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General Game Information

How to Play

Let's cover the basics. The Secret of Mana blends two types of games: action and RPG. On the action front, in the Secret of Mana all your actions happen in real-time unless you open up a menu or pause the game. Hit the right button, and you'll swing your sword. Very simple. On the RPG front, your characters gain experience and will become stronger as they gain levels. You can equip items that will increase your ability to deal and receive damage. You can open a menu in the middle of a hot fight, and all the the action will stop while you browse through various menus. From here (I'll cover them all later), you can do things such as change your armor, weapon, select a spell to cast on yourself or an enemy, and so on. First, here are the controls for the game:

D-pad:Move your character around the screen. Rotates menus.
A button:Hold this plus a directional button down to make your character run (dependent on action gauge).
B button:Swing your weapon. Hold down to charge up for an attack. Confirms selection in menus.
Y button:Open main character's menu. Use to switch from and off-character's menu to the main character's menu. When main character's menu is open, hitting it again will close the menu and return you back to action.
X button:Open an off-character's menu. When any menu is open, hit it again to switch between the off-character's menus.
Right shoulder button:Switch between screens in some menus.
Left shoulder button:Switch between screens in some menus.
Start:Confirm/exit from certain menus. Used by the 2nd/3rd player to take and leave control of a character.
Select:Switch active controls between characters.

So what is this action gauge I mentioned? It's the little box at the bottom of the scree than contains a percentage. The percentage is used in two ways. First, if you attack with a weapon at 100%, the attack will do full damage. If you swing when the percentage is lower, the damage you do will be negligible. This prevents you from simply pinning an enemy down and killing it without giving it a chance to attack. The second use is in running. You can only start to run while the gauge is at 100%. If you stop running, you will be forced to walk and the gauge will start to increase back to 100%. Lastly, if you hold down the attack button as the gauge hits 100%, you will begin to charge up for an attack with your weapon. This is represented by a growing bar in the box. Once the bar grows the full length of the action gauge, if you release the attack button you will unleash a powerful attack with your weapon. The higher a weapon's level, higher you can charge up an attack. See the leveling page for more information about leveling up weapons.


When you hit either the X or the Y button, you will open up an individual character's menu ring. You can switch between menu rings using the up and down direction buttons, and scroll through the options in the menu using the left and right directional buttons. There are three rings common to each character: items, weapons, and options. In addition, the girl and the sprite have an additional menu ring from which you can select magic to use during battle. From the item menu, you can select consumable (candy, medical herbs, etc.) or non-consumable (such as Flammie's Drum or the Magic Rope) items to use in battle. The weapon ring allows you to switch weapons on the fly. If you select a weapon that another character is currently using, that character will exchange his or her weapon with the character whose menu you're using. The options menu contains several submenus, so many that you'll have to go here, the menus subpage, to read about them all.


When you open up treasure chests dropped by enemies, you might either receive one of two items specific to that enemy, or you might activate a trap. There are several kinds of traps, and you seem to encounter progressively worse ones the higher your level is. Here they are:

Punch gloveThe opener receives a small amount of damage.
Poison needlesThe opener gets poisoned.
BombThe opener receives somewhat more damage.
Riot GasThe opener is afflicted with a random status effect, including unconsciousness and pigmy.
Stone TrapThe opener is petrified.
Mimic BoxThe chest turns into the Mimic Box enemy.
Shadow ZeroSome weird creature (not an enemy) jumps out and runs away.
Doom TrapThe Grim Reaper either kills the opener outright or leave him with a single hit point remaining.

Status Effects

Many bad things can happen to a young boy waving a sword around and running around the world with a princess and a magical faerie creature. All these statuses will likely happen to you as you play the game:

PoisonedHP slowly decreases over time, until the afflicted character is cured or the effect wears off.
ConfusedReverses the effects of your d-pad controls until it wears off.
Spaced outCharacter can't act or move until it wears off.
UnconsciousCharacter can't act or move until it wears off.
PygmizedCharacter gets shrunken, and is weak in this state.
MoogledCharacter is turned into a cute, fuzzy, impotent moogle.
PetrifiedCharacter is turned to stone, and can't act or moved.
FrostiedCharacter is turned into a snowman, and can't act or move.
EngulfedCharacter catches fire, can't act or move, and loses HP over time.
TangledCharacter's movement speed is slowed down.
GhostNot really a status effect, this is what happens when a character dies. Their body will disappear and a ghost of that character will follow behind the living members.
BarrelledThe character walks around wearing a barrel. This grants high physical defense, but the barrel will disappear if the character attacks.

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