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Thread: The Mana Series

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

    Moogle The Mana Series

    Been playing through Legend of Mana on the side with Romancing SaGa, but with the not too recent release of the Secret of Mana remake still fresh in some people's minds, what are your thoughts on the franchise? Which games have you played and which ones do you love/hate? Do you have a favorite FF reference/shout out that snuck into the game?

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I'm hijacking my own thread now to turn this into a journal as I play through Seiken Densetsu 3.

    I've never played this game for very long, I always start it and then quickly forget it, but damn it all, I plan on playing this to the end to check off that box. I chose Duran as my starting character with Angela as my secondary since I've read somewhere that her plot intertwines with Duran's and they have some funny moments together, and I chose Kevin as my third member cause the Werewolf thing sounds cool. Who needs a dedicated healer anyway?

    I've currently reached Jadd, and I'm trying to get to Wendel to meet the Priest of Light so Duran can stop being butt-hurt about getting his melee focused ass kicked by a cheeky mage. The place is crawling with Beastmen, and Angela is sleeping at the Inn.

    So far the biggest hurtle I need to overcome is trying to figure out how to get my program to recognize my PS3 controller, cause trying to play this game on a keyboard is pretty uncomfortable for me, which is largely why I have not progressed too much. Other than that, it's been interesting so far and the graphics are a darker interpretation of SoM's. Of anything, I feel like I'm playing Legend of Mana more. Any hints or suggestions?

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Okay, so while I sort out the controller issued for SD3, I've gone back to Legend of Mana cause I'm less than ten missions away from the "perfect quest" run. I've been using a guide because the game can be incredibly obtuse about how to activate some missions and a few of them have some annoying ways to easily fail them. The ones that come to mind the most are the quests involving the Pirate Penguins and anything involving the Sirens. In fact, until this playthrough, I was unaware that Elle the Siren was actually a recruitable NPC Ally cause it's difficult to unlock her questline. For now, I'm going to finally finish up Niccolo's questline which I've never done before, and I'll soon be doing the quests in Geo, the Lil' Cactus quest that aggravates most new players, and I'll finally slamdunk the Jumi Arc, which is one of the most gut-wrenching stories in the games main quests.

    I'm grateful I chose 2H Swords as my main weapon cause one of the best base weapons in the game (since the crafting mechanics in this game are deep enough to count as a separate game itself) can be easily obtained if you have a SaGa Frontier 2 save file. Sadly, I missed out on the Chocobo Pet, but I can grab that on NG+ if I want. In fact, the crafting stuff is best left for NG+ when you get access to the ability to raise the game's difficulty levels.

    I'll tackle the controller issue tomorrow and start up SD3 proper then.

  4. #4

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    I love the Mana games! I've yet to play the GBA games though. Are they any good ?




    "You okay?"

  5. #5

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    My thoughts on the series: Secret of Mana was a fluke. As much as I'd love to a new installment in the series that returns to that greatness, I've no evidence that they ever held that level for more than a single game. Even SD3, the most similar in the series, simply pales in comparison with a slapped together incoherent plot randomly cobbled together based on which characters you choose and a gameplay system that, despite its similarity to SoM, just doesn't work. Legend of Mana was alright as its own sort of thing, but definitely didn't give the sense of a successor to Secret of Mana. Secret of Mana was a fluke and we will never see its like again.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maybee View Post
    I love the Mana games! I've yet to play the GBA games though. Are they any good ?
    Sword of Mana for the GBA is pretty good if a bit weird. It's a remake of the original Final Fantasy Adventure (Seiken Densetsu 1) except it removes all the blatant nods to FF and jam packs it with elements from other Mana titles, specifically Legend of Mana. Here's a list of what was added/changed from the original game:

    • You can now play as the Girl and you can choose which character to play as at the start. The Boy is closer to the original game, while the Girl's scenario is more story driven.
    • The story has been expanded and altered with a heavier Mana flavor to everything.
    • Several minor characters were expanded on such as Willy and the villains
    • In addition, a few new characters are introduced such as Gouramand, as well as LoM immigrants Lil Cactus, and Niccolo
    • There is a weapon/armor crafting mechanic introduced which uses a system similar to LoM.
    • Magic has been modified to follow the Mana series tradition.
    • There is a job class system of sorts that plays some lip service to SD3's Job system. When the character levels up, they get an allotment of points to put towards their stats. You're given a choice of Warrior, Monk, Magician, Sage, Thief, and Random which will auto-allot the points towards those type of builds. If you level up one build exclusively, you'll unlock a unique item. These stat upgrades will then unlock actual classes which grant bonuses to your stats or if damage bonuses for using specific weapons and spirits. For instance, in my playthrough I chose Random enough times to unlock Barbarian class, and eventually leveled it to Dragon Master which granted me +35 bonuses for using Spear weapons and Salamando, Undine, Sylph, and Gnome magic.
    • Excalibur is now the Mana Sword and a plot item as opposed to a usable weapon.


