Previous Part: Obligatory World Tour

Storyline text and attempted translations from...


Darkness Temple

Note that the Darkness Temple can be skipped until a later point that will be noted when it comes up. The plot hook sends us here now, though, and it comes next in terms of monster levels, too, so this is where I'm putting it.

The entrance is low on the mountain trail, just outside of Mandara. Flammie will also drop us off here directly if we try to land at the temple south of the village. While the first room is simply a small cave, as we've been told, most of the interior has proper Mana temple architecture, if with a considerably darker color scheme than usual, though there are also additional sections of unfinished cave further in, some requiring the Axe and Whip to progress. "Holy Intrusion" plays inside, as you'd probably expect from a Mana temple that's full of monsters.

A Demon Head (Fierce Head) guards the initial cave entrance. It spawns Dark Bats, but otherwise isn't particularly remarkable. More appear further in. Dark Knights, stronger counterparts to Armored Knights, occupy much of the temple proper, and cast Countermagic (Wall) on themselves to reflect spells. The Ninja, Tar Man, and Mini Devil also make repeat appearances to flesh out the variety.

If you're especially lucky, a Dark Knight might drop a Gauntlet. These are dramatically stronger than even the best armwear sold in the Gold City, especially in terms of magic defense, and happening to get one will give a character an almost unfair advantage for quite a while.

The temple has a number of dead ends, and floor buttons in several places raise Whip posts, unlock gates, or open new passages. This results in some backtracking, but there aren't any noteworthy puzzles as such. The middle door in the first temple-style screen, initially closed off with a gate, leads to a small room with a pair of Demon Heads and...

グラブのパワーが アップ! Glove's power up! Got Glove's Orb!

In the depths of the temple, floor buttons create invisible bridges lined with blue flames, a neat visual effect if nothing else. The door in the back takes us to a strange abstract room with crystalline stalagmites and a remarkably large slime. A voice speaks.

わが名はシェイド‥われをたおせ‥ My name is Shade... defeat me... I, Shade, will test you!

The Hewpo Slime (Lime Slime) mainly uses magic, casting Dark Force for standard damage, Evil Gate for a defense-ignoring attack that deals more damage to targets with more HP, and Antimagic to dispel enchantments and reset weapon charge. It also flings slime bubbles as a physical attack. Only the core is vulnerable; the surrounding slime body mostly just gets in the way. It also shrinks as the slime takes damage, making the core easier to hit with weapons, and changes color every so often, which has no discernable effect. As a nice change from all the recent bosses with no exploitable weaknesses, fire magic works especially well, and we have plenty of that, so this shouldn't take long.

『やったー! 『All right! Way to go!

After the battle, we're taken to the inner sanctum of the temple, where "Prayer and Whispers" replaces the music.

スピアのパワーが アップ! Javelin's power up! Got Javelin's Orb!

Though it still has a darker color scheme than the other temples, this room isn't as gloomy as the outer areas, with blue flames burning in the torches, and the stained glass windows a blue and green pattern instead of pure black. The seed rests on its altar, and a dark winged figure stands in front of it.

...I am the darkness spirit Shade.
I once made the world tremble in
fear as the lord of the netherworld.
But my power was sealed by ancient
heroes. You new heroes have defeated
the incarnation of my power.
The seal is now broken. In accordance
with the rules of such things, my
power shall be with you......
SHADE:I am the spirit of
 the darkness, and an
 Elemental of Mana.
 Few have defeated my dark
 servants...take my powers
 as your reward!
  精霊シェイドの力をえた!   Gained the spirit Shade's power!   Gained Shade's powers!

The Sprite gets the spells that the slime used. Dark Force is both the least expensive and generally the most useful. The Girl gets no new magic.

The concept of the netherworld (魔界, makai) is fleshed out more in other Mana games, and its translation is apparently standardized as Mavolia in more recent official localizations. That has a nice ring to it, actually.

"Eternal Recurrence" now plays, and all that's left to do here is to gain the seed's power. It reacts much as the others did, though its glow is so dim that it barely brightens the surroundings at all:    

 種子と聖剣が共鳴した!  The seed and Holy Sword resonated!  Received the Seed's power!

Mana Energy is now 5.

As usual, the monsters inside the temple are now gone. That means no more Gauntlets from here, either.

Most rooms in the temple don't change the current background music. Curiously, although entering the inner sanctum will start playing "Prayer and Whispers" as you might expect, the entry cave always sets the music to "Holy Intrusion", even after the monsters are gone. An oversight, or deliberate?

マンテン山 Manten Mountain Lofty Mountains

Although the Mana Seed and spirit are nice for progress, there was no sign of a sage in the temple. Let's try here again.

: Hey! Keep out!
 His Sageness is away.
『You're kidding!?
: Sage Jach has gone to the
 Golden Isle.
 A short hop on his flying broomstick!
: What? The Golden Isle? It's the round
 island in the middle of the ocean
 northeast of here.
JEHK:Go away!
 The Sage is out!
All:Where is Joch?
JEHK:Sage Joch left for
 the Gold Isle.
 It's northeast of here.

