Secret of Mana

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Secret of Mana
Secret of Mana Box.jpg
Developer(s) Square
Publisher(s) Square
Director(s) Koichi Ishii
Producer(s) Hiromichi Tanaka
  • Koichi Ishii
  • Hiromichi Tanaka
Programmer(s) Nasir Gebelli
Artist(s) Hiroo Isono
Writer(s) Hiromichi Tanaka
Composer(s) Hiroki Kikuta
Series Mana
Platform(s) Super NES, FOMA 903i/703i, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Secret of Mana, originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2, [lower-alpha 1] is a 1993 action role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) 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. 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.

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.

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".

Square Enix Japanese video game company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling 144 million, the Dragon Quest franchise selling 78 million and the Kingdom Hearts franchise selling 30 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.


Rather than using a turn-based battle system like contemporaneous role-playing games, Secret of Mana features real-time battles with a power bar mechanic. The game has a unique Ring Command menu system, which pauses the action and allows the player to make decisions in the middle of battle. An innovative cooperative multiplayer system allows a second or third player to drop in and out of the game at any time. Secret of Mana was directed and designed by Koichi Ishii, programmed primarily by Nasir Gebelli, and produced by veteran Square designer Hiromichi Tanaka.

Pie menu circular context menu where selection depends on direction

In user interface design, a pie menu is a circular context menu where selection depends on direction. It is a graphical control element. A pie menu is made of several "pie slices" around an inactive center and works best with stylus input, and well with a mouse. Pie slices are drawn with a hole in the middle for an easy way to exit the menu.

Cooperative gameplay is a feature in video games that allows players to work together as teammates, usually against one or more AI opponents. It is distinct from other multiplayer modes, such as competitive multiplayer modes like player versus player or deathmatch. Playing simultaneously allows players to assist one another in many ways: passing weapons or items, healing, providing covering fire in a firefight, and performing cooperative maneuvers such as boosting a teammate up and over obstacles.

A multiplayer video game is a video game in which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same time, either locally or over the internet. Multiplayer games usually require players to share the resources of a single game system or use networking technology to play together over a greater distance; players may compete against one or more human contestants, work cooperatively with a human partner to achieve a common goal, supervise other players' activity, co-op. Multiplayer games allow players interaction with other individuals in partnership, competition or rivalry, providing them with social communication absent from single-player games.

The game received considerable acclaim for its brightly colored graphics, expansive plot, Ring Command menu system, and innovative real-time battle system. Critics also praised the soundtrack by Hiroki Kikuta and the customizable artificial intelligence (AI) settings for computer-controlled allies. It has been cited as one of the greatest video games of all time.

Hiroki Kikuta Japanese composer

Hiroki Kikuta is a Japanese video game composer and game designer. His major works are Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana, Soukaigi, and Koudelka, for which he also acted as producer and concept designer. He has composed music for seven other games, and worked as a concept designer in addition to composer for the unreleased MMORPG Chou Bukyo Taisen. He became interested in music at an early age, but earned a degree in Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Cultural Anthropology from Kansai University. He spent the next few years working first as a manga illustrator, then as a composer for anime series, before coming to work for Square in 1991.

The original version was released for the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console in Japan in September 2008, and for the Wii U's Virtual Console in June 2013. The game was ported to mobile phones in Japan in 2009, and an enhanced port of the game was released for iOS in 2010 and Android in 2014. It was included in the Collection of Mana release for the Nintendo Switch in Japan in June 2017 and North America in June 2019, and Nintendo re-released Secret of Mana in September 2017 as part of the company's Super NES Classic Edition. A full 3D remake was released for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Microsoft Windows in February 2018.

Virtual Console, also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo's Wii and Wii U home gaming consoles and the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming console.

iOS mobile operating system by Apple

iOS is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that presently powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It is the second most popular mobile operating system globally after Android.

Android (operating system) Free and open-source operating system for mobile devices, developed by Google

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, Google has developed Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and Wear OS for wrist watches, each with a specialized user interface. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs and other electronics.


