Review by Walker Boh Ohmsford
"A few technical issues, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a great..uh...games!"
In about 1999 or so, Squaresoft decided to release a game that had never made it to the U.S. side of the globe. They also decided to rerelease a game which had made it over here along with it. THese two wer Final Fantasy 5 (not released here except maybe via emulator), and Final Fantasy 6 (released here under the name 'Final Fantasy 3'). These two make up Final Fantasy Anthology, which is sort of an unfitting title for a package of only two games, but I didn't make it, so who am I to complain.? So how does this..uhm..games? fare? Well, both have some small (or serious, depending how you look at it), issues. More on that later..but of course not too much later. I'll do it in two parts, one for each game.
Control 10-10. Ah, the simplicity of true RPG controls and gameplay. None of that crap featured in FF8 (sorry to any fans of FF8 who might read this). It's all easy to learn. A beginner who is completely new to RPG's probably would be daunted by this game, but I doubt it'd take them long to figure it out once they'd played around with other games in the RPG genre. There is, admittedly, some loading time for certain functions. In FF5 it isn't really that noticeable except for when you bring up your menu screen. Even then it's maybe a second, maybe a little more, but that's all. I think it has something to do with the fact that Square didn't bother to reformat these games to make them more PSX friendly. Everything is exactly as it was on the SNES, or in FF5's case, the Super Famicom.
Audio 10-10. Ok, it sounds exactly (or almost exactly), as it does on SNES, but who cares!? The sound effects in this game do sound a bit muffled when played on a normal TV, but I discovered that part of this depended on whether my Audio wire for my PlayStation was in the proper slot. If you really want to experience this game's sound however, get yourself a Home Theater and hook up your PSX through that. Already wonderful songs are accentuated when played through stereo speakers! But enough technical talk. The music in this game is possibly the best after FF6, with Nobuo Uematsu working diligently to get every last ounce out of the audio hardware he had to work with. Even the porting to the PSX doesn't change the sound much. It's still excellent. I can say truthfully that I have heard the original audio from this game, because I have a collection of .spc files. Anyway, Uematsu knew what he was doing here. It makes ya wonder where his creativity went when he worked on FF7-9 (sorry Nobuo if you're reading).
Story 10-10. Ok, so in many ways (only one really), the plot of this game is the same as FF1. The Crystals of the Elements are being drained of their power by an evil force, and it's your job to save the world. However unstead of merely four characters, there are a few more who will aid you, and many more abilities to learn than in FF1. And it's not four fiends who drain the power, but one incredibly pissed-off wizard called Exdeath, or X-death as I have also heard him called.
Overall 10-10. I strongly recommend that all FF fans who haven't played this game do so, whether it be the PSX version or an emulated version. It's well worth it.
Control 8-10. This game is just as easy to comprehend as FF5, but the load times are much more noticeable, and yes, this is a very bad thing. It's very irritating, since you have almost a second of almost total silence between the battle victory theme and the resuming of play, and the same goes for entering and exiting menus. Other than that, this game is still as good as on the SNES.
Audio 10-10. Nobuo, you amaze me yet again with your compositions. This music tops that of any previous FF game! The sorrow themes are all quite sorrowful (duh), and the battle themes vary depending on what the feel needs to be. Really powerful bosses (Kefka's Monument anyone?), have a menacing yet intense feel to them. Characters also have their own themes, unlike prior games it's much more noticeable here.
Story 10-10. A thousand years have passed since the War of the Magi reduced the world to smoldering waste. Now, the planet has recovered and peace has reigned..until now. The Magitek Empire is seeking world domination, and in their ranks is Kefka, a madman who will stop at nothing to destroy the world, even if it means destroying the man he serves, the Magitek Emperor!
Overall 10-10. Inspite of the slowdown, this game's well worth it. Give it a try on SNES first though, then see how you like the PSX version. You might be able to look past the slowdown as I was, and then again you might find it too cumbersome.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/01, Updated 03/01/03
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