Review by lzreye

"More stuff than you can shake a stick at"

After searching for many days I managed to find this in cartridge form. I played it for a few hours when I rented Final Fantasy Anthologies, but I wanted to play it on my old school console. After acquiring the game for almost $45.00, I rushed home to play it. This is a magical beast in cartridge form.
(The scoring system below is an average of all six categories, that is the overall score and the score awarded in this review).

Story- 10/10
You start out as Terra, inside something known as Magitek Armor. (Magitek is the fusion of magical properties with machines). The Empire has put a control crown on her head to make Wedge and Vicks (the two Imperial soldiers that are with Terra). They have entered the town of Narshe to retrieve an Esper. Emperor Gestahl wants these Espers to rule the world with their power. Upon finding it, it destroys Vicks and Wedge, but surprisingly allows Terra to live. As Terra is running from the Imperial guards inside the cave, she falls down to the floor below and passes out. Locke, the game\'s thief (or as he calls himself \'\'Treasure Hunter\'\') is sent down to help Terra. When he find her, he teams up with a a group of Mogs to protect her from the enemy. These scenarios are very interesting. You control 3 different parties in a small maze and you move and can fight the slew of Imperial guards, as long as Terra is protected. Terra and Locke then escape to head to Figaro Castle, where King Edgar is friends with Locke. After the evil Kefka (an agent of the empire) attacks the castle, it sinks into the ground via a mechanical device and Terra, Locke, and Edgar leave on Chocobos. From here on out, you meet a cast of other people who join your team, a fighter (and also the king\'s brother), a boy who lives and communicates with animals, a mysterious ninja, an ex-general of the Empire, a rich gambler and airship owner, an old man with the ability to learn Blue Magic, his grand daughter who attacks enemies using the magic from her drawings, and a noble warrior who lost his family to Kefka\'s atrocities. As you progress through the story you will learn why Terra can use magic and of her backgrounds along with Emperor Gastahl\'s true plans and you will defeat his plans and reunite the world. I won\'t give too much more information, because I don\'t want to ruin the entire game, but there\'s a lot more to the story. Because of this long and involved storyline with such plot twists, I give the story category a perfect 10.

Controls 10/10
After opening up my faulty control and cleaning the contacts, the controls responded a lot better. Anyone familiar with the Final Fantasy genre will feel comfortable with these controls. They are responsive and the slowest part is the user trying to press the buttons.

Game Play 10/10
First of all, I must mention that using the cartridge is a lot better than a CD because the battles load faster and the game saves a lot faster. A new feature in this game is the use of Relics. Relics are special items that increase the characters stats or abilities and up to two can be equipped on each character. Some relics allow you to counter attack, automatically be in Haste, run faster on the map screen, or cast Wall on yourself. These Relics come in handy. Also, every character has a special ability. Locke can steal (or Capture if the Power Glove is equipped) and allows you the chance to steal treasures off of your enemy. Also with 16 different status ailments (most of them bad) you\'ll need to stock up on items to cure them or hope you have the right magic and enough Magic Points to cast the curative spell. With the large number of weapons, armor, items, relics, etc. you will be spending a lot of time (and money) upgrading your character to make him/her the ultimate fighting machine. Later on in the game, you will be able to collect Espers. Equipping Espers and earning Magic Points in battle will allow you to learn spells that the Espers have. Equipping these Espers may also add a boost to your stats when you level up and you can also summon the Esper in battle. With all of these features and the time you\'ll spend perfecting your character, the Game Play section is awarded a 10.

Difficulty 9/10
The only difficulty in this game would be not finding enough save points. Sometimes you will be going through a dungeon and fight enemy after enemy and even a few bosses with no save points. This can be rather annoying if you are at a low level and wiped out. Mentioning \'\'low levels\'\', almost any boss can be defeated be simply leveling your party up a few levels or learning a critical magic that said boss has a weakness to. Though the game is fairly easy, trying to follow the storyline and figuring out what\'s next is sometimes vague, forcing you to talk to characters or explore around like in the good old days of RPG\'s.

Sound 9/10
After playing some of the newer Final Fantasy games, I\'m glad my old victory theme is back. I\'m also glad for the Chocobo Theme, I occasionally rent a Chocobo from the stables not only so I can avoid those random encounters, but also to hear this wonderful theme music. Towards the end of the game, the town and world map\'s sound changes (because of a turning point in the storyline that I won\'t spoil), so this brings a much needed change in music to the scene. Besides every weapon having the same sound effects and some of the magic\'s sound effects being just plain strange, the music was definitely a good addition to the game.

Graphics 7/10
The characters were designed well, both your party and the enemies. The biggest downfall is the World Map, notably Figaro Castle. While looking at Figaro Castle from the World Map, it just looked so flat and two-dimensional. This was quite annoying, especially when the surroundings had a three-dimensional feel. Also, the scaling of the Airship (its size as you move to and from it) was rather jumpy and the size shift was greatly noticed. Except for little problems like this, everything else in the game was designed beautifully. I also must mention that the Opera House scene was the best part of the game (storyline wise and graphically).

Overall 9/10
This is by far a great game. With the days of Super Nintendo growing darker each day as the \'\'next generation\'\' consoles get more popular and popular, it\'s getting harder to find such games, though I think it is definitely worth it to get the cartridge version for the Super Nintendo. Happy Gaming!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/06/03

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