The standard overhead view. The party's attack strength and remaining health is shown in the gauges at the bottom. Smana.PNG
The standard overhead view. The party's attack strength and remaining health is shown in the gauges at the bottom.
Flammie flying and demonstrating Mode 7 Flammie Flying.gif
Flammie flying and demonstrating Mode 7

Like many other role-playing games of the 16-bit era, Secret of Mana displays a top-down perspective, in which the player characters navigate the terrain and fight off hostile creatures. The game features three such characters: the hero, the girl, and the sprite, named Randi, Primm, and Popoi outside the initial North American and European releases. The player can choose to control each of the characters at any time; whichever character is currently selected, the other two companions are controlled via artificial intelligence. The game may be played simultaneously by up to three players, [1] [2] made possible by the Super Multitap accessory for the Super NES console. [3] The Virtual Console version of the game supports three-player gameplay via additional GameCube controllers or Classic Controllers. [4]

Super Nintendo Entertainment System home video game console developed by Nintendo and first released in 1990 in Japan

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.

Classic Controller game controller for the Wii

The Classic Controller is a game controller produced by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. While it later featured some compatibility with the Wii U console, the controller was ultimately succeeded by the Wii U Pro Controller. As of April 2014, Nintendo had discontinued production of both the Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro.

Each character possesses individual strengths and weaknesses. The hero, while unable to use magic, masters weapons at a quicker rate; the girl is a healer, able to cast restorative and support spells; and the sprite casts offensive magic to damage and impair enemies. [4] Upon collecting enough experience points in battle, each character increases in level and improves in areas such as strength and evasion. The trio can rest in towns, where they can regain hit points or purchase restorative items and equipment. Options such as changing equipment, casting spells, or checking status are performed by cycling through the game's Ring Commands, a circular menu which hovers over the currently controlled party member. [2] [3] [4] The game is momentarily paused whenever the Ring Commands appear. [5]

A healer is a type of character class in video gaming. When a game includes a health game mechanic and multiple classes, often one of the classes will be designed around the restoration of allies' health, known as healing, in order to delay or prevent their defeat. Such a class can be referred to as a healer. In addition to healing, healer classes are sometimes associated with buffs to assist allies in other ways, and nukes to contribute to the offense when healing is unnecessary.

An experience point is a unit of measurement used in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game. Experience points are generally awarded for the completion of missions, overcoming obstacles and opponents, and for successful role-playing.

Health (gaming) gaming-related attribute

Health or vitality is an attribute assigned to entities such as characters or objects within role-playing games and video games, that indicates their continued ability to function. Health is usually measured in hit points or health points, shortened to HP which lowers by set amounts when the entity is attacked or injured. When the HP of a player character or non-player character reaches zero, that character is incapacitated and barred from taking further action. In some games, such as those with cooperative multiplayer and party based role playing games, it may be possible for an ally to revive a character who has reached 0 hit points and let them return to action. In single player games, running out of health usually equates to "dying" and losing a life or receiving a Game Over.

Combat takes place in real-time. [2] Located at the bottom of the screen is a power bar, [6] [7] a gauge that determines the amount of damage done to an enemy when attacking. Swinging a weapon causes the gauge to empty and then quickly recharge, allowing that character to attack at full strength. The party wields eight different types of weaponry: sword, spear, bow, axe, boomerang, glove, whip, and javelin. All weapons can be upgraded eight times, and repeated use of a weapon increases its skill level to a maximum of eight, unlocking a new special attack with each level. Weapons are upgraded with Weapon Orbs, which are found in dungeons or earned by defeating certain bosses. [2] The player takes each Orb to a blacksmith, located in most towns, who uses it to reforge one weapon. [1] [8]

In order to learn magic, the party must rescue spirits known as Elementals. The eight Elementals represent different elements—such as water, earth, and life—and each provides the player with specific spells. Magic has skill levels similar to weapons, but each magic spell costs magic points to cast. [1]

At the start of the game, to reach a destination players must traverse an enemy-infested countryside. Travel may be expedited with Cannon Travel Centers, where the party may be launched to faraway destinations via a giant cannon. Cannon Travel usually requires a fee, but is mandatory to visit other continents later on. [3] Later, the party is given access to Flammie, a miniature dragon which is controlled by the player and able to fly freely across the world, represented by an overworld map. [9] These sequences make use of the SNES's Mode 7 capability to create a rotatable background, giving the illusion that the ground beneath Flammie is rendered in three dimensions. While riding Flammie, the player may access either the "rotated map", which presents the world as a globe, or the "world map", a two-dimensional view of the overworld. [10]


