Who made it?: Kataru Uchimura (Designer); Ancient (Developer); Sega (Publisher).
Genre: Action, RPG.
Platforms: Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Wii Virtual Console.
Format: Cartridge (24-megabit).
Release dates: 12th December 1994 (Japan); 15th March 1995 (UK/USA).
Ever since The Legend of Zelda was released in 1986, there’s been a long line of clones trying to cash-in on its popularity, with titles such as Neutopia on the Turbografx 16/PC Engine, Golden Axe Warrior on the Sega Master System, and even newer titles like Okami on PS2 and 3D Dot Heroes for the Wii/PS3. One Zelda clone that stood out in the mid-Nineties was the Sega Mega Drive effort The Story of Thor (aka Beyond Oasis). It was released almost 3 years after The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Thor missed the Mega Drive’s prime by being released only months before Sega launched its successor: The Saturn.
The game itself is a top-down adventure in which you play Prince Ali (not of the Disney variety). Ali discovers a gold armlet in a cave. This particular gold armlet once belonged to a wizard who was at war with the possessor of a silver armlet. Each armlet has its own power: The silver one enables the user to cause chaos and destruction, and the gold one allows the wearer to summon 4 different spirits (fire, water, shadow and plant). Ali must travel through the land of Oasis to find the 4 spirits, and stop the new holder of the silver armlet from causing more destruction.
Gameplay-wise, Thor is very similar to The Legend of Zelda. The player picks up new weapons as they travel, and you can also aquire spirits which allow Ali to conjure spells and new abilities that can be used in battle. The gameplay is solid, with good control, fun combat and alot of exploration. Graphically, the game seemed to push the Mega Drive to its limits, with large, colourful sprites and fluid animation. The sound is decent but not particularly memorable, although the Mega Drive was never known for excellent SFX, especially in comparison to the SNES. Some sound effects seem to be lifted from other Sega games, most notably the Streets of Rage series. Yet, it transcends such faults and is still immensely playable to this day.
Ultimately, The Story of Thor deserves to be told again.
- The Story of Thor 2 (or as it was known in North America, The Legend of Oasis), is a prequel to the original game and was released in 1996 for the Saturn.
- The game is available for your consideration on Wii Virtual Console, Sega Mega Drive: Ultimate Collection on Xbox 360 and PS3, and as it was originally on Mega Drive, which is easy enough to find on eBay.