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Trials of Mana

Super Nintendo

Game Description:

Trials of Mana is an role playing action rpg game for the Super Nintendo.

Translation Description:

Some call it “the best Super Famicom game ever”, some dismiss it as just another boring action game. But most people agree that Square made a grave mistake when they decided not to market Seiken Densetsu 3 overseas - especially after the success of its predecessor, Secret of Mana.

Around 1996 and 1997, the growth of the internet, combined with the increasing popularity of video game emulators, sparked a number of unofficial game translation projects. Several of these came into fruition; most notably the RPGe translation of Final Fantasy 5, and Neo Demiforce’s Final Fantasy 2 project. These groups proved that such projects were not only possible, but feasible as well.

Some of the more complex games, however, have proven too big a challenge for the fan translation community. Seiken Densetsu 3 obscures its text behind numerous layers of compression, putting it well out of reach of the casual hex editor.

In April of 1998, the RPGe web site announced that Richard Bush had quit his Seiken Densetsu 3 translation project. Neill Corlett decided that his effort would be well- spent in seeing this project through, overcoming all the technical obstacles, bringing to the English-speaking world a game we should have had in the first place.

With technical issues out of the way, translator SoM2Freak went to work. He finished the enemy names, item names, spell names, menu selections, and a small portion of the script itself, before leaving for Japan in spring of 1999. Translators Lina`chan (whose work includes the unofficial Magic Knight Rayearth translation) and Nuku-nuku finished the remainder of the script.

It’s a shame that Neill Corlett isn’t really into ROM hacking anymore, because he did a hell of a job. Also a hell of a script edit.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Seiken Densetsu 3 (J).smc
  • CRC32: 863ED0B8
  • MD5: 58EBD7CBF28CEADC03AEC4F448956A0B
  • SHA-1: 209C55FD2A8D7963905E3048B7D40094D6BEA965
  • SHA-256: AE5055BB59AEE22BA9E9AC0A3A7D2B03479BAEEF49C9CF0E06CF470588A6B677

Links:

Screenshots:


RHDN Translation ImageRHDN Translation ImageRHDN Translation ImageRHDN Translation Image

Credits:

Credits
ContributorType of contributionListed credit
Neill CorlettHackingROM patch design, script editing
Lina`chanTranslation
Nuku-nukuTranslation
SoM2FreakTranslationMisc. translation

User Review Information

Dated, but desirable for other reasons

Reviewed By: tsubasaplayer16 on 28 Sep 2022

I played through this despite knowing that the official English release is on Switch via Collection of Mana. There’s a couple of things why (wall of text incoming):

  • Fan translation

To be honest, with a fan translation that is over two decades old, you would think by now (or perhaps before Trials of Mana was released) that there would be like a revised version of this translation, especially since standards of fan translations has changed so much throughout the years - but apparently no one thought of actually doing it (perhaps it’s too difficult and tedious for such a task? Other languages were made many years later using this as a base for developing their own quite a ways before other official localizations came out, so why not this one?), so it got left as it is. Still, the translation in the main story does get the story across, but like the other guy said, it really is dated. A good example of this is in the story intro - I mean, I feel like there were certain sentences that got TOO literal on its translation and it got left as almost unnatural and just felt like a jumbo of words. The official localization did do it properly to an extent, but some people’s opinions on the official release are left mixed, some examples I hear are how “God-beasts” in the fan translation got localized to “Benevodon” or how Charlotte’s (she’s called Carlie in the fan translation due to text limits) cutesy dialogue made her talk like she’s Elmer Fudd. However, like I said, you should definitely still play it, especially when the internet was at its earlier beginnings, imports of stuck-in-Japan games being not as easy to come by, and that the only way to experience the game fully was to learn and read Japanese back in 2000 when this was first released - because not only did everyone else who played Trials of Mana had this fan translation, it also made the documentation of the game revolve around it. Speaking of which…

