Secret of Evermore
Original North American Release Date: October 1st, 1995
Secret of Evermore occupies a fascinating place in SNES history, as it holds the distinction of being the only Square property solely developed in the West at the time, an unusual practice for console RPGs during the 90s. Similar to EarthBound in many ways, the game’s science fiction themes and Western culture influences contribute well to Secret of Evermore’s time-travel storyline.
However, the gameplay and presentation is more similar to the classic action-RPG Secret of Mana, which likely influenced the game’s title as well despite being unconnected to the Mana franchise. The protagonist is a boy (who, coincidently, resembles Michael J. Fox’s character from Back to the Future) and his faithful dog that shapeshifts to a different form depending on the time period that those characters currently occupy.
Secret of Evermore possesses a unique gameplay aspect when it comes to casting spells. An “alchemy” system stands in for the typical magical system, which uses a crafting system that requires combining different ingredients, instead of using magic points, in order to cast “spells.” Perhaps one of Secret of Evermore’s other most notable feature (aside from Final Fantasy IV’s protagonist Cecil’s cameo as a shopkeeper) is the game’s great soundtrack that was composed by Jeremy Soule.
Jeremy Soule is an American game composer who is perhaps best known for his scores in more modern games that include Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. Interestingly enough, it’s also a Square game that was never released in Square’s native Japan, very ironic when one considers that the opposite practice was very common for RPGs in the 90s. Secret of Evermore isn’t just an interesting footnote in Square Enix’s history though; it’s an underrated action-RPG that needs to be experienced in order to be fully appreciated.