Friday, December 20, 2019

Secret of Mana Remake (Playstation 4, 2018)

Now that Secret of Mana is available in high-def on PS4, we can confirm what we've suspected all along: Primm has beautiful boobies.



The intro of this version is interesting. It isn't as chilling and dark as the intro of the SNES version, but it's well-illustrated and better-translated. It briefly tells the story of how the advanced utopia of past humans gave way to conflict as the Mana Fortress was constructed and used to conquer the world.

"Poison and fire" sounds a lot like nukes. In any case, the world was engulfed by war and fell into ruin as The Planet unleashed WEAPON Mana Beasts to defend itself from the humans.

The final shot of the Great War includes the Mana Sword embedded in a pile of twisted wreckage as things fade to black.

The intro of this game sure has a lot in common with the intro of Final Fantasy VI.

We fade back in from black to show the land overgrown with nature as possibly a thousand years have gone by. Flamingos are dancing about while the trees are an eerie red. This actually bears a strong resemblance to the Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl, which is teeming with life in the present while having a weird red color on the foliage.

The game as we know it begins, with our hero hanging out with his jerk "friends" at the waterfall. The weird thing here is that the awesome music that normally plays in this scene is nowhere to be found. It's silent until you fall down, then the music starts.

Swim upstream like a fish?

"I AM NO FISH" says Dark Lord.

I like the way the minimap in the top right displays very SNES-like graphics, only enhanced. Looks like the smartphone port.

Things happen, as our hero gets the Rusty Sword. I'll be summing up a LOT in these SoM PS4 posts, and expect them to maybe, MAYBE be half as expansive as the SNES version's posts. There just isn't as much to say about this game now that I've exhaustively covered the SNES version, aside from pointing out the differences.

The visuals are kind of pseudo-3D in action screens, and full-3D during cutscenes like this one. I appreciate that it's retranslated to make more sense (while retaining the funny quirks of the SNES version) and that the character models are very faithful to the original game.

Here's a recording of the music that plays in this first section until you draw the sword. It's one of my favorite tracks in the game, one that went unsung in my SNES coverage and a largely-forgotten tune. This game employs remixes of all of the original tracks, sometimes to great effect and other times to terrible effect. It's a hit-or-miss soundtrack to say the least. The original score can be turned on at will from the menu screen, at least.

Arriving in Potos, THE PLOT smacks me in the face. I'd rather just...

...dance in Potos, which is a lot like Dancing In September. Look how happy our hero is! The "happy town theme" is another track I didn't give props to in the SNES coverage. I like this remix a lot more than the original version of the track, too. So happy.

The Mantis Ant fight in this version is interesting. They reused the boss model from Adventures of Mana.

Dyluck and his Privates gear up to charge into the Witch's Castle.

The question is, are they Full Gear ready? No. No they are not.

Let's take a moment to appreciate how nice the colors are in this version. While I like them, the visuals of this remake have been hit-or-miss with the fans.

Here's a good sample of the retranslation. Luka gets her news from the waters, which is honestly more reliable than the 24-hour news networks.

She's like "The Lake Mage" Marianne Williamson.

The infamous goblin-stew scene. I like how the Matango theme plays here. The remix of the Matango theme is one of the best remixes in this entire game.

That guitar, I mean damn.

Again, this is a great callback to the Final Fantasy Adventure hero saving The Girl in the woods. I like how it shows close-ups of the characters during dialogue scenes.

The Girl is like "You're not Dyluck! What a loser!"

While the original pretty much had the characters stop talking about a third of the way through the game, this version has persistent party dialogue throughout...and The Girl never really changes. She's very rude to The Boy the entire time and instead of having any witty retorts, he just sulks a lot in response to the abuse. It's kinda gross.

"Your dad? You mean your father?" asks the King.

The Pandora scenes with Primm and her father are a bit more explained this time, and it's made very clear from the get-go that her father is a government official who sent the troops out to die just to get rid of Dyluck. In other words, he sent those guys to their potential doom just because he doesn't like his daughter's choices.

