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Armor in Secret of Mana is sometimes only available for one specific character (Randi, Primm or Popoi) to wear.
Pieces of armor add extra protection from damage, and can be obtained or purchased all over the world. When the show is over, there’s only the memory of Thanatos, and the promise that later in the game, you will meet him again. I only remember the ice level music, because the still, crystalline music composed for any game’s ice levels tend to be the ones I remember, but that first clip is fantastic. I recall Secret of Mana being secondary to Chrono Trigger in my affections, but really loving the intense, super-saturated color palette and art direction.
Fun factor-wise it holds up very well, though if you know the history behind its development, the simplistic dialogue and pacing issues will stand out more. I really need to play through this game again, hopefully with some online co-op or something. All of the big ones do, actually.  One can even pull off Neo Geo emulation in fighting games, which is rather impressive. Man, I still remember watching my older brother fly the dragon around in the late game and how badly I wanted to do the same. I replayed Chrono Trigger three or four years back, and I was shocked at how well it held up – its narrative was still more sophisticated and fun than 99% of JRPGs to follow, and the game is a fucking blast throughout. Incidentally, Mode 16 or whatever it was called for when you got a flying creature in those old SNES games and the map shifted like that — it used to scare me. Yeah, when you realize you can level up the magic a little grinding and the games is not that hard. This game kind of holds a special place for me as one of the few games that my older sister played with me. A couple of years ago I found a copy of it online and gave it to her for Christmas (her family has a SNES). Also, since I haven’t actually played this game, my contributions to the conversation are necessarily limited to mentioning my own favourite camp villain. My play style in Secret of Mana was to grind weapons and magic between dungeons, and then run through dungeons as fast as possible.
Although I was into all the other RPGs from that era, I could never get into SoM at the time. SoM’s localization was flawed, and Square knew it (someone mentioned 40% of the game is missing or something?). I, too, think the series’ next 2 entries are the best incarnations, where a heavily linear story-based solo run is combined with tons of character flexibility and item collecting. SD3 is definitely better, but there’s no way Legend of Mana is better than Secret of Mana. What I appreciate about SoM (and FFA before it) is the general absence of fussy little customizations and collection frenzies, which is my least favorite thing about JRPGs.
SoM isn’t incomplete because of the localization, but because of the chaos of its development.
However, there were two things that I remember driving me up the wall, so much so that I put the game down shortly after the aforementioned bazaar scene and didn’t end up picking it back up and playing through until about a decade later via emulator while I was in college. 1) A dearth of the ingredients necessary to perform the alchemical spells that formed the magic system.
2) At least a few unforgiving save points with no recourse save a restart should you find yourself woefully under-prepared for the following scenario (e.g. As a veteran RPG player, I have no problem with the process of grinding, so long as it doesn’t overtake the entire game. When I found my 10-year-old self stuck with a saved file in the pits of the Colosseum, forced to fight a champion I seemed incapable of defeating and with no means of beefing up my character, I felt in some way that the game had stacked the deck against me. As I said, I managed to play through the game about a decade later, aided significantly as I recall by GameFAQS.
That Colosseum battle is indeed really hard – I could only ever beat it with a level 3 spear.
I get the sense that leveling up magic in this game was an afterthought, a reflection of leveling up weapons.
In essence, you only need to level up Heal and Crush, then whatever you’d like (Defend, Lance, Corruption are decent ones). When Evermore came out I BEGGED for it for Christmas, and remember very well the sinking feeling plugging it in the morning of the 25th and seeing the muddy, drab (kinda gross) starting chapter, all vines and mudpits. 2) SoE PLOT SPOILER:  I figured out the butler did it very early on, and my young self felt like a vindicated genius when I (finally) got to the end. Secret of Mana lives on fondly in my mind (although not as much as other games) mostly due to nostalgia, I’d wager. I remember playing this game with my not-so-bright next door neighbor, so I always made him be the boy since I didn’t think he was smart enough to effectively use the other two to cast spells.
But yeah, that’s a pretty solid list of Great RPGs, though I personally think FFVII is only pretty good, and represents a huge step in the wrong direction from Square. While things are a matter of taste, I’m not sure that one can say FFVII is a huge step in the wrong direction, since it was pretty much continuing down the same path as FFVI with better tech behind it.
Masaru Oyamada, producer of Mana for iPhone, reveals on the Square Enix DLG page on Facebook that Secret of Mana has been officially submitted and the team has gotten the OK to release it. The story you aren't seeing here is about the impertinent girl who was given a sound thrashing for being rude to royalty. The armor shop has our first real upgrades, a chain vest for Boy and a Kung Fu Dress for Kid.
Just a bit further down the road the entrance to Gaia's Navel is hidden behind a pair of waterfalls. There's a Cannon Travel Center here, but we've got nowhere else we really want to go right now.
It's filled with Chobin Hoods, annoying little rats that shoot arrows at you if you approach them directly. A switch on the wall releases some water from a pond to cool the magma and make it walkable. Here in Gaia's Navel we find Watts the Blacksmith, who is kind enough to reforge our sword for the measly sum of 100 gold. The fact that his hammer started to glow after working on it clues Watts into what he's working on.