    It was an interesting experience, and a bit more gut wrenching than FFA, since the expanded scenario saw fit to add more player punches.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Golbez View Post
    My thoughts on the series: Secret of Mana was a fluke. As much as I'd love to a new installment in the series that returns to that greatness, I've no evidence that they ever held that level for more than a single game. Even SD3, the most similar in the series, simply pales in comparison with a slapped together incoherent plot randomly cobbled together based on which characters you choose and a gameplay system that, despite its similarity to SoM, just doesn't work. Legend of Mana was alright as its own sort of thing, but definitely didn't give the sense of a successor to Secret of Mana. Secret of Mana was a fluke and we will never see its like again.
    I love me some Secret of Mana, but I honestly really love Legend of Mana as well, I'll have to see with Seiken Densetsu 3, but I do feel like the World of Mana entries are a bit hit or miss. Sword of Mana was okay, but Children of Mana was kind of bad.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update time:

    Legend of Mana: 60 out of 68 quests completed. I only have one more non-NPC story-line to do and it's the infamous Lil' Cactus quest that screws over new players but thankfully I actually know what I'm doing. After that, it's time to seriously delve into the Jumi quest-line which I never realized how much longer it was than the other two main quest-lines. Thankfully, it's one of my favorite quests in the game. It starts off a bit silly and then gets really dark before giving us the only happy ending of the three main quests. I also finally finished Niccolo's quest line for the first time and I feel a bit dirty now. He's basically a con-artist character you can help out who has really no redeeming traits. The bad news is that his quest line ends with you helping him extortion millions from another scrupulous but genuinely nicer person and he never gets any comeuppance. The Rachel quest was also interesting and ends absolutely bonkers. I think this is what I love about Mana, the series just suckers you in with it's cutesy graphics before going all Hideo Kojima/Yoko Taro on you.

    Seiken Densetsu 3: Got my controller set up and what a difference it makes trying to play this game. Much easier to move around and not get knocked around as much. So since I played Secret of Mana so recently, it's interesting to see what changed between installments. With the exception of Kevin, I'm amused that the two more selfish characters share a scenario with each other. Duran's motives are hardly utilitarian, and Angela is a comical rich bitch. So poor Kevin and his tale of revenge for losing a loved one feels a bit out of place within the group. I feel the biggest difference between this installment and many of the others can be best summed up with one word: Aggressive. Compared to Legend and Secret, everything in this game feels more aggressive by design. Maps are smaller, giving you less elbow room to dodge, enemies will zoom in on you and no longer have the odd air of disinterest in attacking you like most of the series, your charge meter is significantly smaller than Mana's but slower than Legends which leaves you more easily open for attacks, and while I've only faced one boss so far, he had more health than other bosses in the series. SoM bosses usually went down quickly unless they had some means to turtle hits while Legend bosses have tons of HP that are often pointless cause it's so easy to hit damage caps in that title. It feels like it will be an interesting ride. I just reached Maia after escaping Jadd with my final teammate. I also finally figured out how to switch between characters on the menu screen which so far has been my least favorite part of the game cause it feels like it was made first for wow factor and functionality second. The characters telling their backstory from the get-go is reminiscent of the narrative given to FFVI's cast when you meet a new party member. Now that I can play this properly, it should be easier getting invested for me. I also find it hilarious to be playing this at the same time as LoM cause Fairies play a large role in the plot of both titles except in SD3, they are good characters while LoM plays them like their real world mythical counterparts as straight up human hating assholes. Should be fun either way.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Legend of Mana is done. I'm kind of grateful that the guide I used left the Jumi Arc for the very end cause of the three main scenarios, it always felt the most epic of the three. I mean the Irwin/Matilda Arc has a pretty gut wrenching ending, but the whole plot is an idiot one where if everyone wasn't so stupid, everything could have been resolved pretty easily, so it's hard to feel sympathetic to anyone except for Daena. The Dragoon Arc is pretty awesome, and probably the easiest to activate and complete, it's only real issue is that's it's painfully short and most of the really interesting elements concerning it are hidden away in the in-game lore guides. The Jumi Arc just feels the most "Mana" to me I guess. It starts off kind of goofy, then gets painfully dark, it also twists everything around in a way to make you wonder about the people you've been helping, and it feels like a good chunk of the nuance was left out of the localization. Still, it's interesting how jerkass Elazul winds up being the most reasonable and frankly innocent character in the whole mix. Also Pearl is just adorable and Blackpearl is easily the best Ally character in the game, which is probably why she's unavailable outside of the Jumi Arc scenario. The game's ending is also typical of the franchise, being quite bittersweet and leaving you wonder about the fate of the world you just saved, the game also has thematically one of the coolest final bosses outside of the Mana Beast in SoM of the series. Glad I played through this lost gem again this year. So now it's Seiken Densetsu 3 and then it will be Halloween gaming next month.

