aka: Tenchi Sōzō
(prices updated 9/29 10:49 PM )

Description official description

The planet known to its inhabitants as Earth is composed out of two realms - the surface, or Lightside, and the underground world, or Darkside. Two cosmic forces, called God and Devil by the humans, were fighting each other fiercely until their final battle in Antarctica led to a catastrophe: the continents of the surface world submerged into the ocean, presumably eradicating all life on the Lightside.

Meanwhile, the isolated underworld, consisting of frozen crystal mountains and lava rivers, continues to exist. A young boy named Ark grew up in Crysta, the only remaining village on the Darkside. One day, he and some other boys hear mysterious voices coming from beyond a door the village elder forbade them to open. Unable to resist their curiosity, the boys open the door, and Ark finds a box with a strange creature inside. By opening the box, Ark inadvertently causes all the villagers to be turned into stones. In order to bring them back to life, Ark has to find five towers within the dangerous Darkside and eventually restore life on the surface of the planet.

Terranigma is an action role-playing game. Ark levels up after having completed an important quest or cleared out an area. He can attack enemies with various weapons, using different techniques: pierce, leap, dash, etc., resulting from the combination of three basic actions - attacking, running, and jumping. Special objects called Magirocks can be collected and converted into rings, which act as one-use items capable of casting magic spells.

The game is closely connected to and often regarded as the final part of a trilogy, the first two games being Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia.


  • 天地創造 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (SNES version)

96 People (93 developers, 3 thanks) · View all



Average score: 86% (based on 18 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 48 ratings with 4 reviews)

Basically interesting, but has a few flaws compared to other RPGs of the time

The Good
Terranigma is an action-RPG game that has been made in 1995 by Quintet, a subdivision of the great Enix. Some people consider it as the sequel of two other action RPGs made also made by Quintet for the SNES, but I played neither of them, so I cannot say much on it. This is one of the very few Japanese games that has gotten a PAL release, but no American release.

Terranigma sure is a good game. It's story is based on big philosophy themes, such as separation between good and evil, light and darkness, and also if it is better to have pleasure in life or if gain more knowledge and power is the best, if it is better to have an advanced civilization or if living in respect of nature as it is better, etc... Those who likes intelligent complicated stories, like myself, will be in dreams here. However, the game suffers from mediocre translation, just like most games at the time, and this makes the story quite obscure, but you'll still "feel" all the effort the developers put to learn something to the player through this game. Unfortunately, you'll most likely have to understand Japanese and play the original version of the game if you wish to fully understand all what is behind that game. I cannot rate too much the story else than I "feel" that this game hide something really great in it, and that you only get a small part of it while playing the PAL translation emulated. The part of the story I understand is that : You live in a strange dark lava world that is actually a copy of the real world (yes, the good old earth we're living on), and you're chosen to be a hero to restore plants, animals, humans, make humans evolute, and finally the end is quite confusing. But first you should be tested through 5 towers. Don't be discouraged because the games looks very boring at the beginning. But it actually isn't. I particularly loved the talking plants and animals. Finally, the game is very cutscene heavy for it's time, so this can be either good or annoying.

The game-play is cool, because a lot of moves are allowed. As the main hero, you can attack, jump, dash, and do a lot of various combos while merging all of these, including dash-attack, jump-attack and dash-jump-attack. This makes four basic attacks. You can also protect you from projectiles and sometimes enemy attacks with the L button, and I did only discover that very late in the game. Protect is needed for some of the later bosses and enemies, but is useless in most cases. Overall, the action and reflexes can become quite important from time to time in this game. It is not like in Secret of Mana where no particular reflexes are needed, but there is some dodging involved, which can be either good or bad in function of what type of gamer you are.

The music is basically good, but it isn't incredible or anything. Some music in the game is great, and some is average to bad. That stupid guitar music you hear in most towns at the end of the game really went on my nerves. Fortunately, instances has much better music overall. The boss music is quite impressive I found. The sound effects are okay, while sometimes a bit poor and repetitive. All players attacks sound different, so it is decent, but all explosions and monsters attacks sounds the same, etc... While decent, they got pretty lazy here. The noise of letters is especially annoying.

The Bad
The graphics aren't bad, they are very detailed actually, but I feel the developers did just want to innovate too much here, and it sometimes cause problems. Quite often you'll have just too much stuff on screen. That is quite frustrating, because often you will be screwed just because you didn't pick up something you have to, or even because you didn't notice a door or a staircase, just because there is too much stuff on the screen and so you cannot make the difference between stuff that is important and stuff that isnt'. Good graphics aren't only quality, but also how easy it is to the player to see things, and that game totally fails in the second category, while it shines in the first. Then, a big flaw in the graphics is that the letter are too large. You'll eventually be used to it, but this make only a few word stand on a line, and the font have fixed very big letters, that are annoying to read. A lot of words are split between two lines, and that doesn't help to understand the complex story if you see what I mean. Also, the game is basically in top-down perspective, but Quintet didn't stuck to it and they did some scenes and bossfights in some pre-rendered background with pseudo-3D, and while it "looks better", it isn't fair for gameplay at all, because you have 2D characters in a 2D background that looks 3D, and that is confusing to the player. I also have several complain with sprites. Some important characters, such as Elle, the hero's girlfriend, have the same sprite as a lot of normal girls in the game, while some less important character have their own sprites. In the end I couldn't bear Elle anymore, so much they were cutscenes with her, but she actually isn't the real one in dreams, etc, etc... and that is just too heavy. If at least she could have her own sprite...

