Review by Saikyo Ki

"Has some flaws, but is still a solid adventure game."

An interesting change of pace from the Legend series. One good thing about this game is the fact that it has many cool features which keep it from being dubbed a ''Zelda Clone.'' What keeps it from being one of the most spectacular 8 bit adventure games is the fact that it's quite easy. Despite this and a few other flaws, all adventure game fans should get this; they *will* have fun with it nonetheless.

Story: 6
The Mana Tree is in danger. The hero meets up with a young woman who is the next in line to plant herself as a Mana Seed if the current Mana Tree falls. Typical save the world/nature plot with some good twists along the way. The story is perfectly fine as the game progresses and keeps you wanting to push further and see what happens. In my opinion, however, the ending was a complete letdown. If it weren't for the ending, I would have given the story an 8.

Gameplay: 8
Standard walking around/attacking enemies/screen scrolling when you touch the edge makes up the base. One refreshing thing about this game is the fact that there are other weapons you can use besides swords. Weapons also have strengths and weaknesses when used on certain monsters, which keeps things interesting. Your character can execute two special moves with each type of weapon (i.e. no matter what sword you have, you'll still have the same two special moves). There is also quite a vast array of armor available. Your character can acquire spells and cast them on the fly.

An interesting innovation is what happens when you level up. You are able to choose what aspect of your character's stats you wish to put emphasis on. You can make your character extremely physically strong, have him gain a huge amount of hit points, etc. One must be careful that they don't completely neglect one character trait...

Along the way, you meet up with many secondary characters. They follow you around in certain areas of the game and if they are warriors, they will help you fight. All secondary characters have a special ability, which can be called upon with the ''Ask'' command. It is fun to have an ally, but this aspect of the game was poorly executed. For instance, one secondary character's ability is to restore your HP. The character can do this an unlimited amount of times. This is one of the reasons that I never died while playing this game. Another secondary character's ability is downright useless...he has the power to change the game music that is currently playing. To keep the gameplay balanced, I believe all the secondary characters should have had a USEFUL ability...and a limited amount of times which that ability could be used. The ability could be restored by sleeping at an inn or by the main character giving them a restoration item.

The world is quite big and very fun to explore. There are event items that must be found and used and the monsters you meet along the way aren't repetitive in the least.

Graphics: 8
Nothing wrong with the graphics at all. The bosses are well detailed.

Sound/Music: 7
Sound effects are standard. All of the songs fit their required moods, and a few of them are enjoyable to listen to (the overworld song didn't get on my nerves at all, in fact it was my favorite song of the game; the mid boss battle theme is funny sounding in a strange sort of way).

Control: 10
Sword button, spell button, walk around with the direction pad, access menus with Start and Select...nothing wrong here.

Replay Value: 6
Not much left to do after you win. A nice challenge would be to play through again without using the Ask command.

Bottom Line?
This adventure game has everything it needs to be enjoyable. It has some innovative gameplay aspects and people who get a kick out of combing every corner of a large game world to see what they can find will be very satisfied. What unfortunately keeps this game from being regarded as truly superior is the fact that it isn't very challenging, which means it won't last as long as other adventure games in terms of how many hours it takes to beat, plus some of the abilities your allies have don't add to the gameplay/fun at all, which I why I give it an 8.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/25/01, Updated 06/25/01

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