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E3 Impression

Children of Mana

05.12.2006

CARA LEE HASLAM
PREVEIWER
JERRY SWAIN
E3 CORRESPONDANT

SCREENSHOT
Looks like a boss fight.

Mana is back, and in a big way. Children of Mana, coming to the Nintendo DS, follows closely in its Secret of Mana roots. It feels like Secret of Mana improved.

Like SoM, it uses a ring menu system for selecting weapons and items. You can have two weapons and one item equipped to A, X, and Y respectively. This provides flexibility in combat without the need to continuously enter the menu over and over again to switch weapons. Each weapon is used in a different way, as well, and each has special abilities usable by holding down the button it's assigned to.

The sword has a great 1-2-3 combo with decent reach, and its special is a shield that deflects projectiles back to their sources. The chain sweeps in a large circle, good for knocking enemies back in the case of being surrounded. The special for it is a hookshot-style ability. The hammer is slow and heavy, with an overhead smash special. Finally, the bow is good for longer distance attacks, with a charm special that will briefly incapacitate some enemies. Each of these can be augmented with two things: magic and fury.

SCREENSHOT
A big eye.

Magic is based upon the elemental spirit associated with the current character. For instance, Salamander is the red-haired main character's spirit, and as such, is fire based. You can summon him by holding B. After, you can either leave him to commence his special attack in place, send him in a direction with another press of B, or touch him to imbue your weapons with a fire element, which has the tendency to set enemies on fire, sending them scrambling. Fury is a little simpler. You have a meter that builds up as you hit and take hits. When full, you can press select to unleash it. This will increase your attack speed and open up new charge abilities. For example, the sword charge becomes a forward lunge, and the hammer charge becomes an continuous overhead smash during which you can move around. This lasts until the meter depletes.

Overall, the demo dungeon was fun, and introduced the game pretty well. It was simple, but effective. There wasn't much story but it was enough to taunt you into wanting to know more. I'm really looking forward to this game.


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Console:
· Nintendo DS

Release:
· 2006

Publisher:
· Nintendo

Developer:
· Square Enix


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