Sword of Mana
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2013)|
|Sword of Mana|
North American box art
|Developer(s)||Square Enix Product Development Division 8
Sword of Mana, originally released in Japan as Shin'yaku Seiken Densetsu (新約 聖剣伝説?), is an enhanced remake of the original Game Boy game Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden, which was released as Final Fantasy Adventure in North America and Mystic Quest in Europe. This remake was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2003.
At the beginning of the game, the player is able to choose to play as the male lead or as the female lead, both of whom are named by the player. They each have a different quest, but their plots remain similar. Notably, the remake adapted many elements from the original game, which had their origin in Final Fantasy, and favored elements traditional to Mana games (for example, the chocobo was replaced by cannon travel). One notable exception to this are moogles, which do appear in the game. Sword of Mana was made to resemble the graphical style of Seiken Densetsu 3, but the artwork rather resembles that of Legend of Mana.
The ring system from Secret of Mana is featured once again, allowing players to choose various options on the field screen. The day-and-night system introduced in Seiken Densetsu 3 also makes a return. Much like Legend of Mana, players can forge weapons, plant produce in an orchard, and read recorded events in the game's "Hot House" feature.
Sword of Mana uses a real-time combat system somewhat similar to that of The Legend of Zelda. There are different times of day in which only certain monsters appear. Several weapons are acquired throughout the game. Each weapon has an attack trait of either jabbing, bashing, or slashing. These attack traits help to determine damage done to enemies throughout the game. In addition to this, a deathblow gauge is included which, when full, allows a more powerful strike than normal attacks. A magical attack system is included as well, with elements such as light, fire, earth, etc., each affecting enemies in different ways. A class system is also featured in which players can level up one out of five jobs once the character's experience points reach at a certain point. Similarly to Secret of Mana, players can also switch to control an accompanied party member during combat. The form each spell takes and the area it can hit varies depending on what weapon the player has equipped; for instance, the sword produces a spike directly in front of the character, and the bow produces an arc like that of an arrow.
Although the game does not feature a formal multiplayer option, the Sword of Mana does contain the "Amigo" system, which utilizes the Game Boy Advance Link Cable to connect two players' savings together. This allows swapping of partner characters and magic cards used to summon the Mana Wisdoms. As the game's box information does not reflect this, a number of potential buyers were left confused.
Development and release
On April 24, 2003 Square Enix announced three games were coming to Nintendo systems, including Sword of Mana for North American release and European release to follow. IGN listed the game as one of the top ten most anticipated Game Boy Advance games of 2003. The game was shown at the 2003 Nintendo Gamers Summit.
In Japan, a special edition "Mana Blue"-colored Game Boy Advance SP was released, packaged with Sword of Mana and a carrying case. Those who purchased the game's soundtrack and strategy guide between August 27 and September 30, 2003, were given the opportunity to win a Cactus character cushion and a cellphone strap.
|Sword of Mana Premium Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Kenji Ito|
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
The game's music was composed by Kenji Ito, the composer for the original Final Fantasy Adventure. The music includes reworked tracks from the original game as well as new material. Ito's music is mainly inspired by images from the game rather than outside influences; however, he never played the games themselves. The 2003 Sword of Mana Premium Soundtrack album collects 47 tracks of music from the game. The two-disc album contains over an hour and a half of music and was published by DigiCube, with a 2004 reprint by Square Enix. The first disc contains music directly from the game, while the second disc features seven piano arrangements of songs from the soundtrack. The first edition of the soundtrack included a bonus disc, containing an orchestral arrangement of "Rising Sun ~ Endless Battlefield". The album reached position #118 on the Japan Oricon charts, and stayed on the charts for only one week.
On the day of its Japanese release, Sword of Mana sold 87,491 copies, nearly one third of its initial shipment. It ended up as the 39th top-selling game of 2003 at nearly 278,000 units sold in Japan alone. It received fairly good reviews upon its release, holding a 72 out of 100 on Metacritic, and a 70.26% on GameRankings.
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