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    Seiken Densetsu 3

    Have fun beating the game 3 times to get the full experience

    Seriously though it is really good. Each character is very unique and the different parties you make really change how the gameplay flows, so I didn't mind replaying so many times.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if I'll go through all three scenarios back to back. If I enjoy the game enough, I'll probably do it.

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    Update Time!

    So the team reaches Maia and gets directions to the next city which involves passing the Cleft of the Earth. Unfortunately, Angela's kinsman from Altena have invaded and are looking for her, so after a climatic battle against some Golems (Magic and machines? damn Altena sounds like a pretty snazzy place) that winds up destroying the only bridge to our destination, the team has to figure out a new path. The Merchant city of Beylz or whatever it was called is refusing to let anyone enter, and now it looks liek poor Duran's next option is to head home to Forcena. But how are we going to do that when there are no ships?

    ...Cannon Travel baby

    Unfortunately, crackpot inventor Bon Juor doesn't have any gunpowder, so I have to head back to the Cleft of the Earth and find the dwarves... which would have been easier if I had remembered this was an old school RPG and sometimes event flags don't trigger until you talk to the right person. So after wasting time inappropriately touching every surface of that cave looking for the entrance to the Dwarf Village, I head back to Maia and finally talk to the correct NPC to activate the ability to use one of my spirit companions. I find it really interesting that the Mana Spirits seem to have a bit more characterization in this one. It was nice how the SoM Remake gave the Mana Spirits a few more scenes to really shine as well.

    So we find the Dwarf Village, and are told to find Mana's equivalent of Cid, Watts. Of course Watts isn't home, but I pick up new gear for the team. Watts is checking out a new tunnel the Dwarves are building cause he's been noticing some earthquake activity and he's worried about the Mana Spirit Gnome who protects the Dwarves. This dungeon ended up being kind of cool cause we actually had to track the guy down as he moved about the place. Watts has gunpowder but refuses to hand it over without compensation which I can't afford, though he was nice enough to lower the price the first time around I refused. After chasing him about, we encounter the source of the cave ins and earthquakes, not a monster Catfish, but a giant mole called the Jewel Eater. Despite having a full party, this fight turned out to be pretty nasty. He's actually got some group hitting abilities including magic, and somehow I deactivated Duran's AI script, so switching to Angela to use magic wound up hurting my offense as he just stood there like a lump, even more annoying cause I can't access the menu during battles to fix it. Likewise, I got way too accustomed to LoM where partner characters had no issue pulling off specials and magic. You can program characters to use specials in this game, but not magic for some reason. My first legitimate complaint has arisen where I felt SoM handled it better, trying to use magic from a secondary party member is a little too slow, largely cause I have to change party leaders and then open the menu to use the spell, whereas in SoM, you had one button that opened the secondary characters menu and could leave it on said magic menu for quick access. I also should have played this smarter and went into the fight at nightfall cause Kevin transforms into a werewolf and gets ridiculous damage boosts. We take him down eventually, learn that it tried to eat Gnome and gained both the gunpowder and Mana Spirit for my trouble.