Setting and characters

The story takes place in a high fantasy world, which contains an ethereal energy source named "mana". An ancient, technologically advanced civilization exploited mana to construct the "Mana Fortress", a flying warship. This angered the world's gods, who sent giant beasts to war with the civilization. The conflict was globally destructive and nearly exhausted all signs of mana in the world, until a hero used the power of the Mana Sword to destroy the fortress and the civilization. The world began to recover in peace. As the game opens, an empire seeks eight Mana Seeds, which when "unsealed" will restore mana to the world and allow the empire to restore the Mana Fortress. [11]

The three main characters do not have names in the original SNES release, though their names appear in the manual of the Japanese release; and their names were added into the game in the iOS port worldwide. In all versions, the player can choose to name the characters whatever they wish. The hero(ランディ,Randi), [12] a young boy, is adopted by the Elder of Potos before the start of the game, after the boy's mother disappears. The girl(プリム,Primm) [12] is in love with a warrior named Dyluck, who was ordered by the king to attack Elinee's Castle. Angered by the king's actions and by her father's attempt to arrange her marriage to a local nobleman, she leaves the castle to save Dyluck and to accompany the hero as well. [13] The hero and the girl meet the sprite child(ポポイ,Popoi) [12] at the Dwarf Village. The sprite makes a living by scamming people at a freak show held by dwarves. It does not remember anything about its past, so it joins the team to try to recover its memories. [14]


The game begins as three boys from the small Potos village disobey their Elder's instructions and trespass into a local waterfall, where a treasure is said to be kept. One of the boys stumbles and falls into the lake, where he finds a rusty sword embedded in a stone. Guided by a disembodied voice, he pulls the sword free, inadvertently unleashing monsters in the surrounding countryside of the village. The villagers interpret the sword's removal as a bad omen and banish the boy from Potos forever. [15] A traveling knight named Jema recognizes the blade as the legendary Mana Sword and encourages the hero to re-energize it by visiting the eight Mana Temples. [16]

During his journey, the hero is joined by the girl and the sprite. Throughout their travels, the trio is pursued by the empire. The Emperor and his subordinates are being manipulated by Thanatos, an ancient sorcerer who hopes to create a "new, peaceful world". [17] Due to his own body's deterioration, Thanatos is in need of a suitable body to possess. After placing the entire kingdom of Pandora under a trance, he abducts two candidates: Dyluck, now enslaved, and a young Pandoran girl named Phanna; he eventually chooses to possess Dyluck. [18]

The Empire succeeds in unsealing all eight Mana Seeds. However, Thanatos betrays the Emperor and his henchmen, killing them and seizing control of the Mana Fortress for himself. The hero and his party journey to locate the Mana Tree, the focal point of the world's life energy. Anticipating their arrival, Thanatos positions the Mana Fortress over the Tree and destroys it. The charred remains of the Tree speak to the heroes, explaining that a giant dragon called the Mana Beast will soon be summoned to combat the Fortress. However, the Beast has little control over its rage and will likely destroy the world as well. [19] The Mana Tree also reveals that it was once the human wife of Serin, the original Mana Knight and the hero's father. The voice heard at Potos' waterfall was that of Serin's ghost. [20]

The trio flies to the Mana Fortress and confronts Thanatos, who is preparing to transfer his mind into Dyluck. With the last of his strength, Dyluck warns that Thanatos has sold his soul to the underworld and must not be allowed to have the Fortress. [21] Dyluck kills himself, forcing Thanatos to revert to a skeletal lich form, which the party defeats. The Mana Beast finally flies in and attacks the Fortress. The hero expresses reluctance to kill the Beast, fearing that with the dispersal of Mana from the world, the sprite will vanish. [22] With the sprite's encouragement, he uses the fully energized Mana Sword to slay the Beast, causing it to explode and transform into snow. [23] At the conclusion of the game, the hero is seen welcomed back in Potos, returning the Mana Sword to its place beneath the waterfall.


Secret of Mana writer and producer Hiromichi Tanaka HiromichiTanaka20070131.jpg
Secret of Mana writer and producer Hiromichi Tanaka

Secret of Mana was directed and designed by Koichi Ishii, the creator of the game's Game Boy predecessor, Final Fantasy Adventure . He has stated that he feels Secret of Mana is more "his game" than other projects he has worked on, such as the Final Fantasy series. [24] The game was programmed primarily by Nasir Gebelli and produced by veteran Square designer Hiromichi Tanaka. The team hoped to build on the foundation of Final Fantasy Adventure, and they included several modified elements from that game and from other popular Square titles in Secret of Mana. In addition to having better graphics and sound quality than its predecessor, the attack power gauge was changed to be more engaging, and the weapon leveling system replaced Final Fantasy Adventure's system of leveling up the speed of the attack gauge. [7] The party system also received an upgrade from the first Mana game: instead of temporary companions who could not be upgraded, party members became permanent protagonists and could be controlled by other players. [7] The multiplayer component was not a part of the original design, but was added when the developers realized that they could easily make all three characters human-controlled. [24]