黄金の町 Gold City GOLD CITY

From the air, the city looks much like any other, except for the wall around it and what might be a palace a short distance north of the main district. On the ground, though, everything (except the teal-striped window awning on one building) is a gaudy golden color, even the grass and trees! As in other Imperial towns, "Tell A Strange Tale" plays here.

This is the Gold City on the Golden
Isle, part of the Empire's territory.
This is the Empire's Gold
この島はすべて金でできているの! Everything on this island is made of gold! This whole island is made
of gold!
金のおもさで、どんどん しずんで
それを知った いちぶの人たちが、
You can't discuss it openly, but this island
is sinking under the weight of all the gold.
It's going to vanish into the sea eventually...
Some of the people who realized this
fled north to the Ice Country in secret,
trying to save just themselves.
This island's sinking under
the weight of the gold!
Many have left here, and
gone north to the Ice
Where in the world does King Mammon
find all this gold...?
Where did King Manmon find
all this gold?

As previously noted, the item shop here has the best armor sold anywhere until nearly the end of the game, though it's correspondingly expensive. Watts has also set up shop as he often does, using a building in the southwest part of town.

Watts: Heh heh. This shop didn't have
 an owner, so I'm borrowing it!
WATTS:He, he! No one was
 using this place, so...

The king everyone speaks of lives in a larger building in the northeast corner of the city.

This is the mansion of King Mammon,
who rules over this island territory.
The first floor is a hotel.
King Manmon lives here.
The 1st floor is a hotel.

A pair of young women upstairs are seeking a share of the riches.

We've come to get King Mammon
to share his gold with us!
We came to see if Manmon
could give us some gold...
I want a gold necklace and ring
and bracelet and...
What matters in life is...

On the top floor are the king...

Mammon: Gold, gold!
 All this gold is mine!
 Nwa ha ha!
 And it's all MINE!

...and what appear to be his wife...

Ho ho ho, this island is the
world's wealthiest!
Ha! This is the world's
richest place!

...and a government official.

Changing rocks and stones into gold
is child's play using an ancient magic
known as alchemy.
Of course, you need to have enough
power to pull it off... hu hu hu.
Alchemists can turn rocks
into gold using Mana...
But first you have to learn
alchemy, don't ya!

Where do they get the power, though? That building north of the city proper seems suspicious, as it's even more prominent than the king's mansion.

The Golden Tower lies ahead. No
one but King Mammon may enter!
Beyond is the Golden Tower.
No one may enter.

Close up, it looks kind of like a Mana temple. Curiouser and curiouser. But, of course...

カギがかかっている‥‥ It's locked......   Locked!

A more careful check of the city finds one more NPC on the wall behind the mansion, who we have to reach by circling all the way around.

The tower on the edge of town used to be
called the Light Temple, but no one can enter
ever since King Mammon had it blocked off.
A spy for the Republic stole away the key
to that tower a while back, but he was
caught in Southtown and executed.
I heard they never found the key, though.
Just what is it that's in that tower?
King Manmon sealed off the
Light Palace, at the edge
of town.
The tower key was stolen by
a spy from Tasnica. Caught
him in Southtown.
But the key was never found!
What's in that tower?

Spy... Southtown... something valuable... sounds familiar.

帝国サウスタウン Imperial Southtown SOUTHTOWN

Southtown is slightly south of east from the Gold Isle. Maybe our spy friend can help. Not that there's much else here.

Marict: husband was trying to steal
 away from the Golden Isle with a secret
 key when he got caught by the emperor...
: Look, this is the key.
 I've kept it safe in this little box as
 a keepsake of my husband...
: But my husband paid his life to steal
 this. It may be he won't be able to rest
 in peace if I hold onto it for no reason...
: I'll give it to you people. Use this
 to avenge him...
 Ee hee hee hee...
MARA:My husband was caught
 stealing a secret key on
 the Gold Isle.
 Look! Here it is! Found it
 hidden in his things.
 I'd gladly exchange it to
 have him back...
 Here, it's yours.
 I'll get my revenge!
黄金のとうのカギを手に入れた! Obtained the key to the Golden Tower!   Got Gold Tower Key!

Golden Tower / Light Temple

"Holy Intrusion" plays inside, confirming that this is indeed a Mana temple. And right there in the very first room is a treasure chest...

ヤリのパワーが アップ! Pike's power up! Got Spear's Orb!

The first floor is just a short series of small rooms, populated mainly by Beast Zombies, which are a stronger, and undead, version of Jackals that can additionally cast Acid Storm and Speed Down. There's also a Ninja and a Wizard Eye.

Up the stairs, we find ourselves in a sudden boss battle. The Biochimera (Blue Spike) resembles a stronger blue version of the witch's Tiger Chimera, down to very similar behavior. This time, however, we have both a wider variety of ranged weapons, and more importantly, plenty of magic! It has no particular weakness, so Freeze and The Girl's offensive fire magic work as well as anything, though it also has fairly high magic defense.

Partway through the battle, the Biochimera loses its head and starts exploding. However, any AI characters in the party will keep on attacking, because it's just a ruse. The tiger regrows its head and keeps fighting for a little while longer. It's on its last gasp, though, and goes down for good shortly after.

『やったー! 『All right! Way to go!
ブーメランのパワーが アップ! Boomerang's power up! Got Boomerang's Orb!

After the battle, a stairway rises from the floor, and the tower continues. The next floor has the same layout and Beast Zombies as the first one, along with a Ninja and a Tar Man. Also like the first floor, it has another treasure chest right away.

オノのパワーが アップ! Axe's power up! Got Axe's Orb!

Up the stairs is already another boss battle. The Gorgontaur (Gorgon Bull) resembles the Fire Temple's Minotaur boss, though it can also use a nasty petrifying gas attack in addition to punching, charging, guarding, and casting an ineffectively weak (despite its high level) Earthquake spell. Although it has higher magic defense than the Biochimera, its earth affinity means Jinn's spells inflict bonus damage, so Air Blast carves it up quickly and efficiently.

As the battle progresses, the Gorgontaur will activate extendable claws that give it additional reach when attacking. Air Blast cares not.

『やったー! 『All right! Way to go!
弓矢のパワーが アップ! Bow's power up! Got Bow's Orb!

After the battle, another new staircase rises, and "Eternal Recurrence" plays. Up the stairs is the inner sanctum of the temple, already, where the seed rests on its altar and a glowing wispy figure stands in front of it.

I am the light spirit Will o' Wisp.
My power was stolen by King
Mammon of the Golden Isle.
Mammon had created gold using my
magic energy, misusing the power
of Mana. But that ends now...
The gold on this island will eventually revert
to the rock it once was. I hope the hearts of
those driven mad by gold will also revert......
Now, I shall offer you my power.
Before the world loses its light
to the Mana Fortress...
LUMINA:I'm Lumina!
 The king was robbing me of
 my power!
 He was forcing me to make
 gold! My power should not
 be used by anyone but you!
 Take my powers, before
 evil engulfs us all!
 Gained the spirit Will o' Wisp's power!   Gained Lumina's powers!

The Girl gets her most expensive spells yet. One inflicts direct damage, and should be reserved for enemies that are specifically weak against it. One creates a shield that takes physical damage in place of the target until used up. And one is another saber spell that despite its high cost is effectively useless because attack traits are bugged and it provides no status effects. The Sprite gets no new magic.

"Prayer and Whispers" now plays, and all that's left to do here is to gain the seed's power. It reacts much as the others did, and its glow is so bright that it overwhelms the surroundings entirely:    

 種子と聖剣が共鳴した!  The seed and Holy Sword resonated!  Received the Seed's power!

Mana Energy is now 6.

As usual, the monsters inside the temple are now gone. No one in the city has anything new to say, so that's it for here.

マンテン山 Manten Mountain Lofty Mountains

Once more, no sign of a sage. Let's try back here. Again.

: Hey! Keep out!
 His Sageness is away.
: Sage Jach has gone to the
 Moon Temple. A short hop on
 the flying cloud Kinto'un!
: What? The Moon Temple? It's the mysterious
 temple floating in the Celestial Sea on the
 edge of the Kakkara Desert.
JEHK:Go away!
 The Sage is out!
JEHK:Sage Joch went to the
 Moon Palace.
 It floats eerily in the
 Sea of Wonders at
 Kakkara Desert's end...

That's 筋斗雲, from the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, but probably better known indirectly through countless references to it, like Goku's Flying Nimbus. I'll refer the curious to Jim R. McClanahan's more detailed explanation of the original, which literally translates to "cloud somersault".

Yet another Mana temple? Fine, then. An additional Mana Seed and some more spells couldn't hurt.


It seems likely that you were still expected to be traveling by sea at this point, making the remarks about Sage Jach flying from place to place so effortlessly come across as mocking. Imagine having to cross the ocean and climb the entire mountain from the bottom every single time you wanted to visit.

Early screenshots and promotional material show only some fairly minor changes to the world map in these areas between the final version and the latest known previous one. As shown in the previous chapter, Manten Mountain lacked Mandara and the clearing in front of the Darkness Temple that lets you land right at the entrance, but was otherwise essentially the same as in the final map. The Golden Isle is a bit more interesting:


Although the island itself looks much the same, the river and lake were more prominent, and the city less developed, with a very different layout and without its enclosing wall. I can imagine there being a sidequest just to get from the beach into the city, perhaps sneaking up the river. And I'd certainly hope that a full-sized temple was planned, instead of just jamming a pair of bosses plus a pair of weapon powerups and a handful of enemies into a tiny little tower that's over almost before it begins. The final game's Light Temple is the most perfunctory one so far.

It would have been nice for reclaiming Wisp to have more impact, too. Perhaps a direct confrontation with those misusing the spirit's power, or at least some kind of fallout after they no longer have access to this power. Although Wisp does mention that the transformed gold will eventually revert to what it originally was, nothing actually changes during course of the game, and no one even notices that anything has happened.

Previous Part: Obligatory World Tour

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