If the first two acts of Terranigma were an ode to creation and nature, the massive third act is a requiem of history and humanity, a dark assemblage of surprisingly tragic events for a 16-bit game that goes beyond the normal RPG tropes. This is the second part of my Terranigma retrospective, written at Kotaku, focusing more on the plot elements that make this the greatest SNES RPG no one played with spoilers as this is delving into a whole lot of specifics. If you can’t tell, I’m really enjoying this game and am so thrilled to get to share my thoughts on it. Thanks Kotaku!
Are Zombies immortal? That’s what mad genius Beruga seems to think. And in the zombie ruins of Louran, you take on an Army of Darkness, only without a chainsaw. The more you find out about Louran, the more you discover how they were responsible for their own destruction. Their only saving grace is Meilin, a mysterious girl who has the power to recreate illusions. Not just of gaia, but love, the past, and even entire cities. Terranigma has many illusions, but its story isn’t one of them. Unflinchingly honest, at times, brutal and dark, it’s the kind of gripping storytelling that’s reserved for the best of narratives. The world is almost about to be reborn, but not in the way anyone could imagine. I know now why so many people who recommended Terranigma to me had a hard time describing it. It defies pat summaries. It’s not just about a hero saving the world, as in many ways, your initial mission turns out to be the complete opposite until you change your course. But it’s also about more than just a life simulator. The developers specifically wanted to focus on spurring the imagination of gamers in regards to the effects their actions have on the world. Terranigma’s brilliant enigma is the way it successfully incorporates the complexities of life into one package in the coat of an anime-styled 16-bit JRPG.