You know, I truly never thought I would be writing this. Back in the mid 1990’s when I first played a little game called Secret of Mana, never did it once cross my mind that 20 years later I would be here- talking about the remake and release of its long awaited sequel.
There was a game called Secret of Mana
Of those not in the know- Secret of Mana was an RPG from Squaresoft released on the Super Nintendo…and it was glorious. the visuals were a splendour and the soundtrack…oh lord the soundtrack. I have an orchestral CD featuring most of the tracks from it and nothing makes your hair stand up on the back of you neck like it…with the exception of possibility of being felt up by a polar bear or a cattle prod.
It wasn’t a turn based RPG like many of squaresofts offering with the title “final fantasy” followed by various numbers up to that point. You could move around during battle which was just my cup of tea. I’m not one for waiting. Myself and my good friend Steve would stay up all night on sleepovers at his house and play this co-op style. Those were some good times my friends.
There was a sequel…except…there wasn’t.
It wasn’t until we were in high school in the 2000’s that we became aware there was a sequel…in Japan. Cool, shouldn’t take long to come out over here, right? Right?! Well, like I said, I’m not one for waiting so using a little thing growing in popularity around that time called “the internet” I set about tracking down a version of the game that we could play. Slight snag; I know as much Japanese as I know nuclear fission calculations. So I can see it but can’t read it! First off it’s not called Secret of Mana 2 or anything; It’s called Seiken Densetsu 3…how did that happen? There’s only one secret of mana before it- how is this the third one?! Turns out in the west they royalty fucked up the release of these games- as the first “Seiken” game came out here as “final fantasy adventure” or “Mystic Quest” on the game boy (depending on where you were living at the time and what they fancied printing on that particular box. If you go back to that game on the game boy now- you can definitely see that it’s part of the secret of mana series and not final fantasy! Anyway…
After being confused for fifteen minutes about the numbers but then reducing my care level to zero I heard whispers / saw big deck off forums about a fan translation to the game! Finally we could play and understand it! So what’s it like? If Secret of Mana was glorious then Seiken Densetsu 3 was…double that. The visuals were almost like paintings they were so rich and detailed. The killer soundtrack was back- with echoes of the old tunes but with an identity all of its own. There was a new character roster- meaning you could chose the party you wanted to take with you and play out completely different stories based on who you picked. It was…well it was just great.
And that was it. They never released it on the Super Nintendo. The only way you could play it here in the west was via that fan translated rom. That was until last year…
A Seiken Densetsu collection was released for the Nintendo switch in Japan with the original Seiken 1,2 and 3 on it. Amazing, but in Japanese. It would take square-Enix another year to give us the amazing news that it was coming to English speaking territories- WITH an all new official translation for Seiken Densetsu 3. Not only that- but we were getting a name for it too. Seiken Densetsu 3 was to be released here officially as Trials of Mana. 20 years after I first played it. 20 years. That’s how long I would have had to wait to play it if I was a good boy. Then- they dropped the clanger. At the end of the trailer announcing the release they just dropped in “oh- yeah and we’re re-making the game from scratch in a new 3D action RPG – also called Trials of Mana.
Jesus! Talk about waiting for busses and two coming along at once! So here we are- April 24th 2020 and Trails of Mana has released today. Amazon have informed me my copy will arrive today, so naturally I’m writing this sat cross legged in front of the letterbox. I just wanted to get this preliminary post out – because naturally there will be a review of this. I loved / love this game in its original form…so I’m very keen to see if I still love it now I can spin the camera around. Time will tell my friends..time will always tell. It just might be really slow at doing so.