Review by Magnifico
"A great, underrated and original RPG that many aren't sharp enough to appreciate"
I was shocked to find out that most people don't think too highly of this game. This was the first Gameboy game that was truly worth my money, and it's the first good RPG I played. I think much of the dislike for this game is because of it's misleading brand name; fans of the mainstream Final Fantasy series come to this game expecting an epic storyline, superb character development, and easy battles where they can hold the A button and occasionally cast a cure spell, at which point they're tossed another plot twist to keep the player thrilled with the story and stop them.from realizing how shallow the actual gameplay is.
No, you won't find traditional Final Fantasy values here. Go back to your SNES and PSX for those. The emphasis on this RPG is not on unforgettable characters, it's on the gameplay- for people who actually love RPGs, and not just their storylines.
So, what's so special about the gameplay? Well, it's much more tactical than your average RPG, for one thing. One advantage of not having epic characters is your characters are left up to you! At the start of the game, you get to choose the class of all four of your party members; among the classes are Humans, who learn from battle quickly and benefit from quick attribute improvement, but cannot learn magic and are expensive to keep equipped. Mutants, the next class, develop slower than Humans and so will be less physically impressive in the long run, but to make up for it, have natural magic ability which can be learned over time. Robots don't gain stats on their own; they're only as strong as you make them through money. Monsters are the most unique class, and are really quite interesting. Sometimes after killing enemy groups, Monsters may eat the meat of the slain to transform into a variety of monsters of similar strength to the perished one who was eaten. Basically, monsters have the potential to become and of the enemies you fight in the game. This can be very fun, but it can be a challenge to become your ideal monster. In addition to the different classes, Humans and Mutants both have female and male variations, each with slight statistic differences, and you can choose from three different monster at the beginning. As you can imagine, what party you select in the beginning of the game greatly influences the way you need to play the game, and you can keep trying until you find the group that fits your playing style (Personally I'm a big Robot + Mutant fan).
The game is well presented, considering it's an early Gameboy release. Graphics are clear and satisfactory. It may not be a mainstream Final Fantasy game, but this is still a Square game, so of course the music isn't bad at all. Menus are not so tedious to navigate as some RPGs seem to make it.
The design of the game is pretty darn good, a lot of heart went into it. There are secret weapons, side quests, and everything you've come to expect in Square RPGs. As this is targeted for a more hardcore audience, the challenge that some of the bosses and monsters pose is also greater than a mainstream Final Fantasy game.
Many people enjoy playing their favorite RPGs over and over again to relive the magic, but this is an RPG that you can actually play very differently each time. It has replay value that won't disappoint, and is far above average for a one player, linear game.
In the end, I think anyone who truly likes RPGs and doesn't go into this game expecting a FF3 story packed into a Gameboy cart will be 100% satisfied by the time they reach the end. It truly is a great game, and it's a shame that it got snubbed like it did.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/22/03, Updated 02/22/03
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