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Seiken Densetsu 4: Dawn of Mana [PS2/JPN]

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Price: $58.90
Ships same-day (M-F) if ordered before 4PM EST
Item Number: SLPM-66576
Publisher: Square Enix
Jan/UPC Code: 4988601004916
NCS Product Synopsis
Update: December 22, 2006
«©NCSX» Thirteen years after Seiken Densetsu 2 was released on the Super Famicom, director Koichi Ishii and creative staff craft the latest game in full-fledged 3D. The story focuses on a hero named Eldy who travels with a friend named Ritzia and her pet Rabite who answers to "Pukku." At the outset of the game, Pukku is bounding across the forest and is eventually reunited with its mistress who greets it with cheerful abandon. It runs off again later on and Eldy chases after it. Along the way, he picks up a wooden stick on the ground and eventually encounters a group of easily agitated Mushbooms. Smack them around with the stick and each one is dispatched with three hits each.
   The game's first level is a "follow the Rabite" mission where the little beast leads Eldy to different parts of the forest in a seek and destroy mission. Pukku bounds to areas where Mushbooms and birds dwell and Eldy's job is to attack them and clear the wilderness of their presence. Upon completion, follow Pukku again to exit the level and proceed further to new adventures. The game is broken up into mission-based levels where objectives are presented to the player and fulfillment is contingent on meeting the tasks at hand.
JAN Code: 4948872620024
Region Lock-out
Please note Japanese Playstation 2 games will not boot on USA or European PS2 consoles due to the inherent region-lockout on Playstation 2 game discs.

NCS Game Notes
» A nifty World of Mana animation appears immediately after booting followed by a movie-like Square Enix cinema which is voice-overed by an old dude. He tells the history of the Mana series as the camera swoops over a map and the important land masses contained upon it with their names in script. A land mass appears with eight fairy-like creatures above it - afterwards in-game action sequences and interaction are shown on a tilted window against a backdrop of the Mana forest and the Mana Tree. The windowed cut scenes are shown with full voice action to give players a feel for the drama ahead. After a while, the window disappears and we're treated to a full view of the massive Mana tree. Leave the controller alone and silhouettes of red storks seemingly flap their wings in stilted sequences.

» Leave the controller alone some more and the game title screen eventually appears with START and OPTIONS selections. Scrolling Japanese text may be read below the two options.

» In the OPTIONS menu, the following may be viewed and configured:

EMBLEMS........... [View 60 emblems that have been collected - must be unlocked]
PETS COLLECTION... [View 196 pets in the game - all must be unlocked]
RESULTS........... [View game play stats for various difficulty levels]
MEDIA PLAYER...... [Sound disc BGM samples and Cinema Film clips]
CONTROLLER........ [Set controller button functions]
CAMERA............ [Toggle game camera settings through multiple variables]
OTHER SETTINGS.... [Toggle Dual Shock vibration, set sound volumes, Stereo]

» Upon starting a NEW GAME, players may opt for the EASY or NORMAL mode. The camera opens up on a lake where eight fairies and entities are flying around on one corner. Someone speaks - the firebrand Salamander who carries a spear addresses a bearded Gnome with a jingle bell on his hat. Other beings come into view including a Shade which looks like a big eye with bat wings who speaks with a thundering voice and a beautiful Dryad girl with green plant hair chimes in. The other creatures that make an appearance include Undine, Jinn, Luna, and Wisp. The banter continues while sparkly things drift from each being's body. The creatures continue to chat (with full voice acting) and then a full moon appears and a voice over relays the tale of Mana which is accompanied with full screen artwork panels. Next, the text "Koichi Ishii presents" appears and movie-like credits appear slowly upon an animation of a yellow-bodied Rabite named Pukku that's hopping along - it has floppy ears and a pink tail. A girl named Ritzia is chasing the Rabite and she's joined by a blonde guy named Eldy who stretches and then races after the wee beastie. The animation and credits continue with Eldy still running until he reaches a point with wooden barrels strewn around. At this point, control is handed over to the player.

L-Analog.......... Movement
R-Analog.......... Camera swivel
X-Button.......... Jump. Press again for a double jump
SQUARE........... Attack
TRIANGLE........ Throw out tether (usable once equipped with tree-sword)
CIRCLE............ Shoot arrows (usable once equipped with tree-sword)
L1.................... Block
L2 or R2.......... Activate targeting cursor

» After moving Eldy forward, the game pops up with text about MONO and how the world of MANA features objects that have weight and may be knocked around to cause damage or other effects. The barrels may be destroyed with six hits a piece and the mushroom-like creatures known as Mushbooms are destroyed with three whacks of Eldy's staff. After dispatching the first group of Mushbooms, follow Pukku to the next area to destroy some more Mushbooms and knock a big rock around. Continue onto a field where pieces of fruit are lying about and a cart holding fruit may be smacked downhill. Birds with iridescent wingtips also appear in this area that attack with projectile blasts. The goal in this area is to follow Pukku around (the Rabite appears as a yellow dot on the overhead map) and it'll lead you to more enemies that appear as red dots in the overhead map. Once they are destroyed, wee beastie will lead you to even more enemies. When Pukku runs around, a little music note appears above its head. When it sees you destroying enemies, a heart appears. After destroying all of the enemies, follow Pukku to the end of the field and you'll be ranked on your skills and a letter grade is assigned for overall performance.

