Video Game / Secret of Mana

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Secret of Mana, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2 (聖剣伝説2, literally translating as Holy Sword Legend 2), is the second game taking place in the World of Mana. It follows the story of a boy who mistakenly pulls the Sword of Mana out of a rock to cut a path back to town. Unleashing the Sword also opened its seal on evil, and monsters begin to ransack the world again. Back at the ranch, it doesn't take long for the pitchforks to come out, and the boy is exiled from his home forever. With nowhere to go, he is left with little choice but to fulfill his destiny as the Mana Knight — with the help of a runaway young lady and a sprite who tried to con them out of their money. Naturally, this involves stopping an evil empire before it unseals a number of MacGuffins and raises some demonic superweapon.

Secret of Mana was promoted by Nintendo at the time of its release, featuring revolutionary gameplay features such as three players being able to control the game at once (taking the roles of the Boy, the Girl and the Sprite at the same time). If only one player is available, the game's AI will control the other characters.

Secret of Mana was intended to launch on the SNES CD add-on, but when that fell through, Squaresoft was left with a contractual obligation to make the game, but on the much smaller space of a cartridge instead of the CD-ROM they'd expected. They spent several months stripping the game down: removing large sections of the game-world, shortening the script, adjusting the game's plot, re-writing or removing a great deal of dialogue, and using compressed instruments and recomposing the music in an SPC format for the SNES. While this did have the side-effect of pushing the SNES's capabilities to the limit (making it much more aesthetically stunning than almost any other 16-bit game of the time), it proved murderous on the text and left some obvious gaps in the plotline. This resulted in one of the most infamous cases of What Could Have Been in video game history, particularly from the 16-bit era (though apparently much of the content left on the cutting room floor later made it into Chrono Trigger two years later, so it wasn't all bad).note  In spite of that, it received incredible critical acclaim at the time of its release and the original is still considered one of the strongest games of the 16-bit era. This legacy led to an updated iOS release in 2010, ported to Android in 2014.

A 3D remake was released on February 15, 2018 for Steam, PlayStation 4, and Play Station Vita.


Tropes:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Two of them! Both your EXP and weapon levels get pretty redundant past a certain point.
    • The experience level cap for your characters is 99, though reaching level 65 or so will completely decimate most of the trash mobs you come across, even in the final dungeon. It's right about there that your characters' HP will also max out (999 for Randi, 800 for Primm and Popoi), and your spellcasters' MP will hit the cap of 99 long before then.
    • Grinding for weapon levels is also fairly useless. While the higher-level charged attacks look cool, they take a long time to charge up that high, and you'll almost certainly hit the damage cap with lower-level moves. You also need to find the final Weapon Orbs as Random Drops in the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, so you might not even find them in the first place. Not to mention, the final form of the eight weapons don't get any special abilities, whereas the penultimate forms usually have some sort of passive bonus that makes it more practical to stay at the Infinity -1 Sword form.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Imperial Sewers.
  • Action Bomb: Any enemy who can use the Burst spell, and Popoi. Lesser enemies will use this as a Suicide Attack, while stronger enemies and Popoi can blow themselves up repeatedly without any repercussions (aside from MP usage).
  • Action Girl: Primm, in spades. Her default weapons are the knuckles, and she shows up trying to rescue her boyfriend from a decidedly unfriendly witch. And her boyfriend is a soldier.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Sage Joch is always out of his cave, the party havng just missed him leave according to his bird, Jekt. Only after a multitude of fetch quests and a test of character is it revealed that Jekt is Sage Joch (Sage Jerk, more like).
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Neko sells items at double the price other merchants do. While you can normally ignore his wares through most of the game, he's the only vendor who sells decent gear for you when you head to the Purelands for the first time, meaning you'll be forced to pay an obscene amount of money for the required goods, or deal with getting hit really hard from the monsters that live there. Fortunately by that time the gold dropped by enemies is high enough that the price-hike for a lot of goods isn't as big a deal anymore.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The remake adds many party chat scenes to be seen when the team takes a break at a inn, the events adds more layers to Randi, Primm and Popoi’s characters, exploring their motivations, reactions to events throughout the game and showing their character development; a welcome addition since the original script was quite minimal in dialogue, there are some scenes where the party is merely being talked to, we didn’t get see what they think about certain situations.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Not so much Primm, surprisingly (who is a bit "cuter" with her longer ponytail and more obvious elf-ears but isn't that heavily re-designed), but in the remake, Luka and Fanha get quite a bit "glitzed up":
    • Luka, originally, was a conservatively-dressed priestess through and through. Her redesign emphasizes her cuteness and the lightness of the upper portion of her dress... but they also decided to have her Show Some Leg by removing most of the front of her dress (it was a floor-length gown from all sides in the SNES version).
    • Originally, it seems that Fanha was intended to be a bit of a vamp, as her outfit in the SNES version appears to be a very typical "90s anime mage" ensemble of a long dress with a right-side slit for showing some leg in her walk animation if you pay attention (and, because of certain spriting decisions, in-game her outfit comes across as heavier than it does in the concept work). Her redesign, however, radically alters her into a younger-looking woman with a skimpier outfit.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom:
    • The Wall Face boss will attempt to smush you against the (inanimate) spike-lined rear wall if you don't kill it quickly enough.
    • It's a last ditch effort if it runs out of MP... which it will quickly, futilely attempt to revive its eyes if you "kill" them.
    • Demon Wall, the upgraded version, just barrages your characters with special attacks if it runs out MP. Which again, it will burn through quickly.
  • After the End: The game takes place after the destruction of an ancient civilization following a war. As alluded to by some crystals ("veedios") that include a Shout-Out to Jeopardy! and similar programmes, and the subway in the lost continent complete with turnstiles, said civilization is presumably (a version of) ours.
  • All There in the Manual: This was where the canon names for the main characters used to live. According to the original Japanese version's manual, the boy is Randi, the girl is Primm, and the sprite is Popoi; the English manual just calls the boy "JEFF" and the girl "KAREN". The in-package German strategy guide has another set of names: Erwin for the boy, Trudi for the girl and Helga for the sprite. The remake superseded all of these, however; see Canon Name below.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The Mana Fortress is trippy in both music and appearance.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Popoi in the Japanese, so the player isn't forced into Two Guys and a Girl or Two Girls and a Guy. However, it's male in the SNES & iOS English versions and female in the German versions; the English remake, however, uses gender-neutral "they" for Popoi. Voice-wise, Popoi is voiced by women in both Japanese and English, although in both cases it's done in a manner that is meant to be androgynous. According to the voice actress, Popoi is genderless.
  • American Kirby is Hardcore: Nintendo Power had exhaustive coverage of SoM, including (as was its custom in the early nineties) original artwork depicting scenes from the game. These illustrations are decidedly more western in nature; in particular, the Mana Beast looks like something out of Gary Gygax's nightmares.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The ancient civilization that gave rise to the Mana Fortress.
