Released in December 1996, Terranigma was a rare breed, a game released in Europe that wasn't released in America! The game is the third part of a loosely related trilogy that began with Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia. You play as a young man named Ark, who opens a forbidden door and ends up unlocking a whole planet which he eventually learns he must save.
Best time: 4:48 by Alex 'Madzombie' McIver on 2006-09-23, done in 19 segments.
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I must thank a couple of people before getting into the gameplay details. Firstly I want to thank Saturn, as his knowledge of the game helped me many times. His various emulator playthroughs helped greatly in deciding where to level up. I want to thank Strangeness for encouraging me to redo my original run, which was 17 minutes slower, which resulted in a vastly more polished run. Enhasa also encouraged me not to let the quality slip when I got fed up of segments, and Jam was there for me when it all got too much. Last, but not least, thanks to Radix for hosting my run and Nate for capturing it from the tapes.
Anyone who's played Terranigma should understand how the level up system works. Put simply, below a certain strength stat, you will deal very little damage to enemies. As soon as you exceed that str. value the damage you deal rises rapidly. As such, a boss can take forever to beat on level 18, but die rather quickly on level 19. This means that planning what level to fight each boss at and where to gain these levels is a very significant part of a Terranigma speedrun strategy. Much of the 17 minutes saved over my initial run were due to better level up locations. I believe I fight each boss at optimal levels, though there is possibly still room for improvement in where I actually level up.
My money route is one area that time could probably be saved. I need to have 6660 gems by the time I reach Mosque in order to buy the RedArmour, which boosts strength by the equivalent of 2-3 levels. I miss out on quite a lot of money dropped by enemies, but also make a few detours to collect money chests, so a minute or so could probably be saved here. There are a few more ways I reckon time could be saved, most of which I mention in the segment specific comments.
I always found the "intro" (ie. delay between starting the file and actually getting to the fighting parts) annoyingly long, so my impatience lead to me not trying this segment as many times as I should. Firstly, it may have been a mistake to try to open the blue door myself, rather than letting the guys try, as I've heard that way is slightly faster. Tower 1 went smoothly, I think a few seconds could have been saved on the boss but that's about it. Tower 2 basically went perfectly. I picked up my first of 3 magirocks, all of which are used to buy BonePins later on. Tower 3 isn't quite as good. I fell into a hole trying to make a jump and I cockled up the boss, costing me around 6 or 7 seconds. I got "looked" by one of the cadets at the start of Tower 4, which cost a few seconds. Rest of the tower went great. I took a couple of hits on the boss, but the beauty that is the Underworld means I get cured of that damage over time. I don't think the boss can be defeated faster as only one yellow Hubball is vulnerable at once. Also, they appear to give no experience, so I did not miss out by leaving some alive.
I start by getting the armour I will use until the end of Segment 15: Elle's Cape. The boss fight went very well, took 1 hit but didn't get slowed down much. I decided not to resurrect Mu, thereby missing out on picking up the EnbuPike later. The Enbupike, as you probably know, boosts strength considerably at the expense of defence. This sounds ideal for a speedrun, but it doesn't become available until late in the game, so the minute or so detour to get it does not seem worthwhile. I am open to debate on this matter though.
This is the first of 3 consecutive segments that each took a while to nail down. Note that I pick up a couple of M Bulbs here. These proved unnecessary as I got much better at evading damage as the run went on. I took a hit on the compulsory plant fight, but the fight went fine overall. I must again thank Saturn for bringing it to my attention that you can let go of the long vine down to the giant leaves, which saved me about 12 seconds. The boss fight here was the reason this segment took so many attempts. I realised that the claws he throws out give 9exp each, for a total of 54exp per batch, which is easily the best way to level for a while. As such I purposefully delay killing the boss until I have enough exp to hit lv9 at the end of the fight. Most of my failed attempts were either because I killed him too soon or he wasted a lot of time by not throwing out claws very often. Anyway, the first stage of the fight went well. It doesn't matter how much damage you do here, all that matters is you hit the weak spot 10 times. The second stage mostly went well, with me not taking much damage. I gained my first couple of levels quickly. He started being stingy with the claws around lv7 though. A more patient man than myself could gain at least 30 seconds on me on this segment if he were to wait until he got a much luckier Parasite fight. For anyone considering a TAS I would recommend heavily manipulating luck here, probably gaining enough levels to get right through Chapter 2.
