|Secret of Evermore|
North American box art
|Artist(s)|| Daniel Dociu |
Secret of Evermore is an action role-playing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released by Square in North America on October 1, 1995. February 1996, saw its release in the PAL territories of Europe and Australia. A Japanese release was planned to follow the North American release by a few monthsbut was ultimately cancelled.
Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), also known as the Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a 16-bit home video game console developed by Nintendo that was released in 1990 in Japan and South Korea, 1991 in North America, 1992 in Europe and Australasia (Oceania), and 1993 in South America. In Japan, the system is called the Super Famicom (SFC). In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics. The system was released in Brazil on August 30, 1993, by Playtronic. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent the different versions from being compatible with one another.
Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".
The story of Secret of Evermore follows a boy and his pet dog as they are inadvertently transported to the fantasy world of Evermore. The player guides both the boy and his shapeshifting dog through Evermore, a world composed of separate realms, each resembling a different period of real-world history: "Prehistoria" (prehistory), "Antiqua" (classical antiquity), "Gothica" (the Middle Ages), and "Omnitopia" (an imaginative future world). The gameplay shares many similarities with Secret of Mana , such as real-time battles, a ring-shaped menu system, and the ability to switch control between the two characters. Despite similar game mechanics and a similar title, it is not an entry in the Mana series.
In mythology, folklore and speculative fiction, shapeshifting is the ability of a being or creature to transform its physical form or shape. This is usually achieved through an inherent ability of a mythological creature, divine intervention or the use of magic. The idea of shapeshifting is present in the oldest forms of totemism and shamanism, as well as the oldest extant literature and epic poems, including works such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad, where the shapeshifting is usually induced by the act of a deity.
Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be widely adopted, and it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or even until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at very different dates in different places, and the term is less often used in discussing societies where prehistory ended relatively recently.
Classical antiquity is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
Secret of Evermore is unique in that it is the only game developed by Square designers in North America. The game received positive reviews upon its release for to its graphics and gameplay but was criticized for not being up to the expectations many reviewers had of its developer.
Secret of Evermore takes many of its interface and gameplay aspects from Secret of Mana .The game consists mostly of an aerial view setting, where the boy and his dog negotiate the terrain and fend off hostile creatures. If the boy is selected as the player character, his dog will be controlled by the game's artificial intelligence, and vice versa. Both characters can find refuge in caves or a town, where they can regain their hit points or purchase restorative items and equipment. Upon collecting enough experience points in battle, either character can increase in level with improved stats such as strength and evasion. Options including changing equipment or casting alchemy spells; checking status can be performed quickly by rotating through the game's Action Ring system. Combat takes place in real-time. Located below the player's hit points is a percentage gauge that determines the amount of damage done to an enemy, as well as how far the player can run. Swinging a weapon or running causes the gauge to fall to 0%. It then quickly recharges, allowing the character to attack at full strength or to run at full sprint once it is full. The gauge may also fill up to allowing the player to use charged attacks with equipped weapons.
Secret of Mana is a 1993 action role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the sequel to the 1991 game Seiken Densetsu, released in North America as Final Fantasy Adventure and in Europe as Mystic Quest, and it was the first Seiken Densetsu title to be marketed as part of the Mana series rather than the Final Fantasy series. The game is released as Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan. Set in a high fantasy universe, the game follows three heroes as they attempt to prevent an empire from conquering the world with the power of an ancient flying fortress.
A bird's-eye view is an elevated view of an object from above, with a perspective as though the observer were a bird, often used in the making of blueprints, floor plans, and maps.
A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.
The protagonist wields four different styles of weapons throughout the game: sword, spear, axe, and bazooka. Almost all swords, axes, and spears have four versions. Repeated use of them can increase their skill levels to a maximum of three, unlocking a new charged attack with each level.The range and power of each type of weapon increases the more it is used; for instance, spears at a high enough level may be thrown at an enemy across the screen, while the swords and axes can cut swathes of destruction around the boy's vicinity. Most swords, axes, and spears can cut through vegetation, while some weapons are required to break rocks and other barriers.
A sword is a bladed weapon intended for slashing or thrusting that is longer than a knife or dagger, consisting of a long blade attached to a hilt. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographic region under consideration. The blade can be straight or curved. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip on the blade, and tend to be straighter; slashing swords have a sharpened cutting edge on one or both sides of the blade, and are more likely to be curved. Many swords are designed for both thrusting and slashing.
