Review by PurestProdigy
"The worst game ever to bear the title "Final Fantasy""
The Final Fantasy Legend is truly a disappointing title. It has very few merits and is one of the worst RPG's I've beaten from start to finish. There is hardly any story, the graphics are horrendous, the enemies are repetitive, and the gameplay is terrible. The only thing this game has going for it is challenge which in itself is not fun, rather it is frustrating and based on luck. This game has very few redeeming qualities and is marred by a plethora of bad elements.
The story starts out with a prologue about a tower that supposedly leads to paradise. Various heroes have tried to climb the tower but many have failed. Now that's about the most story you will get about the world as a whole until the very end of the game. The worst part about the story is that there is no point to world building because the world of this game is very bland and has little history. The whole point of this game is to get to the top of this massive tower which separates entire worlds. Each world has a different theme and different levels of technology. Although it's an interesting concept, you are plagued by issues such as boring NPC's who just tell you what others have already told you, very few towns or villages, and boring quests that need to be completed in order to progress. You start out in a main town after you pick your character and you have to choose three more characters at the guild. There is absolutely NO characterization for anyone in your party and they are all generics with very few speaking lines. In fact, as a player, you are not privy as to why your characters want to explore the world or the tower. This is comparable to the original Final Fantasy EXCEPT in that game, you know your characters motive in that game as warriors of light destined by fate to save the world. In this game you are unaware if your characters either want to get rid of evil, just explore the tower, or any other motivation they may have. There's no more to it than kill bad guy, climb tower, repeat. The game also has a twist at the end that most people who are accustomed to videogames will see coming from a mile away. If the plot were more interesting than the plot twist might have some power behind it, but it is just as dull as the rest of the game's plot.
The gameplay in this game is complete garbage. You have to deal with breaking weapons, inability to target foes when there's multiple copies of the same enemy, spells that run out, and the inability to choose techniques for a certain race. Speaking of which there are three races; humans, mutants, and monsters. In the beginning of the game, you can choose the race and sex of your main character and your other three characters at the guild. Monsters are incredibly weak in the beginning of the game and borderline useless past a certain point. In order to change the kind of monster you have you have to have your monster eat various different meats dropped by enemies (meat being the ONLY drop you get in this game besides gold). There's no way to tell what will happen when you eat meat unless you consult a FAQ, and the consequence of this is that you could end up with a weaker monster than you had before. The worst part is it is very easy to accidentally tap the A button in the menus of this game and either purchase the wrong thing or eat the wrong meat thus making the ultimate monster you've been building up the entire game a wimp.
Mutants on the other hand are freaking awesome. Their stats increase based on what their equipped with and how much health they have left in battle. Basically, while everyone else has somewhere around 100 HP in the first parts of the game, you can expect your mutant to have around 500. Their use of mana abilities (magic) is also incredibly strong and broken throughout the whole game doing several times the amount of damage a monster or human can do in the beginning of the game, and keeping up with that amount towards the end. The only downside of a mutant is that they tend to learn skills without your input based on what spells they are equipped with. By the time I realized that you can't get rid of these skills without completely using them up, three of four of my skill slots were taken up by completely useless abilities like foresight which does absolutely nothing and ironically has infinite uses.
The final job class, humans, are just fine except for one thing: you have to buy every stat power-up for them. That's right, the game does not have an exp system and you have to use gold to buy their stats in stores. That's fine right? Wrong. The stats you can buy are HP, agility, and power. Defense is increased by armor. Agility and power cost a lot and the increments you can buy only increase each stat by 1 through 3 points. HP is a real pain. There are items in the store called HP200, HP400, and HP600. They get more expensive as you go and increase your HP more than agility and power items increase those stats, but they stop increasing your HP by anything more than 1 after your HP passes the number indicated on the item. After a while you'll realize it's more cost efficient to buy HP200's anyway after your HP passes that number because of how little HP400's and HP600's increase your health. BUT, your inventory only holds 8 items and you can NOT buy things in bulk. So that means talking to the store owner 8 times and using those 8 items. Now keep in mind that by the end of the game, you have to have upwards of 500 health and you are only increasing that health by 1 at a time. It is the most tedious thing I have ever seen in a videogame and the monotony of it can drive anyone insane.
Otherwise, in regards to gameplay, the game is incredibly difficult. Not a fun kind of difficult, but a frustrating rip-your-hair-our kind of difficult. It's hard and necessary grinding for gold (the only thing you can grind for without an exp system), and along the way your weapons and spells will break since they have a limited amount of uses. This means taking the gold you just earned and re-buying weapons, spells, items, and other supplies thus making all that grinding trickle out profit in small increments. Thankfully, monsters give more gold by the end of the game, and if you play your cards right most of the boss fights are quick and easy. The hard part is actually getting to the boss as legions upon legions of enemies cause you to break your weapons and eat at your health. The fact that you can only have 8 items in your inventory makes this more unforgiving, but each of your characters can carry their own inventory so it is a little less difficult. Finally, in this game there are ways to get irreparably stuck: You can sell key items in this game, AND you can save anywhere. The first one is obviously idiotic, but the second one will hardly ever cause you any trouble unless you save in a very specific room that has no return until you beat the boss inside of it.
Graphically, the game is very unimpressive. Everything is bland and each of the dungeons and individual worlds you visit are highly unmoving. Enemy designs are as generic and boring as they get, from lame karate men to alligators. Enemies that are of the same race obviously don't have palette swaps, but instead are just the exact same sprite with a different name. Furthermore, there are no backgrounds when fighting enemies which is completely lame. It's a first person view just like Dragon Quest, but at least that game had backgrounds when fighting enemies. The NPC's have unrecognizable features (seriously do mutants have a third eye or what?), and spell animations are just as lame. There are absolutely no redeeming factors graphically for this game and in fact it is a complete eyesore.
The Final Fantasy Legend is a complete mess and one of the worst RPG's ever. It's got a weak story, which is supposed to be the strongest element of the genre. The lack of plot or characterization leave very little motivation to continue through the game. Furthermore, the gameplay is riddled with issues which include everything from an unfair challenge to limited uses of spells and equipment. The classes are very unbalanced and it's probably best to forget that the monster job class exists at all. Graphically, it is downright terrible and overall this game is a complete abomination.
Reviewer's Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Originally Posted: 05/07/10
Game Release: The Final Fantasy Legend (US, 09/30/90)
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