Review by · April 27, 2000

Note: This review is based on the Japanese version of the game.

Terranigma is definitely one of Enix’s greatest Action RPG games ever. The game was released all over Europe, Asia and South America but not North America due to the fact that Enix had a low impression of the North American gaming market. A real pity, though. People in North America never got a chance to play the translated version of this masterpiece.

The game’s introduction shows and relates the progress of evolution and advancement in technology and the annihilation of all humanity in the end. The introduction is awesome and I recommend that new players view it. The story begins in the Underworld, a place of crystals and lava. Located here is the Village of Crysta, the only known place were people live in the Underworld and home to our hero, Ark. Ark is your typical fun-loving youth who causes havoc everywhere he goes. In fact, when the story starts, Ark is on his way to apologize to the people at the Weaver’s after he got a chewing out from his grandfather. Ark’s love interest is a beautiful young girl called Ellen, and things couldn’t get any better until he and his friends open a sealed door Ark’s grandfather forbade to be opened. To save his friends and to clear up the mess he made when the door was opened, Ark has to conquer the 5 Towers in the Underworld. The towers have their purpose though, and that is to resurrect the destroyed continents in Earth and soon Ark is drawn into the daunting task of traveling to the surface world and aiding in the restoration of life and guiding the flow of evolution. In short, we get one really big adventure spanning 4 Chapters!

The game is similar to Illusion of Gaia in terms of battle, but Terranigma’s battles are more fast-paced and fun. Ark has an assortment of attacks with his spears, a spinning attack, dash attack and a slice attack to name a few. He can also block some attacks with his spear! The battles are all out action, with Ark running around in a dungeon bashing enemies all over and solving puzzles. The battles are almost similar to Secret of Mana’s, just that there isn’t any charging bar. Enemies are varied and some are quite tricky and can only be damaged by specific attacks. This factor adds some strategy to the battles.

The graphics are superb. In fact, they can easily rival Chrono Trigger’s! Dungeons, caves, forests, villages and many more locations are all well designed and each has its own unique atmosphere. Transparency effects are well done and the sprites for characters, though small, are all well drawn and look awesome and in some instances, cute. Enemy sprites are just as impressive and the bosses in the game are incredibly detailed and spectacular. There are also many scenes that utilize a great amount of graphical prowess, an example would be scenes showing the resurrected continents.

Attacks and spells have their own animation’s and are really cool, especially Ark’s Dash Attack where he jumps in the air and lands, charging with a shock wave straight at multiple enemies. It really tears them apart! Spells have differing animation: the stronger the spell, the better the animation. The Overworld utilizes Mode 7 graphics and really makes the game more impressive, and traveling around pure enjoyment.

The music in the game is the ultimate best game soundtrack I have ever heard on the SNES. In my opinion, I prefer Terranignma’s soundtrack over Chrono Trigger’s! From tranquil tunes in Crysta Village in the beginning to the awesome ending music, every tune you hear in the game will make your ears feel ‘heavenly’. The tunes all relate to the atmosphere and surrounding, making you feel like you are actually wondering around yourself!

The sounds in the game are just as good and are incredibly varied. Cracking thunder, explosions, breaking objects, animals and many more sounds are what you can expect. I am not talking of simple beeps here, I’m talking impressive high quality sound. The chirping of birds in the Sanctuary is a fine example of the sound quality in the game.

The controls are simple and convenient and are easy to master. All viewing of status, maps, inventory, configurations and tutorials are all opened simply with the Select button once Ark gets the Box and Yumi. Ark can run, jump, push objects, attack and defend with the default settings and will be able to scale walls, swim and do various other things once he acquires the necessary items and this really adds to the depth of the game.

Overall, Terranigma is an awesome game by Enix and is definitely worth the trouble to look for. The game has its fair share of secrets and characters to keep even the most hardened RPG player engrossed for a long time.

Overall Score 94
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Jeremy Tan

Jeremy Tan

Jeremy was part of RPGFan's reviews team from 2002-2007. During his tenure, Jeremy bolstered our review offerings by lending his unique voice and critique of the world of RPGs. Being a critic can be tough work sometimes, but his steadfast work helped maintain the quality of reviews RPGFan is known for.