Another segment featuring heavy levelling. I take a detour to pick up some money here. While my money situation later on was pretty tight, I reckon I could have skipped this money chest. Due to the pathetically low damage I deal, it's not worth killing anything other than Quakers until I get the RocSpear. I equip my M Bulbs here, as there's no plot events that restore health for the rest of the chapter. The room I choose to level up in gives a lot of exp for the time invested, but you need to be at least lv9 for it to be worthwhile, which is why I needed to do so much levelling on the Parasite, even if it seemed to be more trouble than it's worth to gain 5 levels in that one fight. The first couple of rounds of levelling look a little sloppy, as I always take a couple of kills to get into the routine. It becomes much smoother when I reach level 10, as I'm now guaranteed to kill the golem in 2 hits or less. I pick up another Magirock here, though I think the one in Eklemata would have been a better choice. The birds around the sharp claws moved around quite a lot, so I could probably have saved a few seconds here. Boss fight here was awesome, it took a certain amount of luck to get him to do the whirlwind attack right away, but once he did I could kill him in one round. Amusingly I once failed a good attempt because I missed when throwing one of the rocks into Windvale. I felt dumb...
I wish I knew a gull who could take me across the Atlantic in under a minute! This segment took ages to do because the enemy movement, particularly of the turtles, is just so unpredictable. Critical hits here make a big difference. A big time saver over my initial attempt was the realisation that you do not need to speak to the souls for them to return to their altar, you just need to be onscreen when they emerge. Oh and don't you just love bits of games where you're forced to take damage to proceed! The first stage of the boss fight is like so many other fights: all I do is dash attack back and forth. Not particularly interesting but it's the most effective way to do it. The only way to do this fight faster would have been to get lucky and have him use his flames less often, as he's invulnerable while using them. Sometimes the second stage of this fight is really frustrating, as he just stays at the top, wasting tonnes of time while I can't attack him. Thankfully he didn't do this to me, and I finished him off very quickly.
This segment is very easy, as there's little in the way of possible time savers, so in hindsight I should probably have merged it with segment 5. The only bit that can go slightly wrong is if I miss with a rock while fighting the boss. As such, most of the fooling around you see is exactly that: fooling around, though obviously I kill all enemies along the way to get exp and money. I also found that character level and strength do not seem to affect damage dealt to the boss.
This was another segment that took a lot of attempts to get right, mainly due to the first couple of minutes, where there are a lot of enemies that I need to kill in 1 hit to avoid being hurt. The levelling bit also had a lot of potential to go wrong. Despite requiring a detour, the firepike saves time, as it allows me to kill most enemies in 1 or 2 hits, which allows me to efficiently use the room near the Snowgrass plant for levelling. This segment has more than one occurrence of magic teleporting NPCs. I quite clearly run through the doorway before the goat can follow, yet she gets to the next room before me! In my original attempt I took on the boss one level lower than on this run. With some experimenting I found that one extra level means I deal roughly double damage to the third stage, which saves at least a minute on the boss fight. It also meant I could level faster in Louran. First stage of the boss fight cannot be done faster, due to its nature, but I took a sloppy looking hit which was annoying. The second stage brought back bad memories of the 30 seconds I lost to Agahnihm in my old run of Zelda: LttP. Clever how hitting the orbs from behind still changes their direction by 180 degrees. Third stage of the fight also went great, only way it could have been faster would be if I had gotten a critical hit or 2. Finally Meiho, who's name has at least 2 different spellings in game, also does the magic NPC teleport thing.
