Final Fantasy - Retroview

NES Masterpiece
By: klldiv

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 4
   Music & Sound 7
   Originality 10
   Story & Plot 7
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Easy
   Completion Time 15-30 Hours  

Frost D's are just too darn cool.
Frost D's are just too darn cool.
Final Fantasy

   After playing Final Fantasy IX for the PlayStation, I decided to go back and see how the whole series got started. Wow! I was blown away by a NES game that was over 15 years old (Final Fantasy was originally released in Japan for the Famicom in 1987). The game was easily as fun and enjoyable as its eighth child is.

   The battle system is simply turn based (No ATB yet). I loved the battle system, except for one major flaw: no auto-targeting. If you aim at an enemy that is either destroyed by another character or runs away during the round, then your attack is automatically "ineffective."

   Equipping is a pain. Buying items is a pain. Using items is a pain. The interface was easily the worst part of the game. A tip to the gamer: give each character a different name. If you don't the interface crosses over from annoying to impossible; I know.

   The music was amazing. The theme is classic. The battles are fun. The dungeons are creepy. The world is worldly. The sounds on the other hand were just annoying at best and much too frequent.

Bahamut has a test for your crew.
Bahamut has a test for your crew.

   The game was amazingly original. It was the father of all trendsetters. Final Fantasy was home to much originality that revolutionized gaming as an industry and a pastime.

   The plot was simple (read: small). It was also complex (read: confusing). It really is quite fun trying to unravel Chaos' "time-loop" plot to take over the world, gain immorality, and become Chaos.

   It took Square three years to release Final Fantasy in the United States of America. Nintendo's notorious censorship, of course, played a role in the localization process. Religiousness had to go: Monks became Black Belts and Churches became Clinics. Also, Square decided not to put any enemies on the final floor of the final dungeon of the game. Why? Who knows?

   There are six classes to choose from in the beginning, but you can only choose four for your party. The solution? Play the game again. There are 360 possible party combinations. Have fun trying to play them all. I've beaten the game numerous times and will probably continue to do so over the years, this game is certainly one you'll want to keep coming back to.

   Sprites are cool. They can fit their entire body into one block of space and still take out massive elemental fiends with just a few sword swipes. The enemies look super cool, especially the bosses (Chaos is the coolest looking final boss I've ever seen). Magic visuals bring the game down a bit though. Every spell in the entire game will only show as a sprinkling of light covering the bad guy in different colors no matter how powerful the magic is.

   The game is easy with two very notable exceptions: the Ice Cave and WarMech, the game's hardest opponent. The game is made much easier by the 'secret' level up area on the southern continent. Without it, the game becomes much more level up intensive.

   The 'secret' area brings down total playing time by about five hours. I highly recommend it. The game can be won in about 15 hours, even completing the semi-optional side-quest(s). To get the entire Final Fantasy gaming experience, it can take over 30 hours to level up all characters all the way (LV 50) as I usually do.

   Final Fantasy for the NES is an amazing game. The game is however plagued by many inconveniences. If you have a working NES, get this game and play it twice (to experience all six classes). Then, when pick up Final Fantasy Origins for the PlayStation in April; you will have a greater feel for all that was put into the remake.

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