Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Game 12: Final Fantasy (NES) - What Game Am I Playing?

This is the main menu? How Spartan
Game 12

Title: Final Fantasy
Year: 1990 (1987 JP)
Platform: NES
Developer: Square
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: RPG
Exploration - Top-down
Combat - Turn-based (Party)





"We've come from the four corners of the world, each holding an orb, arriving at a time and place we're needed most. The world is in turmoil... the earth rots, the wind has ceased to move, fire spontaneously consumes, and the waters rage at all who dare traverse. Yet, somehow we've arrived on this distant plain seeking our destiny, drawn forward by the orbs."
*Plop*
Final Fantasy is the biggest name in console RPGs in the U.S. While not always well received, the franchise spans movies, music, and toys. In Japan, it's rivaled by Dragon Quest, and though Dragon Warrior was released first, it didn't catch on as well in the U.S. as Final Fantasy did.
We didn't start the fire... it was always burning since the world's been turning
The first game begins by giving a short back story of four prophesied warriors of light that would bear four orbs. These orbs once glowed with the light of each element (earth, fire, water, wind), but have dimmed over the past 2000 years. The world is troubled by unrest due to the existence of the four fiends. My quest, to destroy each fiend and return light to the corresponding orb.
For the past few months I had a poll up, which I used to determine my starting party. Taking the total votes and dividing by four, I came up with the total votes needed for each character. Since none had double that amount, I just picked the top four: Red Mage (Gioz), Black Belt (Tont), White Mage (Pipi), Black Mage (Kili).
Gioz and Kili are now characters, Tont and Pipi are characters I've used before
The party starts outside Corneria. In town and at the castle, they learn the princess was kidnapped by someone named Garland. As warriors of light, we take the quest and dispatch Garland. Rescued, the princess bestows a Lute upon the adventurers. This Lute has been a royal treasure for thousands of years, it must be worth something. The king, in honor of his daughter's rescuers, orders the north bridge rebuilt. Here the journey begins.
Now that's a title screen
From here, the game continues on a linear path of moving on to the next town or dungeon for no other reason than all other ways are blocked. There's not a lot of direction, no indication where the fiends are located, and purchasing items are kind of it and miss with no way to tell who can use what equipment. That is, if it weren't for the manual, I'd be completely lost. The manual acts as a guide, describing suggested equipment, spells, and providing maps of the surrounding areas. In fact, it walks through the first two fiends, up to the airship and class change.
An in-game map? That's got to be a first
The game was also originally packaged with maps of some of the dungeons, and a table of weapons, armor, and magic. Nearly everything was described in a similar way modern games would describe them inside the game. I'm not sure how far I'd want to take all this advice and where to draw the line between walkthrough and helpful hints. For now I've mainly been using it for equipment and spells, while I've done my own exploring without the use of maps.
Why buy a ship when we can take one from pirates?
I've managed to get a ship from some pirates, and am now on a quest to rouse a sleeping elf prince, return a crystal eye, and find a crown deep in a marsh cave. I've had to grind quite a bit to even make small progress. I often find I'm quickly outmatched by many encounters that can paralyze, poison, and stone. I've gotten used to targeting during fights, and having ineffective attacks if the target enemy dies before I'm able to attack with some of my characters. In a sense, it adds to the strategy that I need to remain thoughtful of who is attacking what enemy and if I can get away with splitting my attack or if it's best to focus.
Sounds legit

Session Time: 4h00m (Total Time: 4h00m)

40 comments:

