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Legend of Mana

Platform:
ps
Developer:
Square
Genre:
Action RPG
Series:
Seiken Densetsu
  • June 7, 2000
  • July 15, 1999
B+ 56 total ratings
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My all time favorite game...

A Legend of Mana review Author: qrayg Published: October 30, 2003
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You can read this review at my arcade site here:
solarArcade
I maintain a Legend of Mana website as well:
solarLoM

Squaresoft has always been known for their superb RPG's and this game is no exception. In fact I think it is one of the most unique games that they have ever developed. The replay value is incredibly high; you could literally play this game forever and never fully realize the potential of the weapon, instrument, pet, and Golem creation systems. More on this later...
Graphics _
The artwork in Legend of Mana is phenomenal 2D style animation. Each screen and sprite was hand drawn and colored in a beautiful anime style. The colors are rich and vibrant and every item from foreground to background seems to live and breathe thanks to subtle animation and perfect color shading. In all of my years playing video games I've never seen a game with this style of graphics and Square pulled it off wonderfully. See the screen shots on the right site of the page.
Sound _
The ambient sounds in LOM really add life to all of the environments and characters. Right from the start of the game when you walk into your living room and see a roaring flame in the fireplace, you can hear the crackling of the logs and the deep rumbling from the flames, there is also a beautiful musical theme playing softly in the background and when you walk out the front door the volume of the background theme raises a bit to make it seem like the world is alive. It's a very enjoyable experience.
This is also the first video game that I bought the sound track for. The composition and orchestration of the themes are very well done and worth the extra listen in my opinion.
Play Control _
The game plays very smoothly and works nicely with the Playstation controller. If you have a dual shock controller, you can take advantage of the rumble and analog control features. Precise control is really not needed in this game as the battle system doesn't require much accuracy or aiming. The game reacts nicely and never really frustrated me with its control at all.
Game Features _
There are so many things that you can do in this game it really makes my head swim trying to organize it for your reading pleasure, but I'll give it a shot.
World Building _
LOM uses a unique style of play in which you create the world as you progress through the game. As you complete certain quests (see below) you obtain Artifacts that you can place on a map to create towns, cities and country sides. You choose everything about the entire process, from the location on the planet where you want to start, to the exact placement of each of the lands. The only limitation is that you can only place Artifacts adjacent to another Artifact that you have already placed. Some Artifacts require that they are placed on land and others require water
Quest Solving _
The Legend of Mana has a non-linear style of game play. This means that you solve little mini quests to complete the game but you can do them in pretty much any order that you want. Some quests trigger or open up other quests and some quests only open under very specific circumstances. Trying to complete every single quest is a very daunting task and will take you many weeks of game play as you have to place your Artifacts in a specific order and in a specific location to open every quest. Figuring out the right placement can take many runs through the game but the game is so fun you won't mind at all.
Pet Raising _
After completing a specific quest you will learn how to capture Eggs of the enemies that you battle throughout the game. You have the opportunity to capture every single enemy in the game and raise them in your back yard at your house. You can have up to 4 pets in your possession at any time. You can take up to 1 pet with you for battling or just to keep you company. As you defeat enemies you can have your pet collect experience and eventually level up. When your pet levels up they will become hungry and will eat whatever they have in their trough back at your house. You can feed your pets a wide variety of produce and meats that you find in your adventures. You can also grow produce in your very own orchard after you complete a specific quest at your home (more on this later). You can feed your pet 3 items between every level and it can be a combination of meat or produce. Every single piece of meat and produce has a different effect on your pet as they eat. Some produce will give your pets bad traits and others will give them good traits. After a few feedings your can take your pet back to your back yard and have them graze and you'll have an opportunity to pet your pet to see what kind of personality it has. The goal is try to feed your pet items that will make them happy and aggressive and to keep them from being lonely and afraid. You can find out which items are good and which are bad for your pet by finding the Produce Encyclopedia and reading it while in your pet barn.
Growing Produce _
