|Secret of Mana|
Square Enix (Virtual Console)
|Designer(s)||Kōichi Ishii (director, chief game design)
Hiromichi Tanaka (producer, concept/system design)
Nasir Gebelli (lead programming)
|Artist(s)||Yutaka Izubuchi (character design)
Akira Ueda (background and map design)
|Platform(s)||Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console, Mobile phones|
JP August 6, 1993
NA October 3, 1993
EU November 24, 1994
JP September 9, 2008
NA October 13, 2008
EU December 26, 2008
JP October 26, 2009
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, cooperative|
|Media||16-megabit SNES cartridge|
Secret of Mana, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2 (聖剣伝説2 Seiken Densetsu Tsū , lit. "The Legend of the Holy Sword 2"), is an action role-playing game (RPG) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System developed and published by Square in 1993. The game was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in 2008, and was ported to Japanese mobile phones in 2009. Secret of Mana is the sequel to Final Fantasy Adventure for the Game Boy and the second installment in the Mana video game series.
Rather than using the traditional turn-based battle system of games like Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana utilizes real-time battles akin to the Legend of Zelda series, also employing typical RPG elements and a unique "Ring Command" menu system. With its brightly-colored graphics, expansive plot, innovative cooperative multiplayer gameplay, and acclaimed soundtrack by Hiroki Kikuta, Secret of Mana was an influential game in its time.
Like many other role-playing games of the 16-bit era, Secret of Mana is comprised entirely of a top-down perspective, in which three player characters — the hero, the girl, and the sprite — navigate the terrain and fight off hostile creatures. Control may be passed between each of the characters at any time; if the hero is currently selected, his two companions are controlled via artificial intelligence, and vice-versa. The game may be played simultaneously by two or three players. In order to support three players, a Super Multitap accessory must be plugged into the second controller port of the Super Nintendo console. The Virtual Console version of the game supports three-player gameplay with the use of additional GameCube controllers or Classic Controllers.
Each character possesses individual strengths and weaknesses. The hero, while unable to use magic, excels at fighting and masters weapons at a quicker rate; the girl functions as healer, able to cast restorative and support spells but with less physical attack power than the hero; and lastly, the sprite's magic is almost entirely offensive, but he is physically the weakest. Upon collecting enough experience points in battle, each character can increase in level to gain improved stats such as strength and evasion. The trio can find refuge in a town, where they can regain hit points or purchase restorative items and equipment. Options such as changing equipment, casting spells, or checking status are performed by cycling through the game's Ring Commands, a circular menu which hovers over the currently-controlled party member. The game is momentarily paused whenever the Ring Commands appear.
Combat takes place in real-time. Located below each character's hit points is a percentage gauge that determines the amount of damage done to an enemy. Swinging a weapon causes the gauge to fall to zero percent and then quickly recharge, allowing that character to attack at full strength. The party wields eight different styles of weapons throughout the game: sword, spear, bow, axe, boomerang, glove, whip, and javelin. With the exception of the sword, all weapons can be upgraded eight times, and repeated use increases their Skill Levels to a maximum of eight, unlocking a new charged attack with each level. Weapons are upgraded through the use of Weapon Orbs, generally obtained after defeating a boss or found as a treasure in dungeons. Once an Orb is collected, the weapon can be brought to a blacksmith (located in most towns) to be reforged.
Magic in Secret of Mana operates in much the same way as weapon skill progression, with the exception that magic points are consumed each time a spell is cast. In order to learn magic, the party must rescue spirits known as Elementals. The eight Elementals represent different elements (Fire, Water, Earth, etc.), and each provides the player with specific spells. Magic skill can only be as high as the party's current Mana Power, which increases automatically over the course of the game.
At the start of the game, players must traverse an enemy-infested countryside in order to reach their next destination. Travel may be expedited through use of Cannon Travel Centers, where non-player characters offer to launch the party to far-away destinations via a giant cannon. Cannon Travel usually requires a fee, but is mandatory to visit other continents early on. Later, the party is given access to Flammie, a miniature dragon which is controlled by the player and able to fly freely across the world, represented by an overworld map. These sequences make use of the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 capability to create a rotatable background, giving the illusion that the ground beneath Flammie is rendered in three dimensions. While riding Flammie, the player may access either the "rotated map", which presents the world as a globe, or the "world map," a two-dimensional view of the overworld.