  1. I also started playing along on the IPad version. I was roughly the same place as you last time you played.. After I got the ship I tried the marsh caves a bit but didn't really feel strong enough so I went back to the town where I got the pirate ship and decided to search east while I was grinding a bit to buy all the level 4 spells in elfheim. I went North a bit and found a penninula with some really strong enemies (I had read about it but didn't know where it was exactly). And figured out I could raise a few levels real fast and get a ton of gold by going in with my fira spell and healing. Seems most the enemies were weak against fire. I quickly gained up to about level 18 and about 140000 gold in about a half an hour by fighting those guys and resting in the pirate town. When I went back to ice cave armed with level 4 spells and increased levels I pretty much breezed through it. And pretty much since then I've been ahead of the level curve so I haven't had to stop and level for money or strength since. Right now I completed two crystals and just got my class change. Now not sure I where to tackle next as there seem to be a few options. Do I look for the caravan in the desert and probably get a fairy? Go find a sky dungeon that some robot gave an item for, find the desert tower where supposedly I can get a rosseta stone to translate the language of the air people? Or try and figure out how to use that submarine. A lot of stuff to investigate. Right now I'm so strong and have some spell casting items that there is really not much challenge with normal enemies. I will say that for having never played a final fantasy, I am really enjoying this game. The combat is fun and the spell system is interesting. Oh and my monk is awesome, when I finally figured out my attacks were getting stronger without my nunchakus he really started to kick ass with his fists. Right now he does like 10 hits a turn for over 500 damage. I can already see myself playing part 2 and 3 now. Hopefully I can beat this one and those 2 to be ready for when you get to FF4.

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    1. You will freaking love FF3!!!...... or ya know earn my eternal scorn.... because the treasure told me to do it.... mnnn, treasure...

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    2. Ah yes, the peninsula of power. I avoided that. I actually never found it until the GBA version, and I'm not sure I want to use it. Seems like cheating a little since you're not supposed to meet those enemies until much later.

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    3. @Sean Clements

      Nothing against you personnaly, but is this a joke ?

      On the NES version back in the days, it would take DAYS to raise 140000 gold.

      Looks like that IPad version is a sad remake to please today's younger crowd who wouldn't stand the old-school grind.

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    4. Carl I actually agree with you. For one thing it seems the "Peninsula of Power" is very powerful indeed. Apparently its popular enough that Square kept it in all the remakes. Im on my second playthrough now and that one leveling spot is vastly superior for gaining exp than any other point in the beginning of the game. The thing is it was in the original FF on the NES so it seems that you can use it their too to rapidly gain gold and levels before taking on the marsh cave. And yes, its seems that the PSP anniversary version (Which the Ipad version essentially is) which itself is a minor upgrade of the DS Dawn of Souls version, which is based on the Playstation remake of 2001, does seem to make the game not too hard. I haven't died yet to any boss yet in my first and second play through (complete party dying that is) except to the optional Dawn of Soul Dungeon bosses. That being said it could be that I'm so used to old school RPG's that this is really a cakewalk for me. It is however fun so I'm not complaining. But essentially the game balancing for Ipad version dates back to changes in 2001 PS version so it is kind of old school already in a way. (BTW I'm 38 and this is my first time playing any FF game.)

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    5. I love how the iOS version is a port of a remake (PSP release) of a remake (GBA release) of a remake (PSOne) of a remake (I'm fairly sure the PSOne version is a remake of the Wonderswan release) of FF1.

      In fact, unless I'm mistaken, they've since ported the iOS released to Android. AFAIK, it's not a separate Android port, as it still has the same screen size/shape as the iOS release, even though it's not really appropriate for most Android phones.

      That means the Android release is a port, of a port, of a remake, of a remake, of a remake, of a remake.. of FF1.

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  2. I've been playing this for my blog while my PC is out of action. I only consulted the manual for the spells and how to to get the airship as I missed the clue. After you get the airship the world really opens up and you can reach the whole of the northern continent. I didn't find I needed to go out and grind - I just returned to the nearest town when I started to run out of Heal potions and tried again. Right now my characters are at level 38 and as far as I can tell I am very near the end (there is a twist but I won't spoil it).

    And Sean, it also took me a little while to realise I could ditch the nunchakus after the black belt levelled up. He now does more damage than my knight.

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    1. I probably didn't need to grind what I did, but I was avoiding healing potions for a while. I know there are some mummies in Astos' castle that are a set fight and if I remember are worth a good amount. I may grind on them a bit.

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  3. I haven't played this game in ages. When it first came out on the NES, I went through and beat it twice in a row, and I played the remake on the PSP several years ago as well. Not too long ago, my son bought this for the Wii virtual console (I still have the original NES cartridge, but it doesn't save data anymore) and he got a good ways into it, but he got frustrated at times too. There are a lot of things taken for granted in RPG's nowadays I think, like flexible save points, dungeons that don't take hours to get through, just things like that where he finally got annoyed enough at going through several levels of deep, sprawling dungeon only to be done in by 1 or 2 random enemy attacks that did him in, forcing him to restart at the very beginning, which was the last place he had been able to save.

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    1. Indeed, RPGs' foundation on stat growth and risky adventures can be time consuming, but seeing the results of getting through it used to really make me smile. Unfortunately your boy took a risk and encountered what so many people hate about actual risk (of time that could have meant something) in a non-randomly generated game. Hopefully he will try again and see the rest of this simple but satisfying story (I never played the original version but I did play through most of the anniversary and then finished the game and its sequel on my GBA SP!).

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  4. Can Gioz, THE RED MAGE!, lead the party through the unsettlingly slimy marsh cave? Find out in our exciting next episode!

    > To Be Continued.

    :-D Thanks for the shout-out, Zenic!

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    1. Yep, you won that bet fair and square. Glad to have you following along. Red mages have always been my favorite character.

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  5. Well sir, you are back in my good graces, if only for the "We didn't start the fire" joke. Giving me the Black Mage is pretty much a cherry on top.

    It's interesting to see comments on this game from a seemingly outside perspective. Have you not played it before? It doesn't seem that Sean and Wingnut have. I first beat this when I could barely read, and I don't think I had the manual or any of the extras, as I borrowed my cousins' copy. I remember some of my friends had the extras, and I found them really interesting. But I'm pretty sure I won without any of that stuff. I also returned to it and beat it 1 or 2 more times in the mid-to-late 90's and early 00's.

    As a result, it's funny to hear things like, "I realized the black belt is better without the weapons." I mean, it's perfectly reasonable to be unaware of this stuff, but it's so ingrained in my head that it just seems strange that people wouldn't know it. Ditto with finding.. well.. anything in the damn game.

    In any case, my opinion on the game has gone from complete adoration as a youngster, criticism in my late teens (mostly from realizing how much it ripped off DQ), and back to praise as an adult. There's actually quite a lot going on with the combat, the magic system, the different classes, the different item types, magic items, etc. etc. I also think that its hardcore elements yield a stronger game. When you prepare to get the crown, you are preparing for a real journey. You're not just going to the next plot point or a simple series of battles. There's real danger, even if you're prepared.

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    1. I have played before, but I'm trying to judge it as someone coming to it fresh. I've tried the basic party, all red mages, all black mages, all white mages (gave up), and all fighters. Aside from white mages, which I didn't finish, the final fight with 4 knights was the hardest since I didn't have very good healing capability.

      I'm pretty sure there's an in-game hint that the grand master hits harder with his fists. It's interesting to see all the little flavor in the game, random NPCs like the dancer in the first town have names.

      The Marsh Cave is the first real challenge of the game. The dungeon ramps up the enemy difficulty with heavy damage, high defense, and paralysis and poison inducing attacks. I hope I can get through it tonight.

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    2. I've beat it at level 53 characters with two knights and two monks. The last boss was extremely hard with limited healing. Took me 6 tries and some luck. Of course I think the extra items on the iPad version help. I had access to power potions to boost attack and some stronger healing items that were not in original game. (you can get mega elixir that heals whole party, but I only had one.) and elixir that fully heals on character of which I had 5. So now I'm using that same party to beat all the damn of chaos dungeons. All new bosses beat except one. Then I have to conquer the temple of time. But I got all the better swords and armor those dungeons reward you with and am now close to level 70 so it's somewhat easier now. I'm really interested to watch you play the original some more to see how much harder it is. Are you still alive lol.

