Seiken Densetsu 3

aka: SD3, Secret of Mana 2, Trials of Mana
Moby ID: 6660
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Seiken Densetsu 3 is set in the same world as the two previous Seiken Densetsu games (the first is Final Fantasy Adventure, and the second is most known as Secret of Mana). The mysterious power of Mana is also the center of all events in Seiken Densetsu 3. Years have passed, and all the destructive powers of Mana have been securely sealed by Mana Swords into eight seeds, all placed in eight different kingdoms. But some people know about those sealed powers, and they don't want to free them for the sake of humanity, but for their own gain - such as the kingdom of Altena, which is slowly freezing and which can be saved only by the legendary powers.

The game features several plot lines connected to each other by their common background. In the beginning of the game, you are offered to choose a group of three among six different characters of different classes: Duran the Fighter, Angela the Magic User, Lisa the Amazon, Carlie the Cleric, Kevin the Grappler and Hawk the Thief. Each one of them has her/his own background story and dwells in a different land. Gradually, the connections between those different characters become apparent, and the seemingly loose story lines are connected into a whole.

Seiken Densetsu 3, like the previous game of the series, is an action RPG, with real time combat.


  • 聖剣伝説3 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (SNES version)

112 People (62 developers, 50 thanks) · View all

Director of Game Design
Character Design
Game Design: Battle
Game Design: Map
Graphic Design: BG
Graphic Design: Character
Graphic Design: Effect
Graphic Design: Monster
Graphic Design: Boss Monster
[ full credits ]



Average score: 85% (based on 8 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 52 ratings with 2 reviews)

A timeless classic, but with several flaws

The Good
Seiken Densetsu 3 is an RPG made by Squaresoft for the Super Nintendo.

This game is the sequel to Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy Adventure. At a first glance, after playing a few minutes, one could say this game has few in common with Secret of Mana. Not only the graphical style has evolved, but also the gameplay feels quite different.

As opposed to Secret of Mana which resolves on a fixed 3-character party, you can chose one hero and 2 friends among 6 possible characters, for a total of 20 different possible parties, with 6 different possible storylines !

Even if the story line is not as deep as it could have been, it's definitely way deeper than in Secret of Mana. Each characters have his reasons and motivations to leave home and to go on a journey to save the world, which is why the "hero" you choose as the lead characters significantly alters the story.

The gameplay is very different from Secret of Mana. This game plays more like a beat-em-up, where you encounter enemies, you rush on them and you can go forward when all of them are beaten. This adds a degree of excitement during playing that was absent in Secret of Mana.

Something I really liked is that they made up a day/night system, not only that, but also a calendar system with days-of-the-week corresponding to elemental spirits. There is 8 elemental spirits, but Lumina and Shade stands for day and night respectively, and 6 spirits remains for the week. However a 7th day is added in honour of the goddess of mana, which is the Seiken Densetsu 3 equivalent of Sunday. All inns are free on Mana days, which is nice.

Finally I must absolutely say the music in Seiken Densetsu 3 is mighty. For the most part of it, it is completely different from Secret of Mana's style, even though it has been composed by the same guy. A couple of songs from Secret of Mana were re-used though.

I must say that even though this is "only" a Super NES game, the graphics and animations are totally amazing, probably among the best ever seen on the console.

The Bad
I wish I could just stop here and say Seiken Densetsu 3 is so amazing that there is nothing to write here, and that all flaws that were here in Secret of Mana are gone. In fact this is probably what I would have done after a couple of hours of gameplay.

However as I played through the entire game, some problems arose, and I started to realise that many problems are still here, they are just more hidden.

The biggest issue is the inventory system. You can only carry up 10 kinds of items and up to 9 of each. If you want any more, you can store them in the inventory (which is an improvement over Secret of Mana which only allowed 4 items, and had no inventory). This is not a problem in itself, however the menus are VERY slow, buggy, unintuitive and user-unfriendly. You'll have to press the "Start" button, and wait for the menu to load, then scroll down the long inventory one item at a time, and it takes approximately 1s to scroll every single item, which is extremely long.

The weapon/armour system is not any better. The orb system from Secret of Mana is gone, and there is a system much like any traditional RPG where weapons and armours are specific to each character. This is not a problem - but when you buy them you have no idea to which of the 3 characters the equipment is associated, and swapping an item between a character and another, and equipping items, is even longer than browsing the inventory.

I think words can't really describe how the menu of Seiken Densetsu 3 is terrible.

Another problem is that, while the gameplay mechanics have been greatly improved (now the action pauses when you cast a spell or use an item which avoids major bugs from Secret of Mana), bugs from Secret of Mana (which were very numerous) are still present. When a character is severely injured you never know when it's dead or just low on HP, and the game engine allows you to waste healing items on a dead character without telling you he's already dead yet. When a boss have decided to attack you with a spell or a special skill, you cannot open the ring menu to heal until after the attack is finished.

There is major problems with sprites in this game. They are constantly half-disappearing when any animation is happening. Apparently they tried to use more sprites than the SNES could handle. They could really have fixed that somehow instead of leaving it as-it, because it really looks corny.

Even though I enjoyed a lot the beginning and the middle of the game, the last part of it seemed dull and uninteresting to me. Maybe this was because the last dungeon's music sucked even though all other pieces of music in the game are amazing. Maybe it was because a lot of level grinding was necessary if I wanted to avoid Game Over screens from occurring too frequently. Or maybe it was that dumb system where, to get the best weapons and the best classes, you have to collect seeds and plant then in an Inn, which will give you any random item. To get all the items for class promotions, and to get all ultimate weapons and armours, you'll have to spend quite some time to hunt seeds and you'll need some luck. Why the monsters doesn't directly drop the items you want so badly is beyond me.

The Bottom Line
Seiken Densetsu 3 is a great sequel, and a great classic on the SNES that any fan of the console should play.

Still, it can't be called a perfect game or anything, and even though there is multiple possible parties and stories, I'll probably not play it a second time because the gameplay tends to get boring and the game has so many annoying little bugs.

SNES · by Bregalad (937) · 2012

a Great RPG, uses real time action.

The Good
You have 3 ways to finish this game, depending on who you pick as your lead character. Great Animation and Sound. Many different areas, and different spells you can cast. The class-changing ability varies what you can do with your characters, unlike many games, were you are just one thing, you can do many things with your characters, and make your own team (choose 3 out of 6).

The Bad
lots of bunching up, 3 enemies can gang up on you and you can take your life if you are trapped, also with all the bunching up, it is very hard to see just exactly what is going on. Spell Casting, each spell is cast in the game one on one, if an enemy boss can, it will cast 3 spells in a row back to back, and you cant heal in time, and you die sometimes as a result. Personally I did not like the fact that it was only released in Japan.

The Bottom Line
Anyone that has played Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2) and liked it should definitely play this game for sure. Most of the lead designers, programmers and animators did this game as well. It knocked my socks off how well this game is, and how everything is so well linked together.

SNES · by Scott G (765) · 2004



Squaresoft chose not to localize this game during the SNES era, and for many years it was only available via an unofficial translation patch. In 2019, an official translation was released for the first time as a part of Square Enix's compilation Collection of Mana for the Switch.


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Roedie, Bregalad, Ms. Tea, Thomas Thompson.

Game added June 14, 2002. Last modified January 21, 2024.