The story takes place in a fictional world, during an unspecified period following a war between a civilization and god-like beasts concerning the use of mana to fuel the "Mana Fortress", a flying warship. During this war, a hero used the power of the Mana Sword to destroy the fortress and appease the angered gods, returning peace to the world.
Disobeying their Elder's instructions, three boys from the small Potos village trespass into a local waterfall where a treasure is said to be kept. One of the boys, the game's protagonist, stumbles and falls into the lake, where he finds a rusty sword embedded in a stone. Guided by a disembodied voice, he pulls the sword free, inadvertently unleashing monsters in the surrounding countryside of the village. The villagers interpret the sword's removal as a bad omen and banish the boy from Potos forever. An elderly knight named Jema recognizes the blade as the legendary Mana Sword, and encourages the hero to re-energize it by visiting the eight Mana Temples.
During his journey, the hero is joined by an amnesiac sprite child and the daughter of a nobleman from Pandora. The orphaned sprite initially tries to con the hero out of his money, but later accompanies him in hope of recovering his lost memory. The girl joins the party in search of her lost love, Dyluck, an officer in Pandora's army who has gone missing. Throughout their travels, the trio is pursued by the Empire, which seeks to unseal the eight Mana Seeds and revive the Mana Fortress. Unbeknownst to the Emperor or his subordinates, they are being manipulated by Thanatos, an ancient sorcerer who has designs on creating a "new, peaceful world". Due to his own body's deterioration, Thanatos is in need of a suitable body to possess. After placing the entire kingdom of Pandora under a trance, he abducts two candidates: Dyluck, now enslaved, and a young Pandoran girl named Phanna. Over time, however, Thanatos narrows his selection to Dyluck.
The Empire succeeds in unsealing all eight Mana Seeds. However, Thanatos betrays the Emperor and his henchmen, killing them and seizing control of the Mana Fortress for himself. The hero and his party journey to the Pure Land to locate the Mana Tree, the focal point of the world's life energy. Anticipating their arrival, Thanatos positions the Mana Fortress over the Tree and destroys it. The charred remains of the Tree speak to the heroes, explaining that a giant creature called the Mana Beast will soon be summoned to combat the Fortress. However, the Beast has little control over its rage and will likely destroy the world as well. The Mana Tree also reveals that it was once the human wife of Serin, the original Mana Knight and the hero's father. The voice heard at Potos' waterfall was that of Serin's ghost.
The trio flies to the Mana Fortress and confronts Thanatos, who is preparing to transfer his mind into Dyluck. With the last of his strength, Dyluck warns that Thanatos has sold his soul to the underworld and must not be allowed to have the Fortress. Dyluck kills himself, forcing Thanatos to revert to a skeletal lich form which is defeated in battle. The Mana Beast finally reveals itself and attacks the Fortress. The hero expresses reluctance to kill the Beast, fearing that with the dispersal of Mana from the world, the sprite child will vanish. With the sprite's encouragement, the hero uses the fully-energized Mana Sword to slay the Beast, causing it to explode and transform into snow. At the conclusion of the game, the hero is seen returning the Mana Sword to its place beneath the Potos waterfall.
The hero (ランディ Randi ), a young boy, is adopted by the Elder of Potos after his mother disappears. After pulling the Mana Sword from a stone, monsters invade Potos and the villagers persuade the Elder to banish him. Seeking to restore the sword, the hero then embarks on a quest to re-energize the sword.
The girl (プリム Purimu ) meets the hero briefly when he's ambushed by Goblins. After helping him escape, she leaves, only to appear again outside Elinee's Castle. The girl is in love with a warrior named Dyluck, who was ordered by the King to attack Elinee's Castle, which is considered a virtual suicide mission. Angry with the king for this, as well as with her father for setting her up for an arranged marriage, she rebels and leaves the castle to join the hero in his quest, hoping to save Dyluck as well. She is capable of casting support and healing spells.
