Exile came out in the US in 1991 from Renovation. Renovation was basically translating Telenet games into English, and they tended to be kind of rough translations. In 1992, Working Designs worked on Exile II for the Turbo Duo. However, the US history of the game isn’t the full story by a long shot. Click here to see Hardcore Gaming 101’s detailed article.
To sum up the content of the article, back in 1988, there was a game called XZR. In it, your hero, Sadler, was an Syrian assassin (and secret son of the Caliph) addicted to drugs. He constantly is smoking in his character pictures, and mild healing items are things like betel leaves. You can also take cocaine and more dangerous drugs, but you run the risk of dying. This is represented by a EKG like line in the corner. In the end, the plot is basically a surreal time travelling saga striving for world peace.
XZR II, meanwhile, is the sequel to the first game. In it, Sadler is searching for enlightenment or world peace again. In the Genesis game, this amounts to searching for the Holimax – basically a Holy Grail like item and trying to use Buddhist mandalas along the way. The danger of death via drug use vanishes and the game is basically a slightly maze like action game with some mild RPG upgrade /plot areas.
However, between the surreal translation and the grim plot of the game, you can pick up bits of the story. The introduction is a quiet ominous drummed melody with a saga about power being valued over nature, and people conquering in the name of power. As the game goes on, your partners slowly vanish as they’re killed by mysterious forces, and in the end, Sadler stands alone. Click on Exile here to see screenshots. Reading between the lines, it seems to be a memory of your partner, Rumi, talking about a dream of a perfect utopia. Sadler realizes that there was no one who could bring the world to a utopia, and no holimax to create one. In the end, there’s a bittersweet hope that someday, all evil would turn to good. With the hazy ghosts of his companions watching, he takes a step.
As for game play, the starting dungeon is the most difficult, since you can easily get overly hurt and you can’t leave to restock on items. After that, the difficulty curve only really gets hard when you’re struggling to find an evil spirit in a monastery. It’s a complex maze filled with a lot of enemies and similar looking corridors.
Much of the game amounts to traveling to a location, upgrading equipment, following the plot thread, and then entering a dungeon. Most dungeons have a single major boss of the area, but some have smaller boss encounters. Most of the music is typical Genesis style music, and the graphics are nothing exciting either. There’s a few cut scenes (they’re more complex in the Turbo Duo version.) Over time, the translation gets more and more rough and less obviously censored as you progress through the game.