SummaryThis is NOT Secret of Mana 2!
The GoodFor me "Secret of Evermore" is probably the most fun action-adventure games ever made for a Nintendo console. It’s not as serious about itself as those "save the world from the evil moon-wizard” manga-games, it has beautiful graphics compared to the blocky-square-tiled dungeons as seen in all the other adventure games for the SNES and I even like the soundtrack (which is a big deal with such humble sound-hardware possibilities).
One of the most unusual parts of the game is the alchemy-system which replaces the "magic" of other games. Once you’ve learned a new formula you have to find the right ingredients and mix them together to use it. You gain experience for using alchemy as for using weapons. To find the right ingredients you either have to buy them at the market or use your dog's sensitive nose to just pick them up in the forest.
There are quite a few dungeons in the game but at least as much time as you spend in the dungeons you spend outside in the villages which is probably the reason why I like this game so much. You can talk to NPCs, buy or trade stuff at the markets, train your weapons-skills or try some of the many side-quests. Later on in the game you get a flying machine to travel the world of Evermore (whose continents are split into several epochs like middle ages, ancient world and the future) gliding over an uber-cool 3D-FX globe.
Although it's not very serious the story is highly original and colorful. For example at some places you have to play your faithful dog (who is accompanying you throughout the whole game) and use him to rescue yourself from an otherwise hopeless situation.
The storyline is non-linear and you are always able to go back to all the places you've been before to buy some rare ingredients from an alchemist or spend the money you’ve earned at the big markets. The world of Evermore is incredibly huge.
The BadThe only thing really frustrating about Secret of Evermore are the oversized maze-dungeons that can make you run in circles for days. I started drawing maps, which helped but at some points I simply had to give up and stopped playing for a while. This, however, is the only real complaint I have and the joy of mastering those passages is big enough to forget about all the sweat and tears.
The Bottom LineA lot of people were upset with this game because it didn't have that Japanese manga theme onto it. This was because it wasn't really produced by Squaresoft (responsible for Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana and many of the most famous RPG console games out there) but its American sister company Squaresoft of America which licensed the Secret of Mana engine for its own project. Therefore many gamers expected a "Secret of Mana Part 2", which SoE obviously wasn't.
I never understood the blaspheme-talk about this. It's a game after all and I think Japan and America are equally good with creating entertaining games. In SoE the strange mixture of Japanese and European mythology was replaced by a typical B-movie "Back to the future"-style-adventure story resulting in a VERY different game that was NOT a typical RPG. So what?
Maybe hardcore anime fans (I'm just a little one) can't enjoy it but I will always remember this game as one of my all-time favourite andventure-games.