There are plenty of valid reasons to remake a classic game. Promoting an older game to a new generation is always a great reason, which requires some modernization. Using modern technology to improve upon the flaws of the original is a good reason if such flaws exist. As many good reasons as there could possibly be, none of them guarantee that a remake will be good. A remake can never replicate the innovations that a classic made to the world of gaming. This is true for most classic games and it is certainly true for Secret of Mana.
The Role You Play
In the beginning of the game, you assume the role of Randi, a young orphan residing in Potos Village. One day, he receives a mysterious call from the Mana sword, compelling him to remove it from its resting place in a stone near the village. This event marks the start of his journey, as he is tasked with visiting eight distinct temples to rejuvenate and amplify the sword’s strength.
Later in the story, he is joined by Primm, a skilled martial artist and princess from Pandora. Her main goal is to rescue her boyfriend, Dyluck. Additionally, they are accompanied by Popoi, a young sprite who has lost much of their memory and has a strong desire to discover their origins. Together, this trio embarks on an adventurous journey working together to complete their respective goals.
The game’s storyline begins when Randi pulls the Mana sword from its resting place. Shortly after, a multitude of monsters are unveiled, leading to the belief that pulling the sword may have been the cause of their appearance. Randi quickly discovers that the Mana sword he possesses has lost its power and requires recharging. In order to restore its strength and prevent the resurrection of the mighty mana fortress that previously wreaked havoc on the world, he, along is allies Primm and Popoi, embarks on a quest to visit the eight sacred mana temples.
All three characters have the ability to engage in combat with various weapons and utilize a range of items. Additionally, Primm and Popoi acquire a diverse array of magical abilities as they progress further in the game. This enables them to have a wide selection of magical spells at their disposal during battles.
The combat in Secret of Mana adds an interesting layer of complexity. Some enemies have better evasion skills than others, making them challenging to hit. Additionally, different weapons are more effective against enemies at varying elevations or those that are floating. This adds strategic depth to the gameplay and requires players to consider their weapon choices carefully for maximum effectiveness.
It’s also possible to encounter enemies who are resistant to conventional weapons and can only be defeated using magic. This adds another layer of challenge and requires players to adapt their combat strategies in various situations throughout the game.
Immersing yourself in thrilling combat encounters and venturing into the expansive world of the game can offer an incredibly enjoyable and engaging experience. Additionally, there is a strong temptation to enhance the magical abilities and weaponry of each character by leveling them up. This adds depth and excitement to gameplay as players strive to maximize their characters’ potential. Whether you find yourself getting stuck on a challenging boss or simply wanting to spend more time in a particular area, Secret of Mana typically requires around 15 hours to fully complete.
Like the original, the soundtrack for the Secret of Mana Remake was composed solely by Hiroki Kikuta. Unfortunately, this decision may have been one of the game’s single biggest missteps. The tone and instrumentation is all over the place, ranging from classical to electronic. The melodies are performed by just about every instrument imagineable and every track just sounds bizarre. The updated soundtrack does a bad job of engaging the player and creating atmosphere and it just seems like it was different for the sake of being different.
The only minor consolation is that players have the options of swapping out the new soundtrack for the old soundtrack from the original Super Nintendo game.
Secret of Mana is very clearly a straightforward remake of the Super Nintendo classic of the same name. As such, it’s able to incorporate a lot of elements from the classic game into the new one. For example, the remake uses the map of the original as a minimap to help players navigate the world. This also serves as a testament that very little has changed in terms of changes made to the overall layout of the game. Everything else from the menu layouts to the world design to the soundtrack is pretty much imported from the original game, so it will appeal to fans of the classic.
The Talking Parts
The story of Secret of Mana is very dialog-driven. Each of the main characters has their own motivation, and they bring their own personality to match.
For example, Randi is driven by his desire to defeat the villains and save the day. Primm is deeply concerned about rescuing Dyluck and becomes anxious when he slips away from her. On the other hand, Popoi’s primary objective is to safeguard the world’s Mana, although their behavior is very immature and childlike. The characters in the story have strong connections with each other and often exhibit behaviors similar to one another, especially during intense situations. This can lead to heated moments where one character may unexpectedly attack someone using whatever weapon they have equipped.
In the remake, characters are a lot more expressive and their designs do a lot more to display what they are supposed to look like. There are also voiced cut scenes where characters speak their lines and emote how they feel during very emotional moments. While it is not perfect, it does a good job of conveying what it is supposed to.
Z…We’ve Reached the End. Anything Else?
The Secret of Mana remake had the chance to address the minor issues present in the original game, but didn’t. For example, the AI characters still tend to get stuck in certain areas, forcing players to backtrack in order to free them. The weapon orbs that were missing in the original are still missing in the remake. The original version of the game had a significant issue with hit detection, but it seems that the remake has gone to the opposite extreme and overcorrected this problem. In the game, there is a strategy that allows players to rapidly attack enemies and inflict significant damage within a limited timeframe. By repetitively using attacks or magic, it’s becomes very easy to defeat bosses. However, it’s important to note that enemies can also employ this tactic against players, which can result in quick defeat.
Secret of Mana is a strictly by-the-numbers remake of a classic game. It’s disappointing that it could’ve been a lot better if it had more time and effort put into it. As it stands, it’s a decent remake that will likely capture the hearts of younger fans, but it’s not better than the classic.
Final Score: 7/10
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