Welcome to Final Fantasy Month! Leading up to the release of Final Fantasy XV after it’s somewhat long-ish development, I’ve decided that while I don’t have the time to replay 12+ games, I can recall all the good times I had with the ones I HAVE played. Of course that sadly means entries like 2, 3, 9, 12, and a bunch of the spin offs (Adventure, Legend, Mystic Quest *shiver*) won’t be here because I haven’t had a chance to ever finish them. Not that I’m not planning on it, so please don’t bombard me with “WHAT? YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED Y?” because trust me, given the time and energy I will eventually play every Final Fantasy game. Every. One. In fact, I actually OWN every numbered entry in the series and some of the spin offs. So it literally is just a matter of hours in the day and energy in this weak fleshy hyur – I mean human – body of mine.
Really I just plan to go over what each game was about and my own personal recollections of them. Just a fun little trip down memory road before the newest game comes out and I don’t stop playing it until I collapse. So let’s kick things off with Final Fantasy I!
Four “Warriors of Light” appear in the Castle town of Coneria (later Cornelia) with dimmed orbs representing the elemental crystals. The heroes are nameless and can be of any class (Fighter, Thief, Monk, Black Mage, White Mage, Red Mage) and begin a journey to help restore the light to the four crystals and save the world from the ‘Four Fiends’.
The game is broken into essentially 3 chapters: First the local area quests where you help save Princess Sarah from the Dark Knight Garland and help out the local kingdoms to get a ship and access the sea. The second chapter is when you delve into the ruins of the Shrines and fight the Fiends to restore the crystals. Once you’ve saved the crystals and brought balance to the world, you get sucked back 2000 years into the past to find the demon Chaos, the monster who sent the Fiends to the future to steal the Crystals’ power. In a surprise twist, Chaos is actually the Dark Knight Garland!
You see in order to live forever, Garland created a time paradox. The Fiends send him into the past, where he can send the fiends into the future, so the fiends can send him into the past… and oh no I’ve gone cross eyed. The only way to stop the time loop for good is to kill the four fiends again and stop Chaos before he can send anyone into the future. The end!
Ah the classic first iteration of the legendary game series. From the get go, it was clear that the game took a TON of inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons. From the Job Classes, to the monster names and appearances (some of which are direct copies from D&D) there’s a lot of love of old school table top gaming to be found here. Heck, I’d argue that you COULD run this game as a D&D campaign today and still have a lot of fun with it. But how does it stack up as a video game after all these years?
Well, it’s definitely from that old school NES era of RPGs that took a lot of inspiration from the hands off exploring that Legend of Zelda was doing, but for the first ‘chapter’ before you hire the dwarves to blow a hole in the mountains so your ‘borrowed’ pirate ship can get through to the sea, it actually does a really good job of indicating what task you should strive to complete next. Not this “Where’s the first dungeon? Also where do I get a sword?” that Zelda had. You are given directions and objectives: Save the princess, claim a ship, help the Elf prince, bring the dwarves some explosives.
After that however? Well, I got to the Earth Shrine and beat the Lich okay. But beyond that I could definitely see why this one of the first games to get the Nintendo Power Strategy Guide treatment. Find my way to the other three shrines and getting things like getting a Rat’s Tail to give to Bahamut to get your job upgrades (I’ll never get tired of the joke that you literally give a rat’s ass to get your new jobs) and digging up the airship in the middle of the desert using a gravity stone – yeah, I needed a FAQ to find my way through this game.
Still, in the end it’s a great classic RPG experience. If you’re lucky enough to have grabbed the Dawn of Souls version that’s way out of print now or the mobile version, there’s some extra dungeons and stuff to have fun with.
Sadly, my next entry in this series will be Final Fantasy IV. I never did get a chance to play through II or III yet, which is a shame because as I understand III was where a lot of the Final Fantasy staples came into place (Chocobos, Moogles, the Job system, etc). It’s one that’s definitely kind of high on my list to visit one day. However, as far as I understand it from talking to other fans of the series, II seems kind of skippable. So it’s definitely lower on my list.
See you next time! And may the light of the Crystals guide your way!
Do you have any great memories from these classic Final Fantasy games? Feel free to share in the comments!