Like a true Dwarf, his first thought is "I bet I can make a kick-ass axe with my new magic hammer." Dorf on, Watts.
The Dwarf Elder is apologetic, but the Sprite seems more impressed with his own cleverness than anything else.
Going back to check on Watts we're interrupted by one of the earthquakes that was mentioned earlier.. The upside is that we now have a way to get to the Underground Palace that has been mentioned a few times. Elder "Long ago, when Elinise, the witch of the north, sealed the palace, she cast a barrier of lava. Released in 1993 to great excitement and widespread acclaim, Secret of Mana is a fusion of early RPG elements with a charm all it's own.
Unbeknownst to many of its fans in the 90s, Secret of Mana is actually a sequel rather than a completely original creation. Well, first off Secret of Mana is a visually stunning game with lots of bright colors, action, and great graphics for the time. The only thing that would have been worse would be if they'd somehow created some kind of mana.. I read an interesting piece some time ago about how most fantasy takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Keep a count of how many times you see names, monsters, and other things that look awfully familiar in this game.
At its heart, Secret of Mana is a simple story about three young people called to a destiny that they never could have predicted and forced to rise above their own limitations. Our ostensible main character is this spiky-haired fashion victim, whose original name was given as Randi.
Our final party member is the Sprite child, who's a deceitful sprat that enjoys playing mean tricks on people. The hero of the story, any story, is the star of the show by default: We started with this person, which immediately gives them the benefit of the doubt. Because if they’re going to be branded and abhorred, they might as well do so with flair. They seek immense power, wishing to control Mana, the magic of the world, and to create an unstoppable fortress from which to rule. The ruins of Pandora are accompanied by the sound of a music box slowly stabbing itself to death.
The halls are narrow and winding, and it’s impossible to make an escape without taking a few licks.
Each eye has magic that far surpasses your own, and the strength to withstand the most savage beatings.
You can either focus on the third eye and take a pounding from its brothers, or take out the sides and start the clock ticking on your spiky death.
It has a similar candy-colored aesthetic, but richer values and a somewhat more painterly rendering.
However, the former problem can be fixed with a ROM patch that switches to a variable-width font and rewrites the dialogue to give it more heft. It is a much better and more fully realized game, definitely closer to what Secret of Mana could (and should) have been. I haven’t really tried it lately, but I would imagine at least one of the big emulators has a decent online-play system. I say that I’m an RPG fan, and there was a time when I played *every* RPG that came out in the US (even the Legaia games, even Thousand Arms, even stuff that was so muddled by the time it got here that it was awful, unbalanced, or both). Although I never had a SNES (although I’ve since retroactively played a lot of the titles I missed), being able to go down to Jumbo Video and pluck Suikoden, Legend of Legaia, Wild Arms, Final Fantasy VII, or Vandal Hearts off the shelf was a big influencing factor on my gaming idiosyncrasies. I remember trying to fly to that teleporting fortress at the end of the game on Flammie and just being terrified.
As long as you invest time in raising magic levels between palaces, most boss fights clock in at under a minute. Gold medal winner in the 100 Metre Camp representing the People’s Republic of Camptown in the Kitsch Olympics is definitely Kuja, who is considered an overly theatrical nutcase even by the characters within the story, where this sort of behaviour is normally ignored as the typical trappings of a main antagonist.
So they made Secret of Evermore, which is an amusing but fun RPG that plays on America and American perceptions on history and fantasy.
See, it was originally planned for the proposed SNES CD, and they got all excited and made a big ambitious game that would take advantage of all that delicious space.
The game was never completed due to time constraints, creating a weird mish-mash of areas, unused quests, and truncated storylines and characters that never really go anywhere. Furthermore, the bazaar sequence in the Roman section was one of the coolest experiences I’d yet to have in a video game, as it required you to run back and forth between vendors within a limited time frame to make exchanges to end up with the best goods (like a VERY compressed series of fetch quests, with a frantic dynamic added by way of a time limit). However, by limiting the resources available to cast spells, it effectively prevented the player from using them except when they were absolutely necessary.
Should I probably have alternated save files to prevent ending up stuck down a particular path I couldn’t handle? I enjoyed the gameplay and the story thoroughly, and I think a lot of what I found challenging at 10 seemed like a breeze at 20 (and with an additional decade of gaming experience under my belt). The latter is a necessity; the former really just to have stronger magic if you want to spend the grind. In the dungeon of the Colosseum, you would find treasure pots that gave you armor, helmet and a shield one level stronger than whatever your strongest was at that point. It has a light-hearted, silly plot that clashes hard with its drab colour pallette and moody ambient soundtrack. FFVII is good, FFIX is good, FFT is good, Parasite Eve is good, Chrono Cross is good, Brave Fencer Musashi is good, Vagrant Story is good, Front Mission 3 is good (if very ugly).
