Sword of Mana

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Sword of Mana
Sword of Mana.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) Square Enix Product Development Division 8[1]
Brownie Brown
Director(s) Takeo Oin
Producer(s) Koichi Ishii
Designer(s) Koichi Ishii
Takeo Oin
Artist(s) Shinichi Kameoka
Koji Tsuda
Writer(s) Miwa Shoda
Composer(s) Kenji Ito
Series Mana
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance
Release date(s)
  • JP August 29, 2003
  • NA December 1, 2003
  • EU March 18, 2004
Genre(s) Action RPG
Mode(s) Single-player

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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[edit]

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.[5] IGN listed the game as one of the top ten most anticipated Game Boy Advance games of 2003.[6] The game was shown at the 2003 Nintendo Gamers Summit.[4]

In Japan, a special edition "Mana Blue"-colored Game Boy Advance SP was released, packaged with Sword of Mana and a carrying case.[7] 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.[8]


Sword of Mana Premium Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Kenji Ito
  • August 27, 2003
  • October 20, 2004
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 1:42:51
  • DigiCube
  • Square Enix (reprint)

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.[9] Ito's music is mainly inspired by images from the game rather than outside influences; however, he never played the games themselves.[10][11] 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".[12] The album reached position #118 on the Japan Oricon charts, and stayed on the charts for only one week.[13]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 70.26%[26]
Metacritic 72 out of 100[27]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 6 out of 10[14]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 6 out of 10[15]
Famitsu 30 out of 40[8]
Game Informer 7.75 out of 10[16]
GamePro 4/5 stars[17]
GameSpot 7.1 out of 10[18]
GameSpy 3/5 stars[19]
GameZone 7.5 out of 10[20]
IGN 7 out of 10[21]
Nintendo Power 4.9 out of 5[22]
Nintendo World Report 8.5 out of 10[23]
X-Play 3/5 stars[24]
The Times 3/5 stars[25]

On the day of its Japanese release, Sword of Mana sold 87,491 copies, nearly one third of its initial shipment.[28] It ended up as the 39th top-selling game of 2003 at nearly 278,000 units sold in Japan alone.[29] It received fairly good reviews upon its release, holding a 72 out of 100 on Metacritic, and a 70.26% on GameRankings.[26][27]


In 2004, Sword of Mana was adapted into manga form by author Shiro Amano and published by Enterbrain.[30] Two novels based on the game were also published by Enterbrain.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Winkler, Chris (2003-09-20). "Square Enix Talks Current Status". RPGFan. Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  2. ^ "E3 2003: Hands-On: Sword of Mana". IGN. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  3. ^ "Sword of Mana Playtest". IGN. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  4. ^ a b IGN Staff (September 13, 2003). "Nintendo Gamers Summit 2003". IGN. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ Jeff Gerstmann (April 24, 2003). "Nintendo to publish and distribute three Square Enix games". GameSpot. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ IGN Staff (July 1, 2003). "Ten Big GBA Games of 2003". IGN. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ Craig Harris (June 30, 2003). "Mana Blue SP". IGN. Retrieved 2008-06-14. 
  8. ^ a b Wollenschlaeger, Alex (August 24, 2003). "Japandemonium - Vision Thing". RPGamer.com. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  9. ^ Ito, Kenji. "Discography". CocoeBiz. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  10. ^ Ezaki, Kahori; McCawley, James (December 2004). "Interview with CocoeBiz in December 2004". CocoeBiz. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  11. ^ Ito, Kenji (2005). "RPGFan Exclusive Interview #5: Kenji Itou, Composer". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  12. ^ Gann, Patrick (2004-05-26). "Sword of Mana Premium Soundtrack". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  13. ^ "新約 聖剣伝説 プレミアム・サウンドトラック" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  14. ^ Edge staff (February 2004). "Sword of Mana". Edge (133): 109. 
  15. ^ EGM staff (February 2004). "Sword of Mana". Electronic Gaming Monthly (176): 128. 
  16. ^ Justin Leeper (January 2004). "Sword of Mana". Game Informer (129): 159. Archived from the original on 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  17. ^ Star Dingo (2003-12-01). "Sword of Mana Review for Game Boy Advance". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2004-12-13. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  18. ^ Brad Shoemaker (2003-12-04). "Sword of Mana Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  19. ^ Darryl Vassar (2003-12-01). "Sword of Mana". GameSpy. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  20. ^ Steven Hopper (2004-02-08). "Sword of Mana - GBA - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  21. ^ Craig Harris (2003-12-02). "Sword of Mana". IGN. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  22. ^ "Sword of Mana". Nintendo Power: 157. January 2004. 
  23. ^ Daniel Bloodworth (2004-01-14). "Sword of Mana Review". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  24. ^ Justin Speer (2004-02-23). "'Sword of Mana' (GBA) Review". X-Play. Archived from the original on 2004-03-12. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  25. ^ "Dragon Ball Z Taiketsu/Sword of Mana". The Times. May 8, 2004. Retrieved 2014-08-01. (subscription required)
  26. ^ a b "Sword of Mana for Game Boy Advance". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  27. ^ a b "Sword of Mana for Game Boy Advance Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  28. ^ Sifar (2003-08-29). "SWORD OF MANA SALES DAY EVENT". individual.utoronto.ca. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  29. ^ "2003 Top 100 Best Selling Japanese Console Games". The Magic Box. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  30. ^ a b Enterbrain staff (2004). "新約 聖剣伝説 アンソロジーコミック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-06-21. 

External links[edit]