Secret of Mana (聖剣伝説2 Seiken Densetsu Tsū, lit. "Holy Sword Legend 2"), is an action role-playing game developed and published by Squaresoft (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was directed by Koichi Ishii and programmed by Nasir Gebelli.
Secret of Mana is the second installment in the Mana video game series. This was the only Mana game released on the SNES outside Japan. Most players outside Japan were introduced to the series through this particular game. It was later re-released on the Wii Virtual Console, Apple's iOS, and Android. It was also released on the Super NES Classic and Super Famicom Classic consoles back in 2017 as part of the 21 games list. A high-definition 3D remake was released in early 2018 via Steam on PC, as well as for Sony's PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in both a digital and a limited-run Blu-ray Disc format.
Rather than use the traditional turn-based battle system of games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, Secret of Mana uses real-time battles akin to the Legend of Zelda series' games, but with a stamina bar mechanic, the statistical-based elements of the RPG genre, a unique radial "ring menu" system, and co-op multiplayer. With its brightly colored graphics, expansive plot, and soundtrack by Hiroki Kikuta, Secret of Mana is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and an influential game.
Secret of Mana had a significant impact on the RPG genre. The game's graphical style and overworld battles were adopted by Chrono Trigger. The stamina bar mechanic was later adopted by a number of action RPGs, including King's Field, Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Nioh. The radial menu system has been adopted by many later games, from The Temple of Elemental Evil to Mass Effect, and the co-op multiplayer system was also adopted by a number of games, such as Dungeon Siege III.
As is common with role-playing games of the 16-bit era, Secret of Mana is comprised entirely of a top-down perspective, in which three protagonists (a boy, a girl, and a sprite) navigate through the terrain and fight off hostile creatures. Control may be passed between each of the three at any time. When one character is selected as the player character, his two companions will be controlled via artificial intelligence, and vice-versa. The trio can find refuge in towns, where they can regain hit points (HP) or purchase restorative items and equipment. The game may be played simultaneously by two or three players.
Each of the three characters has individual strengths and weaknesses: The boy, while unable to use magic, excels at fighting and masters weapons at a quicker rate; the girl functions as healer, able to cast restorative and support spells but has average combat abilities; lastly, the Sprite's magic is almost entirely offensive and highly destructive, but it is ill-suited for melee combat. Upon collecting enough experience points in battle, each character will increase in level with improved stats such as strength and evasion. Options such as changing armor and/or weapons, using items, casting spells, or checking status is performed by cycling through the game's Ring Menu, a circular menu that hovers over the currently-controlled party member. The game is momentarily paused when the Action Ring appears.
Elements of battle
Combat takes place in real-time. Located below each character's hit points is a percentage gauge that determines the amount of damage done to an enemy. Swinging a weapon causes the gauge to fall to 0% and then quickly recharge, allowing that character to attack at full strength. The party wields eight different styles of weapons throughout the game: sword, spear, bow, axe, boomerang, glove, whip, and javelin. With the exception of the sword, all weapons can be upgraded eight times, and repeated use increases their Skill Levels to a maximum of 8, unlocking a new charged attack with each level. Weapons are upgraded through the use of Weapon Orbs, generally obtained after defeating a boss or found as a treasure in dungeons. Once an Orb is collected, the weapon must be taken to Watts to be reforged.
Magic in Secret of Mana operates in much the same way as weapon skill progression, with the exception that magic points are consumed each time a spell in cast. In order to learn magic, the party must rescue spirits known as Mana Elementals. The eight Elementals represent different elements (Fire, Water, Earth, etc.), and each provides the player with specific spells. Magic skill can only be as high as the party's current Mana Power, which increases every time the party reseals one of the mana seeds during the course of the game.
Unlike most console role-playing games of the time, Secret of Mana does not switch to an overworld map each time the characters leave a dungeon or town. From the start of the game, players must traverse an enemy-infested countryside in order to reach their next destination. Travel may be expedited through use of Cannon Travel Centers, where non-player characters offer to launch the party (via a giant cannon) to a far-away destination. Cannon-travel usually requires a fee, but is mandatory to visit other continents early on. Later, the party is given access to Flammie, a type of dragon that is controlled by the player and can fly anywhere. These sequences make use of the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 capability to create a rotatable background, giving the illusion that the ground beneath Flammie is rendered in three dimensions. Also, while on Flammie, the player can access either the "rotated map", which presents the world as a globe, or the "world map," a two-dimensional view of the overworld.
