And how true that is. The game, Terrangima, focused around a boy named Ark, who, like many typical RPG Heroes, was living a normal life in his village, until a chain of events was set off that made him “The One” go out and correct the wrongs in the world and to help spread growth around the Earth. Sounds stupid and weird, right? Wrong. You're very, very wrong. And you'll see why. Though the game unfortunately never hit our shores and I wish it did because it would've been welcomed greatly. The game for its time was just utterly amazing, graphically and gameplay-wise. Yet, how did the game add up in total, and just what made this game so good, that it now has an underground cult following, due to how well the story and plot hold up? Well, let's get down to the review and find out, shall we?
The story's pretty simple and typical for a normal RPG, but it adds oh so much more. You're a boy named Ark, who's living in his village of Crysta. After breaking into a room that was forbidden to the villagers of Crysta, Ark frees some weird Bat creature and everyone in Crysta, except Elder, Ark, and the Bat, Yomi, become frozen solid. After learning what happened by talking to Elder, Ark sets off and leaves Crysta to restore his town and set things right. Though, after accomplishing this task, he learns of a much greater task that he now must fulfill and that's to go to the Upper World and spread growth around Earth and help creatures and plants out, to mainly save the world. The story then sets off from here, as Ark helps not only plants, but Animals and Humans grow and even begins to help towns, which later flourish into present-day cities, appear, all while combating a mysterious evil...
Now, this sounds like a typical “Oh no, the world is in danger. You are the Legendary Hero. Go save it!” game, right? Wrong. Terranigma sets itself apart from the other games, because of its plot and story. There are a lot of biblical references in this game, such as Ark being related to Noah's Ark and helping to save the world and spread growth. It also deals with God here and there, mainly with some guy wanting God-like power (Think Sephiroth from Final Fantasy 7 but in a lesser extreme.) and also deals with both good and evil in man. The game has a lot of emotion in it and character development, which is amazing for a Super Famicom game. Not to mention, you journey around the world, not an alternative Universe like in most RPGs, but the REAL Earth. You can travel to North America, Japan, etc. Not to mention, this game is filled with historical figures. Columbus, Bloody Mary, (From the French Revolution, during the Reign Of Terror. Remember her? It takes a bit of research, but you'll be surprised.) Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, etc.
There are even some people that are based on other historical people, such as Will, who's a knock-off of Wilbur Wright of the Wright Brothers, who invented the Airplane. (Just note, though, some people don't have the exact names of the historical figures, but Columbus and Bloody Mary are examples of names that were kept, but those are small examples.) The greatest thing is, you have to help them and you even learn a thing or two about history. Now, this game isn't a boring lecture on history, but it just throws a few facts your way that make you go ''Oh hey, I know what that is!'' which is cool and original. Also, you can even help build the towns and cities, up to modern-day cities, with Televisions, Computers, Phones, etc. Heck, you can even buy your own apartment and go shopping for stuff for it! How cool is that?
Now, you might be asking “Who's the enemy, though?! I've heard of no bad guy yet!” Well, that's simple. There is no real enemy, until near the end of the game. You're mostly fighting monsters around Earth that are prohibiting growth and you don't see a “real” bad guy come about until the Humans are around. I won't spoil anything, but you'll see if you play the game. Well, I could go on forever, but that should be enough to give you an idea of how good the story is. Overall, the story is just action-packed, with it being full of surprises at every turn and having you meet famous people and even help them out a bit, as well as building towns and cities and help the growth of Earth be spread around and just trying to set things back to normal, so you can go back home and lead a normal life...but how normal will it be if you ever return? You'll have to play to see...
For an Action RPG, you'd expect the controls to be as good as possible and for Terranigma, there's no letdown here. These controls are very easy to control and use. It's like The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past meets Seiken Densetsu 2, only you can jump and perform all sorts of different attacks. And the best thing is, the controls are probably even better than those two games put together. Honestly, you can move in any direction in this game and you don't move sluggishly or anything. Smooth sailing and if you want to run, you can. Dodging attacks and performing them are easily learned and mastered and using the Menus and everything are just hands-down great. These controls can't get any better and without a doubt, are some of the best I've seen for an Action RPG for the Super Famicom. Great job, Enix.
I'm in awe. Honestly. Was 1995 and up a good year for the Super Famicom or what? These graphics are just...wow! Everything is so just so detailed and colored. It's amazing! From the character design to the towns and cities to the Dungeons and areas around the world, the graphics are perfect for everything. You can tell a lot of time and thought went into these and you won't be let down, I promise you that. This game also uses transparencies, which a lot of Super Famicom games began using around this time and they work well and add to the game a lot. The enemies also look very well done and the animations for them, let alone everyone else in the game have so much to them. Not to mention the animations for Ark and his attacks. They just look great. Even the World Map looks very well done and I have no complaints about any of it.