The heroes meet the sprite child (ポポイ Popoi ) at the Dwarf Village. The sprite makes a living by scamming people at the dwarves' freak show. He doesn't remember anything about his past, so he joins the team to try to recover his memories. The sprite comes from a village in the Upper Land. He was washed away by a flood to Gaia's Navel, where the Dwarf Elder found him. The flood caused the sprite to suffer from amnesia, making it unable to remember anything of his past. While the sprite may seem childish at times, he has courage equal to that of the other two heroes. As an orphan, he understands how the hero feels not growing up with his parents. The sprite's gender has never officially been stated; however, in the Japanese version's script, he uses the first-person pronoun "oira" (おいら) that is mostly used by male speakers. He is capable of casting attack spells.
Secret of Mana was directed and designed by Kōichi Ishii. The game was programmed primarily by Nasir Gebelli and produced by veteran Square designer Hiromichi Tanaka. After the release of Final Fantasy III, Tanaka wanted to help design a game with a more interactive battle system that is continuous with the field screen. Because this would not work with Final Fantasy IV, he turned to Secret of Mana. The real-time battle system used in Secret of Mana is described by its creators as an extension of the battle system used in the first three flagship Final Fantasy titles. The data tables for experience points and leveling up were taken from Final Fantasy III. Secret of Mana was originally going to be a launch title for the SNES CD add-on. After the project was dropped, the game had to be altered to fit onto a standard game cartridge.
The English translation for Secret of Mana was completed in only 30 days, mere weeks after the Japanese release, and was initially advertised as Final Fantasy Adventure 2. The speed at which the translation was done was presumably so that the game could be released in North America for the 1993 holiday season. According to translator Ted Woolsey, a large portion of the game's script was cut out in the English localization due to space limitations and a lack of sequential text. The English translation of Secret of Mana uses a fixed-width font to display text on the main gameplay screen. However, the choice of this font limits the amount of space available to display text, and as a result conversations are trimmed to their bare essentials, leaving a good portion of the game lost in translation.
Seiken Densetsu 2 Original Sound Version (聖剣伝説２ オリジナル・サウンド・ヴァージョン) is the soundtrack to Secret of Mana, originally released in 1993 in Japan by NTT Publishing and Squaresoft. Its US debut under the name Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack followed the next year due to the game's commercial and critical success. The US release is identical to the Japanese version, aside from the packaging and localized English song titles. It was re-released in Japan in both 1995 and 2004.
The game's soundtrack was composed by Hiroki Kikuta. It is known for its variety of tunes which tend to focus on the use of percussion and woodwind instruments, ranging from a lighthearted dwarves' polka to a somber, wistful snow melody to a tribal-like dance. Kikuta states that he had a particularly difficult time composing the score, which required him to combine his own style of popular music with the "game music" that is accompanied by the hardware and software limitation of the Super Famicom.
Secret of Mana's title theme, "Angel's Fear" is well known by video game music aficionados for its haunting, echoing piano melody, and was featured in the third of the Orchestral Game Music Concerts, the fifth of the Symphonic Game Music Concerts, as well as serving as the base for many remixes. In 2008, ScrewAttack.com's users ranked the song number seven on the website's "Top 10 Video Game Themes Ever". Music from Secret of Mana was an important part of the Symphonic Fantasies concerts in September 2009 which was produced by the creators of the Symphonic Game Music Concert series and conducted by Arnie Roth. In Secret of Mana section, the featured titles are "Fear of the Heavens", "Into the Thick of It" and "The Oracle".
|Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack Tracklist|
|Disc 1 (54:42)
|GameRankings||86.8% (based on 8 reviews)|
|Dragon||5 out of 5|
|Edge||9 out of 10|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||8.75 out of 10|
|Game Informer||9.5 out of 10|
|Nintendo Power||4.1 out of 5|
|Cubed3||9 out of 10|
As of February 2004, Secret of Mana has shipped 1.83 million copies worldwide, with 1.5 million of those copies being shipped in Japan and 330,000 abroad.
