Phoenix Downs - Spoof Review  

Burning the Competition
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

2-3 Seconds


Rating definitions 

   Once, parties stood little chance without a powerful white mage or wizard in tow. Life and Life 2, or Raise and Arise if you prefer, were once virtually required for sucess. When white mages went on strike in Final Fantasy II, the spell was temporarily altered so that anybody could learn it, though it would require a lot of additional training to be very useful. Was this really enough? Of course not, and that's where Phoenix Downs came in.

   Though they first began as rare items, they were so popular that they have been mass produced more readily of late. Now at a very low cost, heroes can have a portable and very useful ability to revive fallen members without the assistance of white mages. Even moderately wealthy white mages often opt to use them in order to save some MP for other spells. Surely, that speaks of their quality. At this point, they have become a staple and are enormously useful to carry around no matter how effective your party is at healing. Their low cost makes them even more helpful. Well, except in Final Fantasy XI. You probably need to take out a second mortgage on your house to get one of them there. That's an exception, though.

Dramatization Dramatization

   Of course, as we all know, that is not the end of the usefulness of the Phoenix Down. They also have the awesome ability to stop undead in their tracks. Literally. That Phantom Train? Derailed instantly. With such versatility, it's no wonder that the cheap knockoffs, the Fenix Downs, were around for so many years.

   But enough history. Let's get on with the review. I've already described in detail what an awesome addition they are to battle systems. They may not always work, but then, Life magic doesn't always work either. I'd say they're basically on par with one another. Given the MP cost of Life spells and the vast difference in the price between Phoenix Downs and Ethers, the downs basically beat out all except the highest level Life magic, and those only win during boss fights and stuff.

   That's nice, but how is the interaction? Well, honestly, anybody who can use items can use them very easily. There isn't any special training required whatsoever. You can't get any easier than that.

   Unfortunately, I can't say they're especially original, though. They basically just do the same thing as weak Life spells. Also, other franchises introduced items with these powers before as well. Dragon Quest had those leaves, which, although much rarer, are even more powerful than the downs, and they came first. Of course, as far as story is concerned, what's cooler? A leaf you got off of some tree or a feather that came off of a phoenix, blessed with the power of flame, rebirth, and revival? I thought so.

   At long last, we come to the aesthetics. While they may not look quite as cool as summoning an actual phoenix, the effects are generally pretty cool. The sound effects could use some work, since they still tend to use outdated chiming noises, even in some of the more recent incarnations, but the overall presentation is still pretty nice.

   Well now, I don't think I really need to say anything else to express just how awesome these are. The only real drawback is that they fail sometimes, though this is generally very rare and plot-related. Not a lot you can do about that. Thus, I highly recommend bringing a few Phoenix Downs along with you on your adventures no matter who you are or how many white mages you have in your party. Even if you're soloing. Unless you're a bad guy.

There is a slight risk of Phoenix Downs not working as planned. There is a slight risk of Phoenix Downs not working as planned.

   Use only as directed.

   Side effects are generally mild and include burning sensation, risk taking, spontaneous combustion, feelings of immortality, assistance in the destruction of evil empires and villains, decrease in game difficulty, and death. Death applies only to the undead, but the FFDA makes us put this in anyway.

   There is a chance of dependency associated with Phoenix Downs. Risk of dependency is higher in those trying to save the world.

   Phoenix Downs do not protect against status effects or fire elemental damage.

   Do not use if you are undead or have plans to become undead. Villains should not use Phoenix Downs either. Or healing moves while you're at it. It's really annoying when you do that when we're about to win.

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