Secret of Mana Print Media
January 24, 2022
These are the official guides, books, and pamphlets for Secret of Mana. Not listed are cases where the game popped up in mainstream magazines, but the results of a valiant effort to list them all can be found in Further Reading. As usual, the Japanese offerings are of greater number and quality than the American ones.
You can see our rarity scale here.
Adventure Guide (2)
One of Square’s official strategy guides. The highlight are some adorable cartoons that teach players how to fight every boss. Also has a pullout poster with game info in Japanese.
Art of Mana (1)
Available in English, French, and Japanese, Art of Mana features artwork and insight on the Mana games that were available through the book’s release. Most of the material had been released before, and the Secret of Mana section was middling. We discussed this publication at length with our friend Rhett Whittington.
The Book of Mana [Part 1] (3)
Technically a Dengeki supplement, The Book of Mana features original art of the characters and some locations, in addition to a detailed walkthrough. Outside of the game itself, it’s the only contemporary depictions of some characters.
The Book of Mana [Part 2] (3)
More of the same. You need both supplements to get all of the art.
Complete Strategy Compilation (2)
This guide was released at the same time as the game in Japan, and comprises Square’s full strategy tips.
Detailed Analysis Guide (3)
Yet another in-house guide from Square that mostly features strategy tips.
Fundamental Knowledge Compilation (2)
The companion to the Complete Strategy Compilation, the Fundamental Knowledge Compilation features scores of external lore that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s one of the largest sources of information for SoM: Redux.
Map Guide: Part 1 (4)
Another one of the many magazine supplements that was published at the time of the game’s Japanese release. This one comes from Marukatsu, and features maps of all of the game’s locations. It also features some unique art, and a labelled prerelease map that reveals that more locations were at one point intended to be accessible via Flammie.
Map Guide: Part 2 (5)
This is part 2 of the above Map Guide. Hopefully your luck finding it vastly exceeds ours.
Music Promotional Pamphlet (5)
A promotional pamphlet for the Seiken Densetsu 2 soundtrack. Seems to be very difficult to find.
Official Game Secrets (1)
While it doesn’t approach the production values of Japanese offerings, this was the tip book for American gamers. It’s the sort of thing we had before anything you wanted to know was one FAQ away.
Official Setting Material + Strategy Guide (1)
Square’s Japanese guide for the 2018 remaster, this one features examples of the new 3D art, as well as extensive strategy information. It also includes an interview with the developers, and more on the game’s background. Some of this clarifies plot points that weren’t fleshed out in the SNES era. Sadly, there’s no English equivalent, but all the important bits can be found on Redux.
Ogopogo Examiner (3)
Square’s bygone newsletter, this issue previewed Secret of Mana among other things. It can also be a study in how video game promotion has evolved.
Promotional Pamphlet (4)
A small Japanese booklet that previewed the game. None of the screenshots are found in the final version, as this was a build that was made when the game still had a July ’93 release date. I can picture piles of these things in gaming shops.
Scoop Guide #1 (4)
The first of three Scoop Guides released with Family Computer Magazine. These were detailed promotional guides with tons of official art and development screenshots months before the game was released. This one features some of the earliest promotional materials on Secret of Mana.
Scoop Guide #2 (4)
A few weeks after the first Scoop Guide came the second one. It’s more of the same.
Scoop Guide #3 (3)
The final and largest Scoop Guide. Features detailed information on gameplay and hundreds of prerelease screenshots. Seems to be more common than the other two.
Sheet Music Book (3)
Yet another example of Japan getting the good stuff, this gives you the Secret of Mana soundtrack arranged for keyboard. Musically inclined US players had all manners of tricks to get the music—playing by ear, reverse engineering MIDI files,
pirating the book from the interwebs, etc.
Square Power Book (4)
A great collectible, not only for Secret of Mana fans but retro Square fans in general. It provides a timeline of Square games up until that point, with features on games that were in development or released at the time of its publication. There’s also interviews with Square employees and photos of the offices. For SoM, there’s a lot of development screenshots, and a fairly clean copy of the first prerelease map.
Strategy Guide (3)
A fairly ordinary strategy guide published by The Super Famicom magazine. If everyone else was, why not them?
Strategy Guidebook Volume 1 (3)
Yet another strategy guide in the form of a magazine supplement. Family Computer Magazine released the first volume shortly after the game’s Japanese release…
Strategy Guidebook Volume 2 (3)
…and followed up with this one shortly thereafter.
VJump Supplement #1 (3)
Another unique supplement, and a highly sought after one that’s not too hard to find. It has an interview with Hiromichi Tanaka, and heaps of original manga-style art. Much of it explains aspects of the game in a way you’d expect from VJump.
VJump Supplement #2 (3)
This VJump supplement came out after the game was released, and is mainly a strategy guide.
VJump Supplement #3
This was one of the last dedicated print releases for the Super Famicom version, arriving in October of 1993. Within a month or two, Secret of Mana features would disappear from Japanese magazines. Like its predecessor, it only features strategies and tips.