An excellent RPG on the SNES, published by Enix, Terranigma tells the tale of a world with two sides - the light and the dark, "good" and "evil". In this case, the world literally has two sides - the devastated outer world, and the sparsely-inhabited underworld.

The story is centered around a young man named Ark, a fun-loving troublemaker who lives in the tranquil town of Crysta. Things seem peaceful and trouble-free at first, however after opening a forbidden door and releasing an ancient and powerful magic, Ark is sent off on a quest to conquer five towers of the underworld, hereby resurrecting the outer world.

Things get a little complicated from here, and there are many plot twists and unexpected occurrences which I will not give away. The graphics and music are above-average, the gameplay is simply superb, and the storyline is enough to keep even the most hardcore gamer interested.

The game can be confusing at times, especially in the later stages, but it's all worthwhile in the end. Overall, a good, solid RPG that should have a place in any gamer's collection.

Terranigma is a great game, and is the first video game I ever played that confirmed my suspicion that video games could go beyond entertainment into the realms of art and literature. It might be a pretentious claim to call a video game art, especially when that video game's claim to be art is based on a rather pretentious attempt to describe human fate and destiny. But whether pretentious or not, the people of this game made the graphics, the sound and the story a little something more than something to pass the time with.

That being said, one of the greatest things about Terranigma is it makes no sense in the way the Japanese can only make no sense. I wish I had the academic background in Japanese art and culture that I do in Chinese culture, because I don't exactly understand this phenomenea, but I have noticed it in many different anime and video games. This game piles incongruity upon incongruity, and when the pile is about to collapse, it spontaneously fits together. The game starts in a small village, where you are told that "boys and girls are bound by a promise from an earlier life", which actually means that your idyllic village is on the inside of the earth, and was created as a mimicry of Stockholm, where the King of France killed the original version of you, and you are secretly being manipulated in a war between a being who is possibly Satan on one hand and the Dalai Lama and John Maynard Keynes on the other.

If you think it is confusing here, it is also in the game, especially since the game is mostly concerned with acrobatic mid air spear moves against wolves, robots and sundry other non-humanoid foes. (this game is an Action RPG). But for some reason, all of the plot twists, romantic squabbling, cosmic statements and explanation of the world economy go down mostly smoothly. Inside of the game, it all makes sense. This game moves from many locales: from an immortality cult in Moscow to meeting the Loch Ness Monster inside the Great Lakes, to a vacation in Hawaii, to an insane queen's torture chambers in Spain, to a mad scientist's lab in Siberia without missing a beat. Especially for the technology of the Super Nintendo, the changes in mood, feeling, pacing and location are conveyed very well with not a lot of technology: it wasn't until Final Fantasy VII came out that an RPG was able to cover this much thematic ground, while remaining this integrated.

I wish there were as many books that could do what this game does: present high adventure with this much emotional variation.

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