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or bronze. The most common design for hunting or combat spears since ancient times has incorporated a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. The heads of fishing spears usually feature barbs or serrated edges.
An axe is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, to harvest timber, as a weapon, and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.
In the four worlds of Secret of Evermore, the in-game currency changes. The shopkeepers in Prehistoria exchange talons; in Antiqua, gemstones; in Gothica, gold coins; in Omnitopia, credits.There are individuals in each region who offer to convert the player's money to the local currency. In either of the game's two marketplaces (in Antiqua and Gothica, respectively), the storekeepers offer to trade in goods instead of money. Certain goods, such as rice, spices, and tapestries, can be bought using the local currency, but others must be exchanged for other goods. Most vendors only specialize in one type of good, and some rare items require an extensive amount of trading to obtain.
A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.
A gold coin is a coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold, while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia, Canadian Maple Leaf, and American Buffalo. Alloyed gold coins, like the American Gold Eagle and South African Krugerrand, are typically 91.7% gold by weight, with the remainder being silver and copper.
A unique element of Secret of Evermore is its magic system. To cast magic, the boy must be given an "Alchemic Formula" by one of the many non-playable characters called "Alchemists".Some Alchemists make their home in out-of-the-way areas and will dispense rare formulas if the player manages to seek them out. Unlike some role-playing games, there are no magic points needed to cast spells. Alchemy Formulas require pairs of ingredients to be used; some are available throughout the game, and others are only native to certain environments. In the primitive realms, ingredients appear such as wax, limestone, clay, and gunpowder. In the advanced realms, however, the ingredients become more complex, for example ethanol and dry ice.
Magic or mana is an attribute assigned to characters within a role-playing or video game that indicates their power to use special abilities or "spells". Magic is usually measured in magic points or mana points, shortened as MP. Different abilities will use up different amounts of MP. When the MP of a character reaches zero, the character won't be able to use special abilities until some of their MP is recovered.
Alchemy was an ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practised throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, originating in Greco-Roman Egypt in the first few centuries AD.
Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipophilic, malleable solids near ambient temperatures. They include higher alkanes and lipids, typically with melting points above about 40 °C (104 °F), melting to give low viscosity liquids. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents. Natural waxes of different types are produced by plants and animals and occur in petroleum.
A secondary function of the dog is to "sniff out" ingredients by putting his nose to the ground and smelling for items. The player can command the dog to search the ground at any time, including in huts and cities. If all goes well, the dog will lead his human companion to a certain spot on the map where the player can uncover the unseen ingredients.With repeated use, Alchemy Formulas will increase in level, enhancing their curative, offensive, or support effectiveness. Although there are dozens of Formulas available to be found within the game, only nine can be equipped at a time. To overcome this, there are several Alchemists scattered throughout the game who offer to manage the boy's current Alchemy list; any formula that has already been learned can be stored by the Alchemist for later use.
The plot revolves around a teenage boy and his dog whom the player must name. Most of the game takes place in the fictional world of Evermore. The player explores four main areas within this world, corresponding to different historical eras: Prehistoria contains cavemen and dinosaurs; Antiqua boasts a colosseum and pyramid theme; Gothica contains medieval castles and is populated by dragons; Omnitopia is a futuristic space station.
Throughout their travels the boy, in the company of his dog, often quotes or mentions fictional B movies that relate to their current situation. For example, he compares himself to "Dandy" Don Carlisle in the film Sink, Boat, Sink after washing ashore at Crustacia.(For legal reasons, all references to movies and actors were fictional.) In addition, the dog's body transforms based on the theme of the area that players are in: in the world of Prehistoria, the dog is transformed into a feral wolf; in the Antiqua region, he becomes a greyhound; in Gothica, he takes the form of a fancy poodle; and in Omnitopia, he becomes a robotic dog that resembles a toaster and is capable of shooting laser beams.
The story of Secret of Evermore begins with a black and white flashback to 1965, in a small town called Podunk, USA. In a laboratory situated on the roof of a mansion, a malfunction occurs which causes the area to flood a with white flash of light. Thirty years later, the game's young protagonist is leaving a theater when his pet dog chases after a cat on the street. The boy hurriedly follows him, eventually reaching a large, abandoned mansion. He discovers the hidden laboratory with a large machine built in the center. When the dog begins to chew on some wires, the pair find themselves transported to the surreal world of Evermore, beginning in the space station Omnitopia. A butler dressed in a white tailcoat greets the boy when he appears, only to lock him in a room with several attack robots. The boy manages to escape in a shuttle pod, where he finds his dog holed up in the cockpit.
