Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Terranigma (SNES)

This will be the last requested game I play for a while.

In fact it'll be the last game from me at all this week. From this point on I'll be switching from playing a game a day, to putting a new game post up every week or so, in order to give myself less work to do save people from having to read so much! But for now here's a million pictures from another Super Nintendo rpg.

Hey, I've got a jump button, wasn't expecting that. I like how I can walk in and out of his bed like it's an optical illusion. The bed sheets are actually standing vertical on the floor, and the guy must sleep standing up behind them.

The game started with poor Ark having a nightmare about cave paintings, boats, and watches with 13 hours on their face, before waking up to find his girlfriend Elle at his bedside watching over him.
Ark: "I've been having these strange dreams."
Elle: "I never expected you would say such things. You should go outside."
Bit of a weird response, but okay. On the surface everything here's so happy and upbeat, but there's something creepy about all this and I'm not sure what it is.

Maybe it's this thing, sitting on his desk. I don't even want to know what he's got in that globe, but it's creeping me out.

I went exploring his house and eventually found these guys all walking on the spot. It's not especially weird for an old rpg, but everyone else I've seen so far as been able to stand still just fine.

I have no idea who these people are or why they're in my house (or maybe I'm in their house), but they tell me tales of how I'm a bastard who keeps ruining everything. Also that mysterious blue door is bothering them. It's giving them a spooky feeling, and no matter how hard they try, they can't get the thing open.

Awesome, I found the village Elder all by myself before anyone could tell me to come here. I really hate wandering around town in games looking for the Elder, or the King, or whoever else I'm supposed to report to.

The Elder tells me to stop meddling with his chests, and to go and apologise to the weavers for ruining all their weavings in the weaver's hall yesterday. I try to make a lame excuse to get out of it, but he won't allow the plot to continue until I go find these weavers.

It all looks like a typical fantasy village, but I still think there's something sinister about this place somehow. Like the floating bubbles drifting by, and the way people are seeing visions in reflections of places they've never been. Plus the fact there's absolutely no way to get out. No wonder Ark's been a bit of an asshole lately, he must be bored out of his mind.

Oh right, yeah, I'm supposed to be finding the weavers. Yay.

I have to say that I like Ark's walk animation. He looks like he's punching the air with every step, and he doesn't give a fuck who thinks that's a weird way to walk.

Also he's got a run button, and I have to say that I like that too.


By the time I've apologised to the weavers and gotten back to the Elder's house, the rest of the guys have gotten bored with walking on the spot and have decided to try breaking down the scary door instead.

They ask for my help, but I've decided that it's about time that Ark grows up and becomes a respectable member of this weird society, so I refuse to take part in their mischief. They break the door down without me, and vanish in a flash of light.

I suppose it's up to me to go and rescue them then. I grab one of the pots and throw it against the door out of a lack of any better ideas, and it actually works! Thank fuck for that, I thought I'd have to go wandering again.

I find Ark's friends inside, but they've been frozen like statues. Ghost statues. I'm starting to think it was probably a good thing I didn't agree to help them open the door the first time.

Hmm, the passage leads to an ominous floating box in a magic seal? Well, I can't see how breaking the seal can possibly make anything worse.

I break the seal, take the box, and then... COMEDY MUSIC.

A purple blob thing comes out to show me around the inside of my fantastic new box, and I've got to admit this place is really well equipped. There's a whole damn office in here, complete with a potted plant and a bin.

I can view a map, check my stats, store my items, change my gear... yeah it's basically just a graphical menu, a bit like in Fable III.

I grab a spear from the armoury, and leave.

Oh crap, this can't be good. Ark's girlfriend came down through the scary door to check on him, and now she's been frozen like his friends. Breaking the seal didn't fix the problem, it made it spread to the entire village!

I tried going back to an earlier point and seeing what would happen if I'd agreed to help his friends open the door, and this time around nobody was frozen until after I broke the seal, but it seems everything ends up the same after Elle comes down.

The Elder finally lets me raid his chests (50 gems and an S. Bulb, whatever the fuck that is), and commands me to save everyone by being the first person to ever leave the village. I must visit five towers... and apparently it's up to me to figure out what to do when I get there.

Ark of course has no clue what a tower is because he's never left the village, but the Elder doesn't really give a damn. He just tells me the gate is open, and I'm going to have to deal with it.

Oh damn, this gate wasn't here a second ago. This used to all be trees (which are the ultimate barrier to any rpg hero).

Well at least now I know exactly what my next step must be. My objective is clear. I must sneak over to the shop, and clear the place out while the owner is a ghost statue.

Son of a bitch! Why does this guy get to be spared?

Also, why is this shop so terrible? I can barely see the text against the background, I can't see what items I've got already, I can't sell anything, and I can't even check the stats of new equipment.

Whatever, I'll grab a couple more S. Bulbs while I'm here, and hopefully they'll turn out to be something useful.


Oh shit, that's weird. It's like I'm walking on the inside of a cylinder. Ark might live in a typical fantasy rpg village, but damn he does NOT live in a typical rpg fantasy world.

Another thing that's weird; I've lost the ability to walk diagonally. And that's annoying.


Fortunately for Ark, I know what a tower is, so I'm able to steer him towards the nearest one.

And in a shocking twist... the graphics are awesome. Just like in the rest of the game. I can't complain about the music either. This actually is a really well made game so far, though I'd hope so considering it was made in 1995, near the end of the SNES's era.

And finally I hit gameplay! It reminds me a little of Beyond Oasis, as I can pull off different attacks with my spear by using different button presses. I can stab at enemies, dive at them, spin in the air... it works really well.

It also reminds me of that Lord of the Rings - Vol 1 game I played a couple of days ago, as it's basically the same thing. Except this gets the combat and movement right. For an RPG to work, the core gameplay has to be something a player can repeat a thousand times without getting sick of it, and I was sick of that game after my first kill. This, on the other hand, is actually makes it fun to run around and hit things.


I couldn't find the exit to this floor so I figured I'd try the window. I'm starting to maybe regret it a little now. Though maybe I can swing across to that chain over there...

Is it just me, or does the outside of the tower seem a little smaller than the inside? I suppose I can't talk, seeing as I've got an entire office inside my tiny little inventory box.


Uh, so does that mean it's a good thing I killed them? Is this like a Sonic the Hedgehog thing where I destroy the monsters to free the captive creatures within? I really hope so or else I just killed half the villagers.

You know, I was expecting a boss fight against this guy here, but nope.

No clue what's going on here, but it looks cool.

Whoa, what? No no no, I came here to save villagers, not to resurrect Eurasia! Wait, the whole of Eurasia was destroyed? And I just brought it back?

I feel like this needs some kind of explanation.

Oh cool, some villagers got brought back too. It's a multifunctional tower!

Well, there's four towers left to visit, so I suppose I should get on with it then. Right after I return home and save my game.


I was stuck on this damn floor for ages, trying to figure out what it meant by 'pay heed to the statues and the color of the jewel in the forehead'. I was hitting them, throwing stuff at them, trying to push them into the wall...

It turns out that it just meant that I could push this statue sideways to reveal a staircase. So hopefully I can get back to hitting things now.


And now I'm playing around with switches to move platforms in a line so I can cross the chasm. Falling down isn't a huge problem, I either lose a little health or just fall to the floor below. And my health regenerates over time, so that's not even an issue.

I can't help but compare these dungeons to the ones in Lord of the Rings (Vol 1), seeing as it was the last game I played. And reasonably sized floors with simple and varied puzzles is way preferable to an endless bloody maze. In the dark.


Oh great, I spoke too soon. The fourth tower is a multilevel maze, and I have to fall down to lower floors to find the staircase to reach higher ones.

It wouldn't be so bad if I knew where I was meant to go, but I've been wandering around for ages and I'm totally stuck.

Okay this area has green arrows pointing down, so it must be a clue that I should fall down here, right? RIGHT?


I had to check a playthrough on youtube in the end to find out what to do. It turns out I'd been throwing myself down a hole on the left when I should have been falling down an identical hole on the right.

But whatever, that's all over now and I have the Crystal Thread! No clue at all what it does, so I'll stick it in my inventory next to the S. Bulbs and other stuff I've picked up. Now I can finally get this tower finished off and go visit the last one.


Uh... this bastard just immobilises me, then kicks me right back out of the door before I can do anything! What the fuck? Nothing I try works, and I am totally and completely without a clue what to do.

I tried wandering the land looking for new areas to visit instead... and I find them! But they tell me to go finish tower 5 first. The bastards.


Eventually I gave up and checked youtube again to find out what I was meant to do. It turns out that I was supposed to return home and give the Crystal Thread to Ark's girlfriend. Obviously.

That honestly would have never occurred to me. Maybe there was a clue in the item description, I dunno, I'd forgotten I'd even picked it up.


Elle tells me that she'll have my new cape ready by the morning, so I have to sleep. But Ark wakes up in the middle of the night, so I have to go all the way back to Elle to check on her, then all the way back to bed. Then in the morning, it's back to Elle's house again!

Thanks for that, game.



I eventually knock a claw off by spear diving into him a few times, but I find myself losing health faster than I can heal back with S. Bulbs (which turned out to be healing items btw.) Soon poor Ark is killed, and reappears back at the last save point. It didn't load the save, just put me back there.

But I'm not finished with the guy yet. I walk all the way back up there... and this time I remember that I have a block button to block lasers. The monster is killed, the last few souls are reunited with their bodies and I win the keys to a shiny new Australia as a bonus prize!

Of course saving the village isn't enough for the Elder. Nope, he's on a roll, so he decides his next goal for me is to resurrect the rest of the human race on all those continents I just brought back. Single handedly.

I asked Elle if she wanted to come with me (she could even live in my cosy box office while we travelled) but apparently video game characters can't hear me talking to the screen. She refused to even leave her room to say goodbye because she's annoyed that I'm leaving.

So anyway I fall through a hole in the floor of my concave world and end up on the outside of the Earth, only to find it's a completely barren wasteland completely incapable of sustaining life. And then COMEDY MUSIC. Seriously.

Well I'm definitely on the outside of the world now, somewhere near the Amazon river. There isn't anywhere obvious to go, so I guess I'll just have to wander the barren wastelands of South America at random until Ark either stumbles across some half-hidden mystical life resurrection device, or starves to death trying.

It would have been nice if the Elder had given me the slightest hint about what I was supposed to do when I got here. Unless... he really has no idea, and just wanted to get rid of me before I accidentally turned everyone into a ghost statue again, or wrecked their weaving, or whatever. That son of a bitch.


Hey, I found a cave! A dark cave maze in fact... exactly where I didn't want to be. Plus my awesome magic spear isn't regenerating my health any more, though at least I can still hit things with it

Actually to be honest, for the first few minutes I kind of assumed I couldn't hit enemies any more, and tried to avoid them all instead... like an idiot. It's the Elder's fault, he told me my spear wouldn't work on this side of the world! More evidence for my 'the Elder wants me dead' theory.

And then I walked through a harmless looking door and ended up poisoned, then dragged back outside.


Ugh, I am so bored of wandering around this place that I've started talking to the bloody plants out of sheer desperation. Fortunately they're pretty helpful, and give me some clues.


I hate mazes. I really do.

Sure they've been kind enough to give me a map, and I do appreciate that, but it's not really being that helpful. I've unlocked the ability to go in water, but I'm not sure where I can go swimming that I haven't been yet.


Finally I've collected all the abilities I need to get back into the poisonous boss room. Then I lose consciousness again because I didn't know I had to activate my anti-poison ability manually.

But then I come back and kick the guy's ass... after stabbing his eye like 3 million times. Holy shit this was a boring fight.

And then the plants take over the world, making it capable of sustaining life again. Wow, I really did stumble across the right cave didn't I? I guess Ark won't die of starvation after all!

To be honest, I was liking this game a lot better before it started to be vague about where I was supposed to go next. The gameplay is very solid throughout, but only when I'm actually getting to play it, instead of being left to wander around lost and bored trying to figure out where to be and what to do.

Oh whatever, I'll give it a bloody gold star anyway.


  1. PAL gamers were lucky to get this one back in the day! I only recently had the chance to play this on an emulator, and it's great! Also, I should try punching the air when I walk, maybe it could make me look like cool... I'll try anything!

  2. Thanks for the great review. I've never played this game before, but I'm planning to do so sometime this year. I really enjoyed the 'prequels', Soulblazer and Illusion of Gaia.

    1. I was also going to point out that Soulblazer and Illusion of Gaia are the prequels to this game. I played all three a loooooong time ago (somewhere between 1999 and 2003). I liked the first two, but I wasn't too crazy about this game. I'm not even sure why. Something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. It lacks any kind of strong villain, too.

    2. Soulblazer and Illusion of Gaia are prequels to this game????
      Well, this one is my favorite of the 3 XD
      Its history is so crazy and sometimes nonsensical, but it is a great game =D

  3. It't THE true hidden treasure for north america gamers

  4. I'd never have the patience to get through Terranigma these days, but traversing the inner face of the Earth to raise the continents from the sea was more memorable than the last few hundred gunfights I've played through.

    It really helps that the player can walk around and see what they're accomplished. A lot of the time the player is told that the evil X is threatening Y, blows up everything, and is told that Y is now safe. Here the ways the player's made a difference are everywhere and tangible.

    We need more rebuilding games.

    1. Yeah, plenty of games let you play as a hero making a positive difference in the world one quest at a time, but very few of them let you stand back and SEE that difference. I remember Dragon Age II being especially bad for that, as it took place in one city, with big time jumps between chapters, and yet nothing ever changed.

  5. "I asked Elle if she wanted to come with me (she could even live in my cosy box office while we travelled) but apparently video game characters can't hear me talking to the screen."

    That has to be one of your better lines man.

    Also, I never finished this game. I got as far in the end as the point where humanity was resurected and there was this weird thing where you had to donate money to all manner of things around the world to fix history. I think there was also a hidden "dungeon" of sorts were you had to beat the tormented ghost of the game's programmer to resurect the game developers, or something along those lines.
    Near the end the plot falls down to the "there is this evil scientist who wants to be god" - cliche. Thats where my first playtrough ended. I tried again about ten years ago and got so badly lost in the dungeon were you had to resurect the birds that after having wasted almost two hours wandering around in circles looking for the right cliff to jump down that I gave up and hadn't touched this game since.

    The game has its good sides and many of those in fact. If youre even slightly interested in zeldaish jrpg with a mostly original story, I recomend playing this. However do NOT shy away from using walktroughs! There are several places you are most likely to get complitely lost, the dungeons are way too big and way too maze like for game's own good. Some bosses also have ridicculous amounts of health. Also I think the currency you used to buy magic was limited resource, as in if you used some spells then got killed and thrown back to last check point those spells or were gone for good, but enemies came back.

    I did finish the Soulblazer by the way, but I never could keep my interst up to play Illusion of Gaia fathern than the second town. The three games don't realy have that much in common apart form being action games with token level grinding to get more hp and attack power.

    Maybe you should play Soulblazer one of these days to complete the triology, Ray?

    1. Yeah, I'll likely be playing Soul Blazer next year some time; I can't just leave the trilogy unfinished! Unless I've forgotten by then, then I'll likely find it very easy to leave it unfinished.


Semi-Random Game Box