Finally, complete the game without a walkthrough is nearly impossible. Why ? Because, additionally to the fact that you'll miss some doors and staircases as said above, you'll often need to equip key items while talking to people. You can in the menu "equip" an item, and for normal items such as healing ones, press the X button will use them. But for key items, you have to equip them while talking to some particular people. Quite often, you have to equip some item you found just on the ground that you didn't notice so much stuff are in the background, and then use them on a random people you had nearly no clue to know who and where. It is nearly like Castlevania II, where you have to use items at some place in a very specific way and have nearly not clue on what to do, so walkthrough is needed. You also sometimes have to equip a specific weaker weapon against a boss to make him a lot more damage, or have some very special strategy against bosses that you won't always guess on your own. Also, in a particular place in the game, you have to avoid guards, and if one see you, you have to got back to the entrance. To get to some point of the castle, you have to avoid 3 or 4 guards. Fail to any of them, and you have to start all again. That may be fun if they wouldn't be so hard to avoid, forcing you to fail a lot of times... this annoyed me so much I had to cheat with savestates to pass this area.

Finally, I think the game allow you to use magic in some way, by the use of Magirocs. Magirocs are difficult pieces to collects, but I don't remember used one single of them during the whole game, except just one to try what it will do...... Is magic so important ? With the basic attacks, the game is fun enough. Magic always works wrong in action-RPGs, I found. Fortunately, you don't have to use magic, as you do in some other action-RPGs.

The Bottom Line
Terranigma has some quite big flaws, but it is still a great game after all. You will like it or not like it in function of your personal point of view. I cannot say much more, but the game still have a good story and interesting gameplay, I think. As long as you don't mind to be forced to follow a walkthrough and if cutscene-heavy games doesn't annoy you too much, this one is for you. Don't be disappointed by the beginning, because the beginning is boring. It will get better after a while, when the challenge grows up. It will never be too hard or anything, as long as you have a walkthrough, so don't be afraid. Just some dodging involved with some bosses, and some enigmas/items that are hard to figure out. In the skin of a hardcore RPG Japanese gamer back in 1995, I had to save money for Final Fantasy VI, Tales of Phantasia, Chrono Trigger. With all these great great games just being released, who would care about Terranigma ? Fortunately, you can down download it for emulation, and I recommend give it a serious try if you like Japanese RPGs.

SNES · by Bregalad (937) · 2006

An Archetypal Journey (but YOU won't know it)

The Good
Terranigma is a wonderful exploration of the major creation myths, giving it enormous value to an already interesting game mechanic (action-RPG, but not the boring back-fourth movement, no sir!). The graphics are very catchy - the color schemes are attractive and not eye-soaring (i.e. not like Secret of Mana); the details are pretty well rendered and the perspective is pleasant and quite fun (making the characters look slightly "chibi"-ish). The story (in 4 chapters) is interesting because not many games revolve around something like this, something almost religious I could say (not spoiling anything!). It is partially non-linear, as you will see in the third and fourth chapters when you will learn some macro-economics in a fun way.

The Bad
The English translation is pretty close to the original Japanese, BUT there are some flaws, even in the names of the places. A very important item is named "magirock" but in the box that you keep this item is it is written "PRIME B" - from the Japanese version in which it was called "Prime Blue". There are not TOO many, but after the game you could use Google Translate and find some other nice trivia from Japanese fan-sites.

The Bottom Line
An incredible game with a surprising end, intricate characters and story (I can say only this about Chapter 4: you will be mesmerized!), awesome game mechanics and a very strange feeling after you finish it! A must!

SNES · by Remus Celloco (3) · 2010

"Haunting, But Fulfilling"

The Good
GAMEPLAY: The controls were fairly easy to master and similar to the "Legend Of Zelda" games (with the addition of jumping). Especially helpful are the periods of invincibility that Ark gains when executing his dash-thrust and jumping-dash-thrust moves.

MUSIC: Awesome music, just like the other games in Enix's library. I'd love to know who wrote it.

STORY: It's amazing to see how Ark revives the world from chaos to medieval times to modernity and beyond (and a bit sad, too). The characters are memorable and believable, even if they're only around for a short while.

The Bad
TEXT: The English translation has some major problems. Ark's supposed to have an attitude, but it doesn't show. There are also plenty of shakey grammar problems.

TRANSPORT: There are only three "airports" in the entire game world, making continental travel difficult and arduous. Some parts of the map are completely inaccessible.

The Bottom Line
It's a good mix of Zelda and "Illusion Of Gaia," and has a great story, if not one that makes the player reflect on reality. But then, in my opinion, this is what RPGs/story games should do.

SNES · by Lou Smith (4) · 2006

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


Hidden room

There's a hidden room accessible by entering a trashcan located in the empty lot of Neo Tokyo, after defeating an enemy you'll be transported to an office where you can chat with a group of chickens hard at work programming. These fellows are actually Quintet, and they even explain that they are working on Illusion of Gaia 2 !


The literal translation of the title Tenchisôzô into English is something along the lines of "Creation of Heaven and Earth". Which is exactly the content that the game deals with.


Although both of the other Gaia games were released in North America, for unknown reasons, Terranigma was not, even though an English translation was done for its UK release.

Information also contributed by Zovni

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 9107


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Shoddyan, chirinea, Alaka, LepricahnsGold, Thomas Thompson, Rik Hideto.

Game added May 8th, 2003. Last modified August 17th, 2023.