Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - Reader Retroview  

RPG Junior
by Lucky Melchior

15 - 20 Hours


Rating definitions 

   In 1992 Squaresoft released Final Fantasy Mystic Quest in America. It was an attempt to try to appeal to non-RPG fans and RPG fans alike. It tried to use the Marketing Power of the Final Fantasy name to expose the RPG genre to a broader audience in America. Unfortunately, they forgot to make a game that was actually good. Instead coming up with a below average, dummed down RPG.

   Mystic Quest is a very easy game. Much like the Junior versions of monopoly and other board games the difficulty is lowered to such a level as to allow a very young audience to play. However, this means the game lacks much enjoyment to more mature gamers. To give you a feel for how easy the game is, if for some reason, however unlikely, you manage to die there is no worry since you can restart the battle with no consequence. And even if you decided to give up, your allowed to save at any point in the game, so starting from your last save is not really a problem either.

Your Weapons play an active role in exploring Your Weapons play an active role in exploring

   To go along with the easy difficulty, the game has a very simple story. The game starts with you, the hero, walking into a mountain and exclaiming: "what happened to my home town?" There just so happens to be an old man on a cloud who tells you that you are the legendary hero and that you must restore the four crystals. You will periodically meet this old man on a cloud throughout the game where there is a fifty percent chance he will either say something that will tell you what to do next or say something that makes no sense. And beside the fact that this game's story seems like a simplified version of the story for the original Final Fantasy, which it is, there is not much more to this story. You will meet a few interesting characters here and there, but otherwise the story is very linear and, well simple.

   Mystic Quest's battle system and gameplay are rather average. It employs a basic turn-based battle system which allow you to attack, defend, use magic or an item, or run away. With regards to magic, there are no MP, but rather Mystic Quest utilizes a system similar to the original Final Fantasy as there are a set amount of spells allowed to be cast for White Magic, Black Magic and Wizard Magic. The run away option will rarely be used, not only because the game is so easy, but also because you can see all your foes before you engage them. Furthermore, they do not move, so one should be able to fully prepare before each battle. Your party contains a maximum of two people. To make matters worse you can not even choose your ally, as who accompanies you is determined by where you are in the story(see linear storyline) The most interesting part of the gameplay is that it is somewhat action oriented. Your character can jump and must often move objects to act as a bridge to jump from one ledge to another. Moreover, your weapons are used to explore areas. Such as using your axe to cut down trees, your claw to scale a wall, etc.

Picture-Based Menu Picture-Based Menu

   The graphics for Mystic Quest are average at best, even for the SNES. It uses sprites that are, again, average at best. My favorite part of the game visually was the spell effects, some of them, including the spell exit used in battle, were somewhat enjoyable. The color scheme was also relatively pleasing to the eye. The graphics, while not good, are not what is wrong with this game. The same can be said for the music. There are really no tracks that stand out, but there are also no really awful tracks. On the whole the music and graphics are very unassuming, but not bad.

   The interaction and interface are fairly average as well. The menu is fairly well laid out and easy to navigate. It is a picture-based menu, however you feel about those. I don't seem to mind it. The one aspect of the interaction that really got under skin was that in battle the cursor was always on the last action that character did. There is nothing worse than just mashing the button because it is an easy battle, but your character uses a heal potion because that was the last thing they did in the previous battle. It is also important to note, that while the dialogue was not particularly well written, I can not recall any glaring translation errors.

   Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest was Squaresoft's first attempt to try and bring RPG's into the mainstream in American gaming. However, Mystic Quest failed where Final Fantasy VII succeeded five years later. I was twelve years old when Mystic Quest came out and when I got it I was expecting the next great Final Fantasy, but instead got a game that was so easy it was really only useful in introducing my little sister and cousins to the genre. So if you are a gamer who hasn't played all the old games and you are going back and trying some of them, stay away from this one. That is unless you have a much younger sibling, cousing, nephew, etc.

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