Secret of Mana: Redux

Upper Land / Matango

Locations

Upper Land / Matango

World Map Legend

February 28, 2021

The Upper Land probably gets its name from its placement north of the Gaia Lowlands. Its scenery is comparable to the sylvan countryside of the Lowlands, but its terrain is denser while also being sparsely populated. This gives it a more remote and mysterious feel. It’s home to the Kingdom of Matango and the Wind Palace, part of the Sprite Village.

The Upper Land is yet another area with ambitious plans in Map I:

A prerelease shot of Matango
Square Power Book (Dengeki: April 9, 1993)

We were back to basics by IIa:

Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)

You’ll note that the map was reoriented, and Kakarra was now attached to this part of the world.  Other than a river, not much changed in IIb:

A prerelease shot of Matango

And it more or less stayed that way for the main release (III).  The path to the cannon travel was pushed further out.  The Wind Palace area also received some detail:

Matango as it appears in Secret of Mana

Some closeups of Matango’s prerelease castle during IIb:

Some prerelease shots of Matango
Seiken Densetsu 2 Manual

Like Purim, Popoie has some screens that may be from a lost solo opening:

A prerelease shot of Popoie
Famitsu (May 28, 1993)
A prerelease shot of Popoie
Famitsu (May 28, 1993)
A prerelease shot of Popoie
Family Computer Magazine (May 28, 1993)

Other than some minor graphical differences, an early version of the sprite village shows that it didn’t change much before release. It’s been noted that there’s an unused door trigger for one of the huts, so you may have been able to enter them at some point.

Prerelease sprite village
Famitsu (May 28, 1993)

One of the best finds is this unused map that was intended to be the Moogle Village. This is a late screenshot in a source that otherwise featured material from the final game, so it was one of the last cuts.

A cut village from Secret of Mana
Famitsu (September 1993)

The Wind Palace is an interesting place.  The interior only consists of the altar room, and despite having weapons drawn, there’s no enemies to be found.  It may not shock you to learn that there was more planned here.  The ROM contains an unused line that was supposed to be spoken by Grandpa, “The Empire sent monsters into the Palace!”

Take a look inside:

The Wind Palace

This map is designated #273 in the ROM.  There’s an unused door that lands you in the middle of the bottom left corner.  The map that directly precedes it (#272) is blank, but also has an unused door pointing to it.  Given that they’re next to each other, it’s probable that #272 was a deleted area of the Wind Palace. It may have featured this screen with Neko, the only shot found so far of the lost scenario:

Dengeki Super Famicom (June 11, 1993)

It gets more exciting.  Take a look at this map:

Underground Palace rooms with Wind Palace colors

This is #269, also close to the Wind Palace maps. In the final game, it’s used for the Underground Palace, the rest of whose maps are off somewhere else in the game’s memory.  Taking a look at them out of context, they appear to be transitions between larger rooms.  But as implemented, these rooms simply lead to one another, until you get to the center hallway that goes to Gnome.  This area also has an unused door that lands you in a wall.  All three unused doors we’ve mentioned are off by one value in the game’s code, indicating that they’re a lost set, almost certainly designed for the Wind Palace.  I’ve adjusted the palette of the rooms to show how they may have looked.

The Wind Palace’s event flag stops abruptly, never incrementing past a small value.  There are minimal pieces of event code that react to higher values, including Grandpa’s cut line.  Other values correspond to a deleted boss fight: there’s three possible values depending on the state of the boss.  Different music also plays when these phantom values are set.

Considering how much of this material remains in the code, it was probably a late change.  I always thought those rooms were out of place in the Underground Palace.

(A huge thanks to Queue for the detailed explanation.)

These shots of Matango show a non-mushroom citizen (test?), and a bigger castle.

A prerelease shot of Matango from Secret of Mana
Family Computer Magazine (April 2, 1993)
A prerelease screen of Matango in Secret of Mana
Famitsu (March 3, 1993)
A prerelease screen of Matango in Secret of Mana
Family Computer Magazine (February 5, 1993)

Your guess is as good as mine here:

A prerelease screen of Matango in Secret of Mana
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: January 8, 1993)
A prerelease screen of Matango in Secret of Mana
Hippon Super! (February 1993)
Hippon Super! (January 1993)

Moving on to the Dragon Hole, there’s a staircase that can’t be reached:

An inaccessible staircase at the Dragon Cave

The stairs were never coded but they actually go to another area that can’t be accessed, and lead to a dead end:

An inaccessible area of the Dragon Cave

To the right of the staircase in the first shot is another one that goes down to an open area with no purpose.

An otherwise empty room in the Dragon Cave

Or at least in the final.  Like the Wind Palace, there’s enough leftover code from what was scrapped that we can piece things together.  The map with the chasm has an unused door of the same type that’s used for teleportation, and for scenarios where you fall one level (think of the Tonpole boss battle in the Ice Palace).  There are three unused adjacent map pieces that were likely part of an animation where the ground gave way and you fell if you tried to reach the stairs.  However, as the stairs have no triggers on either floor, it’s unknown if this was just to annoy you (i.e. it’s just a trap and the stairs and partial upper floor were for the sake of completion), or if there was even more to this scenario that’s lost to time.

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