After completing a specific quest at your home, you will be able to start to grow produce in your very own orchard. You can use the produce to beef up your pets, forge weapons, or just sell them for Lucre (LOM currency). To grow produce you feed your orchard tree seeds that you buy in shops or find in battle. If you battle a lot of plant type enemies they will eventually drop seeds. You can give your tree up to 4 seeds at once and when you come back after a few days (walk around on the world map to change the days of the week) there will be a load of produce that you can pick and place in a produce box. The different types of produce that grow depends on the type of seeds that you feed your tree, the mana levels around your orchard (mana levels change as you place Artifacts around your home) and the day of the week that you plant the seeds (each day of the week has a color and spirit associated with it that will effect certain elements of the game). Sometimes you will come across super rare produce that will yield awesome results to weapons and pet attributes.
Weapon Creation _
Later in the game after completing some specific quests you will be able to forge weapons and armor in your very own blacksmith shop. This is one of the most complex parts of the game, in fact of any game ever made. You literally find hundreds if not thousands of types of items as you solve quests, open chests, battle enemies and grow produce. Every single item in the game can be used in forging weapons and armor, from seeds to meats to produce to woods to metals to coins to fabrics to dirt. The possibilities are endless and to this day, no one has a perfect method for making the ultimate weapon. There are so many factors to take into consideration like: types of items, days of the weeks, types of coins and order in which you place items, that creating two exact same weapons is nearly impossible unless you follow specific formulas (which you can find at gamefaqs). This all sounds very intimidating and it can be if you try to make a super weapon your first time through but you can easily create powerful weapons with common items that you start the game with. I recommend making a simple 3-4 item weapon for your first try and then after completing the game and opening up the higher difficulties and the rarer items, then trying to make the more complicated super formula weapons. Once you start forging you will become addicted, I guarantee.
Golem Creation _
After you complete a specific quest you will open up a Golem forging facility next to your blacksmith shop. Golems are basically robots that you can take with you in place of your pet. You create Golems from pieces of weapons and armor. Obviously, the more powerful the items you use the more powerful the Golem will be. The key to making a powerful Golem is to use the right combination of weapons and armor. Certain weapons and armor allow the golem to have a larger Brain grid and will be able to perform super powerful attacks. After you create some super weapons and super armor you can start to create your first Golem. I do not have much experience in creating Golems as I only made one and it was very weak. I never really tried to make another one because I still have to try to make some super items, which is very expensive. Since Lucre is very had to come by in LOM, Golem creation is a very time consuming effort but it can yield wonderful results.
Instrument Creation _
After completing a specific quest you can start to forge your own instruments. Instruments allow you to execute magic in battle and they allow you summon elemental spirits in certain locations. Instrument creation is probably the easiest thing to do in LOM. All you need to do is choose an instrument type and add some coins. Obtaining the coins is a time consuming process but it is not that difficult to do (see below).
Elemental Coins _
After completing a specific quest you will learn how to lure elemental spirits to you and try to steal gold and silver coins from them. These coins can be used to make instruments and to forge elemental powers into weapons and armor. Elemental powers add attributes and loads of power to your weapons and armor. After you learn how to get the spirits to drop coins you will be able to create ultimate weapons with enormous amounts of power. The hard part is trying to find specific elemental spirits as they only come out on certain days of the week in certain lands with certain mana levels. If you do find that rare spirit that you were looking for, you then have to figure out which type of music that spirit likes and play it a song in hopes that it will come closer to you so you can nab some coins. The spirit will randomly drop either Gold or Silver coins, Gold being the more powerful and rarer of the two types. Gold coin hunting will seriously take an enormous amount of your time.

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Editor's Grade
A+
dotted line "I haven't even touched the surface of the coolness and fun factor of this incredible game. Once you start playing this excellent game you will fall in love with the story lines and characters and probably won't see the light of day for at least 3 months. I highly recommend picking up this game if you are looking for a giant RPG with loads of replay value."
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Author
qrayg
Vapid Buttmunch
Member since June 14, 2003
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