  • Antidote Effect: The strict inventory caps (only four of each type of item) lead to a dependence on healing magic.
  • Antlion Monster: The Spider Legs in the obligatory desert region. They're usually found in sand pits, and will target whoever disturbs them with a painful Earth Slide spell before hiding in the ground again. They can nuked with magic before they even show themselves, though.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Empire was already up to mischief in the Old World, if the orbs in Mandala are anything to go by.
  • Arranged Marriage: An easily-missed conversation in Pandora will reveal that Primm is in one of these with the son of a noble and, being in love with Dyluck, she runs away from home to get out of it. The remake expands on this by revealing that Primm's betrothed is an insufferable brat.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Among the cut content from the in-game text is the revelation that Vandole is a dark force which periodically takes the form of a man, thus explaining the Empire's activity in the past. Sword of Mana confirms this while tying the dark force known as Vandole to the existence of Mana, which, taken alongside information concerning Mavolia in Dawn of Mana hints that that dark force may infact be the Echoes of Mavolia which are behind all the World of Mana villains. They will not rest until the world is destroyed and demonkind overrun the world.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • As mentioned above, High-level weapon attacks don't see much use. In the time it takes to charge up a level 7 or 8 strike you'll either have been beaten down by a room full of enemies, or you could have killed everything twice over with normal attacks and magic.
    • Attack spell damage doesn't climb linearly with MP cost. Hence it's best to stick with the cheapest attack spell you can cast.
    • The so-called "Level 9" spells can get like this. It's impossible to chain cast once a level 9 animation goes off and it's arguable if it the effect of the spell is raised from level 8.
  • Badass Cape: A popular look in this game's world. Jema is the only heroic character who wears one.
  • Badass Normal: Randi. When Primm and Popoi first receive their magic powers, he's a bit dismayed, but Undine tells him that eventually the Mana Sword will become stronger than any magic (and he's the one meant to wield it).
  • Badass Santa: Frost Gigas, literally.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: A boss example: Dread Slime by default attacks the players with Acid Storm. However, if it is attacked by an offensive spell other than one of Shade's spells (its weakness), it will respond by using the same spell on the players.
  • Big Eater: Popoi, who eats an entire ship's supply of food when forced to do kitchen duty. "Get him out of here!!" In the remake, Popoi expresses an interest in eating the Mana Seeds, and considers it a revelation that the Empire is not trying to get them to eat them (which, as Primm points out, she and Randi weren't even considering in the first place.)
  • Big Fancy Castle: Elinee's and the Emperor's castles.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Mana Fortress is toast, as is the Big Bad... but so is the Mana Beast, the Mana Tree is still gone, Dyluck died as well, and Randi and Primm will never see Popoi again.
  • Black Magic: Mostly exclusive to Popoi, though Primm gets Fire Bouquet, Flame Wall, and Lucent Beam. Seems it's hard to come up with nonlethal uses for fire magic.
  • Blaming the Railroaded Player Character: The beginning has the hero falling into a waterfall. The only way to get out and to get back to his village is to pull the Sword of Mana from the rock that lies near the base of said waterfall. Said act leads to his, and your, banishment from the village.
  • Blob Monster: Lime/Dread Slime. The former shrinks as you fight it, while the latter continues to grow with each hit. The "Drop" monsters are also blobs of slime that attack you with various elementally fused attacks.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Dyluck's suicide is hinted at but not seen. We fade immediately to black and then to the Oracle boss arena.
  • Blow You Away: Sylphid/Jinn uses the Air element, with Thunderbolt being Air and not "Electric".
  • Booby Trap: There's a chance that chests dropped by enemies are trapped, potentially causing damage or status ailments (or just being a Chest Monster). The Sylphid spell Analyzer can defuse them.
  • Book Ends: Randi returning the sword to its place under the waterfall.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: If the Mana Beast just used its long-range diving attacks and didn't spend any time hovering directly in front of you, the battle would be unwinnable.
  • Broken Bridge: Most of the things blocking your ability to progress are these. Early in the game, this often takes the form of the Cannon Travel service simply not offering you any way to get into the next area (until you complete the current area's task). At other times you are simply blocked by an NPC who refuses to grant you entry to some area until some other task has been completed. This is particularly egregious in that often the NPC in question has no real reason why they're blocking your path. For example, Tasnica, the guards refuse you entry into the castle because they have discovered that the castle has been infiltrated by an Empire spy. Once the party progresses enough by completely wholly unrelated side missions, the guard simply vanishes despite the fact that the spy situation has not changed; indeed, the party solves the spy infiltration themselves.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Once she's defeated, Elinee reverts from a hooded psychopath to an old granny with her hair in a bun.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • You can't leave the area where the Mana Sword is (your progress is balked by an Insurmountable Waist-High Fence that can only be chopped down by bladed weapons) until you remove it from its pedestal.
    • Interestingly, the game offers some leeway with regard to when you recruit Primm. In one scenario, Randi is nearly turned into soup by some goblins, but Primm quickly saves you when they are distracted; she can later be found bickering with her father at the castle. In another, Randi encounters her in the forest, where she demands his help to rescue Dyluck. This is one pig-headed lady.
    • When Geshtar tries the whole hostage stunt with Luka for the Water Mana Seed, you can take Luka's advice and just run for it, but Geshtar will forcefully pull you back and call you an idiot for trying to escape.
  • Call Reception Area: Yanking the Mana Sword from the stone causes monsters to appear everywhere. Whoops.
  • Canon Name: As of the remake, the game auto-fills in "Randi", "Primm" and "Popoi" as default names for the Boy, Girl and Sprite, respectively; these are the names that have been associated with the three in Japan since the game's first launch, but were removed from international versions. You are still free to rename the characters if you wish, however. (Some fans have alternatively translated the Japanese names for the girl as "Purim" and the sprite as "Popoie".)
  • Casting a Shadow: Shade uses Dark magic, though only Popoi can summon him.
  • The Chains of Commanding: One of the kids in the resistance HQ mentions that he hears Krissie "crying at night".
  • Chainmail Bikini: The "Tiger Bikini", which can be bought for the girl in Kakkara. Funnily enough, it actually offers higher defense than the Tiger Suit available for the other party members.
  • Chainsaw Good: Kettle Kin wields one in in the original Japanese release, unlike in the localization where it was a carbon copy of Kilroy. The chainsaw is retained in the 2018 remake.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities: Early on, your characters must carefully ration healing items and level up their weapon skills, and boss fights can be quite brutal due to the game's limited inventory system. After acquiring magic, however, healing becomes trivial and most fights consist of stunlocking your opponents with spells until they explode. Magic dramatically changes the game.
  • Chest Monster: Treasure chests that are dropped can be trapped, and this is one of the potential traps.
  • The Chooser of The One: Jema is the only person who accepts Randi as the hero without a hint of reservation. Luckily, Jema still has swing with the various sages and regents you encounter. If Jema says this kid is alright, then everyone else will fall in line.
