Secret of Mana

a game by Square

Platform: SNESSNES

Genres: Action, Adventure/RPG

Secret of Mana

What is the Secret of Mana? While that question may not be answered until the end of the game, without question Secret of Mana is one of the finest action/RPGs you'll ever play on the Super NES.

The Secret of Square's Success

Already established as the most innovative producer of RPGs in the gaming industry, Square Soft breaks new ground by combining some of the best role-playing elements of Final Fantasy with an action genre, including an all-new three-player option. The result, while rough around the edges in the combat system and multi-player mode, is a completely satisfying trek though a lavish and expansive new 16-meg world.

ProTips:

  • Listen for the 100% beep before swinging your Weapon.
  • Often the best chests will try to run away -- catch them!
  • The Blacksmith is one of your most valuable allies. Visit him every time you get an Orb to reforge your weapon.

Good Mana

Mana is the power of life, a sort of fantasy-world Force that controls and binds all that is good and evil. Ancient, evil creatures are threatening the peace and harmony by stealing the eight seeds of Mana. You must recover the seeds by wielding the Sword of Mana and cutting through all that is dark and terrible.

Mana has a serious-sounding plot, but don't think that you're in for an overly heavy game. Like Final Fantasy II, Mana takes a lighthearted approach, with Japanese-style big-headed characters and lots of humor. (Can you think of another game where getting shot out of cannon is one of your primary modes of transportation?) The game has a sinister edge when it needs one, though. The bad guys are truly diabolical! There are plenty of little minions, but the endless big, slavering boss monsters are the show-stoppers.

You can reach this Dwarf Boss by swinging a long Spear through the cracks in the wall.

Three for the Road

You start the game as the hero and play by yourself, but soon you'll meet two companions who'll join your party. A second and a third player can take command of the new characters simply by hitting Start. Your buds can also bail out at any time, reverting control of the extra characters over to the computer.

The multi-player action is interesting. However, since you can't split up, it's not a big thrill except in boss conflicts. In fact, if you can't agree on which direction to go, you're going to be bumping elbows as the screen herks and jerks. This game still seems best suited for one player. Plus, since the Al of your comrades is pretty sharp, you rarely have problems with the characters going in the wrong directions.

If you're separated from the Girl, don't start over. Keep playing and you'll meet her again in the forest.

Mana's first-rate game play resembles Zelda, but it has its own unique feel. You hack and slash with a variety of Weapons and Magic, but each time you swing you must wait for a power bar to recharge before swinging again. This adds a more realistic feel to the stat-driven fighting, but it also slows things down. The game handles real-time combat very well by calculating Spells, super blows, and regular hits. However, there are no shields, and all defensive maneuvers are handled automatically. You can run, but you can't jump or interact with objects. The visual interface features rings of items in a layered system that's very easy to use, but it's more time-consuming than a straight- up menu layout.

  • Hit enemies while they're down. The hit will probably register as they stand up.
  • You'll need to use the Whip as a pulley in the Underground Palace.

Mana's story is intricately crafted and, while not as complex as FF II's -- it features some great plot twists and characters. Little details, such as the extra players being unwilling to follow you unless they know it can help them personally, add higher-than-usual richness to the plot. Mana doesn't skimp on the role-playing at all, and it's as heavy on dialogue and due-gathering as a straight RPG.

The world is positively massive, dwarfing even Zelda. The game's not too challenging, but the size guarantees over 50 hours for even ace players. You'll explore towns, caves, castles, and dungeons. You'll even fly around the world on a dragon's back in a breathtaking Mode 7 sequence.

Your Hit Points are recharged when you gain a level. Keep tabs on your Experience Points and don't heal yourself if you're about to move up.

The Lay of the Land

Mana bears the mark of an FF descendant, meaning the visual style is cartoony and cute, but well illustrated. The overhead-view landscaping is impressive, and there's a good amount of eye candy, such as the Mode 7 world view. Short animated sequences advance the story, too.

As cutesy as the graphics are, the music scores are even more so! If it weren't for the repetition of tracks, this might not be too bad. However, many of the songs are used a few too many times. They have an orchestral quality, so they're guaranteed to stick to your brain one way or another!

No Secret

Secret of Mana is a unique product that needed a tad more fine-tuning, but not much. This game will provide a superb return on your RPG dollar and is one of the year's best SNES bets.

Other games by
Square

Secret of Mana Downloads

SNES Secret of Mana download
  • Manufacturer: Squaresoft
  • # of players: 1 to 3
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Available: November 1993
  • Theme: RPG

Role-playing fans who play RPGs from Squaresoft know the quality ofgame they are getting. Ever since news broke out that this was coming to the U.S., RPG enthusiasts have been eagerly waiting this 16-Meg monster. This RPG tells a great story about a boy who accidentally pulls an ancient sword from a stone. It rid evil from the land and sealed away the monsters, but its strength has grown weak. Now he must set forth on a journey to bring peace and harmony back to the world. Unlike most role-players, this one has an option to let more than one player get in on the action. With the Multitap, you can embark on this super RPG!