I suspect your primary objection is the big cutscenes, which Square had clearly wanted to do for a very long time and just couldn’t implement. I know how it is; I don't like it when I'm browsing a site and I accidentally trigger an awful flash ad where a big, freakish iPhone starts singing at me. Please, if you enjoy the site, consider adding us to your AdBlock whitelist—it really does make a difference. The monster that should have been sealed in the buried palace escaped, which might mean it's possible to enter it now. In the time the palace has been buried, as many monsters as you can imagine have spawned inside!

The character's icon appears next to the item on the Action Ring in-game to show if this is possible or not. We are privy to their backstory, to the moments where they make difficult decisions for the good of humanity, to their failings and the lessons they learn.
It is dark, with clouds (indoor clouds!) obscuring your vision of the freak-show enemies that skulk in the shadows. This is near the beginning of the game, no less, when your stockpile of healing supplies is likely to be thin. Your reward for reaching the heart of the ruins is a confrontation with the fiend himself, who parades your two kidnapped friends in front of your eyes before zapping them away. But worst of all, and in keeping with the mysticism angle, there is a third, even tougher eye in the center. While you may overcome The Ruins Of Pandora, they linger because Thanatos wants them to linger.
It is quite a well-done patch and I highly recommend using it if you’ve played the game before. You just use Analyzer, find out what they’re weak against, and pound it into them over and over. He made such an impact on me and my brothers that we called difficult bosses Spiky Tigers for years afterward.
Grinding is a bit more tedious than expected (although that doesn’t bother me too much). Then the add on was cancelled, and they had to scramble to shove it into a much smaller cart.
Still, I can remember to this day returning Secret of Evermore to the store with a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth, with no intention of rerenting a game that could so easily force me to toss away several hours of progress.
If you had managed to get the armor, helmet and shield from the marketplace, you would get some supplies that were available nowhere else in the game. I was actually surprised to see it here in an article about (ostensibly) great villains, since the plot and characters are all pretty flat cliches.
Many of their late-period SNES titles had those big, frequently non-interactive story moments which tried to be as visually splashy as possible.
That's why here on the Let's Play Archive we'll only ever serve up nice banners that behave properly.
From here on, leave it to me, BOY!" (When my brothers and I played we could never think of good names that we all agreed on, so we just mashed the controller till we got something funny. Their bankrolls are as deep as that of the Monopoly guy, and they spend every pretty penny on ironic dungeons or pet saber-toothed tigers that shoot fire spells from their claws. And thanks to the gentle, cartoony edges of the character design, when you’re cracking a whip at hooded rats, it feels like handing them a comically large ice cream cone. Given the brutality of the ruins, it’s natural to assume that the boss at the end will be just as unforgiving.
It’s reminiscent of the scene in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince where Dumbledore must drink poison that clouds his mind to reach the evil inside the cup. And the latter issue is easily forgiven considering a substantial chunk of the game was either cut or condensed—some accounts estimate as much as 40% of the game’s content was lost in the transition from CD to cartridge. Strategy doesn’t even come in until about the Grand Palace or so when bosses start casting Wall, and probably the only actual difficult boss aside from the Mana Beast is Thunder Gigas in the Pure Land.
Robotnik (for building a space station shaped like his own head) and Liquid Snake (for stripping his own brother to the waist for the purposes of a climactic shirtless punch-up). And this game was one of the ones that I can credit to teaching me that vital policy (see also: Final Fantasy Tactics and the battle against Wiegraf inside of Riovanes Castle at the end of Chapter 3). Being the completionist kind of child I was, I made a chart of the marketplace and marked down what goods each merchant wanted to trade for, that way I could get as many of the items as possible before the Colosseum event. I’d probably argue that the PS1 era was the best era for Square, no question, and I quite like a lot of their SNES output. They are the brand ambassadors for the ad campaign of evildom, and the best villains know how to sell it.
You might expect bombast from this guy, but Thanatos instills fear with a more insidious touch. You must ration candy, chocolate, and magic power without so much as an inkling of what’s next.
If you beat them back, then the entire wall starts moving, inch by inch, toward those spikes on the other end, Star Wars trash compactor style. He knows you seek the power to destroy him, but given the way he flaunts his own power, he wants you to question what you’ll do once you find it. That’s a surprising amount of work I was able to put up with as a kid for a video game!
But while the good guys skulk around in caves and temples, quietly and doggedly gathering strength, the villains’ havoc is visible merely by looking up at the darkening, lightning-filled sky.
Your first visit to the regal city of Pandora comes with a caveat: People are losing the ability to speak, and these mindless drones are slowly making their way to the ruins south of town, where none dare tread. Oh, and it spits out an endless supply of zombies until you either figure out its secret or run away. This is the first of many cruel mind games Thanatos plays: The fear in your head magnifies the horrors to come. Or countless other acts of villains who delight in the anguish of heroes because they hate something in themselves. Sony figured they still had a slice of fried gold on their hands and turned what they had into a standalone console—and thus was born: the PlayStation.
It’s usually more efficient to advance the story of the game, and level up that way, rather than sticking around the same few screens. Each time you pass through Pandora, the sickness claims a new victim, and the name Thanatos never once enters the conversation.
Finally, when two of your own friends go missing, it’s time to confront the nebulous evil within.

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