Japanese box front & back

Seiken Densetsu 3 is a Squaresoft action/RPG, released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo in Japan. The unofficial Seiken Densetsu 3 English translation project was completed in the year 2000. The English translation project involved many people and years of work. Here's the official homepage for the project. Neill Corlett was one of the main people behind it. The following is what he had to say about the project:

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. I decided that my 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.

Anyway, to talk more about the game, Seiken Densetsu 3 is the true sequel to Secret of Mana. So if Seiken Densetsu 3 was officially released here, it would've been called Secret of Mana 2. Unlike previous action/RPG games of the time, Seiken Densetsu 3 was the first to give you the option to promote your characters to a different, better class. Along with each class are different abilities and spells your character can learn.

Formerly, when the world was enshrouded in darkness, the Mana Goddess used the Mana sword to destroy the 8 Mana beasts that intended to destroy the world, and sealed them into 8 Mana stones. Thus the darkness dissipated, and the world was reborn. The Mana Goddess turned herself into a tree, and went to sleep. Many years passed. But then, the 8 seals started to dissolve, and the Mana beasts were free. They now aim to gain power enough to rival the gods. Meanwhile, due to greedy people who want to make the world their own, wars started to break out... The era of peace has come to an end... Mana itself is starting to fade from the world. Even the Mana tree is beginning to die...

As with any other action/RPG, in Seiken Densetsu 3 you explore a world and fight with enemies in real-time battles. When a character gains a level, you can choose which area he/she will grow stronger in (Strength, Vitality, Luck, etc). The magic system is slower than in Secret of Mana. When you cast a spell, you have to wait a short while for it to take effect. And you don't learn magic spells immediately when you gain an elemental spirit. Your characters need to grow stronger in order to learn the spirits' spells. The spells a character learns depends on which class you promote them to. As with Secret of Mana, you can't hold that many items, but now there's a separate menu that can store hundreds of items. The catch is that this menu can only be accessed when you're not battling anything. Your two supporting characters that assist you do so more violently than in Secret of Mana. In the options menu you can choose which enemies you want your two assisting characters to attack. Like to attack a far away enemy, to attack the enemy you're fighting, to attack the enemy the other assisting character is fighting, etc. During battle you can have your main character (the one you control) automatically fight for you just by holding down the attack button.

It doesn't really matter which characters you choose, because each one has their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Every Seiken Densetsu 3 fan has their own favorite battle party that they think is the best. Knowing that, I don't think you would want to listen to my suggestions. It would be best if you browsed some of the specialty FAQs at GameFAQs. Some of them are individually devoted to information on every character class and the advantages/disadvantages of every possible character combo. But I do have a couple tips. Don't feel like fighting? When you enter a battle, just hit the enemy once and your two assisting characters will finish them all off for you. Then all you need to do is play the role of healer. You will find those black magic coins helpful, you can only buy them in the black market. What they do is just automatically cast a spell. So if you have an offensively useless character like Carlie, she can be pretty dangerous with coins like that up her sleeve!

IT'S A MASTERPIECE. The graphics are amazing! Most of the scenes in the game are so beautiful. The soundtrack is great! It blends into the game's sequences very nicely. I swear, this game is so entertaining and considerably addicting. The battle system seems a bit awkward at first, but you get used to it. And that's all I have to say about Seiken Densetsu 3. I think it's great and I highly recommend it.