CHARACTER ABILITIES

Each character can use any weapon they come across. They can switch them to see who uses each better. The two allies are the only ones with the ability to use magic. The sprite casts attacking magic, while the other casts defensive magic. As each magic is cast, they can gain experience. Weapons can gain experience as well.

DESTINY CALLS...

When the game begins, the hero meets his friends at the falls. He'll fall to the bottom and must find his way home. Suddenly he hears a voice calling from a distance. It is the ancient Sword of Mana!

reggie posted a review
  • Release: 1993

People say:

8

Mana's a good RPG from beginning to end. Though the story was just OK, I really loved the dragon scenes, especially when the fortress is flying. The added ability to have two friends along is one of the best ideas. I wish more companies would do the same. When alone, the computer allies seem a bit stupid and rend to get killed easily. Overall, one of the most impressive RPGs I've seen in quite some time.

9

SOM is one of the best adventure/RPGs to come out since Zelda: ALTTP. The game play is similar to Zelda and the graphics are as good as they come. The music is well done at catching the mood of the story. Aside from these, the standout feature is the ability to play three players simultaneously. This is a big plus. Squaresoft may take forever to come out with their games, but they're usually worth the wait!

9

There has never been enough RPGs for the Super NES, but Mana fills that void nicely. Containing some of the best music I've ever heard from a cartridge and a story that will keep you glued lo your seat, Secret of Mana really delivers a powerful punch. The best part of all is that you can have two friends along for the journey with a Multitap! Warning - this game is highly addictive.

9

RPGs were never my favorite type of game. But after some serious mediation on all the cool RPG titles, I've gotten into them. Secret of Mana is an excellent example of what a good RPG can be. The quest and story are intricate and take plenty of discovery. Graphically, the game is cute with good color and detail. The sounds are great as well and add to the game. The real clincher is the Multiplayer Option.

reggie posted a review

The Secret of Mana is about the battle between the forces of good and evil for a young boy's soul. The boy has a sword that is both the key to restoring peace, and yet something of the darkest evil. In a world where nothing is as it seems, friends become foes, and monsters become allies.. Can you handle it?

reggie posted a review

Secret of Mana is a Japanese action role-playing game, RPG, developed and published for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and released in 1993 by Square. The game was followed by several re-releases, with the one for Wii’s Virtual Console being one of them (2008). The Japanese mobile phones have a version of Secret of Mana as well, since 2009. The game is a sequel to Final Fantasy Advance for Game Boy, and is the second game in the Mana series.

Secret of Mana uses real-time battles, but has RPG elements and a unique Ring Command menu system. This new type of menu allows the game to be paused and a variety of other actions which can be performed without needing to switch to other screens.

The game was a top-down perspective featuring three characters (a hero, a girl and a sprite). They navigate through different places and fight creatures that attack them. The player can choose which character to control and can change to another character at any time. The game has to be played by two or three players in the same time.

Each character has its own set of skills, strengths and weaknesses. The hero is a good fighter and masters weapons fast, although he is not accustomed to magic. The girl is a healer able to cast restorative and support spells, but has no power. The sprite’s magic is effective, but he is even weaker than the girl when we talk physical strength and power. Characters increase their levels and gain improved stats after they collect enough experience points in battle. They can change equipment, cast spells or check the status of the game form the Ring Commands. This menu pauses the game whenever it appears.

Secret of Mana’s story takes place in a fictional world, but we do not know the exact period. However, we know the setting is somewhere following a war between a civilization and a god-like beast.

The game’s soundtrack was composed by Hiroki Kikuta and is known for the tunes that use percussion and woodwind instruments. The original soundtrack was released in Japan in 1993 and in the US one year later. Two re-releases followed few years later in Japan, in 1994 and 2004.

The game for SNES was popular back when released and scored high feedbacks on the IT sites. No less than 1970 users (at the time of the review) rated the game with a total average of 9.3 on GameSpot, while the critics considered the game worthy of an 8.7. 101 users voted the game for Wii with 9.0 out of 10.

reggie posted a review

Secret of Mana is an action role-playing game , featuring real-time hack-and-slash type of a combat. The game was developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment. Like in Quest for Glory games, you have a stamina gauge. The more stamina you have, the more powerful your strike is. You upgrade your weapons and abilities and meet many different types of monsters, while roaming around the country and performing your quests.

reggie posted a review

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