When I was a kid, I absolutely loved my Game Boy. I got it for Christmas in 1989, and that thing was a reliable little gaming paradise for a good decade. I suppose it made sense as a kid who went between two homes. Though I had different consoles at each house, the Game Boy could come with me wherever I went. I never had to stop playing whatever game I was into based on a schedule. And the reason I bring this up here is because one of my top tier Game Boy games was Final Fantasy Adventure, which stood as the best Zelda game on Game Boy until Link's Awakening finally rolled around.
It wasn't until I was much much older that I realized that Final Fantasy Adventure wasn't a Final Fantasy game at all. In Japan it was the first game in the Mana series. And it would be a long time before I knew that Secret Of Mana on SNES was actually the sequel to Final Fantasy Adventure. I had certainly heard of that game back in the day, but never did play it. Those SNES RPG's were generally pricey. But what made them more prohibitive was just local availability. I don't remember ever seeing Secret Of Mana in a store. So even if I thought magazine screenshots were pretty, I never had the chance to play it at the time.
When the Seiken Densetsu collection was released on Switch, I knew I had to get it. You see, I had played the Final Fantasy Adventure remake on GBA when it was released (and re-localized as Sword Of Mana), but it just felt kind of 'off' to me. It didn't quite FEEL like FF Adventure. There was something so perfect about that original Game Boy version. And while Densetsu collection would be in Japanese, well, at least I'd be able to re-play FF Adventure the way I (mostly) remembered it. I knew the game itself enough that the language barrier shouldn't be a problem.
The other reason I wanted the collection was so that I could FINALLY play Secret Of Mana. I mean, beautiful 16-bit sequel to one of my favorite GB games. C'mon! Of course in this case the language thing will be a bigger barrier. So obviously I knew I'd need to follow a walkthrough. Which... is fine. But it does kind of take away some of the fun of the game as it strips out some of the natural discovery and so on. But whatever. At this point, I guess I'd say it was more about EXPERIENCING the game rather than really PLAYING it properly.
And so I did that. I got to experience Secret Of Mana, at least for a few hours. And just superficially, I was sort of mixed. Graphically, the game is pretty stunning. There's some crazy Mode 7 stuff going on, and the color palette is gorgeous, and the soundtrack is excellent. But the combat itself... kind of clunky. It's funny because I had this same complaint with the Sword Of Mana remake on GBA. So it must be a series thing. Though I never had that problem with FF Adventure. So I don't know. I also found it kind of annoying that things would continue to attack you even if you were going through the animation of opening an item chest, or talking to a NPC. But that's minor, since if you're aware of it you can plan for it.
I played long enough to recruit Primm and had a good time with a second attacker to help out. The strategy planning menu is pretty cool actually. And since all of the menus are in minimal English, and mostly use pictures, it's not too bad to figure out. But the NPC conversions were rough. I mean, you can figure out how to stay at an inn or buy some stuff. But at one point I met a guy with a cannon and I thought I said "no, I don't want to ride in your cannon," but apparently I said, "sure, fire me someplace far away and since I'm following a walkthrough I'll have no idea where you just sent me and now I'm confused, thanks." Yeah, that happened. And then I got sort of bogged down with this needing a walkthrough to play the game and I didn't really feel like figuring out where the hell I was. So I just kind of stopped playing out of frustration. Oh well.