The Effort Post:
I still don't understand why so many people like Secret of Mana lol. Is it just because they possibly played it when they were young maybe. I didn't even though I have the original cartridge I was thinking of playing it on the virtual console. I could care less about the co op gameplay but even the single player gameplay I kind of like because it keeps it from being a button masher. I enjoyed Secret of Evermore when I played through that game and people seem to rate that game far behind
Pretty much. But then again, I also played the full 3 player co-op between myself and my siblings. Its one of the few rare games that I could talk them into playing with me since we didn't end up at each others' throats too often playing this (just on who got the sword).
Anyways, there used to be a long ass rant on the, what I perceived to be, merits of SoM, but I realized I couldn't stop going off on tangents and not making a point, so I'm going to take a different approach to the matter instead. Also one on KH but less long and ranty (but still too long and ranty).
So to tl;dr myself, one game is an old ARPG that got gutted due to the Nintendo Playstation falling through but despite that still did some nice things and still feels like a proper game even in spite of the threadbare middle section, and the other is a crossover ARPG that didn't do a very good job in the whole 'crossover' department (i.e. very little of the OG content feels Disney-like while the FF characters are mostly shoved into one town and the Disney content felt like going through theme parks or carnivals and it didn't strike a particularly good balance between the two).
Music-wise SoM blows KH out of the water (not like that's very hard to do when most of your music is coming from elsewhere and your few contributions range to mediocre to suck).
Graphics-wise SoM is the better looking game since most of KH's stages feel more like themepark attractions rather than fully fleshed out environments, and I remember every non Disney stage but the island (as well as a couple of Disney stages i.e. Halloween Town) looking gloomy and dull for the most part, whereas SoM still looks fairly vibrant today with the occasional interesting setting (the Ice Continent, the Great Forest, heck even Gaia's Navel looked more interesting than anything in KH save for maybe the Hundred Acre Wood or some of Aladdin's and Tarzan's stages).
Gameplay-wise KH has better combat (being in 3D actually helped in this case surprisingly) and better AI partners (or more accurately fewer ways for the AI partners to get stuck on level geometry), but Secret has the better tools (you're not just limited to swords/keyblades, items consisted of more than just HP/MP healing) and better magic (despite the elemental attack repetition, had more variety and use compared to the six spells of KH and even then Aero and Cure were the only ones worth using most of the time), and character advancement is kind of a toss up between the two (weapon/magic skill levels is better than the gain stuff at level x and finding spell books laying about but some elements come far too late to be practical and MP restoration issues prevents more natural spell use, although the carting around, training, and upgrading 8 distinct weapons is clearly superior to getting half a dozen gimmick keyblades thrown at you which you promptly ignore as you grind to obtain the good keyblades).
My tl;dr for my rant's tl;dr is that Kingdom Hearts was a crossover that is technically superior to Secret of Mana but is ultimately held back by being a crossover title and not a standalone effort thus limiting the creativity being brought to the table (not like that would've been enough anyways given how mediocre of a crossover it was).
But seriously, Angel's Fears. 30 seconds after flipping on the power and without a single press of a button and you're getting your socks haunted off (and the rest of the game does a fairly good job of living up to the impression).