An action RPG for the Super Nintendo and the second game in the Seiken Densetsu series. Secret of Mana can be played by up to three players simultaneously, and is widely regarded as one of the system's finest games.
Long ago, people lived in harmony with the natural world and used the power of Mana to help their nations grow. But when evil forces took control of the Mana Fortress, seeking to use it to conquer the world, a terrible war began which destroyed much of civilization but brought peace to the world once more. Over the long years, the events of the past became but legends to the new generations of humans. But history repeats itself...
One day while exploring a forbidden valley near his village, a young boy finds a rusty sword stuck in a stone. He does not realize that this is the Mana sword of legend, used in the great war of the past. By drawing the sword, the boy unwittingly summons hordes of monsters, and is expelled from his village for breaking the ancient taboo. A mysterious knight Jema who is passing through the area recognizes the sword and gives him instructions for the future. First, he must repair the sword, and then, with its help, take control of the Mana seeds which can be found hidden around the world to prevent them from falling into evil hands.
Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan) is an action role-playing game for the Super Nintendo. The game is the second in the Seiken Densetsu franchise of games.
Secret of Mana uses a top-down view like most 16-bit RPGs, but from there the similarities end. The combat uses a real-time battle system, while magic can be cast in the middle of battle using the game's ring menu system. Secret of Mana is a co-operative multiplayer RPG, allowing a second player and/or third player (using the SNES Multi-tap addon) to take control of the hero's allies.
Secret of Mana is widely regarded for its beautiful and colorful 16-bit graphics, epic story, unique soundtrack, as well as its action oriented and multiplayer capable combat system.
Rather than using the traditional turn-based battle system of games like Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana utilizes real-time battles akin to the Legend of Zelda series, while also employing typical role-playing elements and a unique "Ring Command" menu system, which pauses the action, and allows a variety of actions to be performed without needing to switch screens. The game received considerable acclaim for its brightly colored graphics, expansive plot, "Ring Command" menu system, innovative real-time battle system, modified Active Time Battle meter adapted for real-time action, its innovative cooperative multiplayer gameplay, where the second or third players could drop in and out of the game at any time rather than players having to join the game at the same time, the customizable AI settings for computer-controlled allies, and the acclaimed soundtrack by Hiroki Kikuta. Secret of Mana was an influential game in its time, and has remained influential through to the present day, such as its customizable AI for player characters being used by many later games, its ring menu system still used in modern games (such as The Temple of Elemental Evil) and its cooperative multiplayer mentioned as an influence on games as recent as Dungeon Siege III.
Secret of Mana also largely pioneered the action RPG stamina bar mechanic, which has since been adopted by a number of action RPGs, including King's Field, Souls, Bloodborne, and Nioh.