The story takes place in a fictional world, during an unspecified period following a war between a civilization and "gods" concerning the use of mana to fuel the "Mana Fortress", a flying warship. Using the power of the Mana Sword, a hero destroyed the fortress and returned peace to the world.
The story begins when three boys from Potos Village disobey their Elder's instructions and trespass into a nearby waterfall, where a treasure is said to be kept. One of the boys stumbles and falls to the bottom of the waterfall, where he finds a rusty sword embedded in a stone. Guided by a disembodied voice, he pulls the sword free, inadvertently unleashing monsters in Potos and the surrounding countryside. The villagers interpret the sword's removal as a bad omen, and banish Randi from Potos forever. An elderly Knight named Gemma recognizes the blade as the legendary Mana Sword, and encourages Randi to re-energize it by visiting the eight Mana Temples. During his journey, Randi is joined by Popoi, a Sprite child, and Primm, the daughter of Elman (a resident of the kingdom of Pandora, possibly a nobleman). Popoi initially tries to con Randi out of his money, but later accompanies him in hope of recovering his lost memory. Primm joins the party in search of her lost love, Dyluck, an officer in Pandora's army who has gone missing.
Throughout their travels, the trio is pursued by the Vandole Empire, which seeks to unseal the eight Mana Seeds and revive the Mana Fortress. Unbeknownst to the Emperor and several of his strongest subordinates, they are being manipulated by Thanatos, an ancient sorcerer who has offered to help them take over the world. Due to his own body's deterioration, Thanatos is in need of a suitable body to possess. After putting the entire kingdom of Pandora under a trance, he abducts two candidates: Dyluck, now enslaved, and a young Pandoran girl named Phanna. Over time, however, Thanatos narrows his selection to Dyluck.
The Empire succeeds in unsealing all eight Mana Seeds. However, Thanatos betrays the Emperor and his henchmen, killing them and seizing control of the Mana Fortress for himself. Randi and his party journey to the Pure Land, the focal point of the world's Mana energy. Anticipating their arrival, Thanatos positions the Mana Fortress over the Mana Tree and destroys it. The charred remains of the Tree speak to the party, explaining that a giant creature called the Mana Beast will soon be summoned to destroy the Fortress. However, the Beast has little control over its rage and will likely destroy the world as well. The Mana Tree then reveals that it is comprised of the souls of women of a chosen lineage, currently speaking with the voice of the boy's mother who is also wife of Serin — the original Mana Knight. The voice heard at Potos' waterfall was that of Serin's ghost — Randi's father.
The trio flies to the Mana Fortress and confronts Thanatos, who is preparing to transfer his mind into Dyluck. With the last of his strength, Dyluck warns that Thanatos has sold his soul to the underworld and must not be allowed to have the Fortress. Dyluck kills himself, forcing Thanatos to revert to a skeletal lich-form which is quickly defeated in battle. The Mana Beast finally reveals itself and attacks the Fortress. Randi expresses reluctance to kill the Beast, fearing that with the dispersal of Mana from the world, the Popoi will vanish. With Popoi's encouragement, the boy uses the fully-energized Mana Sword to slay the Beast, causing it to explode and transform into snow. At the conclusion of the game, Randi is shown returning the Mana Sword to its place beneath the waterfall.
The primary protagonist of Secret of Mana is the boy, who is supported by the spell-casting girl and sprite child. While the three released versions of the game do not have a default name for each of the characters, the Japanese instruction manual refers to the boy, girl and sprite respectively as Randi, Primm and Popoi (or variants thereof). The origin of the heroes' names is somewhat cloudy: they were possibly bestowed by the Japanese Gamest Magazine previewing the game, then followed upon by other magazines and subsequently by Square.
