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Chris Enjoys The Vidya, 4: Terranigma

Monday, December 15, 2008 by Chris Brown

So, like, it's like Zelda. No, not the 3D ones, like Link's awakening and that. Yeah, puzzles and shit. Except, right, it's also kinda like Final Fantasy. You can change your weapons and level up and stuff. You use magic too, it's totally kickass.

RIGHT SO. In case you hadn't guessed, this game is one of those action-RPG things, albeit slightly heavier on the RPG side than others. It's part of the Soul Blazer series, made up of Soul Blazer (SNES), Illusion of Gaia (SNES), Terranigma (SNES) and The Granstream Saga (Playstation 1), all loosely connected through various plot elements, but since I've not actually played any of the others, I can't really say much on that! Yay for shoddy journalism.

The basic premise of the game is, you play as Ark, a young boy who inadvertently breaks the entire planet by opening Pandora's Box at the start of the game. Smooth move lad, but at least it gives him something to do - opening the box leaves him unaffected by the rampant magical typhoon that crystallises his village. So, off you go, wandering the underworld and resurrecting the surface world. Which I should probably explain.

So, the world that Ark, and Yomi (who is released from Pandora's Box when it's opened, and accompanies you through the game) are from is actually the inner face of an earth-esque planet that's shaped as a hollow sphere. Whilst Pandora's magic messes things up severely in the underworld, it completely ramshacks the surface world. Hence, the first half of the game is to sort this out. Of course, the fact that this is only the first half should give you an idea that the story has it's fair share of plot twists. Not going in to much depth, since hopefully you'll go and play it yerself if you've not already, but Ark ends up getting stabbed in the back more times than an over-used voodoo doll, and it's all very exciting and stuff!

Of course, no matter how fantasmagorical the story is, it's all for naught if the gameplay sucks. Luckily, this isn't the case! Ark's main weapon is a vast array of different spears, and he has a fairly diverse set of attacks for these sort of games. From jumping and stabbing enemies from above, to spinning your spear in a deadly whirlwind, to just plain slapping them in the face with the pointy end, it's great to keeps things interesting, even if a lot of the time you'll find yourself just using the running stab for the speed of it.

On the other hand, the magic system on the game is rather... well, it's a bit naff really. All your variety of spells come from Spell Rings, that crumble after a single use back into their component parts - Magirocks. Then, you go to a store and re-combine them to use them again. Pointless much, and it just results in the spells being a rarely used device, since just prodding things full o' holes is much easier, and much more satisfying really.

Well, this is beginning to roll on a bit (again), so I'll wrap it up soon. As a final note, both the level designs and the bosses in this game are brilliantly realised, so crawling through the dungeons never seems to become tedious or repetitive, as there's always something new to see or do. Good show, Enix. Yeah, Enix. The reason this game seems so... hushed up, is because it never got a release in the U S of A, as the Enix branch there up and died before hand. Pity that.

Oh also, I can't say anything on the music, cause I played it all whilst listening to Hoobastank. TTLY ORSUM.

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