聖剣伝説3 © 1995 Square Company, Limited.
(Seiken Densetsu 3)
Set in a high fantasy world, the game follows three heroes as they attempt to claim the legendary Mana Sword and prevent the Benevodons from being unleashed and destroying the world. It features three lengthy main plotlines and six different possible main characters, each with their own storylines, and allows two players to play simultaneously. Trials of Mana builds on the gameplay of its predecessor with multiple enhancements, including the use of a time progression system with transitions from day to night and weekday to weekday in game time, and a wide range of character classes to choose from, which provides each character with an exclusive set of skills and status progression.
The game has similar gameplay to its predecessor, Seiken Densetsu. Like many other role-playing games of the 16-bit era, the game displays a top-down perspective, in which the three player characters navigate the terrain and fight off hostile creatures. Control may be passed between each of the characters at any time; the companions not currently selected are controlled by artificial intelligence. The game may be played simultaneously by two players, as opposed to the three of Seiken Densetsu 2. There are six possible player characters. At the beginning of the game, the player chooses which three of them will be playable and which one they will start with; the other two playable characters will join the party when met. The remaining three characters act as non-playable characters (NPCs) when encountered.
Each character can use one type of weapon, in addition to magical spells. The effectiveness of spells depends on the magical ability of the character and the element of the spell in relation to the enemy. When in battle mode, attacking monsters fills a gauge that allows the player to use character-specific special attacks. Upon collecting enough experience points in battle, each character can increase in level to gain improved character statistics such as strength and evasion. Options such as changing equipment, casting spells, or checking status are performed by cycling through the game's Ring Commands—a circular menu which hovers over the controlled party member. The game is paused whenever the Ring Command menu is activated. Within the Ring, the player has nine slots for storing items; additional items can be placed into item storage, which is inaccessible in combat.
Character level progression is coordinated by the player, as a choice is given as to which statistic to raise by a point at every level up. A class system is also present. Once a character reaches level 18, the player can visit one of several Mana Stones located throughout the game and choose to upgrade them to one of two classes for each character—either a class aligned to Light or a class aligned to Dark—which provides a different set of skills and different improvements to character statistics. A second class change may be optionally performed at level 38, again split between a light and a dark choice, if the player has obtained a required rare item for the target class. The class changes do not affect the plot of the game, only gameplay.
The game also employs a calendar function into its gameplay. A week cycles much more quickly than an actual one, with a day passing in a matter of minutes. Each day of the week is represented by a different elemental spirit. On that spirit's day, magic of that element will be slightly stronger. An in-game day is also divided into day and night. Certain events only happen during certain times of day, such as a nighttime-only black market selling particularly rare items. Enemies encountered in the field also change during certain time periods, and some may be sleeping if the characters approach them at night. In addition, the character Kevin transforms into a werewolf when he fights at night, greatly increasing his attack power. Using an inn's services allows the player to skip the game's clock to that day's evening, or the following morning.
GAME ID: SHVC-A3DJ-JPN
Size: 4 Mb
Released on September 30, 1995 in Japan.
Production began in 1993, beginning with a lengthy period of trial-and-error where several prototype designs were created and scrapped. As the next generation of console hardware was close to release, the team were unable to "prolong" production or keep its existence quiet as they had done with Seiken Densetsu 2. The team also had difficulties keeping staff, as many were being brought into the teams of other Super Famicom titles such as Chrono Trigger and Romancing Saga 3 to get them finished. Programmers in particular were in demand, and Tanaka remembered "fighting" with Hironobu Sakaguchi for staff.
The original intent was for a continuation of Seiken Densetsu 2, but the team ultimately scrapped all they had produced for the previous game and built Seiken Densetsu 3 from scratch to become a more action-oriented title. The team wanted to get as close as possible to 3-D graphics, with the design and background teams working in tandem to create multiple graphical layers. Some cut content from Seiken Densetsu 2, particularly monster designs, was reused for Seiken Densetsu 3. The final product was very large, with the team pushing the Super Famicom cartridge to capacity. A part cut from Seiken Densetsu 3 before release was the end boss in the volcano dungeon; while planned from the outset, the team were short on time and so had to drop it.
The theme of the game is Independence. Ishii explained this as meaning he wanted the characters to have a sense of camaradere through sharing each other's problems. The story kept a light tone, mostly due to Tanaka's insistence and Yuuki's artwork. Each character was designed around both gameplay and narrative archetypes, providing players with variety and having quirks related to how they were raised. Duran was portrayed as a typical serious heroic figure, with Hawkeye being his direct opposite. Kevin was included as the team wanted a transforming character. Charlotte was compared to Popoi from Seiken Densetsu 2, as she had a cheerful demeanour despite a dark past. Angela appears selfish and brash due to the neglect from her mother, while Riesz's narrative focuses on her brother complex due to losing her own mother at a young age. The artwork was designed to emulate a picture book more than anything realistic, emphasised with the use of soft colors. Much of the basic narrative was conceived by Tanaka, though due to hardware limitations and production time, the amount of variation between individual storylines was limited.