  • The Chosen One: Zig-zagged. Near the start of the game, Randi pulls a sword out of a stone because otherwise his way home was blocked by tall grass. He is later told that only a great hero should be able to remove the sword, but since he is too young to be a hero, it must have happened because the power of Mana is weakening. He is asked to take care of the sword until he can find a real hero to give it to. Later on, of course, it turns out that he was the Chosen One all along. He's even the son of a hero!
  • City of Gold: Gold City.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard / That One Attack: Like all Mana games, you are not allowed to dodge if a boss feels like casting a spell on you. While this is fair once you can cast spells back, it makes early fights... a tad unfair.
  • Con Man: The Sprite, before joining your party.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jema.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: It was the first RPG to feature a co-operative multiplayer gameplay mechanic where a second or third player could drop-in and drop-out at any time.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Primm if Randi heads for the Haunted Woods instead of Gaia's Navel, where he finds her accosted by two werewolves.
    • Again at the Empire temple where a brainwashed Dyluck drains Primm of her life energy and delivers her body to Thanatos. Randi and Popoi quickly get her back in time to face the vampire boss.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Although it seems it's played straight with the Mana Spirit of Darkness, Shade, the added dialogue in the remake makes it seem as though the trope is not in play. In the remake, when the party recruits Shade, it mentions that prior to being sealed in the Palace of Darkness, it was the King of Mavolia, the Underworld. Within the World of Mana, Mavolia is represented as being an evil place; all of the villains either are denizens of Mavolia itself or bargained with Mavolia in order to obtain evil powers.
  • Dark Messiah: Thanatos' reason for reviving the Mana Fortress is, in the NA version of the game at least, to create a "peaceful world" — by any means necessary. Dyluck exposes him as either a shill for the underworld or a liar.
  • Degraded Boss:
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • How Thanatos and his followers got their powers from Mavolia (called "the Underworld" in the SNES English translation).
    • The emperor's in on this in the Japanese game; poor Ted Woolsey ran out of text space, though, so English-speakers never got that plot point.
  • Death Mountain: The Lofty Mountains.
  • Deflector Shields:
    • Lucid Barrier prevents non-magical attacks from harming whoever it's cast on. However, weapons with status effect buffs, such as flame sword, will still go through, and in fact will activate every single time. Keep in mind this also works the other way around as well, so enemies who cast a weapon buff will also cause status effects on your character if they have lucid barrier.
    • The Wall spell deflects spells off whoever has it cast on them. However, healing magic also gets deflected if there's an enemy in the area, so exercise caution if attempting to heal a teammate who's got a wall spell on.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • There are two occasions where you can't get a game over. The first is up until you beat the first boss. Mostly because they were probably kind enough to not make players sit through the couple of minutes it takes to get from "Enter name" to "Controlling character". The second is, if you really wanted to, you could get a game over at any point in the Ice Palace. Except, its host just kicks you out after reviving Randi.
    • Some events will also change based on what you do. For example, when you first recruit Primm into your party, if you attempt to head to the Dwarves' cave first, she will insist that you guys go rescue Dyluck. If you refuse to, she leaves your party until you acquire Popoi. However, if you attempt to reach Elinee's castle first, you'll be blocked by some rocks. She will then tell you to go to the dwarf cave first, to acquire the axe needed to break through the rocks, and will stay in your party for the duration.
    • When you first see Popoi, it's in a carnival show and your character is asked to donate money to help it get back home. If you pay, they'll be glad to have conned you, but will refund your money later. However, if you don't have enough money, Popoi will instead call you a cheapskate. The scenario afterwards still plays out the same way in either situation where you're forced to fight a boss.
    • Once you know where to go, you don't need to visit Jehk at all until near the end of his missions. He doesn't mind it if you don't visit him first and instead go to the various locations he would normally tell you to go to in order to find Sage Joch.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Dyluck rejects Thanatos at the cost of his own life and we learn a bit about the villain himself... But not much more. With no human body left, Thanatos assumes his Dark Lich form to attack you. Not too much to say beyond that; he's a bad seed who thrives on destruction and hate.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: The remake introduces conversations held by Randi, Primm and Popoi when you stay at an inn, where they'll discuss what recently has happened in the journey. It's not quite a full recap, but it adds some characterization to them, with Primm often teasing Randi's attempts to show himself as a capable warrior.
  • Difficulty Spike: Pure Land. If you decided to go straight here after completing the Grand Palace, the enemies and the first boss will kill you quickly. So back to Sunken Continent, find Neko, and buy the very expensive armors. That will make your life easier.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The Emperor's crib.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Gnome's Earth magic is one of the eight types of magic in the game.
  • Distressed Dude: Dyluck; also, one of the ways to meet the girl is to get the boy captured and almost cooked by Goblins.
  • Domino Mask: The Scorpion Army, futilely trying to look intimidating.
  • Doomed Hometown: Potos has a small vermin problem...
  • Drop-In-Drop-Out Multiplayer: Possible on a local level with up to 3 players, if one has the accessory that allows more than 2 controllers to be plugged in or is playing the Wii Virtual Console port.
  • Dub Name Change: Two of the Elemental Spirits were renamed in the English version: Jinn became Sylphid, and Wisp became Lumina. All subsequent Mana games used the original Japanese names. Notably, the 2018 remake still keeps Sylphid and Lumina.
  • Dungeon Shop: Ever-reliable Neko is always hiding in a nook somewhere.
  • Early-Bird Boss: Spikey Tiger is one of the more notorious examples.
  • Early Game Hell: Beyond Mantis Ant being an annoying first boss, the early game isn't too bad, but without magic, you're relying on items to heal and the Squishy Wizards are just squishy. Then Elinee's castle has a Difficulty Spike with Werewolves that take forever to kill, while also landing powerful hits; to say nothing of the battle with Spikey Tiger at the end. It's after Elinee that Undine (and thus, magic) is available to the player, and the game gets a fair bit easier.
  • Easily Forgiven: A couple of examples. After drawing the Mana Sword, the Potos villagers refer to Randi as an "outsider," beat him up and have him exiled from the town. Randi forgives them almost immediately; in the remake he talks about wanting to protect the villagers and return there despite being banished. Also with Elinee, the forest witch. The original translation makes it unclear why she became evil, but the remake makes it clear she voluntarily made the choice to sell the souls of the Pandoran citizens to Thanatos as a desperation move to retain her magic powers. Once she loses her powers, nobody gets mad at her and she's never mentioned again.
  • The Emperor: Emperor Vandole.
  • End of an Age: By the end of the game, the Mana Fortress is smashed and the Mana Beast destroyed, but the Mana Tree has been destroyed as well, the consequences of which are not explored until Legend of Mana.
  • Enemy Scan: The Analyze(r) spell.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Charged attacks tend to incorporate gratuitous amounts of whirling in place.
