Review by Yakuza
"Secret of Mana's an outstanding classic, it's still the great game as 7 years ago!"
Everybody knows at least something about this game. Personally, I think this is a top game! I bought it in 94´and I still love it! For me, this is something really special. Six years ago, I went back to the shop to get a new game, cause I didn’t like the first one I bought. The first game was ”Lost Vikings” to snes-system. I had seen a review on the game, and it had get good score, so I thought it was good. As you all know, that game sucks, so I wanted to change the game. The guy in the shop said ok, and the thing was which game would I choose, ”Shadowrun” (wich is a great game but I didn’t know that) or Secret of Mana. I chose the second one. And I don’t regret that. Now I got both of the games, and still thinks that Secret of Mana is a little bit better, even if Shadowrun is cool!
So, I changed from ”Lost Vikings” to one of the best ever! (For me, this game can fight for the big title game of time like Zelda64, Chrono trigger, Final fantasy 7, FF8, Xenogears, Starocean and all these games). Ok, enough with the nostalgic talk!
Secret of Mana was made by Square, the legendary company of RPG’s and this was one of their RPG’s that breaked the non-RPG playing in America. The game was made in 93,94 and is old, but still is great. An interesting thing of S.o.M. is that you can play up to three players, that is very rare in RPG’s, I don’t think I’ve seen any game ever had this type of gameplay. Fantastic Square!
Here’s the catagories
The story is incredibly good, it really involves you in the game and gets deeper the more you play. ”The world’s almost destroyed by monsters. You are the Hero, a guy(you name him in the beginning, so he hasn’t a certain name) that lives in a small village. One day, you and your buddies are standing on a cliff. Then, you lose your balance, the friends are trying to pull you up, but you fall down in the water. One hard knock later, you realize you are outside the village. At these times, when monsters are in the mood, you need a weopon, or you have a problem. And what don’t you see if not a sword?? You go through the field and come to the sword, it’s sheated in a log of wood, and you start pulling it out. It’s deep into the stump. You pulls harder and harder, until it comes out. Then, a dazzling light starts shimmering around you. A ghost appears and starts talking to you about the sword, and the monsters. You are the destined and chosen one to restore peace again, and fight back all the monsters. You walk home, and hear that the elder wants to talk to you. He says that:
-oh no! You pulled the sword out, you stupid one! All the force that held the monsters back were in the sword, and now when you released it, the monsters will attack us! You will make us all die! Get out of this village! We don’t want to see you anymore! From now, you’re banished from Potos Village, never return here.
You pack your stuff and go out in the wild world. from now on, you are alone. but soon, you will find new friends on your journey, and fight many battles. (Does it looks familiar? All RPG’s are something like this) In fact, it was a right decision to pull out the sword. The monsters were growing stronger and stronger, and something had to been done. Now there’s a chance to save the world, and only you can with your sword, the sword that holds the power of mana. But first you must understand it, the SECRET OF MANA!”
This is just a short glimpse and the introduction of the game, the story’s much more and getting more involving later on(when you meet the mana tree, characters etc.) but the main story is that you must control the power of mana and save the world. The story’s great, even if not that’s what S.o.M. relies on. It’s fine.
Storyline value: 9.2/10
Not too hard to beat, but long! And this is like we want RPG’s, the enemies/bosses are not easy, but not hard enough to be annoying or stopping you on your journey. It’s perfect. There are much to do, but it’s never getting drag, cause the gameplay is so great. As I mentioned, you can play up to three players at the same time, which increases/decreases as many as you are, for example it’s harder to play alone with the computer directing the other characters(then they’ll be almost useless) but if you have a friend by your side playing as one of them, it gets much easier. The challenge also depends on if you buy new weopons/armors(that powerup your characters) and how long you will be earning experience and reach levels at each chapter. If you just go on through the game without staying some place, earning exp and so, it will soon get pretty difficult. Overall, S.o.M. is not so hard, but some sequences are quite hard though, like ”pure land” etc.