Secret of Mana was awarded "Game of the Month" in December of 1993 and "Best Role-Playing Game" of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. Secret of Mana has since been on numerous "best games" lists. It was listed at number 42 on Nintendo Power magazine's Top 200 Nintendo Games Of All Time, as well as the 86th best game made on a Nintendo System. It was also rated number 48 on the "IGN's Top 100 Games" in 2005, number 49 in 2006, and number 79 in 2007. Also in 2006, Secret of Mana was voted the 97th best game of all time by the readers of the well-known Japanese magazine Famitsu. ScrewAttack.com ranked the game number six in its "Top 20 SNES Games" list in 2008. In February 2009, Official Nintendo Magazine listed the game at number 82 on its "100 Best Nintendo Games" feature.
In 1999, as part of their planned nine game lineup, Square announced they would be porting Secret of Mana to Bandai's handheld system WonderSwan Color. Similarly to the planned remake of Final Fantasy III, no news of the port ever surfaced outside the announcement. Secret of Mana was ported to Japanese mobile phones (specifically, the NTT DoCoMo FOMA 903i). Originally announced for release in June 2009, was been pushed back to October 26, 2009. It made a playable appearance at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show.
|Hero:||Hey! Guys! wait up! Aaaah!|
|Elliott:||Shh! Be quiet! The elder will find us here and he'll be mad!|
|Timothy:||Yeah. We're not supposed to be here. There's a ghost around!|
|Elliott:||Ha! Do you really believe that? People say that to scare us!|
|Timothy:||But I heard Grandma say something about a shiny object near the falls.|
|Elliott:||That must be some kind of treasure! We have to find it!|
|Elliott and Timothy walk away, Hero falls down the waterfall.|
|Hero:||Help! I'm falling! Aaahhhhhhhhhh!|
|Elliott and Timothy rush back to the village.|
|After falling down.|
|Hero:||Ouch! Phew..! No way to get back up! Now what am I going to do?|
|Hero hears a strange voice.|
|Hero passes some undergrowth.|
|Hero:||The village is this way. I have to find something to cut through!|
|Hero finds the mana sword.|
|Voice:||....Hero....Remove the sword|
|Hero:||Who are you...And what's this sword doing here?|
|Hero pulls the sword out of the stone.|
|Hero:||Ow! That light... so bright that I can't see... Ahhhhh! A g...g...ghost!|
|A ghost appears.|
|Ghost:||......Hero.....It is I who asked...the sword...|
|Hero:||!? Say what? You mean this sword?..|
|Message: The brilliant light is gone in an instant.|
|Hero:||I have to get back!|
|Hero sees a Rabite.|
|Hero:||Whoa! What's a Rabite doing in a place like this?|
|Hero returns to Potos.|
|Elder:||Hero! You're not hurt! The just told me what happened.|
|Elliott:||I thought you were a goner!|
|Timothy:||I told it was stupid to bring someone like HIM along!|
|Elder:||You idiots! Weren't you told not to go there?|
|The elder sees the Mana Sword.|
|What's that you have?|
|...Oh, no! It couldn't be!|
|Elliott:||Cool! Did you find the treasure?|
|Timothy:||Way to go!|
|Elder:||What have you done?! How could YOU have pulled out the Mana Sword? It's impossible!|
|Timothy:||THE Mana Sword? Legend has it that our village is finished...|
|Elder:||If the sword is removed. And here it is! It is said that the Mana Sword has been protecting our village from disaster.|
|Eliott:||So that's it! That's why all the monsters are attacking us now!|
|How could an outsider like you yank the sword and bring doom to us all!!|
|Elliott starts hitting Hero.|
|Hero:||Hey! Stop it!|
|Elliott:||YOU did it!|
|Elliott:||It's your fault!|
|An earthquake occurs.|
|A hole appears. Hero and Elliott fall down.|
|They see a monster.|
|Elliott:||Help! A m...monster! You have a sword, don't you? Use it!|
|Man:||Hey! Can you hear me? Watch how the monster moves before attacking!|
|Hero starts fighting the monster, Elliott lies in a corner.|
|After the monster is defeated.|
|Message:||Way to go!|
|Message:||Got Sword's Orb!|
|Man:||You did it! Wait there, I'll pull you up.|
|The man pulls Hero and Elliott up.|
|He runs away. Hero stands in front of the man.|
|Man:||That appears to be the real Mana Sword.|
|Man:||It is supposed to be pulled out by a knight in times of great trouble. Problem is, you're too young! Something must have happened to the Mana Sword.|