  • Evil Empire: Seems to be played straight at first, but ends up being subverted in that Thanatos is one wirepulling jerkass bastard, and Emperor Vandole probably wouldn't have become such a douche if he hadn't had that influence going on
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Elinee and the Emperor have a fondness for mood lighting.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Thanatos.
  • Excalibur in the Rust:
    • The rusty sword you take from the pedestal at the beginning of the game is revealed (quite early on) to be the legendary Mana Sword.
    • And thus Excalibur by extension according to the opening scroll! Nifty.
  • Falling Damage: Not that you can fall off of anything in the game itself, but apparently long falls are totally meaningless in the Mana universe. The party is dropped into pits multiple times in the game with no ill effects, and the primary means of long distance travel is simply being shot out of a cannon without any kind of landing plan beyond hitting the ground. Somewhat amusing in that the remake includes the added detail that Primm is afraid of heights (both riding Flammie and taking the Cannon Travel service).
  • Fake King: Sheex's scheme to overthrow Tasnica.
  • The Ferry Man: You meet a cute creature named Karon (a mistranslation of "Charon") in the desert, who will ferry you through the Sea of Stars to the Moon Palace... without cost, of course.
  • Fiery Redhead: Popoi and Fanha.
  • Fiery Salamander: Salamando
  • First Town: Potos.
  • Flying Books: which also flip their pages while shooting spells.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Thanatos' themes, "Ceremony" and "Oracle".
  • Four Is Death: The emperor's quartet of hench...uh, people (Fanha, Geshtar, Sheex, Thanatos). They're referred to with the traditional ' shitennou' in the Japanese game.
  • Four-Seasons Level: Each Upper Land Forest area represents a different season.
  • Game Over: "Sadly, no trace of them (or "Randi" earlier in the game) was ever found..."
  • Gemstone Assault: Gem Missile, which is classified as Gnome magic (i.e. Dishing Out Dirt), sends pointy gems into the target.
  • Gender Bender: Thanatos gave serious consideration to possessing the body of Phanna, Primm's best friend, but she didn't make the cut.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: This happens quite a few times, either to snap someone out of a Heroic B.S.O.D. or to try to break someone free of Thanatos' power. The slap is heard, not seen, and the screen flashes white.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Flying Books actually have centerfolds! Nothing too overly graphic, though.
  • Ghibli Hills: The Kingdom of Pandora.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Boreal Face.
  • Giving the Sword to a Noob: Jema hand waves this by declaring that the sword "chose" the boy, making him the Mana Knight by default. None of the neighboring kingdoms seem to make a fuss over it. This is arguably subverted when Randi turns out to be the son of the Mana Tree and Serin, the original Mana Knight.
  • Global Airship: Flammie serves this purpose.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang / Oddly Small Organization: The Scorpion Army. There's three of them.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: To fix the Mana Sword, one must visit all eight Temples and receive blessings from the Spirits. Simultaneously, Randi is required to seal all eight Mana Seeds to prevent the Empire from raising the Fortress. All of this is moot; the Empire manages to unseal all of the Seeds while you're away, and the final Spirit (Dryad) is too feeble to bless the sword, anyway.
  • Grand Theft Me: Thanatos attempts this on Dyluck only for Dyluck to break free of his control just long enough to kill himself. When that plan falls through, he immediately tries to hijack your party.
  • Green Aesop:
    • The abuse of Mana to power the potentially world-destroying Mana Fortress is a standard 90s aesop about killing off our planet's natural resources.
    • One of the orbs in Mandala has a dialogue expanding on this. "We must restrict the use of Mana energy...we're using it up!" "Hah! You can't USE UP Mana!" "Argh, you don't understand!"
  • Green Thumb: Dryad represents the Tree/Wood element, but only Sleep Flower represents "nature" out of her abilities. Gnome's Speed Down, meanwhile, tangles the opponent with vines to slow them down.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Emperor Vandole, when he invites the resistance over to his castle for a "truce". But he still throws you in jail with one petty guard...
  • Guide Dang It!: Haven't been leveling up that mostly useless Dryad magic? Hope you've got a full stock of Fairy Walnuts, or the final boss might just be Unwinnable.
  • Gunship Rescue: The big reveal of Adult Flammie. Geshtar tries a last-ditch kamikaze attack on the castle roof, but manages to blow up everything but Randi's party.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The climate of the Great Forest is carved up according to season. On a smaller scale, the Scorpion Army harnesses the power of Salamando to create a tourist trap in the middle of Ice Country.
  • Harder Than Hard: There is a fan made hack of the game that ramps the difficulty Up to Eleven. To put it in perspective, boss fights consist of Curb-Stomp Battle on the receiving end even with reasonably overleveled characters in the normal game.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: There are no default names in the game's original release; the characters are merely "BOY", "GIRL", and "SPRITE", and it's up to you to provide actual names.
  • Heroic Suicide: Just before the penultimate battle, Dyluck kills himself so that Thanatos cannot take over his body and become unstoppable. Left without his intended vessel, Thanatos is forced into his true form — Dark Lich.
  • Hey, You!: For some reason the English voice track in the remake does not include the instances where other people and the party itself call Randi, Primm and Popoi by their canon names if the player chooses to leave their names as it is, it goes as if the player typed different names thus the voiced lines won’t say it; meanwhile the Japanese voice track will call Randi, Primm and Popoi in all situations their names come up if the player has preferred to go by their canon names.
  • High Collar of Doom: The "Boss" of the Scorpion Army.
  • Hope Spot: In one last ditch attempt to repower the Mana Sword, the heroes make way for the Mana Tree. But just as they arrive, the tree is destroyed by the Mana Fortress.
  • Hover Bike: Geshtar rides one, complete with bayonet.
  • Hufflepuff House: Tasnica is the only nation standing between the Empire and global domination. Some Tasnican troops make landfall with Jema once the Lost Continent rises.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Implied by Dyluck, who asks Randi to take care of Primm for him before his Heroic Suicide.
  • Immortality Immorality: Thanatos needs a very special individual to body-surf into (apparently, Dyluck was fated at birth to become his vessel). He's in kind of a hurry; Thanatos energy-slurpees and hypnotically zombifies a whole Kingdom to root out Dyluck and Phanna.
  • Impossibly Cool Wealth: King Mammon abused Lumina's power to turn his entire island to gold.
    • Lampshaded in the Enhanced Fan Translation, where an NPC laments that their island's economy is now ruined by massive inflation.
    • An NPC in the Woolsey translation mentions that the island is slowly sinking under its own weight.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Watch that first step, Randi.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Randomly Drops from the enemies in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Ironically, the Gigas Axe is actually better in every way than its final form, the Doom Axe, due to +5 on character strength.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The fully restored Mana Sword (Level 9). Its attack exceeds that of any weapon in the game by over 70 points. Obviously, the high attack was designed to attack the Mana Beast's godly defense while other weapons cannot harm it. This is legitimately available at the end of the game by casting the no-longer-sealed Mana Power from both Primm and Popoi near simultaneously or by cheating via sword orb glitch.
