Terranigma: Cult Classic SNES Action RPG With Vague Plot

Terranigma on the Super Nintendo
Terror!

Here’s an action RPG from 1995, part of the SNES‘s seemingly endless supply of exceptional titles at the time. So, let’s have a gander at Terranigma.

The History of Terranigma

Japanese dev Quintet created Terranigma. The game was published by Enix.

In Nippon, it goes by the name of Tenchi Sōzō (天地創造—The Creation of Heaven and Earth).

The title is notable in that it didn’t ever officially launch in North America, although it did make it to Europe.

Discovering this recently filled us with schadenfreude delight, as we spent 20 years annoyed that North America got Super Mario RPG. And us Europeans never did! So… HAH!

We finally got to play Terranigma in 2003, although we seem to remember it always being in the UK Official Nintendo Magazine in the mid-1990s.

It was like there was a special feature or mention of the game every issue… for years!

Anyway, as for the plot—this one is incredibly enigmatic. Convoluted? Sort of. But in the great way only JRPGs can manage.

The story is about the Earth’s resurrection. The player takes control of a boy called Ark, who’s mischievous and lives in an underground village.

The whole purpose of the plot from there is as vague as they come.

After Ark larks about too much in the village and unearths a deadly secret, the village elder instructs him to head out and find the underworld’s five towers.

That’s pretty much one of your final instructions for many hours afterward. And what your goal is… well, you kind of eventually find out. Sort of. We’ll leave off spoilers.

Anyone who knows about SNES RPGs will immediately spot the resemblance to the likes of Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana. Two all-time classics.

The SNES is legendary for its exceptional RPGs. It’s one of main reasons why many gamers hail the console as the best ever.

Up against some serious masterpiece competition, Terranigma was well received by the gaming press in 1995 and 1996.

In recent years, it’s grown mystical status and had reappraisals by the likes of Nintendo Life. It gave the title 10/10.

It’s got that classic RPG look and Quintet really ramped up the enigmatic nature of proceedings. That’s helped by the game’s score, provided by Miyoko Takaoka and Masanori Hikichi.

Our memories of it are very positive. It’s mysterious! And it has that classic RPG feel. We’d love to see it hit the Nintendo Switch’s SNES library.

Terranigma’s developer, Quintet, was also responsible for Illusion of Gaia (Illusion of Time in Europe and Australia) and Soul Blazer on the SNES.

They form an RPG trilogy. And a pretty bloody epic one at that! All of them representing the SNES at the peak of its powers in the mid-1990s.

Unfortunately, Quintet (株式会社クインテット—Kabushiki gaisha Kuintetto) with its headquarters in Tokyo appears to be defunct.

In fact, it’s had no activity throughout the 2000s. But with the classic games its left behind, that’s some impressive legacy to behold.

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