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CONSOLE: Game Gear DEVELOPER: Sega PUBLISHER: Sega
RELEASE DATE (EU): 1992 GENRE: RPG
// review by SoyBomb

Defenders of shuteye.

Hey, you there! Yeah, you, the one standing around drinking that expensive coffee and wearing the snappy shirt! ...no, not you, the other one. Are you looking for a video game with a little more of an ethnic flair? Are you looking for an RPG that tries for a different angle for once? Are you looking for a game that will bore you beyond belief so you have something to complain about at the matcha emporium? Look no further—Defenders of Oasis is here to charm the pants off you while simultaneously planting you into a coma!

Unlike most RPGs, Defenders of Oasis is set in an Arabian landscape, where you, the mighty Prince of Shadam, oversleep on the precise day when the Princess of Mahamood is coming to your sacred town. She brings news that there's going to be a war against your kingdom! Ruh-roh! Leave it to "Zahhark the Snake King" (yep) to cause trouble. It's up to you, O mighty Prince, to go on a journey to set things right.

Defenders of Oasis is on the Game Gear, and as such, it's one of the few RPGs available for the system, especially outside of Japan, where the RPG library is even MORE limited.

If it's a standard RPG battle system you're looking for, you will certainly find it here, but with a few quirks that set it apart from the rest — and not necessarily in a positive way. The usual tropes of turn-based fighting are all here: Fight, Item, Spell (for magic, not for diction), and Parry are all available as options. Brawls are nothing out of the ordinary and actually quite dull and elongated; enemies have zero animations whatsoever, so you can't rely on that for entertainment, either. You start out alone but soon gain some companions to help fend off the djinns of the world. Unfortunately, one of them is a genie that you can't even equip anything on, so while you're sportin' the 2020 fashions, he's stuck in his 1989 Reebok Pumps trying to keep his defense up. Nuh-uh, bruh!


Midnight at the o-aaaa-siiiis...

To further aggravate the player, you often have no idea who will fight in what order; I often found that enemies took multiple turns just because they could, putting me at a consistent disadvantage. Just let me slay random Arabian goons and move on. In a game where you already spend more time engaging in battle above all else, the fact that their agility is in the miscellany range just elongates things more than necessary.

Add to all this that leveling up takes an exorbitant amount of time and fails to make you feel stronger to any significant degree and you have a recipe for disaster. Battles hurt, and not once did I feel as though I was powered up reasonably, even after devoting a good chunk of time to just wandering and fighting. There isn't much in the way of plot going on in Defenders of Oasis, aside from the occasional event, so yes, most of your time IS spent engaging in random encounters anyhow.

If you have the patience to fooster your way through the rough patches, you may find some enjoyment. The graphics are nice and bright (desert sand sure looks fluorescent on the small screen), and the music...qualifies as music, according to the Official Development Guide on Getting The Game Gear To Excrete Audio That Doesn't Sound Like Post-Arby's Nuggetry. Classic RPG purists may get a kick out of this game, though I will still recommend playing this while getting a secondary input of entertainment, such as watching the complete collection of videos on my YouTube channel. Otherwise, you will probably become quite bored and have to take a nap.

Don't let RPGs invoke a siesta.


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