The real-time battle system used in Secret of Mana has been described by its creators as an extension of the battle system used in the first three flagship Final Fantasy titles. The system for experience points and leveling up was taken from Final Fantasy III . [25] According to Tanaka, the game's battle system features mechanics that had first been considered for Final Fantasy IV . Similarly, unused features in Secret of Mana were appropriated by the Chrono Trigger team, which like Final Fantasy IV was in production at the time. [24] According to Tanaka, the project was originally intended to be Final Fantasy IV, with a "more action-based, dynamic overworld". However, it "wound up not being" Final Fantasy IV anymore, but instead became a separate project codenamed "Chrono Trigger" during development, before finally becoming Seiken Densetsu 2. Tanaka said that it "always felt like a sequel" to Final Fantasy III for him. [26]

Secret of Mana was originally planned to be a launch title for the SNES-CD add-on. [27] [28] After the contract between Nintendo and Sony to produce the add-on failed, and Sony repurposed its work on the SNES-CD into the competing PlayStation console, Square adapted the game for the SNES cartridge format. The game had to be altered to fit the storage space of a SNES game cartridge, which is much smaller than that of a CD-ROM. [29] The developers initially resisted continuing the project without the CD add-on, believing that too much of the game would have to be cut, but they were overruled by company management. As a result of the hardware change, several features had to be cut from the game, and some completed work needed to be redone. [24] [28] One of the most significant changes was the removal of the option to take multiple routes through the game that led to several possible endings, in contrast to the linear journey in the final product. [7] The plot that remained was different than the original conception, and Tanaka has said that the original story had a much darker tone. [24] Ishii has estimated that up to forty percent of the planned game was dropped to meet the space limitations, and critics have suggested that the hardware change led to technical problems when too much happens at once in the game. [24] [30] In 2006, Level magazine claimed that Secret of Mana's rocky development was Square's main inspiration to move their games, such as the Final Fantasy series, from Nintendo consoles to Sony consoles in 1996. [24]

The English translation for Secret of Mana was completed in only 30 days, mere weeks after the Japanese release, [27] and the North American localization was initially advertised as Final Fantasy Adventure 2. [31] Critics have suggested that the translation was done hastily so that the game could be released in North America for the 1993 holiday season. [29] According to translator Ted Woolsey, a large portion of the game's script was cut out in the English localization due to space limitations. [27] [32] To display text on the main gameplay screen, the English translation uses a fixed-width font, which limits the amount of space available to display text. Woolsey was unhappy that he had to trim conversations to their bare essentials and that he had so little time for translation, commenting that it "nearly killed me". [33] The script was difficult to translate as it was presented to Woolsey in disordered groups of text, like "shuffling a novel". [32] Other localizations were done in German and French. The Japanese release only named the three protagonists in the manual, [34] while Western versions omitted the characters' names until the enhanced port on the iOS. [35] [36]


Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta Hiroki Kikuta.jpg
Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta

The original score for Secret of Mana was composed and produced by Hiroki Kikuta. Kenji Ito, who had composed the soundtrack for Final Fantasy Adventure, was originally slated for the project, but was replaced with Kikuta after he had started on other projects, such as Romancing SaGa . Secret of Mana was Kikuta's first video game score, and he encountered difficulties in dealing with the hardware limitations of the Super NES. Kikuta tried to express in the music two "contrasting styles" to create an original score which would be neither pop music nor standard game music. [37] Kikuta worked on the music mostly by himself, spending nearly 24 hours a day in his office, alternating between composing and editing to create a soundtrack that would be, according to him, "immersive" and "three-dimensional". [38] Rather than having sound engineers create the samples of instruments like most game music composers of the time, Kikuta made his own samples that matched the hardware capabilities of the Super NES. These custom samples allowed him to know exactly how each piece would sound on the system's hardware, so he did not have to worry about differences between the original composition and the Super NES. [39] Kikuta stated in 2001 that he considered the score for Secret of Mana his favorite creation. [40]