This segment took a while to get right, again mainly due to the levelling up section. I choose to speak to Temjin, so I can get the 500gems from his grave. Overall this detour takes around 15 seconds. This may be worth skipping if a faster way to obtain the money is found. The LightRod is a very worthwhile detour, as it not only increases the damage against the Zombies by a considerable amount, it is also the best weapon for killing Bloody Mary later on. The levelling here is largely uneventful, aside from the odd slip up here and there. I try to collect some much needed money here, and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside when I briefly hit 1337 gems. It should be noted that the regenerating heads that the female zombies launch at you will yield experience if you attack them and cause them to explode. For the brief section that Turbo follows you Ark's controls seem a bit unresponsive, which is why I ran straight into a zombie! There is no way to speed Turbo up, so I use the northern area to try and gain as much exp and money as possible before he reaches the doorway. I find a faster way through the desert than the path you're required to use. Oh and BonePins do not work in the large house, so I could not use one to skip the Meiho speech.
A very straightforward segment this. I found there's no way to sequence break this bit or do any fancy tricks (ie. The Protect Bell is essential), so what you see is fairly uninspiring. I only wish Bonepins worked in the castle! I wasted a second to get Ark's "chicken" speech, gotta have some fun now and again! Took a couple of hits in the last room before Storkholm, which was irritating.
This is best described as the Segment from Hell. It took me over a month to nail this segment down, mostly due to Bloody Mary. Most people struggle under normal conditions, never mind killing her at level 19 under time pressure! The room with the 4 skeletons is the first place where things can go wrong. It was also very hard keeping up the constant dash attacking against the blue knight for a solid minute (feels a lot longer when it's you doing it, believe me). I deliberately take damage when picking up the Tower Key as it's faster than killing or luring away the blue knight. The Icepick saves time overall as, despite not using it against Bloody Mary, it's effective against the second compulsory blue knight fight and in Gumin Forest. For the dolls bit, I enter and exit the menu to skip text. The Bloody Mary fight went like a dream. The short pauses you see between attack segments are because I thought (and was probably wrong) that if you are in the middle of attacking her while she's planning her next move it makes her more likely to teleport away. You have no idea how happy I was when I finally got this segment out the way!
The only reason I did not merge this segment with the following one was I believed I required luck for the start of both segments. In hindsight, I think there is a pattern to where the real Ship Ghosts appear, but the save point in Litz is along the way, so I feel a separate segment for this is justified.
This was very much a money a money gaining segment. The randomness of money drops is one reason why this segment was not merged with the previous one. The other reason was that I play the gambling game to get a Pretty Flower. I could not get the Pretty Flower to show up the first time I played the betting game, but it showed up fairly consistently on my second attempt, still saving me 3-4 seconds over getting it in Loire from the flower seller. Rather painful moment when I'm killing the 6th log monster, kinda wish I'd restarted the segment at that point.
The main (in fact, only) difficulty in this segment is the boss. If he dashes off to the side, rather than into the area where you can hurt him, it takes ages for him to reappear. The strategy you see me use is very hard to replicate consistently as the fish reacts according to whether you're above or below his centre, which requires precise positioning, and he escapes unscathed if you either attack too soon or let him get too close. A lucky critical hit saved me a few seconds here. Note: you cannot just turn around and enter the boat when you first get it, you need to leave the harbour and find a pier.
Nothing particularly eventful happens in the lake cavern. I gain 3 levels in the room with 3 fish. This is a really fast room for levelling, each fish yields around 50 exp and they die in 1 hit. I take a deliberate hit after the water rapids section as that particular Pupila always seems to deflect me, which is a bit of a time waster. Strangely Neo's Fang is the most effective weapon against the boss. Boss fight could have been a few seconds faster, I got hurt by one of the falling starfish. I take a small detour when collecting the Speed Shoes to collect a 1403 gem chest, which gave me enough to buy the RedArmour. Yunkou is similar to the groom quest, in that you have to talk to specific people to trigger the events needed to proceed.