|Hero:||Here! It's yours!|
|Man:||Sorry, but the sword is losing its power, and must be re-energized! Only the person who pulled it free can do that.|
|Hero:||What should I do?|
|Man:||Visit Sage Luka in the Water Palace. She's been protecting these lands for over 200 years. Listen to her advice.|
|Timothy comes closer.|
|Timothy:||Hero! The Elder wants you in his house!|
|Man:||Well, I have to be off. Oh, my name is Jema.|
|Jema:||I'll wait for you inside the Water Palace!|
|He walks away.|
|Villager:||Elder! We can't go on like this!|
|Villager:||Yeah! There's no relief in sight.|
|Elder sees that Hero has entered the room.|
|Elder:||... Oh, Hero!|
|Elder:||You've really done it to me this time! The reason why monsters have appeared is because you removed the sword.|
|Villager:||It's settled. We can't let Hero stay in the village anymore!|
|Villager:||If we do, more monsters will come after him!|
|Get out of here!|
|Yeah, on your way now!|
|Elder:||I don't want to do this, but I have no choice. I'm going to have to ask you to leave the village. You can take what's in the treasure chest downstairs.|
|Hero goes downstairs and takes 50 GP which is inside the chest. When he goes upstairs again, the villagers are gone.|
|Elder:||I took you and I raised you. But there's nothing I can do to help. Please forgive me. I know I've told you this before, but...|
|Your mother brought you to this village when you were just a baby. Soon afterwards, she disappeared...|
|I took you and have done my best to raise you. But now we must part. I truly hope you can find your mother someday.|
|Good bye, Hero.|
|Hero leaves Potos.|
|Man at the exit:||Have everything you need?|
|You are hereby banished from Potos village. Now get out of here!|
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|Secret of Mana|
|System(s)||SNES, Wii Virtual Console|
|Preceded by||Final Fantasy Adventure|
|Followed by||Seiken Densetsu 3|
Secret of Mana is the second game in the Seiken Densetsu series.
|Secret of Mana|
|Publisher(s)||Squaresoft (JP, NA)
|Release date||August 6, 1993 (JP)
November 24, 1994 (EU)
|Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough|
Secret of Mana for the Super NES was originally released by Squaresoft in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2 (Holy Sword Legend). The game was the second installment of the Seiken Densetsu series; however, since the series began as a little-known Gameboy title called Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana was most Americans' introduction to the series.
Secret of Mana's gameplay is focused on battles fought in real time (that is, active hand-to-hand combat like that of the Legend of Zelda series) rather than the turn-based battle systems common in the Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest series. The fluidity of the battles is aided by a ring menu system, which allows the player to switch weapons, cast magical spells and also configure the battle behavior of the secondary characters, amongst other functions.
The game also features a weapon forging and improvement system - which would later be more extensively developed on Legend of Mana, the fourth game from the Seiken Densetsu series.
Secret of Mana can be played simultaneously by one, two or three players. In order to support three players, a Super Multitap accessory must be plugged into the second controller port of the gaming console. Otherwise, the game's artificial intelligence will exercise limited control over the one or two supporting characters. Notoriously, the AI is known for having a weak path-finding system, which might result in supporting characters getting stuck constantly. It is possible to adjust the aggression level of each AI-controlled character, but spell-casting must be performed manually.
The protagonists of Secret of Mana are the fighter Randi, the girl Purim (who tends to use curative/support magic) and a sprite child named Popoie (who uses aggressive magic). Popoie's gender remains undetermined due to references in the game's script of "he" and "it." The main playable characters were given default names in the Japanese release, but no default names were given in the North American or European releases. The three heros quest to save the Mana Tree, a theme that pairs ecology with spirituality.
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