TBT REVIEW: Secret of Mana
When gamers hear the title Secret of Mana, a wealth of emotions and memories come flooding back to them. Stories about saving the world, a legendary sword, awesome gameplay, a vibrant world to explore, and that renowned soundtrack are what often come to the minds of players whom have had the pleasure of experiencing this game. It was an instant classic at its debut and still manages to outshine its contemporaries. Clearly Koichi Ishii and his team managed to produce something so extraordinary that it not only resulted in everlasting praise by its fanbase, but it earned the legendary prestige the Mana series is now judged by.
Secret of Mana is the game that sets the standards for the series, introducing the iconic Mana styles that permeate the sights, sounds, and tales within each game. For the uninitiated, Secret of Mana is the first in a line of games that tells an epic tale of good versus evil with power, corruption, and balance at its center. At the heart of the story is the Mana Tree, the source of all life in the world, the Mana Seeds, the conduit for Mana, and Mana itself, the power which the Tree uses for all its creation. If the Seeds are unsealed and Mana power is unchecked and abused for evil purpose, it and the world are thrown out of balance. When this happens a hero will emerge, wielding the Sword of Mana, to put an end to the evil and restore balance by resealing the Seeds. The cyclical nature of history once again sees the need for a wielder of the Sword, as the evil King Vandole wishes to siphon the world’s Mana in order to raise the ultimate weapon, the Mana Fortress. Our hero, along with a heroine and a sprite (named Randi, Primm, and Popoi in the original Japanese manual), set off into the world to rally support, find and seal the eight Mana Seeds that can power the Sword, and put an end to Vandole’s tyrannical plot.