RetroVision – The Many Names of Seiken Densetsu Part 2

In part one we only managed to get through the original Game Boy releases of Seiken Densetsu.  Yet we already have three different names for this classic JRPG. But what of Seiken Densetsu’s multiple re-releases? How did they approach the naming game?

Well in Japan it’s quite simple, they’ve all happily retained the title that was originally intended for the game, Seiken Densetsu (聖剣伝説), or “Legend of the Sacred Sword” as it translates into English. However, in the west it’s another game of musical chairs, with the game’s title changing another two times. The most recent change possibly coming later this year. First up though, is the 2003 enhanced remake for the Game Boy Advance.

Sword of Mana Box
Aligning the name with the Mana series, the later Game Boy Advance remake saw the name changed to Sword of Mana.

Rather than taking inspiration from Final Fantasy, this release took inspiration from the source material, and was given the fitting title of “Sword of Mana”. Nevertheless, whilst the name changed, the overall plot stayed the same. In doing so, this gave western gamers a second chance at re-establishing the foundations and origins of this title.

Additionally, whilst the overall plot stayed the same, parts of the story were altered, and in doing so a more involved story was created for the player. At the same time, this release also brought with it brand new gameplay mechanics and updated visuals. Moreover, this time around, the now Square Enix chose to market the game based on its quality, and in doing so clearly separated the series from Final Fantasy.  This significantly helped to give the title the respect it deserves, and as such the ability to stand on its own.

So, now we’re up to four different titles, and well you’d have thought that would be enough right? Wrong! Well at least outside of Japan anyway. Happily for Japanese audiences, even the most modern of re-releases are understandably planning to maintain the naming convention, and keep the original title of Seiken Densetsu.

In fact, we here at Rings & Coins have previously spoken about these planned re-releases for iOS, Android and PlayStation Vita. This time around, whilst the scenario will stay the same as the original Game Boy release, the title is planned to have completed revamped visuals. This includes both the environments and the characters, and can be seen in the Japanese trailer below:

However, there’s both good and bad news when it comes to the planned western re-release. The bad news though is that it appears as though the the English version won’t be available on the PlayStation Vita. A console perfect for these kind of experiences. The good news though, is that to won’t be called Final Fantasy Adventure, although oddly it’s not going to be Sword of Mana either. Instead it was recently announced that this upcoming 3D remake will be given the name “Adventures of Mana” when it is re-released for a second time.

So, after all these years, hopefully we’ve now finally settled on a name that certainly is fitting for the game that helped spawn Secret of Mana, one of the seminal JRPGs of the 16-bit era. However, here at Rings & Coins we like to celebrate both the remakes, and the original releases. As such, given the convoluted nature of the inaugural entry in the Seiken Densetsu series, it’s probably best if we have a quick recap eh?

・ Seiken Densetsu (聖剣伝説, lit. “Legend of the Sacred Sword”) – Japan: Game Boy / Game Boy Advance / iOS / Android / PlayStation Vita
・Final Fantasy Adventure – North America: Game Boy
・Mystic Quest – Europe: Game Boy
・Sword of Mana – North America / Europe / Australia & New Zealand: Game Boy
・Adventures of Mana – North America / Europe / Australia & New Zealand: iOS / Android

So there you have it, Seiken Densetsu may have many names, but all of these pale in comparison when it comes to the quality of the title. Ironically, Square could have quite easily called the game Seiken Densetsu (or the translation of this, Legend of the Sacred Sword) on a global level, and the game would more than likely still have sold thanks to its quality. Either way though, no matter what term you use to refer to the game, this is one retro game that you’ll want to experience. Just remember this isn’t Final Fantasy, and that’s ok.

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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