Review by IAX

"The secret's in my pants."

The secret’s in my pants.

Video games always have been a way of life since the early to mid 1990’s, I guess. Maybe earlier, but that would have been before my time as a console owner. Games that revolutionized gaming include Pong, Pac-Man (I hate that one), and Galaga, but those were never as popular as the games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This system has games like the three Mario Bros. Games, the original Metroid and Zelda games, early Final Fantasies, and amazing games like Bionic Commando (or just one I really liked.) In the next generation of gaming, we had more choices. The two major consoles then were the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. We also had portable systems like the Gameboy, the Sega Gamegear, and the extremely crappy Virtual Boy. (That came back to bite Nintendo in the ass.) These systems established electronic gaming as the way it is today in the era of “The Console Wars.” Nintendo has the more popular system in that generation in the SNES. That brought us games such as Super Mario World, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy III, and many more. One of the games that falls into the many more category is Secret of Mana. Squaresoft produced and published this game that would later become one of my personal favorites. (I was young and deprived in the SNES generation. I didn’t get to experience games like Super Metroid and that caused me to feel like the dumbass I am today.) Secret of Mana has a whole is an extremely well-thought out and wondrous game. It seems to excel in nearly every aspect. Extremely heart pounding and deep, the story has more plot twists in it than times I’ve been laid. Anything can beat that though, considering I’ve never been laid. X.x;; Damn virginity. Graphically, the game draws you in with its superb environments and fairly well designed characters that will blow your mind for an SNES game. I doubt you will mistake the musical scores and sound effects in this game for the likes of Mozart and Beethoven like I did being the idiot that I am, but they are marvelous and will just entice you to the game even more. Don’t even get me started on the gameplay. If you see the theme here, you probably recognize that it is excellent. So I doubt I even need to spell it out for you. In short, SoM is such an amazing game that I will like until the end of my gaming days. And if you are able to track it down, I’ll guarantee you that you’ll like it, and if you don’t, you can flame my ass by e-mail. IAX doesn’t really give much of a damn.

Secret of Mana has a story that is so amazingly deep and has more twists and turns in it that Michael Jackson video. That guy does do a lot of twisting, doesn’t he? Heh, anyway, in Secret of Mana you assume the role of a young hero which you can name anything you desire. Bill and Joel may be more commonly used names. But names like Pimp, Frodo, and Tidus will give your guy more of a badass image. One day, you and your two not so badass friends head out of Potos Village (where you live) and onto a bridge above a waterfall. Being the badass your hero is, he trips…er...jumps off the bridge and into the pond below. Your fat friend and the skinny dude with the pointy hat that can poke a damn eye out head back to the village like nothing happened. This occurs because they don’t want to share in the trouble that you will get because the hero was not supposed to be there in the first place. Some friends they are. While at the bottom of the waterfall, our dear hero discovers that he can’t get across the bushes that are blocking his path to the village. You then see a sword (technically you’ve already seen it, but to hell with that). It calls out your name, wanting you to pull out the sword. Well, what else are you going to do? Pull out the damn sword and you then become blinded with seizure inducing light. After you pull out the sword, you see a mystical looking ghostman with armor and the whole nine yards. He disappears and the hero decides to head back to the village…

…While on your way back to the village, the badass sees monsters called Rabites and he’s like, “WTF, why in the hell is this Rabite here? Oh well, I’ll take my sword to it’s ass anyway!” You fight your way back to the village. You find the house where you live and you will find that the villagers are discussing why the monsters have been plaguing the village and they the discover that you have that you have pulled the SWORD OF MANA! out the stone that resides outside of the village. By legend it is supposed to protect the village from monsters, bad weather, fat men in speedos, and reruns of The Golden Girls, etc. They also say that the monsters are after the sword and you have to get the hell out of village as soon as possible. After a few seconds of *****ing from the villagers, you fat friend starts to try the beat the crap out of you because of this. He does a decent job until an earthquake oocurs. You and the fatass fall down into a hole and discover that a monster called the Mantis Ant caused the quake. He cowers like a female discovering that Justin Timberlake’s ass in no longer single. Fatass tells you to fight the monster with your sword. Do that and will receive a Sword Orb (more on that later in the review and there’s a movie at 11.) A man named Jema will pull you a porkbelly Bob out of the hole. He tells you some stuff that I won’t give away about the Mana Sword and tells you to leave the village and head for the Water Palace to see some chick named Luka and that is where your adventure in wonderland begins…

