Along with genre legends like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6, the incredibly iconic Secret Of Mana absolutely dominated on the Super NES.
After all the FF games managed to get upgrades and ports, it was only a matter of time before Square Enix returned to the Mana series. Besides the switch from sprites to polygons, this new version is an incredibly faithful adaptation.
Most of the classic gameplay elements of this hallowed SNES entry remain the same, but there are some changes to the Secret Of Mana combat and menu systems you need to know about before playing.
Secret Of Mana Remake Combat Changes
As with the 1993 version, different weapons let you break through different obstacles in the game world, like using the sword to get through foliage or the axe to break through rocks.
Temporarily knocking back and stunning enemies to give you breathing room in combat continues to be a main focus, with each weapon having a different attack style for pushing enemies backwards or forcing them onto the ground for a few seconds.
Since your weapon’s attack power drops after each swing, attack spamming isn’t helpful at all. Backing off and allowing the attack gauge at the bottom of the screen to go back up to 100% — or charging above that in later parts of the game to get in solid hits against bosses — is much more effective.
Besides those basics of combat, the switch from flat, 2D sprites that could essentially only attack in the four cardinal directions over to 3D polygons that can attack from any angle has created big changes in how you approach combat.
Most notably, ranged combatants are now significantly more deadly. While you could move slightly up or down to get out of the way of a hail of arrows in the original SNES version, or position the camera so archers were stuck behind an object, now ranged attacks can come from any angle and will cause serious problems. Taking out missile-hurling enemies should be done first whenever possible.
The angle of a strike is also tweaked somewhat and will need to be relearned if you are familiar with the original game, particularly with weapons like the spear that have a broader stroke. There are times where it will seem like you should be connecting but won’t actually hit if the angle isn’t perfect.
It’s also worth noting that the combat wheel doesn’t save whatever spell or weapon you last selected anymore. You now start at the beginning and have to go through each sub-menu to get back to the same spell if you intend to cast it multiple times in a row, for instance.
Keep a close eye on that wheel whenever you bring it up, as it is now harder to distinguish which character’s wheel you have accessed. That won’t matter if you are playing co-op, but in single player, if you are switching between the three characters often, it can get confusing, and you may accidentally swap out a weapon on the wrong character.
Only a slight color difference distinguishes each character’s item ring (thanks to Xcagegame for the screnshot)
Secret Of Mana Attack Gauge
Besides some changes in battle structure, the combat AI for the secondary characters has changed. You can now select how far you want a character to charge up their attack. This setting only matters after you increase the skill level for a weapon and are able to charge it up above 100%.
You can set either “unused” to ignore all charge attacks and only use base strikes, or instead choose a number between 1-8 (depending on the weapon’s skill level).
You can vary your play style here either by having the AI spend more time charging attacks or by instead focusing on quick, less damaging strikes. Keep in mind that while those charged attacks can do a lot more damage, it becomes very easy to get knocked back and lose all that charge time if an AI character gets hit!