The Return of Talking Time

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Old 03-12-2012, 08:12 AM
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Default Oh! Emperor Vandole is a DOG. - Let's Uncover the Secret of Mana!

Table of Contents
Part I / JP/US comparison
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII
Part VIII
Part IX
Part X
Part XI
Part XII
Part XIII
Bonus Update

LP Complete!

Welcome, one and all, to the return of Secret of Mana! With the blessing of its former author, this LP is reborn. Now, where do we start?

The Secrets of the Secret of Mana

At the beginning, of course! Let's talk about Secret of Mana and where it came from for a bit.



Back in 1989, Square registered the trademark for this game's predecessor, Seiken Densetsu (Legend of the Holy Sword) with the subtitle The Emergence of Excalibur. The plan was to make it a Famicom Disk System game that came on five disks (unheard-of at the time!), but over the life of the project, it got scaled back significantly.



In the end, what we got was a Game Boy game that bore the name Seiken Densetsu, around 1991. It was an excellent game, but nowhere near what had been promised. This became something of a theme for games that bore the Seiken Densetsu title... As you may have guessed from the above picture, the game got a release in the US as Final Fantasy Adventure. In Europe, it was called Mystic Quest.



About a year later, Sony and Nintendo began co-development on an add-on to the Super Famicom (or Super Nintendo, as everyone outside of Japan called it), a CD expansion akin to Sega's own add-on to the Genesis. Immediately, Square began developing a game for this flagship add-on, and they dubbed it Seiken Densetsu 2. It was to feature Redbook Audio music and a massive scenario. THIS time they'd get it right!



Well, you probably already know that the SNES CD got canned when Nintendo read the fine print and discovered that Sony would be raking in all the profits. This left Square in a bit of a bind, and they had to convert Seiken Densetsu 2 to fit onto a cartridge. This meant scaling back the project considerably, and much like its predecessor, SD2 ended up being something of a disappointment compared to what was promised (but still quite a good game in spite of that).



Nonetheless, it was an RPG for the emerging Super Famicom/Super Nintendo, and Square wanted something to show for their recent foothold in the American market they'd gained with the Final Fantasy brand. So they had the recently-hired Ted Woolsey translate the game's script on short notice. Woolsey later confided in an interview that the resulting translation, Secret of Mana, was one of the most frustrating experiences of his career at Square. He was forced to condense the script to fit into the existing space limitations (and was forced to cut out a lot of content as a result), with only a single month to work on it to boot.



Ultimately what spared the game from getting another slipshod translation like so many Square products got at the time was the fact that Ted Woolsey knew how to write in English. In fact, he was actually fairly good at it; certainly head-and-shoulders above anyone else on the translation side of the industry at the time. So while Secret of Mana bears only a passing resemblance to its source material in terms of the story, what we got was easily the best localization we'd seen since Japanese video games started getting ported to the US en masse. It was coherent, which at the time was an amazing feat (and would remain a disturbingly rare occurrence for the better part of a decade, too).

I know what some of you are thinking. "You're the guy who retranslated Final Fantasy VI! That was his magnum opus! You hate Woolsey!" No, no, and no. I do not hate Ted Woolsey, nor do I hate his work. In fact, I have quite a lot of respect for the man. I've mentioned this in my FF6 LP, but it bears repeating: Ted Woolsey changed translation of video games in a very meaningful way. His contribution of introducing the idea of localization was immense, and while I personally feel that he over-localized, I don't hold that against him either (though I did at one time, that part of my life is long past; besides, Victor Ireland was far worse about over-localizing).

Anyway, that's the highlights of the history of Secret of Mana. So, with that out of the way, let's begin...

Last edited by Sky Render; 03-08-2013 at 01:07 PM. Reason: gamespite.net is dead, long live telebunny.net
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2012, 08:14 AM
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Introduction - Some Say LoveTime is Like a River



♪♪ Where Angels Fear to Tread ♪♪

Oh awesome, it's Squaresoft! They make great games!



Oh crap, it's Nasir! He codes great spaghetti!



In the grand tradition of RPGs of the time, we have a brief and largely uninformative spiel as an attract mode. Let's have that intro crawl in classic all-caps, shall we?

PEOPLE AWAIT A HERO WHO
WILL WIELD THE SWORD...
EXCALIBUR, HERALD, GIGAS...
THE BLADE HAS HAD MANY
NAMES, FOR IT HAS BEEN
CELEBRATED IN MYTHS AND
LEGENDS THROUGHOUT TIME.
BUT ALL OF THESE SPEAK TO
JUST ONE WEAPON:


What weapon could it possibly be!?



OF COURSE! Well, I guess we've discovered the Secret of Mana already. That was a short LP!



♪♪ Menu ♪♪

Of course we haven't! Secret of Mana (and its Japanese counterpart too) was one of those weird SNES games that rendered menus in a very strange fashion and gave early emulators a lot of hell. Fortunately, it's not 1998 any more, so that's a long-dead issue!



Our intrepid hero will be needing a name, naturally. He was Crambo last time, but don't let that limit your creativity!



♪♪ In the Dead of Night ♪♪

Which civilization, you ask? That one, of course!