    Using the gunpowder, we're shot into Forcena, which was nice to see after SoM Remake denied me my cannon travel animation. Course we didn't land exactly where we needed to but the trip over to the town wasn't too bad. Of course the old saying "you can't go home again" rings true and the whole place is being invaded by Altena who are seriously getting around compared to Kevin's Beastmen who were the threat earlier in the game. I find it interesting that the Female Wizards look a bit like the Witch Units from Ogre Battle with the Dark Magician Girl's color scheme while the male Wizards are straight up FF Black Mages. Duran encounters the wizard who started his journey but is denied a real fight which Duran takes much harder than I feel he should be. The king rescued, he explains more about Faeries, the Mana, Stones, and how we need to find the Wind Mana Spirit Sylph somewhere near the merchant town that kicked us out. So we're heading back to the same place I just left...

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time:

    We head back to the merchant city of Beylz and take a ship to Popi which is near the Wind Kingdom of Rolente. The town has been taken over by Navarre (My SMTIV senses are tingling...) who are a kingdom of desert bandits turned into ninjas. Rolente is under there control and are not accepting visitors and the Wind Shrine is blocked by an ugly statue for reasons...

    We wander the mountains a bit before we come upon some flowers that have sleeping pollen. When we awake, we meet up with one of the heroes I didn't pick: Rietz. Whom if fanart is any measure of popularity, is the best character in this game apparently. She wants her castle back and has a resistance group sitting in the caves nearby, but the castle is well known for it's fortifications so they need a strategist. They want to use Don Perigon (wth is up with all the French words in this game?) who is a Chibokko or Mini-Person race. He lives near Jadd and apparently helped Duran's King of Forcena win the war against the Dragon Emperor some years ago. Unfortunately, the war left him not liking humans too much so he retired to his village and has a "no humans allowed" sign posted up. The party will then have to find the legendary Chibokko Hammer which grants the Mini status to infiltrate the village and get his help. The only place that's mentioned this item, and a good reason why you should always talk to everyone in town in these older games, was in the merchant city of Beylz. We head back there through some conveniently placed Cannon Travel and a ship cruise where we wait for night to go visit the local black market.

    For a Black Market, the items for sale don't feel all that impressive, mostly being consumable items that do damage. We meet an old lady who had been trying to get a spot on the market for ages, but decided the whole ordeal wasn't worth staying up so late, so she just hands us the Hammer we need. After that, we're off to Jadd, where we find the Chibokko Forest and infiltrate with the hammer. We meet an old man who is obviously the guy we're looking for but tells us we smell like humans. Duran tries to say something before Angela steps in and makes up some story about being from a village near Rolente. We search the village, but no one knows where the guy is. Cliche out of the way, the old man reveals he's the one we're looking for and tells us what to do in the Sylph Cave to win back the castle cause he saw through our lies, but sensed the fairy and helped us anyway.

    We head back to the Wind Cave and the statue is now conveniently gone. The cave is pretty interesting with some switch puzzles involving moving statues that blow wind and hinder travel. We then encounter the Darkshine Knight who apparently enjoys kicking the crap out of Mana Spirits. Before the team can do anything, he summons a Harpie enemy that is very reminiscent of the one from Breath of Fire 2. I switch to Angela and pummel her to death with Gnome magic. Jinn agrees to help and uses his powers to blow the sleep pollen into the Rolente castle to stop the guards. We then join Rietz in overtaking the castle, but monsters and some Navarre troops are still active. We encounter Hawk as well, who begs us not to kill the enemy leader cause her life force is directly connected to his girlfriend or something and will end both their lives.

    I face off with a wall boss cause Square smurfing loves hard as nails wall bosses. This guy was obnoxious because he summons Black Zeroes who are now shapeshifters and transform into some pretty brutal monsters. In addition, he buffs them with Luna magic which gives their attacks a Drain effect, and hits us with fire magic as well. I burnt through all my healing items in the fight, which made the fact he was guarding another boss a punch to the face. Thankfully Ben and Bill the Ninja Duo don't have as much health, but I barely won the fight with Duran, who I just revived before they killed off Angela and Kevin was able to kill one and finish off the other with his Cross Slash special. We meet Bigeau the leader of Navarre who hands over the castle cause she doesn't need it. She's also working for someone called the Dark Prince.

