July 04, 2008

Did Square at some point look at Final Fantasy Adventure (really, the first Mana game on the GB) and think...."Man, this game's cool and all, but what it needs is to be remade with a bigger, more intrusive, story!"?

One of those little things that's found its way into my too-vast list of games I'm working on is doing reviews of both FFA and its GBA remake, Sword of Mana --- after having both games on hiatus for a couple of years each.

The first shock to my system came when I started FFA back up again and noticed that I'd named the female character after my ex (since we were still married then). That was weird..... And the second one has come from simply releasing how bloated Sword of Mana is. Roughly 1 million sidequests that have no or very little actual importance. And this crazy-ass, all-encompassing storyline that goes in the ever-so-wonderful "no one's really evil and everyone has issues they have to get past" style of work.

I've played up to about the fight with Medusa on both games and the gameplay on SoM isn't lacking -- but they just put so much extra crap into that game that nothing really stands out at all.

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Suskie Suskie - July 04, 2008 (12:42 PM)
I haven't played Final Fantasy Adventure, but Sword of Mana is awful. I remember buying it a few years ago, and then trading it in only a few days after purchase. The guy behind the counter told me how much I'd get for it, and I said, "I don't care, just get it out of my sight."
espiga espiga - July 04, 2008 (05:53 PM)
Sadly, you're not really missing much if you ignore any of the Mana games that were released after Seiken Densetsu 3... Which makes me cry, since that's one of my favourite games.
psychopenguin psychopenguin - July 04, 2008 (06:42 PM)
I always hear that, espiga, but I liked Legend of Mana a lot more than Secret. And Children isn't half bad so far, but I've only completed the first tower..

I hear Sword of Mana is really bad, but I am going to try it one day. I have never played the original FFA before as well.
EmP EmP - July 05, 2008 (07:35 AM)
I remember being really excited after importing the PSX chapter in the series. Until I played it.
overdrive overdrive - July 05, 2008 (01:14 PM)
From the Mana games I've played (although I've only gone all the way through one of them).

1. Final Fantasy Adventure: fun game marred a bit by quirky combat physics (enemies temporarily bouncing off the screen, your weapons dragging them into you) and (so far, at least) blah dungeon designs (they all are places with a ton of identical rooms). Actually this game has a lot of "little" things wrong with it, like the limited item space you have, really crappy world map, etc. But I really like the gameplay. Nice and simple without too many of unnecessary additions that bogged down later games in the series.

2. Secret of Mana: Every once in a while, I see a post or two around here and other places saying that game sucked. I don't get it. That game might be my favorite 16-bit action-RPG. Main flaw I had was that it takes WAY took long to really build up magic levels. I don't know if there's a way to actually get them past level 4-5 playing normally. You'd about have to ONLY use magic or do the old "leave inn, expend all MP ASAP and go back to inn to recharge, wash, rinse, repeat" strategy to really power them up. Well, and the dialogue was a bit lacking at times.

3. SD3: Had some great elements, such as the different intros for each character and the three different final bosses and sets of its two subordinates, depending on who you picked to be your main dude. Looked great, as well. Something with it just didn't click with me the way SoM did, though. I'll have to pick it up again sometime and try to figure out what that is.

4. Sword of Mana: As said before, way too much clutter. The story barely lets you play for more than 15 minutes without cluttering up things AND too many sidequests pop up. And if you really want to power up your magic, I think you have to do a number of them, even if they make you take forever to beat the game.
espiga espiga - July 06, 2008 (05:52 PM)
The main problem with SoM's dialogue was the translation. Because of the amount of cartridge space available at the time, every character had to be counted in order to have enough room, so large portions of the game's Japanese script were cut. This also happened to Chrono Trigger.
overdrive overdrive - July 06, 2008 (09:46 PM)
You know, you touched on one of those things that I've been thinking about for a few days. For both RPG and other genres of NES/SNES games, ROM translators have made hacks of American-released games to put the full Japanese (translated to English, of course) dialogue in. Just because so much was cut out to fit our cartridges (enough to really detract from games like Shatterhand for the NES and Cybernator for the SNES and more).

Makes me wonder if, for my enjoyment, it'd be more worth it to patch the Japanese version (for games patches have been made for) and review it, mentioning that Americans got a port that's the same gameplay-wise, but lacking in story, dialogue and whatnot.

At the least, since I think a Chrono Trigger patch has been done, it would breathe new life into that game for me!
espiga espiga - July 07, 2008 (01:34 AM)
I would highly recommend you do so. You'd be surprised just what gets cut in a lot of older games, not only because of cartridge space, but also because of Nintendo of America's nazi-like censorship regulations at the time.

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