» In the next scene, Eldy is holding Pukku when Ritzia runs up to them and takes hold of the beast which has 1 big tooth poking out of its mouth like a rabbit. The two walk and talk until Ritzia reaches a tree and puts her hand on it. Ritzia is a priestess who has a special bond with nature. As she stands there, butterflies flap above and sparkly things rise up towards the trees. Amidst the peaceful setting, a discordant rumbling is heard in the distance and the two go to investigate. As they hide behind a tree, they watch an army of armored soldiers goose-stepping through the forest while some soldiers loft a guy in a carriage. A voice over which explains the army's goal and what is happening in the world of Mana. After this point, the player is prompted to save progress to memory card.

» Afterwards, another cinema plays which focuses on a ruins of some sort where Eldy and Ritzia are outside. Guide him in and the wind may be heard echoing through the stone hallway that they just entered and a hum may be heard in the background. Once you reach a clearing, strike at the floating arrow and the floor will collapse which leading to an underground passageway. Later in the level, acorns may be smacked to trigger their explosive effects. Different colored acorns have different destructive results. To open the door at the end of the clearing, step on the pedestal and as it slowly descends, the door will be triggered open.

» A save point later in the second area is indicated by a gnarled tree limb that rises from the ground and is lit with green light and sparkly things that glisten upon it. After going through a door, the two adventurers happen upon an altar where a stone slab etched with an imprint of the tree of Mana is shown with three torches arrayed in front of it. One of the torches is positioned directly in front of it which is bad feng shui but maybe Square knows better. Something shines brightly and the two shield their eyes until Eldy invesigates and finds something on the ground. He pulls it up and looks at the item which appears to be a shell or seed of some sort. He holds it in his hand and panics when the object grasps his arm and green tendrils and light burst forth from it. Eldy screams and the camera shifts away. When we next see Eldy, his right arm is covered with coiling tree branches that go from his shoulder to his wrist. It looks a fright but Eldy turns his arm to and fro to check it out and seems to admire it.

» After the cinema sequence, the player is granted control once again and the Eldy's green-arm is now a powerful weapon. In addition to the new concussive force, Eldy can also shoot arrows and ride on his arm like a snowboard. Eldy and Ritzia eventually wander into an area where they're circled by glowing orbs. The cower but eventually one of the creatures from earlier greets them - the bearded gnome. Eldy and Ritzia also find a cute little fairy named Faye who wakes up, yawns and stretches. Faye wears gossamer clothing and has a little green clover on her hair. She also trails a little sash behind her and flies around like Tinkerbell where pixie dust drops all over the place. The heroes talk to her and she responds in kind. Faye speaks with a squeaky voice and she later gives a flower to the Ritzia who responds with "Arigato."

» Control is handed over to the player again and the fairy Faye is now a familiar that flies close to the hero. Go through the rest of the area and you'll eventually meet all of the fairies and elementals from the introduction of the game and they introduce themselves to your new fairy friend. There's a sort of mid-level boss in the area that's imposing but he's easily defeated as long as you trigger the power of the bombastic acorns against him.

» After climbing some stairs, the party of three walk into a blue-tinged cavern where Eldy yells out for anyone who might be waiting for them. Ritzia yells at Eldy and a gruff sounding voice speaks out. A red thorny crustacean drops down with a thud and charges at Eldy. It looks like an enormous spiny crab and it haunches up on its legs to look at Ritzia who has sought higher space to avoid the creature. Eldy is angry and unleashes the power of his arm. A lenghthy battle commences where Eldy and the crab face off. The best tactic for defeating the crab is hit and run. Smack it a few times and then vamoose to avoid its powerful spin attacks and running charges where it barrels into Eldy's general location. The crab also has a move where it leaps up and then lands upside down in an attempt to gore Eldy with its spiny needles. The crab will also bury itself into the ground often and then rise up elsewhere. It occasionally burrows directly below Eldy to knock him out. Once defeated, the crab falters to the ground and speaks with its gruff voice before spinning upwards and landing down. With the level over, you're ranked on your performance.

» In the next scene, the crab speaks again and dies soon afterwards. Eldy's arm spins with the tree sword and he falls to the ground exhausted. Ritzia runs up to check on him and the crab may be seen in the distance with its eyes are dark and dead. The two talk and Ritzia approaches a tree and some energy appears from her hands. An explosion ensures and Ritzia is knocked unconscious. As Eldy is tending to her, the armored knights from earlier appear behind them and one of the soldiers pushes a sword on Eldy. After this point, an automatic save prompt pops up.

» The game runs and flows smoothly but the camera can get in the way of the action at times - it sometimes can't keep up with the flow of Eldy's movements. If Eldy falls into a crevice or get knocked into a wall, the camera gets all disjointed and you'll see black space.

» Pots of honey that are banded like bees will recover all your HP and MP if grabbed.

» Save points are plentiful and may be found in each subsequent area.

» Seiken Densetsu 4 is a visually beautiful game that is otherwise a fairly routine action-adventure. The MONO system adds physics and physical attributes to objects in the Mana world for an interesting way to interact with objects since Eldy can tether items or enemies and then swing them around. Ritzia doesn't do much at the outset but she's integral to the adventure later on.

» The voice actors for the characters in the game are as follows:

Eldy................... [ Tetsuya Kakihara ]
Ritzia................. [ Jun Sagawa ]
Stroud............... [ Takashi Kondo ]
Lekius............... [ Hiroki Ishihara ]
Faye................. [ Yurika Ochiai ]
Masked Guru......... [Toru Ohkawa ]

This document is ©NCSX 2006, 2011. All rights reserved. No reproduction in whole or in part of this document may be made without express written consent of National Console Support, Inc.

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