||The Final Fantasy
| Battle System
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
Final Fantasy Legend was the first RPG I ever played.
It introduced me to a genre that would change my gaming life
forever, and remains in Squaresoft's library as a classic.
Boasting a strange combat system and a somewhat iffy translation,
Final Fantasy Legend may not be for everyone -- but it's certainly
an entertaining change from your standard Final Fantasy fare.
The first thing you may notice about the game is that it drops
you in the middle of nowhere (well, a town), without any sort of
introduction to give you an idea of what you're playing for. To put
it bluntly, Final Fantasy Legend has a very sparsely explained
storyline. You're not really sure about what the mission is, or why
you're fighting who you're fighting. This is definitely NOT helped
by the fact that the translation is quite poorly done, or at least
not very clear. (It's nothing horrible like NES Metal Gear's
"Oh, the truck has starting to move!", however =)
The second thing you'll notice is that the graphics are... well,
of low quality. Many of the tiles used to make up the landscape are
bland and will result in you getting lost, and often. The map
designers made landscapes too large, and thus they filled in the
wide open areas with similar looking graphics. Perhaps more
obstacles would give the player a more guided path? In
actuality, this is not as much a case of good graphics/bad graphics
as it is of bad level design, and graphics being misused.
|Come to the Guild, my friend, and begin the adventure"
Before you start adventuring, you're able to form your own party
from the start (much like the original Final Fantasy), at the
"Guild." The classes are as follows: Both genders for
humans, both genders for mutants, and three varieties of monsters.
After choosing your main character, you go to the guild and can pick
three other members to your liking. You could have all four monsters
if you really wanted, although anyone who's played the game may
scoff at you. Being able to customize your party this way makes you
want to play the game again with different combinations for fun.
The battle system is different -- it's a turn- and textbased
system, where you have limited uses of weapons. (One thing to note
is that Final Fantasy Legend is actually part of the SaGa series,
but Square changed the name to Final Fantasy in order for the game
to be recognizable by Americans -- if you pay attention to Romancing
SaGa's gameplay you'll see similarities.) You are presented with
Fight and Run -- if you choose to Run, then you either end up
running, or giving up a turn. If you choose fight, you can attack
the enemy with one of many weapons in your arsenal. Yes, many
weapons -- not just the standard "Fight" command as in
normal Final Fantasy games, instead you have a list of swords, bows,
axes, spells and items to use during battle. (This is one factor
that set Final Fantasy and the SaGa series apart.) That being the
case, the world of Final Fantasy Legend has many weapons for you to
buy. You can have 4 long swords, a helmet, chest plate and a
gauntlet, or 7 long swords and no armor. It's up to you and your
|Raar, monster. Raar.
FFL boasts a unique battle reward: monster meat. If you have a
monster in your party, and your foe leaves a edible meat behind,
your monster can eat the meat. It will either stay the same, change
for the better or change for the worse. Logically if you eat the
meat of a weaker monster, you'll become weaker, and vice versa. It
adds an interesting twist to the gameplay.
Adding the monster morphing, party-building and the vast amount
of items you can acquire and buy, gives you an RPG that is highly
customizable. The problem is that your inventory list is quite
short, and lacks a "sort" option, so it's quite easy to
fill up your item list quickly -- a lot of which is unnecessary.
The battles are a mix between dull and fun. Being text- and
turnbased, where your actions are described in words in a window at
the bottom half of the screen, battles aren't fun to watch. They're
mostly spell effects and sword slash graphics on an enemy sprite.
However, having a myriad of weapons and spells to choose from gives
it some fun.
Leveling up presents problems, however. Mutants level up
according to how they do in battle, which is logical. If they use a
heavy weapon, it increases their strength from time to time -- if
they use a light weapon, it increases their agility. Using magic
increases their "Mana" (magical ability) and lasting
throughout battles increases their HP. Mutants can also gain and
change different magical powers throughout the game. Different and
stronger (as well as weaker) magic powers rotate in from time to
time. However, you aren't notified of your statistical increases.
You also aren't notified of your magic shifts -- so you may leave a
battle with FLARE and dive into a new battle with a dinky spell
without even knowing. The only way to find out is to check your
But the mutant presents the least problems. Humans must level up
by buying items. STRENGTH or AGILITY potions increase the respective
human stats, and HP200, HP400 and HP600 increase human hit points up
to a certain level (i.e. HP200 will increase hit points until the
total is over 200, then from there on it only increases the total by
1). Now, this means that you either won't have enough money to level
up, or that you'll be stuck with boatloads of gold and you will max
out way too early in the game. This presents a MAJOR balance
problem. What fun is it to go through an impossible game? What fun
is it to go through a game that you can just plow your way through
(actually it can be quite fun ;)?
Those used to the recent FF games who are willing to go and find
a copy of this old game will be unfamiliar to the strange new
gameplay system FFL has to offer. Some may like it, some may say
it's boring. I liked it, but as I said, it's not for everyone. It
won't please those looking for a good story (or a good translating
job, for that matter). It won't please those who like to play
fast-paced RPGs like Chrono Trigger. It may please those who want to
find a mix between old D&D dungeon crawler games and Final
Fantasy games. It certainly pleased me because it had a lot of
variety and innovation -- but, I'll say it once more, it may not be