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Retro Fire

Written: 5.5.11
Acquired: 4.18.10
Status: Cart only
Price: $47.50

Pub: Enix | Nintendo12.19.96
Dev: Quintet32 MEGS

For years I had heard about a game that was never released officially in the US... a game that was supposedly the stuff dreams are made of. TERRANIGMA. The so-called spiritual sequel to Quintet's Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia. Having played and beaten those two great action RPGs, I had to get my hands on the final chapter, as it were. Does Terranigma live up to the massive hype? Is it worthy of being called one of SNES' best? Let's have a closer look...
One of the most revered SNES games around... worth the hype?

                                                BLACK FRIDAY MADNESS!  ~NOVEMBER 26, 2010~

I don't know what it is per se, but there's nothing like playing an adventure quest (either an action RPG or traditional RPG) during the winter months. There's something about those darkening late afternoons, the velocity of the wind whipping right outside your window, the feeling in the air as you work your way through a magical fantasy world... ruled by big eyes and EVEN bigger hearts. Where wise old men pass down their wisdom to the younger generation, where spirits roam, where kings rule and where monsters stalk the land. Nothing tops playin' an (a)RPG on either a hot summer's night or a cold, chilly winter's evening. And it was this past Black Friday of 2010 where I began my trek with Terranigma. I remember it fondly. Just got back home from spending Thanksgiving with my family. They began discussing their Black Friday master plan while I chose to duck out. No thank you. I partook in the festivities the year prior and while yes I did snag some good deals, once was more than enough for moi. I wanted to head home, take in the quiet calmness of the early morning hours, and of course, fire up Terranigma for the first time ever. I finished it about two weeks later, logging nearly 30 hours, and will always cherish and remember that experience. My man Ark, or rather, Steve, ended with L37 (639 HP). Here are some of my memories below...


[adjusts sleeves] I know I know...  [PUH-LEASE -Ed.]

Love this moment. Early in the game, and early in the morning, you and Ms. Elle have a talk by candlelight. Video games are all about escapism, and no genre captures that better than adventure games in my book. God bless (A)RPGs

                                        Elle: What is it?  Steve: You have some eye boogers!  Elle: Oh..

The thoughtful lass!  You not bad Elle... you not bad at all

                                                Our hero posing by the gorgeous sunset, lovely init?

As you mop up the towns and bring restoration, the natives love to show you their appreciation

Silliness and fun abounds

One of many unforgettable touching moments from Terranigma... the trial of the goat in the cave... if you are not moved in the least when you play through this, you have no heart. No heart at all!

                                           It's times like this that really remind us of our mortality, eh?

Whether or not you have a personal faith to call upon in trying times (or even in good times also), I think we can mostly agree as long as faith makes a person more productive to community and society, hey, is it really so bad? Of course, there are some nuts out there that give different faiths a bad rep. But all in all, I think faith, handled properly, is a very good thing indeed

And Terranigma explains it in a nutshell quite well here

This massive adventure spans the globe. Here's a very atmospheric prayer room scene featuring a gigantic Buddha statue. Throughout the game you will find those white books there as a means to save your quest

                                            Eurasia is one of the many atmospheric towns you'll hit up

Hey do you remember ole Turbo?!  Sure ya do!  He's the mutt from Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia. That canine sure gets around!

Always good to run into that little troublemaker

                                               Though, who could ever forget this
                                               infamous scene in Soul Blazer?
                                               Err, on second thought, I regret
                                               bringing this up. But, you know,
                                               the Quintet Trilogy always had
                                               some... ahem... controversial
                                               moments littered here and there.
                                               Some... well... perverse scenes,
                                               as you will see a little later on...

This zombie-infested town was where the game really picked up 150% for me. I absolutely loved this part. You have to find and save Turbo and Meilin!

Ah, note to self: Must cut back on them double cheeseburgers...

Love the random things people throughout this game say. Some are rather bizarre, others plain silly, while others ring true in many aspects...

                                              [Oh yeah, especially if you've ever met my family!  -Ed.]

Told 'cha there are some ahem... questionable scenes in Terranigma...

[Didn't think you had it in ya, son!  -Ed.]

            Indeed they do!

                                                [Or maybe.... it's just your corrupted little mind -Ed.]

[You coulda fooled me!  -Ed.]

    My gosh... this guy
    never stops does he!

                                                   Brings new meaning to the term "room service!"

Quintet you devious perverted little scamps you!

Women.... they always find out. You can't hide anything from them, no matter how hard you try. So, don't even try. And live right. Wise words, folks. Wise words

                                                   "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

As stated earlier, video games serve as a good form of escaping the daily grind and troubles of the everyday world. And nothing transports you to another world quite like a good ol' adventure game. TERRANIGMA is no exception. And proves to be a real fine one at that

It really truly does. Great game to play on a late December night!

I'm telling ya -- I am not imagining these sexual innuendos! I only tell it like it is, you see. Not my fault Quintet's a bunch of pervs!

                                        [I think we need to sign you up for an accountability group -Ed.]

Easter Sunday recently passed. This Easter 2011 season was a special one for me. I played one of the bad guys in a dramatic retelling of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. We had 10 performances and I wager that we ministered to over 15,000 folks. It was quite a rush every night believe you me! Christians came, Buddhists, agnostic people, even hardcore atheists, including one
of my friends. They all walked away absolutely stunned by the quality of the production. Although my hardcore atheist friend doesn't personally side with my beliefs, Scott admitted it was a stellar performance and he could at least see why I, and so many others, believe in who Jesus is and what
He did on the cross some 2,000 years ago. Here we see Christ on the cross in the town of Litz. Faith of the kids here are so pure

Terranigma never preaches at you, but it does make one think

                                             It definitely harkens me back to Resident Evil here a bit!

Groovy!  You even run
into ol' Columbus!

More entertaining, quirky dialogue to ensue...

Love the skeleton detail there. These are some lovely 2D graphics for SNES. Perhaps it won't blow you away, but there are many great details that brings the game to life, in addition to its characters and storyline

                                      "Surely you don't want me to take over for Columbus... do ya?!?"

  You see, Quintet is at it yet again. It's *NO* WONDER this game never saw American soil!

I don't even dare to show you what happens next...

Terranigma is also known for having a spot or two about women, and how they break our hearts. Here we see some poor soul comforting our hero. So many ladies have shattered his poor heart that he's lost count. Makes you feel for the lad. And hey, how many of us can relate exactly to what the bloke says?  This moment almost makes you flashback to all the heartbreakers in your life. Maybe even the one who got away... like Jennifer in the 5th grade of '94 ahem
                                       Some may even find this message to be timely and encouraging!

More pertinent female advice for ya. In other words, this guy got himself FRIEND ZONED. That's pretty much what he's trying to say. Not saying or implying you should mistreat a woman, never. But being *TOO* friendly and accessible early on is grounds for screwing up with that super cute girl you're thinking of as more than just a friend. Don't take it from me, take it from this random dude here!

Life lessons abound... is there anything this game DOESN'T do?!

Oh my. OK this is *SO* NOT my own reading into it!  I'm telling ya, Quintet, man. Quin-freakin'-tet!

                                                       [Never pay for what you can get free... -Ed.]

I like this scene. Funny stuff. Dude wishes not to be prayed for. Most non-Christians I know don't mind prayer in trying times. I remember the first time I was prayed for. It was way back in 2004. I was not Christian at the time. I was in college and worked at the mall... a toy shop. It was Sunday and this father walks in with his two adorable twin sons. He was dressed
in his Sunday best so I figured player just came out of church. I wasn't anti-Christian or anything, but at the time I personally did not believe in Christ. He bought a couple race cars for his twin boys, then he asked me if he could pray for me. I was totally caught off guard. I asked him pray for what?  He said good health, wealth and college growth. Eh what the heck I thought. Couldn't hurt. So he placed his hand on my shoulder as I awkwardly looked at his twin boys standing in the doorway some 20 feet away. They both wore the look on their faces that said, "UH OH... DADDY'S DOING IT AGAIN!"  It's an image and memory that I never forgot. Looking back, I appreciated what Francis (still remember his name) did for me about 7 years ago now. Even though I was shaved, I was happy, and I had no religion at the time, I didn't mind him praying good health and wealth over me. But some people, like that business man in Neo Tokio, wants no part of prayer. To each his own, right?  Just another interesting little moment in Terranigma...

                                              Funky in-game moments inside Quintet Headquarters!

You gotta love a game that breaks the 4th wall. This is a cool little part of Terranigma...

Quintet has proven they're not afraid to get "slightly" quirky...

Was Terranigma originally named Illusion of Gaia 2? From this bit of dialogue it would appear so. Nothing like a little shameless patting one's self on the back, right, Quintet?

                                       Like the SNES itself, RVGFANATIC keeps gettin' better and better

Meilin?!  What's up with her and you?  Everyone wants a piece of our hero, apparently. What a beast

[Easy, she's shown some psycho tendencies if ya get my drift... -Ed.]

Ah, philosophical musings and whimsical, touchy feely malarkey are just the order of the day here in Terranigma. It's times like this that makes one reflect on their own life, or maybe it's just me. At any rate it definitely all adds to the pulse of the game... as though you really are in another world... one far far away yet... hits close to your own home, too

                                       Meilin, like her or not, makes a great point when it comes to love

They really can't. They say they want one thing, but then they go and demand the other

[I'm tellin' ya, you best run in the other direction -- and quick!  -Ed.]