I have a chance to rename Primm and go with Selene. As for where Selene came from...nowhere, I just thought it was a cool-sounding name. The Boy's name is staying Randi in this version...not sure about The Sprite yet.

Turns out Thanatos and Elinee had nothing to do with the people acting like zombies. The opioid crisis has come to Pandora!

The checkerboard grid is gone for setting up character AI, and the character AI in this version isn't great as it is. The good news? AI characters can't get stuck on things anymore as you run around. That alone makes a HUGE difference in how much of a hassle it is to travel long distances.

Another difference that I encountered around this point: Cannon Travel no longer animates the traveling. You can see the party get fired out of the cannon, then it just... cuts to the party landing. No Mode-7, no flying up into the air, no rad shot of the overworld. I was really looking forward to seeing how this game handled this, so the complete lack of animation for it is a big disappointment and screams laziness.

Gaia's Navel is gorgeous in this version. The waterfalls are supremely well-animated.

I've learned a few things since the last playthrough. Turns out, when The Girl refuses to go to the Dwarf Village, you don't have to leave her behind.

I mean, you can, if you want to be It-ballooned and chewed up by bats.

However, heeding her demands and going north to the Haunted Forest, you'll eventually find a wall that requires the Axe. They realize they have to go to the Dwarf Village to get said weapon, so The Girl reluctantly agrees to go with.

There sure seem to be a lot of ways you can do this early part of the game, and a lot of it is skippable if you avoid talking to Dyluck outside the Water Temple at the beginning.

HALLEUJAH! She was a ghost for this part because I hauled through to get to this point.

Watts is blown away by the Mana Sword. I was going to say...didn't he just forge this very sword? I guess he just got the rust off of it, and further work is just sharpening. Not sure how these upgrades work from a lore perspective.

The ring menus are mostly intact from the original. The main difference? Character-specific ring menus no longer circle up on the character using them, they're always centered. It's a little confusing. They also don't remember your last selection, which is super-irritating. Not sure why this version takes these steps back in the UI. It was totally unnecessary.

Tropicallo fight: Now with two characters! With the AI being what it is and no magic yet, having a second character for this fight isn't as big of a help as you'd think.

The Sprite is much-easier to see in this version, and still sassy. As for a name... MOON RETURNS.

The Witch's Castle doesn't have the same visual intrigue that it did originally, and feels kind of sterilized in this version. The depth of the graphics seems flat compared to the light/dark contrast found in the castle walls of the original version...which is funny because this version is so much more three-dimensional on the surface.

The level-grinding spot with the werewolves still works just as well in this version. Better, even, since it's easier to reach them with any weapons. I took some time to bang out some levels here before continuing.

Spiky Tiger is still the barreling maniac it always was, and smashes into the party immediately. It's easier in this version, probably because I leveled a little more.

Using the Bow wasn't the sure-fire method for landing hits that it was in the SNES version. This is still probably the hardest fight, at least for a while.

Here's the fight on video. It went smoothly.

Randi gets the infamous Luka booty call. He's a randy lad, so he again takes off in a puff of dust.

We get Undine, yada yada...Undine's amazing Chrono Trigger esque theme from the original is very different here. It's still good, and it's still a crime that it only plays for this one scene in the entire game.

The Power Glove no longer looks like a glove...now it's a conch shell. A conch shell for a fist weapon? Now I've seen everything.

The Boy gets his one moment of feeling good about himself for the entire rest of the game! I bet The Girl immediately tears him down.

...yep, there it is. I really like that this game has party chat when you stay at Inns, since it adds SO MUCH to the characterization. Unfortunately, half of it is just The Girl trashing The Boy. At least once The Sprite joins their freaky three-way, The Boy has an ally against The Girl's relentless mocking.

Another good spot to grind is the first room of the Underground Palace. The goblins usually get kinda stuck in that north alcove and weapons like the Whip go right across to hit them.

Moon is considering making the other two into henchmen. Lawl.

The Girl deflects by attacking The Boy! Is she suggesting he's a bottom? Ya, Primm is definitely on top more often than not.