The shuttle crash-lands in a dense jungle on top of a plateau. When the boy emerges, he finds a ferocious-looking beast has replaced his dog. He decides to perform a test to see if the wolf is really his pet dog. He tosses a stick for the wolf to fetch, but the wolf retrieves a giant bone instead. The boy shrugs this off and assumes the beast is his dog.
In each realm, the boy encounters a citizen of Podunk involved in an original experiment gone awry 30 years before. Professor Sidney Ruffleberg and his three companions were transported to Evermore but are unable to leave.The boy quickly learns the regions are manifestations of those citizens' personal utopias. Each of the three companions acts as the ruler of his or her world: Elizabeth, the Professor's niece, is the tribal chief of Prehistoria; Horace Highwater, curator of the Podunk Museum, oversees Antiqua; Camellia Bluegarden, a portly librarian, is the Queen of Gothica; Professor Ruffleberg monitors everything from Omnitopia, with his android butler, Carltron, alongside him. Within Prehistoria, Antiqua, and Gothica, the boy and his canine companion aid Elizabeth, Horace, and Camellia in thwarting attempts by Podunk citizens' robotic clones from ruling their respective areas.
The duo finally returns to Omnitopia and finds Ruffleberg, who explains everything. He and his butler Carltron once engaged in chess matches. Ruffleberg outfitted him with an intelligence chip to make him a more challenging opponent, but the upgrade backfired making Carltron more malevolent.He sabotaged the transporter to Evermore and designed the hostile beasts roaming the game. With Ruffleberg's help, the boy and his canine companion break into Carltron's room. The area is guarded by android clones of the boy and his dog, along with a giant mecha version of Carltron. At the last moment, Ruffleberg appears and deactivates Carltron, who promptly freezes in place.
With Carltron's defeat, the monsters plaguing Evermore disappear, but the world itself grows unstable.The boy returns to each world to collect Ruffleberg's companions, taking them back to the real world. In doing so, Evermore's destruction is averted, and it continues to exist without them. After the credits roll, a final scene shows Professor Ruffleberg returning Carltron to his old task of cleaning the lab. Carltron grins and rubs his hands together, implying he is not as docile as the professor believes.
In early 1994, the development of Secret of Evermore began at SquareSoft, the Redmond, Washington, office of the Japanese parent company Square.The concept of a boy traveling with his dog through a world based on cheesy B movies was dictated from overseas. Square Soft began work on the detailed storyline. This led to popular culture references and dialog that are distinctly American for a mainstream console RPG. The game's associate producer and writer, George Sinfield, decided they would be familiar to American players. The game's working title was Vex and the Mezmers. Producer Alan Weiss's original concept had a group of magic users who "could tell dream stories and transport the listeners into the experience, virtually". During a storytelling session, Vex is trapped and starts to corrupt the dreams. The game was to have the player find Vex and defeat him. Sinfield asked for its name to be changed. The studio had a naming competition which resulted in Secret of Evermore.
Many elements of Secret of Evermore were copied from Secret of Mana because they had proven to be effective.The size of the game was an early issue. It was decided that it would be single-player to preserve memory—it was originally planned to be only 12-megabits. However, the game doubled to 24-megabits near the end of development. Daniel Dociu designed various pieces of concept art. Using computer software, including SGI Indy II and Alias workstations, the game's artwork and design were mapped out by three animators, four background artists, and a 3D rendering artist. It was put together using the company's SAGE (Square's Amazing Graphical Editor) program, led by programmer Brian Fehdrau. Rather than having to hand off their work to the programmers, the artists and designers were able to test their ideas directly using the SAGE program. Using another company program, SIGIL (Square Interpreted Game Intelligence Language), Secret of Evermore the final product was produced. One of the worlds that was cut was called Romancia "where 'everything is all flowers and sweet stuff, excessively so.' It was pink and purple."
There is a persistent misconception that the game is, or was released in lieu of, a follow-up to Secret of Mana.Other Square titles such as Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger were being localized simultaneously with the production of Secret of Evermore. Fehdrau explained in an interview that Secret of Evermore was not created in place of Seiken Densetsu 3 and that the team that developed Secret of Evermore was assembled from newly hired staff and would otherwise never have been assembled. Several of the team members later joined Humongous Entertainment, which spawned Cavedog Entertainment, while the rest of the team spread to other Seattle-area game studios like Electronic Arts, Boss Game Studios, Microsoft Game Studios, and Gas Powered Games, among others.
