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Legend of Mana
"Squaresoft, once again has shown it's mastery of Rpg's, and it's flair for keeping the genre alive with new ideas."
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Developer  SquareSoft Game Type  Strategy
Distributor  Square EA Preview Date  Jun 00
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      When you begin your adventure, you are given the option to play as male or female, however the story does not change based on that choice. You are also given your first "Artifact", a mailbox. You can place this mailbox artifact at almost any location on the world map. When you do place it, the secret of this artifact will be realized, and your home will appear. You're on your way.

Your home is loaded with places to go. In your house you have your room, which you share with a talking cactus. This cactus keeps a diary of your adventures, so talk to him often and see what he writes. Down on the main level you have a living room of sorts, and a study. As you progress through the game, people will give you encyclopedias, which explain in detail different aspects of the game. This can be very handy.

Stepping out of your house, you have quite the yard. A garden, with a magical mana tree is there. You can give this tree different seeds, to produce different fruit. This fruit can be used to feed your pets. Did I mention the pets?

Off to one side of your house is the corral. Here is where you keep and raise pet monsters. These monsters can be named and even come with you on your journeys. They are fed with the fruit and vegetables from your mana tree. Different food will raise or lower certain attributes of your pets, which you can read about in your study (encyclopedias).

On the other side of your house you have a workshop. Here you will be able to create golems. To create a golem, you build it using armor, weapons, and other materials you find, or buy, on your journey. They can be named and taken along also. You can also strengthen your armor and weapons, using the equipment smithy.

Don't get too excited, you have to complete certain events in order to use these features.

When you hook up with another character, they become a NPC (non-playable character). If you are playing as a single player, the NPC's are not controllable. During battles, they have a mind of their own, and are controlled by the computer. Also you cannot change equipment on them.

A highly original feature in LoM is the two-player control. At a save point, you will be given the option of "Two player control". What this means is that a friend can take control of the NPC and do battle along side of you. The guys and I tried this out, and it was a blast. Nothing beats going on a beat ' em up mission with a friend to share the glory.

Another nice feature is the ability to get other main characters from the memory card. Say your friend has LoM also. You can download his main character and fight with him in your party also. Keep in mind though; the secondary characters still can't change equipment or skills. Also you cannot take control of your pets and golems.

In battle you have two options, physical attack, or magic. In LoM, there are no menus used in battle, and no items to be used in battle. This might take some getting used to. Survival can be tougher, since there is only one way to heal in battle, the crouch skill. Skills, those are what you assign to your triangle and circle buttons. Skills are things like, jump, spin, crouch, and so on. The X and box buttons are for heavy physical attack and quick attack. By using different combinations of skills and attacks (and weapons), you will learn special techniques.

Special Techniques are combination moves. While you fight, your ST (Special techniques) meter will fill. Once filled, you can release a Technique, which delivers a powerful blow. There are a bucket load of ST's and they are specific to weapon types. The ST's get assigned to the shoulder buttons, which also share assignment of Magic attacks.

Magic comes in the form of different musical instruments. Assigning an instrument to a shoulder button will allow use of that magic type. The spells are quite stunning, a beauty to see.

After you defeat the enemy, they pop open like piggy banks. Out come gems and money, sometimes, even items will appear. The gems are what give you your experience points. After all the items are picked up or disappeared (they don't last forever, you know), a summary screen shows who got what.

Traveling in towns is typical, aside from the dot entry portion. When in town, there are several places to go to and lots of characters to talk to. Some of the characters will ask for help, or want to go on a journey with you. Keep in mind that only one NPC can be with you at a time (not counting your pet).

After you finish the game, you have the option of playing again using the data from the previous game. All your goodies will be carried over to the new game. Cool.

So, the story goes on. Traveling to new locations, as they are uncovered from the artifacts. Meeting new people, and gradually uncovering the Legend of Mana.

Game Options:
• Number of Disks: 1
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
• Other accessories: None
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: No

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Staff Opinions
CygnusXI   "Legend of Mana is a fun game. The battle system is exciting and interactive. Loads of special skills and extra bonuses like golems, pets and equipment modification, make for a very detailed and comprehensive experience. The only thing about LoM that throws it off somewhat is the disconnected story line. At some points in the game, you feel lost, and have no clue if you're doing what you should be, or not. That aside, LoM is still a very fun game to play, with wonderful visuals and sound that just won't quit.

If you're looking for a non-linier adventure, and love side quests and raising pets, and golems, LoM should be on your list. The replay value should be high also, considering you can start a new game with your old data.

Squaresoft, once again has shown it's mastery of Rpg's, and it's flair for keeping the genre alive with new ideas. "
Graphics  18/20
Playability  38/50
Sound  9/10
Lastability  17/20
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