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    3. Ha, yeah, still alive. Work has been more hellish than I thought, plus I've been doing a couple other projects. I'll get a post up tomorrow. I've already fallen behind on my estimate of beating the game, and I haven't really kept up my once a week posting. Sorry about that.

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  6. Ya I beat it with my first party on Friday. So today I decided to play it again with a little more challenge. I'm started a game with 2 fighters and two monks. Going to rely on Items for all my healing needs. I almost wanted to start over and trade out a fighter for a Theif or a red Mage. But I wasn't sure who was the better fighter out of the two and I only wanted to do that to get the Attack boosting spells. I decided in the end to just keep no magic users and tough it out. So far has been a breeze. Blasted through the marsh cave no problem with all that firepower. NAND with two fighters with armor in my first two slots it's made tanking attacks somewhat better and keeps my Monks alive longer. NI have had to grind a bit though for money to equip my fighters and buy enough potions. Well see if I can beat it with this no magic party.

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  7. Found a vid series similar to Chrontendo, but on the Megadrive. Episode 2 has a lot on Phantasy Star: http://www.youtube.com/user/sewartg/videos?flow=grid&view=0

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  8. The newest Chronsega also covers Phantasy Star 2. Even gives a shout out to this blog. I enjoy bothe Generation 16 and the Chron series by Dr. Sparkle. And this blog too of course.

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    1. I appreciate the support. I did note a spike in viewers earlier this week. I'm not sure when I'll get back to playing and writing for the blog again. I'll finish up Final Fantasy by the end of the year, but work has been extra busy. It was supposed to slow down. I get the last full week of December off though, so there's that at least.

      Dr. Sparkle seems to have enjoyed Phantasy Star 2 about as much as I did. I just remembered the recommendation to watch Generation 16. I like the Chron series' style over this (mainly the flow), but it does give additional information. It also looks like he's ahead of Chronsega because he's only focused on the Mega Drive/Genesis.

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    2. I hope you continue this blog Zenic, I really enjoy discovering some rpg's I never heard of.
      And I like reading on the rpg's that I finished myself and to compare notes on the game.

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    3. Sorry for not responding earlier. The plan is to continue it as long as I can. I'm glad people appreciate it even if the writing is poorer than other contemporaries. Maybe someone will come along with more time and talent, but until then I'll keep at it.

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  9. Hey Zenic, I came upon your blog because of Dr. Sparkle mentioning it as well. I like your project and plan on checking back regularly - hope you'll continue!

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    1. I will. This is just a very busy and stressful time. If things calm down by this weekend I might feel better about spending my time playing and get a post up.

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    2. Glad to hear that. I'm quite interested to see how things pan out for your adventuring troupe... sounds like it could be tough going for so many mages.

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    3. No worries, I understand about stressful times. Hope to get more posts out of you, so I can compare console games to computer ones.

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  10. Zenic I found your blog and I enjoyed in your posts.

    In you master list I found that you put PSX game like Castlevania: Simphony of Night and Alundra on list but you miss Tomba! :(

    Tomba! is mix between platform, adventure and RPG game. It has RPG elements (like talking with NPCs, lot of main and side quests - called events in game, Ability Points, various weapons and pants that change your stats (dash pant, jump pant for example), graphis is made in SNES style and little pigs are cute and charming, there are also puzzle and exploration elements like in Legend of Zelda games. It take around 10 hour to finish game and game mechanic is very enjoyable.

    I did review of Tomba! (PSN version) on GoodGameHR (croatian videogaming portal).

    Final score is 9 of 10 and gameplay got 10, graphic is 7 and replay value is 8. My final words in review are:

    Although it has its flaws, Tomba with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the best 2D platformer-adventure game on PlayStation. If you are a fan of 2D games, SNESlike graphics and RPGs then you should not miss the chance to play this interesting game.

