Review by Gbness
"Back to the beginning..."
Final Fantasy. This is the one game that spawned the creation of the Final Fantasy series, one of the most beloved series' of all time. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Final Fantasy very much. Still, there are tons of bad points in this game. Those range from the fact the characters have no real development, the thing about needing so much money to buy things, and the rather weak storyline. There is also a large lack of replay value once you have finished Final Fantasy, but the best thing about this game is that it started the Final Fantasy series, and its later entries were superb.
The original Final Fantasy was released in the late 1980s or so, and it was a big hit. Many people bought the game for their NES and absolutely knew that it was going to be a huge hit. In fact, many people loved the original Final Fantasy for the NES. FF was an extremely original game, considering its time, and for the 1980s it had one of the greatest stories that some had ever seen. It was also full of brilliant ideas that no one had ever thought of, and most of them were really good. As you can see, FF progressed well and here I present to you: the first game in the series!
The storyline isn't that great, but for its time it was spectacular, so this is how I'm judging it. At a certain time, the world was falling into darkness. The wind was dying away, the sea was beginning to become furious, the fire was going out, and the earth started to decay. The world was being plunged into evil... and there was only hope that people had. They had heard from a prophecy that one day, four Light Warriors bearing crystals would come and save the world. It was not know when, but it was know that one day they would truly come...
And thus they did. In this game, you are taking control of the four Light Warriors, on a quest to save the world. At the beginning of Final Fantasy, you are given a choice of six job classes: a warrior, a thief, a black belt (a monk), a red mage, a black mage, and a white mage. These characters do not have any default names, so from this you can probably see that the Light Warriors have no character development at all. None of them ever talk or anything like that, and even though having the nifty Black Mage or Red Mage with you is cool, they really never develop.
For the year of 1988 or sometime like that, Final Fantasy had some of the greatest gameplay ever. Even today, it still holds spectacular gameplay, although there are a few flaws here and there. FF was in the time of NES, when makers cared about gameplay, so that's a good sign. On your first way through this game, you will likely quickly grow to love it and want to complete it, although it loses most of the magic on the second time through. Still while it lasts, it's awesome. Featuring some of the coolest enemies and bosses ever, things become very interesting.
Final Fantasy isn't extremely long... in fact a veteran player could probably complete in about 10 hours or so. Final Fantasy is a pretty challenging game even for some veterans, mostly because some of the strongest magic, you have to buy. Most of it is simply a saving shot for the party, especially Cure and Harm. However, there are some extremely difficult bosses that are featured in the game, and many will give you quite a hard time. Such bosses include the Eye, Astos, and WarMech. Still, there are tons of easy things in the game, making for a good challenge level.
FF1 also has some interesting things in it. White Mages and Black Mages can hold eight levels of magic (all characters except the Black Belt can have some magic too at a certain point, but not as much as the White and Black mages), and for each one, they can hold three spells in that level. For example, there are four Level 1 Black Magic spells: Fire, Lit, Lock, and Slep. You could only choose three of them for Level 1 Black Magic. All of the spells can be used in battle, but to use them, you need MP. Each level of magic has a certain value of MP on it. This is a very interesting idea on Squaresoft's part.
Now on to a few bad points. For a good portion of the game, FF1 is quite tedious. Why? Well, at the shops they fetch very high prices for certain spells, armor, and items. This will mean that you have to fight a lot of battles to gain Gil to buy the weapons. Quickly enough, the battles become quite tedious to play out, seeing as how long some of them can take, and how most of them are almost 100% the same (like just have the Warrior pummel away at every single enemy and just have a few other character's attack). Not to mention you'll have to fight a whole lot of them. This really reduces your want to play it again once you've completed it.
There's also one other problem and that is that the characters are not very smart. What I mean by this is that whenever you have a character attack, and then another character attacks the enemy and it dies, the character that was supposed to attack the enemy that died will just attack the thin air around! This, in conjunction to the battle system, is one of the bad points. The thing about the battle system is the speed, and you'll have to know all about it. You get to choose what the characters will do in the order they are in the battle, but whoever has the highest speed will attack first, making things unpredictible sometimes. Still, lots of RPGs were like that so it's not a big deal.
Graphics are a little of a mix. Sure, it has to be taken in comparison. As you probably know, every NES game out there looks like garbage when you look at the graphics of today's standard games. Fortunately though, Final Fantasy was as good as any graphics got considering when it was made. Never had sprites looked so good. The 2D backgrounds just looked plain awesome. The battle graphics were also good, as a lot of enemies and bosses had great character designs. The only problem though, was that the allies and enemies were seperated by boxes. These get really annoying at times, but they are at least tolerable.
Back in the old days of the NES, Final Fantasy had some of the best music and sound ever to grace the world of gaming, and although it can't go that far now it still has some great music. The music that plays in most castles is marvelous, and the game also has a rather cool-sounding battle theme. There is also a rather high number of musics in this game, and a good number of them are pretty good. The sound is pretty good considering what some NES games out there can sound like. It's mostly beeps, slashes, and other sounds that can get annoying at times, but there've been worse-sounding games.
Final Fantasy is a good game from Squaresoft. It's one of the weakest entries in the series, but hey, I'm not saying a lot by saying that, because most of the games in the FF series were excellent. Final Fantasy gets tedious at some points, and therefore this game is not for everyone. Still, if you are willing to face up with the problems like the fact you're bankrupt in a great portion of the game and the difficulty could get the better of you, I suggest that you pick a copy up on eBay and play the classic that began the series. Or better yet, you can buy the PSX version in Final Fantasy Origins. You should enjoy it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 10/29/03
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