Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
Review by Czardia
"A Whimsical Adventure..."
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. The name alone speak overtones. Back in 1992, when the game first hit US SNES consoles, people were probably expecting a lot from it. While many find it to be lackluster, it is no doubt due to the fact that they have played the few FF games released prior to this one and expected nothing less than perfection. Some call it the beginners RPG, others call it too simple and linear. I call it a whimsical and unforgettable adventure.
Lets start with graphics. Well we are working with SNES 1992 potential, so you will not be blown away by any means. But they get the job done, character sprites and simple animations are what you will be seeing. The rest is all about your imagination. The colors are bright and vibrant, and the animations smooth and simple.
Onto sounds and music, this is one of the games real strong points. The musical score is catchy and you will surely find yourself playing it over and over in your head. From the soothing scores of the Level Forest and Falls Basin, to the upbeat and vibrant Focus Tower and Boss Theme, this games music just grabs you and pulls you in. The sounds are also well done, the swipes of your weaponry, the wisps and howls of magic, it all flows together very well. Simply amazing for the time period.
Next up is the story. It is pretty straight forward, you are the chosen warrior of destiny, you must revive the 4 elemental crystals of the world and save a lost explorer who holds a terrible secret. It just screams Final Fantasy. There are lots of comical aspects to the story as well, it is a more lighthearted tale than most of the other games in the series. This appealed to me right away. You also will befriend others who fight alongside you, each with a unique personality and abilities. Everyone has a favorite character, you will no doubt find one you relate to here. Its not epic or incredible, but it is whimsical and moving.
Gameplay is different than most FF games. Instead of random battles, you are given enemy sprites to engage, each is placed at key points in dungeons or areas of the map to explore. From forests to mines to towers, there is much diversity. Once in battle, you will face 1-3 enemies, each with unique sprites that will change when they are damaged, sometimes twice for more complex enemies. Some have weaknesses, as with all FF games, but this game not only has elemental but also weapon weaknesses, I liked this idea and it was a welcome addition to the RPG genre back in 1992 that made it stand out a bit. While the game is never really challenging, there are parts where you will become lost, and required to explore or backtrack trying to find out what to do next. This draws away from the linearity of the game and thats always a plus in my book. Of course there is the occasional boss battle that may become frustrating, but hey, thats what makes it fun right? The environments are also designed for interaction, you can jump, hack and slash with your weapons, and even grapple over and destroy some parts. All in all this was a refreshing change from the carbon copy RPGS of this time period.
Fun factor is high. The game moves pretty quickly, a newcomer will probably get about 20 hours out of it, a RPG veteran might even get 15. Once you have beaten it, you should have no trouble finishing it again in under 11 hours tops. This adds a little bit to the replay-ability, as you wont have to log huge amounts of time to revisit your favorite parts of the game. Its always fun trying out new spells or weapons to see how they work and affect your enemies.
All in all, this is one of my all time favorite RPG games. It strikes that perfect balance of simplicity and complexity. When I first tried it I was pulled in right away and didnt want to put it down till I had completely finished it. Since then I have probably beaten the game over 100 times, done low level challenges and I have even taught my young daughter to play the game and she absolutely LOVES it. If there were only one word to describe this game, it would be whimsical.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/08/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (US, 10/05/92)
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