What's that face the Sprite is making? And is it really necessary for The Girl to squish her boobs together like that? WHAT KIND OF GAME IS THIS

The infamous gnome scene. "I like your style, gnome" is still here and still awesome.

Fire Gigas is a fight I'm weirdly afraid of due to my rental experiences in 1994 or so. There's no need for that though, because Freeze-spamming ends this guy in ANY version of the game.

Here's the actual fight. Maybe if I defeat this guy enough times I'll get over my fear of him. This might actually be the final time I ever play the game, though. I maxed out in the SNES version and am thoroughly tapped out on that game, now I'm going for 100% in the PS4 version and don't really see myself playing it a second time after that. So yep, this is it for one of my favorite games. The last hurrah.

Thanatos in his PS4 glory. I wonder what he looks like under the skull mask. Getting a closer look at some of these characters with PS4 visuals is worth checking the game out by itself.

Evil Wall! More spell spamming! No big whoop. I know I'm summing up a lot and mostly posting boss videos, but here's the thing: I originally intended for these PS4 screenshots to be used in the Super NES Secret of Mana posts as nothing more than comparison shots, and didn't take too many of them in the first 3-4 hours of the game.

Once I realized the shots of this version would be better off as their own series I started taking more, so the next post(s) will be more in-depth.

This may look different but it does a good job capturing the feel of the original. After defeating bosses, you hear the same sound effect while the heroes raise their fists.

The group-meetings get more interesting at this point since this is where the amount of character dialogue drops off a cliff in the original version. Here we find that The Girl isn't happy about The Sprite and Gnome calling her The Sprite's wife. She's sensitive about a joke like that because she's with Dyluck, and is a bit of a celebrity. People could talk.

Dammit, if she cheats on Dyluck, it'll at least be with someone hot!

"Uh huh" says The Sprite.

Here's one of the interesting new features in this remake. There's a guide where you can look at close-ups of every character and every weapon you've acquired.

So...what exactly is in Neko's sack, anyway?

...Gnome.

"Call the police!" says Gnome.

We also get this sweet world map. The log tells you what needs to get done next. On the right side of the map we see The Empire's continent, which vaguely resembles Europe, in several ways: It could be Scandinavia/Germany, or it could be England/France. It could even be mainland Europe and North Africa. Hard to say, because it looks like all three of those.

It's worth noting that the entire south part of that continent goes completely unused in the game. It's by far the largest space on the world map that never comes into play in the game itself. I'm guessing whatever they developed for it ended up being used in another game. My guesses? Guardia Forest in Chrono Trigger, Gothica in Secret of Evermore, and probably a couple of areas in Seiken Densetsu 3 all started life as parts of The Empire in this game that got cut.

The Scorpion Army stole the Water Seed and Luka somehow missed this. She must have been in the other room with Jema. Well, at least they got a bedroom installed in the temple, because sleeping on those stairs does NOT work when you're 200 years old.

Here's an iffy composite shot of the underground airship. Still think this was designed to be an actual vehicle for the players early in development, and putting it in for this random throwaway scene with the Scorpion Army was Square's way of using what they'd already designed. In another universe, this might have been the game's Big Whale deck. I'm glad we got Flammie instead though.

The leader of the Scorpion Army seems interesting. I wonder what the deal is with this crew. We'll never really know, because they have their couple of moments in the sun and then they just sorta disappear.

Kilroy in this version has giant neon hammers. They look like they should emit a squeaky toot sound when swung.

The fight isn't much to write home about. I like the way this guy looks though. The boss models so far have largely been faithful to the original game, with enhancements. Not crazy about the Mantis Ant being changed to the Adventure of Mana version, but other than that, no major complaints.

We've seen all of these boss videos during the SNES version posts. Up to the Boreal Face, at least. Also, I've pretty much skimmed up to this point. In the next post, we'll have a more in-depth look at what follows, as well as new boss videos that weren't already in the SNES version's posts.


2 comments:

  1. It's pretty bad when Thanatos sees more in the guy than Primm's dad.

    Clearly the PS4 can't handle Mode 7.

    Neko's sack is full of GOOD SHIT.

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