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Veteran Member - Level 11
Secret of Mana is regarded by many as an iconic role playing
game with a trophy case full of achievements and accolades. It strayed from
many of the normal elements common in similarly themed games from that era. For
example, the battle sequences occur in real time instead of a turn-based system.
It employs an advanced menu system that pauses the action instead of switching
to different screens. It takes advantage of the Super Nintendo's Mode 7
capability. It isn't uncommon to see Secret of Mana grace the pages of "Best
Games of All Time" lists from around the industry.
As great and wonderful as this game is, the truth is I never
played it. Hard to believe a game that released in 1993...a game that in 1996 Super Play
ranked eighth on its list of the best 100 SNES games of all time; a
game that was number 42 on Nintendo Power magazine's 2006 Top 200 Nintendo
Games Of All Time list; a game that in 2005 was rated number 48 on IGN's "Top 100
Games" list; a game that was voted the 97th best game of all time
by the readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu; a game Edge ranked #39 in its
Top 100 Games of All Time list in 2007; a game that in 2009, the Official
Nintendo Magazine listed at number 82 on its "100 Best Nintendo Games"
feature; a game that GameSpy included in its Hall of Fame list in 2004...
...and I never played it.
Before you grab your Mana Sword and come after me, let me
I never played it until a few weeks ago. But as of last
night, I can now say that I have played and finished the Secret of Mana.
Dare I say it, but I'm glad I waited and played it under the
circumstances I did. You may or may not know, but you can actually play Secret
of Mana with multiple players using the Nintendo multi-tap. If I played the
game when it first came out, I wouldn't have been able to play it with my two
partners in crime - my sons. I played the entire game with my boys. My oldest
son was Randi, his younger brother was Primm and I was the sprite child Popoi.
Apparently the original game (which is what we played on an original SNES), you
don't know the characters actual names. But if you had a Japanese version, or
at least the Japanese manual or you played the iOS port, you would have access
to this information (or you could just use Wikipedia like I did). In the game we played, you
name your characters. Alas, in our game I wasn't Popoi, I was Derp.
I'm not going to talk about the story and specifics of the game.
Chances are you've either played it by now and know them, or you're not all
that interested. I am going to share my thoughts on what I found so amazing
about this game. You still might not be interested...
Size of the World
For its time, the world you find yourself in is huge. You
traverse all sorts of different terrains filled with a variety of different
creatures. It ranks right up there with Zelda. You can use these cannons to
travel between areas until you find this flying dragon named Flammie that you can
use to fly around the map. It's then you truly see how large the world is and
what an accomplishment this was for such an old game.
Length of the Game
I don't know how many hours we poured into this game, but it
was a bunch. Just when we thought we were about to finish it, we would discover
some other area to explore or some other task to accomplish. We've been playing
several other old SNES games and there are a bunch you can finish in an hour or
so...one game we finished in 30 minutes. So, to play an old SNES game that took,
oh I dunno...I'd say about 25 hours to finish...well, that's impressive to me.
Weapon Power Ups /
The game uses this neat power up system where you hold the
attack button and it charges your weapon up depending on its level. I think the
highest level I had on my preferred weapon, the axe, was six. I think the
highest level was 8. Anyway, your attack and damage increase based on the
charge. This was a great feature and allowed the game to add harder bad guys over
time while using a relatively easy way to accommodate it by upgrading the
weapons. Heck, even the attacks improved over time - by the end, when your weapon is fully upgraded, you essentially pull off combos that hit multiple targets and do lots of damage.
This may be one of the first games to use the "jump in jump
out" multiplayer feature. There were times where one of us would have to go the
bathroom or something while we were restocking supplies and sleeping at the
Inn. You could jump out of the game and the AI would take over controlling your
character. You could do your business, come back and take control of the
character again. It was extremely fluid and seamless. Not bad for a game from
the 90s. Playing the game with 2 other players was awesome.
The variety of sound tracks and their coolness was a real
treat and one of the best features of the game. I mean, this is old school
gaming beats at its finest. I'm not even a huge music fan and I thoroughly
enjoyed it in this game. Each track was perfect for the spot you were at and it
really got us pumped up. Wikipedia has a whole section about the Secret of Mana
might find worth reading.
Well, if you've played the game, then you know what I mean.
I could probably go on and gush about the game more, but I
won't. It is truly a classic and I'm proud to check this game off of my list of
games I've played. Hey, I might even feel like more of a gamer being able to
say, "Yeah...I've finished Secret of Mana." I do know I've chatted about the game
with some of you on Twitter and some colleagues from work, and in nearly every
instance when people hear I am playing the game the reaction is always the
"Oh, nice. That is an
I've heard that so many times before, and now I know firsthand
The weekend is almost here! Since we're talking about an
epic game, I will leave you with something almost as epic that relates to the