Monday, June 20, 2011

The Holy Trinity of the SNES

Hi everyone! Today, I'd like to talk about a game series I like. Wow, that was an understatement. Let me rectify:

Today I would like to talk about a game series that I all but adore, and consider to be the best trilogy in gaming history.

There, that's more like it.

The trilogy I am referring to is not really a trilogy in the sense that it carries a continuous storyline throughout the three games. In fact, each game is more of a "spiritual successor" than a true "sequel." But any such labels are pointless. They are all games developed by Quintet and published by Enix, and in my opinion they make a trilogy that not so much lives up to the standards of a good series, but truly defines them. I am referring to Soul Blazer, Illusion of Time, and Terranigma. (My American readers may be a little confused at this point. To you, I will clarify that Illusion of Time was called Illusion of Gaia in America, and Terranigma was, sadly, never released in America.)

So, what makes this the best game trilogy of all time you may ask? Well, simply put, the way each game improves upon the last one. Now, Soul Blazer was a great game in its own right. It had a decent story about a world held captive by the Devil, and a lone angel soldier of God having to travel across the land, restoring the world to its former glory one place at a time. The gameplay was simple, but it felt right. It played similar to a Zelda title, but put more focus on combat than on puzzle-solving. In fact, the only real puzzles in the game can be solved by beating the stuffing out of something, most of the time. The music is also very good, with tunes ranging from charming little melodies to grand, ominous church organ pieces. On the whole, it was a very good game with a nice little gimmick consisting of the player restoring various towns and other locations little by little, like ActRaiser but with less simulation elements.

Improving upon the solid foundation set by Soul Blazer, Illusion of Time took a more traditional approach to the gameplay and story. Will, a young boy with mysterious mental abilities living in a quiet little town by the sea, is one day drawn into an adventure that will take him across the world, visiting a plethora of ancient temples and castles. With more focus on the story, Illusion of Time felt like a more coherent experience, despite some slight hiccups in the translation department. The gameplay was once more reminiscent of Zelda, but this time, the main character gains the ability to transform into different characters, adding more variety. Add to that the flute the main character has, which can cause various different effects depending on which song is played, (And yes, this game was made well before Ocarina of Time.) and you have a fun, challenging and moving adventure that improved on its predecessor in every way.

And then we have Terranigma. I'm going to say it, folks: This is the greatest game ever made. If Illusion of Time improved on its predecessor, then Terranigma did the same, and cranked it up to eleven. Everything is better, the story, the graphics, the gameplay, the music, (Oh God, the music...) even the box art is better! It tells the story of a young man called Ark, who lives in the village of Crysta. One day, he goes into the room that the village elder has explicitly forbidden anyone from entering, (You know, there is always a room like that.) and opens a mysterious box... And then all the village goes up shit creek without a paddle. Scolded by the elder and then told to go out and conquer five towers in order to resurrect the village, Ark sets out...
Again, the gameplay is reminiscent of Zelda, perhaps the most of all three games in the trilogy, but the graphics an animation make it a whole different experience. Another thing that makes this game so special is its world map. It's... the world, basically. Planet Earth, as represented on the Super Nintendo, and quite accurately so. Sure, the capital of Sweden is located in Norway and is spelled wrong, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that this game has such an amazing story, wonderful graphics, excellent gameplay and one of the most beautiful soundtracks of all time.

Now, some of you may be rolling your eyes and muttering something about "nostalgia goggles". Let me just remind you that I first played these games no more than two years ago. It's not nostalgia that is making me fawn over these games the way I do, it's purely due to the fact that they are. That. Damn. Good.
 I strongly recommend that you try them out. You may end up loving them, or you may end up thinking they're the worst pieces of excrement since E.T for the Atari 2600. Hey, it's all just opinions, after all. But in my opinion, you can't find any game series better than the Soul Blazer trilogy. And no better game than Terranigma.

Well, that's about all the fanboy ranting I can handle for today. I hope I've sparked your interest in these games, and if not, I hope you at least enjoyed the read.

Until next time, have a good day!

28 comments:

  1. A very informative review.
    Also, I agree with you that the nostalgia factor, in reviewing games, must be put aside in order for one's "judgement" to really work.

    Keep it up!

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  2. Good review. Never heard of them, I don't think I can go back to SNES with all the new systems out though.

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  3. Beautifully written. Can tell you have a real passion for it. Put me in the mood for AVGN :)

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  4. I love the old snes games, and those old Enix games where also aweosme, specially before they where bought by square.

    You can visit my blog here.

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  5. Terranigma best game ever made? I'm certainly going to have to check this game out bro.

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  6. I always thought I already played all the games worth playing, but this game sounds like a hidden gem. I have to try it out. Nice review btw.

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  7. Dam i never got to play those games in my time...sounds like a great game.

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  8. Man, that post makes me want to crack out the old snes and fire up Terranigma.

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  9. I've never played any of those games, but since you said that they play a bit like Zelda I'm gonna be all over it.

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  10. with emulators out now, its so simple to play any game on a whim. I will give it a try for sure

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  11. Hmmm I don't have a SNES. I wonder how I could get my hands on these titles.

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  12. Never played it. Will check, thanks!

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  13. It's to bad these games didn't have a wider American audience, they sound like they might be a fun play.

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  14. Never heard of these. Ha ha living in the states sucks sometimes I guess.

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  15. I'd never heard of these either. Why?

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  16. Enix was a really good publisher and I was a fan of them when they were making games for the NES. Actraiser was one of my favorites too.

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  17. I wish I had an SNES, those were the days.

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  18. Terranigma, i think i played that, i could be wrong, but it was awesome if i remember correctly.

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  19. Terranigma is pure gold. I love it.

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  20. awesome review! keep them coming!

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  21. Great article, love me some SNES

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  22. Terranigma is definitely in my top 5 too! I haven't played Soul Blazer, & wasn't aware Terranigma was part of a trilogy!

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