Secret of Mana - Spoof Review  

What IS the Secret of Mana, and Why is it so Well-known?
by JuMeSyn

~30 hours


Rating definitions 

   Dude, back in í93 people had this totally awesome action-RPG to play on the bitchiní SNES, man. It was like, Square hadnít put much out on the SNES for the English speakers in awhile, and they went ĎWhoa, man! We gotta give the people something!í So some cool dude named Ted Woolsey got to translate this game for the people, and he was so totally underrated. Itís like, maybe he didnít satisfy the purists (or something), but to translate the whole game in six weeks, itís AWESOME man. And then all the cool guys and gals went and bought this radical Secret of Mana, and they said Ė ĎDude! Gnarly!í

   So thereís a kinda cool story behind Secret of Mana. Yeah, itís not all, like, deep and stuff, but it totally works as a reason for wandering around and kicking some butt. Thereís a dude who doesnít really have a name until the player gives it to him, and he falls into a pond and he canít get out unless he picks up this sweet sword thatís just sitting around in the pond, so he can cut the plants that are really overgrown. And then he gets back home, and everyoneís all, ĎDude! Whyíd you pull up that sword when itís got the onus of bringing disaster upon the one who holds it?í And then some big and totally heinous ant thing comes in, and the guy needs to go all exterminator on its ugly exoskeleton! And then all the really not cool people throw him out of his home, so he runs off somewhere else and finds a girl and some cool thing called a sprite (they donít have names either until they get written in at the very beginning) and the girl has a most uncool thing happening where her boyfriend is, like, kidnapped and stuff! So they run into these bogus dudes from the Empire who want to grab the power of Mana to rule the world, and itís time to kick their ugly mugs all over the place and save Mana! Yeah, itís not really original or anything like that, but it works, man!

From the secret files of the Walt Disney Corporation, evidence of how hard it truly was to get those unnaturally energetic songbirds away from their mother! From the secret files of the Walt Disney Corporation, evidence of how hard it truly was to get those unnaturally energetic songbirds away from their mother!

   I could totally see why some young punk might say ĎThese graphics suck, man! Sprites are so not cool!í And yeah, yíknow, even by the standards of sprites these arenít quite the greatest. But even if they arenít super awesome, theyíre still tubular! The three main characters have a lot of animations, man. All the magic effects look different too, and itís even more gnarly that the magic looks different when itís multi-targeted! Sweetness is what I see here, yíknow? Yeah, itís kinda lame that a lot of enemies get palette-swapped and called something new Ė but at least they donít act the same as the early types! And itís cool that Square gave them really groovy colors, so thereís no way to confuse the enemies with earlier ones!

   The music is trippy, but not the trippiest ever. Thereís some good stuff here, man, but it takes, like, a calculated ear to dig what Hiroki Kikuta put onto the cartridge. Itís tough to talk about what the man did if you havenít heard it, dude! I guess thereís some way cool rhythms not heard elsewhere, and his stuff puts a whole lot of super atmosphere into the environment. Yup, thatís it; sweet atmosphere in Secret of Mana music, dude. But, yíknow, all the sweet graphics and sound in the world really donít mean much if itís totally bogus to play the thing. So it rocks that Secret of Mana is so sweet to play. Itís sorta like a Zelda game, everybody knows what that means, right? The three characters are grooviní and the enemies pop up and get right in their faces, and the characters smack Ďem around. No menus or waiting, man, just hit ĎBí and whichever one of the characters youíre controlling uses a weapon and smacks something! Wait, somebody wants to switch characters? Oh, thatís awesome; hit ĎSelectí and it happens! As if that wasnít tight enough, you can hit ĎYí and bring up the ring system! Then change the weapon equipped, or mess around with the handy statistical stuff, or use an item, or cast some magic! The boy canít cast magic for some reason, so donít even try it with him Ďcuz itíd be a most heinous waste of time! And thatís it, really Ė oh yeah, when the menus are up everything stops, which is righteous when having things attacking all the time would hurt a lot, dude. Gotta say also that the characters not currently smacking things all over the place are governed by some totally not-bad-considering-the-age AI that you can adjust, dudes!

   So I should talk about the outrageous weapons system, dude. Here it goes; thereís just eight weapons in the whole game. Whoa, whoa, take a chill pill, most overly-aggressive reader! These weapons, they go deeper than the totally shallow surface picture. See, all three characters can charge their attacks with the weapons! And even if they donít, thereís this meter that has to charge up between each attack or else the attack does an outrageously small amount of damage, so that they canít just smack things all day long! But what about the people who want the truly funky BIG smackdown-age? Dude, I was just talking about that! See, when a character uses a weapon all the time the character gets to learn about it! And the character can hit different levels with the weapon, like, say, the glove. The girl can charge up a special when she knows level 1 with the glove, or if she knows level 2 she can charge up a stronger special, but man-oh-man does it take longer if she wants the gnarly power! The weapons get stronger too, cuz, yísee, after a boss fight thereís this weapon orb, and with some money leaving your hands then the weaponíll get upgraded, which means a new level to learn on it! Dude, it totally means it takes a long time if you want all the levels learned with everybody!


   Some more funky stuff about the magic system, dude! The girl and the sprite learn some spells as the game goes on, but itís not that easy, most heinously. The magic of each element comes at level 0, and the only way to get it totally funky is to use it a lot and level it up! But, yíknow, the magic only goes to the level of the number of Mana seeds (elementals youíve gotten on your team, dudes) there are at that point. So when youíve got just Undine and can only get the magic to level 1 itís a lot easier than at the end when you get Dryad and gotta get a new magic up to level 8! And believe me, dudes, the magic is TOTALLY worth upping the effectiveness of!

   See, thatís because not making the magic strong is gonna usher in a world of hurt! Secret of Mana isnít REALLY hard but it can smack the unprepared down, and weak magic makes all the difference between taking out a boss before you run out or dying most egregiously! Itís an action-RPG so you can try running away from things if theyíre beating the crap out of you, but if they ARE beating the crap out of you youíre probably dead already! Oh yeah, and although the menus work pretty well, youíre gonna wonder why you can only carry 4 of every item at any one time, because more would be really super! Thatís part of why itís kinda hard, dudes!

   I can totally dig the people who wanna replay this game, man. There arenít any extra story bits or cool things to dig up, itís just a blast. Yup, itís that cool to play. And even the most groovy out there canít take this game in a day, when thereís a lot to go through. Seiken Densetsu 3 is longer but itís way cool how much happens in Secret of Mana before it ends, dudes! Not like it drags though, except maybe in that HUGE sunken continent. That took a long time to get through, man; the place was most egregiously painful too.

   This is most definitely a bodacious game for the SNES, guys and gals! Itís got the action, itís got the aesthetics, itís got the fun! Oh yeah, I forgot to say that if youíre not a total outcast and have a friend or two, they can join in! Itís awesome to have someone else fighting with you using another controller! So this is a sweet game, and all the people who havenít played it are TOTALLY missing out! Way cool, grab a spear and stick it to the uglies!

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