Five Things We Learned From Secret of Evermore

By Aaron Matteson in Five Things, Humor, Lists!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm


Secret of Evermore -- not just a cheap attempt to ride the coattails of success.

Everyone who played the SNES game Secret of Mana was taken in by its epic tone, whimsical scope, and addictive gameplay. It rightfully achieved a place as one of the best games of the 16-bit era, and fans eagerly awaited some form of follow-up.

Secret of Evermore was not that follow-up. It incorporates the same general gameplay style and was titled similarly to cash in off of Mana's success -- but that's all.  It doesn't deal with the Mana Tree at all. None of the characters are back. The tone is seven to eight times more whimsical. And the sword you get in Secret of Mana is a sacred weapon to be used against the grandest form of tyranny; the game is called Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan, which means "Holy Sword Legend 2." Secret of Evermore could hardly be called a "Holy Sword Legend," and as such, many fans who bought it expecting a direct sequel were disappointed.

But if you can get past the longing and nostalgia-ridden fury that the sight of those beautiful Mana-like ring menus fills you with, Secret of Evermore is a good game in its own right. Maybe even a great game. And it taught us entirely distinct things from its distant cousin Mana.

1.) Use what you have.



Our hero may look innocent, but he will use literally any object available as a bludgeon.

In many video games (the aforementioned Secret of Mana included), the protagonist is promptly given a badass sword of justice right at the beginning of the game. He finds it, or a kindly old knight gives it to him, or he takes it off his dying parental figure's body or something. After all, you can't have a game called "Holy Sword Legend" if you don't stick a holy sword in there pretty early on.

But not so with Evermore. Our young hero begins his quest when warped unexpectedly to a strange, prehistoric world. To defend himself against the beasts of this place, the boy picks up a bone. This is his weapon, and will be for a not insignificant portion of the game.

A bone? That's even below Gordon Freeman's crowbar. The hero of Evermore goes completely apeshit (and we mean the apes of 2001: a Space Odyssey, immediately after their brains have been monolith'd) with the most primitive weapon imaginable, making the most out of what he has.

Just teaches you, if life gives you lemons, you should beat your enemies to death with those lemons. You may not have the luxury of waiting for a better weapon.


2.) Art can be instructive.



Sadly, The Lost Adventures of Vexx was panned by critics.

One major part (some would say the major part) of our hero's character is that he is obsessed with movies. He draws wisdom, comfort and courage from quotes he remembers from these films, even if they do sound like films of dubious quality. This leads to our hero saying things like "Well, as 'Dusty' Duffy McGander says is Perilous Patrol Over Pluto, 'We may not have a rat's chance in a roomful of cats... but we're gonna go after that cheese."

Besides validating the guiding idea behind this entire series of "Five Things" articles by essentially saying that entertainment media can make our real lives more meaningful, this also serves to allow the game's writers to come up with stupid fake movie titles.


3.) There's a reason we developed currency.



It costs what? Thirteen chickens? But I've got all these jewels!

There are several marketplaces in Evermore where some of the merchants won't accept money. They will only barter with you, meaning that if you want what they're selling, you have to traipse all over the place looking for the seven chickens, three tapestries and eighteen sacks of cornmeal that they want.

It doesn't make sense. You have perfectly good gemstones. They're GEMSTONES, for Christ's sake, we're trying to buy your shitty cape for GEMSTONES, they're very valuable! But no. The merchant wants those chickens, rugs and sacks, and he won't give you anything if you don't run around and get them for him.

What a horribly inefficient system! Man, the Dark Ages must've sucked!


4.) All that "man's best friend" stuff is pretty accurate.




​Your dog takes a lot of punishment in this game. First off, he's morphed into all kinds of different stuff -- a wolf-dog, a greyhound, a robo-dog. Apparently the dog's corporeal form is mutable by the power of Evermore. And so he's got to deal with a constant crisis of self (to whatever extent dogs can conceptualize that kind of thing).

Also, he gets hurt by pretty much everything in the universe, from malicious plants to velociraptors to sociopathic tumbleweeds (the game features a desert where the tumbleweeds want to end your life). He's never daunted and his loyalty never wanes. All he asks for is a doggie treat when he gets tired.

A cat would take one look at Evermore and flip out, and no amount of Friskies would be able to keep him there. Even if he had been transformed into a prehistoric jungle panther. So it's lucky your hero has a dog.







​The butler did it. That's the Secret of Evermore.



Email Print

Join The Joystick Division!

Become part of the Joystick Division community by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook.

More links from around the web!