The soundtrack's music includes both "ominous" and "light-hearted" tracks, and is noted for its use of bells and "dark, solemn pianos". [41] Kikuta's compositions for the game were partly inspired by natural landscapes, as well as music from Bali. [42] [43] Hardware limitations made the title screen to the game slowly fade in, and Kikuta designed the title track to the game, "Fear of the Heavens", to sync up with the screen. At that time, composers rarely tried to match a game's music to its visuals. Kikuta also started the track off with a "whale noise", rather than a traditional "ping", in order to try to "more deeply connect" the player with the game from the moment it started up. Getting the sound to work with the memory limitations of the Super NES was a difficult technical challenge. [39]

An official soundtrack album, Seiken Densetsu 2 Original Sound Version, was released in Japan in August 1993, containing 44 musical tracks from the game. An English version, identical to the Japanese original aside from its localized packaging and track titles, was later released in North America in December 1994 as Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack, making Secret of Mana one of the first Japanese games to inspire a localized soundtrack release outside of Japan. [41] An album of arranged music from Secret of Mana and its sequel Seiken Densetsu 3 was produced in 1993 as Secret of Mana+. The music in the album was all composed and arranged by Kikuta. Secret of Mana+ contains a single track, titled "Secret of Mana", that incorporates themes from the music of both Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3, which was still under development at the time. [44] The style of the album has been described by critics as "experimental", using "strange sounds" such as waterfalls, bird calls, cell phone sounds, and "typing" sounds. [45] The music has also been described by critics as covering many different musical styles, such as "Debussian impressionist styles, his own heavy electronic and synth ideas, and even ideas of popular musicians". [44] The latest album of music from the game is a 2012 arranged album titled Secret of Mana Genesis / Seiken Densetsu 2 Arrange Album. The 16 tracks are upgraded versions of the original Super NES tracks, and Kikuta said in the liner notes for the album that they are "how he wanted the music to sound when he wrote it", without the limitations of the Super NES hardware. Critics such as Patrick Gann of RPGFan, however, noted that the differences were minor. [46] Music for the 2018 remake, which features remastered versions of the original soundtrack, was overseen by Kikuta and arranged by numerous game composers, such as Yuzo Koshiro and Tsuyoshi Sekito. [47] The soundtrack was released as an album, also titled Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack, shortly after the remake's release in February 2018. [48]


In 1999, Square announced they would be porting Secret of Mana to Bandai's handheld system WonderSwan Color as one of nine planned games for the system. [49] No such port was ever released. A mobile phone port of Secret of Mana was released on October 26, 2009. [50] A port of the game for iOS was revealed at E3 2010, and released on Apple's App Store on December 21, 2010. [51] The port fixed several bugs, and the English script was both edited and retranslated from the original Japanese. [52] The enhanced port from the iOS version was released on Android devices in 2014. [53] A port for the Nintendo Switch was released with ports of Final Fantasy Adventure and Seiken Densetsu 3 as part of the Collection of Mana on June 1, 2017, in Japan, and June 11, 2019 in North America. [54] [55] The game was released as one of the games included on the Super NES Classic Edition on September 29, 2017. [56] In August 2017, a 3D remake of the game was announced for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Microsoft Windows and was released on February 15, 2018. [57]


Aggregate scores
GameRankings (SNES) 87% [58]
Metacritic (iOS) 80/100 [59]
(PS4) 63/100 [60]
(PC) 57/100 [61]
Review scores
Dragon Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [62]
Edge 9 / 10 [63]
EGM 35 / 40 [64]
Eurogamer 9 / 10 [65]
Famitsu 33 / 40 [66]
GameFan 363 / 400 [67]
GamePro 18 / 20 [68]
IGN 9.0 / 10 [69]
Nintendo Power 3.9 / 5 [70]
ONM (SNES) 93% [71]
(WII) 92% [72]
RPGFan90% [1]
Slide to Play(iOS) Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [52]

According to Square Enix, as of February 2004, Secret of Mana had shipped 1.83 million copies worldwide, with 1.5 million of those copies being shipped in Japan and 330,000 abroad. [73] The abroad figure is challenged by Next Generation , who claim that the game sold over 500,000 copies in the US alone. [74] The initial shipment of games in Japan sold out within days of the release date. [75] Edge noted in November 1993 that the game was "the most widely covered game of the year in Japan", with a high number of sales, but was released in North America "completely un-hyped and mostly unheard of". [63] Despite this, Secret of Mana went on to become the second best-selling Super NES game on Babbage's North American chart in October 1993, behind only Mortal Kombat . [76] According to Next Generation, it was surprisingly popular for a role-playing game, contributing to the genre's growing popularity in the West. [74]

Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine's reviewers heavily praised the graphics, music, and multiplayer gameplay, saying that it had "some of the best music I've ever heard from a cartridge". They hoped that other companies would take the game's lead in adding multiplayer modes to role-playing games. [64] Diehard GameFan 's review of the game named the multiplayer as the game's best component, with reviewer Kelly Rickards saying that while the graphics were nice, the multiplayer "made the game". [67] GamePro 's review praised the graphics, plot, "first-rate gameplay" and "positively massive" world "dwarfing even Zelda", while stating the gameplay and multiplayer were "rough around the edges", concluding it to be "one of the finest action/RPGs" on the SNES. [68] Nintendo Power called it an "enthralling epic", praising the "wide variety of sites and terrain," music, "Beautiful graphics and great depth of play" but criticizing the "unnecessarily long" sword powering-up and "awkward" item selection method. [70]

Secret of Mana was awarded Game of the Month in December 1993 and Best Role-Playing Game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. [64] [77] In its annual Megawards, GameFan awarded it Best Action/RPG (SNES). [78] GamePro gave it the award for Role-Playing Game of the Year, ahead of Lufia and Shadowrun as runners-up. [79]

Edge's review said that Secret of Mana was better than contemporary role-playing games Ys I & II , The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past , and Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole . The review stated that Secret of Mana "includes some of the best game design and features ever seen: simultaneous threeplayer action, the best combat system ever designed, the best player interface ever designed, a superb control system, and yes, some of the most engrossing and rewarding gameplay yet". They concluded that the game was one of the best action RPGs or adventure games. [63] Game designer Sandy Petersen reviewed the game in Dragon , and described the game as much like Zelda but with conventional role-playing game features. He predicted that the game would be regarded as a classic. Peterson concluded that Secret of Mana was one of the best SNES role-playing games and that it was "a much larger game than Zelda, with many more types of monsters, character options, and fortresses to explore". [62] Nintendo Magazine System also compared it favorably with A Link to the Past; one reviewer stated that "even the magnificence of Zelda III seems stale in comparison to the incredible features found within this refreshing, exhilarating adventure" while the other stated that it "comes the closest yet" to surpassing Zelda, concluding that Secret of Mana was "one of the greatest graphical RPGs in the history of the world". [71]

In 2008, Lucas Thomas of IGN reviewed the Virtual Console port of Secret of Mana and stated that it was considered one of the best video games ever made. [69] Eurogamer's Dan Whitehead also recommended the port, describing it as "essential" and as the formative game of the Mana series. [65] The iOS port of the game was praised by Nadia Oxford of Slide to Play for its improved graphics and computer-controlled characters. She also praised the quality of the touch controls relative to other role-playing game phone versions, though she disliked that the multiplayer mode had been removed. [52]

In 2014, Edge magazine described Secret of Mana as "one of the high points of the 16bit era". A writer for the magazine noted that, 20 years after Secret of Mana's release, its reputation as a SNES action RPG had been surpassed only by that of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. [30] Review aggregator site GameRankings lists the game as the 13th-highest rated SNES game. [58] In 1996, Super Play ranked Secret of Mana eighth on its list of the best 100 SNES games of all time. [80] It took 42nd place on Nintendo Power magazine's 2006 "Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time" list, and the magazine called it the 86th best game on a Nintendo system. [81] IGN's "Top 100 Games" list ranked the game at number 48 in 2005, [82] number 49 in 2006, [83] and number 79 in 2007, [84] and their 2017 "Top 100 RPGs" list had it as number 7. [85] In 2006, Famitsu 's "All Time Top 100" audience poll ranked it number 97. [86] Secret of Mana was an influential game in its time, and its influence continued into the 2010s. Elements such as its radial ring menu system, described by Edge as "oft-mimicked", were borrowed by later games such as The Temple of Elemental Evil . [30] [6] Its cooperative multiplayer gameplay has been mentioned as an influence on Dungeon Siege III . [87]


  1. Japanese:聖剣伝説(せいけんでんせつ)2 ? , lit. The Legend of the Sacred Sword 2

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<i>Final Fantasy Adventure</i> 1991 Game Boy game

Final Fantasy Adventure, originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden, and later released in Europe as Mystic Quest, is a Final Fantasy spinoff and the first game in the Mana series. Published by Square in 1991 on the Game Boy, it saw a North American re-release by Sunsoft in April 1998.

