Alright, let's do it.

This morning, a new #1 #IGCvSNES game was crowned. But, the game everyone has been looking forward to this session, by reputation the best SNES game to never come to America..

THIS is the #IGCvSNES thread for Terranigma, brought to you by @DirectRelief!
Why did this never come out here?

Answer: the deep religious tones and themes were a strict no-no to NOA's standards & practices. Unlike Actraiser, too "Christian."

As was Enix's policy at the time, an English script was developed from the start with an intended global release.
As is the standard #IGCvSNES policy, the timer won't start until I've reached the "meat" of the game. That can be the 1st action beat.

Terranigma (translates roughly to DIVINE CREATION) was designed by Tomoyoshi Miyazaki, who did Actraiser and YES pile occupant Illusion of Gaia.
If you're curious where this crossed the line whereas Illusion of Gaia and Actraiser didn't, the answer is Terranigma invoked God and the Devil.

That's the line. That's considered ambiguously "Christian" enough.

Yes, other games have, but it's the moral implications of it.
It's the idea of a game that tests morality with pseudo-Christian themes that Nintendo was against. This policy outlasted all other "censorship" ones and is only just now, within the last generation or two, being relaxed as everyone is outraged all the time now, so why panic? :P
First thoughts: did anyone have better, more consistently incredible art-direction than Quintet on the SNES?

The games always look so damn pretty.

Look at the lighting!! I know this is a late-era SNES game, but it's so gobsmacking. Look at the colors. Look at the design!! WOW!!
Ace of Vase!

It's a beautiful life.
One annoying aspect: you have to press the talk button once to get the person's attention, have them face you, then press the talk button again to have them talk.

Safe bet that if I'm facing someone and hitting the button, I want to talk.

Hey look, Oscar is in a game.

(looks up at him, he looks down at me and makes the angry face)
It's all fun and games until you find out you're living on Ego: The Living Planet.

Now I'm curious if @JamesGunn played Terranigma. Visually, it looks A LOT like the visuals of Ego's Planet from Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2.

And I mean that in the nicest way. Gunn is a known gamer and likes complex, nuanced storytelling type games like KOTOR.
Is this about the time I hollowed out one of my Dad's cigars and put an M-80 in it?

I swear to GOD I thought it was just a regular firecracker.

His eyebrows grew back and the artificial front teeth look less bucky anyway.
No, but if trouble happens..
Sorry, I used my M80s already.........
There's a forbidden door.

My parents had one of those, and when they were asleep I went into it. All they had was weird plastic mini-swords shaped like mushrooms and video tapes of them practicing naked wrestling. Then they put a padlock on it the next day. Weird.

Hang on, I think I just gave my father a stroke.
You know what this is?

Tom Sawyer.
Oh sure, leave me holding the bong.
Man, look at those colors.

When #IGCvSNES is complete, I'd be floored if any director outdoes Tomoyoshi Miyazaki in terms of setting the stage, using lighting, sound, music, and atmosphere on the Super NES to such a degree it practically feels alive.
Oh good, sassy sidekick.

Take a drink.
And I'm back, and the sassy little demon thing has a TARDIS.

This is getting weird.
You never asked if my soul is actually pure.

I have some dark thoughts. I've been excommunicated from six different churches. Even Scientology won't return my calls. One priest was taken away in an Ambulance after just three sentences (though I think he was out after two)..
I know what joke I *want* to make.

I'm actually kind of shaking trying to restrain myself from making the joke.

My fingers won't skip to the next screen.

You can do this, Cathy. It's the low-hanging fruit.
(Cathy's eyes get wide)


Okay, the winner for "Coolest Use of Mode 7" goes to..
HOLY SMOKES that is trippy.

The world is an actual cylinder, where the top and bottom scroll together, like a Mode 7 egg-roll with the camera placed on the inside.

Golly, that is bad ass.

Put one hour on the clock.....................
You said it, video game me..

(Haven't had to do that in a while)

Terranigma has one hour to wow me from this point onward. Good luck to fans of it.
And yes, the timer stops when I go to tweet.

Basically, I'm playing this level. If there's extra time, it'll go towards story evaluation.

First thought: combat has OOMPH and the weapon, a spear, is quite fun. Sometimes you just want a sharpened stick to poke things.

The only Action-RPG with a built-in Peanut Gallery.

