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Slice and dice: the downsizing of Secret of Mana

EDITORIAL: To veteran Square newsgoers, or long time and active readers of this site, this won't come as new news. However, I find it worth mentioning in this new Blurb system. I love Secret of Mana; it was my first RPG, my first Square game, the first game that almost insurmountably challenged me. And in all this time, my only complaint was that portions of the script seemed..anorexic at times. References made to things such as Dyluck's origin were ambiguous and non-informative. It turns out that major portions of the game really were sliced off.

Secret of Mana was to be one of the flagships of the Super Nintendo CD-ROM drive. When that fell through with all the intrigue and speed of Russia's democracy, as much as 40% of Secret of Mana's content was removed.

But, Japanese nationalism holds that if everybody has to be screwed over, then at least us gaijins should get it worse. The English localization was allocated a mere thirty days, with script alterations made for differing spatial requirements between regional technology.

As far as I know, no copy of the original, CD-ROM based script has been publicly uploaded. It would be nice to see a retranslation in the vein of the Chrono Trigger retranslation to be presently found on our front page (how self-referential!), but at the present, it seems that anybody curious as to the original narrative vision of Secret of Mana is shit out of luck.

  • Published at 08:16:15 PT
  • Reported by Serris
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Forums / News / Slice and dice: the downsizing of Secret of Mana

I knew about Chrono Trigger, but I'm surprised that that continued on into the Playstation years.
I would love to know all the information that was left out of these games. The stuff left out of CT really didn't seem like a big deal. But, Xenogears was much less of a game thanks to its disc 2. I never knew stuff was left out of FF8. I liked the game a lot, because I could get over its flaws. It would be nice to know if all those flaws were due to bad localization.

To stay OT. The localization process of SoM went so fast, they didn't edit everything out they should have. About 6 years ago I was replaying SoM while in the castle of the Frost Gigas. Those large books that attack you, if they are left idle long enough, they fill flip to pictures of naked ladies.
Note that this was the case for many of Square's projects pre-merger (because post-merger, they were even more fubarred on release): Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, FF8: all these got significant portions of the story and concept axed before the dev team was able to implement it, resulting in parts of the game that just feel really awkward and incomplete, such as the entirety of Xenogears' disc 2, or the bizarre plot twists in FF8 that seem to come out of nowhere.
when is Koichi Ishii getting a brain?
I've always loved Secret of Mana's script because it was so lean. Unlike the early Final Fantasies, you don't tend to have characters pop up in one area, taking on a strong relevance before fading away into complete obscurity after the clearance of that area. In SoM, the major players resurface throughout the game - returning to Luka for consultation, Jema's, Phana's, and Dyluck's resurgences..and of course Thanatos. But the later portions of the game definitely communicated a sort of barebones inadequacy which, while not being a dealbreaker, was very disappointing.

I think part of the reason why my sentiments are strong in this is that the series took such a dramatically different direction after this game. I've been playing Seiken Densetsu III, just passed through Mana Holyland for the first time; it's obvious from the get-go that the flavor's totally different, with a much stronger emphasis on fantasy elements that continues (far too far, in my opinion) in the subsequent Legend of Mana. Secret of Mana was one of a kind in its style, and so the lost 40% is a bigger blow than, say, parts of FFVIII being snipped.

Or maybe I'm just showing my personal bias. Oh well.
Personal bias, because FFVIII has ingenious literature-style references populating the game; not to mention the entire ingenuity of the storyline and its one major twist that no one noticed and therefore people misunderstood the entire game. It's arguable whether they intended it that way but in the end the point still stands: no one got the references and real-world analogies.
FFVIII is the greatest of all the FF's
Please Rahul, enlighten us. Though I feel we may have had this discussion before.
I think it was tactics that was the best.

but then again, Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Chrono Trigger and Xenogears beat all the FFs anyways :-p
I have to disagree on Xenogears. Disc 2 really did hurt the quality of the game. And I would also have to add that VI is definitely on par with SoM, SD3, and CT.

Though second Ziyad's motion: Enlightenment please :D
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