I believe this will be the last time I use these categories for the review; they're too limiting and I don't always have things to say at each point.
At the beginning I wasn't sure I would agree that this is one of the worst SNES games, but in the end I do -- it belongs in the garbage heap with Light Fantasy, Dual Orb, Fist of the North Star 5, and Cyber Knight.
Story/Characters: This is the strong point of the game -- in comparison to other games from this period, the story and characters are much more detailed and developed. There's also a nice difference from the usual "save the world" story at least in the beginning, when the main character is trying to become a magician. If this story had been combined with even a boring but competent battle system this would have been a great game.
World: Nothing much to say here, it's standard fantasy.
Game Flow: Overall this is fine, but there is a steep difficulty spike near the end of the game that makes an already bad game even worse.
System: This is where the game becomes a mess. Almost everything they did was bad. The battle system with the different depths is an interesting idea, but in the end just makes things take longer. Enemy status effects are way too harsh, especially sleep which can cause a game over. Weapons and armor barely have any effect. There are 64 spells but most of them are worthless and important spells like "escape from dungeon" and "revive" are missing. This is especially disappointing in a game that is so heavily focused on magic. The 8 schools of magic don't really mean anything since anyone can learn any spell.
It's just so frustrating to see a decent story in such a terrible game. It's not quite as bad as Light Fantasy but it's close.
Side Quests/Optional Content: Basically none; I suppose you could count the extra scenario after the credits but I think this is really part of the game rather than a side quest.
Graphics/Sound: The graphics are still early SNES era, and the music is unmemorable.
Next up is a good game, Seiken Densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana)!