  • Interface Screw: One of the effects of the Silence/Confusion spell is to reverse the controls.
  • Internal Homage: One of the Mandalan crystal balls mentions Lorimar (or Lorima as it's written here) — this is a city that shows up in Final Fantasy Adventure and again in Dawn of Mana. In the Japanese game, this one also mentions Wendel, the holy city of other titles. This can spawn all kinds of Wild Mass Guessing fits and headaches about just how the timeline of the games is supposed to go...
    • The item shops in the Empire with the merchant in the upper right hand corner is the same layout for Item shops (and not Equipment shops) from Final Fantasy Adventure.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Neko/Nikita and Watts.
  • Ironic Name: The Scorpion Army. It only consists of a measly three members.
  • It's Up to You: Jema's raison d'être.
  • Karma Houdini: The only repercussions the witch Elinee faces for willingly kidnapping and sending innocent people to be Thanatos' zombie slaves and life-energy-cattle, in exchange for magical herbs, is to lose her powers and magically-extended youth.
  • Knew It All Along: Datamining the game files of the PC version revealed script for future DLC, in which Luca reveals in the narration, that she always knew that Randi was the son of Serin. She even knew his mother personally, before she turned into the Tree of Mana.
  • Last Disc Magic: Dryad's "Mana" magic, which powers the Mana Sword to full strength — but the menu selection is greyed out until the final boss battle.
  • Level Grinding:
    • Not only normal levels, but weapons and spells. Spells level up at a third of the speed if you don't cast them in a combat area (indicated by whether or not the heroes have their weapons out)
    • Luckily, the Wind Palace, despite never containing any enemies, grants full spell XP, and there's free healing there to boot, making it the best place to level up pretty much all the Girl's magic (most of the Sprite's magic requires an enemy to cast it on).
  • Life Drain:
    • Popoi gets a spell to steal enemy HP. However, this spell drains Popoi's HP if used on some enemies, such as zombies.
    • Using Moon Saber on enemies recovers the user's health by the amount of damage they dish out.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared with Final Fantasy Adventure, yes, but there's no shortage of dark moments...
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Played straight for the most part. While each character can become competent with every weapon available, and will be your bread and butter when fighting normal trash mobs, during boss fights, Popoi's spells (and Primm's offensive spells), when leveled up, do far more damage on average than charging up a weapon attack. The attacks spells also have the added bonus of freezing the boss in place until the magic attack animation is completed. A properly leveled up Popoi with Primm support magic will often make most boss fights easier than fighting some of the regular mobs such as werewolves.
  • Light 'em Up: Lumina/Wisp grants the party Light magic. Well, she grants Primm it, at least. This also means Lucent Beam is one of her few offensive spells.
  • Living Structure Monster: The game has two different Wall Face bosses, both of which function similarly. They have a central third eye weak point that has to be defeated to win, and try to crush the player if both of their normal eyes are killed first.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • In general, a lot of these (especially the Mana Fortress-related examples) are suspected to be remnants of the game's troubled development cycle. Many of them were likely intended for greater use in the CD version, but instead only get briefly used, but still get used period since the team had the songs.
    • The overworld song that plays after the Mana Fortress emerges but before you have access to it has a nice sense of foreboding, but lasts only until the Mana Tree is destroyed, when it's replaced by a fittingly frenetic song instead.
    • Eternal Recurrence. One of the best songs in the game. Plays in a two-rooms dungeon, only after you clear it, and in a few of the altar chambers.
    • The Oracle could be considered kind of wasted too. If you spam magic like a mad thing, you probably won't hear a damn thing of it, and it's fricking wicked. Damn limited sound channels.
    • A Conclusion is another strong example, heard only twice in the entire game — once when the gang meets a dying Mana Tree and again after the Dark Lich is defeated, and Primm is mourning Dyluck. In the second instance, it's only playing for a couple of lines of dialogue before the dungeon begins to collapse, when it then switches to Morning Is Here. Which, incidentally, is another Long Song, Short Scene situation, as it only plays in that one scene. As is the song immediately afterwards, One Of Them Is Hope.
    • Jeez, that entire area has a lot of Wasted Music of Awesome. The brief track that plays once Dark Lich appears, The Curse, is one of the most genuinely terrifying little bits of strange in any game.
    • Phantom and a Rose (AKA "Rose and Ghost") only plays in two places: Pandora (before you fix the problems they're facing) and the ruined Sprite Village.
  • Lord British Postulate: Some people have actually succeeded in defeating the final boss without ever reviving the Mana Sword. It took some doing, but it's possible with max-level sword charge attacks. A more mundane example would be Karon, the friendly NPC who shuttles you to the Moon Palace... and happens to be a random monster programmed not to attack the player, so the player can kill him with magic. He/she just comes back, but still. This was fixed in the iOS version.
  • Lost in Translation: In Matango, "Gontma" means goodbye because "ゴンタマ" is "マタンゴ" backwards. This was caught and changed to "Ognatam" in the iOS version.
    • The entire original localization was done in a mere thirty days. On top of this, the font chosen by Squaresoft for the English release was so massive that far more dialog than usual was flat out cut. Ted Woolsey was apparently deeply unsatisfied with the final product's quality due to most of the dialog in the game being the absolute bare-bones simplifications of the original lines. The iOS release left this script largely unaltered in spite of having none of the technical restraints of the original cartridge, though it did clean up some of the errors left behind from the original script.
    • As a result, quite a few plot points got dropped—the most striking example being the explanation for why Dyluck is the only person Thanatos can certainly bodyjack, ...and what would happen were he to possess just any old schmuck instead. According to him, it ain't pretty—the sheer amount of magical and supernatural clout he wields would cause his soul and the host body to reject one another...and the unlucky host would basically just explode.
      • A lot of Thanatos's creep factor was lost in translation. For example, the reason he has Dyluck energy-munch from Primm? Because Thanatos needs some of her blood for his spellwork.
  • Lost Technology: The Mana Fortress, and a lot of stuff on the Sunken Continent. Your party gets to ride the subway at one point, which amazingly still works. It's full of zombies, for extra realism. Also the "orbs" in Mandala- while they were created in-game by simply putting the targetable magic crystal sprite on a grey tile, according to one of the locals they're actually called "veedios". The party comments on these devices in the inn skits of the remake, talking about what kind of things they'd like to record.
  • The Lost Woods: The Great Forest.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Phanna was able to be manipulated by Thanatos because of her growing jealousy of Primm and Dyluck's relationship. With a little medical treatment in Southtown, she gets over it and the two girls reconcile near the end of the game.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Randi, the Mana Tree is your mother. Also, the ghost in the opening scene is your father.
  • Lunacy: Luna personifies the Moon element. Notably, outside of Moon Saber, there's absolutely no way to deal Moon element damage.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: While Primm and Popoi learn new spells each time you meet one of the mana spirits, Randi never learns any magic. When he asks Undine, the first spirit, why she can't grant him spells, she replies that his sword will eventually become more powerful than any spell the spirits could teach him. Never mind the fact that you can actually equip the sword on Primm or Popoi instead...
