Review by Shdwrlm3
"A great game with a mix of Zelda and Final Fantasy gameplay."
Originally Seiken Densetsu in Japan, Squaresoft brought the game here under the name Final Fantasy Adventure for name recognition. Recently, Sunsoft re-released Final Fantasy Adventure, which is exactly when I picked this little gem up.
Technically the prequel to Secret of Mana (Secret of Mana was Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan), many Secret of Mana fans will find familiar names and faces. However, as in the Final Fantasy series, the storyline is assumed to take place in a completely different world. Basically, an evil force (the Empire of Glaive, led by the Dark Lord) wants to take the power of Mana through the use of the Pendant of Mana to open the way to the Mana Tree. The hero is a slave-gladiator captured by the sorcerer Julius and is forced to fight monsters like the other slaves. One day, however, he finds his friend dying in the slave quarters, and is told by his friend to find a Gemma Knight and tell him that Mana is in danger. Anyway, the story is interesting, with a quite a few plot twists and engaging characters. However, some story points are cliche at this point, though I'm sure they were original when it was originally released. The text can also be a little bad at times, but overall the translation was a good one.
The gameplay in Final Fantasy Adventure is reminiscent of Secret of Mana's. Basically, it's a cross of Zelda (real-time battles; A for weapon and B for Magic/Item) and Final Fantasy (menu screens;HP/MP,levels). The ability to have an NPC partner is neat, especially when the NPC can heal you, but the NPC is often not as useful as he/she could be. The weapon system isn't innovative, but the Attack Power Guage is new. With the Attack Power Guage, which fills in with time, you can unleash stronger versions of weapon attacks. Magic is pretty much useless in this game, though. Except for cure, I never used any other magic unless it was necessary to open something up. However, the ability to hit townspeople so they'll get out of your way is a plus! The game is VERY challenging at some points. It's not so much the enemies or bosses (the last one is a joke), but the puzzles. Hidden rooms, doors, and exits are hard to find at times, and the clues given can be rather confusing. Also, the need to buy keys instead of finding them can be frustrating, especially when you've gotten really far into a dungeon and realize you didn't bring enough keys. You DO find keys in dungeons, but it's usually random; thus, you must always bring a reserve. Odd hit detection makes some battles a hassle, too.
Again, I never expect too much for a Gameboy game. The graphics are good, and there are a variety of sprites and tiles used in the game. However, they kind of lack style. Animation is good for the hero, but enemies have limited animation. The bosses, however, are often nicely detailed, and are usually large in size.
Sound FX/Music 8/10
The sound effects are pretty good. Different SFX for each weapon adds variety. The music is nice, especially for a Gameboy game, but it's nothing special. Some catchy tunes, but nothing that reminds me of Final Fantasy or Secret of Mana. Oh well, I don't expect much in the way of music in Gameboy games. Replay Value 1/10
As in most RPGs, replay value is almost non-existent. There aren't too many secrets to be found, and there are no multiple paths or endings. The game is quite challenging, and you're likely to forget the solutions to some of the puzzles by the time you beat the game. The only reason I'd play the game again is the absorb more of the story.
Not really a game you can beat on rental (unless you play for hours on end), but it is a great buy for RPG fans, especially Zelda fans. I bought mine for $29.99, and though the game is worth it, I'd suggest looking for a cheaper price. Call me a cheapskate.
Overall, it's a great game that adds to the legacy of the Seiken Densetsu series. A great buy for Zelda fans and an even better one for Secret of Mana fans. I'd suggest picking it up before it goes away again.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 08/05/01
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