  • Old online walkthroughs, guide documentations, and websites

Because the English fan translation has been largely untouched for more than two decades now, older online walkthroughs and guides are centered around it. Compared to the official translation, plenty of spells, upgrades, equipment, etc. are named differently from each other. Yes, Fandom exists as a Wiki for the Mana series, and the names are documented from both the fan translation and the official translation, but there are a lot more websites, especially old GameFAQs guides and other old websites like squarehaven that reference the fan translation more often, and sometimes they’re a lot better at documenting the details on each of them and navigation of these websites and guides are sometimes simpler. Because the official release is super recent, there’s not much referencing the official names of the spells, upgrades, etc. outside of the Fandom Wiki. In fact there will be some times where you have to search for Seiken Densetsu 3 because Trials of Mana would sometimes refer to the remake instead of the original version! Now that makes things confusing to deal with, ain’t it?

  • Original hardware functionality

I will be honest here, the game’s English Trials of Mana ROM on the Collection of Mana release has two issues:

1. Navigating the menus is actually more laggy (even on original hardware) versus the SD3 fan translation

2. The text is too skinny and cramped, making it hard to read for some people (I personally don’t have a problem with this however), but the fan translation’s text is bigger and more readable (to be fair though, the original Japanese version has really cramped text too, but some parts are still a bit of a challenge to read especially if you’re playing the game on a lower video quality like composite)

2a. Even if somehow you got the Trials of Mana ROM from the CoM cartridge and get it running on original hardware via flash cart or otherwise, you would still get the similar issues said above.

Now of course, original hardware compatibility helps a lot, but honestly that can get you so far. However, since the official version is really just a modified version of the original Japanese ROM, it still retains the bugs and other flaws that got left in, like how the Dexterity stat STILL doesn’t raise your evasion and Energy Ball being as useless as it is because critical hits very rarely happen since ‘95. If only there was a way to fix that…

  • ROMhacks

In my opinion, while Trials of Mana is a great game itself, it too, has plenty of flaws going on, gameplay jank aside. Notably, it has plenty of bugs to begin with. Thankfully, so many ROMhacks were built around the fan translation, and so with that, it makes Trials of Mana much less cumbersome to play, and is one of the biggest reasons why you would want to play through the fan translation. Praetarius’ bugfix edition hack will actually fix a lot of these issues, and this is one hack that is actually NOT compatible with the official English release, so that’s a big reason to play the fan translation. Personally, I myself got hmsong’s Less Grinding hack since the game highly encourages you to have you and your team match the same level as your enemies, playing the game vanilla will make you grind plenty. It made going though the game like it’s reasonably fair to deal with in difficulty. This is one that is compatible with the official version, but not very many ROMhacks will have that luxury. There’s also a bunch of other hacks that you can mess around with to enhance the original game, so there’s that. This includes the 3-player hack too (but even that is plagued with soft locks, to this day no one has actually bothered to do such a fix. Perhaps make the game force player 2 and 3 disconnect when player 1 talks to an NPC?).

  • Game availability and patching

I’m a sucker for playing on original hardware, but the Super Famicom version is the only original release, and as a result, that is easily accessible and dumpable. So with that, people would have to dump the imported SD3 cartridge and patch it with the fan translation and maybe more too (and most likely play it on a flash cartridge like the FXPAK Pro like I did. Should work with the Super Everdrive too). The CoM version is not only more cumbersome to get (as of writing this review) due to the involvement of needing homebrew to dump switch cartridges (unless you got the official Trials of Mana release by, uhh, *ahem* “other” various methods), but also not very many hacks would be compatible with it as well, as mentioned.

TL:DR It’s old, but I would still recommend it because a lot of guides revolve around it, you can put other hacks (even bugfixes and balancing patches), the SFC version is more accessible to dump, and it’s a notable piece of ROMhacking history.

Version 1.01 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
HeadlineAuthorDateVersionRecommended
Essential piece of rom hack historyNintenja29 Sep 20221.01Yes
Dated, but desirable for other reasonstsubasaplayer1628 Sep 20221.01Yes
Not only historically important, also desirable.Red Soul16 Nov 20211.01Yes
Dated But Still Worth A SpinEldrethor25 Apr 20201.01Yes