  • Magic from Technology: The sole magic spell in Captain Duck's arsenal is Exploder. However, if you look carefully at its movements before casting the spell (quickly crawling towards its target and then jumping away) and its actual casting animation (pressing a detonator), it is implied its "Exploder" is really a sticky bomb.
  • Making a Splash: Undine's magic is water-based, though this is only evident with Cure Water and Acid Rain; her offensive magic is instead ice-themed.
  • Mana Drain: Popoi gets a spell which allows him to steal MP from an enemy, which allows him to essentially be able to cast spells indefinitely so long as there are enemies in the area that you can steal MP from. However, keep in mind a few enemies are immune to this, and will actually drain Popoi's MP to them instead.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Tropicallo and Boreal Face.
  • Manual Leader, AI Party:
    • With the exception of spell casting, you can only control one character at a time (although it allows co-op play where up to three players control a character), but the offensive action of the ones you are not using can be changed with a system called the "action grid", which allows the player to switch between offensive/defensive behavior on one axis and the range at which they engage the enemy on the other.
    • Other entries in the series uses this trope to different extents (with better or worse AI).
  • Mass Hypnosis: Thanatos can't resist building a cultist army wherever he goes.
  • Meaningful Name: The Giant Space Flea from Nowhere Boreal Face. Boreal is another name for subarctic climate. Guess where you fight it?
    • Neko is an anthro cat, neko being the Japanese term for cat.
  • Minus World: It is possible to sneak back into the village and get your power wrist by exploiting a glitch, but you won't be able to get out again unless you have control of Flammie.
  • Mirror Boss: Sage Joch's final trial. The bosses are Palette Swap versions of the main characters.
  • Mobile Menace:
    • The Emperor's agents hit up each of the Mana Temples while Randi is running errands for Sage Joch.
    • Justified with Thanatos blowing up the Mana Tree. In fact, he was probably sitting up there for hours waiting for you to show up first.
  • Monster Town: Matango.
  • Mook Maker: Tomato/Eggplant Men, Kimono Birds and Heck Hounds are a few examples who summon a single type of mook (Heck Hounds and Eggplant Men occasionally summon a second type). Shape Shifters can summon a wide variety of mooks for you fight.
  • Mr. Exposition: Jema always has pointers on where to go next. Jehk's instructions on where Joch went also tend to point the party to objectives that otherwise would be obscure.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Anyone, with enough work.
  • Mundane Utility: The Elemental spirits often get used for frivolous purposes relating to their powers. The Scorpion Army captures Salamando and traps him in an oven in order to make a warm, tropical village in the middle of a frozen continent and then sell the real estate. King Mammon, the ruler of the Gold Isle, traps Lumina in the island's tower and forces it to turn the entire island into gold. However, once rescued, Lumina reveals that the gold she created will eventually revert to plain rocks. Expanded on further in the remake where it's revealed the player's party is also doing this. At one point, Gnome appears in the middle of a meeting between Randi and Popoi to complain that Primm has been summoning him in order to make her give out shoulder massages and do her laundry. Popoi gets into this also when they complain about being thirsty in the Kakkara desert, so they summon Undine for the purposes of getting them a nice glass of water. Given that the scene occurs in an Inn, it's this trope, but it probably wouldn't be if they had summoned Undine for that purpose when the party was dying in the desert.
  • Mythology Gag: Jema himself is a shout to the Gemma Knights of the first game, released in the US as Final Fantasy Adventure. The 2018 remake updates his name to Gemma.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Thanatos.
  • Never Say "Die": In the English translation.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Well, 'old guy', really — remember Dyluck's ill-fated hike to Elinee's castle? Well, Primm's father sent him out there because he didn't approve of his daughter wanting to marry a soldier. Elinee then sends Dyluck to the Pandoran ruins, thus involving him in the Grand Theft Me energy-thieving antics and plot machinations of hidden Big Bad Thanatos. Way to go, Elman. Randi also gets this reaction from the townsfolk in Potos Village because they believe that Randi's "foolish" act of drawing the Mana Sword broke the seal preventing monsters from attacking Potos. While this is technically true, it turns out it was entirely necessary for Randi to draw the sword - the Empire was already actively seeking to restore the Mana Fortress and the world had need of a hero (Randi) to draw the sword and save the world.
    • Arguably, Jekt sending you off to do various dungeons in search for Sage Joch when it was really just a Secret Test of Character as he was Joch all along falls under this too. In the time you spend dealing with this, the Empire gets more than enough free time to proceed in their plans off-screen. While the heroes do unlock the power of more Mana Seeds in the process, these dungeons aren't even plot-important and even have some Palette Swap bosses (or no bosses, in the case of the Moon Temple), making almost the whole thing feel like Filler. And the Mana Seeds are temporarily deactivated shortly thereafter anyway.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia:
    • Not quite a cutscene example, but when you fight your party's doppelgangers late into the game, they'll always wield the sword, knuckles, and boomerang (for the Hero, Girl, and Sprite, respectively), regardless of what your real party members are wielding.
    • Averted at all other times; when the script calls for a character to attack someone (such as, say, Primm attacking a Thanatos-possessed Dyluck late in the game), they will do so using whatever weapon you have them equipped with.
  • No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Dine: What's this? The Emperor wants a truce. And he's invited the Resistance over to his castle for negotiations. When you get to the dining room, he reveals that you're screwed—it's a trap. How expected.
  • No Name Given: Krissie's two companions. Despite having unique character sprites, they're simply known as "Man" and "Girl".
  • Noob Cave: Gaia's Navel.
  • No Ontological Inertia: The seal that Thanatos put on Dryad's Mana magic is undone when his true form, Dark Lich, is defeated.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Midge Mallet and Moogle Belt normally apply the pygmy and mooglization debuffs to the targets, and you can only target your own party members with them. Why are they useful? Because if either of them is used on someone who already has the corresponding debuff, the debuff will be removed instead.
  • Number of the Beast: Dark Lich, the penultimate boss and the true form of Thanatos, has 6666 HP.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Mara in Southtown. A man there will tell you "She's nuts!" but talk to her yourself and she'll recognize you as Jema's friends. Turns out she's really a spy for Tasnica.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: The Mana Fortress.
  • One Time Dungeon: The Sunken Continent and the Emperor's Castle are both only played through once.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sheex and Fanha both transform when you engage them in battle, and Thanatos reverts to his true lich form.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Mana Sword.
  • Palette Swap: A pretty heavy offender; with the exception of Aegropilion, Hexas and the last two bosses, every enemy and boss has a palette-swapped version.
  • Pause Scumming: Were it not for the 999 HP cap, the stack damage from the Sprite's magic would kill any boss in seconds.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Anything that randomly drops from enemies only found in the Sunken Continent and Pure Land; it disappears after you've completed those two places. Randi's best helmet, the Griffon Helm, drops from the Griffon Hand enemies in Pure Land. You can skip the spear if you properly skip the first visit with Sage Luka.
