A Game To Remember: Secret of Mana

By Rolando . October 26, 2007 . 6:46am

secret_of_mana_snes_screenshot1.jpgIf I were to ask you what you remember most about Secret of Mana, what would your response be? Would it be Hiroki Kikuta's score of the game and how it's perhaps the best score you've ever heard in an SNES game as evidenced by the game's opening? Would it be the tragic classical tale of mankind being consumed by greed and abusing the power of Mana and nearly destroying both itself and the world? Would it be the multiplayer aspect of the game where you and two other friends (with the use of the SNES multitap) could venture through the game together? How about the gameplay that was highly reminiscent of Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past with the ability of each of your three party members being able to use just about any weapon possible and seamlessly go from one area to the other fighting enemies in real time?


Whatever your answer may be, its quite obvious that Secret of Mana was a game that truly defined and popularized the action RPG genre. 13 years ago on October 3rd, Squaresoft, who was still making a name for itself and had a small following at the time, released this SNES gem on U.S. shores where it would go on to be another one of their top gems that manages to stand the test of time and a favorite game among action RPG fans. If there's anything about Secret of Mana that truly stands out from other action RPGs in its time, it would be the multiplayer aspect. I remember me and two of my friends would always run to my house after school just to start up the game and continue where we left off because of how fun and streamlined the combat was and how intense a lot of the game's battles were. Although the story itself was good and the music was top of the line, it was the multiplayer component that truly added to the overall experience of Secret of Mana and action RPGs; a component that's seemed to have lost its place in many action RPGs today.




While Square-Enix has yet to get its act together and produce a Mana title worthy of the series' many fans and the series itself, it's a shame that the series pretty much lost its place in Square's pillar of top series after Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana was Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan) where the game's three player multiplayer component would last be seen. The World of Mana projects have yet to live up to the Mana series, but here's hoping somewhere down the line Square-Enix returns the series to its former glory.


Did you like Secret of Mana at the time? What about now? Would you like it if Square-Enix made a Mana title that returned to the series' roots? Discuss your love or hate of Secret of Mana! 

Read more stories about & & & & & on Siliconera.

  • “Would it be the multiplayer aspect of the game where you and two other friends (with the use of the SNES multitap) could venture through the game together?”

    yup, definitely this part. was the first and best multiplayer ARPG i’ve ever played.

  • I still love Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3. You know this would be a perfect Xbox Live Arcade candidate. It wouldn’t even cost that much to make since fans would be happy to get the original game with online play.

  • I remember getting right to the end. I spent all of my GP on armor and weapons in one town only to find that there were better items available at another location for a sligtly higher price.

    I don’t think I’ve been that angry since.

  • Angelous

    I got this game for my 14th birthday on 12/11/94. I still love it to this day. I remember playing for hours on end maxing out every spell and weapon. I never had the chance to experience 3 player co-op though, shame.

    I don’t want Square to screw with game at all. They should release it along with Seiken Denketsu 3 (yeah, I know I spelt that incorrectly) translated to english on PSP. If they could tweak both game to allow multiplayer at least via Ad-Hoc (I’m sure infastructure would be nigh impossible) that be even more awesome.

  • Talk about blast from the past! I do have to agree that the multiplayer aspect kept me interested in this great game.

  • badfish

    Not only was this game a gem back in the day, it still plays better than some action rpgs now! For the life of me why hasn’t Square-enix make a DIRECT sequel?

    THe formula is for this game is great. To this day why dont game companies use this formula more often. NOt all rpg gamers are lone wolfs.

    Anyways this game is a MUST PLAY!!

  • Carmen

    I loved this game, but man!, what an awful translation. That aside SoM is a great amount of fun and just a beautiful, sonorous experience. I hope that my Japanese becomes good enough to play Seiken 2 as well as its sequel, to relive this great game! Happy birthday!

  • Hello Hello

    Secret of Mana is definitely a legendary game, and certainly one to remember for sure. I wish Square would stop trying to force-feed us their current lab experiments and go back to the winning formulas of the older days. (Stuff like Secret of Mana!)

  • Pedro Silva

    Last gen I always felt FFCC on GC should have been a Secret of mana instead (even because you were going after mana trees), I’d love them to pick that engine and kind of gameplay and make a Secret of Mana for real; this time with maneagable party without the need of four gba’s or whatever.

    I was pretty disapointed that the PS2 Seiken Densetsu 4 was crap, despite the fact that I haven’t picket it.

  • Chris

    What I remember most about Secret of Mana was that every single boss fight was just about spamming whatever spell the boss happened to be weak against as fast as possible.

    You could rail off another spell so fast that damage didn’t even calculate until ten of them hit. It was kind of ridiculous. But then again, enemy magic was unavoidable, so after the first two or three hours of the game being skilled at the game wouldn’t even help you. It was analyze, spam, spam, spam, cure, spam some more.

    Then of course there’s that crappy magic system that forced you to walk around casting spells over and over just for them to be useful. Did anyone ever actually spend the time to get the girl’s gnome level higher than zero?

  • jeffx

    I remember paying 149.99$ CND on release day… what a game! I replayed it last year, aged very well.

  • Aoshi00

    After all these years, listening to this intro and that of Chrono Trigger still sends chill down my spine. Got to pop this baby back into the SNES one of these days, playing games w/ classmates/neighbors in the younger days was definitely the best and most memorable.

  • VFX2

    have anyone seen the japanese opening compare to the american one? Did anyone noticed that the title of the Japanese one expands and shows the whole tree while the american one does not expand at all?

  • Ron

    Ahh, Secret of Mana. I bought it used from a video store in 2000 in a little podunk town. Best $50 I ever spent.

    • aphex

      i have the soundtrack on my ipod. probably one of the best, if not the best, game soundtracks of all time.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos