Review by Axion9
"Not without its flaws, but very enjoyable nonetheless."
It has been a long time in coming, but Square has finally decided to re release Final Fantasy IV (previously known as Final Fantasy II for the SNES) and Chrono Trigger together in a single package known as Final Fantasy Chronicles. Both of these games redefined the RPG genre when they were released and are considered by many to be the stuff of legends. Although these games can be deemed antiquated by today's standards, especially in terms of graphics, it is their gameplay which truly makes them shine. But how did they hold up in translation? Read on to find out.
Final Fantasy IV
This game was the actual reason that made me decide to buy Chronicles (I already own FFII and CT for SNES). This isn't to belittle Chrono Trigger, which is an excellent game. However, I was looking forward to playing the ''restored'' version that America never saw. For those of you who don't know (I'm assuming here), There were two original versions of Final Fantasy IV, an ''easy type'' and a more difficult ''hard type''. America only got the easy type, which suffered from a censored/sloppy translation, easier difficulty, fewer character abilities, and lesser items. Chronicles changes all of this.
First off, there is a brand new translation. While it is more mature than the one from FFII, there is really nothing new added either. If you've played the Super Nintendo version before, then you've already got the gist of what is going to be said. The inclusion of curse words is a good decision in my opinion, because I think that they can really add to the tension/emotion of a scene if used at the right time. FFIV has an excellent story, with good character development and plot twists abound. I'm not going to go into details about the story; suffice it to say that is epic, and up to the standards of most square games (i.e. excellent).
The music and sound effects are ported faithfully over and sound great. All the music in this game is enjoyable, particularly some of the dungeon themes, especially the final dungeon.
Graphics wise, there isn't much to say now. The game does show its age, but I don't care. What is there is decent, just don't expect any jaw dropping summons (although the summons in the game were incredible to me when I was 9). The FMVs that Square added are short, but sweet.
On to gameplay. Slowdown is very minimal in this game, except on two occasions (When you save and when you use your item menu in battle).You also have the new ability to dash, which is very nice. FFIV deviates from modern Final Fantasies (VII, VIII, IX) in that characters are pigeonholed into separate classes with clearly defined abilities. The story is also linear to a very large degree, which may put off some people. These qualities do not detract from enjoying the game in any way though; They stand to serve as landmarks of how Final Fantasy has evolved. Overall, the gameplay is more than solid.
If I've said so many positive things, then how come I've only given the game an 8? A few reasons- Even though this game is still excellent, it now suffers the victim of being a little cliche compared to the saturation of RPGs available in America now. Without spoiling anything, there are several cheesy moments and an incredibly unrealistic and sappy ending that doesn't make sense to me. I also think that it wouldn't have hurt Square to have redesigned the menus in this game, which are clunky at best (And also suffer from slowdown during battles). I realize that they are just porting over the original, but still- When you want to give a character a potion, you have to click twice, click again it give them the item, and then the game reverts back to the item menu, where you have to repeat the process over. I know this is a minor irk, but hey, this is my review.
There is not much about this game that hasn't been said already. The Chronicles translation is a high quality port, except for one area- Slowdown, particularly when you open your main menu up. I don't fathom as to why Final Fantasy IV has almost no slowdown while this game l-a-g-s. Other than that annoyance, Chrono Trigger plays like a dream, with plenty of RPG goodness to keep you entertained for days (And with its numerous multiple endings, it will). Uncovering all the endings will net you different hidden options, which can be accessed via a bonus menu.
I also have to comment on the new FMVs. They rule! Being a fan of Akira Toriyama (Creator of Dragonball who also did character design for Chrono Trigger), it was a treat for me to see animated versions of Chrono, Marle, Lucca, Frog, Magus, and the rest of the Chrono Trigger cast. I know I've been remiss about explaining/detailing the categories and nuances of this game, so I recommend reading a review dedicated to Chrono Trigger only. If you don't want to though, take my word for it; this game rules the planet.
All in all,Final Fantasy Chronicles is a very enjoyable package, with slowdown being its biggest flaw. Buy these games and relive the era of SNES RPG greatness. You won't be disappointed.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 07/07/01, Updated 07/07/01
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