the artistry and psychology of gaming


Mana Fortress (Secret of Mana)

Mana Fortress (Secret of Mana)

The world of Mana has undergone several transformations over the millennia.  As long as humans in that world have wanted for power, they have lusted for that of the Mana Tree.  This is considered to be the tree of life, from whence everything sprang.  Of course, this is just a myth; while the tree undoubtedly possesses mystical properties, that such a thing, requiring its own sustenance, would have created all life in the world is too great a suspension of disbelief for me.  That it is a regulator of spiritual energy is probably a bit closer to the truth.

The Mana Tribe was successful in harnessing the power of the Mana Tree through an appropriately named blade: the Mana Sword.  This sword was a gift from the goddess, and naturally channels energy; it is like a covenant between her and the tribe.  There are others, however, who have used the crude powers of technology to harness this energy; they created the Mana Fortress.  The Mana Fortress is no ordinary military edifice, but rather a high-tech complex that floats through the sky and has terrible destructive powers.  It was once laid to rest by a hero in possession of the Mana Sword in order to protect the world from the destructive tyrant at its helm; no human should be given the power to rain destruction from the heavens.

I saw the formidable monstrosity in the sky and decided that I’d like to explore it.  Catching a ride on the back of one of the many dragon-like creatures found throughout the world, I landed on its deck.  Its power had tinted the skies a maleficent shade of orange, and the clouds a dark shade of purple.  The deck itself was quite the spectacle; the sickly beige color was nothing to behold, but there were tall pillars with gold trim and rivulets of a cyan energy flowing through it.  I closed my eyes and put a hand to it, concentrating…  My suspicions had been confirmed; that was indeed Mana flowing through the machinery.  Heading further along the deck, I eventually reached a very elaborate door, which served as the main entrance.

Inside, there was an endless wall of technological components glowing a greener color than the pillars on the deck, but it was clear that they were also used in harnessing the energy of Mana.  The floor had streams of lavender energy flowing through it, which seemed to be nothing more than lighting; the different color was likely to distinguish it from the Mana energy.  While the view was quite stunning, I could only shake my head at the incredible waste; it took an entire floating city packed with tons upon tons of intricate technology to do that which a simple sword could do effortlessly.  I suppose that it is human nature to insist that the new way is always the best way.

Heading deeper into the fortress, I saw some spectacular lavender spires emitting from the ground next to some glowing cyan plates.  While I was pondering their purpose, a different cyan plate changed to green beneath my feet, extending a bridge across a large chasm.  Heading inward, I came across some glowing green crystal spires.  They seemed solid at first, but upon striking them, they partially dissolved in a way that no material object possibly could.  It was because I had channeled Mana energy before striking them that they were able to be dispersed.  It was an easy thing to do with so much of it flowing so freely around me; evidently, whoever built this place was mistaken in the assumption that the energy could be contained and controled entirely.  The builder was also too out of touch with nature to be able to feel it.

The crystals had been nothing more than a nuisance until I came across a large group of them.  Their green glow was nothing short of magnificent; it was like a large field of fluorescent grass.  I smashed my way through them until I reached a lavender floor plate.  Stepping upon it caused them to instantaneously regenerate; perhaps they were for energy regulation, or even a release valve of sorts.  Proceeding through them much more carefully this time – so as not to create some sort of destructive chain reaction – I continued on, eventually reaching another elaborate door.  Inside this door was a warp panel surrounded by shapeless lavender blotches.  Stepping upon the greenish plate, I was transported somewhere else entirely.

I was suddenly in a large, empty room; the edges were like the rest of the floors in the fortress, but the stairs led down into a completely black floor.  It was like some sort of large arena, which I thought odd for a place like this, but perhaps it was for some now-defunct guardian meant to protect the inner sanctum.  Seeing no such thing barring my path, I headed through, ascending a short staircase to another warp tile.  I wound up in an area with several branches, winding through a particularly labyrinthine section of the fortress.  Several of the green crystals lined the path in increasingly intricate patterns.  The more I explored this area, the more I came to realize that all paths eventually led to the same place: a long hallway preceeding another warp tile.  Stepping onto the warp tile, I entered yet another section of the fortress.

This next area was much more straightforward, but the architecture was intimidating.  I am aware that this makes no sense, but if you ever see it for yourself, you’ll know exactly what I mean.  I can easily picture this area being filled with the deadliest Mana-enhanced abominations.  From a distance, it is easy to appreciate the intricate crevasses as things of beauty, but when you’re in the thick of it, there is an almost palpable sense of foreboding.  Walking these floors was akin to running a marathon; I was exhausted by the time I reached the warp plate.

It took me to a place with an incredible view; it was high above most of the rest of the fortress, displaying many of the components for anyone to see.  The most prominent were four towers screaming with Mana energy; they each had a cyan crystal at their zenith.  They weren’t like the rest; I believe that they were used to power some sort of incredible weapon that abused the power of Mana.  From here, I warped to another area that appeared to be some sort of stage; I could not tell you what it was for certain, but it seemed like the sort of place that the controller of the fortress might stand.  The floors had a much more somber palette, making it more difficult to see the final warp tile, which led me to the back, where I could see the entire world passing beneath me.  After admiring the view for a while, I hitched a ride on another of the dragon-like creatures to return back to the ground.

High technology affords a number of wondrous things, perhaps the most intriguing of which being cities that fly through the sky.  While I certainly disapprove of the Mana Fortress as a whole – as you might’ve noticed – I’d be lying to say that I was not enchanted by it.  The insides were a visual wonder of lights and energy.  The outside provided a view quite unlike anything else; who can stand above the sky?  Most of all was the security of it all; being high above the world in a floating fortress has a sort of cozy feeling that I cannot quite describe; it made me want to crawl into a tight corner and nestle into the components.

One Comment

  1. Mana Fortress (Secret of Mana) | Gaming Symmetry

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *