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Retro Fire

Written: 7.13.07
Acquired: 1.18.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $6

Pub: Sony ImagesoftJan. '94
Dev: Ukiyotei8 MEGS

Here's one of those lesser known SNES games which have gone on to develop something of a small cult following. I missed out on it back in the day and it was right at the top of my want list. It didn't take me long... just one day after I re-bought a Super Nintendo I secured a copy of Sky Blazer. What's all this fuss about? With all of the fan hype surrounding it, "anxious to play" would have been an understatement!

                           In Japan it's known as
                           Karuraou. To no one's*
                           surprise, the US box-
                           art was Americanized
                           to be "more modern
                           and hip"

                           *Unless you're one of
                            those who wonders
                            what SNES** stands
                            for, and I hope not

                         **Surely Not Everyone's

                          ***[Quit this asterisk
                              nonsense! -Ed.]



A lovely moderate rain streaks across the screen as the game opens proper. You have 8 magic skills, but only one is initially known. The other 7 are to be acquired. Some eat more magic bars than others. You can also upgrade your health


Sky's regular offense consists of punches and this sweeping kick

The sneaky athletic bastard, Sky possesses incredible grip

He can also scale walls. Hmm, shouldn't rain put out the fire? Must be them magic flames

Some action heroes, who will go nameless, lack the ability to duck *cough Mega Man cough* but NOT Sky!  In fact, he can duck AND crawl at the same time. Highly useful!

After this very brief intro romp, you meet up with the Lord of War Ashura (look, I can't make
this stuff up). Don't sweat the ill fate about to befall you -- it's beyond your control

There goes the young sorceress Arianna. I
like that name. Exotic


... is the name of this geezer. Classic. Giving tips along the way and also supplying you with passwords, he's more than an afterthought, despite the lame generic name

                                                            "I heard ya the first time. Chillax, foo!"


The game is made up of three islands, with the bulk of the action taking place in the 2nd. You can backtrack to a previously beaten level, but there's really no need or incentive to

The game is largely linear

                               And of course, the by-now
                               obligatory zoom-in Mode 7
                               shot. Hey, all the cool kids
                               were doing it


This is an ace little jaunt but I'm still racking my brains out.... WHO IN THE BLOODY HELL
  No (mid)boss in this stage and no one by the name of Faltine ever appears.
So, pray tell, WHOOO!?  *grumble, etc.*

           This sinking action is
           inexplicably top stuff.
           One second you're
           streaking on top....

... And the next you
find yourself sinking
through the leaves



It's a temple.... burning like an inferno. [Brilliant -Ed.] Things get a bit hot under the collar here, pardon the pun. Lots of clinging and jumping to and fro quickly. This level is broken up in several short stretches

Sky Blazer is filled with all sorts of mythical depictions in the background

If you smeeeelll-a-la-la-LA-LA!


Work your way up this
rotating tower. The first
one is easy, but later
becomes much more
difficult, with re-appearing
platforms. This was said
to be highly impressive
back then!

    For you Commodore
    players Nebulus
    probably comes to
    mind I bet

                                                             Obviously, he flunked Kindergarten!

That just ain't right

This next bit here is pretty damn cool stuff. You don't have to use the Comet Flash but I find it most effective. The wyvern is annoying and the platforms dissolve as soon as contact is made

The Comet Flash not only zips you across a great distance but takes out baddies too!


Ah-ha, it was only a matter of time before we cracked upon the slippery slidey ice world!
Maybe unoriginal, but you certainly can't fault Sky Blazer for having variety

Touch these bad
boys and...

                         ... They take off!
                         What creative
                         genius eh!

Cool thing is, you can also ride the ice wedge, taking out all those who stand foolishly in your path

                            "Grasshopper, let thy
                            enemy come to thee"
                            I was once told

Well I'll BE...

                                                    Inflation is nuts init -- this was a $2 fee last week

"See?  Should have let
me pass by peacefully"

Later on we arrive at something vaguely familiar... hmmmm

I did say Sky Blazer was unoriginal, yes?

I was also once told, "Patience is a virtue, young grasshopper"

The slipperyness of it all adds to the tension


No doubt Sky Blazer is fun to look at, with some unique structures that were semi-atypical of SNES games at that

                                Another short level, this
                                one features rotating logs.
                                Slip and be forced to deal
                                with a shoal of angry fish


This is the most confusing
stage in what is largely an
easy game. Many switches
must be flipped in order to
grant access to the next
region. All stages in Sky
are small, but this
one you might actually be
at it for a while

And these currents force you in the flow of their direction... so how would one flip the switch there? Good question. Oh, you wanted an answer too? Um, all I can say is "Focus on Hocus Pocus"

Look, I'll even show you.
I'm too nice to you lot, I
really am


Lazy-ass design on the sea serpent there, but I love this shot


Wait-a-sec, it might be purty but ain't this really Falls of Torment? Hmmm...

                                  Typical platforming skills
                                  are demanded of you.
                                  Predictably, spikes
                                  periodically pop out the
                                  sides of that block there

This guy again?!

He just won't give
up, will he?

         Sometimes, the
         collision detection
         is a bit off...

"Trust me on this one...."

                      "Ya won't feel a damn thing..."

"See?  Wasn't too bad was it?"


Ominous thunder clouds rage in the background of this cool looking stage. The destructible blocks littered within this world add a convivial touch to the proceedings

Remember those early-mid 90's Batman toy commercials?  And how the Batmobile
would always go crashing through see-thru blocks?  This reminds me of that


Those indestructible rolling bastards are mighty difficult to avoid

Think he's ugly?  Not til you see his 2nd form


This is it, the final stop.
You gotta be fast to last
in this cruel force scroller,
with ill-positioned baddies
and falling platforms up the
proverbial wazoo

Green refills your health, red magic. You know what this means, right?  Yup. Gauntlet

One of 8 special magic powers, I had to show this one. Ace animation!


It'd seem a bit weird, wouldn't you agree, if there were little actual sky blazin' in Sky Blazer?
Well the bad news is, other than the bonus Mode-7 levels, there's only two levels where Sky
gets to show off his flying abilities

The good news?  Given how awkward the wing-flapping controls are, it's just as well!

Here's the bonus level I speak of. Collect gems to earn a 1-UP

                                                                          It sure as hell does!

Kids these days huh? They never do listen, tsk tsk


Sure as hell not Tony Danza. Now Ms. Milano on the other hand...

Here's some of the big bad wolves in Sky Blazer

You can forget about those three wishes

Pay close attention
to this bugger...

                Errr, pardon the
                lame pun... but
                did ya see that!?

Pretty clever usage of Mode-7, and certainly one of those boss encounters you never forget...

[*Slaps forehead* -Ed.]



This boss is easily
my favorite. Not only
does it look bad-ass,
it's an ingenious battle
beginning to bloody end

                    Attack its right eye...

Rest In Peace, Left Eye

So how does this heathen defend itself / fight back?  I'm glad you asked....

Shameless Mode-7 thrills and delights. As the monster weakens, the speed picks up!

And just to keep you honest:

This thing's a hideous cross between a dragon, elephant and ninja turtle

I nominate this
attack. Grinning
red apples?  Oh

Remind ya of Peter Pan?  Same creators. Try HOOK if you like SB

             Why not spinning
             razors or even the
             contrived red laser
             beams?  Ah well

Run Sky, run!

                              Jump Sky, jump!

Ah, just made the get-away
and not a moment too soon

Spider-Man would be extremely proud


The final showdown has arrived...

                   First ya gotta find
                   a way to shatter
                   his shield. Without
                   his precious shield
                   ya just might stand
                   a shot in hell

                                                                              OK he's really super easy

His main attack,
Flamin' Homer's,
is easily avoidable

                     EAT MY SHORTS, BUB!

                     A few dozen dropkicks and
                     that'll be that. Like the other
                     bosses, there's a glaring lack
                     of challenge...

                     But wait...

With how easy Ashura was, and recalling the plot that he was only doing the bidding for
a higher power, you KNEW this couldn't be the end of it all... and you're damn right...


                                    You won't have seen this
                                    much flashing since Girls
                                    Gone Wild College Spring
                                    Break Twins Extravaganza
                                    Edition Volume 11!

                                    [Lucky guess -Ed.]

Raglan is tougher than a two dollar steak. So tough in fact that Sky breaks the ancient-as-time-itself action hero code

[So... did it work? -Ed.]

Not a chance in hell

[Ah... thought so -Ed.]


Maybe you remember this, maybe not. Ah the days of renting video games. And seeing the cheesy posters adorning the mom 'n pop walls


As you can see from the poster above, and from hearing word-of-mouth I'm sure, Sky Blazer
has more than its fair share of fans. GameFan absolutely adored it. It was previewed twice,
and also received a two-page GRAVEYARD edition in their September 2000 issue. ECM was
so bold to call it one of the greatest SNES games of all time. I remember reading that whole retrospective article and thinking this had to be a GREAT game. Oddly, GameFan never did
rate Sky Blazer

  • EGM: 7, 8, 8, 8, 8
  • Super Play: 78%

An interesting note... five ratings from EGM (not the traditional four) because this was one of those "tucked on the side" reviews where they had a fifth reviewer. And Sky graced what was
a gorgeous cover of Super Play Magazine (#14). Cheers Wil Overton, your artwork will never
be forgotten!


I came in with a lot of expectations, given all the praise I had either read or heard about. I wish I could say I feel the same way about this game. It was a tad disappointing. Good game? Easily. One of the best? From where I sit, no how no way. The levels are criminally brief. They stop just when you're getting into them. Baddies are dotted about sparingly and display lame AI. Magic spell antics are promised, but never fully materialized in quite the same way as those seen in class-A titles

Don't get me wrong. Sky is a great character and fairly fun to navigate. It's just the world he was given to do so failed to live up to its end of the bargain. Graphically, it holds up nicely. The Mode-7 boss terrors, the rotating tower, the multitude of scrolls, the vibrant colors and whatnot are easy on the eyes. But every once in a while, a crap water effect (Lair of Kharyon) or a dull enemy design will make you stop and wonder. The music is solid and suits the on-screen action to a tee. The boss theme rocks my socks. But I could do without Sky's infamous Homer Simpson grunting sound effect

All in all, Sky Blazer is harmless fun. Not the kind of game that made me jump up and down in my seat, but at times came awfully close. For some folks it did, so it might for you, but I just could not shake that feeling that this game's too lightweight for its own good. At the risk of being gutted, I dare say it's a bit overrated by the fans. Missing the ingredients to be a top-tier title, it does however fare respectably well in the class "Best of the Rest"

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 6

Overall: 8.0

Silver Award