The ever famous “Final Fantasy”... published by Square for the NES and shipped to America all the way back in 1990. Few games have become quite so celebrated and even fewer have seen received quite so many spin-offs or sequels... J-RPGs, Shooters, Movies, Tactics, MMOs, Boardgames, Hack-n-Slash RPGs, Fighting Games, Adventure Games, Tower Defense Games, Strategy Games... hell even soft-drinks and action figures... These are just a few of the markets that the Final Fantasy Franchise has branched out to. Final Fantasy is one of the most influential and beloved franchises in the video game industry... and it got its start right here.
Dubbed Final Fantasy as Square was prepared to go out of business and believed it would be their last game... thus the FINAL in the title. Two dozen games, two movies, several product lines (including perfumes, jewelry and beverages), a contract with Disney/ABC later... well... I think it is safe to say that they dodged that bullet.
Final Fantasy really 'defined' the JRPG genre to a great great deal of the western world. It was the gateway drug that showed so many people the wonders of the JRPG. Not only did it define a genre, it set a standard for that genre which still exists today... and after 22 years in a tech industry, that is one hell of a feat.
In Final Fantasy you take on the role of four brave heroes who must set out to defeat a renegade knight Garland to save the Princess Sara at the Chaos Temple, in the process learning that you are the legendary 'Warriors of Light' who must travel the world to defeat the four evil fiends to bring harmony back unto the world.
For those of you who didn't read the handbook... you take on the role of four brave heroes who must set out to defeat a renegade knight Garland to save the Princess Sara at the Chaos Temple... wait... where the fuck is the God damned Chaos Temple?... (I'll touch on this a bit later)
Look folks... say whatever the hell you like about Final Fantasy as I am sure there are people out there who absolutely hate the Genre... but the simple fact that they were able to pull this off at all, in that day and age, was one HELL of a testament to the skill of the people at Square. Whether you like the principal behind the story or not, they pulled off what they were aiming for and they pulled it off beautifully. You are looking at storytelling to a degree that wouldn't become common in video games for years...
Recolouring is probably my biggest beef with Final Fantasy. I understand that it happens and I can appreciate the necessity for it. But that same goblin that you fought in your first battle... you are going to be fighting twenty some different colours of him before you beat the game, that is not an exaggeration and is a pretty conservative estimate actually.
I can't dock it for this honestly though, simply due to the scope of the game, the world of Final Fantasy is MASSIVE and the fact they have as many enemies as they do, excluding recolored enemies, clearly shows that they weren't just doing it to be lazy. It is a bit annoying at times but it doesn't ruin the experience.
The second... not sure if I can call it an issue as much as it simply just made me chuckle and wonder if it was an artistic oversight. This isn't a problem with the game and it doesn't effect your experience although it may make you wonder what the artist was thinking...for those of you offended by suggestive images... suck it up... and expect no apologies...
For those of you whom are familiar with the Transformers you are no doubt familiar with Megatron. For those of you who are not I will include a picture of him.
This would be Megatron... and as you may notice... Megatron has a rather... 'unique' feature. In the event that you may have overlooked it, this 'feature' is that his crotch is a damned trigger. Whether they wanted something which just said "I'm a Badass" or whether they were trying to piggyback upon the Tranformer's concept of crotch ornaments we may never know... but what we do know is this.
Sephiroth, the Flood, the Reapers, hell... even the Nazis... none of them hold a candle to this villain... they can try again later when they have a CODPIECE CAPABLE OF MAULING YOU.
Once again this doesn't really have any effect on the quality of the game but it is something that is bizarre and very much worth pointing out if for no other reason than a good laugh.
First I will start off by saying that it is very hard to determine 'difficulty' in a game like this. That is largely because the game will become harder or easier based upon your play-style. For example if you have a well balanced party including at least one monk and one healer you are going to be able to make things work.
There is one aspect of the game which DOES add a whole new layer of difficulty to the game... at one point I suffered through this. Those people who played this game but HAD the manual had a leg up on those who didn't... that advantage was that the map of the world was located in the rulebook... but you couldn't access it from within the game.
Note: This was corrected in the games releases for the PS1, PSP, GBA etc.
