Final Fantasy Mystic Quest - Staff Retroview  

Don't Let the Name Fool You
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

10-20 Hours


Rating definitions 

   Don't let the name fool you, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is a Final Fantasy game in name only. Everything about it is average at best, and I mean everything. It's hard to believe they could add the Final Fantasy label to a game that is so far below the standards of the series. The game is bad enough as it is, but comparing it to a Final Fantasy game only makes it seem worse in my opinion. While this sadly isn't the worst game ever made, it's certainly very disappointing to say the least. The opening sequence with its corny dialog and poor visuals are indeed a good sample of what you will be seeing in the rest of the game. Visuals are far from the most important element of an RPG for me so I pressed on with hope. After a few minutes and a few battles that hope quickly died.

   Recycling elements from very old RPGs, battles are very simple. You have only one character that you can control, though a computer-controlled guest member will usually be there to help as well. You have a few types of weapons and a very limited supply of spells and items at your disposal. Battles are simple and repetitive: simply find the weapon that works best and hit the enemy with it until it dies, using the occasional spell. Whenever your hp gets low, (which isn't often) heal yourself. There isn't really any strategy involved at all, and to make matters worse, the AI is poor as well.

It's not like any of these enemies can kill me anyway... It's not like any of these enemies can kill me anyway...

   Thankfully, the interface is decent. Due to the severely limited inventory, there are some nice, simple menus for you to use which don't cause any problems. It's pretty easy to switch weapons when needed as well. You even automatically equip weapon upgrades. This would have been a lot more impressive is there was actually any real variety in your inventory and such, but there isn't.

   Despite battles being simplistic and repetitive the battle theme isn't bad and helps keep things somewhat interesting. Boss music is especially nice, though most bosses are so easy that the boss music theme is also a nice reminder that you're not fighting a normal enemy. The rest of the music is fairly plain and unmemorable. There isn't much variety either.

   The only semi-original things in the entire game were the final claw weapon, weakness to certain types of weapons, and the way you get into battles. (running into them on the map instead of random encounters) Everything else has been used in too many other RPGs to count. Not only has everything been used before, it's all been reduced to a very simple state. It's as if they took several steps backwards in originality.

Forgive me if I don't jump for joy. Forgive me if I don't jump for joy.

   Speaking of unoriginal parts of the game, the story, or what little story there is, isn't much better. The plot is very sparse and is simply another 'hero has to save the world for a random evil monster' type of game. Very little is explained and you are forced to complete several annoying and linear tasks for little apparent reason. Occasionally a guest member will join you, but they never stay long and have very little backstory, if any at all.

   What little story there is is decently written though. There aren't any major or annoying spelling/grammar mistakes that I remember, though there is very little dialog which makes this far less impressive. Overall, not a bad job of bringing what little text there is into English though.

   A bad game has an even worse replay value. This is incredibly apparent in Mystic Quest. I have no desire whatsoever to ever play this game again unless I want to remind myself of how bad it is for some reason in the future. Actually making it through the entire game without quitting is difficult enough without having to play the game again. Very, very low replay value.

   The visuals are decent in most places, but can still occasionally resemble the graphics of the NES. Most enemies are decently drawn though, as are spells and the worldmap. Despite the average graphics and how exceedingly sad as it is to say this, the visuals are actually one of the best parts of the game. If there was any game to avoid because you didn't like the visuals, this is the one.

   Due to the simplicity of battle, and the overabundance of treasure chests, you will almost never be without an easy way to cure yourself. If on the off-chance you ever find yourself in any danger, you can simply sit back and use healing items while your guest member destroys your enemy. Enemies, even bosses, also pack a very soft punch and you'll almost never find yourself taking very much damage. The "puzzles" in this game are very simple as well. It's almost a joke.

   Battles are quick and ridiculously easy, but there are a lot of them. You'd think a system where you can see enemies rather than fight in random battles would lower the battle rate, but if anything it increases it in this game. Even with all of the battles, it will probably only take you 10 to 20 hours to reach the end. I mean, it's not like there's much story or character development to slow you down. Thankfully, this game will be over very quickly and you can move on to something better.

   So there you have it, despite its name, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest isn't a good game. It's painfully easy and ridiculously simple. It might be decent for a first RPG, but then again it might turn you off to the genre. I recommend this game to game developers so that they can see what NOT to do. Hopefully, a game like this will never be created again. I mentioned earlier than some of the visuals could have been for the NES. Now that I think about it though, most of the game is so simple it could have been for the NES as well. I have no idea what Square was thinking, but you'd do well to avoid this game.

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