    With the castle secured, Rietz laments about her father's death, her duty to her kingdom, and her desire to search for her brother who is still a captive of Navarre. Her Royal guards urge her to find her brother and everyone agrees to look after the kingdom while's she's away. My team decides to head back to Forcena to speak with the king. When we reach Popi, we encounter Nikita The Merchant Cat, who is basically like Neko from SoM. He's friends with Hawk who shows up to help him and we get the download on what's going on in Navarre. Oddly enough, the character I have the least amount of into on at the moment is Kevin. I still don't know why the Beastmen are attacking kingdoms and they've already left Jadd. I'm calling it a day for now, but happy to see the game is finally picking up.

    **************************************************************************************************** *

    So let's talk about some pros and cons here.

    Let's get the negatives out of the way first. I'm starting to see why Squenix has been really hesitant to re-release this game. I've been told it has some technical issues and that's almost an understatement. Weapons have schizophrenic hit detection, the party A.I. seems to always flip a coin to see if it actually wants to work, the new menu system is a chore to go through, and magic is incredibly non-user friendly in this game. If SD3 does get a 3D remake, I really hope Squenix fixes all of these issues cause it makes playing through the game a chore. The Wall Face fight would have been a 5x easier if I either had means to cast Angela's magic without switching to her or if Duran's A.I. actually worked when he's not being directly controlled. Hell Angela's A.I also seems to freeze up if I switch to Kevin, so there is something funky going on with the code. I've also noticed that status items are kind of useless unless you're fighting a boss that can tank damage. Status magic automatically clears once a battle ends and that doesn't take long to do, likewise, there is a bug in the game that prevents your character from holding more than one status affliction, so now that I have the Chibokko Hammer, if a character gets poisoned or turned to stone, I just hit them with the hammer to mini them, and then hit them again to revert back to normal with no status ailment. So all these status healing items are just cluttering my inventory at this point.

    The other issue here is that SD3 suffers from the same issue I have with the later Zelda entries, the inability to get anything simple done without tacking on three more chores to it. I'm not even ten hours in and I'm already doing some pretty heavy backtracking in this game cause every task always gets overly complicated. Just to get Sylph, I had to backtrack to every town I've already visited in addition to two new towns I'll likely have to visit a few more times when I look for the next five Mana Spirits. I don't mind doing some backtracking when it's called for, but this kind of feels like padding out the game and it's alarming that's it's doing so very early in the title. Hell, it's not even like SoM didn't have a lot of needless backtracking either, but the game was so loose with event flags, that it was pretty easy to circumvent some of the tediousness it called for. Case in point, you can go straight to the Ice Country and recover the Fire Seed and Salamando without needing to go to the Fire Temple to learn they are both missing. You can also complete three of Sage Joch's tasks before you even meet him. In SD3, I had access to the Black Market the second I entered the town, but I couldn't get the one item I needed until I I talked to the right person in a later part of the game. What makes this annoying is that the character who sells the item never even mentions that she has it, and you can chat with her in town long before this quest chain starts. If the game had worked like it's predecessor, I could have gotten this item on my first trip through and save myself one extra stop to complete this chain of deals nonsense. I really really hope the rest of the game doesn't keep following this pattern. I already know I'm going to have to return to every Mana Stone location later.

    Now let's discuss what's so cool about this game so far. I really appreciate the backstory going on here. The warring kingdoms, the fact that three different plot-lines are still going despite the plot only really focusing on the one your first party choice was, and the fact the story kind of starts off a bit darker than the previous installments. Angela, Kevin, and Hawk's kingdoms have all been subverted by some dark forces and Duran, Charlotte, and Rietz's countries are suffering for it. We already know the Mana Tree is dying, and you're chosen character is not exactly the Fairy's first choice on being a world savior. It's been pretty groovy and keeping me interested.

    I also appreciate the fact that not all of the playable characters are noble or upstanding. I know Duran is one of the least popular characters in the game, but I appreciate being able to play someone who basically only wants to get stronger to satiate his ego and get revenge for his hurt pride. This is kind of rare in the genre, especially in the time frame of this game's release. Angela is also nice for being bratty and pretty unscrupulous with dealing with people. I think if I had Hawk as my third character, I would have had the unscrupulous trio as a team.

