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tay120n64
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Posttay120n64 Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 12:51 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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warpig wrote:
tay120n64 wrote:
I do not approve of this ending.

Because it is too sad? Or too open-ended? Regarding the latter, let me just leave this here.


...Iíll allow it.

Later this evening, or maybe tomorrow, Iíll post my full thoughts. I want to stew on it for a bit.
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warpig
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Postwarpig Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 1:00 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Umm, oops? Was I doing something wrong here? Surprised
But yeah, that is something which needs to sink in properly.
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tay120n64
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Posttay120n64 Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 1:51 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Lol, I meant Iíll allow the directorís reason for the open-endedness.
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tay120n64
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Posttay120n64 Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 4:19 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote

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TERRANIGMA: FINAL THOUGHTS

So let's get this out of the way first: Terrangima had no chance of outdoing Illusion of Gaia for me. That game has a tremendous amount of personal significance in my life, some of which I have shared here before. But we're not here to get into that today. Instead, let's talk about my experience with Terranigma from multiple perspectives, both on its own merits, and how it compares to the rest of the trilogy, setting aside my biases as best as I can.

---

STORY

The story is absolutely Terranigma's strongest aspect. While the translation isn't perfect, it is definitely better than Illusion of Gaia or Lufia II, which require a good deal of reading between the lines to piece together the original intent. I am never left wondering what a character's motivations are, or what the explanation for an event is due to poor translation or censorship. On top of that, the characters have far more interesting arcs compared to previous Quintet titles. I enjoyed seeing how everyone developed, and the only character I felt did not have a satisfying conclusion was Royd. Is it possible there was a detail I missed?

The twists of the plot were very satisfying. From the outset you don't really trust Yomi, and you shouldn't, but the Elder being under Dark Gaia's sway was very surprising. The Underworld residents being copies, and not just humans in hibernation was a great twist, as was discovering Storkolm and learning Elle's backstory. Meilin had a fantastic character arc, and Louran is not only the first great moment in the game, it remains the best all the way through. In fact, it might just be easier to talk about what I wasn't satisfied with.

-First off, Royd. I loved that he was secretly trying to stop Beruga, but you never find out why, or where his story began. Or I missed it.

-Second, Beruga. For all his build up, I would have liked a couple more scenes with him, though his initial appearance is pretty satisfying. A scene with him when exiting Neo Tokyo Sewers, or some dialogue while infiltrating his tower would have worked, and made his death a touch more poignant. At the same time, his quick demise really punctuates that he is not the one pulling the strings.

-Third, the ending. While I don't like the open ending after SB and IoG gave us some semblance of closure, I understand that the idea was to give the player some sense of agency over the conclusion. There's one fundamental problem with this though, and that is that you are NOT role-playing as Ark. Ark is his own character, with his own drives. For us, the Overworld is absolutely where we would connect. We spend functionally all of the game in it, we learn about the people, we connect with Light Elle and empathize with her struggles. We want Light Elle to finally be able to live in peace. Ark, meanwhile, grew up in Crysta. He knew Dark Elle for more than an hour, they grew up together. For Ark, it is no question that despite his upbringing being a lie, he will want to remain by the sides of the people that, to him, are most real. As much as I want Ark to have the happy Overworld ending he deserves, it is absolutely not in character for Ark to choose any life that does not involve Dark Elle.

STORY RANKING: TERRANIGMA > ILLUSION OF GAIA > SOUL BLAZER

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MUSIC/SOUND DESIGN

So the music in this game is pretty great. A lot of tracks I was already familiar with, as I have listened to the soundtrack some. It doesn't feel quite as rich as some of IoG's tracks do, instead taking on a more "airy" quality like SB. It's hard to describe, maybe you guys will know what I'm talking about. The Boss theme is my favorite track, I think.

MUSIC RANKING: ILLUSION OF GAIA > TERRANIGMA > SOUL BLAZER

---

COMBAT, BOSS DESIGN

I do not particularly care for the combat in Terrangima. At first, the advanced movement options are exciting, but many enemies are tough to predict, and damage can pile on quickly with limited options for healing. Some dungeons are worse than others, but in general, none of the levels feel significantly harder than the others. While Elkemata was definitely the most annoying, it wasn't "Illusion of Gaia Mu" levels of annoying. For the most part, how much trouble you have in battle seems to come down to how good you are at pacing slide and dash attacks, which do the most damage. It is much harder to utilize these attacks efficiently than, say, Will's charge attack in IoG.

The bosses are absolutely the worst part. There's no health bar, some attack patterns are painfully difficult or impossible to dodge, and Magirocks can only be used sometimes. Like most Action-game bosses, much of the difficulty comes down to pattern recognition, but because there is no save/heal function in dungeons, if you die you effectively have to do the dungeon all over again, depending on how it is laid out. This game heavily punishes experimentation, which is necessary when so few things are explained or telegraphed. There has always been a lot of talk about Bloody Mary, but since you can use Magirocks, the bulk of the battle is done for you; so in practice she ends up being one of the easier bosses in the game, despite being the least fair on paper.

COMBAT: ILLUSION OF GAIA, TERRANIGMA, SOUL BLAZER

BOSS DESIGN: ILLUSION OF GAIA, SOUL BLAZER, TERRANIGMA

---

WORLD DESIGN, PROGRESSION

I like the world map a lot. It can be a pain to travel sometimes, but the world is small enough that it doesn't take long, and I adore maps with secret areas. You get an adequate amount of hints on secrets, and the game encourages you to explore unmarked areas very early on. Seeing the world slowly change is very exciting, and there's just the right amount of attention to detail for a game of this scope. It's nice that the only area that is locked out to you is the Underworld, though that means there are at least a couple things at the beginning that are missable.

The game progresses at a pretty good pace, too. In fact, there are only a few points where the way forward is not clear, most notably the two times you have to cross a river: after you save Leim, and after you arrive in Freedom. These overworld sprites are not at all clear, and I actually had to look up where I was supposed to go. When the game opens up after getting the ship, you have an unprecedented amount of freedom for a Quintet game. Fortunately, there aren't many options for going forward, but it can be a little intimidating to be given options and expected to find out where to go next. If Terranigma handles progression the worst out of all three games, it's only because it's the only game that isn't completely linear. There's no reason to rank this.

WORLD DESIGN: TERRANGIMA > ILLUSION OF GAIA > SOUL BLAZER

---

VISUALS

I don't really have a lot to say here. The game is as gorgeous as the previous games, with the right amount of improvement in animation and spritework for being a later title. No need to rank against the others.

---

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Terranigma, and it's not a game I'll soon forget. Very few games from this era had a story with twists so compelling. Even though parts of the game were frustrating, nothing ever felt truly unfair. The save/health system, and to a lesser extent the boss design, were the only aspects that felt like they took a step backwards from previous Quintet titles. For those of you who love Terranigma most, I absolutely see why. It takes what makes Quintet games unique in a more nuanced direction, and really just punctuates why it's such a shame that they did not make it into the modern era. It's also a shame they followed this up with the tremendously lackluster Granstream Saga, though I know that was only a handful of the developers, and not the bulk of the team.

In the past few years, I have also picked up both ActRaiser titles and Robotrek, so once I have made time to play those, I will post my thoughts on the board as well. Until then! Very Happy
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warpig
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Postwarpig Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 7:09 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Oh. LOL. Had a brainfart when I saw "Rank: Moderator" and thought you were talking about me for some reason.

As for the ending, these noncommittal answers seem like such a cop-out, because they are. But I have come to accept it.
What you say about us not really roleplaying as Ark is also true. It would be one thing if we made choices that had a lasting impact and perhaps lead to a different ending. Like when you talk to Light Elle on the voyage to the new continent, or at the beginning of chapter 4. But no, it is all left to our imagination instead. And I agree Dark Elle is the only sensible choice anyway.

Fun fact regarding alternate endings: the game was actually advertised as having multiple endings, at least in the German promotion of the game. It was said that the city development sidequests would impact the ending, if I remember clearly. Alas, that isn't true.

Some other things about the story:

-Royd: in Dragoon Castle, he tells Wong that he's been on their heels because Beruga and his accomplices killed Royd's best friend. That is his motivation, but also all we really know. You actually get to know that before Dragoon Castle when visiting the Quatros. A man there tells you that a "conceited" man stopped by with them and talked about wanting to avenge his friend.