Randi, a.k.a. Randy, the Boy is adopted by the Elder of Potos after his mother disappears. After Randi pulled out the Mana Sword free, the monsters invaded Potos and the villagers persuade the Elder to banish him. Now Randi embarks on his mission with his two new friends to restore the Mana Sword.
Primm, a.k.a. Purim, the Girl meets Randi briefly when he's ambushed by Goblins. After helping him escape, she disappears, only to appear again outside Elinee's Castle. Primm is in love with a warrior named Dyluck, who was ordered by the King to infiltrate Elinee's Castle. Angry with her father and the king for this, as well as setting her up for an arranged marriage, she rebels and leaves the castle to join Randi in his quest, hoping to save Dyluck as well. She is capable of casting defensive and healing spells.
Primm can also be found when the main protagonist enters Pandora castle to meet up with Jema and the king. If she has rescued Randi from the goblins already, she will recruit him to help her find Dyluck, thus skipping what (at this point in the game) is one of the hardest battles the player will face.
Popoi, a.k.a. Popoie, the Sprite at the Dwarf Village who makes a living by scamming people at the dwarves' Freak Show. As he had lost his memory of his past due to the flood to Gaia's Navel, he joins the party with Randi to refresh his memories. Popoi may seem childish at times and is a bit of a smartmouth, but he has courage equal to that of the other two heroes. Popoi's gender has never officially been stated; however, in the Japanese version's script, he uses the first-person pronoun "oira" that is mostly used by male speakers. He is capable of casting offensive spells.
Each time when the players encounter one of the 8 Mana Spirits, they will offer their services to both Primm and Popoi to cast Magic.
Secret of Mana was directed and designed by Koichi Ishii. The game was programmed primarily by Nasir Gebelli and produced by veteran Squaresoft designer Hiromichi Tanaka. After the release of Final Fantasy III, Tanaka wanted to help design a seamless game without a separate battle system. Because this would not work with Final Fantasy IV, he turned to Secret of Mana. Secret of Mana was originally going to be a launch title for the SNES CD add-on, but after the project was dropped, the game had to be altered to fit onto a standard game cartridge. Koichi has estimated that as much as 40% of the game was excised to fit it onto an SNES cartridge, and Hiromachi stated that the original story was much deeper and darker in tone, and that there was simply no room to do any character development in the shrunken game.
According to Tanaka in 2011 and 2013, the game was originally intended to be Final Fantasy IV, before becoming a new project called Chrono Trigger, and then eventually Secret of Mana. In his own words:
“After we finished FFIII, we started FFIV with the idea of a slightly more action-based, dynamic overworld rather than keep combat as a completely separate thing. But, at some point, it wound up not being IV anymore… Instead, it was eventually released as “Seiken Densetsu 2″ (Secret of Mana), but during development it was actually referred to as “Chrono Trigger”. (laugh)
At the time, just after FFIII, we were working with Mr. Toriyama on a game with a seamless, side-view system. A CD-ROM attachment for the Super Famicom was scheduled to be released, you see. So we had this enormous game planned out for the CD-ROM attachment, but ultimately we were never able to release it.
So we had the Chrono Trigger project changed to a new game, and this other game we had been working on was condensed down into Seiken Densetsu 2. Because of this, Seiken 2 always felt like a sequel to FFIII to me.”
The English translation for Secret of Mana was completed in only 30 days, mere weeks after the Japanese release. This was presumably so that the game could be released in North America for the 1993 holiday season. According to translator Ted Woolsey, a large portion of the game's script was cut out in the English localization due to space limitations and a lack of sequential text. The English translation of Secret of Mana uses a fixed-width font to display text on the main gameplay screen. However, the choice of this font limits the amount of space available to display text, and as a result conversations are trimmed to their bare essentials, leaving a good portion of the game lost in translation.
In 1999 as part of their planned nine game lineup, Square announced they would be porting Seiken Densetsu 2 to Bandai's new handheld system WonderSwan Color. The port was delayed and eventually cancelled when Square moved resources to Game Boy Advance development. To this end, a port for the system under the title Sword of Mana 2 was in development circa 2004; but the project was scrapped following the tepid reception of Sword of Mana.
