Format reviewed: NES/Famicom
Submitted by: Steven Jackson
Back in 1987, a small Japanese game company named Square were at the depths of despair (and bankruptcy). After developing a string of unsuccessful games, they put all their final resources together to create one more game which could be considered a hit. Hironobu Sakaguchi (the creator) said "I don't think I have what it takes to make a good action game. I think I'm better at telling a story". With this as his inspiration he and his team set off creating what they thought would be their final game ever.
Released two days before SEGA's "Phantasy Star" in Japan, the game Square created was entitled "Final Fantasy" and as the name suggests it was supposed to be Square's final game ever. 23 years later however, the thirteenth installment of this revolutionary video-game series has just been released proving that "Final Fantasy" was anything but final.
Final Fantasy for the NES is by far one of, if not the greatest 8-bit RPG ever. Released at a time when Zelda and Metroid were seen as deep games, Final Fantasy blew gamers and the game industry away with its deep storyline(s), musical scores and influencial gameplay. Even today 23 years later, Final Fantasy is still one of the most thrilling, engrossing and exciting gaming experiences ever.
Starting out with four characters all from different character classes such as Fighters and Black Magicians, you start a quest to rid the world of evil by collecting four orbs each of which represent the four classical elements; Fire, Earth, Water and Wind. Once these have all been retrived the world is at peace once more.
However to gain this peace, the player (along with their four strong army) must encouter, battle and succeed in defeating a variety of monsters, people and animals while using a variety of magic spells and weapons. For these scenes of the game, the classic RPG battlescreen was created and with this screen some of the most tense and exhilirating moments in gaming as a gamer. Strategy is the key to such parts of the game making it highly difficult, yet at the end highly rewarding as both a player and a character as each successful battle win rewards you with a variety of experience points and money allowing new weapons and abilties to become accessable and aid you on you're quest. While some of the battle scenes are pre-determined due to the games narrative, many are spontanious and can occur at any time while travelling across the various lands on the map.
As well as this Final Fantasy has been renouned for its incredible 8-bit music score. Often described as one of the greatest musical scores ever in gaming, it's music has been played by orchestras and even Japanese schoolchildren as part of their music curriculum.
However, Europeans have never been able to appreciate fully and officially, the original NES version of Final Fantasy making it more of a Japanese and American culture phenomenon than a game. Thankfully though Nintendo have finally allowed us Europeans 23 years after the original release to fully experience officially the original chapter of the incredible RPG saga through the Virtual Console. For 600 wii points, European gamers (like myself) can finally play this monumental game officially for the first time and fully enjoy and experience Final Fantasy for what it is.
To conclude, Final Fantasy is one of the greatest games ever made. The prototype for all RPG's to come (Square and other) it is a triumph in the video-game industry. A great story, ageless gameplay, beautiful graphics and with music like no other, it is a masterpiece. It is definetly one Wii VC game you need to download and enjoy. I could write a book about how much I love this game and I nearly have here in this single review. However, I think Final Fantasy is one of those games, gamers need to experience first hand to fully understand how great it is. I did and I am glad that I did because I will never look back.