Later that night you return. Meilin is nowhere to be found but then you hear a voice crying out to you... it's not Meilin's...

                                               Just another highly atmospheric scene in Terranigma

Elle?!  Oh man, our hero surely is a PIMP!  The ladies simply cannot resist the valor and excellence of Steve!

[Talk about breaking one's arm via excessive back patting -Ed.]

"There's a lotta things about me you don't know anything about, Dottie. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand"

"I don't understand. And who's Dottie?"

"You don't wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel. So long, Dot"


                                                   Meilin... find someone who'll like you... FOR YOU

Some more interesting dialogue ensues... one of many things I really dig about this game. Some of the comments made from the NPCs will simply make you grin

"Yeah, you might want to reconsider your travel buddy next time..."

Throughout Terranigma you have the opportunity to expand many different towns. This is only one example of how you can expand Suncoast

                                       Did somebody say Suncoast?  Why, this brings back memories...

Back in the late '80s to early-mid '90s, Suncoast was a staple of my childhood. It was always the first store I visited whenever my mom or dad took me to the local mall. It was en route to other classics such as SOFTWARE ETC., Walden Books, B. Dalton, Sam Goody, and of course, the awesome ~CYBERSTATION~ arcade hall on the upstairs wing

Everytime I hit up Suncoast, I would explore their vast horror and sci-fi section, drooling over the neat horror film covers and reading the back of every Godzilla VHS cover. There was a definite sense of innocence and 'calmness' to those olden days. Ah, to be nine years old again eh?

A beacon of my childhood!

One day back in the early '90s my dad took me to Suncoast and that was the day that changed the course of my childhood. Dramatic?  Perhaps, yes. Magical? Nothing SHORT of! For you see, that fateful Saturday morning I found something greater than the cool horror movie boxes or Godzilla back covers... I found a small book section toward the back of the store and it was there I found this awesome book by Jeff "The Man" Rovin... The Encyclopedia of Monsters!  Weighing in over a hefty 400 pages and priced at $19.99, I managed to convince my dad to buy this for me. It would become one of my favorite books. There wasn't a day I didn't glance through it. I loved all the cool monster profiles and the crazy B&W monster movie photos. It was Heaven for a kid like me!

                                       This helped made me a LEGEND amongst my childhood friends!

Godzilla and ALL his foes and allies were well represented!

                                               Gotta love all them old cheesy '50s monster movie ads!

The book wasn't all about movie monsters either.
It also featured many monster legends and folktales, such as the Bunyip. My old friends
and I used to make up campfire stories about monsters like the Bunyip. Great times...

"It is said that on a cool winter's night... if you listen closely..."

                                           That's right. And it might cost you in more ways than one...

I love this part. This is the great power of creating a magical world inside a tiny 16-bit game cartridge. The game never shows you what the view actually looks like, but you can practically imagine it. You don't necessarily need an elaborate 3D graphical system... just some proper words linked together and the player's own imagination as the game sweeps you away

Game does a fantastic job of whisking ya away to a magical land

Um, should I dare even comment on this one? Perhaps better I not...

                                   [Money's the root of all evil. And women are e... er, nevermind -Ed.]

OH SNAPS!  Where's the token Indian engineer at?

                                  Used to watch this show back
                                  in the day. Would periodically
                                  come across this via channel
                                  surfing. It's always hilarious,
                                  although the subject matter is
                                  nothing to laugh about. Chris
                                  Hansen's cameo in Terranigma
                                  is nothing short of classic, or not

Another personal favorite of mine. His comment caught me off guard the first time I clicked on him. You don't expect him to respond in a "personal space invasion" sort of matter, but sure enough, he does. Points to the game's 'life' so to speak

"C'mon mama's boy!  You've been on the phone an hour now!"

"Ah, she's pretty cute. Way to go, mate"

"I know, right?  I sure hit the jackpot with this one!"

"I'd say you hit one out of your league"

"Hey easy buddy!  I'm only a tier or two below"

"Sure ya are.."

                                          Don't be fooled, my friends. Always seek a buddy's counsel...

"I thought you might"

"Totally!  I'm like, way out of his league"

"Sounds like you've done this before, Miss"

"Heck yeah!  All the time, and twice on Sundays!"


"Coz I can!"
What a luxury -- to have a trusted friend tell you the truth in love!


Normally here is where I'll put the game's scores according to the "Super Three"  (EGM, GameFan and Super Play Magazine -- if applicable), but for this game, being that it was
never released proper in the US, I'll just cite some fan comments instead. The following
comments come from gamers who have embarked on Ark's fateful quest over the years...