Challenge value: 8.3/10
Being a 7 year old game, this is amazing. And even now, I think it’s wonderful! It’s in 2D, sprites and just great. The characters and enemies are superb animated, the backgrounds are fantastic, the special effects(like spells, magic etc.) is also fine. When you recieved every spell in the game and think you’ve seen every special effect, reach the highest level possible with each magic, then it changes to a stronger and more intensive effect! You’ll like the graphics in S.o.M, it’s leafy and fine. There are a few other SNES RPG’s that maybe can be reckoned to have better graphics (Chrono Trigger, Terranigma, ff3). ”The old school classic RPG graphics”, would describe S.o.M’s graphic for you...
Graphics value: 9.0/10
Superb. In the beginning, the music composer doesn’t show his talent, the game just plays a few decent songs etc, but later on the music gets much deeper and involving, influenced by the story. The music varys a lot, from calm and cool music in the forests, to desperate and intensive at the boss sections, but that’s no disadvantage, on the contrary, it’s fine all the time. The sound is also fine, even if the SNES doesn’t offer the best quality ever. The sound is fitting, nice and well done. Either if it’s a monster who’s getting defeated or a spell is summoned, the noises still keep good. Even if it’s maybe not all the way up to Nubuo Uematsu’s soundstracks(but very close) this is great. No one can play this game and complain about the music/sound, that’s for sure!
Audio value: 9.5/10
I love the characters(unfortunately, there are only three, but that’s cool.) One big plus with this game is that you can play three at the same time, instead of playing one!!!! If you have an adapter, you can play three at once. If not, play two! It is amazing what fun it is to play three at one time! This game is also more ”free” and you can move better than in FF3. (There are text-commando there, this is RPG-action). S.o.M. is an action RPG, that means the gameplay is like a RPG, but the fighting sequences and graphics are like action games. Best described as a mix of action+RPG’s. I love this, because then it’s not decided to do that special spell, use that item etc, now you can do it anytime you want and you don’t need to wait for the meter to load up again(text commandos) and more, now the skill is much more important, you have to play for yourself, not any programmed attacks. It’s great.
Gameplay value: 9.8/10
Hm..., the action/RPG 2D controls couldn’t have been made better, I guess. But I’m not satisfied to 100% anyway, even if it’s good. What I don’t really like is when playing the game and during a fight, you have to use a spell and then everything just freezes, the game pauses and no one can do anything before you choose what spell to use. This makes the game so much easier(because you can just do the same spell over and over again, and meanwhile the monsters/bosses can’t do anything before they’re dead. Square should maybe have done it more ”active”, that the characters and the enemies could move meanwhile choosing the spell, but oh well. Otherwise it’s fine. You can use up to 8 different weopons, swords, spears, javelins, shurikens and many more. All of these can be powered up with orbs that takes them to the next level(stronger). But only if you used them enough, up to that level. That’s fine, like the free moving system. It’s very smooth(except the spells that interrupt everything) and you can play as you
want. A big + for the option playing 3 or less players!
Control value: 8.9/10
If you have the time, you’ll replay S.o.M. Personally, I don’t replay it so often. The game is quite big with lots of dungeons, chapters, bosses and much more(even if it’s all great) it’s big, nothing you’re ready with after a day or so. Also when you’ve already beaten it, S.o.M’s total score drops a little bit(sad but true), because there are not much more to see than you’ve gone through. But oh well, you’ll like it again, even after playing it 60 hours...
Replay value: 8.5/10
Well, when I look at this game, I can only see a perfect and one of the best games ever! If you are not a graphic-freak, and can play games to get the right ”RPG-feeling” this is a game for you! Go buy it now, before someone else does!
Overall value: 9.8/10
TOTAL SCORE: 10/10
”Secret of Mana’s an outstanding classic, it’s still the same great game as 7 years ago!”
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/19/01, Updated 03/19/01
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