Review by KillAllPopStars
"An Interesting Synthesis of Elements Makes for a Fun and Engaging Adventure Game."
Contrary to what the title would lead you to believe, The Final Fantasy Adventure is not a Final Fantasy game. It is, in fact, the first game in the Mana trilogy and the predecessor to the much loved Secret of Mana for the SNES. I originally got this game because of the Final Fantasy name, but immediately upon playing it, realized that it had more in common with the NES and SNES Legend of Zelda games than any Final Fantasy title. Nonetheless, The Final Fantasy adventure is not only a great Game Boy game, but it is one of the best action adventure games I've ever played, period. This game is most noticeably defined by the unusual mixture of elements that seamlessly come together to create it. It plays like a traditional hack and slash adventure game, but the highly evolved plot and level system make it feel more like a traditional RPG. Besides that, there's definite elements of puzzle solving and a smattering of aspects from other various game genres throughout. Despite not being a true Final Fantasy game, Adventure stands as a historical landmark in the series, hosting the first ever appearance of series standards, such as Moogles and Chocobos. The most surprising element of this game, however, is the scope. This game is big when compared to other adventure games of the early '90s, and HUGE when compared to most other early Game Boy games. Exactly what makes The Final Fantasy Adventure such a great game? Read on to find out...
The plot of this game is phenomenal. The story is expansive, highly evolved, and emotionally charged. The characters are believable, and, unlike in most early plot driven titles, have their own distinct personalities. Despite the somewhat cliched and poorly written Dialogue, the story is very powerful. From the very onset of the game, a highly complex back story is already established. The Tree of Mana is enshrined high above the cloud towers on Mount Illusia. From the Mana Tree gushes the waterfall that provides life for the entire world of Glaive. The tree grows from the energy of all living things in the world, and flourishes when the spirits of the people are pure. The pure waters of the Mana Tree further purify the minds of the people, but when the minds and motives of the people become corrupt, the Mana Tree and the water that flow from it become poisoned, further corrupting the people. Once, the Emperor of Vandole, the capitol city, entered the sacred area and attempted to use the tree for evil, but the legendary Gemma Knights thwarted his attempts. Once the threat was subdued, the Mana family, the guardians of the Mana Tree, fearing its power to corrupt, sealed off the shrine. Fifty years later, evil once again threatens the tree of mana. The emperor of Glaive and his manipulative assistant Julius, are trying to use the tree to corrupt the people and call forth chaos upon the world. You play as a slave of Glaive, forced to fight in battles against hideous monsters for the entertainment of the Emperor and his cronies. One day, after a battle, you find Willy, your only friend, lying on the floor in your shared cell, at the verge of death. He tells you that he has been secretly investigating the Emperor's actions, and his cryptic dying words,"Mana is in danger now... We must let the Knights of Gemma know about it. See Bogard at the falls. He is a Gemma Knight. He should know what to do.", launch you into the adventure of a lifetime. Soon, you plan your escape and set out to stop the Mana Tree from being abused once more, and all of this is learned within the first five minutes of gameplay! From there, you meet an entire cast of memorable characters, and the plot, which is crammed full of emotional highs and lows, twists and turns relentlessly until the final big surprise, which will leave you stunned.
The Final Fantasy Adventure plays like a cross between a hack and slash adventure title and a traditional RPG. The action is very reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda. Combat consists of relentlessly hacking away at a whole slew of baddies with an array of weapons that includes swords, chains, axes, and more. You receive experience points for killing enemies and level up much in the same manner as you do in the original Final Fantasy, but in Adventure, every time you gain a level, you get to choose which attribute to level up. So, the way that your character develops is completely up to you. The game takes place across an extensive over world dispersed with a staggering amount of dungeons, caves, towns, and castles to explore. There are tons of side quests, treasures to collect, and upgraded weapons, armor, and magic to find. The Final Fantasy adventure boasts some of the most intense boss battles ever to grace the portable screen, and the towns and castles are larger than in other RPG/adventure titles for the Game Boy. The depth and detail of the gameplay and layout are only rivaled by how fun it is to play this game. The often tedious task of leveling up is quite fun here, and the redundancy of a random turn-based battle system is completely eliminated from the RPG equation. In other words, this is action RPG gaming done absolutely right!
The graphics in The Final Fantasy Adventure fall short of the impeccable quality of the other individual elements of the game, but they are still quite good. The backgrounds are sometimes a bit sparse and the repetition of certain templates (such as trees or vines) becomes somewhat redundant. These problems are forgivable though, because they are still much less noticeable than they are in most older Game Boy titles. The environments are lush and distinct though, and the enemy and character sprites are exceptionally well done. One of the most impressive graphical elements of this game are the bosses. They are large and menacing and are some of the best looking Game Boy graphics I've ever seen. The amount of in-game story scenes is good. They are all exceptionally well done and serve the plot wonderfully. Many of the dungeons look the same, but then again, what pre PSX adventure/RPG title didn't suffer from this problem? All in all, this game looks really good, and it translates exceptionally well to the GBC and GBA.
The sound in this game is great! The sound effects are actually believable, and each individual weapon and spell has its own distinct sound. The music is good. There is a large variety of songs, and the loops are rather long, which keeps them from becoming too redundant. The only exception to this rule is in some of the dungeons. Themes range from sorrowful, to heroic and inspiring, to frantic battle music and really emphasize and enhance the emotional pull of the overall plot.
Replay Value 8/10
This is one of those rare old school adventure games that stands up to repeated playing. The story loses some of its impact, and the element of surprise is gone the second time around, but The Final Fantasy Adventure is actually loads of fun to play over again. The dungeons are big enough that they are still challenging and the gameplay never gets old. This game is definitely worth, at least, one replay at some point.
Overall Rating 9/10
The Final fantasy Adventure is a standout game in the broadest sense. It is a very worthy successor to one of the most renowned adventure/RPG games of all time. A well constructed plot and exciting, dynamic Gameplay make it a timeless classic, and an unusual synthesis of elements, makes it a totally unique gaming experience.
Buy!! You can't go wrong with this game. No matter what genre of games you prefer, there is something in this game for you, and the depth of the plot and gameplay makes it a very satisfying gaming experience for all.
There's not much more I can add to what's already been said. This game is awesome, and if I haven't already convinced you, than I never will. Go get it, play it, and you will enjoy it...
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/15/05
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