I think this is the only segment where I do not do any fighting. The guards follow a predictable pattern so it's just a case of learning this and knowing when to move. I need to make a fairly hefty detour to collect the 3PartRod. I estimate it is a similar length to the EnbuPike detour, though the latter also requires a minute or so detour in the Underworld. One of these weapons is necessary to do decent damage in Beruga's Lab. The jury's still out on which is the better choice but I am happy with the decision I made. During one attempt I speed booted through the room where Elle waits behind. I must have reached the doorway before I was meant to because I ran right through it and got stuck in the top of the room! The reason I saved up for the RedArmour is it raises your damage by the equivelent of 2 or 3 levels, greatly reducing the time required to level up.
This segment also took me over a month to do successfully, though I was also busy with other stuff around this time. Originally I split this segment into 2, saving in Lhasa and collecting the 2 starstones in a separate segment. The Lhasa save was a near 20 second detour, so merging the segments was a risky but worthwhile way to save some time. The main difficulty was killing enough enemies along the way to the boss to hit lv24 without slowing down much. This required a lot of luck to get high enough damage from my hits. I also required some pretty hefty luck with the boss, as he is very prone to jumping into the air, wasting 7-8 seconds each time he does it. He does this once on my attempt, which isn't ideal, but could have been far worse. I play very conservatively in Astarica. I could probably have killed a few more enemies along the way and I pause a couple of times to avoid getting deflected by the Pupilas but I just did not want to die at this point, having done a good Beruga's Lab.
This was one of those segments where the majority of failed attempts were in the first 2 minutes. I needed to get lucky with the damage dealt so I didn't spend too long killing the dog thief things. If it took too long then they moved out of my path, wasting time. I gain a couple of levels in the room with the 5 electric orbs. This room is the best place in the game for speed levelling, yielding over 2500 exp per minute. The levelling is largely uneventful, with a couple of mistakes but no damage being taken by myself. Annoyingly 2 of the cloaked dudes in the following room did not want to die. My boating skills are a bit lacking: I bumped into a couple of rocks on the way to Australia. And I'm lucky I didn't fall asleep during the super long slow text sequences that follow.
Terranigma is unusual in that it's final real dungeon does not have a boss. In fact it does not really have much that could make it difficult. The only requirement for this segment, other than doing it fast, was to kill enough enemies along the way to hit level 28. I manage this with the second last normal enemy encountered in the whole game. Nice red splat when Beruga dies btw!
This segment is entirely devoted to the final boss. There is around 3-4 minutes of unskippable dialogue before the fight begins, which made retrying this segment quite tedious. This segment is perhaps the best illustration of the predictability of Terranigma's "luck" system. The pattern that Dark Gaia follows in the first stage of the fight was exactly the same every time I fought him. This means that I can do the first stage of the fight quickly every time. The second half of the fight was where the real difficulty lay. While the luck system is still somewhat predictable (I knew what to expect in the first 10-20 seconds) there is so much going on that things quickly get randomised. The majority of Dark Gaia's attacks come with some sort of warning, allowing me to stop attacking and dash out of the way. However, his red sweeping laser has no warning, he can just pull it out of nowhere. Hence the reason why I often cut off from attacking before Dark Gaia moves out of reach. The odds are enormously in favour ofhim using that attack (I've never seen a fight where he doesn't use it eventually) and it's a guaranteed death attack at my level. It is still possible to improve on my fight time, as he uses the time consuming white ray attack 6 times, and there are times when I accidently dash attack him, rather than stab attack, which does less damage. I complete the game at level 28, which I believe is the optimal level for fighting Dark Gaia. At level 27 Ark deals around 5 damage per hit, which would make the fight last around 10 minutes. At level 29 Ark deals around 30 damage per hit. While this would speed up the fight, it takes 1:50 to gain that extra level, which more than negates the time saved by dealing the increased damage.
I hope you enjoy watching my run. I don't intend on doing another segmented run on Terranigma, but I may come back to do a single segment run at some point. If you want to contact me I'll be on the message boards, or you can email me at AlexMcIver@gmail.com, though I don't often check my emails.
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