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Sword of Mana

Preview By: AJ Middleton

Developer:  Square Enix
Publisher:  Nintendo
Genre:  RPG
Est. Release:  December 2003
Posted:  8-21-03

Square is back, and they’re coming in full force too.  Already we’re seeing new installments to Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy Tactics, and a new member is also joining another old series.  Sword of Mana, for the Game Boy Advance, is the prequel to Secret of Mana for the SNES and essentially a remake of the original Final Fantasy Adventure for Game Boy.  Although only a little info is available on the game at the moment, it looks like another winner already.

Sword of Mana starts out in the time of the goddess Mana herself.  After being used by evil forces, a woman from the Mana tribe turned herself into the Mana tree in order to prevent the misuse of Mana’s great power.  The heroine of the game is a girl from the Mana tribe who has mysterious ties to the goddess herself.  Her mission is to protect her tribe from the persecution of the Shadow Knight, who wants the power of Mana.  The hero is the leader of the Duchy of Grantz, but he has been raised and trained as a gladiator in slave pits.  Fate puts them together, and fate will decide if they will be successful…

From the sound of it, the hero and heroine may not be the only playable characters.  You have the choice of selecting a character and race to play as.  This decision will determine the path that the story takes.  This is an interesting twist that will most likely open up hours of new adventure and discovery.

For those unfamiliar with the Secret series, the games are RPGs, but they don’t contain the turn based battle system.  Battles are free, but there is still an MP and HP system that works just like that of any RPG.  The menus for equipment, magic, items, and stats present themselves in a ring that forms around the character.  The rings can be toggled easily, and mastering this technique is the key to smooth and quick battles.  All of these features exist in Sword of Mana, so it will have a nostalgic feel to veteran gamers. 

Sword of Mana is not excluded from this new age of GBA connectivity.  Link up your GBA with a partner’s to fight enemies together.  What’s that?  A 2 player RPG?  Excellent…

The 16-bit graphics look authentic (which is a good thing,) and I’m sure there is a good share of modern eye candy as well.  And being from Square, I wouldn’t doubt that the musical score would be anything but amazing.  Sword of Mana is the prequel to a very popular and successful game, and I’m sure it will be another masterpiece upon its release.

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