<i>The Legend of Zelda</i> (video game) action-adventure video game

The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo and designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Set in the fantasy land of Hyrule, the plot centers on a boy named Link, the playable protagonist, who aims to collect the eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom in order to rescue Princess Zelda from the antagonist, Ganon. During the course of the game, the player navigates throughout the overworld and several dungeons, defeating enemies and uncovering secrets along the way.


The Chocobo is a fictional species from the Final Fantasy video game series made by Square and Square Enix. The creature is generally a flightless bird, though certain highly specialized breeds in some titles retain the ability to fly. It bears a resemblance to casuariiformes and ratites, capable of being ridden and otherwise used by player characters during gameplay. Chocobos first appeared in Final Fantasy II and have been featured in almost all subsequent Final Fantasy games, as well as making cameo appearances in numerous other games. A spin-off Chocobo series featuring chocobos has also been created.

<i>Mana</i> (series) video game series

The Mana series, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu, is a medieval-fantasy action role-playing game series created by Koichi Ishii, with development formerly from Square, and is currently owned by Square Enix. The series began as a handheld side story to Square's flagship franchise Final Fantasy, though the Final Fantasy elements were subsequently dropped starting with the second installment, Secret of Mana, in order to become its own series. It has grown to include games of various genres within the fictional world of Mana, with recurring stories involving a world tree, its associated holy sword, and the fight against forces that would steal their power. Several character designs, creatures, and musical themes reappear frequently.

<i>Sword of Mana</i> 2003 video game

Sword of Mana, originally released in Japan as Shin'yaku: Seiken Densetsu, is a 2003 action role-playing game developed by Square Enix and Brownie Brown and published by Square Enix and Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance. It is an enhanced remake of the original Game Boy game Final Fantasy Adventure, which was released as Seiken Densetsu in Japan and Mystic Quest in Europe. Final Fantasy Adventure is the first game in the Mana series, and Sword of Mana is the fifth released game in the series. Set in a high fantasy universe, the game follows an unnamed hero and heroine as they seek to defeat the Dark Lord and defend the Mana Tree from enemies who wish to misuse its power.

Kenji Ito, also known by the nickname Itoken (イトケン), is a Japanese video game composer and musician. He is best known for his work on the Mana and SaGa series, though he has worked on over 30 video games throughout his career as well as composed or arranged music for over 15 other albums, concerts, and plays. He learned to play several instruments at a young age, and joined Square directly out of college as a composer in 1990 at the advice of a professor. He worked there for over a decade, composing many of his best-known scores. In 2001, he left Square to become a freelance composer, but has since continued to collaborate with the company.

<i>Legend of Mana</i> 1999 Square Enix role-playing video game

Legend of Mana is a 1999 action role-playing game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation. It is the fourth game in the Mana series, following 1995's Trials of Mana. Set in a high fantasy universe, the game follows an unnamed hero as they restore the land of Fa'Diel by creating the world around them and completing a number of interrelated quests in order to restore the Tree of Mana.

1-Up Studio Inc., formerly Brownie Brown Inc., is a Japanese Nintendo-funded and -owned video game developer founded on June 30, 2000 in Tokyo, Japan. On February 1, 2013, the company announced that due to their recent co-development efforts with Nintendo, that they were undergoing a change in internal structure, which included changing the name of their company to 1-Up Studio.

<i>Trials of Mana</i> 1995 SNES game

Trials of Mana, originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 3, is a 1995 action role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the Super Famicom. It is the sequel to the 1993 game Seiken Densetsu 2, and is the third installment in the Mana series. Set in a high fantasy world, the game follows three heroes as they attempt to claim the legendary Mana Sword and prevent the Benevodons from being unleashed and destroying the world. It features three lengthy main plotlines and six different possible main characters, each with their own storylines, and allows two players to play simultaneously. Trials of Mana builds on the gameplay of its predecessor with multiple enhancements, including the use of a time progression system with transitions from day to night and weekday to weekday in game time, and a wide range of character classes to choose from, which provides each character with an exclusive set of skills and status progression.

<i>Dawn of Mana</i> 2006 video game

Dawn of Mana is a 2006 action-adventure game for the PlayStation 2. It was developed and published by Square Enix. It is the eighth game of the Mana series and the third entry in the World of Mana subseries, following the release of Children of Mana nine months prior and Friends of Mana two months prior. Set in a high fantasy universe, Dawn of Mana follows a young hero, Keldric, as he journeys to close a portal to a land of darkness that has been opened in the base of the Tree of Mana and is corrupting the world.

