Review by Princess Lynaly
"Princess Lynaly is a hardcore gamer, and here is what she thinks of Final Fantasy!"
Final Fantasy. When this game was released, the Japanese players were already getting ready to play Final Fantasy 3. Over there the series was gaining fast popularity. Here, it was making a new start. This game did pretty well, mainly due to Nintendo Power's extensive advertising and promotions. Was the game good? Ultimately you must decide for yourself by playing it, but if you want some more background info before you bother, then read on....
Final Fantasy was pretty good looking for an NES game from 1987. Good enough, in fact, that it looks better than all 4 of the Dragon Warrior/Quest games released on the same system. (argue this if you will). Yoshitaka Amano did the designs but the only place where it is noticeably apparent is the monsters. Everything is nicely colored using the limited palette of the good old NES. There aren't a lot of fancy effects here, but what is there is easy to appreciate unless you just can't stand anything below the standards of newer games.
Yes, even all the way back then, Nobuo Uematsu provided the score for this game. Even with the limited sound capabilities, the music is quite fitting and a few tracks are catchy. This game introduced the Prelude theme, the victory theme, and the Final Fantasy theme. It also featured the roll and the drum beat at the beginning of the battle. The only problem with the music is that it repeats a lot. If you open a treasure chest, the track starts over; open a menu, the same and when you advance to a new floor on a multi-tiered area, once again it will start over.
Unlike it's successors, Final Fantasy's premise was simple, more of a background to help make the whole quest seem more feasible. This is not a terribly bad thing either, what story there is was more in depth than your average game. You did have to save a princess, but that was maybe the first 10 minutes of the game. Once the cliche is out of the way, the adventure begins! Final Fantasy's story points pretty much fleshed out it's many fetch quests and only about halfway through does a more detailed plot seem to arise even though by the end, the whole time loop concept is somewhat confusing. Final Fantasy was more about adventure and exploration rather than a complicated plot. There isn't really an ending either but don't let that keep you from playing this. The feeling of accomplishment is your reward for completing this game.
Much like the original Dragon Warrior, success in this game comes quicker to those with patience. (excuse the somewhat Oxymoron there) You will have to devote some time to gaining levels and saving money if you intend to kill the more powerful opponents. Even in the beginning, your party is very frequently outnumbered and overpowered. Seems to tough? Maybe sometimes it is, but the solution is simple: Gain levels. The difficulty is also somewhat based on your party choice as well. No, the stats of your enemies aren't adjusted to fit your party, but certain combinations of characters make it easier in some ways to progress. For example, a party of 3 fighters and maybe a white wizard will have a much more hassle free journey than a party of 4 black mages. Sure, the cost to outfit the fighters, soon to be knights, will be high, but you'll see your party wiped out fewer times, if even at all.
Not too swell. Managing menus is somewhat simple but there is no 'memory' implied. Items cannot be bought in bulk, only one at a time and this makes it annoying when you must buy several of a certain item. (Heal potions, Antidotes) In the menu, to use these items, they must be selected all over again to use them again, and it normally passes through two windows before you use something like a heal potion, after it's done, you must do the process again to use another. It's tedious but this is the first game and it could have been much worse. Unlike Dragon Warrior games you don't have to use a command to talk to people or use stairs. The main exploration interface isn't different at all from any other Final Fantasy game as there is the basic ''accept'' button for A, and the ''decline'' button for B. Start opens the main menu screen and select is reserved for the placement of the party members.
The Pace and the Length:
Final Fantasy is not a very long game, but it draws it's time mainly from gaining levels and money. The pace is somewhat slow, again, requiring your patience in order to progress. There is no timer but I imagine the game takes about a solid 15-20 hours to complete, maybe less if you're good at it; or your party choice advances quickly. The game starts out a bit slow but when it gets going, you'll be wrapped up in it. You just have to give it a chance, things get a lot more interesting once you pass the Marsh cave and advance into the outer world.
The Overall Style:
Purely medieval fantasy for the most part. Weapons are made up of swords, knives, axes, rods, etc. There are no guns except for robotic enemies. Yes, there is one part in this game that breaks the mold and that is the floating castle. It's mechanical, your enemies consist of mainly machines, and the main enemy (if you run into him) is a machine called the WarMech who uses it's cannons and the Nuke spell to do you in. The rest of the game is standard fantasy faire.
Final Fantasy is a good, solid game. It's not without it's flaws, but neither is any game. It introduced us to it's unique style and is the beginning from which all the succeeding games come from. Every Final Fantasy game bears a trait or two from this one game. It's definitely worth playing, if not for enjoyment, then for a history lesson on how the most talked about RPG series of all time got it's start.
I give this game an 8, docking only 2 points for it's interface and sometimes over-excessive battles. Do yourself a favor and play this one, with emulators there is no excuse of ''I can't find a copy''.
A further note: I haven't played the Wonderswan Color version so I can't comment on it, I will remind you that it is in Japanese so that may make things difficult for you if you can't read it. All I can say is that it definitely looks better and the music is on par with the Sega Genesis.
Thanks for reading my review! Next up, Final Fantasy 2!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/05/01, Updated 04/07/02
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