How keen.
Combat is really good but the theme and setting has become extremely cliched and boring, I must say.

Having said that, Terranigma has absolutely found its stride. It's insane it outdoes Illusion of Gaia getting there, but I really like this.
Oomph to combat..

Pomp & Circumstance to leveling up.

Yep, this is a winner. Hopefully now that standards are relaxed it'll see a re-release. I've heard good things about Illusion of Gaia for a possible.. maybe likely.. re-release. Hopefully this isn't too far behind.
I think I have my new favorite standard attack in the history of video games.

The running lunge in Terranigma is SO INSANELY SATISFYING!

Golly, what an inspired mechanic.




My god, the versatility of possible attacks.

There's a standard spiral jump attack.

I've never seen any 2D top-down Zelda-like that has this much flexibility this early in a game. It demands total immersion of players, and then gives you enough tools to allow it. Incredible!!
Buckle-in, everyone. I'm going to be playing this one for a while. Maybe even a couple days. I take it there will be no objection?

Nintendo retains the publishing rights to this bad boy, I have their ear, and by God, I'm going to get this thing attention.

This could be the #1.
Actually, I don't know if they lost the rights when they didn't publish it here.

Illusion of Gaia I'm told is an "in perpetuity outside of Japan" thing. Illusion of Gaia was a three game deal too, though I believe ONLY Illusion of Gaia was released as part of the that contract.
I asked my contacts for further info.

No, it's not on the Switch Online pool list. Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia are.
As a reminder from the Mario & Wario thread, the pool list is NOT games coming to Switch Online. It's games that they CAN add from. I don't know how the selection process works for choosing games. It's secretive. But I know several Square-Enix games are on the list.
Of course, I did manage to get lost right off the bat and I'm a wanderer now. I go round and round and round and damnit that's going to be stuck in my head a week.

"Odds of these coming back?"

Soul Blazer: good.
Illusion of Gaia: very, very good.
This is absolutely incredible.

The only knock I have so far is that level one is stereotypical. Grey stone. Basic enemy design.

Of course, the gameplay mechanics are anything but basic and allow total creativity, letting players immersive themselves in the role of a gifted hero
Here's why this has my attention..

SO MANY GAMES do the "hero of destiny" thing. It's tired.

In this one, you're so powerful, so able-bodied right off the bat.. can do so many special moves.. have so much flexibility..

It feels like you ARE some special foretold hero.
It's always weird to me that the "hero of destiny" is always weak at the start, not a naturally, has to grow into the role.

In theory, such a prophecy would feature someone who has natural gifts and is strong from the start. Yes, you do level up in this, but the moves are there.
The clock is off, everyone. I'm playing this through.

But remember, no matter how long I play, it's all for a good cause. @DirectRelief needs your support. We've hit $1,500. Our goal is $2,500. Even if you don't want to pick games, please donate today! 
Don't donate to me. I don't do donation pages. Just donate directly to them. Don't ear-mark the money. They know what they're doing and they'll get people the help they need.

Meanwhile, the help I need is a good map that doesn't spoil. BTW *PLEASE* don't spoil story beats for me
These guys are a cinch to beat because you can pin them to the wall and then do the E-Honda/Chun-Li "Lightning Striking" attack.

It's also neat how enemies are left/right handed. Enemies don't just attack in a straight hit-box in front of them. Very cool. Love it. This is great!
I like the concept of Guardians who may or may not be enemies.

Nintendo of America most certainly didn't. Moral ambiguity wasn't high on their happy happy joy joy list in 1995/96. They liked absolute good against absolute evil.
Day two of Terranigma begins here. Please keep donating to @DirectRelief, or signal-boosting their page at 
Interesting. So the game actually unfolds linear?
(Hero of Terranigma walks past the Fellowship of the Ring, they exchange pleasantries, I politely decline the services of Pip).
Was Terranigma the inspiration for Bastion?

It's got similar themes of "restoring a missing world" and other metaphysical/philosophical allegories.
No clue what anything does. I'm feeling my way through it.
I thought my life was climbing. Okay, cool, wasn't imagining things.

I imagine a LOT of stuff so it's good to eliminate the real things, isn't that right Mr. Snowluck, the invisible albino leprechaun that tells me to take out my family before they take me out.

Snowluck said yes
Okay, so this is weird..

I apparently have access to other towers already.

