Review by chaos knight
"The epitome of SNES games"
Could this game still survive amongst the higher-powered crowd. In one word: yes.
This game has a mix of humor and seriousness. The humor in the game mainly comes from the sprite that joins your team. He usually makes jokes or does stupid things that you just can't help not to laugh. Of course, the sprite isn't a complete clown fortunately. At times, he has a serious side that makes him more of a well-rounded character.
The other two characters in your party fill in the serious part of the game but are considered fairly average. To sum up the main character with one word: mute. The girl, though, has a slightly better personality than the main character. Her premise in the game is to rescue her beloved, Dyluck, from the clutches of the evil empire. For once, the woman is trying to save the man, not the other way around.
Yes, the evil empire mentioned above does try to take over the world. That part of the story would be considered cliche if used nowadays. That's the thing, though. Back then, it wasn't really considered a cliche. Therefore, that aspect of the game can be considered excusable.
The sights in this game are pretty decent eye candy. From the lush, green forests to the dark, gloomy ruins, this game has many great looking areas. The programmers even had many of the enemies die in different ways other than the standard 'disappearing' effect that many 16-bit RPGs used. The towns, though, seem to be a bit lacking but this is just a minor hindrance.
This game has many memorable tracks. They have a wide range of appeal, from moody (Underground Palace), to cheerful (Salamando), to eerie (Pandora ruins), to suspenseful (Mana continent). There are few tracks that would even be considered average by today's standards. Truly some of the greatest MIDI music done in the 16-bit era.
Secret of Mana has one of the most revered gameplay engines in existence. For starters, you get eight different weapons to use in the game. Not only can they be upgraded nine levels, but with each new level, you can learn a new battle skill. This means, in total, each character can learn up to 72 different special attacks! The same applies for spells. You get eight elementals through the course of your adventure. The more spells you use from a certain elemental, the higher the level that the elemental will gain.
Another cool feature of this game is that it is one of the few truly multiplayer RPGs created. You eventually get three characters total that join your team. By pressing the Select button on a different controller, another player can control one of your allies. This can be a great help during certain events in the game.
There are many difficult boss fights in this game. For example, you fight a giant that can kill a person in one hit, a minotaur with an incredibly high defense, and a tiger that's powerful and hard to hit. It doesn't get to the point though of wanting to throw the game in the microwave and see how long it survives. Overall, a nice balance.
A good story, great soundtrack, and awesome story? Of course this game is going to get a 10. Besides, this game has the first U.S. appearance of those dasterdly creatures called moogles. This is a must-buy, if you can find it that is. Kupo!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/09/00, Updated 11/08/01
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