Review by SMuffinMan
"Nothing beats old school"
Some say it's the truth, others say it's just a rumor that Square took hold of and claimed it was true, but the story goes that Square was a struggling company that was just about to go out of business because of their low quality games. They decided it was time to release one last game before letting their candle extinguish and being a forgotten chapter in the history of video gaming. Square decided to try it's hand at creating an RPG, shortly after seeing the success of Dragon Warrior by Enix. The result was the popular title, Final Fantasy, and it saved the company from the brink of bankruptcy and today, they're now one of the most powerful developers in the gaming industry. This review is for Final Fantasy, the game that took the world by storm and would continue to do so for decades.
Story-10/10: In a mystical world that once flourished and held a balance with the forces of nature, that balance is being somehow being disrupted. It is prophesized that four young warriors, each holding a mysterious, dimmed out orb (or, crystals in later iterations of the title), and they would go on a journey and restore balance to the world. The Earth had begun to rot, destroying crops all over the world. The seas began to rage, making it tough for boats to survive the troubled waters without risk of losing some crew. The wind nearly came to a total standstill, once again making it difficult for ships, because they had to rely mostly on sails. The Four Warriors of Light prove themselves to be as such, and figure out the cause of the problem and destroy it. They arrive in the kingdom of Corneria, and must prove themselves to the king by saving his daughter, Princess Sara, from the clutches of Garland, the once most powerful knight in Corneria, who has turned rogue. Once the warriors of light have defeated Garland, they begin their journey to save the world. Along the way, they'll meet many mystical and fantastical races of beings, such as elves and mermaids, who will help the warriors of light in their long, difficult journey. Only by restoring light to the four orbs, can the world be truly saved and balance once again be restored to the world. This may sound much like an empty plot, but consider the age of the game, back when storylines didn't have to be full of twists and surprises. Though, don't worry, you will find some of those here if you stick it out long enough. It's a simple yet effective plot that many of us older fans will hold in our hearts forever.
Gameplay-10/10: Upon starting up your new file, you'll have six classes to choose from for each of the warriors. This adds a fair amount of customization for the game, as well as allowing you to make the game more challenging later on. The classes are the fighter, blackbelt, thief, red mage, white mage, and black mage. You can decide how many you want as well. You can have two fighters and two white mages, or two red mages and two blackbelts, or a team of all four with just one class. The characters don't have set names either, so just name them whatever you like! Once you've decided on a party, you start on the world map just outside of Corneria. On the world map, like so many RPGs, you will get into random encounters that pit you against an enemy or group of enemies. The game utilizes a turn-based system, meaning you get to decide your actions, and then the battle begins (unless the enemies get a sneak attack on you, in which case they get a free turn). You can attack or use an item on your party, such as tonics. You can also use the flee command to run away from the battle if you feel like you can't handle that fight. When you defeat an enemy, you'll gain some money and experience points. Once you have enough experience points, your characters will level up and their stats will increase upon doing so. Once you're in a town, you can visit various shops. Black and white magic shops are mostly for your mages, and you can buy spells for them to equip. Each mage has eight levels of magic and can hold three spells of each level at a time, so you'll have to choose wisely. You can also visit armor and weapon shops for better equipment. You'll want to keep plenty of money on hand so money won't be an issue. You can save your game by going to the town Inn and sleeping there, which will also restore all of your hit points and magic points. You will definitely be visiting these a lot. They don't cost too much money, thankfully. Once you're done with that and finally ready, you can venture out of town and towards the next dungeon. Dungeons are like the world map in that you will get into random encounters here as well. Along the way, you'll encounter many great treasures to be had, a lot of which is better than the stuff you can find in shops! At the end of a dungeon, you will either get a key item to help you in your journey or go up against a boss monster. Just in case, remember to be fully healed when you start a dungeon, and again when you get to the end of one.
Graphics-10/10: For the time this game was released, the graphics were great. For such a large game, they were able to incorporate a lot of detail. The monster design in this game is excellent too, as there are so many different types of enemies you can find. The bosses all have great, fantastic designs as well. There are plenty of NPCs with differing designs as well, and nothing looks out of place here. People look like people, water looks like water, and so forth. It surprises me how much they were able to fit inside the tiny little 8-bit cartridge. The background environments in battle look pretty good too, for what you get. They obviously had to make cuts somewhere, and the battle background is where it happened. For the the most part, it's just all black with a tiny strip of background in the back. Still, everything that is here looks great and that's what really counts. Quality over quantity, as they say.
Sound/Music-10/10: This game has perhaps one of the greatest soundtracks in the series, composed by the greatest video game music composer of all the, Nobuo Uematsu. Nobuo got everything right in this game, as he usually does. The atmosphere his music provides is exactly what the game is supposed to feel like, and stays true to the game's title. He did the perfect job for this game, helping to add to the fantastic nature and atmosphere of the game. The battle music is also fantastic, though this would be another place that they made cuts. Final Fantasy doesn't feature any boss music whatsoever, so don't get your hopes up. Two of the songs, Prelude and Prologue, would stand the test of time and still be featured in the series as far as Final Fantasy IX, mostly just during the credits scenes. The familiar starting notes of the battle music would also be heard up until Final Fantasy VII, and returned one more time with Final Fantasy IX. Nobuo did such a great job composing this game that the pieces stand the test of time. Despite it coming out of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment system, all of the music sounds simply wonderful. So kudos to, and my hats off to Nobuo Uematsu.
Total Score-10/10: Whether it saved the company or not, Final Fantasy was a major hit, and it's legacy continues to this very day. Final Fantasy has seen several remakes in an attempt to show what the newer generation has missed, but they are still pretty different from the original. Thankfully, this game in it's original glory is available on the Wii's virtual console, so you can now pick up this classic at a bargain price! I recommend this game to any die-hard Final Fantasy fan, but note that this game requires a lot of patience. If you're patient and love the series, then you definitely cannot miss out on this game.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy (US, May 1990)
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