I'm pretty sure there are little Super Famicom games currently around that can even begin to compete with Terranigma's Graphics. Honestly, everything just looks like it should be and if you hate these graphics, then maybe you shouldn't be playing any game for the Super Famicom. Period. Heh. If you liked Chrono Trigger's Graphics, you'll LOVE Terranigma's Graphics. No doubt about that. This game even outdoes Chrono Trigger's Graphics in some areas, so you'll enjoy that. Overall, great graphics for a game that has to be considered one of the Super Famicom's Masterpieces. You won't be a letdown, trust me on this.
This game just keeps getting better and better...man, the music in this game is superb. It has your happy, sad, and adrenaline rush themes for the Battles and everything a typical RPG has. There are even a few catchy tunes in this game I enjoyed and even thought rivaled a lot of today's game's music. The music fits the mood for each area and is enjoyable, so don't worry, you can listen to it without tearing your ears off or muting it and playing your own music. No sir, this music is top-notch for a Super Famicom game and should be given a shot before you decide to mute it off for the whole game.
As for the sound effects, those are also done very well for all parts of the game. When Ark hits an enemy, you'll hear a sound effect and it sounds good. The sound effect for when you attack and also perform different attacks sounds great, especially the kicking up dirt sound you hear when you do certain moves. Just some good sound effects in my opinion and I had no problem at all with any of them in the game whatsoever. Overall, some great music that fits the current mood and setting in the game and some good sound effects that also fit and don't sound like nails on a chalkboard. What more could you ask for, honestly? I don't think it gets any better than this for the music or sound effects.
Whoa...here comes the BEST part of this game. Alright, for the most part, this game is an Action RPG, so if you've played any Zelda game before, you'll easily adapt to Terranigma. The game allows you to gain Levels and you also have Hit Points and stuff, which is also good. The game's split into 4 huge Chapters, so you can expect a lot of gameplay to come out of this game. Now, the most important thing about a game is it must be fun, right? Right. So, how fun is Terranigma? Loads! Honestly, with a plot this creative and a lot of gag humor and things to do that'll make you laugh, cry and become angry, what more could you ask for? You can join in on a lot of things and help people with their inventions, help plants and Animals live and flourish over the Earth, make towns and cities rise and heck, you can even meet the Terranigma Game Staff in Tokyo, Japan! Sweet, huh?
Now, for the most part, the game's pretty straightforward, so you're never lost. Most of the time, you are told where to go and what to do, but towards the end of the game, it becomes more and more discrete. This isn't bad, but it's also not a huge problem, as you can easily figure out what to do next. Trust me on that. What's fun is there's a bunch of Side Quests you can do that are a lot of fun and also beneficial to Ark in a lot of ways. There are also a lot of fun things you can do and stuff you can see and get a good laugh at throughout the game with Ark blowing himself up or him making his goofy faces when he has bad wine. Trust me, you'll have a lot of fun with this game and grow to love it.
Now, as for the replay value...I'd say it's worth going through again, just for the heck of it and because you may have screwed up something when building the towns and cities, but other than that, there is none. I mean, is there ever with an RPG? This game is fun and you'll probably play through it again and again. Though, it's no Chrono Trigger, so don't expect a New Game+ here. Also, you only have one person to control in this game and that's Ark. You get no more party members, so you can only use and train him and him only. It's like a Zelda game. Overall, though, the gameplay for this game is just awesome, as it's a very long game and with a lot of things to do and see, you'll never find a dull moment in this game. I promise you that.
Well, there you have it. That's what makes Terranigma so good. Though I don't think there are enough words to explain how good this game is and unless you play this for yourself, you won't know for sure, now will you? Anyway, I strongly suggest you give this game a shot if you're looking for a Super Famicom game to play that you haven't tried yet. Besides, if you like Chrono Trigger, any of the Zelda games, or Seiken Densetsu 2 or 3, you'll definitely enjoy Terranigma. The story's good, the controls are great, the graphics are amazing, the music and sound are great and the gameplay is top-notch, with the replay value being pretty good for a Super Famicom RPG. What more could you want from an Action RPG?
Anyway, if you get the choice to buy Terranigma, by all means, buy it. You won't be disappointed. And the great thing is, even though it was never released to the US, you can still buy it in English, as the PAL Version is in English, as it was sold in Australia and New Zealand. Sweet, huh? Though you'll need a PAL version of the Super Famicom to play it, so I hope you have one. And, of course, the option of playing it through Super Nintendo emulation is available as well. So, don't worry about having to play this game in Japanese, unless you wish to. Well, I hope you'll play the game now and if this review has helped you to decide to go ahead and play it and give it a shot, then I've done my job.