Review by TBranford

"Who cares if it is a beginners RPG? It is so much fun!"

When first starting off in the role playing genre, I started off with a game called Dragon Warrior. But the second one I played was Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. And for good reason. This is probably the best attempt at a ''beginner’s RPG'' ever created for any system. It may not be complex, it may not be amazing in terms of graphics, music, and sound effects, but guess what? It’s not supposed to be a huge complex game that puts all other role playing games to shame! It was supposed to be a role playing game for beginners, and that’s actually what this game is. And it is a great game, on top if it all. Yes, I had a fun time playing through Mystic Quest, even though it was relatively simple to beat (as expected). This is a great role playing game, perfect for beginners. And even RPG veterans might like the game, because of the fun factor of the game. It even features great graphics and music, much better than I expected!

Storyline (4/10)
As some of you may already know, the Final Fantasy series has always been known to deliver quality story lines. This game should not be considered to be a true Final Fantasy game, however, and in addition to not being considered a true Final Fantasy game, it should not be expected to have as good a story line as the other games in the Final Fantasy series. And for the most part, you should not expect this game to have a truly great story line, because quite frankly it does not! The main problem I have with the story line in the game is the character development. The characters are not that well rounded when you first meet them, and you never really get a true sense of each of their personalities, because you switch around characters so much. I mean, for instance, lets say you have Tristam in your party. You start to get to know him a bit, and suddenly he leaves your party, off on better adventures. I felt it would have been a lot better had you been able to learn more about the side stories of the characters, because you never really learn too much about them. The main story line basically deals with a kid named Benjamin who suddenly has to find five crystals. Yes, more crystal light goodness in this game, although I was not completely annoyed with the story line. It is not that good of a story line but it is better than I expected, I will admit that. Overall, the story line in the game is okay (despite the fact it deals with crystals) but I wish the character development were better.

Graphics (9/10)
Okay, first off, let me explain something to you all. This game was released all the way back in 1992, right after Final Fantasy 4 (FF2 in America) hit stateside. Therefore, the game has a 1992 look. But, then again, I have no problem with the 1992 look, at all. The enemy designs in the game are great, and I like the variety of enemy designs in the game. I especially like some of the bosses in the game (especially the final boss, Dark King, he looks incredible, with all of his different forms). The dungeons in the game are designed awesome, as well, and I like the look of each dungeon in the game, from the ice caverns to the bone dungeons. Each of the dungeons in the game look amazing, and come complete with great looking enemies and great looking backgrounds (just look in the Ice Pyramid, the background design is fantastic!) The character designs in the game look awesome as well, I especially like the designs of the main character in the game. The weapons look awesome, I especially like the sword and ax. The game does not look amazing, like some of the other Super Nintendo games released in the same period (like Super Metroid) but they are simple enough to be effective. I do not need to be pleased with too many fancy graphical things in a game, so these graphics were good enough to get the job done. Overall, the graphics in Mystic Quest look great, especially for a game released in 1992.

Music and Sound Effects (9/10)
The music and sound effects in the Final Fantasy series have always been a highlight of the series, so I expected quality music and sound effects from Mystic Quest, even if it was not a ''true'' Final Fantasy game. And Square Soft delivered right on the money, as I love the music in the game for the most part. First off, let me talk about the battle theme in this game. You know how in some Role Playing Games the battle theme is annoying and makes you not want to get into any battles? Well, guess what, the battle theme in the game is not annoying, at all. Hell, I actually liked the battle theme in the game. The boss theme in the game is equally as good, and the best piece of music in the game, in my opinion, bar none, is the Dark King (final boss) music. This music sounds simply amazing, and I really liked it. Also, the music in the final dungeon sounds great also. Those two themes are very addicting, and I would buy a soundtrack of the game just to hear those two themes alone. Sound effects in the game are top notch, also. Most of them are your average battle sound effects (like a weapon slicing across the enemy, killing it). This is to be expected, however, and a lot of the other sound effects (like the volcano exploding) sound great also. Overall, the music and sound effects in the game are highly above average, but not totally perfect.

Gameplay and Control (9/10)
First off, this is not your average Final Fantasy game, or role playing game for that matter. This is a game suited for newbies to the role playing game genre. Therefore, don’t expect complicated things to take place in the game. Hell, this is one of the most uncomplicated role playing games I have ever played, by far. The basic concept of both the battle system and overall game play is quite simple. First off, have you ever seen a battle system in a role playing game that allowed you to not only take only two people on your journey, but also allows you to put the other one on automatic battle, so you don’t even have to control that person? Well, in Mystic Quest, you can. My stepfather had a blast playing through this game, mainly because, to put it in his own words, ''he could understand it!''. Yes, the battle system may be uncomplicated for the most part, but it is also great and very easy to use. Battles never become a chore or get too tedious, mainly because you are always trying to level up. The cool thing about the battle system is the fact you only have to control two people at one time, and even have an option to put the other character on automatic mode, although I would not advise doing this a lot, because the computer can make some strange decisions. Also, in the over world, you move from place to place at the tap of a button, and don’t get into random battles outside. Instead, you go into these things called ''battlefields'' which allow you to get into 10 battles at one time. After every battle, you can choose to go on and stop. You usually get an award for beating each battlefield. Also, a cool thing about the game is when you die in battle, you can restart the battle over again without going back. Perfect for beginners to the genre. The menu system of the game is rather unique also, as most of the menus in the game, from the save game screen to the menu screens, are easy to navigate, much more so than those in other games of the genre. Overall, this is a fun game made even better because it is a beginner’s role playing game.

Replay Value: High
I had a lot of fun playing through Mystic Quest, and still play it a lot, even today. It is one of the most fun role playing games ever made. It is the perfect game for beginners to the role playing genre, because of the simplicity of both the overall game play and battle system. However, there is a problem with the replay value of this game. Think about it. This is a beginner’s role playing game, right? So, when the newbies beat this game (which they will) and find out how to play an RPG, would they want to stick around and play the game, or go on to face bigger and better challenges (like Final Fantasy 6)? That’s the only question I have. Overall, the replay value in the game is pretty high, although you may tire of the game after a while.

Challenge: Medium
Yes, I am giving it a medium in the challenge category after spending the last few paragraphs explaining how simple and non complex the game really is. But guess what? It can get to be quite challenging also, especially in the middle of the game when you have to go through things like the Lava Dome and Ice Pyramid. Those dungeons can get to be quite confusing, especially for the first time role playing game players. Still, most of the game isn’t that challenging. Overall, the game is a decent challenge, and has its moments of being challenging.

Overall (9/10)
This is a very fun game to play that is best suited for beginners to the role playing game genre. Veterans may have fun playing the game too, because this is a very fun game that didn’t deserve the bad reviews it got. It is simply a fun game that is suited perfectly for role playing game beginners. It has good graphics, simple yet effective gets the job done in this case, in my opinion. The story line in this game is very basic, dealing mostly with crystals, but I was not completely annoyed with the fact that the story line in the game dealt primarily with crystals, although I do wish Square Soft would have come up with something more original for this game rather than the same old, same old crystal junk. The character development suffers through some flaws, as you never really feel attached to any of the characters in the game, mainly because you switch characters around so much. The game itself is awesome and perfect for beginners to the role playing game genre, because this is exactly what the game is suited for: beginners.

Would Terra Branford buy this game?
If you have a Super Nintendo, and are tired of the same old RPGs, check this out. If you have never played a role playing game before, this is the perfect one to start with.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/01/00, Updated 08/01/00

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