Wait, so what do I do? Does it matter which I go to?

Well crap. I had to battle my way through here too.
So yep, you can't do the towers out-of-order. This was #4.
Upgraded my weapon.

Onto Tower #2. Lots of hype on this. This is where the game "opens up."

Now, after my experience with Hollow Knight, I've learned that other people's definitions of "open up" don't match-up with mine, but still, this is the hyped portion.
This, Soul Blazer, and Illusion of Gaia are considered to be part of an unofficial trilogy.

I think that does a disservice to each game. Among other things, once Terranigma gets past the openly prelude section, it has a MUCH stronger emphasis on combat and action than Gaia did.
I'm NOT using a guide (even if that slows my progress down) and I'm playing with my Dad (everyone say hello to Oscar "She's YOUR Doing?" Vice!).

We've been told to look at the color of the gems in the statues. Now it's just figuring out what to do with them.
That embarrassing moment where your Dad figures out a puzzle before you do.

I forgot you can push things........ even though that was literally the catalyst for the plot starting.

Anyway, dinner time, brb in like 30 minutes.
And I'm back with Dad. We're kicking up our feet in the recliners, enjoying Romeos and playing the most underrated SNES game.

Special Factor x100 now. Happy I'm sharing this experience with Dad. Plus fans of the game are generous to Direct Relief. Shoot, might have to go a week
I've never seen any "true Zelda-like" action RPG do this. It integrates things like spell prompts that interrupt the action with commentary into the gameplay.

And despite breaking the flow.. it actually works? I need to study this closer to understand why it's not pissing me off
The puzzles are too obtuse and I now appreciate why Zelda games make an effort to show you which buttons do what.
Yep, we're lost.

And also I've discovered that Oscar is better at taking the action-based screenshots than I am. He's getting into a habit of doing it, especially since we're partnering with @realotakugamer on creating an #IGCvSNES archive.
Yea, we're lost.

I hate to say it, but if you NEED a guide, then you're almost certainly not going to be the #1 game.

My interest in Terranigma is fading fast. This is boring.
And Dad finally figured it out AFTER WE'D TRY TO PUSH THAT THING ALREADY!! GRRRRR!!
The menu involves you doing a Fantastic Beasts suitcase thing.

God I love the world building of this game.

Immersion, imaginative. Remember, this predates Fantastic Beasts by two decades.

Anyway, we went and bought better armor. Dad will be fighting the next boss. We're hooked
The good part about failing to figure out what to do is we inadvertently started grinding.

As a result............
Dad is still new to gaming and new to the concept of leveling-up. Kingdom Hearts didn't take for him, and so this is really his first RPG-heavy action-adventure game.

He's digging it, but he just realized the concept of grinding.

"What would stop players from just grinding-up?"
A fan in 2012 introduced me to a term I've used ever since: "Screw-Grinding." A game that has some kind of grind-based logistical flaw that allows you to level up in short order. Dragon Quest 1 had a high-yield section.

I don't think Terranigma would, but can't rule it out yet.
Back to Terranigma, which my brain won't retain the spelling of.

We all got talking about resurrecting games. I don't think people fundamentally get how complex the process can be. It's not like they say "here's the ROM, start copying it." There's a lot of paperwork/legalese.
It can be a 50 year old game and it doesn't matter. Games cost money to make, and old games cost money to re-release. Even in digital form, there's expenses. It's not like indie developers. There's protection elements, maintenance, testing, copyrighting, trademark renewals..
You rang?

(BTW, Oscar has gone to bed, we're splitting the save file from here so I can play all night).
One final day of playing Terranigma.

I will be rendering a verdict and ranking tonight. I'll put approximately 12 hours into this today. The #IGCvSNES leader has changed twice this weekend. This has a shot at being the new leader. Stay tuned..
Tower 3 and now the game is stretching its legs and showing off a sense of urgency and foreboding that has previously been missing. The blandness of the first two towers has been replaced by an omnipresent sense of dread.

God I love it. So hard to pull off in this genre.
Oscar (aka my Dad for new readers) has played through to Chapter 3 already, though he avoided spoiling it to me. He's threatened to disown me if I don't name this #1.

From non-gamer to threatening game troll in 18 months. Quite impressive, really.
(shakes head)

I'm starting to realize what a tragedy Tomoyoshi Miyazaki's retirement is. This was, for better or worse, his retirement game. The closest I can equate it to is Brian Eddy disappearing from pinball development after only three tables.

