Review by Vegita

"I have been corrected...this game is NOT a Final Fantasy game, nor is it by Squaresoft."

Ratings:

Graphics: 8/10
Sound Effects: 8/10
Music: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Play Control: 8/10
Group Enjoyment: 5/10
Individual Enjoyment: 9/10
Challenge: 6/10
Ending: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

First of all, I would like to say that we have all been deceived. This is NOT a Final Fantasy game. It was a Seiken Densetsu game (the first one, actually). So now that I've set that straight, what about the game? Well, you are the fighter-character. You fight for the Emperor in his coliseum. Every day one of your friends die from either despair or poor fighting. You decide that you HAVE to escape. As you are escaping, you find out the Emperor is planning on using something to access the legendary Mana tree, so he can take over the world. You are then chased away by the Emperor's personal guard, over a waterfall...you awaken at the bottom, bruised but ok. What can you do to save the world? And where are you?

Good Points:
This was the precursor for Secret of Mana, and is quite possibly the most fun Gameboy ''Final Fantasy'' game (even though it's not a Final Fantasy game, and neither are the others)! You are a guy who runs around, swinging a sword, attacking enemies, and getting level ups. The good things? The leveling-up concept in this game was quite nice, as you got to choose just which abilities you wanted to specialize in. And your weaponry, while varied (Swords, Axes, Spears, etc), had even nice abilities when you charged them up! Very nice!

Bad Points:
This one was a bit too short for my tastes. And there just weren’t enough weapons for my liking. The Weapons were great, but it’d be nice if you could do several different special attacks with them instead of just 1 or 2. And I wish the Chocobo would do more than just travel...like hold items! Of course, that’d make it the Fat Chocobo, so I guess it’s ok...

General Ratings:

Graphics:
They're cutesy, and crystal clear. All of the enemies are nicely drawn, and it's easy to tell where Secret of Mana 1 & 2 got their enemy styles. Your magic spells are also nicely animated, as is the weaponry. Some of the animation is a little iffy, like the Rabites and their sudden change from idle to attack. More frames of animation would have been nice, but this IS a Gameboy game, so I'll just ignore that oversite. Finally, the bosses are huge and well drawn.

Sound:
The sound in this is also well done. There isn't the same sound over and over again for your character attacking, getting hit, and using an item of casting a spell. They have their own sounds, and they all sound great! Although it's ridiculous to give a ''Favorite'' sound from this game, I will say that some of the stuff I liked were the casting of magic, the sound made when you fly back and forth on the sword, and the sound of an enemy dying. That one's just funny to me...

Music:
Frankly, I've always loved the Gameboy Final Fantasy music. It's surprisingly well done (for such a small system), and doesn't drag the game down by being overdone or out of place. It fits the moods of the game. The overworld music is upbeat, the town music is jolly and peaceful, and the dungeon music is sinister. Nice!

Originality:
Ok, I want you to find me another game like this. More importantly, I want you to find me another game like this for the Gameboy, and I want you to find one that came out BEFORE this one did! It's all amazing! I can't detract originality points from this for spawning Secret of Mana, because that came AFTER this, and IT copied off of this (being a sequel, after all). This game has a good selection of weapons and special abilities with said weapons, a good selection of magic, and helper characters that aid you in your quest. Now come on, how often have you seen this?

Play Control:
The only complaints I had with this is the menus tended to get stuck with me (maybe it's my cartridge...it needs cleaning, anyways), and sometimes, when I wanted to talk to a shopkeeper, they wouldn't talk to me, and I had to exit and re-enter the building! Other than that, it was all good. Sticky menus ALWAYS bother me...remember Dragon Quest/Warrior 1? That had HORRIBLE menus! You'd select something, then wait for a bit before it would let you select the next one...ugh!

Enjoyment:
For some odd reason, people actually liked watching this game. They watched it for the average amount of time you'd expect someone to stick around and watch someone else playing a Gameboy game (about 10-15 minutes), let alone an RPG. As for playing the game solo, it's MUCH more enjoyable that way. Of course, that's when I'm using my Super Nintendo Gameboy adapter-thingy...what was that thing called again?

Challenge:
Ok, so the challenge was better than average, but not great. I'll tell you why: the game is somewhat balanced well, but there were too few weapons and magic spells! I wanted more, and sometimes, in order to survive long enough to go buy the next weapon, I had to wade through extremely hard enemies, only to die on the way back to the inn after getting the coveted weapon! Oh well...

Ending:
It's better than your average ending (And They All Lived Happily Ever After!), but it could have done better. Maybe with the credits rolling in the midst of a starfield, with some overly-dramatic music by Nobuo Uematsu in the background. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Overall:
This was an excellent game when it came out, and although it isn't near as good as some of the games coming out today, it's still a great game in it's own right, and classic for the Gameboy. It started a VERY popular series of games, which just goes to show you that Nintendo almost always knows what it's doing when it comes to games (I'm basing this opinion off of the N64 as a system, mostly).


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/16/00, Updated 08/16/00


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