  • Playing with Fire: Salamando uses Fire magic, though some of his spells also use lava. Notably, his is one of the few offensive spells Primm has access to.
  • Pointy Ears:
    • It wasn't super obvious in the early spritework or other art, but even from the start Primm has had notably pointy, elf-like ears. These go unremarked on by others and are never addressed or explained. Later portrayals of the character, including the 3D remake, put more emphasis on these ears, making them flare out from her head a bit more (they were originally just pointed tips upward, which is why they were easy to miss).
    • These also become more common in the remake; while it wasn't in the original art at all (or was a detail lost to resolution), both Luka and Fahna now have notably pointed ears of a similar sort to Primm; Sheex, of all people, also has them, though they're less pronounced. Curiously, Dyluck definitively doesn't, so it seems it isn't a "Pandoran thing" or something similar.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Although Thanatos is the Big Bad and the ultimate threat behind the Mana Fortress, he's not the Final Boss; that instead goes to the Mana Beast fought after his death, which is wholly independent from his schemes.
  • Prophetic Name:
    • King Manmon was transliterated because Ted Woolsey didn't know that that's how they spell it in Japanese. It was actually changed to Mammon in the iOS release.
    • Also, Thanatos HAS to count as one, because seriously.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The team defeat Thanatos at the Mana Fortress, at the cost of Dyluck's life, which Primm is devastated over.
  • Random Drop: Some of the monsters have pretty good armour as rare drops. Top tier armour pieces are actually the common drops from monsters in the mana fortress, while their rare drops are weapon orbs (or candy if you're already maxed out on that type of orb), and you need seven of them to upgrade every weapon except the sword to level 9.
  • Rapunzel Hair:
    • In later depictions, the 3D remake and its associated artwork, Primm's hair becomes this. In the original game, it wasn't as much, as while it could be long, she wears it in a high, noble ponytail that barely touches her shoulders. Beginning with Rise of Mana, though, and continuing on to the remake, the ponytail was lengthened to go down to her knees. If she let her hair down entirely, it'd unquestionably touch her ankles. Furthermore, while it was pretty compact in the SNES version (except when viewed from behind, due to perspective and silhouette design) the "ponytail" now fans out in a near-curtain behind her.
    • Meanwhile, Popoi's had this from the word go. It might not be as long in absolute terms if measured conventionally, but compared to Popoi's own height, the hair practically touches the floor. Moreover, Popoi's hairdo is more a mane than anything; it's not just long, it practically frames Popoi's body. All this was true even back in the SNES days.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Tasnica is referred to as the Republic and is ruled by a king. For many players, this might be seen as a Critical Research Failure or a bad translation. However, a number of nations have styled themselves as republics, with elected kings (in the case of Poland prior to the nineteenth century) or dukes (Doges in the case of Venice). Somewhat corrected in the remake, as the "King" is instead referred to as the "Tasnican Chancellor" in the English translation. Of course, he's still wearing a crown and has the same model as the other "kings" in the game.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Sage Luka is quite a piece for a 200 year old woman Not that you could tell by the sprite in the original, but Randi lampshades it so we know. She also uses the typical 'old folks' sentence ender 'ja' in the Japanese script as a hint. Luka's age is brought up a bit more in the remake, where Primm has an inn skit where she wonders just how Luka managed to stop her aging. She concludes that the lake surrounding the Water Palace must be enchanted by Undine and resolves to start swimming in it to retain her youth (an odd choice given that Primm can directly summon Undine to do her bidding at this point).
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Elinee's pet tiger.
  • Rock of Limitless Water: Amusingly, one appears as a graphical quirk on the world map (In the smaller green land mass on the right).
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Geshtar on the Emperor's castle wall. Also, the Mana Beast is encountered on what is apparently the pinnacle of the Mana Fortress.
  • Rule of Cool: As mentioned in Awesome, but Impractical, the Level 9 spells. Fireballs turning into Eastern-style dragons, lava pools sprouting screenwide, or explosions taken Up to Eleven? Definitely impressive.
  • Sand Is Water: Morie and Meria's sandship.
  • Scaled Up: Fanha transforms into a four-armed naga.
  • Scenery Porn: Do we actually need to explain this one? The whole game is one of the most gorgeous games released on the SNES to that point (though its sequel, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, and possibly Final Fantasy VI would later outdo it). Pure Land (or the Holy Land) is probably the most gorgeous part, though. There's also the official art associated with the game, of which the page image up top is only one example.
  • Schizo Tech: The entire game is a traditional medieval fantasy setting, complete with dwarves, goblins, swords, knights, castles... and large tunneling vehicles, a metallic sandship, steampunk robots, a modern-day subway system on a lost continent, and "Veedios".
  • Schmuck Bait: Randi is conned into giving money to Popoi when they first meet in the dwarves' cave. Shortly afterwards however, you overhear how they conned you, and they refund your money back to you out of guilt.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: It takes an entire game and three boss fights, but the Scorpion Army finally gets wise. You are really THE Mana Knight.
  • Secret Test of Character: Partway through the game, you're required to visit Sage Joch. However, when you reach the cave where he lives, you instead run into his assistant Jehk, who has a tendency to send you to various places. In actuality, Jehk is Sage Joch, and he tells your party that you weren't ready quite yet, hence why he sent you to various locations to train and be ready to take on the Emperor.
  • Sequence Breaking: The King of Matango tells you that your next destination is the Fire Palace in the desert. Upon arriving there, you discover that not only is the Palace impossible to traverse without Salamando, but also that the Fire Seed was stolen. Therefore, you're forced to go to the Ice Country to recover both. However, nothing stops you from going to Ice Country before the Desert in the first place (and completing both objectives in the process), skipping the whole conundrum altogether. It even doubles as a Peninsula of Power Leveling as Todo Village sells superior armor to the stuff sold in the Desert Town, and the monsters in Ice Country were meant to be fought quite a bit later than those in the desert before the Fire Palace. Technically, once you reach the Lofty Mountains, your only actual "goal" is to visit Sage Joch at the peak, which is a good 5 minute hike from Flammie's landing point. However, there's nothing in the game preventing you from just not going back to the Sage's apprentice to find out where Joch went and you can simply skip to where he "should" be.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Dyluck and Primm, although Dyluck has almost no dialogue in the game so it's never really explored on his end. But Primm, especially in the remake, has lots and lots of dialogue where she gets ultra sappy talking about Dyluck and how great he is.
At one point in the Inn Skits, Randi asks why Primm likes Dyluck so much, and Popoi immediately groans. We immediately find out why as Primm launches into a long diatribe about all of the great things about Dyluck and why she loves him so much. Later on, when discussing the "Veedios" stored at the Mandala temple, Primm indicates if she could make one she'd try make a record of how much she loves Dyluck.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Arid Sands(which is constantly mistakenly called Kakkara despite Kakkara only being the oasis citystate in the Arid Sands).
