Two new Manas: Dawn and Heroes

Final Fantasy this, Dragon Quest that. What of Squaresoft'sforgotten role-playing son? Well, here's some great news for fans of theMana series: 2007 will see the release of not one, but two games in the beloved franchise, giving imports one less reason to gloat.After all, the Mana series remains the third most popular reason suburban white kids learn the Japanese language, right behind diplomacy and Sailor Moon fetishes.

Dawn of Mana marks the first time the series will appear on a home console since 2000, debuting May 22nd on the scrappy PS2. Not to mention this entry will finally make the jump from isometric midget-sprites, into thesimultaneously terrifying and exhilarating realm of the third dimension. (3D, pardon our verbosity)

And whereas Dawn is a more action oriented title, the Nintendo DS will see a more strategy-based RPG in Heroes of Mana. In addition to employing the touch screen or entirely new perspective on battle, Heroes will utilize the DS' Wi-Fi for an online ranking system.

Ask anyone who hasspent considerable time around the Mana tree about the series' defining attributes (outside ofthe distinct "ring menu"),they'dprobablyregale you with talesof the much heralded music.So if the announcement that Academy Award winning composer,Ryuichi Sakamoto (The Last Emperor) will be contributing to Dawn's scoredoesn'tfill you withaudible glee, then how about a free soundtrack? Those who order Dawn of Mana from, Game Crazy, GameStop and EB Games will receive Breath of Mana, a free soundtrack sampler encomapassing music from the series. Supplies are limited, so don't dilly-dally.

March 26, 2007