the artistry and psychology of gaming


World of Evil (Soul Blazer)

World of Evil (Soul Blazer)

There was once a land that had a kind deity watching over it.  Said deity was known only as The Master, and it is said that he plowed the lands with sun and lightning so that the inhabitants could build their societies.  He was a wise and benevolent father, knowing the appropriate amount of assistance to render his people.  Some conflicts were best left to the people of the world that they may learn and grow to be self-sufficient.  Some were beyond the capabilities of his creations, and so he would send a disciple to take care of the problem.  He knew, however, when it was time to unleash the wrath of his divine hand upon the hapless, albeit powerful, fool who dared to threaten the lives of his children.

The land of which I wish to tell you today was the dwelling of a minor demon, who’d corrupted the heart of a king.  The king sold his soul to this demon, Deathtoll, and all of the world’s inhabitants disappeared, sealed in the lairs of his demon minions.  A disciple of The Master came down and reclaimed all of the inhabitants’ souls, blazing a trail to the demon’s final refuge.  Hidden within the aurora, hanging in the skies about the Mountain of Souls, the not-so-creatively-named World of Evil was actually outside of the world’s atmosphere; the aurora was a gateway to outer space.  I’ve visited the homes of quite a few demon overlords in my time – most adventurers have – but this was one of the most flashy.

The entry point is the seventh in a series of shrines that serve as warp points between the major regions in this particular kingdom.  The glassy tile was a deep bluish-purple with teal accents.  The walls were of a yellowish stone, and a plus-shaped dais stood in the center.  Another dais stood atop it with its stairs descending in four directions to colored tiles.  The southern, western, and eastern tiles were bright blue, and each of them warped to different parts of the World of Evil.  The northern tile, which was gold, was reserved for talking to The Master.  Every one of the shrines in this kingdom looks the same, except for the colors, though the colors of the warp and communication tiles are always blue and gold, respectively.  I took the southern warp tile, and what I saw was a unique experience.

I was standing upon the stars themselves!  When else could one get such an intimate view of the beauty of outer space?  It wasn’t just the stars – both red-orange and blue-white – either; I could see blue and purple nebulae floating above me, coloring some of the area beneath them as would a cloud in the atmosphere.  What was unusual about it all is that the celestial objects were warped and constantly rippling.  The platform that housed the warp tile leading back to the shrine was very ornate; beautiful patterned tiles of several styles made a simple design, while columns stood at the four corners.  Venturing precariously from its safety, my feet touched something solid, assuaging my fears.  I encountered the boundaries of this area; gigantic, beautiful walls of feathered flame that cycled through their bright colors as though they were shimmering.  A few freestanding columns were to be seen seemingly standing upon nothing; an odd sight.  The entire area was almost completely symmetrical, which made the experience somehow even more surreal.  Columns became increasingly frequent, as did flat blocks of a shiny metal that I could not identify, both of which were used as walls.  There were also green statues of dragons with glowing orange eyes, which they fired energy based projectiles from their mouths that slowly followed me around.  I cautiously made my way – was it north? – through the increasingly labyrinthine structure to reach a tile, the likes of which I’d never seen before.  It pulsated orange and magenta, and it was quite a breathtaking combination. I could only stare, mesmerized by it for a few minutes before touching it.

I was transported to the next section, which looked similar, but differently structured.  This maze was far more dangerous; some of the flat metal blocks were flying back and forth with enough force to hurt quite a bit.  Mind you, they are large enough to use to build a wall without stacking them more than one high, and are square, making them equally wide.  There were also quite a few dragon statues in here, leaving me very little room to move around, and placing me under a bit of duress, which made navigation more difficult; a clever move in the designer’s part.  I did eventually make my way through this labyrinth of metal and flame, reaching another pulsating tile, which I touched.  I could never have expected what I saw next.

I reached an area known as Dazzling Space, a name which would have better suited the preceding areas.  Knowing its name, I stood in this nest of fire, scratching my head as to why this area was called “dazzling”; there wasn’t a nebula or even a star to be seen!  While pondering this, I encountered a sudden shock; countless disembodied spirits appeared seemingly out of nowhere and began filling the area, as far as the eye could see!  The hideous twisted faces they sported suggested that they weren’t friendly spirits, either, and some had the face of more than one more than one screaming corpse upon it. It was also physically painful to be here; I made my way onward as quickly as possible.  I eventually came upon an equally horrifying temple; it looked to be upon a chunk of rock, floating in nothingness, with a staircase leading inside.  The pillars were topped with frightening demon heads that wouldn’t have looked completely out of place in Hyrule’s Dark World.  I hurriedly followed the thin red carpet inside to find, to my relief, that the atmosphere wasn’t quite so unbearable inside of the temple.  The interior decorating was ornate beyond description.  I followed the single hallway into a chamber with a simple blue rug with an intricate gold emblem in its center.  From here, I was transported to a cliff, where I was treated to the stunning view of eternal blackness, broken by bright blue clouds as far as the eye can see.  It was truly a magnificent sight to behold.

Outer space is commonly mistaken as the final frontier, and while I’ve spoken countless times as to why this is not true, it is not difficult to see why it is repeated so often.  It is the gateway to new worlds, and that is the most common answer to this question, and yet, it is so much more.  Outer space itself is filled with so much mysterious beauty that it is worth exploring for its own sake.  Visions of our future commonly include interstellar travel.  What I find about these visions is that they depict our world as the hub for exploration and space itself as some sort of vast ocean.  It seems a skewed perspective; truly, it is space that is the hub with the planets themselves being destinations, but I suppose it’s all really just a matter of perspective.  I sometimes worry about humans exploring the vast reaches of the universe with such a small concept of “the world”, but I suppose the necessary growth does not come instantly.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *