Review by Beast404

"Over-rated by far. This game just isnít worthy of this generation of gaming, yet it is priced the same as any other new game."

You might be wondering right off the bat, “why does this guy give this game a 2/10 when others give it a 10/10?”
I give this game a 2/10 because I've never been so bored with a game I paid 40$ for. I've bought other NES re-releases for handheld systems, but those were 15$ and titled “NES Classics.” They have just released this in the US for the first time, so it's a full 40$. This game is being treated like a new game in its pricing, so I have rated it in comparison to the games it is being sold on the same level with.

To contrast my review with others, I must point out that people rating this game 8 or higher are probably devout Final Fantasy fans, or at least fans of “oldschool” RPGs. If you yourself are a fan of either, this game may be worth the 40$ to YOU. As for me, I can't understand why something 16 years old would cost so much, even if they made the graphics better.

The main thing you should understand before you buy this game is this:
If you have played an RPG in the past 16 years, you will most likely find NOTHING new in this game. All those years of innovation have passed this game by. They tried to make this game suitable for our generation by pumping it full of pretty graphics, but that doesn't really help the gameplay.

Time for the breakdown.

Sound: 7/10

Let's start with something positive, shall we? The sound is great. I love the sound that comes on during the video before you start the game. I love the classic song that comes on at the “Press Start” screen. The music during the game, although not my favorite, is pretty good as well. But all the great music couldn't get the game's rating up too much in my book. Why? Because what good is a pie crust without good filling? What good is a game without fun gameplay? Bottom line here, the sound is good, but it doesn't save the game.

Graphics: 6/10

I actually would have liked the old spites better. It's not that this game doesn't have good graphics; it's just that when I'm playing a game that is old style, I like the old style sprites. To tell you about this games graphics, I would say that the beginning video is amazing. Just beautiful. When you first get a character in your party, there is a portrait of the character that is astounding. Yet, when in game, you get characters that are only slightly above FF7 graphics. You also have to factor in the 2 inch screen. So really, the graphics aren't what you should be going for in a handheld game anyway. All the more reason to stay with old sprites, in my opinion.

Story: 1/10

Total cheese fest. Seriously. The story is so cheesy. Back in the 90's this was probably epic, but now it has just been done so much that it really is a bore. If you don't want spoilers, obviously you shouldn't be reading the story section of a review, but I'll mark it anyway. **SPOILERS** of the beginning of the game**
You start off knowing nothing much of your character, like any other game. You begin in a cave with battles all over, but nothing that would kill you, really. You fight a boss after a few minutes of play. Then you meet a talking crystal. The crystal tells you to find warriors that are fit to join you on your quest. After gathering up your party of four (including your starting character) you go back to the crystal to get the specifics of your quest, and here is your mission:
You (all of your characters) have been chosen by the crystal to be the warriors of light. You must defeat the darkness and bring balance to the world, or the world will be lost in darkness forever.
Wow, haven't heard that a million times. Not to mention the story is so simple a four year old could understand it. I like a story that will make me think and imagine. If someone had never played a video game with a story, or read a book before, maybe this would intrigue them. Having done both numerous times, I was not amused.

Controls: 10/10

As with most RPGs, not much to say here. You have more buttons that you need, and they don't take much getting used to. You cane even use the touch screen for menus if you like. That's not my thing, but some people like the stylus for menus in games.

Gameplay: 1/10

I can't rate it higher. I really didn't have fun. I was expecting fun, so I was being patient for a long time. Then I realized nothing was coming.
The battle system is this: You select your moves for all your characters, then they attack in order of speed. The enemies will attack in turn as well if they are faster. It seems random at times, but that doesn't matter much.

Your moves are very limited. With your basic job class, you can use cast basic magic and use decent weapon attacks. The magic is too limited for that class, so it's not much help in that class. The basic commands that anyone can do are attack, defend, use items, run away, change equips, etc. When you win a battle, you get EXP that levels you up of course, as well as money. The Job Points aren't visible; it actually depends on the attacking you do. But strangely, job levels don't really do much. They don't help you unlock new classes, or help your performance much. It basically tells you how long you were playing as that job, in my eyes, but it really does more.

As you progress, you get more classes from the talking crystal. You'll get classes like Thief, Warrior, Monk, Red Mage, Black Mage, White mage, etc. Most classes have only ONE special thing it can do. The Thief has two, but neither does much. You can use Steal and Flee, which is just a better way to run away. Flee doesn't help much, and the stealing isn't much use because all you get is potions 9 times out of 10. That is NOT a joke or an exaggeration. That really what you're getting from enemies. Sometimes you'll get a soft or maiden's kiss, and those are actually useful, considering status ailments remain active after battle. Not to mention those status healing items aren't cheap. But alas, you don't steal them often enough to worry about that.

As for the Warrior and Monk, they are even less interesting than the Thief. You have variations on normal attacks. That's it. You can equip different things, and you have different HP growth, but that difference is between every class. The variations in attacks are this: Warrior has “Advance” which attacks with more damage, but makes you take more damage. Monk actually has a defend-attack mix. You defend and if you're hit, you counter back double damage.

Mage classes use magic of course, and they're the most interesting characters by far. You have only a few magic points for each level of spells, so you really have to use them wisely in the beginning before you level-up enough to be able to cast much. You'll start out with just a few level 1 casts. After leveling up you will be able to cast a few level 2 spells, then level 3 and so on. Even if you use all your level one casts, it won't affect how many level 2, 3, 4, etc, cast you get. You get new spells simply by equipping them. You don't learn them, and there are no benefits of being this class. In fact, your HP growth is bad with mages, so using them will cause you to have low HP later on in the game.

The spells aren't anything interesting either. You have to remember that this is still a very early RPG, so even though you have four characters, different jobs, and spells, the game feels more generic than anything.

Also, a noteworthy bit is the fact that the random battles are VERY random as far as when they come. As with all random battles, you never know when the next fight will come, hence the name. But in many games you know round about when you may get a fight. You can usually just feel out how long you must walk to get fights if you're a regular RPG player, but in this game you could get a battle in 20 steps or 2 steps. In all actuality I believe I once got a battle after about 4 steps. I never like battles that interrupt quite that often. It's nice to be able to walk, in my opinion.

To sum up this section, the battles aren't very interesting or fun; combined with the fact that they come very often, makes for very tedious gameplay.

Obviously I didn't find this game fun to play, so I won't rate replay value.

Overall this game just lacks anything that a “new” game should have. It's being treated like a new game in its pricing, so I have rated it along side the games it is being sold on the same level. This game should be found in the bargain bin of NES games, but here in the US we have to pay 40$ because it didn't come out back in 1990. It is simply not worth 40$. The best thing about this game is the nice promo DS foam case I got with it. I have to admit I do like that quite a bit.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

Originally Posted: 04/18/07

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