Review by Braben
"I can’t help it, it was my first rpg."
That is it, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest was the first rpg in my life, thanks to this little game a new world was opened in front of my eyes. From the day I finished this game, I immediately tried to play as much rpgs as I could, I stopped playing all the games I used to and started looking for rpgs only.
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is probably a gaiden, Japanese call gaiden to all of those games that are part of a famous saga but had nothing to that saga’s main story, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a gaiden, or the X series of Mega Man, just to give some examples.
I can barely remember anything about the plot, I remember that there was some kind of tower where you had to find three items but that’s all. Anyway, it was not the plot what kept me glued to the screen for moths, it was the amazing gameplay, and the random turn based combat system, something completely new to me. However, I remember that sometimes there were some nice events, I remember the ending being specially good for example, but that is all I can remember.
The graphics are slightly below Final Fantasy IV, but sometimes they are undeniably beautiful, there was a mountain and a bridge where you were able to see a valley behind and things like that, and the enemy sprites during the combats are very good, I would even say better than in Final Fantasy IV.
You can consider Mystic Quest a complete waste of time or even not worthy of the Final Fantasy title, but you just can’t argue about the soundtrack, because it is as good as in any other Snes Final Fantasy. I don’t know if Nobuo Uematsu was the composer as always, probably he was because it is said that he was the only person that has worked in every Final Fantasy to date, anyway, considering the quality of the music, who would doubt that it was made by him. Beautiful.
Mystic Quest’s gameplay has nothing to do with any other Final Fantasy, and in my opinion the gameplay RULES, it is original and extremely fun, it has almost nothing to do with Final Fantasy, but that is not enough reason to bash this game so badly.
The gameplay a mix between the first Legend of Zelda and a traditional rpg, probably Mystic Quest is what Zelda would look like if it were an rpg.
An absolutely wonderful and horribly overlooked feature by Square in their later games was the way we engage combat. We can see the enemies on the screen, they are standing there waiting to battle with you. This is GREAT, because if for example there is a treasure chest behind a group of enemies, depending on how many enemies there seems to be we can decide if it is viable to fight them or we have to return to heal. Also, as we are able to jump even over enemies, sometimes we will have to think the best way to jump in order to ovoid as many combats as possible if we are running low of energy or if we just want to proceed faster It is like in Lufia II only that the enemies are ecstatic.
We can use some of our weapons as tool in Mystic Quest, when we get the exe for example, we will not only have a much powerful weapon, that axe will let us chop trees that were blocking our way, or later we will get a grappling hook to reach new areas, etc.
Then we will also have to solve puzzles in a Legend of Zelda way, combining our jumping skills with our tools, pushing or aligning pillars to proceed, and things like that.
The battle system in unique in the Final Fantasy series, it uses a Dragon Quest-ish view, only that here we can see our character at the bottom of the screen. Aside from this we have all the typical options, we can cast magic, use items like in any other Final Fantasy, etc.
We can only have another companion at the same time travelling with us, these companions are not like the usual we find in most rpgs, they will join and leave us depending on the circumstances.
The map is a bit different also, it seems like a regular rpg map, but it isn’t at all. We have predefined directions, choose one and our character will start to move automatically in that direction until he reaches the place that was in that direction. Even if I prefer the traditional map much better, I guess I kinda liked this map system.
I am not going to play again to see if it was good or what, I don’t want to play again, I don’t care if it was the worst rpg ever, I just know that for me Mystic Quest was like my second first girlfriend, something I’ll never forget.
With all, good or not, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is the perfect rpg for beginners, those who have never played an rpg have with this title their opportunity to discover why this is, and it is always going to be until the day it disappears (something that is going to happen too soon considering the crap we are seeing nowadays), the best video game genre.
”My lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors (if there’s any) are because I’m not from an English speaking country, sorry about that.”
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/17/04
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