Terranigma is an action-adventure game developed by Quintet and published in 1995 by Enix Corporation in Japan and in 1996 by Nintendo across PAL territories for the SNES. Like most of the big RPGs released in PAL territories on the SNES, the German and French versions of the game came with an extensive player's guide book in a big box created by Nintendo of Europe's Club Nintendo editorial staff.
Like previous games in the Soul Blazer Saga, the gameplay adopts the top-down perspective and basic action of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past while incorporating minor role-playing elements such as automatic stats upgrades and character-driven quests. Terranigma is about the resurrection of the world and the evolution of its inhabitants in the aftermath of a battle between two gods. The game was scored by Miyoko Kobayashi and Masanori Hikichi and the characters were designed by Kamui Fujiwara who now works with Square Enix.
Terranigma was only localized for the European and Australian markets and never made its way to North American store shelves since Enix had already closed its US subsidiary by the time the game's localization was completed. Ironically, the game's English script for the PAL release was localized by Nintendo of America.
In the distant past the battle between the two sides of light and dark left Earth in a state where no life could grow and the entire surface was scorched completely.
Below the Earth's surface--and, it seems, on the underside of the crust--lies the last remaining village of Crysta. Terranigma follows the journey of Ark, a teenager whose talent of getting himself into trouble, one day causes him to open a mysterious box behind a forbidden door. Little did Ark know that opening this box would lead him on a journey to resurrect the lifeless world above. After opening that box, all residents of Crysta are frozen and Ark is told that the only way to release them is to restore the worlds continents by conquering the five towers surrounding Crysta, each representing a lost continent.
Once the continents are restored, Ark must venture to the surface to restore the Earth to its prior state. And so he travels across the lands he had previously resurrected and now must restore life starting with flora, fauna, and finally, people.
Through his adventure, Ark meets a large cast of characters across multiple species, greatly affects the progress of multiple civilizations and has a hand in crucial discoveries. There's also an eating contest. In faithfully completing his quest, Ark gets involved in a dark and twisted plot instigated by the gods that ravaged the earth in the first place. It all culminates in an epic showdown between light and dark that bears unforeseen consequences for Ark and reveals the true intent behind his journey.
The game is played from a top-down perspective. Different attacks can be performed based on whether Ark is jumping, running, walking, or standing still. The player can also block projectile attacks. All of these moves are available from the start and these will have to be mastered and used by the player throughout the entire game.
Ark's non-combat moves consist of walking, running, jumping, climbing, pushing, carrying and throwing objects as well as a guaranteed safe landing which means he does not take fall damage when jumping from great heights. Over the course of the game players will come across various items that add the ability to swim, break certain walls by running through them, climb rock walls and even breathe underwater.
Weapons & Armor
Ark's weapon inventory consists entirely of spears, rods, and pikes. Different weapons can be obtained as the player progresses through the game. Experience points are earned for each enemy that is defeated, and upon leveling up Ark's hit points, defense, strength, and luck are increased in predetermined amounts.
Various armors can be obtained throughout the game which increase defensive abilities against physical damage and sometimes imbue Ark with immunity against poison, elemental or magic attacks. Worn armor does not change the physical appearance of Ark's character.
All across the world, Ark can find Magirocks that a crafty shopkeeper can turn into rings or summon medals. These are one-time use items that revert back to Magirocks upon usage and have to be turned into the desired item again. The magic system in the game is largely optional but it can be exploited in certain boss encounters to gain the upper hand with relative ease. New types of summons become available after defeating the various bosses in the game.