The lack of a map may seem like no big deal, but trust me, playing without the map is a HUGE pain in the ass. The map of this game is enormous and every ten steps some random vegetation and a feral triceratops come after you hoping to kick the shit out of you and take your stuff for whatever reason. Whats more, if an NPC tells you to go east to a city... you have no idea where it is... just that is east of that NPC somewhere... and given that a rabbit is going to try and mug you every ten steps you take... well you can see how wandering around aimlessly could rapidly lead to an individual rapidly being consumed by a rage making them want to burn down the local church. It gets even worse when you have to go on 'fetch' missions and have no clue where to go or where to drop things off...
This problem is only an issue if you DON'T have the handbook which came with the game however... if you do, you are Golden.
Final Fantasy quite handily has the best soundtrack for any game released on the NES in my opinion. The Theme to the Chaos Temple, Matoya's Cave, the Battle Theme, Cornelia's Theme? These are outstanding pieces, especially when you consider the world. Whats more is that that they are strong enough that they have been orchestrated and are played at concerts around the world.
For those of you whom have played the later Final Fantasy games I assume that quality music should come as no surprise... Square has continued to put a great deal of effort into the Music of the Final Fantasy franchise, and even some of their weaker titles have continued to live up to that standard in the Musical Department.
The random battles become a bit... er... 'tiresome' after a while but they are a basic part of a JRPG so I can't dock anything for that.
I CAN dock some seriously points if you don't have that god damned booklet though... if you don't have that map... within two hours of starting the game your mouth will be spouting forth a stream of profanity so intense that it would make a sailor blush in shame... and I should know.
The classes which are presented in game each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses... with the exception of the thief... which can not steal anything. The thief can use various weapons and armor and some magic... but ultimately equates to be a really bad Red Mage. It doesn't hinder the game or lower its quality but it is a let down to learn your thief can't steal anything and sucks at both combat and magic.
While some people may disagree with me, I firmly believe that Final Fantasy has a great deal of replay value. While the story itself may remain the same and the world doesn't change... your play-style can vary a great deal. If you are up for a challenge, create a force comprised entirely of monks and a white mage. It is an interesting challenge.
There aren't really any bugs or anything such as that which are problematic to this game.. but there is one programming oversight... one which I have already touched upon...
Who forgot to add an option to open a God Damned Map from the Character Menu. Honestly, this would have been easy to implement. Yes it can be overlooked if you have the manual that came with the game, but do you really want to keep looking at the manual again and again and again just to figure out where the hell you are? I would like to think not. An oversight like this I think we can all consider a shortcoming.
Although I have bitched a great deal about the absence of a map, in part because I have had to deal with it in the past. It doesn't change the fact that Final Fantasy is a prime example of a title that is awe inspiring. It set the course for a genre that is still being followed to this day.
If you enjoy JRPGs, just happen to like Final Fantasy... or even if you hate the Genre and the series and are simply interested in the history and evolution of games... this title is a MUST PLAY. This is a game that saved a company, captured peoples imaginations, this game proved, years before anybody realized it, that Video Games were a form of art.
Gaming has been one of my hobbies for more than three decades... and in all those years, I have never seen a game further ahead of it's time, in content, than Final Fantasy
WITHOUT HANDBOOKRPG Elements: 5Music: 5Fun: 3Graphics: 5Programming: 4Overall Score: 4.4***WITH HANDBOOKRPG Elements: 5Music: 5Fun: 5Graphics: 5Programming: 4Overall Score: 4.8
All games are scored on 5 categories, with possible scores ranging from -5 – 5 with 0 being indifferent -5 being extremely bad and +5 being extremely good. Games are are graded on 5 parameters: How well they pull off their genre, the quality of the music, how fun the game is, graphics being easy enough to understand (I.e you don't have a background that looks identical to a platform), and quality of the programming (i.e. are there some game-breaking bugs).
NES - Final Fantasy (1990)
Blog entry posted by meatsammich, Jul 16, 2012.
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About the Author
I am a retired Marine Engineer who has played my way through numerous consoles and has collected thousands of games for my library. I am also the self titled International Grand Ghampion of capture the flag and consider myself the true reason the cold war came an end. I have no use for political correctness and never really cared whether I pissed people off... some people claim it is because I am a crazy old man, I like to think it is just because I don't give a damn.