The Wind Never Ceases

Secret of Mana [Seiken Densetsu 2], by Koichi Ishii, Hiromichi Tanaka, and Yutaka Izubuchi, Square, 1993.

All I want to do in Secret of Mana is wander around beating up on Rabites and listening to the music, but no: I’ve got to fight these invincible bosses at the end of long dungeons loaded with treasure and experience that I have to ignore because I’m going to die anyway and lose all my progress and have to do it all over again. I don’t want to have to remember to save; I don’t want to have to buy and equip armor; I don’t want to have to do anything that requires my thinking brain.

I tried Final Fantasy Adventure [the original Seiken Densetsu] and found it pretty agreeable, on par with Link’s Awakening, maybe, until I got stuck on a remote island without any keys. Unlike in any of the Zelda games, you have to buy keys in advance. Each pack of them takes up space in your too-small inventory, so you don’t want to overload. Now I can understand the inventory limit — myself I’m all for realism — but when you’ve got keys that disappear after they’re used, you need either an inhuman carrying capacity, or key-mongers on every corner, or enemies that drop keys, or a magic skeleton key that you get later in the game, or an alternate, possibly more dangerous path through the dungeon that doesn’t involve keys. (If this weren’t whiny enough I’d mention how much of a pain it is to actually use the keys when you’ve got ’em, or for that matter any other item, weapon, or spell.)

I played Seiken Densetsu 3 for like thirty minutes when it was first translated and lost interest thereafter. Incidentally that’s about as far as I got before it was translated.

So yeah, the Mana games: least cherished of my beloved personal favorites.