Review by askthemaster

Reviewed: 03/06/06

Solid, simplistic, RPG fun.

Game Review: Final Fantasy Legend II

I am going through another phase lately... Old Gameboy games. Once every month or two, I will travel out to some distant EB Games and look for classics for as cheap as is reasonable. I hit the jackpot a few months ago, and found this little gem made by our RPG gurus, among other games. It's very good for what it is, and it definitely stands out in comparison to other very old Gameboy RPGs, a rare breed. This is the second title out of three in the Final Fantasy Legend series, and while it may not stand out to everyone as a truly fantastic Final Fantasy game, it is still really good, and overlooked by many.

Storyline: 8/10
Like some other Final Fantasy games, you get to choose your characters at the beginning of the game from a list of many different classes. Your main character is the only one who really has any development during the course of the game, but you will still get some text from your other characters here and there. You get to name them, and you are on your way.

You start out with your dad leaving to do business from your little medieval home in a little fantasy village, and he does not return for many years. By this point, you and your mom are getting pretty anxious. So you decide to do what any pixelated person in this same situation... Go out looking for him, and become an unlikely hero.

You find out soon that the reason your father went out and never came back was because he wanted to search for Magi, pieces of a gigantic statue of a goddess which hold mysterious powers. Once people get enough of these powers, they can become very very powerful, some say even gods. So throughout the course of the game, it is your job to travel to different worlds via a large tower type thing, and collect Magi, in addition to trying to find your dad and help out whoever you can along the way.

I don't want to spoil too much more, but I really do want to say that while this may seem very cliche and common as far as RPGs go, we didn't always have these cliches. And people try to avoid them more and more as time goes on, to create more refreshing experiences. So we never actually see these kinds of stories, and they actually end up being more refreshing themselves. While you may almost be able to predict a few things as you go along in the game, you will at least be interested enough in the simple nature of things to go along.

There is no character development, but hey, no Gameboy games really have too many characters that do develop. Especially considering that you choose from different kinds of characters. That just puts a bar on that tiny opportunity, which is fine. You will notice upon playing the game more than once that having different characters as your lead makes different text happen. Your main character does most of the talking, but your other characters interject here and there too. Which brings us to the text, the only real problem I have with the games story. Lines are short, vague, and often not quite completely correct english. And many other games that were made at the time had more sufficient and consistent text. But in the end, that's okay. You can overlook this aspect by lowering your standards to it, if not just for this game. It's just not that big of a problem anyway.

Another nice thing about the game is you almost always know where to go, except on a few occasions where you have to guess a little. You always need to get Magi to unlock new entrances to new worlds, so that much is a given, and you have an item which can tell you how many more Magi are in the current world you are in. In the end, the story is decent, while the nitty gritty details may be a little dull. But if you put it all together, fans of older RPGs will not be disappointed.

Gameplay: 9/10
In the opinion of many, this game could be considered decrepid and outdated. It was long before all of the major innovations that show themselves in most RPGs today. But beyond it's simplicity, it is really, really fun.

The general system is familiar. Throughout the game, you get weapons, armor, magic, skills, etc. And you use them in battle against a myriad of enemies, while leveling up and getting stronger. Doing this, you make your way through the game little by little. But when you look closer, there are a lot of differences. Of the four classes you can choose from, each of them has very usable and distinctive abilities and stat growths. This alone makes things interesting right off the bat.

The classes are the following. Humans are the standard. They attack with weapons, equip armor, have decent stat growths, and can even use purchased magic and items. They can also gain skills. Mutants have less amazing stat growth, but they do have higher magic power than anyone else. They can gain magic naturally, which is very helpful, as it can be used over and over again. They can also equip weapons and armor. Robots are big, burly, mechanical dudes. When they equip weapons, their usage decreases. But no matter what, when they sleep at an inn, the usages go back to the original decreased usage, which is nice. They have high strength and high defense. And finally there are monsters, whose effectiveness hinges on what form they are in, which depends on meat that they eat from an enemy.

A balanced team is great, containing one of each class, but you can mix and match, include and exclude different classes for different results. Another familiar but skewed gameplay aspect is the fact that each weapon, magic skill, or anything you can actually use has a set number of uses. Magic skills or weapons of robots are the only things that can have their uses restored, and this can be done by sleeping at an inn. This means you will have to budget yourself early on to make sure you have enough money for equipment while you are training or progressing through the game. This does get annoying early on, but further on you will have more than enough uses of things as you need, and when you don't, you have enough money to sufficiently supply yourself with what you need.

And then there is the final system of Magi. It's really not as complex or even useful as any other system that is specific to a given Final Fantasy game, but it can still help. Basically, each Magi is one of nine types. Magi that increase your power, defense, speed, and magic, four different kinds that raise resistance to different elemental attacks, and then some other various Magi used for story or other miscelaneous purposes. You can only equip one kind of Magi to one character at once, but the differences are noticable.

Then there are some other miscelaneous things. Every once and a while, another character will join your original four characters. The level-up system is rather random, but it still works, even if you have no idea when your characters are actually going to level up. That's one small downside, I guess.

This is a run of the mill RPG with it's own individual personality, just like you would expect it to be. It is just generally a lot of fun to play on the go or just at home.

Graphics: 8/10
You have to keep in mind, this is a gameboy game, so nothing is going to be completely perfect or outstanding in the graphics department. But I have to say, for what they are, the graphics are effective. Each sprite is nicely done to reflect a character, and monsters too, of which there are tons of types to be used in the game. Yes, everything is recycled often, but hey, it's all good. We aren't asking for anything outstanding here.

But there are a lot of specific graphics for areas too, and these are plush and fun. Another thing that really pleases me are the enemy graphics. In battle, one character portrait can represent a group of enemies. And there are a lot of these portraits. While they are reused too, once again, they still work, and there are a lot of them anyway. When you attack, you get a nice little graphic of a sword, axe, magic, etc hitting the enemy.

Once again, the graphics are more than sufficient for what they are, while not completely outstanding. Very good.

Sound: 10/10
People that really rabidly follow the soundtracks of games will get a kick out of this. The music is great, especially for a gameboy game, and there are a lot of memorable tunes that you can start humming along with once you have played the game for a little while. The sound effects are smooth. Really, not the winning category, but as good as things can be here.

Controls: 8/10
...It's an RPG. A is to select something, control pad is to move, etc. One bad thing is that nothing is really explained to you in the very beginning, and you have to figure out the games mechanics on your own. And then there are some other confusing aspects... You might not know what a spell or an item does, because there is no way you can check it as far as I know, or get an explanation. In the end, things here are not too bad.

Difficulty: 8/10
Yes, this is about as difficult as any other RPG. But for the average amount of training a given player does, there will be some areas that are too easy or too hard. It depends. A lot of this hinges on if you are an anxious person and just want to get the game the hell over with, or if you are okay with sitting down for a little bit and just training.

Replayability: 8/10
There aren't any unlockables or that many sidequests to keep you busy for an extended period of time after you have beaten the game. But considering this is a great game on it's own, it's not that hard to come back to after a while and just play.

Overall: 8/10
This is really a classic, and it is still fun today to play. While it may be simple, it is also fun, and a must have for anyone who collects classic gameboy titles. If you can find this at a store that sells used old games, it shouldn't be that expensive, so go for it if you like RPGs or Final Fantasy titles.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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