    I also appreciate the meatier gameplay. Being able to choose what stats upgrade and having things like magic tie into that makes leveling customization way more important than other titles in the series, the Class system sounds really interesting though I'm still six levels away from using it, and the new Tech system fixes one of the glaring issues from SoM. Bosses are also tougher and require a bit more thought than "spam magic" or "mash X to win" strategies and I'm honestly looking forward to finally getting access to support/debuff spells cause they already sound like they're going to expand boss battles. While the regular menu system is a mess, the Ring Menu is much better. It only contains items and magic which makes access to what you need in battle much easier, and there is a separate item bag that will hold extra of an item once you reach the new cap of nine. You can also customize which items appear in your menu making it much easier to get those healing items on the fly. Finally, the game is a bit harder than the other entries. I have yet to die, but I've had more close calls than I would usually get in this series.

  13. #13
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time:

    Alright, this is more like it. After getting acquainted with Hawk and his Neko friend, we head to a ship to go back to King Richard and learn what we need to do next. Oddly, the ship captain says today the ride is free and we head out to the sea...

    ...where we circle a volcanic island for three days until finally Duran wonders why we haven't reached Maia yet. Turns out we're on the Ship of the Damned. Have I ever mentioned how much I love haunted locations in RPGs? Ghost ships, haunted houses, crypts, derelict castles; I love them all. The Fairy senses the presence of one of the spirits, and let's be honest here, of the eight Mana Spirits, we know which one is here and I couldn't be happier cause Shade has always been one of my favorite Mana Spirits next to Undine, Luna, and Dryad. There is a minor puzzle aspect to the game involving some books and poor Duran got cursed to be a spirit, removing him from my party. Jokes on the game though cause Wisp (Light Elemental) Mana Spirit is like the first one you get so Angela can just purge all the damned willy nilly, while the whole dungeon takes place at night meaning Kevin's gone all werewolf and doing double damage, so losing Duran actually doesn't hurt me as much as the game wishes it had. The boss goes down pretty easily and we get Shade for our trouble. The ship also returns to the afterlife leaving my poor party to swim to shore.

    Just as we think we're in the clear, the team realizes we're on the one island mentioned casually by a sailor in another town as the one that's about to erupt, so the team panics as we have to rush off the island. Course "rush off the island" is the equivalent of Lord Frieza saying a planet is going to explode and thus I have plenty of time to explore and even discover a tribe of Eggplant Men who sell me some nice armor/weapon upgrades. The enemies on the island are interesting because most of them are "growing" enemies such as the tadpole enemy that eventually grows into the infamous Biting Lizard from SoM, and the Cockatrice Eggs which now grow into full blown Cockatrice birds in this game. The difficulty spike here is quite something as the Biting Lizards can "eat" my party doing damage and cutting my DPS output, while the cockatrice are quite fast and can mulit-hit when they're not inflicting petrify on a party member.

    We also spot a goofy looking half turtle/half kappa creature with a snorkel. Unfortunately it runs away before we can talk to it. Eventually we discover the volcano is going to blow thanks to the help of some servant of the Dark Prince (Hawk and Liezt's antagonist) but the Turtle Kappa saves us and takes us to Maia while we jam to hist Xylophone theme song. After we say our farewells, it's just a quick cannon ride back to Forecena and King Richard. Rich turns out to know the Turtle guy and gives us a flute to summon him, so now I have new transportation and don't need ships anymore. He then tells the location of the last four Mana Spirits. Undine is in Angela's home country of Altena, Salamando is in Hawk's home land of the Scorching Desert, Luna is in Kevin's homeland, and Dryad is shacking it up with the few faeries not living in the Mana Holyland. Altena is closest so we're heading there next. My team is Lv. 16, and will likely be hitting Lv. 18 around the time I find the Mana Stone of this area, meaning I'll finally be able to do my first Job Class change. I'm not exactly sure where to go with the whole team. I'm pretty sure I'll just let Duran go down the dark path cause the elemental saber spells will be much needed and I hear he gets some ridiculous strength boosts on that path. Angela and Kevin I'm less certain about. I was thinking of having Kevin go full Light path in order to get a healing spell but due to the nature of magic in this game, that is not going to be as useful as I would like.