During the game's development and after its release in Japan, Seiken Densetsu 3 became known abroad as Secret of Mana 2, though a preview in Next Generation in August 1995 called it by its original name, despite still stating it to be a sequel to Secret of Mana. The preview noted the six characters, calendar system, and a game world 'three to four times' the size of the previous game, though it also reported that the game would be playable by three players, not two. Square stated in a 1995 issue of its North American newsletter that they planned to release the game during the second half of the year. A second preview in Next Generation in February 1996, calling the game Secret of Mana 2, stated that the game's North American release had been canceled by Square's American branch due to programming bugs that they deemed impossible to fix in a timely manner.
1. Seiken Densetsu - Final Fantasy Gaiden [Model DMG-FFJ] (1991, GB)
2. Seiken Densetsu 2 [Model SHVC-K2] (1993, SFC)
3. Seiken Densetsu 3 [Model SHVC-A3DJ-JPN] (1995, SFC)
Director: Hiromichi Tanaka
Director of Game Design & Character Design: Koichi Ishii
Game Design: Battle: Goro Ohashi, Yuko Sakamoto
Game Design: Map: Tsukasa Fujita, Kazuomi Suzuki, Hiroyuki Kuwata
BG: Koji Tsuda, Takaharu Matsuo, Tetsuya Takahashi, Takeo oin, Hiroyuki Ikeda
Character: Shinichi Kameoka, Atsuhito Sakoda
Effect: Shintaro Takai
Monster: Noriko Sasaki, Konomi Ishizuka
Boss Monster: Hiroyuki Narushima, Kazuhiro Ohkawa, Yuichi Shiota
Program: Satoru Yoshieda, Taku Murata, Masaaki Saito, Yoshiyuki Miyagawa, Satoshi Ogata, Hidenori Suzuki, Shun Moriya, Kazuo Suzuki
Music: Hiroki Kikuta
Sound: Teruaki Sugawara, Yoshitaka Hirota, Kazumi Mitome, Chiharu Minekawa, Hironobu Izumi
Executive Producer: Tetsuo Mizuno
Producer: Tetsuhisa Tsuruzono
Publicity: Noriko Watanabe
Character Illustration: Nobuteru Yuki
World Map Illustration: Hiroo Isono
System Administer: Masahiro Nakajima (M. Nakajima), M. Orikasa, Mitsuo Ogura (M. Ogura), Yutaka Ohdaira (Y. Ohdaira), H. Ohkawa, Yoshinori Uenishi (Y. Uenisi)
Test Coordinator: Shin-ichiro Kajitani (S. Kajitani), Ryuko Kouda (R. Koda), Kimie Inagi (K. Inagi), Hiromi Masuda (H. Masuda), Norimasa Hanada (N. Hanada), R. Takeda, A. Hino, K. Kawasaki
Test Play: T. Kondo, Hirotsugu Yamamoto (H. Yamamoto), Akitoshi Takahashi (A. Takahashi), Haruo Ogura (H. Ogura), E. Ishii, S. Azuma, M. Takaya, T. Moriyasu, Reo Nomoto (R. Nomoto)
Special Thanks: Hironobu Sakaguchi (H. Sakaguchi), K. Suzuki, K. Kawazu, T. Fujioka, H. Kobayashi, Toshiyuki Horii (T. Horii), T. Mikasa, Y. Yasuoka, J. Saito, Kiyomi Tanikawa (K. Tanikawa), Hisashi Suzuki (H. Suzuki), Koichiro Matsumoto (K. Matsumoto), K. Oogo, M. Itoh, H. Noguchi, S. Hidaki, M. Horie, M. Mori, M. Kobayashi, R. Miyamoto, H. Shingu, Y. Tanaka, H. Yokota, T. Ohno, K. Kaneko, T. Morita, M. Kaneshige, H. Nakamura, Masamichi Someno (M. Someno), Shin-Ichi Aoyama (S. Aoyama), H. Nagahara, S. Arai, N. Kanai, Kyoko Yamashita (K. Yamashita), H. Kizuka, Hidemi Hamada (H. Hamada), Kei Hirata (K. Hirata), M. Yumoto, N. Ishikawa, M. Shimodaira, H. Sakurai, Y. Miura, W. Sato, Rei Tsukakoshi (R. Tsukakoshi), M. Nomura, Keitarou Adachi (K. Adachi), Yasuo Kuwahara (Y. Kuwahara), K. Furuya, Yoshi Shibano (Y. Shibano), H. Kasuga