-by Bevianna Bones
Recently, I read that the powers that be at Square Enix were remaking another one of its old properties. The beginning of the Mana story, Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden. Originally released on the original Gameboy (remember, the grey and green destroyer of ocular growth and development?), and then remade once as Secret of Mana on the SNES, and Sword of Mana years later on the Gameboy Advance. This time round, rumor seems to point the remake in the direction of iOS, Android, and PSVita (yippie!!) Having played both incarnations, here’s to hoping that
this up and coming remake is slightly more faithful to the original. Seeing this news, however, brought back a wash of memories and inspired me to dig out an old friend and revisit not only my first experience with Final Fantasy, but the only game I ever called the Official Nintendo Power game counselors for. Yes, it’s the only Final Fantasy game I’ve ever loved as much as VII…it’s Final Fantasy Adventure.
And the system…and after firing it up, the years have been less than kind on the poor old thing…forgive me, but the rest of this article and game will be played on an emulator. Check out MyOldBoy for Android and iOS.
One thing I immediately noticed, and remembered after starting it up, was the music. Gods I loved this intro music when I was a kid. I remember I would sit and listen to it and just let it play over and over on the title screen. The franchise has, since day one, across all boards, been spot on with the quality of its soundtracks. Even when it was just midis, and not full blown symphonic orchestration. I also recall that as a kid, I was so obsessed with this game, and my other loves; drawing comics and Star Trek: The Next Generation; that I started writing a comic using the dialogue from the game, and my TNG action figures as character models. I’ll have to look in the vault to see if I can find any of those gems for you…the apex of my preteen geekdom. Wait until I tell you guys about how I got the name Bevianna Bones. But for now, back to the game.
The gameplay is different thanks other Final Fantasy series, as it’s more action based, much more Zelda like than not. The story starts, and your character, Boy, (Toby) is a gladiator type slave for the empire of Glaive. One of Toby’s slave pals dies after a fight in the arena, and on his death bed, he tells him to seek out the Gemma Knights, the Mana tree, and a man named Bogard, in order to save the world from evil.
Willy passed away.
Toby sets off to escape the castle (?) via the entrance for the monsters, and is forced to fight again. Toby slays the beast and heads outside. Once there he overhears a plot from The Dark Lord and his evil sorcerer Julius. Seems that they want to harness the power of the Mana tree as well, that is inconveniently located at the top of a massive waterfall. The Dark Lord realizes that Toby has just overheard all of their evil plans, and before he can get the chance to thwart theme, pushes Toby off the ledge, and into the waterfall.
Toby awakens to find himself in an unknown world, with vague instructions from his dying friend, and knowledge of an evil plot about to take place. He must find this Bogard and find out more info. He stumbles into a nearby town and hears tale of a strange old man that lives in seclusion up the falls. This must be Bogard!
Shortly thereafter, he saves a young woman from monsters, and the traveling companion she was with passes away. Toby, agrees to bring his newfound friend, Gaby, along with him, for she too, is looking for this Bogard.
The pair make their way up the falls and find the secluded house. The old man inside tries to pull an Obi-Wan, and is hurried to tell them off, “leave me alone!!” That is, until he notices that the Girl, is carrying the pendant of Mana. (What this old thing? My mother gave it to me…) After seeing the pendant, he reveals that he was once a Gemma Knight, protector of the Mana tree, before the darkness entered the land, and that the Girl must be the key to stopping it, for there is power within the pendant. He tells them to go see a sage named Cibba, in a town called Wendel, and that he will help them.
I don’t want to give away too many spoilers here, that covered about the first 15 minutes of the game. The point of the quest is provided to you early on and fairly straightforward. Protect the Girl, seek out information to said girl and tree, and then put it all together and save the world.
That’s not to say that there won’t be obstacles up ahead. Like when a creepy innkeeper kidnaps the Girl in the night and locks her in a casket in the basement. Why? Only to find out that he is a vampire and wants her for his bride!
All in all, after playing it again after all these years, it’s still a great game. It’s definitely not as hard as I remember, nor is it as long as I remember. But, it does feature all of the staples of a Final Fantasy; airships and a guy named Cid, Mogs, and of course Chocobos. Wark!
And now, for an insider tip, for what could easily have a spot on the list of most absurd video game puzzles and corresponding vague clues. Like I mentioned earlier, this was the only game that I ever had to call the Nintendo Power game counseling hotline for. For younger readers, this was our only out when we would get stuck in a game. It was a time before strategy guides, walkthroughs, and the Oracle’s of Google.
While questing, you are told about the presence of a hidden cave, and given one clue to its whereabouts. Palm trees and 8.
Sure pal. I got it. Off to spend months of my childhood trying to figure what the fuck you’re talking about.
Naturally, I figured that the location of the cave was somewhere where there was a grouping of 8 Palm trees. Except that was nowhere to be found. I tried everything I could think of, even backtracking as far back as I could go to see if I had missed another clue. But to save us all time, here’s the answer to the great mystery.
What’s wrong, don’t see the answer? It’s simple really. Seems you have to walk a figure eight around those two palms and the cave will open up.
Wark! I’m pretty sure that’s Chocobo for WTF.
Makes perfect sense, only reason I didn’t come to that on my own volition might have something to do with the fact, at no other point in the game do you have to, or is it a point to have to walk patterns around or on anything.
And with that, I will leave you to further my own quest for the Mana tree, as I await the newgen remake of this classic. If you want to find out what happens, find a copy and fire up your old Gameboy, or procure a copy via emulator.