Secret of Mana: A Good Game With The Great Cut Out

Lizzy Finnegan

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Mar 11, 2015
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Secret of Mana: A Good Game With The Great Cut Out

You never forget your first. In this case, we are talking RPG, people.

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pressfarttocontinue

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Feb 26, 2015
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Great article!

People might get pissed you have any criticism of Secret of Mana, but it's fun to debate video games for themselves.

In this case I'm reminded of the disappoint I had when I learned Fallout New Vegas had a significant amount of content cut from it due to time (Cesear's Legion was supposed to have much more detail for example), and I'm surprised that this remained the case even in older games such as Secret of Mana.
 

Lizzy Finnegan

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did i miss a bit or did i just read a whole SoM thing where you didn't mention it was multiplayer...because the game might have had issues but the fact it was (innovatively) multiplayer is a big part of why many people have such a strong attachment to it.

anyway a nice read but kinda sad (even in so far as "NO SD3 4 U") :(
 

-Dragmire-

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Mar 29, 2011
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Eh, I really enjoyed the game as one of the best SNES RPGs [small][sub][sup](Qualifier: for me)[/sup][/sub][/small] even though I can't argue against the criticisms levied against it here. I liked Evermore as well, though not as much as Secret of Mana.

Side note/Silly question: What's a food truck? Is that like a hot dog stand?
 

Slegiar Dryke

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Sleekit said:
did i miss a bit or did i just read a whole SoM thing where you didn't mention it was multiplayer...because the game might have had issues but the fact it was (innovatively) multiplayer is a big part of why many people have such a strong attachment to it.

anyway a nice read but kinda sad (even in so far as "NO SD3 4 U") :(

it may have been multiplayer, but that doesn't really seem like an adequate qualifier given some of the issues with it and that if you wanted to play 3 player you needed the multitap. for me, the story and the overall gameplay in and of itself was the main draw, and especially flammie, the coolest dragon-esque creature in gaming because 4 wings and fluff XD

as for no seiken 3, nowadays you can get Repro carts with the translated version, so you can play on original hardware (or a retron 5) and still get an awesome game =)
 

DrOswald

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Honestly, I always kind of thought Secret of Mana was over rated. Good game, but it is not exactly the classic people remember it as. And Secret of Evermore is better anyway.
 

deshadow52

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As much as I love Secret Of Mana you are pretty much spot on. The soundtrack is incredible and co-op is great if you have the people to play it with, but everything else borders on mediocre. Its good that you mentioned all the cut content because that's the biggest problem story wise and you're right it's really obvious where most of the content was cut. I always dreamed of a Directors Cut someday so we can see Secret Of Mana's full potential, but we don't even know if Square Enix has all that cut stuff archived or even if they did have it, are they willing to remake it. It's kinda a shame really. I will always remember it for its soundtrack though because it's easily top 5 on the SNES in that regard.

Really good article Liz.

EDIT: fixed typos
 

Nixou

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I always dreamed of a Directors Cut someday so we can see Secret Of Mana full potential, but we don't even know if Square Enix has all that cut stuff archived or even if they did have it are they willing to remake it

The most frustrating thing about it is that they keep rereleasing it, updating the graphics along the way, but never address the missing content problem.
 

RandV80

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I played Secret of Mana again on the Wii console and personally thought it held up really well. Considering it's far from the first JRPG I played, I'm used to the lack of plot/characterization that earlier JRPG's had. If you look at Square's release timeline:

1991 - FFIV
1992 - FFV
1993 - Secret of Mana
1994 - FFVI
1995 - Chrono Trigger

It falls in a an a natural line of evolution. You can't really criticize it for not being very 'Square' when the company was still figuring out how to implement stronger characterization and narrative. FFV was close to FFIV than it was to FFVI, and that was where Square really started stepping up their game in story telling. Ironically while it's what they're known for they weren't the pioneers, I'd give that credit to Sega with Lunar: The Silver Star on the Sega CD, released in 92. Back to Secret of Mana I view it as Squares their last hurrah for that older 8-bit/early 16-bit 'keep it simple and leave things up to your imagination' style of JRPG.

