One mistake I made when I first played Seiken Densetsu 3 was: I didn’t know where the magic spells were. This is probably a common mistake among first time players.
You have to press ‘down’ from the item menu ring to find and use your magic spells, and I probably played the first twenty levels or so without using my character magic at all. If you’re going to give this great game a try for the first time, don’t make the same mistake that I did. Press down to use your magic (and spirits) when the item ring is visible. Pressing up and down cycles through them. The same system as is used in shops for buying and selling. It does take some getting used to although you can quickly switch characters using the L and R buttons, which is useful in shops and essential in combat.
I did use magical items though, and Seiken Densetsu 3‘s item list is wonderfully constructed. The whole structure of the magic combat system is beautifully designed, revolving around elements (such as fire, ice, earth, storm, etc.), and lightness and darkness. The idea being: you counter certain types of magic with the opposite element. So if a boss is hammering you with dark magic he’s probably weak to light magic. Fire beats ice – that kind of thing. It’s the key to making certain battles winnable.
If, during combat, one of your three characters is knocked unconscious you can bring them back to life using Angel’s Grails – healing items that revive your characters with full HP and Magic Points. Only if all three of your party are knocked out at the same time does the game end, so reviving characters while you’re fighting keeps you in the game. In one boss battle I had (I think the last one), I had two characters knocked out on zero and one left with just 9 Hit Points. Somehow I managed to revive everyone and win the battle. It was a triumphant victory snatched from the jaws of defeat… Seiken Densetsu 3‘s combat makes you feel triumphant when you win, which is what great video games are all about. But you have to respect it, otherwise it will teach you a lesson…
The adventure itself takes place on a “World Map”, which begins locally, with a few quests to undertake on foot and – strangely – by cannon. A bit of Dungeon Crawling to build levels… Eventually you gain access to a floating turtle, called “Booskaboo”, which allows you to swim to other continents, opening the game up. And later a legendary flying dragon called “Flammie”, which allows you to fly anywhere quickly on the map, opening the game up further. The different transport systems in Seiken Densetsu 3 are a lot of fun. Just running around is a blast…
PS. The flying Flammie sections would have made a good sub-game in themselves. I think Squaresoft missed a trick there. Someone should make/hack one and become a legend in the process… 🙂
Seiken Densetsu 3 Week
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 1]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 2]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 3]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 4]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 5]