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Secret of Evermore (SNES) artwork

Secret of Evermore (SNES) review

"If you're looking for an epic, then keep on looking. Secret of Evermore plays more like the light and airy Earthbound then a game like Final Fantasy or Secret of Mana."

Secret of Evermore was the first (and only) ever effort by the United States division of Square. As a result, the game has a definite ''American'' feel to it, right down to the countless B-movie references.

If you're looking for an epic, then keep on looking. Secret of Evermore plays more like the light and airy Earthbound then a game like Final Fantasy or Secret of Mana.

Secret of Evermore begins when you and your dog stumble upon a mysterious and old house. You dog accidentally bites some wires and you're zapped off to Evermore, which consists of different four worlds. Your goal is to find someway to get back to your hometown of Podunk, with your dog's help.

The Secret of Mana game engine is used here, but this game is NOT a sequel. Rather, you still charge up weapon levels and you have a 100% attack meter. Spells also gain levels, but you don't get them from elements.

Spells are given to you by random people, but you also need the raw elements such as oil, wax, and roots to cast them. This is the unique alchemy system in the game that can also be a bit annoying. How can it be annoying? Well, if you don't have enough of a certain ingredient, you're pretty much stuck.

Also, formulas MUST be given to you for you to use them. You can't really experiment mixing, which would have added a lot of replay value. Nevertheless, this is a welcome departure from the magic points system and adds a bit of realism, though not much.

Like Mana, you can charge up weapons. UNLIKE Mana though, you only get four different weapon types and levels gained on earlier weapons do not carry over. Meaning, if you get the Bone Crusher up to level 2, the Bronze Axe will still be at level 1 when you first get it.

Your companion, your dog, only has one attack the entire game - his teeth. As a result, he'll hit his max attack level somewhere in the first world and keep it for the rest of the game. The dog and his attack changes form from world to world, but it doesn't really enhance the gameplay.

The gameplay balance and challenge level has BIG problems. Earlier enemies can be quite tough, and they damage you hard. However, by the second and third worlds, you're never in serious danger of dying. Some formulas and weapons you get in the fourth world make you nearly invincible, and the last boss is laughably easy if you play your cards right.

However, the dungeons and mazes in the game aren't. A LOT of your time will be spent just wandering around lost in the games many mazes. It can be quite frustrating to wander around for an hour just trying to find the right portal or vent.

The gameplay is still fun though, even if it is easy. And while you don't really get attached to either of your characters, there's some funny references and jokes sprinkled about that liven up the game. The boy's knowledge of B-movies is particularly funny or sad, depending on your point of view.

The graphics and sound are a step down from Mana, which is Evermore's closest competitor. They're still very good, but not as bright or detailed. The same can be said of the uninspired music.

The replay value of Evermore is not great. There's a bunch of different formulas to acquire, but since you really only need three to beat the game (not telling you which three), there's no incentive to replay the game just to get them. There's a few market trading games to play in the game, but once again, they aren't strong enough to justify a replaying.

Overall, Secret of Evermore is a fun game. However, it's very easy, excluding the dungeons, and will probably only keep you occupied for a day or two. Rent this one if you can, because you'll probably beat it.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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