Of course, Eddy came back..
Actually, I guess Miyazaki "directed" a pair of PS1 games, but the buzz is he basically just laid out a concept and then checked out mentally, which is why Quintet silently collapsed.

Meanwhile, I expect more details on the Enix/Nintendo deal later. They're checking it for me.
FYI, I wasn't implying anything with the "of course, Eddy came back" thing. That wasn't a tease. Miyazaki isn't likely to come back, though he did take an active role in polishing Actraiser for Virtual Console.

I hear he's a piece of work.
Officially, Miya's final credit is InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask for the PS2, but again, one of those "laid out a concept, then checked out" situations.

I don't want to speculate on what happened, but I imagine your masterpieces achieving only "cult" status hurts bad.
Some people are happy with any success. Look at Lloyd Kaufman. Dude has made a career as the King of Cult in cinema.

But when you work so hard only to land on lists like "most underrated" or "most overlooked", that has to be a blow. Miyazaki's entire resume is filled with those.
Meanwhile, Terranigma continues to impress me with perfectly-timed action beats. Incredibly, without changing a single element of the stage's theme, the sense of tension continues to build organically.

This is a masterpiece. Plain and simple. What a shame it never came out here.
I have the answer to the Nintendo/Enix deal.

Deal was signed in June 1993, with Nintendo acquiring the global-excluding-Japan publishing rights to 3 games PUBLISHED by Enix. The deal expired in 1998 with Nintendo only claiming 2 games: Illusion of Gaia and..

Mischief Makers!
EXCUSE ME, I read it wrong: the deal was completed, and Terranigma was the second of the three game deal.

So Nintendo likely still owns the outside-Japan rights to this.
And finally, Nintendo passed on Star Ocean after initially having it as the third game.

My source believes Nintendo retains those publishing rights outside of Japan to this day, even for Terranigma.
It's also possible that the deal was for MORE than three games and was instead for AT LEAST three games, through 1998. This was a publishing deal only, and Nintendo provided minimum development support.

Nintendo passed on the Dragon Warrior Game Boy Color ports as well.
Please note that we can't verify whether those rights only apply to Nintendo platforms or not. It's possible Square-Enix can port those games to other systems, but not Switch outside Japan.

The telltale thing is that none of those three games ever came out on Virtual Console.
I appreciate how every new Tower you finish doesn't repeat the same animation of waking up the world or whatever.

What's remarkable about this is there's no pretentiousness about it. It really sets the stage for something sweeping and epic. For philosophical allegory, hard to do
As far as "tutorial" sections in games go, which I'm told the six towers are, they're really cleverly handled.

I wish they'd do better at changing up the variety of enemies. It IS getting a bit repetitive, but the game's still (relatively) young.
This is one of those "leap of faith" puzzle designs that I like.

The combat is designed to never get boring, which I appreciate. I suspect that this was a mandate as a result of Illusion of Gaia's relatively generic combat.
Tower 4 is a bit sprawly, but in a good way.

I'm quite enjoying it.
You have to walk to certain parts of the map and then jump into gaps. It's quite nice.
However, I am starting to wander in circles.

That there's no maps is Terranigma's primary weakness at this point, with too many repeating enemies being secondary.
Getting lost has its advantages.
I'm about to throw my hands up and find a map.
Never needed the map, NOR DID I NEED DAD TO POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION why would I do that I'm a gaming goddess shut up lalalalalalala

My heart sank when "dancing" appeared on screen, though thankfully it's not a rhythm mini-boss.
I just restored North America.

Or possibly a McNugget. It might be a McNugget.

Dipped in honey mustard.
Tower 5

I do need a nap. While I do that, can everyone fill in some blanks I have?

Was this game ever previewed, hyped, or implied for US release? Because it's sort of insane how many of my fans hyped this up. This was one of the five most-wanted game when I announced #IGCvSNES
Okay, what the filth is going on?

I can't get into the tower I need to get into.

Boooo. Booo says I. Booooooooo!
That's an old wives tale. Worst case, you might chafe something.
I'm missing something.

I'm trying to get Tower 5's entry.
HEY NOW! Kama Sutra Charades is an EDUCATIONAL GAME, and frankly, I'm getting sick of your anti-intellectualism.
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