If 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!