-Beruga: In some ways, he can be compared to the Jackal in IoG. What with the anticlimactic death and all. Though you don't nearly hear of him as soon as you know about the Jackal (except somewhat soon-ish if you go to Neotokio early.)
On that note, did you ever stop to notice how you do not fight humans in either IoG (arguably the vampires, but not really) or Terranigma? I suspect the developers didn't want the player/player character to fight or kill humans. That would explain why the Jackal and Beruga had such anticlimactic demises.

The rest are fair assessments, but for the soundtrack we'll have to agree to disagree (but it's largely a matter of subjective taste). I feel that the underworld theme blows even pieces such as 600 AD from Chrono Trigger or whatever out of the water, and as a whole I like Terranigma's the most.

Edit: Re: Bloody Mary, I think most people stop even trying to use magic at that point because the magic system is so cumbersome that it's not worth bothering with it. And if I hadn't read somewhere that Zap rings are effective on her, I don't think I ever would have known.
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inferiare
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Postinferiare Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 11:04 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote

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If it's any consolation, I started and stopped Terranigma a lot after I emulated it. Got stuck in the Underworld for the longest time, stopped playing, restarted when I wanted to play something else other than whatever was frustrating me, still got frustrated... so the first couple of times I played I missed the areas for Mu and Polynese until I decided to do a full exploration of the map. I didn't even think about it when you asked if there was anything to know, sorry about that. D:

But like you, Terranigma was in a time of my life where it had a personal impact on me, and the end of the game with the music and the flying and such... I was in full-blown tears at the end. I still get misty-eyed at it when I hear the ending music. The game is largely about death and rebirth, darkness and light, so until the cycle repeats, Ark just... goes to sleep for a little while after merging with his Lightside self. I like to think of my replays as the cycle repeating and Ark forgetting what had happened and doing it all over again.

Definitely subjective on the music since I like a lot of the musical themes in the game. Then again, for me in any game I play I look for 3 things overall to see if I'll get max enjoyment out of the game: Story, Characters and their Development, and Music. I can do if one of the three is lessened, but Terranigma was a game that hit all 3 points on the head. The Underworld theme is one of my favourites from any game.

But it sounds like overall you enjoyed it, and I'm glad for that! Also, the slowdown on Dark Gaia pt2 was present in my PAL emulated version many moons ago, though an excuse to hook up my PAL SNES and dig out my copy of the game ain't bad. Very Happy
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tay120n64
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Posttay120n64 Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 4:05 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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My complaints about the combat aside, I did very much enjoy Terranigma, and will likely remember the experience fondly. It's definitely one of the best JRPGs on SNES. Not sure when or if I'll replay it, but we'll see.
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psychokind
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Postpsychokind Posted: Sat May 19, 2018 5:39 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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damn it I missed out all the fun while I was on my vacation Mad

really nice and honest review you gave! you can really give a clear indication of your impressions in words. although I think I can realistically rate the later SNES-RPGs (Earthbound, FF 6 and so on) I played when playing them as an adult, I don't think I could phrase it that well. I only disagree on the valuing of the music, since Terranigma is really a step above almost all games I ever played.

like raini the game has more than sentimental value for me, since to this day I consider it my guide to life and stick with it. your playthrough-diary once again showed me why that's the case. so thanks for that!

you can now go through all the threads you replied "I haven't played the game yet, I'll come back to this maybe" Very Happy It's only been a couple of years...
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tay120n64
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Posttay120n64 Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 4:44 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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When I get some free time, I'll be going through the Terrangima board and reading all the posts I've avoided since 2007. Laughing
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Valerie Valens
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PostValerie Valens Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:20 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Well? Very Happy
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tay120n64
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Posttay120n64 Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 4:05 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Valerie Valens wrote:
Well? Very Happy


Are you asking if I've replayed the game, or if I've scoured the Terranigma board? lol

I think I read some of the stuff here right after I finished the game last year, but not a lot. I need to read more. I was right about remembering the game fondly. It's probably the most fun I had playing a game in 2018.
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