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Published on Apr 17, 2012
https://rpgfanatics.com You might know this game as Secret of Mana 2, but this video is titled by the only name it was officially released as. This was a Japan exclusive game in the Mana series that many people aren't aware existed, but let's change that starting right now!
Anyway, Seiken Densestu 3 at first glance seems to play very much the same as Secret of Mana. The game continues to use the Ring Menu introduced by Secret of Mana, and while there are still limits on how many healing items you can have with you in battle you are able to store additional items in a 'Storage' menu, though you are unable to use any item in Storage during a battle.
One very noticeable difference is that while Secret of Mana allows 3 players to control each character using the Multi-Tap accessory, Seiken Densetsu 3 does not support the Multi-Tap, and instead is merely a two player game.
That said, Seiken Densetsu 3 is notable for introducing several gameplay and narrative elements that have since become trademarks of the series. The first is the Calendar system, where the game has a concept of time and as you play or sleep at inns, the sun will rise and fall, which has a huge impact on gameplay. During the night, some enemies may be sleeping and certain enemies might only be available to fight during the day.
Each day of the week is associated with a particular Mana Spirit that boosts the elemental power of various spells and attacks associated with that spirit. Additionally, certain events only occur at specific times of day, like the Black Market in X being available only during the night hours, or the character Kevin transforming into a werewolf to boost his attack power.
Seiken Densetsu 3 is also the first game in the series to feature the character of The Mana Goddess whose life is tied to the existence of the Mana Tree, and it also introduced certain monsters like the dreaded Black Rabite.
As you can see in this footage, this is perhaps one of the most beautiful Super Famicom games out there. Graphically it is on the same level as Chrono Trigger and Terranigma, another great title that was never brought to North America. The game's pixel art is very faithful to the concept art created by manga artist Nobuteru Yūki, who is probably best known for his involvement with the anime series The Vision of Escaflowne, but has also been involved in other games like Chrono Cross and Tail Concerto. A lot of the NPC character designs from this title were brought over to future games in the series; notably, Legend of Mana.
The music was composed by Hiroki Kikuta, who had previously scored Seiken densetsu 2-- known to us as Secret of Mana-- and a lot of the original pieces composed for this game have become staples to future releases. By the way, you've actually been listening to the music throughout this video.
The storyline and concept of the game was created by Koichi Ishii, who in addition to being the creator of the Seiken Densetsu franchise was also heavily involved in the development of several SaGa and Final Fantasy titles; as discussed in one of my RPG(logy) videos, he is notable for having invented the Chocobo and Moogle mascots.
The game was directed and produced by longtime Square employee Hiromichi Tanaka -- so long, in fact, that he was one of the first employees of Square, having worked with Hironobu Sakaguchi on Square's first published game, Death Trap in 1984-- and he was involved in many of Square's famous titles, like Final Fantasy 1, 2 and 3.
Most of the Final Fantasy titles have seen at least 3 or 4 different re-releases for multiple platforms, but the Mana series is kind of neglected and only the first two games in the series have seen any remakes. Which is sad, I think, because this is arguably one of the best multiplayer games that was developed for the Super Famicom / Super Nintendo platform, and more people should have a chance to play it.
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