Review by BimmyandJimmy
"Spells surround me day and night, stricken by the force of evil light."
God there are a lot of RPG games out the for the NES, and there is no way that a single solitary gamer like myself will ever get around to playing them all without killing myself in the proses. To give a scope of how large the number of RPG exists for the console, the number of games released here in North America is nothing but a microcosm compared to the number of RPG games that have been released in Japan. Although, that's completely understandable seeing as how creepily RPG crazy the Japanese are when you compare to us North Americans, especially in the 1980s.
There are many reasons why the genera is far more popular in Japan than here in North America. One reason, for example, is that RPG games tend to focus more on creating elaborate storylines and developing character while incorporating a ton of medieval elements that you would expect to find in any album made by Manowar or any other awesome Power metal band from the 80s and belive me, the Japaneses really love their Power or Progressive metal. You know, such cliched elements such as shirtless, muscly warriors with big swords and ragged clothed white wizards defending the land from an evil, black magic forging Necromancer who fights to gain possession of the land, as well as lives in the darkest castle on the edge of a dark, forbidding forest. It's ironic that we North Americans aren't as interested in RPGs as much seeing as how obsessed people in the 80s were over movies like Conan, or board games like Dungeons and Dragons.
Thankfully, out of a sea of crappy RPG games that we North Americans got to play, Final Fantasy was one game that combined both simple to handle gameplay and a complex storyline to boot. In fact, this game was so big here in North America that helped Squaresoft both avoid bankruptcy in the late 80s, as well as creating a never-ending slew of Final Fantasy games and a massively dedicated fan base full of nerds of all walks of life who will defend their love for these games an ANY way imaginable if they feel these game's integrity become threatened from snobs like me. When you compare this game to other overrated Nintendo adventure/RPG games like Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy leaves it in the dust with its massive and involving storyline, varied bosses and pretty graphics.
But then again, let's be realistic here, when it comes to the first Final Fantasy game, even though it was a good attempt for the first game in the series, there are still many things about this game that really bog the experience down.
So listen to me children of the night
Final Fantasy actually starts out being different from most other RPGs out on the market by letting you choose up to four different and varied characters to build your party with right at the beginning of the game, following under the same mantra of the D&D tradition. Sure, it might seem a little odd to get use to at first, but this system does have some advantages. For one, the variety of selection in the lineup allows for greater strategy and change so the game doesn't feel the same all the time. It also makes the game feel a little harder than what we gamers are typically familiar with when it comes to RPGs. Unfortunately, because the game only limits you to choose four players thought the whole entire game, it somehow makes the game seem less involving compared to the later FF games which develop and add characters later on. Ok sure, this is probably all due to a limitation thing for the time, but it still sucks that you can't add any other characters to your party later on.
Maybe the ran to the hills or something ugh that one was terrible.
Speaking of limitations, despite Final Fantasy having a ton of random battles that will stand in your way, the action in the game feels really slow and most of this has to do with the battle system. Unlike the other games, Final Fantasy doesn't have the real-time implementation set into the battle system where any character with a full turn bar can attack. Instead, you must pick each command for each of your characters to perform and then the round begins until everyone, including the enemies, has attacked. Adding that there might be multiple enemies on the screen and it seems like battles take forever to complete. Couple that with attacks that only take away damage in the high tens, low hundreds (as oppose to taking away damage upwards in the thousands), and you've got yourself one boring fight system.
Besides the lack of action, the battles system also has a few more problems. In this game, only a few characters can actually use magic in this game. Hell, there is even one character type whose sole purpose is to cast heal and cure spells while leaving his attack function pretty much dead in the water. Also, what's weird about this system is that you can't actually learn spells. Oh no, you have to buy them at either a black magic or a white magic store in the major towns in this game, and these spells aren't cheap by the way. Pretty much all of your budget at the beginning of the game will be either spent mostly on saving the game or learning magic spells. Luckily, you don't have to buy most of these spells right away, but it's still an annoyance to actually buy them, and then to learn on early in the game that you can only use a set number of them instead of the use of a magic meter. I guess that isn't much of a problem since all your spells will regenerate when you sleep in a Inn or in a couple or shelter items like houses, but to unable to regenerate them when you are weak, low on items and in the middle of a dungeon is just brutal.
Since this is a RPG, a chunk of the game's development was obviously spent on the story, so let's take a look into the story of Final Fantasy for a bit. Actually, I can pretty much just sum up the story all in a couple of words: Original, but for its time. Like I said in my Ocarina of Time review, every single RPG game after this one has used the cliched time travel story line to death now, but at the time, Final Fantasy actually had a story that was pretty new, and besides, this game came out in 1987. Who was really expecting a story as deep as this one was at the time? Not only that, but there is also character development and exposition instead of just random shmucks that you must fight or rescue. Granted it is paper-thin, but still, it's pretty damn amazing.
Either than that, the rest of the game has all the standard Squarsoft trademarks. The graphics are pretty (even though the magic animations are a little dull, but not terrible) and detailed and the environments range in many different types of terrines and topographies, the music and sound effects are clean and full of life, there are a ton of bosses to fight, things to find and buy. Hell, there is so much to do in this game that it will take you months to find it all, even if most of it is relatively pointless and uninteresting.
I guess in this day in age, the game still does offer up something, especially when you compare it to most games from its time, but when compared to the other games, they're all much better alternatives to own instead of this one, but what the hell, it may not exactly be the most thrilling game out there, actually it's downright boring at times, but at least it is still a good game that you can proudly own, instead of wasting your time with that gold-plated Necronomicon Legend of Zelda.
Yep, it's been three years and I'm still insulting that game. Damn I'm good.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/22/12, Updated 01/14/13
Game Release: Final Fantasy (US, May 1990)
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