Review For: Sword of Mana (GBA)
Date Written: January 2, 2004
Written By: Webmaster Christopher Beley


When you first start a new game you will be able to choose between a boy and a girl character and then name your character. After that you will be introduced with a story. The story is kind of like this… 

 The goddess (which seems to be the creator of the world in this game) has a sacred sword and some spirits that help her create the world, but then she got rid of the sword (and it is said the sword rusted the minute it left her hand) to help maintain peace. The goddess then transformed into a great mana tree to watch over the world and a mystical power guards the tree to this day… 

 After you are introduced with this short story, you head off to your singing lessons. When he goes by his house there is some soldiers and their dark lord who have come to damage the house, but the soldiers are hesitant. Then you run off to tell your father. 

 When you get there the dark lord and his soldiers barge in the house. The dark lord is claiming that your father has heretics (not too sure what those are yet) and should be punished. Luckily your dad’s “guard” distracts them while you and your dad run away. 

 You then meet up with your mom and your dad tells your mom to take you and a girl (which you haven’t met yet) away. You then end up in a room where your mom tells you and the girl (who is now sleeping on the bed) to run away. You have no idea who she is, but you obey your mother and run away as the “guards” are knocking on the door. 

 In your attempts to escape with the girl you are caught and then…you wake up (That was odd, don’t you think? This explains why everything at the beginning of the game were shades of gray.) When you wake up your friend asks what you were dreaming of and you tell him the whole story, and when you get to the name of the girl you have to name her. (NOTE: At the beginning of the game if you choose to be a girl the girl in this story will be a boy, but if you choose to be a boy the girl in this story will be a girl.)  

 After telling your friend this story your friend comes up with another escape plan (you are locked up in something that looks like a jail). After talking with the other people in the jail a guard comes and lets you out into a stadium where you have to fight this monster…and so I will end this story.  


I have left out a lot and I have stopped in almost the beginning of the story so not to spoil everything (plus I don’t want my review that long!) Also, you should know that the dream has actually happened in the past. It is also said in the game that he keeps having that dream every night. Now first lets talk about the game play… 


Well, unlike other games, this game uses the L and R buttons on the side of your Gameboy Advance for things that you will use a lot. The A button is your attack button. As you get further into the game you will run across certain weapons like a flail or a bow, however you do start off with a sword. One thing you may notice whenever you defeat a creature is that the bar at the bottom of your screen increases. When this increases to it’s full extent, your sword will start glowing and you can do a special “super” sword attack by holding down the A button for a few seconds, then pressing it again.  

The B button basically just makes you walk faster when you hold it down. So now for the L and R buttons. The L button allows you to jump onto or off cliffs and what not, while the R button allows you to use your spirit. When you go through the game, every once in a while you will acquire a spirit. Each spirit has their own special effects, but basically they all work the same. If you simply just press the R button real quick your spirit will heal you, while if you hold down the R button for a little bit, you can use the spirit to attack enemies.  Also some creatures may only be able to be destroyed by a certain spirit. 

Now, there is one big difference in this RPG (Role Playing Game) compared to other GBA RPGs about battling. Unlike on most RPGs where you have a special screen come up to battle, or you have a turn based battle, this game works like some action fighting game. You can simply run up to a creature and start hitting them with your sword or other weapon. Some people may or may not like this. Me? Well I like battles set up like in Pokemon Ruby or Turn Based Battles, but I am not saying I don’t like the battle system in this game. 

Finally, you may be wondering about the person who follows you around like in my screenshots. Well he/she (it will be a boy or girl character according to if you pick to be a boy or girl) will battle independently on your behalf, but you can always take control of he/she by pressing the select button, then you will have control of he/she, and the character you were just using will then act independently like the character you just switched to. Now let’s talk a little bit about the graphics.


 The graphics are absolutely stunning! Especially for an RPG (Role Playing Game). Everything is greatly detailed and (like in Pokemon Ruby) things like plants will move in the wind. Also another thing is that the monsters and characters are very well presented. Unlike Nickelodeon GBA games where the characters look poorly presented compared to the backgrounds. In Sword of Man the characters look very close to as good as the backgrounds. No more to say here. Just take a look at the screenshots and you will see what I mean:-) 


Well the sound is pretty good, but not the best. Most of the music is slow moving, and kind of, well…. boring. I like it, but I can see a lot of people getting sick of it and there is no way to just turn the music off and keep the sound effects on. If I were to rate the sound I would probably give it a 4 out of 5 stars. So I am not saying the music is bad, I am just saying that I don’t think too many people will like the slow paced music. You can’t expect that much out of a GBA game, can you? Now let’s talk about what I liked. 


So many choices! I don’t know where to start! OK, well first of all the story is wonderful and very suspenseful. You will want to keep playing more and more to learn what will happen next in the story. It is like reading an interactive book. As you complete the game, the story will make more and more sense. 

Another thing I liked was the monsters. There is a great variety of strange and exotic creatures (I am sure glad they don’t really exists. LOL.) Also, a lot of them will perform very interesting attacks. For example, this one creature can throw it’s top part of it’s self off like a boomerang at you and can also spray sleep powder around it self so you will go to sleep for a little bit. 

Yet another thing I liked is the person who follows you around everywhere. I don’t know why, but it is just something that adds that little extra to the game. Also the person who follows you can be a great help in defeating those pesky monsters ;-) 

There’s even more you ask? Well yes there is! Another cool things is to have such a variety of weapons and spirits to choose from. I especially like the spirits, because of the neat looking attacks they can do. Also another thing about having lots of weapons and spirits is that is adds more of a challenge in this game. I say this because certain creatures or obstacles can only be bypassed by a certain spirit or weapon. Of course, however, some people may not like the extra challenge. 

Finally, the last thing I liked was the neat menu structure. It is kind of hard to explain, but it is kind of like on a Mac where when you put your arrow over the icons they get bigger and you can scroll through them. The menu structure in this game is kind of like that except that it is in a circle instead of a line. Now, lets talk about what I didn’t like about the game and why I have given this game only a 4 out of 5 stars. 


The one big thing I didn’t like was not being able to save anywhere, anytime. To save you have to find the save spot and then you can save. However, you can just use the Magic Rope to teleport to a save spot (you will get the magic rope when you visit your first town, from some person). 

Finally, the other thing I didn’t like was grass. Yes, grass. You can get a lot of special items by cutting grass. Well you may be thing that should be very simple to cut the grass. Well it isn’t :-( You have to be perfectly aligned in front of the piece of grass until you can cut it. If you just go to a patch of grass and start swiping your sword everywhere, you will barely cut any grass. I am just saying that it shouldn’t take 30 seconds to cut a few pieces of grass. It is just plain annoying! Of course you don’t have to cut the grass, but then you will miss out on all those items… 


So, in conclusion this is yet another great game that you should have if you like RPGs, however, you will end up doing a lot more reading than you would in most other games. So if you don’t like reading and just like action, action, action, this game is not for you. However the storyline is absolutely wonderful… 

CNR is not responsible for or approves of the content in the two above links.