Review by Leetdude
"An eternal classic, but the numbers disagree"
The first time I played Final Fantasy II for Super Nintendo, I was about 6 years old. I had rented it because the pictures on the back looked cool. I couldn't get out of the first castle, because the little white lines didn't look like stairs to me, they looked like a decoration. Three years later, more or less, I rented it again. I had the sense to get out of the first castle, and I found it a very great game, just like I had found Chrono Trigger as a great game a few months before. I rented it a lot until the video store near me stopped renting Super Nintendo games, and I pretty much forgot about the game. Skip to December 1999, when I got an used copy for my birthday. Commence happiness. I play it, and even though it's a time when everybody is obsessed with the super ultra deluxe graphics of the Dreamcast and Final Fantasy VIII, I enjoy it just as much as many years ago. There's just something about the game that keeps it fun many, many times through.
As implied before, the game's Graphics don't look very good at all, even for 1991. Originally, the game was going to be released for the regular Nintendo. However, when the Super Nintendo was released, Squaresoft jumped on the bandwagon and quickly reprogrammed the game onto the Super Nintendo. This was a good thing, because otherwise it probably wouldn't have been released in America, ala Final Fantasy II/IIIj. However, it was originally made for the Nintendo, and it shows. Every character only has three potential animations-walking, hanging head in embarrassment or sadness, and a strange wave of the hand to indicate... something. And the sprites were miniature. Cecil does look like a suit of armor with eyes. You can barely distinguish what they are supposed to be from the front view. This is something to be expected from the original Nintendo, but it is still fairly acceptable. The best looking thing about this Final Fantasy is the backgrounds. Using the technology of the Super Nintendo, Squaresoft did put in many more colors than in the original Final Fantasy and its two NES sequels.
What is there to seriously say about the Sound in this game? Like the Graphics, the game was originally made for the Nintendo, but was scrambled onto the Super Nintendo to jump on the gaming bandwagon going on at the time, since the Super Nintendo was new and cool. And, like the Graphics, the Sound Effects bring out the plan to have the game on the NES. The Sound Effects were nothing more than bleeps and bloops, even though you can sometimes distinct between a sword swipe and a staff hit, or Magic. Even so, nothing truly was very impressive. The Music, on the other hand, is a completely different story. This may be my favorite music in any Final Fantasy, even surpassing the classic songs of Final Fantasy VI. Overall, the Music almost makes up for the crappy sound effects, but not quite. Oh well.
The story can be either good or bad, changing in the eye of the beholder. I liked it, personally. The story revolves around Cecil, the captain of the Red Wings, a group of airships working for the most powerful nation in the world, Baron. When ordered to take the Crystal of Water from a helpless nation of wizards, Cecil does so, but questions the actions he did. When he talks to the king about his worries, the king bans him of his position until he delivers a ''Package'' to the village to the north with his friend Kain. Obviously, the game gets a lot deeper than just this. Obviously, it will end up in a cliche plot to take over the world. But even so, it's a good overall plot. The clunker, really, is the unexplainable ability of at least two characters to be alive after falling from a great height or blowing up a bomb on their back. Yep, blow yourself up and stall your enemies to save your buddies, and survive? That's realistic, all right. Also, I must note the... ''wonderful'' translation in this game. Interesting translations and questionable censorship make this game an interesting read. Most notable is Tellah's infamous ''You Spoony Bard!'' to substitute for ''You son of a *****!''. Problems such as this are very notable.
It's an RPG. There is no point in actually reviewing the Play Control in an RPG, so I will simply make a complaint here. Overall, the Play Control is quite good, like all RPGs should be. If an RPG actually has bad Play Control, it really should be noted. But this RPG has mostly great Play Control, so no real problems. The large problem with the game is the fact that the characters go obscenely slow, and there is no way to make them go faster. In Final Fantasy Chronicles, the awesome rerelease of the game, this will be fixed, but until then, we're stuck with really slow characters. That knocks the game down a point. It sucks to be us.
With all of these flaws, one would think that the game is absolutely no fun to play through. I am happy to say that this is definitely NOT the case. There's something about this game, as well as every Final Fantasy game before VI, that gives it a completely different aura, feeling, or otherwise liking from Final Fantasy games after Final Fantasy V. Something that is completely different from the latter games that makes it more enjoyable. This is probably because of the simple Graphics, but whatever it is, it makes the game more fun to play through than the future Final Fantasy games. This particular game does it the best. The medieval element to the game, with the touch of technology, makes for some of the most enjoyable areas and enemies in any Final Fantasy game. The only problem here is the large number of random enemy encounters in the game that can really make you angry. Too bad, though. Fortunately, it doesn't ruin the rest of this game's Game Play, which is pure genius.
While not being a very hard game, this game is definitely much harder than most of the latter Final Fantasy games (#6 comes immediately to mind, but the others have the same problem). While it doesn't have many difficult puzzles, the random encounters and some of the bosses are tough enough to keep you satisfied. However, it isn't nearly as hard as its Japanese counterpart, which is completely different from this version in terms of difficulty. Even so, it is fairly difficult.
This game has more Replay Value than most RPGs that I have played. This is mainly because of the large number of secret items that you have about a 1 in 64 chance of getting when you fight a particular enemy, or Sneak from them. Such items, equipment, or magic is fun to get. The biggest one, which may take up hours of time, is the Pink Tail, which can be traded for the best armor in the game. In a single room in the final area of the game, you have a 1 in 64 chance of fighting a Pink Puff. If you do, you have a 1 in 64 chance of winning a Pink Tail from them. It's always exciting to fight a Pink Puff on this quest, which adds greatly to the Replay Value, since it will probably take you many hours to get the Pink Tail.
Play Control: -1 overall point
Game Play: 29/30
Replay Value: 13/15
OVERALL: 82/100, rounded to 8/10
Even though the game isn't rated very high, because of the large number of problems with the game, this is a very good game, and my personal favorite Final Fantasy game ever. Despite having bad Graphics and only decent Sound, most of its other points are very nice. I would definitely recommend this game to nostalgic people who wish for a good Super Nintendo RPG.
Final Thoughts: If you are interested in this game, I recommend waiting for Final Fantasy Chronicles, for the Playstation. It will be cheaper than the cartridge out for the Super Nintendo. It will have a completely revamped and uncut story, similar to the Japanese version of the game. It will be as difficult as the Japanese version of the game. It will have a running button. It will even come with my personal favorite game ever, Chrono Trigger. If you wish for this game, you should get that in July instead of the Super Nintendo cartridge, for the reasons stated above.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 06/14/01, Updated 06/14/01
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