Secret of Mana would not resurface until 2009, by which time much of the original development team had left Square Enix. A new team of developers was tasked with bringing the company's most popular titles to mobile platforms. Among them was Masaru Oyamada, who sought to recreate the original experience while adapting it to these newest technologies. Since the mobile devices of the late 2000s didn't have the same limitations as the consoles of the 16-bit generation, the team was able to make graphical upgrades like redrawing all sprites and backgrounds at a higher resolution. While this remaster was initially released exclusively in Japan on FOMA 903i/703i mobile devices, it would soon be released worldwide on iOS devices in 2010. This version received additional enhancements, such as touchscreen controls and expansion of the user interface with on-screen, customizable shortcuts. The iOS remaster would receive periodic updates over the following five years to address newer devices and was finally ported over to Android devices in 2014. Following reports of serious incompatibilities in the Fall of 2019, Square Enix spent a further six months to rework Secret of Mana for modern iOS devices, releasing a compatibility patch in Spring 2020.
To commemorate the series' 25th anniversary, Square Enix began to do 3D remakes of the original entries. With the success of Adventures of Mana, Square Enix announced a remake of Secret of Mana in August of 2017 for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4. However, as with the Adventures of Mana conversion, the original design staff was not involved in the remake's development. Veteran composer Hiroki Kikuta was brought on board for portions of the remastered musical score. The game was released February 15th, 2018 on PSN as a digital download. In certain Western regions, special promotions were done through retailers like GameStop which sold physical copies of the game with a case for the PlayStation 4 version. Pre-order bonuses also appeared before release which offered simple costume changes for the party.
The remake features a number of major and minor changes from the original. The largest changes were converting 2D sprite artwork into 3D polygons and adding in full voice acting. Also new are party conversations that take place when the player stays at an inn. These skits help expand the party's observations on the plot and offer fun character moments. One graphical feature removed is cannon travel; when players enter a cannon, they simply load into their destination instead of watching them fly through the air. In addition, the game now features minor loading times when transitioning from area to area.
Minor tweaks to the gameplay include a new UI which now showcases the primary weapon of the player-controlled character, seamless party member switching with the directional buttons, analog stick control of party movement, and hot key functionality where the player can prioritize a weapon or specific magic for quick use. Other minor tweaks involved a simplified A.I. control setting for the player, the equipment menu now gives a more detailed report of how equipment alters stats and shows status protection granted.
The remake removes the background animation used when viewing certain things like party status. As well, a new journal option has been added that keeps track of the characters, monsters, and weapons seen through the game. Shops also show if the armor they sell is better than what is equipped. Magic has also been tweaked to prevent the player from chain-casting spells as efficiently as in the original, making it harder for the player to stun-lock bosses as easily as in the original, though it is still possible to do so with careful timing.
The game also fixes the issues of party members getting stuck on the map when the player advances too quickly. The camera now focuses solely on the player-controlled character and moves with them; as opposed to the original which always tried to keep the full party on the screen. The player can advance without the other characters who will simply move to the party leaders position when the player enters a new screen or when the player brings up the menu ring which will also relocate the missing members at the player character's location.
While the game features a remixed soundtrack, the player has the ability to switch between the new and original OST. In the Western release, the player can also switch from the English voice work to the original Japanese.
Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack (聖剣伝説２ オリジナル・サウンド・ヴァージョン, Seiken Densetsu 2 Orijinaru Soundo Vājon) is the soundtrack to Secret of Mana. Originally released in 1993 in Japan under the name Seiken Densetsu 2 Original Sound Version by NTT Publishing and Squaresoft, its U.S. debut followed in the next year due to the game's massive success. The U.S. release is identical to the Japanese version, aside from the packaging and localized English song titles (not necessarily accurate translations). It was re-released in both 1995 and 2004.
The game's soundtrack was composed by Hiroki Kikuta. It is known for its variety of tunes which tend to focus on the use of percussion and woodwind instruments, ranging from a lighthearted dwarves' polka to a somber, wistful snow melody to a tribal-like dance. Kikuta states that he had a particularly difficult time composing the score, which required him to combine his own style of popular music with the "game music" that is accompanied by the hardware and software limitation of the Super Famicom.
Secret of Mana's title theme, "Angels' Fear" is well known by video game music aficionados for its haunting, echoing piano melody, and was featured in the third Orchestral Game Concert and the fifth Symphonic Game Music Concert, as well as serving as the base for many remixes. In 2008, ScrewAttack.com's users ranked the song number 7 on the website's Top 10 Video Game Themes Ever.
Parts of the game's soundtrack, as well as some music from Seiken Densetsu 3, were incorporated into the Secret of Mana + compilation arrangement CD, an image album containing one 50-minute track.
|Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack Tracklist|
|Disc 1 (54:42)
|SNES||Secret of Mana||Worldwide||1993||2,000,000+
(as of March 2003)
|Seiken Densetsu 2||Japan||1993||1,500,000
(as of March 2003)
|Secret of Mana||US||1993||500,000+
(as of February 1996)
|Android||Secret of Mana||Worldwide||2014||100,000+
(as of March 2019)
(as of December 2017)
(as of March 2018)
|PS4||Secret of Mana||Worldwide||2018||330,000
(as of May 2020)
|Seiken Densetsu 2||Japan||2018||51,899
(as of February 2018)
|PS Vita||Seiken Densetsu 2||Japan||2018||26,572
(as of May 2020)
|Steam||Secret of Mana||Worldwide||2018||100,000+
(as of April 2020)
|Magazines from the Past||92%
|Aktueller Software Markt||12/12|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||88%|
|Nintendo Magazine System||93%|
|Official Nintendo Magazine||92%||92%|
|Ultimate Future Games||91%|
Reception for the 3D remake was mixed-to-positive in the first days of release, with sites including IGN praising the preservation of classic gameplay and split on the quality of the updated soundtrack, but lamenting flaws in graphics and animation. Of particular concern has been inconsistent voice acting, and with it, lack of facial movement and mismatched expressions.
Extensive criticism has also been leveled at Square Enix for producing a rushed game, in light of numerous reports that point to random freezes, crashes, and other show-stopping bugs occurring in all three versions. A mitigation patch, version 1.02, began rolling out for PS4 users March 5, 2018, with Vita and Steam versions to follow shortly thereafter. A second mitigation patch, version 1.03, was posted for PS4 users on June 27, 2018.
Awards and accolades
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||Game of the Month (December 1993)|
Best Role-Playing Game (1993)
|GameFan Megawards||Best Action/RPG (1993)|
|GamePro||Role-Playing Game of the Year (1993)|
|Super Play (1996)||All-Time Top 100 SNES Games (#8)|
|Computer and Video Games (2000)||100 Greatest Games of All Time (#51)|
Game Informer (2001)
GameFAQs (2004, 2005, 2009)
Popular Mechanics (2014)
|Greatest Games of All Time|
|IGN||2003: Top 100 Games of All Time (#78)|
2005: Top 100 Games of All Time (#48)
2005: Readers' Top 99 Games of All Time (#69)
2006: Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time (#49)
2007: Top 100 Games of All Time (#79)
2017: Top 100 RPGs of All Time (#7)
|Famitsu (2006)||All Time Top 100 (#97)|
|Nintendo Power||2006: Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time (#42)|
2008: Best of the Best SNES Games (#15)
2012: Top 285 Nintendo Games of All Time (#88)
|GameRankings||2009: Super Nintendo Rank (#12)|
2016: Super Nintendo Rank (#13)
- Secret of Mana (SNES) inflation calculation
- Square Enix (February 2, 2004 - February 4, 2004), page 27 (Titles of game software with worldwide shipments exceeding 1 million copies), Square Enix, 2004-02-09
- 聖剣伝説2, Famitsu
- Currency conversion
- Japan inflation calculation
- Secret of Mana 2, Next Generation, issue 14, February 1996, page 120
- Secret of Mana, IGN
- United States inflation calculation
- SNES Force, issue 8, January 1994, page 57
- Secret of Mana, Google Play, March 2019
- Secret of Mana, Google Play
- Android inflation calculation
- Seiken Densetsu Collection currency conversion
