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E.V.O.: Search for Eden - SNES Review
Review Score:

E.V.O - Search for Eden is a game created by Enix for the SNES which hit the scene back in 1993. The game is rather unique as it takes elements from both platformers as well as RPGs. You not only have standard side scrolling action, but also the RPG element of leveling up and becoming stronger. What’s cool about E.V.O is that not only do you have these RPG and platformer elements, but the whole idea of the game is rather interesting. I’ll explain that by explaining the plot.

"Listen, I'm getting tired of you just lying around the solar system. It's time for you to gain some responsibility, I'm forcing you to get a job dammit! Carry my children."

In the opening cutscene The Sun tells the Earth, known as Gaia in this game, that he has chosen her to “bear” his children which will be known as “life.” Ultimately you are playing as “life.” Gaia will lead you through various periods of time where you basically get to play around with various stages of evolution through the five groups of vertebrates. You’ll start off as a lowly fish in the ocean, eventually become an amphibian as you finally reach land, then become a reptile, a bird, and then finally a mammal. During your time as a mammal, if you figure out how, you can even evolve into a human, which is pretty beneficial to you and worth a try.

EVO 21 300x217 E.V.O.: Search for Eden   SNES Review

Start off as a tiny fish and eventually you can become a nearly unstoppable monster.

The controls for this game are pretty easy to pick up on. You use X to attack your enemies. The attack I’m referring to is a biting attack which is your primary attack throughout the entire game. As the game progresses, most notably when you start playing as a mammal, you will be able to perform a back kick by pressing A. You can also use the Y button to bite, but this bite is not for attacking, but rather eating. The Y bite is rather useless though since the X attack bite can also be used for eating. The Y bite isn’t really useful until way later in the game, though there are a few moments where you may need it. When you finally make it out of the ocean, you can use the B button to jump.

EVO 1 300x226 E.V.O.: Search for Eden   SNES Review

Oh great, I go from being a lowly fish and I evolve into a creature with a bad case of the mumps.

Throughout the game, your objective is pretty much the same. Kill, eat, and evolve. You will be doing this in nearly every level of the game, but you need to in order to survive. When you kill an enemy, a piece of meat will be revealed, and when you eat it, it will restore health and give you evolution points. Evolution points, which can be viewed in the top right corner of the screen during play, are points that you obtain by eating creatures and can be used to basically “purchase” various upgrades in the evolution menu. Some enemies you kill will give you a piece of meat that is flashing. This flashing meat gives you more evolution points, anywhere between double to five times the normal evolution points.

EVO comparison 300x133 E.V.O.: Search for Eden   SNES Review

During the age of reptiles, you can change from a measly little dinosaur with scoliosis to a giant monsterous killing machine.

You can evolve all kinds of various parts, but each part costs a certain amount of evolution points, and as you progress through the different ages, the things you can evolve to become more expensive. This means the game has a heavy reliance on grinding which can make the game very repetitive. What adds insult to injury though is once you’ve grind enough and become the monster you want to be, the evolution points you collect throughout that age become meaningless because you lose them with each new age. This is especially insulting when you beat end bosses, and bosses give off a ton of evolution points, all of which are completely meaningless to you. Also, even though you became this giant monster, for the most part, you don’t get to keep your powered up form with each new age. Only as you progress from the Ice Age to age after that do you get to keep your current form. This is probably a good thing though, since the game would become way too easy.

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"Oh, I'll let you fail as often as you like, just don't let my father, The Sun, find out, even though he sees everything you do."

This game is easy, and for various reasons, but one major reason. You have infinite lives. There is no way to get a Game Over at all. Gaia will keep reviving you no matter how many times you end up losing. The only punishment for dying is your evolution points are cut in half. Even still, you’ll probably crush through most of the ages anyway once you evolve enough, so chances are you won’t even worry about dying that often in the first place. While I stated earlier that collecting evolution points becomes useless after evolving, that’s actually not entirely true. You can actually abuse the evolution menu by evolving and devolving unnecessary parts to your character which will always restore your health to full, so if you have a ton of evolution points, that gives you the opportunity to constantly heal yourself if needed. This is generally a strategy used against bosses.