(We're gonna use FuSoYa's VWF hack, because I'm not cruel enough to foist the original font this game sported on you.)



Then they scrapped it when they realized it'd be a whole hell of a lot easier to just build guns and take over the world with firearms instead.



As we'll discover later, these beasts were incredibly bad at their job.



Didn't FF6 start out with a similar scenario?



The Mana Fortress got whacked!



Seriously, FF6 totally aped on this intro!



I always thought time flies like an arrow (and fruit flies like a banana). Oh well, what's a metaphor anyway? (For sheep to graze in!)



And so our intro ends with the Mode7 world map awkwardly rotating and zooming about to take us to some waterfall. What awaits us there? You'll find out next time! Until then, please suggest a name or two for our intrepid hero (limit 6 letters).
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  #3  
Old 03-12-2012, 08:19 AM
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Keepin' it real with Randi, Popoie, and Purim.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:36 AM
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I did the same thing last playthrough. Also in previous games they carried the names Seth, Autumn, and Fawn. I miss that comic's glory days I can tell you. But yeah, do it, it'd drive the gallery nuts
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:37 AM
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Crambo for life.

Don't care about the other two, whoever they were.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:05 AM
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Swordy
Of the MacSwordians
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:08 AM
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I don't care about the boy or girl, but the Sprite needs to be called Lymon. Because it was funny when I was twelve.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
I like this game already. Not that I've ever played it or any of the other Mana games before, but I've heard good things. Here's hoping, I guess.

I don't have any good ideas for names at the moment, but the rest of the posters here can probably take care of that.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:37 AM
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Boss, Marcia, and Harry.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
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Boss
Later, the Sprite will be named Percy.

This is the best plan.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
Oh crap, it's Nasir! He codes great spaghetti!
Bro, don't diss. Nasir was responsible for developing practically all of the game's code, which is a massive undertaking for just one dude - there's bound to be weird mistakes. Considering the scope of Secret of Mana's systems, it's kind of impressive how few bugs there actually are.

ANYWAY.

Pants
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
I know what some of you are thinking. "You're the guy who retranslated Final Fantasy VI! That was his magnum opus! You hate Woolsey!"
I did not know this!
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:59 AM
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I did not know this!
A fan translation, not the new one.

Edit: Also, Pants.

Last edited by Nodal; 03-12-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
Boss
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Later, the Sprite will be named Percy.

This is the best plan.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:12 AM
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I concur with the above post.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin View Post
A fan translation, not the new one.
I realize this. I knew there was a fan translation a while back. Just didn't know it was by Sky Render.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:27 AM
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You are quoting me out of context! White text context is still context.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
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You are quoting me out of context! But you understood the true desire of my heart.
If you ask to name the main character "Boss," you have to be prepared for the consequences.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:04 PM
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Boss and Percy forevers
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
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Boss and Percy forevers
I could ditch my love of Crambo for this, but we'd need a third TT meme to round out the last party member if we want it best awesome.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:31 PM
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How about BEAT, LADY, and ALIX(s)AR?
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
Boss
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Later, the Sprite will be named Percy.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stiv View Post
Bro, don't diss. Nasir was responsible for developing practically all of the game's code, which is a massive undertaking for just one dude - there's bound to be weird mistakes. Considering the scope of Secret of Mana's systems, it's kind of impressive how few bugs there actually are.
Nasir is pretty much a hero in my book. Nothing but tons of respect for him, considering how difficult console programming was back in the day.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:10 PM
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BOSS, PERCY, and TOMATO?

Also, Secret of Mana is one of my favorite games ever ever ever.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
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BOSS, PERCY, and TOMATO?
Seconded.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
Please, please tell me this is the last time this game uses a font that makes W, M, and N look identical...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
(We're gonna use FuSoYa's VWF hack, because I'm not cruel enough to foist the original font this game sported on you.)
Oh. Fair enough, and thanks.

Name: Lepard.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:51 PM
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The game actually uses a feature of the SNES to raise the resolution past the typical 256x224. It's.. not showing up in the pictures.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtsund View Post
Please, please tell me this is the last time this game uses a font that makes W, M, and N look identical...
Don't forget 'H'!

'WELCOME TO SECRET OF HAHA.'
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kejardon View Post
The game actually uses a feature of the SNES to raise the resolution past the typical 256x224. It's.. not showing up in the pictures.
You are correct, sir! In fact, it can't show up because ZSNES has a hardcoded screenshot engine that does not care about what the emulator is actually rendering. Meaning that, while it looks fine while playing, the nasty effect shows up quite clearly in screenshots. And believe it or not, early versions of SNES emulators did even worse than that screenshot with it!

Here are the two offending screenshots as they are rendered by ZSNES (captured via Print Screen instead of the built-in screenshot engine):


Last edited by Sky Render; 03-12-2012 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:30 PM
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Name suggestions: Adam, Eve, and Steve.

As it happens, I recently used super-science to observe a parallel universe where God exists. One of the key differences there is that we look back on Secret of Mana as an innovative but mediocre game that established the most celebrated and popular genre in all of video games: The local multiplayer action RPG. (Also there are more Ogre Battle games, Harmonix didn't stop making Beatles Rock Band DLC, and there is no distinction between equal temperament and mean temperament.)
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