Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Odds and Ends, Part I

Every now and then, I come across things that don't merit an entire article, but are interesting nonetheless.  Almost all of these have been discovered before; though in many cases, I have things to add.  Today, we'll tackle the first few, and I'll cover the rest in a future article.  I should note that I'm not trying to cover every obscure detail and glitch in the game; I'll stick with the good stuff.

In other news, my first playthrough of Secret of Mana in well over a decade is complete!  It took me two evenings and a morning.  I somehow remembered everything except Barrels and how to get the Midge Mallet.  When I got to the Mana Fortress, my sword was only at Level 3, and Dryad was still at Level 0, but I quickly rectified that before the final battle.

Unused Dialogue      

Secret of Mana's script has dialogue that was either translated from Japanese but not found in the American game, or was never translated to begin with.  I don't know how much of this, if any, is present in the Japanese game.  Let's take a look:

(Unfinished diary entry)
...My cover's been blown...Some monster's using the Emperor's body to

(Text suddenly stops)
RANDI:What does this mean? 

Randi's Japanese sentence is a statement---something like, "I wonder what this means..."  According to user regrs of GameFAQs, this text can be triggered somewhere on Turtle Island with a slight modification to the game code.  The text references someone using the Emperor's body.  But are they referring to Emperor Vandole?  Nowhere in the game is it suggested that Vandole is anyone but himself, but the word used is clearly, "Emperor."  I could also see it as a reference to Tasnica.  The scenario seems quite underdeveloped, and I'm sure that originally, Sheex wasn't supposed to blow his cover as quickly as he does.  Considering how other puzzles are solved in the game, I wouldn't be surprised if one had to go to the Island first, find out who the spy is, and then return to Tasnica.  We've established in a previous article that Turtle Island is full of refugees from the Empire, so it makes sense that such a diary would be here either way.


Speaking of spies, this text is in the ROM, untranslated:

「帝国がスパイをおくりこもうとしているという、じょうほうが入った。
「ねんのため、いまは誰もここを通すわけにはいかんのだ。わるいが、かえってくれ。 

I translated this as, "The Empire has been trying to spy here.  Just in case, we can't let anyone through.  Try back again later."  But then I asked Clyde at Legends of Localization for help, and...

We've obtained information that the empire is attempting [or "planning"...] to send a spy [or spies].

Just to be safe, we cannot allow anyone to pass through here for now. I'm sorry, but please leave.

This should give you an idea of the difference between my amateur translations, and a professional who actually knows Japanese.  But, where can we place this text?  It's possible that it's a deflector for players who arrive at Tasnica too early, or something spoken by a member of the resistance in the Empire.  

According to zhaDe:

The very next dialog after the note is Jema saying that you found the spy [in Tasnica].
The events for the Turtle Island dialogue are right after the ones of Tasnica.

Another one:

Drink this medicine!  It'll fix ya right up!

At first, I don't know where to place this, but translating the Japanese, we have:

Instead of an Inn...Tasnica's specialty sizzling drink! Just take a sip and recover!  

Case closed.  

This signpost is in the Japanese with an arrow facing north:


Topaz Falls

Last, but not least...

The Empire sent monsters into the Palace!



This appears in the ROM with the Upper Land dialogue, so we can assume that they're referring to the Wind Palace.  In the game, we don't find out about the Wind Palace or monsters in it until we actually go there.



Northtown's Unreachable Door





One of the most famous anomalies in SoM is a door in Northtown that can not be reached. Flying Omelette, among others, investigated this years ago.  If one uses a no clipping code, the bottom level can be reached.  



You can return to the stairway by walking around the wall...but you can't go back again.  The door itself does not open, and has no triggers attached.  Very mysterious.  I have a theory.  Look at this very similar railing in Tasnica:



It appears that we should be able to go underneath, but there's sprites blocking us.  If you turn off clipping, you walk through the railing onto the platform. 

Back to Northtown, I went into the SoM editor to see where the collision tiles are set:



Note how there's no collisions set in front the door, but you can't go past it on the right.

Many theories about the mysterious door have been postulated; here's mine---they never finished programming the background.  Note how there's a plant sticking out from under the railing, implying that we should be able to go under there (otherwise, why not just have a wall?).  We can't go under the same railing in Tasnica.  Without the possibility of an area under the railing, I think their initial solution was to allow you to walk around the wall to the door, but prevent you from walking any further to the right with collision tiles.  Then, they may have decided that preventing you from walking on open floor was unrealistic, and just blocked the wall completely.  

As to what was behind the door, your guess is as good as mine.  There are no extra Northtown maps in the ROM.  For illustration, here's the nonsensical spatial layout of the house:



Dragon Cave Staircase

There's a staircase in Flammie's cave that can not be reached, and does not go anywhere.  To the right of it is a staircase that goes down to an open area with no purpose.  The developers must have been in a huge rush if they couldn't remove this remnant of an earlier design.



Todo's Other Exit

Flying Omelette mentioned a stairway to nowhere on the eastern end of Todo village.  Above it, is a strange white rectangle.  There's actually a passageway past this rectangle.  Sometimes, the developers would program scenery on one end of a map that would wrap around to the other end...i.e. extending a pathway where there'd otherwise be no room.  But this passageway does not line up with the exit on the left, so it's a whole different animal.  It could just be a remnant of something that was in the trees; there are five houses on the overworld map, and five houses in the active view.



Sandship's inaccessible area

I've been wondering for years what's on the other side of a wall on Tasnica's sandship.  A look in the ROM reveals a huge area---either undeveloped, or removed.  Or just part of the scenery, but I don't deal in easy solutions.  



Luka in Prison!!!

The Water Palace has a holding cell that is never used in the game.  But a look in the ROM reveals Luka present in one version of the map.  It's possible that during the Empire's takeover of the Water Palace, you would have had to rescue her from here.

UPDATE: I stand corrected.  CelesDestiny of GameFAQs has informed me that she's here after you get Dryad.  Apparently, the Empire attacked the Palace again, and locked her in there.  It's very easy to miss and begs more questions than it answers, but it's there.





NEXT: Randi

Credits: User CelesDestiny of GameFAQs reminded me of some lost dialogue.  Square owns the whole of Secret of Mana.

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