  • Ship Tease: The original version of the game contains very little dialogue spoken by the party members, but the remake adds a series of skits which take place whenever the party sleeps at an Inn following some story-related event. The remake adds a bunch of this between Randi and Primm. At one point Popoi makes fun of Randi for getting jealous that Primm is so laser-focused on Dyluck, and later on, Popoi makes fun of Primm for getting jealous when Randi admits he's attracted to Krissy. Dyluck possibly does this when he specifically asks Randi to watch over Primm after he dies.
  • Shonen Hair: Randi. The rebel leader, Krissie, is a female version of this trope. Most of the bad guys in service of the emperor as well. Sheex, Fahna, Geshtar and Thanatos have blue, orange, green and pink hair respectively.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The second vampire boss that Randi & Co. face is called Buffy in the SNES localization.
    • The Scorpion Army's ultimate weapon is named Kilroy, a reference to Styx's cult song "Mr Roboto". It could also be a shoutout to the Dorombo Gang from Yatterman. The Scorpion Army Boss dresses a lot like Dorombo boss Doronjo, the "Boys" resemble Boyacky, and both teams fight with cartoony mechas.
    • Subtle, but watch how many of the zombies move around. Yes, sliding backwards.
    • One of the crystals has a Jeopardy! game going on.
    • There's a place called Matango, with mushroom people in it.
  • Sinister Subway: Located underneath the Ancient City. Zombies are the only passengers...aside from one Eggplant Man and two Needlions.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Fanha, the only female among the Emperor's lackeys.
  • Snipe Hunt: Sage Joch's assistant Jehk has a tendency to send you on these. However, there's a reason for it...
  • Standard Status Effects: They're all here: Burning, Sleep, Poison, and all their familiar friends. However, in keeping with the game's "cute" graphics, they are done with an impish twist: when Frozen (called "frostied" in game), characters turn into snowmen, Petrifaction renders you a cherubic statue, in lieu of Stop ("spaced out") you get a balloon tied to your head, etc.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Primm and Dyluck, ultimately.
  • The Starscream: Thanatos started out as one of Vandole's generals, but it's clear from almost the very beginning that he's got his own agenda.
  • Stat Grinding: While you could just level your character's spell power by playing normally, you're generally better off just spending some time burning all their MP, then restoring it and casting the spells over and over until they reach whatever level Mana seed you've obtained so far. Primm and Popoi's spell level can often mean a boss fight being extremely tough or a very easy walk in the park. Weapon levels also work on a similar principal; however, most players probably won't bother charging up weapon attacks as regular hits will often be sufficient on trash mobs.
  • Supporting Leader: The Resistance is another recurring force for good in the game, alongside Jema and his homies. The closest you get to teaming up is when Krissie is dumped in the same cell with Randi. "Emperor Vandole is a DOG.", she fumes.
  • Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: The first rough half of the temples (Up until the Fire Temple) are a good half of the game and span 3 continents. The next 3 temples (plus foiling a political assassination and going to the MOON.) are good for about an hour's worth of gameplay all the while you're trying to talk to Sage Joch who's pulling a Secret Test of Character on you. This was due to the fact this game was developed SNES-CD in mind.
  • Summon a Ride: The party can summon Flammie from (almost) any point in the world so long as they're outdoors and carrying the Flammie Drum.
  • Supernatural Aid: Started the tradition of gaining power from the eight elemental spirits.
  • Supporting Leader: Jema. Any time he actually does something it happens offscreen, because It's Up to You.
  • Taken for Granite: The Stone Saber spell allows you to do this. As an added bonus, attacking a petrified enemy kills them instantly, making this one of the most best, if not most useful, saber spells in the game.
  • Taking You with Me: Upon being defeated, Geshtar decides to blow up his boss' castle rather than let you escape. Luckily, Flammie swoops down and carries you away.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Potos has only three houses!
  • Tin Tyrant: Vandole.
  • Tomorrowland: The base of the Great Palace is a textbook example of Ragnarök Proofing.
  • Tragic Monster: The Mana Beast, if the common assumption is correct and it really is Flammie.
  • Tron Lines: The Mana Fortress is filled with them.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Watts the Blacksmith is capable of upgrading every single type of weapon in the game, even the one-of-a-kind Mana Sword.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Thanatos spent a lot of time searching for an ideal body. Once Dyluck dies, the lich's boss music communicates his rage.
  • Uncommon Time: The meter signature of "Danger" bounces all over the place and "Premonition" is mostly in 5/4.
  • The Unfought: The Emperor, as he's killed by Thanatos in a coup before you get the chance to battle him.
  • The Uriah Gambit: Before the story begins, Primm has rejected the Arranged Marriage put together by her father, having fallen in love with a career military man named Dyluck. Conveniently, Dyluck is sent away by the King on a risky mission to Elinee's Castle. The implications are clear.
  • Vader Breath: As Thanatos' body starts to crack up, he begins wheezing and coughing like the diva he is.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Elinee's Spikey Tiger. Also often cited as That One Boss, even though it's only the third boss in the game, and the last one you face before you get magic.
    • Boreal Face, sort of. The boss was probably designed to upset the "spam magic until dead" strategy. But it was still plenty vulnerable to weapons.
    • Aegagropilon is also another if spamming magic is the preferred strategy and one forget to level up Shade. It'll cast Wall first thing, which reflects all magic.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Geshtar pops up a third time in the Sunken Continent, having been restored to life by Thanatos.
  • White Magician Girl: Primm, though she's not the stereotypical "weak healer" by any means. She's nearly as strong as Randi with proper equipment, and Lucent Beam when leveled up makes Dark Lich a piece of fricking cake.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Every time Primm gets close to saving Dyluck, something happens that takes him away from her again. He's taken permanently out of her reach near the end of the game.
  • Yes, Virginia: Santa is real, and you better have faith in him, or he'll go evil and become a monstrous ogre.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After the hero's removal of the rusty sword triggers a monster outbreak near Potos, the villagers agree that he's too dangerous to allow to stay, and banish him from there forever. And they mean it... even late in the game when you've acquired your uber-weapons and uber-spells, the guard villager will still be there, telling you to scram. In the ending, it's implied that Randi is accepted back in the village.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: It's a given that the Empire will raise the Mana Fortress, despite the heroes efforts to seal the Mana seeds.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: All of the not exactly human characters have brightly coloured hair — Popoi's is pink, Luka's is blue, Geshtar's green, Sheex's purple, Fanha's lurid orange, and Thanatos's is — mauve...? Anyway, Primm's blue-haired friend Phanna/Pamela is the only named person to have this outside the spoiler.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: If your equipment is on par for the course, you literally cannot lose the rematch with the three Biting Lizards in the Ice Palace. Your characters will most likely dodge every hit in their Tonpole form and in their Biting Lizard form, they literally cannot do any damage (as in, no damage numbers appear) when they eat your characters. In fact, eating your characters hurts them.

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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Videogame/SecretOfMana