Secret of Mana

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Once upon a time, the power of Mana was used by all people and helped their civilization grow. But as evil forces took control of Mana Fortress, there was no way out but a war which destroyed the Mana-based civilization but eventually brought peace to people. The events of the past became but legends to the new generation of humans. But history repeats itself...

One day, a young village boy finds a rusty sword stuck at the bottom of a river. He doesn't know this sword is the famous Mana sword, the one that won so many battles before. By drawing the sword out of the river bottom, the boy unwillingly summons hordes of monsters, and is expelled from his village. A mysterious knight Jema is the only man who helps him and gives him instructions for the future. First, he must repair the sword, and then, with its help, take control of Mana seeds which can be found in eight great castles.

Secret of Mana is an action RPG, featuring real-time hack-and-slash type of combat. The protagonist has a stamina gauge: the more stamina he has, the more powerful his strike is. It is possible to upgrade weapons and abilities and meet many different types of monsters, while roaming around the country and performing quests.


Secret of Mana SNES Title screen (Japanese version)
Secret of Mana SNES Title screen
Secret of Mana SNES In the basement, looking for some goodies
Secret of Mana SNES If I just hadn't pulled this sword...

Alternate Titles

  • "聖剣伝説2" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Seiken Densetsu 2" -- Japanese title

Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

A real gem from Squaresoft, it's a shame it has so many technical glitchies SNES Bregalad (938)
A great early Action RPG SNES Idkbutlike2 (23)
Edible at best. SNES Pixelspeech (955)
A game that's designed to make casual gamers crazy iPhone Pagen HD (85)
Great Game, one of the best SNES Scott G (729)

Critic Reviews

ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) SNES Jan, 1994 12 out of 12 100
Slide to Play iPhone Dec 27, 2010 4 out of 4 100
Game Informer Magazine SNES Jan, 2002 9.5 out of 10 95
Total! (Germany) SNES Nov, 1993 1.25 out of 6 95
RPGFan iPhone May 22, 2011 91 out of 100 91 SNES Nov 17, 2012 91 out of 100 91
Edge SNES Nov 25, 1993 9 out of 10 90 SNES Jun 24, 2009 17 out of 20 85 Wii Jun 24, 2009 17 out of 20 85
HonestGamers SNES Jan 25, 2013 6 out of 10 60


Topic # Posts Last Post
So what else has changed? 4 Cor 13 (174162)
Nov 06, 2011


1001 Video Games

The SNES version of Secret of Mana appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


One of the first games announced for the then-announced CD-ROM addon for the SNES. Nintendo eventually gave up trying to get the peripheral off the ground after the deal with Phillips to make the drive fell flat. Square eventually released a tooled-down version, which pushed the SNES hardware constantly (hence the slowdown and lack of multiple enemies onscreen), and overall left Square bitter for having to go through the process of downgrading its game. This probably was one of the reasons Square decided to bail on Nintendo (and its then-upcoming N64 console) and take its multimillion seller, Final Fantasy VII, with it (which was first announced for the N64).

Ironically, Square signed the deal to bring the game to the PlayStation with Sony, which was the original partner for the SNES CD drive, but was publicly stabbed in the back by Nintendo with the Phillips deal. The CD drive technology that Sony had been working on for the SNES, was then used to create the PlayStation itself.


Due to technical limitations, only three enemies can ever be on the screen at one time. Sneaky players can use this to their advantage and keep 'easy' enemies alive to block the spawning of more powerful ones. The merchant cat Neko, is also affected by this and may not always appear during busy combat.


In the original Japanese version, Killroy has a chainsaw when fighting him the second time. In all Western versions, he is just a re-coloured version of the first encounter.


Secret of Mana is quite possibly the first RPG game to support 3 Players. It is certainly the only one on SNES that does (along with it's sequel, which was never officially translated). A multitap is required for the third player.


The Slime bosses are the trickiest enemies in the game, not because they're difficult, but because they're so buggy. When fighting one of these bosses it's possible to slow the framerate to a crawl, freeze the game or in extreme cases, wipe the contents from your saved battery backup.


  • FLUX Magazine
    • Issue #4 - #40 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #77 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • GamePro
    • Vol. 6, Issue 2 - Role-Playing Game of the Year 1993
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #74 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
Information also contributed by Big John WV, CaptainCanuck, PCGamer77 and WildKart

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Contributed to by Michael Cassidy (15978), Sciere (343849), gamewarrior (5062) and Cor 13 (174162)