    You can find review here: http://www.goodgame.hr/review/tombi/ - for understanding use google translate ;)

    Btw there was Tomba 2!: Evil Swine Return, it was 2D /3D hybrid game and in my opinion is lacking the charm of first game and I was disapointed in it. You can also buy it on PSN.

    I hope that you will reconsider to play Tomba! and Tomba 2! :)


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    1. Tomba! huh? I really can't find anyone that calls them RPGs, and they definitely seem to have more of a platformer feel, but I'll add them to the list to check out. It seems they're easy enough to pick up on PSN.

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  11. Dude, the spam on your blog is killing me, are there any settings you can tighten?

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    1. Yeah, I'm not sure what's causing this flood of spam over the holidays. I've turned on the word verification checking. Maybe that will slow them down. I'll start moderating the comments. The only other option is to block anonymous posting, but I'd hate to block the people that can't be bothered or don't want to log in.

      Most of it is getting caught by the spam filter, but I guess you still get the email notifications.

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    2. Yeah, as soon as you turned that filter on the problem went away.

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  12. Just checking in. I hope you get time to play again soon. I'm missing my chronogaming fix.

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    1. Me too, should calm down after this week. With luck, I'll have Final Fantasy wrapped up by the end of the month. Getting through only 12 games in a year is a paltry sum that will definitely put me at a disadvantage for getting through these games if it keeps up. I need to baulk this trend.

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    2. On the plus side, it keeps you from getting too far ahead of Trickster and Chet.

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  13. Please don't be fooled.

    This is objectively a broken, horrible game. Everything from elemental weaknesses to many status attack spells simply aren't functional due to sloppy programming..

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    1. I've heard that before, but thanks for the reminder. Looks like the only ones I need to be on the lookout for are weapons, which don't actually attack based on elemental weakness, and spells that don't work at all. I never really looked it up before, looks like some of these are fixed in later versions.

      Info from here: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Bugs_and_Glitches

      Spell issues:
      Tmpr - Does not work at all.
      Sabr - Does not work at all.
      Xfer - Does not work unless the target is the party.
      Lock - Always misses.
      Lok2 - Instead of decreasing Enemy Evade% by 20, increases Evade by 20.
      Hel2 - Works outside of battle as designed, works like Hel3 in battle.

      Weapon issues:
      Were Sword - Does not inflict more damage on Were-creatures.
      Rune Sword - Does not inflict more damage on magic-using or supernatural creatures.
      Dragon Sword - Does not inflict more damage on Dragon and dragon-kin creatures.
      Coral Sword - Does not inflict more damage on sea creatures.
      Giant Sword - Does not inflict more damage on Giants/Ogres or their kin.
      Flame Sword - Does not inflict more damage on Fire-weak, undead, or regenerative creatures.
      Ice Sword - Does not inflict more damage on Ice-weak creatures.
      Sun Sword - Does not inflict more damage on undead creatures.
      Light Axe - Does not inflict more damage on undead creatures.
      Xcaliber - Does not inflict more damage on every creature-type and elemental weakness.

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    2. .....WOW, get the feeling this was rushed out the door? I mean, even Skyrim shipped with having those lunar weapons do nothing (Supposed to do more damage by moonlight, not that you could predict moonlight due to the dysync clock problems) but that is a long list. Do ANY of the weapons work like they are supposed to?

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    3. Well, you can still use some items for spell effects. It seems calculating additional weapon damage based on elements is completely bugged.

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    4. I hope you can post again soon.

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    5. I finally got around to playing this again... I almost didn't. I'll make a quick post to update and show I'm back, but I didn't get very far. I figure if I put in 2 hours each day this week (my goal), I'll get through Final Fantasy by the weekend. I really need to catch up. I only played through 11 games in the year I've been doing this. Definitely won't get very far at that pace.

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