Final Fantasy - Reader Review

An Old Classic Shines Above the Competition

By Min'u Xolo Maleki

Review Breakdown
   Battle System8.0
   Replay Value10.0
   Time to Complete15/25 hours 

   Despite all of the 'interactive movies' available today, I pulledout my good old NES and popped in Final Fantasy I. After replaying, Ihave renewed faith in the old style of RPGs as opposed to the supposedly'revolutionary' new style that is considered commonplace today.

   Maybe I have de-sensitized eyes, but I found the graphics in FinalFantasy 1 to actually be MORE appealing than those in its other two NEScounterparts. Monsters were more detailed and the adult characters lookabsolutley amazing--much better than the silly super-deformed stlye usedin Final Fantasy 2-5. Also, if one compares the American release to theoriginal Japanese game, you'll find that while they did censor religioussymbols, they also improved the character graphics and animation insubtle ways.

   The music was excellent for an NES game, featuring many memorablesongs that I'd actually remembered five years after my initial timeplaying the game. Sounds were powerful as well, but a few things wereirritating. When you talk with someone, it makes a creaking noise asthe dialouge window opens and closes. On menus, the constant blips andbleeps get irritating very quickly. However, the biggest problem wasthe fact that opening a treasure chest, getting a key item, warping,etc. all restart the current musical track. This gets very irritatingwhen you are plundering a room full of treasure but stands out moreboldly when you are in the Castle of Ordeals, as you are constantlyteleporting around the castle.

   As far as gameplay is concerned, Final Fantasy comes out strong, butwith its flaws. While technically, the game's difficulty is dependanton which characters are in your party, with a balanced group battlestend to go fairly quickly for better or worse, which I consider to be aplus. With even the most specialized wizards being able to use 3 of the4 spells available at each level, you would often have to make sometimesdifficult decisions on which spell to leave behind. Spell points werefar and few between, making magic conservation a must. Unfortunately,the infamous message, "Ineffective", reared its ugly head whenever youtargeted a monster that had already been slain; while this did force youto choose targets more strategically, it leaned toward annoying.

   Being one of the first popular console RPGs ever, Final Fantasy'sstory was highly original. With many little quests and things to do,the game created an almost perfect fairy-tale atmosphere, with dancingbrooms and sunken mermaid shrines. The "crystal theme" (called ORBS inthe American game) would be used again in the series' history. Each ofthe eight classes was visual distinct and suited to a very specificpurpose. For naming reasons, I never use more than one of any type ofclass. FYI, I name my Light Warriors as follows: Fighter: Arek, Thief:Dirk, Monk (Bl.Belt): Skye, Red Mage: Lyon, Wh. Mage: Eron, and Bl.Mage: Xolo. It'd be nice if everyone accepted these names as standardbut that'll never happen (^_^).

   If you are not looking for some long, boring interactive movie likeFinal Fantasy VII, and instead would prefer a fun, quick, and memorableadventure, I'd highly recommend Final Fantasy to any gamer.

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