Review by Dave 008 Bond

"Ok Square, stick to Final Fantasy and Chrono."

The Secret of Mana. Had you not ever played this game, you have read all the other reviews that give the game a high score, and have clicked on mine because of the low score. I bet your thinking ''What kind of jerk would even think about a low score for such a classic game?'' Now before you fire up the Hotmail account, let me explain my reasoning. First, the history lesson. Secret of Mana came out in 1993 during the prime of the SNES. It is a game made by Squaresoft. Now the opinion.

Graphics 5/10
For a Squaresoft game, this is embarrassing. I'm not saying these graphics are bad, but by Squaresoft standards this is awful. Everything looks so basic, done in below average sprites with bad animation. Towns and every single piece of detail in the game are basic and nothing special. They have all been done in the exact same fashion as before. Another thing, spells look horrible! Square obviously wasn't trying very hard. Normal attacks look pretty great though, even good by today's standards. In my opinion that was the highlight of this game. Walking animation looks like an ant scrambling to safety. Another problem is when the game advances in the Story, it doesn't look very professional. For example, in the beginning of the game, a man supposedly kicks you off a bridge. It sure doesn't look like it. He simply slightly moves forward and the guy (who never is named, and he is the main character. I swear I'm not making this up!) goes ''falling'' off, if he really is falling. It looks more like he is slowly descending, frozen in motion. The color choices for everything are inane, bright colors are used crazily, making seeing about as possible as running a mile under five seconds. It seriously seems impossible to see anyhting going on, much less the enemies that fly all around your party. And speaking of enemies, who drew these characters? Half the enemies you fight are harmless rabbits and other harmless enemies. This is an RPG by Squaresoft, not a episode of the Teletubies!
To shorten everything I said in a sentence, the Graphics are nearly impossible to see, and if you do, you definitlly will want to pop in Chrono Trigger or Star Fox intead.

Sound 4/10
Definitely the worst part of the game. Some sound effects are good, such as the swinging of a sword. That pretty much is it.

Music is completely diffrent though. Picture a Fianl Fanatsy game battle, but with with high pitched notes that fail at being soothing. This music is not intense, it is just a pain to hear. I want to pumped up to battle, not yawn! What WAS Square thinking?

Story 3/10
I didn't really get the story (poor description of the plot at the beginning) but I think it goes something like this. Someone pushes you (the unnamed fellow) off a waterfall and you get can't get up. Then some voice tells you pick up some sword, and of course you have to. Then some wierd ghost thing says some crap and leaves. And at this point I have no clue what happens, its just a bunch of freaky cutscenes that get me more confused. Definitely belongs on the Wall of Shame.

Gameplay 4.5/10
Secret of Mana also has exactly the kind of Gameplay that ruins a game. To sum up the first five minutes of the game, you watch some thing about a war and mana, witch makes about as much sense as shouting ''I have a solar powered toilet!'' and especting people to listen. Then you watch some guy get pushed off a bridge into a river , and somehow manages to survive the fall unhurt. This guy is special! A normal person would be knocked out, where they would undoubtly drown. Naturally, he wants to go back to the bridge (So he can fall again, I hear he's a master at Backflips). There is some VERY tall grass, and your guy is too afraid to go in, so he needs to find a sword luckily for him, a sword lies right next to him, he picks it up, and hacks away. A town is supposed to be near, so you venture along a path. Strangely, swarms of rabbits and bees start charging toward you. Now you basically kill these innocent animals, hopeing for a level up. When you finally reach the town, some dude kicks you in a well, where you some giant mantis (Thats size breaks the current record). The music is so bad its comical. All you do is slash it to death, then you win. Then you get banished from the twon, and some old man tells you to recharge the sword, and thats the bulk of the game. Difinitally not the game I was hoping for.

Challenge 6/10
This game seriously lacks Challenge. You rarely have to level up, even to beat the final boss. Battles last a long time because of the battle engine, and make this game frustratingly slow paced.

Replay Value 1/10
The game isn't even fun the first time you play, so you can imagine how low the Replay Value is. Even if you
have strong patience and manage to beat the game, nothing is left to keep you going. So you end up with a stinky, overrated RPG that is no fun to play that you own, do you wish to keep playing?

Buy or Rent?
Neither. If ye be finding Secret of Mana, ye be sending it to the junk yard!

Overall 4.2/10

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 02/26/01, Updated 07/05/01

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