Picture this scenario: You are the younger brother of one of the all time greatest quarterbacks in football history. Your bro is the epitome of charisma, the king of clutch, and regarded by all as a legend among men. Naturally, you have some enormous shoes to fill, and people are already ready to crown you as the second coming of your older brother. Problem is, you have the arm of a twelve year old girl and the only thing you have in common with your brother is the same last name. That being said, poor old Secret of Evermore probably never stood a chance of being a massive success. However, in no way can that exonerate it from being one of the most piss poor games ever conceived.
Christmas time brings back fond memories. Tinsel, hickory smoked ham, sparkly presents wrapped with care placed under the tree… However, there is a dark side to these jolly Yule-tide festivities… The dreaded “present that should have been awesome but totally sucked and ruins Christmas” gift. Oh no… it wasn’t supposed to happen that way, but the cruel hand of fate (and incompetent writing and storyline) snatches all the joy that was built up in anticipation and flushes it down the proverbial toilet.
So there I was, young and bushy tailed, knowing for sure I would soon be playing Secret of Evermore, a game with the same type of title as Secret of Mana, a game I spent countless hours running through forwards and backwards until it was mastered to completion. So under the tree I find a familiarly shaped box, a nice rectangular shaped box. Ripping through the wrapping paper with vicious intent, I was to uncover Secret of Evermore! Joy overcame me as I dashed up the stairs to enjoy Secret of Mana’s only known successor (at least to my knowledge at the time).
Quickly I jammed the cartridge into the SNES, hastily pushed the power button forward, and that all too familiar Squaresoft logo appeared… This was going to be awesome! Then… I was welcomed to a dumb looking hero with hair that moves like jelly when he walks…. Scratches his armpits quickly when he falls…Evil twin robots… Picking up twigs and berries to cast garbage spells… Striking my enemies down with an all powerful dog bone…. REALLY???
The let down was epic. I was on top of the highest mountain…only to be pushed off onto the jagged rocks below… This was surely Secret of Mana’s drug addicted, failure of a brother. This felt nothing like the magic of Mana… Aside from the game play, which wasn’t even as smooth as Mana’s, there is nothing remotely interesting here… No lush wide world to explore, no interesting characters or plot here folks! Just a dumb kid, a morphing dog, evil twin robots, and it all culminates to the final battle with none other than… THE BUTLER! Yes! That damn butler was the mastermind behind this whole atrocity of a game! Ugh… I digress…
Other notable issues with this awful game include rummaging through bushes and refuge for roots and water to cast unimpressive “alchemy” magic spells… And if you can’t find this crap lying on the ground, well prepare to pay a butt-load of money for them. Speaking of money, you will love the fact that as you explore the different worlds, each time you advance to another toilet-clogger of a territory, prepare to convert your currencies and lose half of your money to convert it to the new currency of the land. Wow, I am so glad I won 5000 talons for winning that annoying boss battle just to flush half of it down the drain mere moments later…
Also, another butchered feature of the battle system lies in the weapon system. In Mana, you would build proficiency with a weapon type (swords, spears, axes). As you increase your weapon level, you are able to perform special techniques by charging up the weapon for a moment. The higher the level, the longer the charge time. In this way the player can master their weapon of choice. Evermore takes a different approach, or as I like to call it the stupid approach. As you level up a weapon, you can unleash a special attack with it. However, each time you upgrade your weapon, such as getting the Iron Spear which replaces the Crap Spear, you suddenly lose all proficiency with the spear class! That’s right! No special moves anymore!
Unless you want to fight enough enemies to regain the lost levels, you have to stick with the outdated weapon to use the superior special maneuver. Garbage! Why bother? Did I mention when you take a hit from a mosquito you fly back a yard? Yup. The annoyance of walking through a jungle full of these buggers and getting knocked around by a pinball by creatures the size of an eyelash? Priceless.
The final insult? The awful dialog. Mana didn’t have compelling dialog or anything, but it was acceptable and entertaining, and I wasn’t expecting beautiful prose from Evermore either. Half of the hero’s dialog consists of referencing awful ‘B’ movies. As seen in a few choice screen shots, this is as compelling as the story gets. The whole premise of the game is to escape the crappy world he becomes trapped in. Personally, I was fine with ditching this loser and letting him rot. I spent Christmas afternoon hoping the game would give me a glimmer of hope. Come dinner time I was done, trying to enjoy a nice dinner to help take the taste of disgust out of my mouth.
Game Play: 2/5
Replay Value: 1/5
Secret of Evermore cover art and screen shots are a ™ trademark and/or © copyright of Nintendo, Squaresoft/Square Enix and related parties.