Review: Secret Of Mana (SNES)

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Secret of Mana (or in Japanese Seiken Densetsu 2) was one of my favorite games when I was a kid. This roll-playing game takes you way back to what RPG’s were about: leveling-up, action, weapons, magic, and a plot to go with it all. What more do you need? Nowadays, your RPG’s have all these extras that just bog down the game. Let’s bring it back to basics! 

If you’ve never played or even heard of Secret of Mana, I hope my review will sway you to pick it up on the Virtual Console of the Wii.


The story is about a boy named Randi, a sprite named Popoi, and a girl named Primm. Randi (you can name him anything else) accidentally pulled out the legendary Sword of Mana, but in doing so is considered a curse and banished from his home town.

This sword helped keep the balance of power against monsters who were afraid to attack innocent people. Now, with the fate of the world in Randi’s hands, he and his two friends must travel the world to the eight Mana Temples to restore the sword’s power. Doing so allows our heroes to gain the ability to summon the eight elements of Mana (Salamander, Undine, Dryad, Shade, Gnome, Jinn, Luna and Wisp) and cast magic spells.

However, the Emperor and his empire want to use the Mana Sword for ill to gain control of the world, so they begin to pursue the three heroes. The empire itself is being manipulated by a man named Thanatos, who needs a new body to possess, because his is aging and falling apart.

Randi, Popoi, and Primm must stop the empire and Thanatos from destroying the world, the Tree of Mana and bringing the world to complete chaos and destruction. Without a fully charged Sword Of Mana, that will not happen, so be ready to traverse many lands in search of its lost power!


The gameplay for Secret of Mana is one that has rarely been duplicated–even today! Though it’s a typical RPG including level-ups, items, magic spells, and fictitious enemies, you will truly enjoy the battles. It’s not common to say the enemy encounters in an RPG are enjoyable, but SoM really does a good job in making it so.

You control three different characters and can decide which you want to fight as. The game will control the other two (think Kingdom Hearts) or you can have friends play with you as one of them. So essentially the fights can be a three player party against the enemies. The combat is real time and not turn based so you have to pay attention while you traverse the lands of SoM.

Each character has his/her own strengths so you need to play to those. Randi can level-up the various weapons you receive as you play while Primm uses healing and Popoi uses attack magic.

Presentation (Graphics, Music, dialogue, etc.)secret_of_mana_snes_menu1

Secret of Mana has some of the most memorable soundtracks of video game history. There have been many remixes made by fans over at OCRemix. Certain tracks just know how to fit the mood. Whether it’s a battle or tear-jerking scene, the music flows very well. You will truly feel that you are in the particular area because of the music and how it draws you in.

For its time, the graphics were much better than even the Final Fantasy’s. When this game came out, I was in shock as to how great the colors and battles looked. It’s a fast-paced game, the loading times are short, and there’s so many places to visit it will leave you playing for many hours.

The dialogue throughout is fantastic and plays out like a good fiction novel. As you go from one scene to the next, it’s like turning the pages to the next chapter and looking forward to what happens next.

Content Guide

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There are some touching moments in the game that have to do with preserving love (remember Dyluck?), and the bond of friendship between the three characters is important. They lift each other out of the dumps when one is facing a challenge or struggling with their past. I love to see this in video games, as it gives some humanity to the heroes instead of them just being perfect. I believe this is inherent because the Japanese consider groups and relationships to be valuable in life.

Though a good amount of games include the fight between light and dark, it is particularly apparent here. In general, there is a very pleasant feel to the game as you play, especially as you wander throughout the different areas and towns. No foul language or innuendos are part of the dialogue so there’s nothing to fear.


You fight monsters and other creatures with various weapons and spells. From a whip to a sword to an ax, there are a lot of weapons to choose from! The spells vary in their attacks, but no blood, gore, or anything over PG-13 happens. It’s a safe game in this respect, so not much to worry about here. Some enemies have knives or other weapons attached to their bodies and will use them to attack, but again no gore.

Spiritual Contentsecret-of-mana-2

There are witches, spirits and a Mana Beast that is sent by the god of the game’s world. In regards to the spirits you summon, some are derived from folklore like dryad which is a tree spirit or Undine the water spirit. Each represents a different elemental you use to cast spells. I didn’t even realize it was anything spiritual until later on when I looked back at the game.


You need to play this game if you are an RPG fan. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it’s such a rare gem from many moons ago. The second game Seiken Densetsu 3 (It says three, but it’s actually part two in the Mana series.) never came out in America, but I played it through an emulator years back that had it translated in English (Throw your stones!).

You will be taken back to a time of fantasy, magic, and fiction to save the world from evil, You really can’t go wrong there, and it’s a family friendly game that can be enjoyed with at least two other friends!

Have you ever played Secret of Mana? Was your experience with it good or bad? Have you played any of the other Mana games on Playstation or the DS? Let me know in the comments below!

The Bottom Line



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Michael M.

Michael is a child of God, husband, teacher, business owner, anime lover and a life long gamer. When not conquering distant world's via console, he can be found reading, watching anime or Netflix, writing, or just enjoying life as a geek in the city of Miami. He aspires to travel to Japan and possibly...never leave.

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