a shame that this is the only entry in the series. This game has it all, good music, surprisingly great graphics, fun game play and could have been the foundation of a true rival to the Legend of Zelda. Though the game was only released in Japan it was translated into English by fans. This is an excellent hidden gem for the Game Gear that I would highly recommend to any Sega fans or fans of action adventure games in general.
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Sylvan Tale

Nice review, Blade!
I like how you compared it to Zelda; I have often felt that games like this one get overshadowed by more publicized releases - and sadly, forgotten afterwords.

At least, this is what I've discovered during my time here on R.U.
{I'd be playing random game and thinking: 'Why did I never hear anyone talking about this game? - it's great!'}
So many great games end up that way, but thanks to the Retro Gaming community we get to enjoy these gems which had gotten lost in the dusts of time.
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Sylvan Tale

Nice review. And look at that, you can play it right here on RU

Sylvan Tale - Sega Game Gear
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Sylvan Tale

I didn't even really think that Game Gear had any noteworthy exclusives. Good post.
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Sylvan Tale

Grew up with a Game Boy, so it was a surprise to me as well. If anyone knows of any other unique Game Gear games let me know.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Sylvan Tale

Good review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkN View Post
I didn't even really think that Game Gear had any noteworthy exclusives.
You better learn yourself.

If you like the Shining Force battle system, simple puzzle games, graphic text adventures, or speak Japanese then there are a few great Game Gear exclusives for you. But it did have a small library library to start with and nearly every GG game was an SMS port so not very many exclusives.

Arena Maze of Death < Isometric maze shooter. Unique concept.
Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe < Action RPG
Chicago Syndicate < Platformer spinoff of Eternal Champions. Looks horrible.
Crystal Warriors < Supposed to be amazing. Similar to Shining Force. Adding it to my list of games to try.
Defenders of Oasis < RPG
Devilish < break out game. Unique port.
Factory Panic < puzzle game
Gunstar Heroes < unique port
Halley Wars
Head Buster < Shining Force style battle game.
Magical Puzzle Popils < Puzzle game
Mega Man < unique port
Ninja Gaiden < unique port
Panzer Dragoon Mini < Space Harrier style game
Phantasy Star Adventure < graphic text adventure. Like Shadowgate for NES.
Phantasy Star Gaiden
Shining Force Gaiden < all 3 Shining Forces are amazing.
Shining Force Gaiden 3: Final Conflict
Shining Force: The Sword of Haija
Shinobi - Sega Game Gear < unique port.
Shinobi 2: The Silent Fury
Slider < puzzle game
Sonic Drift < Sonic racing game.
Sonic Drift 2
Sonic Labyrinth
Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
Super Columns < puzzle game adds some Dr. Mario elements to Columns.
Sylvan Tale
Tails Adventures < nothing like a sonic game.
Tempo JR < Crappy platformer.
X Men: Gamemaster's Legacy
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Sylvan Tale

Thanks for the list Kong, I love finding gems like these. Think I’ll check out crystal warriors and arena maze of death next.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Sylvan Tale

Sorry for the double post (I donít see an edit button). Made a video review.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbWehQdxxv4
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