Seiken Densetsu 3

System: Super Famicom


Game Type: Overhead view adventure
We received the first 2 games in the Seiken series as Final Fantasy Adventure for Game Boy and Secret of Mana for SNES. The series mixes Zelda-style gameplay with elements from Square's other RPGs, including spellcasting.

Gameplay: 70/100
Although arguably an improvement from Secret of Mana with a faster pace in the battles, from me that's not saying much since I never liked SoM's gameplay all that well. The character movement engine seems no more solid. [Note: This review originally stated that a three-player mode is available as in Seiken Densetsu 2/Secret of Mana, but attempts to start up with three players have since proven unsuccessful. It appears the game only supports two players simultaneously. Apologies for the incorrect information and thanks to kevwalt.] The ability for any character to use any weapon has been lost. But with 6 characters to choose from (you choose 3 of these to be in your party over the course of a game), each with his or her own weapon type, there's still a fair amount of variety. A new addition is the element of day and night, and you may encounter different people in the towns or creatures in the wilds after nightfall. You'll spend just as much time as in SoM wandering around with no clue where to go next, unfortunately, and still more if you can't read Japanese.

Graphics: 80/100
Background graphics are about on the same level as in SoM (i.e. nice but nowhere near as good as Chrono Trigger's). The spell effects have been improved, however, and are now highly similar to Final Fantasy III's. The characters and enemies seem to have taken a turn for the worse. The walking and running animations are extremely awkward, and many of the enemies are leftovers from SoM (looking much the worse for wear). At least now the players always face the enemy in battle, even while backing away, which is a nice touch.

Sound: 90/100
The music isn't quite on par with SoM's beautiful tunes, but some scores are really original and none sound bad. Sound effects haven't changed much. Still one of the better-sounding games in existence.

Overall: 80/100
Seiken 3 is an improvement over Secret of Mana, but not by as much as I'd hoped. It might be worthy of your import dollars but I would recommend Final Fantasy V over this any day, especially since the unfamiliar interface is hard to figure out if you don't read Japanese. Still, it's a decent game, and bringing out Secret of Evermore instead of translating this was one of the dumbest decisions Square ever made. If you loved SoM you will almost certainly love this, and it's highly recommended to anyone looking for a good multiplayer game.


Copyright © 1997/1998 Jay McGavren. All Rights Reserved.