Secret of Evermore was released on October 1, 1995, in North America.In 1996, it was translated into German, French and Spanish for the non-English-speaking market in some PAL territories, including Australia and New Zealand. Some PAL versions were packaged in a large box and included a strategy guide.
Jeremy Soule composed and produced the score for Secret of Evermore—his first video game project. In high school Soule was a big fan of video games, but he felt most of their scores "lacked drama and intensity". After completing high school, Soule created an experimental demo showcasing what he felt video game scores should sound like.Soule was hired by Square Soft after they had reviewed the demo to score Secret of Evermore. Soule describes it as a mix of ambient sounds and low-key music. The soundtrack was released on a CD containing 29 tracks, the first eight of which are arranged versions of the original sound. The disc was published by Square and was only available initially to those who pre-ordered Secret of Evermore.
Secret of Evermore received positive reviews from most media outlets. They praised its graphics. Scary Larry of GamePro , however, found the spell animations weak compared to those of other Square games, and said the bosses are large but strangely unimpressive.A highlight for some critics was gameplay, particularly the unique alchemy system and aspects also found in Secret of Mana such as the ring menu. However, others found the mechanics needlessly hard to get used to. Nintendo Power praised the game for its graphics, sound, play control, story, and variety but criticized it for its awkward battle system and simple A.I. Although the quality of the musical compositions and sound effects were praised, Scary Larry complained of the player character's dog barking "constantly".
Super Play and GamePro both felt the game was not up to the standards of other Square games.Victor Lucas of Electric Playground praised the game saying that while it did not reach the heights of Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI, it was still a highly enjoyable experience. Mega Fun argued it was on par with those games, with graphics that were nearly as good. Others argued that Secret of Evermore was a decent first attempt by the American team. Game Players anticipated another game from the same development team, and a critic for Next Generation said that while the game suffered from a number of amateur mistakes, "as a debut title for a new team of designers, it points to a rosy future". Video Games praised Squaresoft USA's very first title, noting that while the menu and control schemes were taken from previous Square games, its mood, story, and setting were enough to set it apart from the earlier titles.
Three reviewers from Gamefan praised the game. Two were skeptical that an American made role playing game could match Square's internally produced titles such as Final Fantasy , but they were impressed with the game. One reviewer, however, noted that he missed the Japanese-style art found in other Square games and although the art in Secret of Evermore was good, it was aimed at an American audience.
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Protagonist: Wow! This is like what happens in The Pale People of Planet V. It's about a bunch of astronauts who get stuck on an exact replica of Earth... only it's populated by zombies, vampires and... Well, actually, this isn't like that at all.
Protagonist: Well, it's good to know the crowd is on my side. This is like the big fight scene in Dirt, Swords, Sweat and Togas. I think the hero got pummeled in that picture. Oh, well. Here goes nothing!
Protagonist: Wow! Is that really you? You've changed! Hmmm... If you're really my dog, you'll fetch this stick. OK! Go get it! Well, this isn't the stick. But it'll do! C'mon, buddy, let's look around.
Elizabeth: You see I'm originally from Podunk, too. My Grandpa is an inventor who lives in the mansion on the hill! He made a machine that could send people to worlds of their own design. Since I enjoy all things prehistoric, I dreamed up this world of cave people and dinosaurs. I was supposed to be here for a couple of hours, but it's been a couple of decades.
Horace: It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Horace Highwater. I, too, am from Podunk. I figured that it would just be a matter of time before another Podunker arrived. You see, this ancient world is a product of my imagination. I was the curator of the Natural Museum of Podunk.
Horace: There was another guest at that party, too. Miss Bluegarden, the librarian.
Professor: I constructed Carltron in order to do the household chores. You know-- tidy up, greet guests, pay the bills, let the cat out, clean the gutters. And I made him smart so that he could play chess and give me a run for my money! But, as the years wore on... Carltron got tired of being a servant. He decided to turn the tables and take over.
Professor: It was Carltron's influence that created the evil elements on Evermore... Now that he's unplugged, I would suspect that those elements should be going away.
Professor: I believe that Evermore is on a collision course for destruction. With Carltron's influence gone, the balance of the world is completely offset. The only way to reverse the problem is to remove our own influence on the world. We have to leave now, and take our friends with us... Or Evermore will be nevermore for ever more!
Square Soft (1995). Secret of Evermore Instruction Manual (d=U/SNS-AEOE-USA). Square Soft.