- SNES Classic price: US$79.99
- Seiken Densetsu 2 (PS4) currency conversion
- Seiken Densetsu 2 (PSV) currency conversion
- Secret of Mana, Magazines from the Past
- Sandy Petersen, "Eye of the Monitor", Dragon, issue 208, August 1994, pages 61–66
- Secret of Mana Review, Edge, issue 4, January 1994, pages 64–65, Future Publishing
- Game of the Month: Secret of Mana, Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 53, December 1993, page 40
- 読者が選ぶ心のベストゲーム100, Weekly Famitsu, issue 900, 2006-03-03, page 4, Enterbrain
- "Planet SNES - Secret of Mana", Diehard GameFan, volume 1, issue 12, November 1993, pages 22 & 78–80
- "Secret of Mana", GamePro, issue 53, December 1993, pages 256–260
- GamesMaster, issue 13, January 1994, pages 64-65
- Secret of Mana Review, IGN, 2008-10-14
- Michi, Manni, Secret of Mana (Virtual Console | SNES), Mag'64, January 25, 2010
- Secret of Mana, Nintendo Accion, issue 25, December 1994, pages 70–73
- Secret of Mana, Nintendo Magazine System, 1994, pages 46–47, EMAP
- "Secret of Mana", Nintendo Power, issue 54, November 1993, pages 8–17, 105, 107, Nintendo
- Secret Of Mana Review, Official Nintendo Magazine, Nintendo, 2008-12-26
- Secret of Mana: Retroview, RPGamer, 2001
- RPGFan Reviews: Secret of Mana, RPGFan, 1999-02-22
- SNES Force, issue 9 (February 1994), pages 16–21, 20 January 1994
- Super Play, issue 15, January 1994, pages 45–47
- Ultimate Future Games, issue 1, November 1, 1993, page 106
- Moyse, Chris: "New PS4 update for Secret of Mana goes bug-stomping", Destructoid, 5 Mar 2018
- 1994 Video Game Buyer's Guide, Electronic Gaming Monthly, January 1994
- "2nd Annual Megawards", Diehard GameFan, volume 2, issue 2, January 1994, pages 54–58
- Editors' Choice Awards, GamePro, issue 55, February 1994, pages 22–27
- "The Super Play All-Time Top 100 SNES Games", Super Play, issue 42, April 1996, page 39, Future Publishing
- Computer and Video Games, issue 218, January 2000, pages 53-67 (59)
- Edge, issue 80, 2000
- Game Informer's Top 100 Games of All Time (Circa Issue 100), Game Informer, issue 100, 2001
- Spring 2004: Best. Game. Ever., GameFAQs
- Fall 2005: 10-Year Anniversary Contest—The 10 Best Games Ever, GameFAQs
- Spring 2009: Best. Game. Ever., GameFAQs
- 100 Greatest Retro Games, NowGamer, Imagine Publishing, 2010 (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)
- The 100 Best Games of All-Time, GamesRadar, February 15, 2013
- Top 100 greatest video games ever made, GamingBolt, GameRevolution, 2013
- The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time, Popular Mechanics, 2014
- IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time, IGN, 2003
- IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time, IGN, 2005
- Readers' Top 99 Games of All Time, IGN, 2005
- Readers' Picks Top 100 Games of All Time, IGN, 2006
- IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time, IGN, 2007
- Secret of Mana, Top 100 RPGs of All Time, IGN, 2017
- Japan Votes on All Time Top 100, Edge, Future Publishing, 2006-03-03
- "Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time", Nintendo Power, Nintendo, issue 200, February 2006, pages 58–66
- Nintendo Power's Best of the Best, Nintendo Power, issue 231, August 2008
- Nintendo Power ranks the top 285 Nintendo games of all time, Nintendo Power, 2012
- Secret of Mana, GameRankings, 2009
- Secret of Mana, GameRankings, 2016
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article is at Secret of Mana. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Wiki of Mana, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|
|Collection of Mana (Final Fantasy Adventure · Secret of Mana · Trials of Mana) · Dawn of Mana|
|Legend of Mana · Children of Mana · Friends of Mana · Heroes of Mana · Circle of Mana · Rise of Mana · Echoes of Mana|
|Sword of Mana · Adventures of Mana · Secret of Mana (2018) · Trials of Mana (2020) · Legend of Mana (2021)|