  14. #14
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time:

    So the team traveled to Altena and wandered the Snowfield Maze until we encountered the Darkshine Knight, who name drops the Dragon Emperor. Duran gets a bit offended to know the guy is alive because his old man was killed supposedly taking the emperor with him. The Darkshine Knight then recognized Duran and then disappears leaving the team in question though I'm pretty sure everyone knows where that plot thread is going. He leaves behind three Golems who totally kicked my ass on the first attempt. They hit hard, use group hitting spells, and the arena is too small to maneuver. I finally figured out the work around with the A.I. issue. For some reason, the non-responsive A.I. engages once the player character lands a blow. So I can finally switch to Angela to play spell caster with little issue. Once this was figured out, we trashed the three Golems rather easily.

    Finding the activated Mana Stone, Duran ponders out loud that letting the bad guys just activate the stones will open up the Holy Land anyway, so maube the party should just sit back and let them do all the work. The Fairy then explains that their method is actually killing the Mana Tree faster, and so the team agree to try and actually stop them from doing so. Undine appears, and is sobbing from the resolve the team has. With my team at Lv. 18, I can upgrade everyone's class, and against my better judgement, I decided that we're going to be Team Dark, so everyone chose their Dark Class Upgrade. The stat boosts alone were nice, but Duran gets a nice upgrade with a better special attack and the ability to use the Magic Weapon infusion spells, which make him far more useful in battle. Kevin is simply just beefier, and Angela is kind of the screwed one here as she only gets one new spell for her trouble and her new special is hardly better than her original. Here's hoping Dark/Dark will change that. Course I now have no means of healing myself with magic...

    Afterwards, we head to Hawk's neck of the woods and track down Bigeau and Jessica in Salamando's cave. Bigeau sics her ninja due Ben and Bill,, whom I hope if this game ever does get an official release in the West, will be changed to either Bill and Ted, or Ben and Jerry. These guys hit pretty hard thanks to their Shuriken move, but the team whittles them down and rescue Jessica. We don;t stop the Mana Stone from being activated, but let's be honest here, we all know the party is going to fail this endeavor, and we recruit Salamando into the team. Next stop: Kevin's Jungle Bungalow.

  15. #15
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Has it really been eighteen months since I last played this? Well not exactly, I did forget one more update before I shelved this game for awhile. The demo for the 3D remake reminded me that I was playing this, so I'm back to finish this up.

    Update Time!

    The team heads over to Kevin's Jungle bungalow, which took a little while to figure out because the Turtle is a really weird transportation vehicle that is very reminiscent to the faux 3D travel of using Chocobos in VI, which is a nice way to say its more disorienting than spectacle. Probably the reason why Chrono Trigger dropped using it that way. We hit up the town of Sultan and stock up on some wares before heading towards Kevin's hometown to find the Mana Spirit Luna. The party encounters Deathjester whom Kevin has some choice words for considering he started him on his quest. He gets his ass handed to him for his trouble cause as Duran could have told him from personal experience, Wizards are cheating bastards. Just when the party steps into help. Luger smurfing shows up. He's the other major henchmen for the Beastmen and the guy who really wants be the next leader of the tribe. He's been a background character and general pain in the ass within the story proper, so I'm itching to throw down with him using my souped up party in their Dark Classes. Turns out this was a bad idea as Luger transforms into a werewolf like Kevin does and has access to all of his class skills/ and by all of his classes, I do mean all of them. So now I'm dealing with a speedy powerhouse who can use Luna magic to make himself even beefier. Not helping things here is the fact that my team has no debuff or even any effective buff magic to counter this. So this quickly turned into a bloodbath, but my heavy hitting team also meant this fight went really quickly as well cause even though I had to revive Angela and Kevin a few times, at least Luger didn't last much longer himself. With him down, Deathjester does his best Kefka impression and snarks at the party before fleeing for his life. Though Luger is dying, Kevin shows off that "weak human side" of his and asks the Mana Spirit Luna to restore him. They bring him back as a baby so he can have a second chance at life, and hopefully not grow up into an asshole again. Course, seeing how the Beastmen all seem to be assholes, I hope they reincarnated Luger into a different nationality. With the seventh Mana Spirit on our team, we head to Diorre to find the final spirit Dryad, who always seems to be the last Mana Spirit.