Secret of Mana has an extremely deep gameplay with a lot of elements coming into it making a game with seemingly no superiors at the time of its release. Mainly, the gameplay consists of a lot of traveling around the world that Secret of Mana takes place in and completing quests and subquests while fighting enemies of such an immense variety, you swear you’ve been to hell and back at least twice. Fairly early in your adventure, you will have “a strong-willed girl” and a Sprite with one hell of an attitude problem aid you in your quest. Fighting the enemies in the game, there are two ways of doing. You can use eight types of weapons ranging from the Mana Sword to a bow and arrow and a spear to fight the freak show that will be unleashed. Another thing is that you have to charge your power if you wish to attack at full power after you do an attack. That simply means, you can’t attack again at full power until you hear the beep. Kind of a revelation, eh? You know that Sword Orb you got for putting the Mantis Ant six feet under? That can be to change the shape and increase the power of your Mana Sword. There is also orbs for the eight other weapons that can be retrieved in fashions like that or from treasure chests. You need to get Watts the Blacksmith who is also dwarf to forge your weapon whenever you receive an orb. MAGIC is the other way of combating evil in this game. You build up your magic and weapons levels by using spells and weapons of which you want to increase. It goes much in the same fashion for both of them. Sadly, the hero cannot use magic but the ***** and the midget can. With the powerful stride of an ass-kicking 4-foot tall person, the Sprite specializes in attack magic that can be used to damage your enemies. And with the healing and powerup power that we all need, the lass specializes in healing and powerup magic. The magic spells are made up of 8 elements, ranging from dark to fire, and are receive at various points in the quest. There isn’t much else to say about the combat of Secret of Mana. This review is too damn long as it is…

There is a great variety of items in the game that can be received in a couple different ways. You can buy it from vendors including the evermore sexy Neko the Cat with money that is gained from chests and killing enemies. And sometimes whenever you kill an enemy you can plunder what it was carrying. This can range from healing items to armor. Healing Items can be used to restore your life or heal special conditions. Armor can be equipped to increase your defense. The more expensive the armor is, the better it is. These items are all used in the pause menu of the game. You will use items in the game. If you don’t, drop me a line so I can call you a dumbass.

Another aspect to love about SoM is that it was one of the first multiplayer RPG’s. Your friends, family, spouse, neighbors, co-workers, long-lost buddies, mistress, cat, dog, goldfish, box of cereal, and your shoes can play as the allies or as the hero themselves :-] Maybe that list was a bit long and not-needed but I feel that the reader should feel the full impact of the god that is Secret of Mana. Hopefully you will agree with IAX here. If you don’t…well…there’s nothing I can do…Damn Internet community…

Graphically, Secret of Mana is filled with bright luscious colors that make Michael Jackson look like a blank Microsoft Word document. Everything is color brilliantly for an SNES game, with the trees featuring fluid shades of green. The characters have distinguishable features, which set them apart from each other. Environments are extremely well-detailed with every rock, tree, and monster looking good and spiffy. Monsters look reminiscent of various animals which our extremely identifiable. Overall, the graphics make me want to feel all giddy and dance various old dances that I would not be caught dead in public doing.

Sound in the game is a god on the SNESS at the of Secret of Mana’s release back in 1993. The musical scores seemingly set the tone and mood of the moment well and come across as sounding not all that bad as well. It may not be Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears but at least it comes across rather well. The Sound FX in Secret of Mana our second to none of any game I’ve played. They all sound fairly good for an SNES game, and make Secret of Mana a more wonderful experience. Swords have the swish and slash, the bow arrow has the whisp of when it launches, and the women in the game make no sound at all which makes me feel extremely somber. Effects seemingly match what they’re supposed to and leave me with no major gripes about the sound. Hell, this game could have the label of Cher on it and it would still be decent. I find that just sad as well.

Replay Value in Secret of Mana is decent but not great. The game the first time through will take 30 to maybe 50 hours. Well, it did for my lame ass. Some people would love to play this game over again because they loved it so much. A lot of people may like the game, but not want to play it again for a while because they’ll be bored out of their britches the sound time through. It really depends of how you enjoyed the game.

The only minor flaw in the godly game that is and will always be known as HUH! Secret of Mana is the HUH! AI of the computer character. This is so damn idiotic. The ***** and the long-haired dwarf were running into walls because they wanted to go that way. Well, I was on the other side of the wall. But that still pissed me off a lot. It took some getting used to, and hopefully you will adapt to the fact that your comrades are idiots when not being controlled by humans over time. Hopefully this one minor flaw which could have been prevented with a little extra programming won’t detour you from the game. They may have added it for comic relief.

A one-sentence statement in review of the game: Secret of Mana owns you, your mom, your cat, your dog, and your girlfriend. ‘Nuff said.

Overall- 10/10- I feel reluctant to give this game a ten for some reason, as Secret of Mana is the first game I’ve given this score. While no game is perfect, this game gets so close to that point I feel it deserves it. I just hope it’s the last.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/30/03, Updated 07/30/03

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