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Forget the bald eagle. This thing is the new bird to represent America.

Throughout the game there is another plot point, however you’ll be too busy killing, eating, and evolving to really care too much, or frankly to even notice. Basically, there are these crystals that mysteriously appeared which are causing strange, yet powerful forms of evolution throughout the different ages. Most of the bosses in the game are basically creatures who are abusing the crystals and insist on becoming the most powerful creature by using them. You can actually gather crystals for yourself.

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During your time as a bird, if you find a certain red crystal, you can become a dragon.

There are 4 types of crystals in the game. yellow, green, blue, and red. Yellow crystals are generally in the first or second level of every age and are there to give you advice on how to survive in each age. Red crystals allow you to evolve into very powerful creatures for short periods of time. These creatures are generally more powerful than anything you could ever become during that age. You can also save these creatures in a “record of evolution.” Saving these creatures allows you to re-transform into them. To transform back into these saved creatures you need to collect green crystals. Green crystals are stored, so you can transform back into a red crystal monster whenever you need to. Chances are though, you probably won’t use green crystals often. Finally, there are blue crystals which generally give you a ton of evolution points. Each blue crystal generally gives off a different amount of evolution points over another. One might give you 1000 points, and another might give you 10,000. These crystals are very rare though so unless you know where to find them, chances are you won’t come into contact with them very often.

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A chance for world domination? Sounds tempting.

Most of the boss fights in the game aren’t that difficult, this is primarily due to the fact that you’ll generally be as evolved as you want to be during that era, so your attack, defense, health, ability to jump, and so forth will be pretty high. That’s not to say that all the bosses are pushovers though. Some bosses can still beat the ever loving crap out of you if you aren’t careful. Some bosses are more interesting than others though since they will give you the option to join them in taking over the world. If you choose to join them, you’ll get a little cutscene letting you know what happens, and in most cases, it’s pretty much along the lines of you take over the world, live a while, and eventually die or are never seen again for various reasons. Unlike actually dying though, you don’t have your evolution points cut in half, you merely have to restart the level. So there is no real consequence in choosing to join those bosses.

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Oh, so that's where rednecks come from.

Graphically speaking, E.V.O is actually nice to look at. There are a lot of nice colors and various stages to look at. The creatures you can create also look pretty cool too, and some look really threatening. The soundtrack is okay. It works for what it is, but one song is particularly annoying and downright obnoxious. That song is none other than the song that plays primarily during the Age of Reptiles. To really describe the song, it sounds like a trumpet vomiting out notes. This song and various incarnations of it constantly play throughout halfway through the game, onward.

E.V.O Search For Eden ~ Dinosaurs’ Land

Without giving the ending away, there really isn’t much more to talk about with E.V.O - Search for Eden. It seems like I did a lot of complaining, but I actually really like this game. I love the unique nature of it. That being said, there are some aspects about the game that could turn people off, such as the constant need for grinding, the repetitve nature of levels, and how all useless collecting evolution points becomes once you evolve into the dominating monster you want to be, other than for the sake of abusing the evolution system to heal. That being said, the game is rather unique and is deserving of a playthrough at least once. I’m going to give this game a 3 and a half stars. I really like this game, but by no means is it a perfect game and it has some rather obvious flaws in presentation and game design.

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Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)
E.V.O.: Search for Eden - SNES Review, 8.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
  • https://?u=TheFinalHighlander David Mcmurdo

    Great review. Enix in the old days gave us games that were really profound in context including the Actraiser series which was developed by Quintet. I really wish we got more games like this in the present day although I myself never got a chance to play E.V.O.

  • https://?u=bax88 Alan Baxter

    Good stuff mate, I think it’ll look better if you center the images though?

  • https://?u=IronFury Dave Turcotte

    The images actually are centered.

  • https://?u=bax88 Alan Baxter

    Try clicking left aligning them, and them centering them again, worked for me for some reason

  • https://?u=bkmelendez bkmelendez

    I’ve seen some Let’s Plays of this game on YouTube and it just looks awesome. It’s one of those games that flew by many people’s radar and it’s definitely worth check it out even by today’s standards.

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