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 Final Fantasy

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PostSubject: Final Fantasy   Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:25 am

Time for me to do my thing with the original game.  First, a history lesson for those who don't know. Square was on the verge of going bankrupt because they kept making horrible games, and one of the main guys working for them decided that if his new game bombed, he was quitting the industry for good.  Originally called Fantasy Fight, the game was changed to Final Fantasy since not only is it a fantasy game, but it's Square's final chance to redeem themselves.

First, the plot.  Four chosen warriors are sent to protect 4 elemental crystals that give power to the world.  If one is to break, then everything of that element would be removed from the planet.  So say if the water crystal was destroyed, all the water in the planet would cease to exist.  During their journey, they find four monsters calling themselves the "Four Fiends" using the power of the crystals, and that their master is a monster named Chaos who exists 2000 years in the past.  So the 4 heroes defeat the fiends, restore the crystals to normal, and then travel to the past to defeat Chaos.  A very simple story, but it's forgivable considering the time the game was made. 

Now to talk about the main mechanic of Final Fantasy.  When you start the game, you get 4 characters who you name and you get to pick their job class.  There are 6 classes to choose from, and each class has their own strengths and weaknesses.  The class list works as such:

- The Fighter who is your typical swordsman and all around well balanced character.  He can equip most of the stuff in the game, but has no magical abilities.

- The Thief is the Fighter who sacrifices being a well balanced character for speed.  This class usually goes first and is really only there for item support.  Not only that, but his high speed makes running from battles a lot easier.  Besides that, this class is probably the worst of the bunch.

- The Monk is essentially a fighter who sacrifices equipment for sheer power.  Because this class doesn't have much equipment, it can't take hits very well.  However, if you can keep him alive, his strength can seriously pack a punch.  Yes, that pun was intended.  If you've played this game, you know why.

- The White Mage is your healing mage.  It can't do much in terms of offense, but it can give your party healing support and stat buffs.  In exchange, it like the Monk can't take a huge beating.

- The Black Mage is essentially the same as a White Mage, but instead of healing support and buffing your party, it specializes in offensive magic and debuffs on the enemies.

- The Red Mage is a hybrid of the Fighter, White Mage, and Black Mage.  It has decent equipment, can hold his own in battle, and uses all types of magic pretty well.  The downsides being that it takes longer for him to learn magic than the Mages, and his stats are much lower than that of a Fighter.

You should pick carefully because there is no way to change your classes without starting the game over.  You can upgrade them later to be stronger, but that isn't until roughly the last quarter of the game.   One thing to note is the position where your characters are in the menu determines the chances they will be attacked.  The higher up in the menu they are, the more likely they will be attacked.  So it's best to have your most fragile characters at the bottom.

When it comes to the battle system, since this is the first game, there's not much to say.  You have your Attack, Item, Magic, and Run commands.  Unlike the later games, none of the classes have their own unique abilities for in battle.  So it's usually going to be "Mash the attack command until the cows come home" until you finish the game. 

Lets talk Magic now.  There are 8 levels of magic, and each level usually has roughly 5 or 6 spells for them.  The downside to this is you can only have 3 on at a time.  So you need to think carefully about what magic you buy.  The real annoyance is that each spell has two different variants of it.  One of them will be more powerful, but it can only be used on one target.  The other will be weaker, but can be used on multiple targets.  I'll say it now though that it's best to go for the multi targeting spells.  Sure, they may be weaker, but enemies don't have that much health in this game.  So more than likely they will die from it anyways.  It's not that bad for Black Magic, but it's annoying for White.  You'll find many times where you seriously need to heal one person, but you only have a spell to slightly heal the entire party.  Thankfully later games just have one spell and you get to choose if you want to use it on one target for a stronger effect or weakening it to use it on multiple targets.

Then there are the buffs and debuffs of the game.  I'll say it now that the debuffs are completely useless in this game.  I'm not a big fan of them usually, but they are bugged so they never work.  This is a trend the series tends to have.  When it comes for buffs, the only two you'll need are Haste and Temper.  Haste increases the number of hits your party does, and temper increases the damage the hits do.  Most boss fights in the game if not all of them will boil down to using Haste and Temper on your physical fighters while your 4th member heals the party.  This gets very dull for the bosses very fast.  It doesn't help that you're mostly spending all the regular battles mashing the attack button.  Wow, I thought I was talking about Final Fantasy VIII for a second there.  I apologize for mixing that up with a decent game.

For a quick talk about status ailments.  Never bother inflicting them on enemies since they don't do much, and while it's nice to have the spells to remove them just in case, most of them fade away after battle.  As nice as this is, it's still annoying when something like Poison or Stone doesn't wear off.

Since this is the first game, I have to talk about the music.  While most of the music doesn't really stand out, I'm sure everyone knows the victory fanfare and the battle theme introduced from this game.  They are remixed and reused so many times throughout the series so it's worth a mention.  Even though I don't find the soundtrack to be anything special overall, this is probably the best one of the NES trio.

When it comes to the game's difficulty, this is probably one of the easier ones.  Enemies don't have much HP, the Fighter and Monk completely destroy everything including bosses in a few turns, especially with the Haste/Temper combo on them.  This doesn't mean the game is fair by any means.  This game has a somewhat high encounter rate, ambushes are probably the most common here, and many enemies come the second half of the game can spam instant kill attacks.  Thankfully they realized this was a bad idea and worked on fixing the instant kill problem and lowered the chances for an ambush.  As for the encounter rate...I'll get to Final Fantasy II eventually.

When it comes to the ports of the game, there's not much to say.  The music and visuals were redone, the MP system was changed from being limited to using spells of each level a certain number of times to the traditional MP system, and a few extra areas were added.  Oh yeah, the extra dungeons introduced.  Throughout the game, you will come across caves with statues guarding the doors inside.  These statues are of the Four Fiends, and they will vanish when you defeat that fiend.  I'm not going to dance around this.  They are about 5 floors long, but these dungeons are boring as hell.  The dungeons aren't anything special, and at the end, you get to fight a cameo boss from the later games which is cool.  The problem is instead of fighting them one after another, you have to redo the dungeon after killing one of the bosses at the end just to get to fight another one.  That's four extra dungeons and four bosses at the end of each.  So you have to go through each extra dungeon four times to complete them.  After that, you unlock another dungeon where there is just one boss at the end, and this guy has eight different forms.  The problem is this dungeon is THIRTY floors long, and like the other four dungeons, you have to redo it each time to get to fight another form of the boss.  This is wrong on so many levels.

Not sure what else I can really say about this game.  For the first game in the series, it's a decent game.  With this said, it's the first game in the series, and my god can you feel the age.  Sure, the PSP remake is an amazing remake, but it doesn't introduce anything new or have anything from the later games.  As I said in the Final Fantasy III review, that game is a far more fleshed out version of this game with 20+ classes, you can switch on the fly, and each class has their own special abilities in and/or outside of battle.  I also stated that Final Fantasy V is even more fleshed out than that.  So while it's something for people to try if they are curious about how the series started, there's no reason to actually go back to it with III and V existing.  It's about 10 hours long if you know what you're doing.  It gets boring pretty fast, but I still acknowledge it as an NES classic.

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