    Diorre has us encounter good old Charlotte again, we need to find the hidden village of the Elves within the Lamplight Forest, and she knows the way, but since everyone in this game seems to be extremely temperamental, she storms off before she can guide you to the village. Thankfully there is an easy trick to finding the path that she does explain which is that certain flowers will glow red at night time and following them will eventually lead you to the Hidden Elf Village. This forest is a maze otherwise, which is something this game seems to be really fond of. Apparently the Forest of Seasons, the desert region, the bloody moon, and the Pure Lands were not enough in the previous game. Once we get to the village we meet up with Charlotte again and we learn more about her tragic backstory about how her Elven grandfather was so pissy about his only beloved child hooked up with a human and then banished them blah blah, they of course dies blah blah blah. I must say, this game really has it out for Charlotte, which I imagine is due to the lisp.

    He lets us go after Dryad who has been abosrbed by an evil plant monster. This boss turned out to be a bit tougher than I thought they would be, but its partly due to me not realizing that the boss is actually weak to Slyphid's power (Wind) and not Salamandos (Fire). So go figure. But this is the price you pay for playing Team Dark with a Warrior, Black Mage, and Monk. With the boss slain, the party has to give Dryad a bit of a pep talk to get her to join the team. She considers herself to be the weakest of the Mana Spirits, which is complete bulltrout for anyone who played the previous game and know how OP she can be if you take the time to level her up. With Dryand now on the team, I have all eight spirits and can finally enter the Mana Sanctuary to meet the Mana Goddess and get the Mana sword. Wow that is a mouthful of Mana. The hard part for me is trying to get back to Diorre, especially since this was the point I took time off and forgot that I was going to stick around the area to level up and grind enough Gold for some much needed equipment upgrades. Instead, I wander aimlessly for awhile using my vague memory of my first trip through the woods. I finally find the beach and summon my Turtle Ride and head for the Mana Sanctuary.

    Did I mention the gateway to the Mana Sanctuary is on an island called the Island of Oblivion. That's not ominous... Anyway, the Fairy tries her best to use the Mana Spirits combined power to open the doorway to the sanctuary but fails the first time. The party urges for her try once more and the second attempt works, but only because she senses that all of the energy from the Mana Stones have been released meaning we don't have much time before the God Beasts all wake up. The sanctuary is open, but its in the sky, which the team can't reach, but it looks like all of the villains were counting on the party to get this far and all three groups of antagonist rush the damn place, which is a really amusing scene because while the Altesians have a wicked cool airship to reach the place, the beastmen use giant condor like monsters to carry them there, while the Thieves group use a boat that was outsourced to the old man from Up. So in addition to my party now needing to find a means to fly, so we can reach the sanctuary and stop the God Beasts from being resurrected, we may also need to fight through a Mexican stand-off between the three factions.

    We head to Rietz's home to seek the help of the Father of the Winged Ones. My long gap from playing this makes me lost again and even when I get there, I ended up wandering through the Cave of Winds again instead of heading right where the castle entrance was. I eventually make my way to the peak, which I'm slightly disappointed because I got there at night and the muted color palette doesn't do this scene justice compared to the day time screenshots I've seen of this scene. We meet Flammie, the daughter of the Father of the Winged Ones, whom the Fairy convinces to give us a lift to the Sanctuary. the game then has her auto-pilot us there, which is a bit jarring because the game has these awkward mini-maps for traversing the world map that are both helpful and distracting at the same time.

    The Sanctuary is damn bloodbath when I get there. The place is littered with the bodies of soldiers from all the factions, but the only enemies I encounter ae upgraded Rabites who do a decent job of wrecking my ass since I failed to grind the ext money needed for upgrades. We reach the Mana Tree and find the Sword sheathed into its roots. Duran grabs the sword and the Goddess appears who reveals that Mana is dying and that we'll need to deal with the God Beasts, but before that, we seemed to have lost the Fairy during our travels as well. Duran doesn't seem interested in this and asks about all that power he was promised but the Goddess simply fades away with her warning about the fairy and leaving behind the Flammie Drum. Retracing our steps, the party encounters Deathjester, who reveals that his true master was slain by an unknown master behind the scenes of one of the other factions. We then encounter Bijieu from Hawkey's story who is royally pissed that she can't bring back her master with the Mana Sword and chose to kill her comrade and herself instead. Pretty extreme. Finally we encounter the Darkshine Knight and the Crimson Wizard who are revealed to be the ones who kidnapped the Fairy, they tell the party to meet them at their headquarters in Alena's home country. So now its off to Altena for our showdown with the big bads. I am a little sad that the Mana Sword is not a usable weapon in this game.
    Last edited by Wolf Kanno; 03-23-2020 at 06:14 AM.

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