Though to be honest I never knew or even realized when I last played it that a lot of content was cut. That's rather unfortunate.
 

shadowmagus

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Great article but "Chrono Trigger" and "cult classic" are two words that never belong in the same sentence.
 

NPC009

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shadowmagus said:
Great article but "Chrono Trigger" and "cult classic" are two words that never belong in the same sentence.
Well, not anymore in any case. At the very least it was cult classic for European gamers for the longest time: the game wasn't released there until 2009.

Anyway, I've had Secret of Mana on VC for years now, but never really had the urge to replay. This article is one of the many reminders that's probably for the best. the one thing I remember vividly about Secret of Mana is the soundtrack. The opening music starts off so hauntingly fragile and then confidently leaps to something stronger and more hopeful. It sounded so magical to my young ears. Still does.
 

Gorrath

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shadowmagus said:
Great article but "Chrono Trigger" and "cult classic" are two words that never belong in the same sentence.
I agree; how on Earth could arguably the best RPG ever made be a "cult classic"? That's like calling "The Godfather" a cult classic or calling Shakespeare a pretty decent playwright.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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Only JRPG I've ever liked, probably because of the realtime element and the ability to play with 2 other people. I also had no concept of grinding to level up prior to this, I got to the Spiky Tiger boss and it destroyed me time after time. So much rage.
 

Kenjitsuka

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No time to read atm, but daaaamn! Also my first RPG. So fucking awesome!!!!!
Gotta replay it now :p
 

Karadalis

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Seiken Densetsu 3 never came to the west because it had (back in that time) unsolvable problems:

It was a horribly buggy mess

It pushed the SNES to its limits when it came to memory space on the cardrige, wich made translation very difficult since when you translate a japanese sentence you will end up with a longer english sentence and there allready where tons of prolems fitting all the text into the game to begin with.

Secret of mana is one of my all time favourites. It wasnt my first RPG... that was mystic quest aka the first game in the mana series (wich even had a chocobo you could ride!) for the game boy.. wich also was a very very sad story.

Thats also what was so unique about the secret of mana games. They where colorfull, had humor, but on the other hand where very melancholy and dark, especialy seiken densetsu 3 was very mature for its admittedly candy color palette and most often cutyfied enemies.

All in all thought i can say:

They just dont make em like they used to anymore...
 

thoughtwrangler

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One thing I want to say about Secret of Mana is that it's a technical feat. It's not perfect, but as an action RPG it achieved a level of fluidity that many modern ARPG's still strive to meet. Multiple Weapons, Smooth attack transitions, charge attacks, spells, all of it done in real time with glitches that are no more noticeable than most modern games on the PC or consoles. It really wasn't until later in the Playstation era that comparable ARPG's started coming out.

The tragedy was all the cut content from the botched SNES-CD deal. It would be nice if Square-Enix would go back and make a restored, perfected version with all that planned content intact.
 

Red Panda

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Jan 28, 2014
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Wow, I am almost crying right now. I had no idea that almost half a game was left out. Secret of Mana was my second rpg (after ff 2) and it is the one I remember the most. Playing it 2 player with my brother, fighting over getting to fly the dragon. Did you know you can glitch out many of the spells by spamming them and sometimes it will fire of a super version of the spell with whole new animations. Also you can get an extra hidden level on most of your weapons in the final area. Oh man the memories, hunting for that key to get to the golden city. I have played it multiple times over the years and for me the game still holds up. It may not have as much story as we are used to with our modern day rpg's but the still feels so alive and has such a wonderful art style and music that I cannot hate it even at its worst moments.
 

Grampy_bone

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Oh wow, never knew this game was cut back. Explains a lot about the sparse story. Very interesting.

Back in the day I think I rented this game 4-5 times just to keep playing through it again and again. Also converted a few "I Hate RPGs" friends via the co-op gameplay.
 

Lizzy Finnegan

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secret of evermore was what secret of mana wanted to be.

evermore had superior story, superior combat, superior setting... maybe the writer has also played secret of evermore and will compare the 2 in an article.