Secret of Evermore for the SNES
(by Square USA)
Welcome, this time I have a feature on Secret of Evermore, by Square's US development team.
Secret of Evermore is a fantastic first game for Square USA. The graphics are ray-traced and are a joy to behold on the SNES. The music and sound effects are very good, as expected from any game that bears the name Square. The gameplay and control are very much like Secret of Mana's. The controls are easy to learn and won't take long to master.
Unfortunately Secret of Evermore has a few flaws present. These flaws are embodied by a very simple and generic storyline, and the fact that the game doesn't take very long to complete.
The basic storyline starts with a flashback to the 1950's in a mansion in the town of Podunk, USA. The mansion is the site of an experiment that goes terribly wrong. Back to the present, a boy's dog chases a cat into the same abandoned mansion. The boy unwittingly follows the dog and messes around with the machinery. This causes the boy and his dog to be transported to the world of Evermore. Once there you undertake several easy and not at all puzzling quests until you realize that you have beaten the game.
Evermore is a collection of imaginary worlds dreamt up by the people involved in the 1950's experiment. Throughout the game your character is led on by people telling him that by doing such and such an act, he will find a way home, when it really doesn't help him at all. To make it short your character is short-sighted and extremely gullible. The longevity in this game is very short due to a lack of puzzling or challenging quests and no freedom to go where you please because once you acquire either of the air crafts you find out that there are no new places to explore -- about 85% of the world map is water.
There are only four areas in the world of Evermore: a prehistoric area, a dark ages, a gothic period, and a futuristic area. The fact that there are only two characters for you to be, (the boy or his dog) doesn't help either. If you have played Secret of Mana, then I can't see this game taking you more than 25 hours to complete, personally it took me 21 hours. I have focused on the problems of this game in the hopes that someone at Square will correct these problems in future RPGs.
Let's not just dwell on the downside because the game has a lot of strong points. The graphics are the best of any Square game yet. The character animation is very detailed and smooth. For some unexplained reason your dog changes shape depending on which area of Evermore that you are in. I really liked the market area where you buy a bunch of strange hoods and trade them for items that improve your endurance and strength. The main character makes many references to his favorite B-rated movies, which is often times amusing. Also, the ending is pretty good and if you let the "The End" screen sit you get a little animation that screams "SEQUEL!"
Though Secret of Evermore has some flaws I truly think it is worth renting for a weekend, because chances are you'll finish it and see how much potential Square USA has of becoming as good as its Japanese counterpart at creating good RPG's.
That's all I have time for, for now. At the moment I am in the process of trying to get a copy of Capcom's Breath of Fire 2 to check out and cover in my next Fantasy Realm.
Until next time...