If you are anything like me, I’m obsessed with JRPG that I want to play them for a living. These colored hair pixel heroes makes me turn to a child as if I’m in a toy store screaming around while my mother thinks of disowning me. Apart from the usual known RPG like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, I’m more into older ones back in PSOne console. To be specific, I absolutely love Legend of Mana and I consider it one of the most underrated games of all times.
Legend of Mana was released back in 1999 on PSOne by Square Soft and it’s basically part of the Mana series. “Legend of Mana is set in the fictional world of Fa’Diel. The Mana Tree, the giver of mana and life for the world, burned down almost entirely nine centuries prior to the events of the game. A war erupted between faeries, human, and others seeking the scarce power of mana that was left. When the war concluded, the burnt Mana Tree slept as it regrew and the many lands of the world were stored in ancient artifacts. A hero, controlled by the player, is self-charged with restoring the world, and mana, to its former self. The Lands of Fa’Diel are populated with a large number of different creatures, including humans, faeries, demons, the jewel-hearted Jumi race, plant-like Sproutlings and Flowerlings, miner bears called Dudbears, and shadowy beings of the Underworld known as Shadoles. Fa’Diel is also the home of a host of anthropomorphic animals and objects, as well as monsters from other Mana titles such as Rabites, Chobin Hoods, and Goblins. The player controls the protagonist of the game, who is either a male or female silent protagonist. The character is unnamed and no information is given about their past; their history and personality is meant to be determined by the player.” – Legend of Mana Wikia
The game world is shaped by the player when placing the artifacts which creates the dungeon or town for example, I could place an artifact of a town named Domina next to the main character’s home place on the map while someone else playing this game could place it below. The main storyline is a bit lacking because the game wants the player to experience all of the side stories and just create the character personality in my opinion. The main goal is to restore the mana tree and return life to the land but that’s just an easy way to describe the character as the hero and follow most JRPG route, that’s not what the game only offers because as I mentioned before it has many side stories which adds more attributes to the character personality not only a hero but also a friend and a helper to those who need help.
What draws me mostly to this game is the music, I played this game when I was 11 and till this day I still hum the music I heard in this game. The music was composed by Yoko Shimomura who also composed for various well-known games like Parasite Eve and Kingdom Hearts. I think music gives the game a memory which you won’t forget, you could hear one the tracks now as an adult and it’ll instantly make you remember the dialogue said during it and which location exactly.
Back to my point of the storyline, I mentioned before that there’re many side stories or branches. For example:
- The Jumi Story
- The Dragoon Siblings Story
- The Centaur Love Quest
- The Rabbit Merchant Adventures
- The complicated love story of four childhood friend
- Treasure Hunting With Pirates Adventures
And few others I obviously forgot to include but I can say these are the most memorable ones. I could go on in explaining each one but I feel my keyboard will grow hands to slap me because my inner child is excited slamming buttons about this game so I’ll just mention that the Jumi storyline was my favorite and like any child about to enter the teenage years, I had a massive crush on Elazul who was one of the main characters of that storyline.
In conclusion, I think this game offers more than usual JRPG because of the story having so many branches for the player to explore and intertwine between the lands. I would totally recommend this game to any JRPG fanatic as I am.