"Oh, I get teary-eyed just remembering"

In my opinion, few games deserve a score of 100%. This game, however, is definitely making me think twice about granting it less than a ten. I first saw this game nearly 9 years ago. A friend was playing it, and I sat there enthralled. Two people were already playing, and he didn't have a multitap. It was breathtaking. My only experience with ''RPGs'' were the two NES Zelda titles. Powering up a weapon strike, becoming more powerful, upgrading weapons, traveling on a dragon? I loved it. I went over and watched many times, until I saw it in a Toys R Us, and pleaded with my mother to purchase it (I was 8 at the time). I got it, and have forever since regarded it as the funnest game I have ever played. On to the review...

Graphics: 9/10
Way back when, this game had very impressive graphics. Enemies are rather detailed, bosses are VERY well designed, and there isn't really anything to complain about. Spell effects are quite beautiful, and (if I remember correctly) some evolve as you level them up. The three main characters (well, except for that damned sprite) are very memorable. Backgrounds are colorful, and everything is overall very satisfying and easy on the eyes. The only problem is that slowdown sometimes occurs, especially in some of the more impressive/large locales (i.e. Mana Fortress, and the area surrounding Gaea's Navel).

Sound: 8/10
As I am writing this, I have the Boss music playing through my head. It makes for a very intense battle, with a high tempo and frantic tone. Many of the songs are great, however some aren't good enough to be remembered. Much is standard fare, but all add to the experience. The only complaint I have are the rather generic ''whacking'' sounds made when the enemy is hit. It obviously doesn't have CD-Quality sound, but thanks to the SNES' nice sound chip, aren't just ''blips.''

Gameplay: 10/10
Just fantastic. That would sum it up. However, since that doesn't help someone who is wondering about the game, I will explain a little more. It is an action-RPG, which means battles are not turn-based (i.e. Final Fantasy) but it is more of an RPG than the Zelda series, as there is a larger focus on leveling up in the traditional manner, and there are weapon levels, and magic levels, which greatly add to the flow. The game is game world is quite large, with eight weapons to choose from (which can then be leveled up 8 times) many continents (which for the most part can all be explored whenever you want after you get the dragon) 8 mana seeds to find, which grant you a new kind of magic, and tons of bosses to fight. With all that said, however, let me move on to the absolute best part. There are three characters to play, you can switch between who you want to control(with the other two trailing along)and can control the other two using a designated button to open up their menu. The computer AI that controls the characters when you are not, is fairly weak, although it can usually get a few hits in. They seem to die a lot. However, they won't die so much (or maybe they will) if you get two friends and a multitap to come play! Each character can be controlled if you have a multitap. This is loads of fun (and perhaps why I have such fond memories).

Story: 9/10
Quite a fantastic story as well, however it can be somewhat peculiar (i.e. someone's mother is a large tree that creates an equilibrium between the creatures of the world and keeps the demons from attacking towns). It starts as thus: You are exploring with some of your friends at a place your adopted father (you were left on his doorstep... cliches aplenty, although they don't ruin the story) told you not to go (on a big log that is next to a waterfall very high above a small pond). You fall far down into the pond, where a sword calls your name. You remove the sword from its resting place and.... ALL HELL BRAKES LOOSE! Well, maybe not, but you get kicked out of your home town. Now you must power up the sword to defeat the ultimate evil, and you will meet two characters along the way. It sounds rather drab, but my storytelling skills are nowhere near that of the writers at Squaresoft!

Overall: 9/10

This game is truly awesome. I recommend anyone pick it up, although I have seen it go for $50 or more. If you can find a reasonable copy (or if you love it as much as I do) I recommend a purchase. But make sure to buy yourself a multitap, some controllers, and a couple of friends as well; trust me, it will be even more fun that way.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/17/02, Updated 07/17/02


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