  • Terranigma is a unique experience among RPGs. The game has a few jokes, sidequests, and secrets to keep people busy, and while the plot doesn't preach any philosophical morals to you directly, it will probably make you think about things differently  -BigCow

  • It really is difficult to describe Terranigma with mere words. It's an experience unlike any other on the Super Nintendo, an adventure every serious video gamer has to go on in order to see what makes this game one of the best Super Nintendo games ever - maybe even the best of them all. It's the magnum opus of Quintet every SNES gamer should check out -darthjulian

  • It holds the greatest appeal to people who enjoy an intriguing, engrossing story that will make one go into contemplation, fans of the style of gameplay, and those who value engaging characters. Terranigma is a rewarding experience, and if one is willing, will enrich one's mind and soul. A classic worth every gamer and story-lover's time  -nepheliad

  • Can you remember the last time you loved a game so much that you were actually afraid for the ending to come?  I remember getting this feeling from this game right here. It is possibly Quintet's finest hour, and a tribute to what these video game developers could and did accomplish during the wonderful and immortal 16-bit era  -PizzaDude371

  • WOW!  A masterpiece in every possible way. The gameplay is simply phenomenal.
    The plot is so amazing that it's difficult for me to put into words how incredible the
    story actually is. There are so many interesting twists and turns throughout  -Rbball13

  • This game offers the freedom to explore a vast world and continually find new things on a level I have not experienced before in a SNES RPG – not with Tales of Phantasia, FF3, Zelda, or any other. It stands out in its own right as the richest, most brimming game world I have known. Over nearly thirty hours of gameplay I never failed to be excited when
    I opened a treasure chest or returned to a village to engage in fresh dialog – even if it was just for the most elementary update of that NPC's status. I found that I was growing each town thoroughly, and meticulously inching over the world map so not to miss interacting with a single character or place. This all amounts to a level of commitment that I did not think I would be able to meet given my busy lifestyle – but Terranigma simply bewitches you in this way

    The most complete praise I can give Terranigma is that it was the last game of my adolescence that truly consumed me  -midget35

  • This game will enlighten you as much as it will entertain you  -MaullarMaullar


It was on a late, cool November night that I began my journey through Terranigma. Black Friday, in fact. Somewhere miles and miles away my crazy cousins were plotting their great raid. Me on the other hand I was gearing to unravel the marvelous world that is Terranigma. Over the next two weeks the game consumed me. Whether I was searching for the Five Sandstones, deciding whether to vote for Jean or Louis, or just simply looking out for poor old bloke Bell in Freedom, Terranigma grabbed a hold of me from the very start, and didn't let go until the very bittersweet end. Expanding the various towns is very neat, and tasks such as passing out nine letters for the cause of Nirlake all adds to the game's greatness. Plenty of NPC interaction and slaying -- this is an action RPG if I ever saw one!
Terranigma better than Soul Blazer & Illusion of Gaia?  I say YES

The game is on the easy side... it hardly gave me any trouble at all. But when a video game is as enjoyable and sweeping as Terranigma, you hardly care. You're too busy having a good time. The soundtrack is amazing. Admittedly, Terranigma did not win me over 150% immediately. It slowly crept up on me, and before I knew it, it had totally consumed me. It's a global adventure. Along the way you'll see many varied sights, and meet folks from all walks of life. Towns expand, things pass and fade away, love blossoms, evil reigns, hope abounds. Some of the puzzles were a bit tricky, but the solutions were always right under my nose. The final boss
is way too easy and a bit anticlimactic as a result, but the emotional ending left me both satisfied and saddened. Simply put, Terranigma is a special game worthy of its hype.
If you haven't played it yet, what are you waiting for?  Find a way. Whatever you do, just play it. It's one of the best games ever created for the Super Nintendo. Yes, some folks *gasp* do find
it overrated and overhyped, but if you're in the camp of those who love it, like me, you won't ever forget it. It's the kind of moving adventure that all too rarely one gets to experience in a gaming lifetime. Thank you Quintet -- I can't think of a better swan song for SNES than this. Terranigma
is well deserving of its spot on the pantheon of Super Nintendo's very best. Bravo, Quintet, bravo!

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Longevity: 9.5

Overall: 10


Few games have moved me as Terranigma has. It is a sprawling epic adventure that spans the globe and also generations. There is drama, romance, comedy, action and horror. I'd say it's only behind Link to the Past in terms of ARPGs. Terranigma delivers like few others can!

                                       Congrats Quintet on a splendid SNES swan song!  Any thoughts?

[SNIP!  Ahem, well folks, looks like that's all the time we have for tonight!
Until next time -- be well, be happy, be Ark!  Good night everybody!  -Ed.]