<i>Children of Mana</i> 2006 action role-playing video game for the Nintendo DS

Children of Mana is a 2006 action role-playing game for the Nintendo DS handheld console. It was developed by Square Enix and Nex Entertainment, and published by Square Enix and Nintendo. It is the sixth game of the Mana series—following 2003's Sword of Mana—and the first entry in the World of Mana subseries. Set in a high fantasy universe, Children of Mana follows one of four young heroes as they combat an invasion of monsters and learn about the cataclysmic event that killed their families.

Nasir Gebelli is an Iranian-American programmer and video game designer usually credited in his games as simply Nasir. Gebelli co-founded Sirius Software, created his own company Gebelli Software, and worked for Squaresoft. He became known in the early 1980s for producing the first fast action games for the Apple II computer, including 3D shooters, launching the Apple II as a gaming machine. This established him as one of the pioneers of computer gaming, and one of the greatest Apple II game designers. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, he became known for his home console work at Squaresoft, where he was part of Square's A-Team, programming the first three Final Fantasy games, the Famicom 3D System titles 3-D WorldRunner and Rad Racer, and Secret of Mana.

The Mana series, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu, is a role-playing video game series from Square Enix, created by Koichi Ishii. The series began as a handheld side story to Square's flagship franchise Final Fantasy, although most Final Fantasy-inspired elements were subsequently dropped, starting with the second installment, Secret of Mana. It has since grown to include games of various genres within the fictional world of Mana. The music of the Mana series includes soundtracks and arranged albums of music from the series, which is currently composed of Final Fantasy Adventure and its remake Sword of Mana, Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Legend of Mana, Dawn of Mana, Children of Mana, Friends of Mana, Heroes of Mana, Circle of Mana, and Rise of Mana. Each game except for Friends and Circle has produced a soundtrack album, while Adventure has sparked an arranged album as well as a combined soundtrack and arranged album, Legend of Mana has an additional promotional EP, and music from Secret and Seiken Densetsu 3 were combined together into an arranged album. For the series' 20th anniversary, a 20-disc box set of previously-released albums was produced, as well as an album of arrangements by Kenji Ito, composer for several games in the series.

<i>Heroes of Mana</i> video game

Heroes of Mana is a 2007 real-time strategy game for the Nintendo DS. It was developed by Brownie Brown and Square Enix and published by Square Enix. It is the ninth game of the Mana series and the fourth entry in the World of Mana subseries, following the release of Dawn of Mana three months prior. Set in a high fantasy universe, Heroes of Mana follows a young soldier, Roget, as he journeys to defend several nations from the ruthless aggression of his own country in a series of battles.

The Japanese video game developer and publisher Square Enix has been translating its games for North America since the late 1980s, and the PAL region and Asia since the late 1990s. It has not always released all of its games in all major regions, and continues to selectively release games even today depending on multiple factors such as the viability of platforms or the condition of the game itself. The process of localization has changed during that time from having a one-person team with a short time and tight memory capacities to having a team of translators preparing simultaneous launches in multiple languages.

Masayoshi Soken is a Japanese video game composer and sound editor who has worked for Square Enix since 2001. Soken is known for scoring Mario Hoops 3-on-3 and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Throughout his musical career, Soken has also gone under the names "Masayoshi Kikuchi", "Sorbonne Soken", and "Luis Noma".

<i>Rise of Mana</i> 2014 video game

Rise of Mana is a Japanese action role-playing video game developed by Square Enix and Goshow for iOS, Android and PlayStation Vita. It was published by Square Enix in 2014 for mobile devices and 2015 for the Vita. It is the eleventh game in the Mana series, featuring a new narrative unconnected to other games in the series. The gameplay uses a similar action-based battle system to earlier Mana titles while using a free-to-play model in common with mobile titles. The story focuses on two characters, an angel and a demon, who are cast down to the mortal world in the midst of a battle and are forced to share a body in order to survive.

<i>Adventures of Mana</i>

Adventures of Mana is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix. It is a 3D remake of the 1991 Game Boy game Final Fantasy Adventure, the first game in the Mana series. It was released worldwide for Android and iOS on February 4, 2016; a PlayStation Vita version was also released on the same date in Japan, and in June 2016 in North America, South America and Europe. In addition to these releases, Square Enix has said that they are considering developing versions for PlayStation 4 and personal computers.


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