Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Square starts the legacy here..."

In a long standing tradition of video game RPG’s, only one company truly stands out among the rest as being the king of all RPG games everywhere with the continuing saga of Final Fantasy. Even though the names have changed, as have the stories and the evil that you fight throughout, nothing will ever replace the first Final Fantasy as being the stepping stone in a huge path that we’ve all come to know! Squaresoft truly created a saga when the release of this title came to the Nintendo Entertainment System, marking the first time that a RPG had been given depth and required hours upon hours of game play to complete. Even though the game itself lacks any true story and the game play by today’s standards is something that most RPG gamers will find to be too linear and relatively annoying, Final Fantasy is truly a mark into the video game archives and should be respected for what it began. Giving you six different classes with four characters and forcing you to embark on a long {abet tedious at points} journey to defeat the four elemental forces, RPG gamers that are starving for some old school action on an ancient and long dead system!

The game play is what most people will find to be a little on the repetitive side in which you spend more time fighting numerous battles to gain gold for better equipment that you actually do trying to defeat the game. Unlike the future Final Fantasy games, the start of the series really comes off at a slow pace in which you have no real side goals to complete and the adventure is over once you’ve leveled your characters to such a point that nothing can defeat them! What you’ll find here is that the gold system and upgrading your weapons, armor and otherwise is what takes the most time, forcing a time log in of hours upon hours, if not weeks of play just to get to another point of where you can buy something slightly new for your characters. As a plus side to Final Fantasy, you’ll find that there are six different classes of characters that you can play as, each with their own little bit of attributes and skills that can be used for different situations. Where a Fighter class character is heavily into physical attacks and just plain man-handling the enemies, a White Mage can do little more that cast spells on the party that will heal and support them all. You’ll also find that there are hybrid character classes that allow you to have a little bit of all of the attributes, but nothing that will fully make use of the character class that it encompasses!

Control is something of an issue, in which most of the game is played through a rather complex set of menu systems that allow you to use and harness different attributes and skills depending on the characters in question. While a veteran to this type of menu based action will find nothing new here, a beginner to a game of this type, especially with the interface that is being used, will probably find that the options you have and using them effectively is a matter of trial and error! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in which you have to really learn what turn-based RPG action is all about if you really want to get into the later Final Fantasy games. Giving Squaresoft credit, the control interface isn’t too difficult in which anyone of any skill level can find their niche and learn how to use everything that the game has to offer in about an hour or so anyway.

Visually, the game is simple in just about every way. The characters are all slightly different depending on what class you’ve made them, and you’ll find that the smaller bits of detailing in each of the classes is just enough to be able to tell them apart. Movement is strictly frame by frame in which you have a little bit of motion and some slight action before the ever-present {at the time anyway} hit effect happens and either you or your target is killed! The landscapes and otherwise that you run into are more or less Dragon Warrior style layouts, in which you have huge lands and several different creatures to look at, although the battles are fought at the side scrolling view. If you take a look at what we have now, as compared to what we had then, you’ll find that for an old NES game, this was about as good as the visuals got in an RPG, and it really did do different things than other RPG’s that were featured on the NES at the time.

Audio wise, the game hadn’t found its mark with epic sounding battles and overall music. While the music is enough to keep you slightly interested in what the game has to offer, there is nothing here that is completely or entirely memorable with most of the key musical points being with the massive boss battles! The sound effects pretty much fall the same way, in which you have nothing more than a few thuds and otherwise to really show that something action filled is going on during the different battles. Other Final Fantasy games pretty much top this, with Final Fantasy 6 {or 3 in the United States} coming out on top as some of the best musical and effect tracks that could be found on a previous generation system. If you can get into the older style RPG music {like Dragon Warrior for instance} then you should have no problem working with what can be found here.

While Final Fantasy isn’t the most technologically advanced RPG for the Nintendo Entertainment System, it does stand out as being one of the first to offer a rather ‘involved’ game play aspect that centered around battle and experimentation. With repetitive battles, lack of gold giving enemies and a complex control interface, only the most die-hard of RPG fans will find true enjoyment in this old school action! However, if you’re a Final Fantasy buff, you can find this game, and you’re willing to spend a few bucks to do it, you’ll find that Final Fantasy is the stepping stone to what we have now, and is worth the money that you spend on it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/02/02, Updated 01/02/02

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