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Legend of Mana

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Nine centuries ago, the Mana Tree burned to ashes. The power of Mana lived on inside Mana stones, enchanted instruments, and artifacts. Sages fought with each other for control of these last remnants of Mana.

Then, after hundreds of years of war, as the power of Mana becan to wane, those who sought it grew scarce, and the world returned to peace.

After that, manking grew afraid to desire. Their hearts filled with empty emotions, and grew estranged from my hands. They turned their eyes away from my infinite power, and were troubled by their petty disputes.

Remember me!

Need me!

I can provide you with everything!

I am love.

Find me, and walk beside me.

Boxart 

Details

Developer Square Co.
Publisher Square Co. / Square EA
Genre Action RPG
Players 1-2
Platform PSX
JP 15 Jul 1999
US 7 Jun 2000
Platform PSN
JP 28 Jul 2010
US TBA

After 4 years of silence on the Seiken Densetsu front, Square launched Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana on July 15th, 1999, though it took almost a whole extra year to make it to the States on June 7th, 2000, and was never launched in Europe. The game was the first in the series to make the jump away from Nintendo, opting instead for the Sony Playstation. Although the fourth SD title to be released, it was not considered to be an officially numbered game in the series (the next being the more recent Dawn of Mana), but instead a side-story, in the same way that Final Fantasy Adventure was considered a side-story of the Final Fantasy series before fully spawning the SD series.

While keeping many elements from the previous titles, Square took advantage of both the higher console spec and media capacity to create a vast customization system that allowed the player not only to fully personalise their equipment, but even the world itself through location placement which in turn granted access to unlockable sidequests and characters. Whatsmore, the game is divided down into three parallel story arcs, even though the game can be completed without fully exploring all these, making for hours of replay.

One area where the title excels is in visual presentation. Combining hand-drawn backgrounds with smooth-flowing and incredibly detailed sprites, and expanding on the already vivid colour palette from previous games, Legend of Mana was set to become and remain one of the top graphically pleasing titles on the 32-bit platform.

The musical front of the game sees the introduction of a new composer to the series, the acclaimed Yoko Shimomura. The platform for this game held the additional advantage of no longer depending on in-game tracking, allowing for the inclusion of live piano pieces and a fully pre-rendered score. The main theme for the game, Song of Mana, also features the vocal performance of Swedish vocalist Annika Ljungberg.

Sadly, in spite all it’s good points, the game was poorly received by fans, and met with bad reviews upon release. Some people put it best as simply being down to a question of acquired taste. One major set-back is that while the game does offer a vast array of stories intertwined, there isn’t necessarily a central driving point at the core, making it very atypical among RPGs. This would be the last fully original game in the series until the arrival of the World of Mana project.

In 2010 Square re-released the game on the PlayStation Network, making the game available to PSP and PS3 owners.