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Secret of Evermore

Traditional RPG
  • 10 October, 1995
  • 22 February, 1996
B- 24 total ratings
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Square in America - Secret of Evermore Review

A Secret of Evermore review Author: Jeriaska Published: May 10, 2006
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Squaresoft's early history with the Occident was marked by many failures. In hindsight, the most obvious outrage Square committed was depriving the English speaking world of so many titles worthy of localization, namely Final Fantasy II and III, Front Mission and Gun Hazard, Treasure Hunter G and Tobal 2, and the epic Seiken Densetsu 3, any of which we would have gratefully traded for the combined high-profile wretchedness of Xenogears and Chrono Cross. Another notable failure came with the transition from Ted Woolsey's perfect localization of Final Fantasy VI to the horrendous freak show of offensive language, ebonics, and grammatical curiosities perpetrated by Final Fantasy VII's ill-equipped Japanese translators. Squaresoft should have done whatever was necessary to retain the highly imaginative Woolsey, especially after his foray into game production belly flopped, or just left the job to Babblefish.
The impressive 3-D-esque sprites are reminiscent of Donkey Kong Country

On the other side of the ocean, Japanese gamers were affronted by "Final Fantasy USA" for the Super Famicom, which they probably shrugged off as typical lazy American round-eyed oafishness. However, I hasten to add, we yanks were not to blame on that score. Westerners received that game under the title Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a game intended to indoctrinate Western gamers into RPG fandom by playing to their tastes, which are apparentlyfor plotless, retardedly simple fetch quests.

Final Fantasy USA anticipated another staff of underachievers appropriating the flagship moniker: the ill-fated Secret of Evermore, which was actually made in the USA by honest-to-goodness gun-toting Americans. Incidentally, SoE fails in every category where Mystic Quest succeeds, and vice versa. Perhaps, had the two teams come together they might have made a fine game. Then again, they might have ended up with Xenogears.
With all the work that went into Evermore, there's precious little fun to be had

Secret of Evermore is a worse game than Mystic Quest, which is at least mildly amusing in its insistent affront to your intelligence. However, I am sadder when I think upon Evermore because of its lost cause. The hapless developers nobly attempted to emulate the successes of Secret of Mana while giving the game its own unique flavor. In the end, all that matters are the noticeable blunders. The game is long, tedious, and faltering at every step. The plot unravels like a Saturday morning cartoon show, thrusting a boy and his dog into a world that is prehistoric, Medieval, and futuristic in turn, battling interminably against generic baddies like bugs and robots. The battle system retains Mana's tiresome charge-up attack routine, since we Americans were not privy to Seiken 3's notable advances in that area, and the dog functions as a useless non-playable character.

Evermore depletes much energy in its concern with its exasperating Alchemic Substitution System, as I imagine the Japanese might call it. This entails trading, combining, buying, and selling bones, potions, metals, quills, feathers, top hats, laundry baskets, car batteries and fish sticks in order to progress through the game. The selling point of Evermore is its graphics, which are so-so. The visuals lack the imagination of Seiken 2 and 3, offering by way of compensation the pseudo 3D effect of Donkey Kong Country that was all the rage back before Super Mario 64 blew all that crap out of the water. My saddest memory of this game I wanted so badly to root for was the ending, which left us on a cliffhanger. Clearly the makers of Evermore were hoping to make a sequel. Instead, they were all given pink slips.
So painfully symbolic

Is there any redeeming feature to America's failed Square game? As a matter of fact, there is. The game does sport a mighty fine score by a couple talented composers named Jeremy and Julian Soule, which can be enjoyed independent of the loathsome cartridge into which it is crammed. The music utilizes live instruments and high quality synthesizers, giving it something of the feel of a film soundtrack, while having its own unique sound. I would recommend connoisseurs of game music check out this soundtrack, an act comparable to retrieving valuables from the sunken Titanic.

As for Secret of Mana fans looking for a successor worthy of the original, it exists. And it's called Seiken Densetsu 3.

Originally published 8/12/04
Editor's Grade
dotted line "Secret of Evermore puts up a mighty fight, powered by Jeremy Soule and Daniel Dociu, but falls short in some significant categories"
B- dotted line Average Reader Score (Based on 24 ratings) | Rate it Now
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Endoplasmic Reticulum
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Member since October 03, 2003
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