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Title: Final Fantasy
Author:Squaresoft
Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Tawna Evans

Synopsis: Darkness casts a shadow over the world. The elements of wind, water, earth and fire go out of control, creating chaos. Four warriors emerge, each carrying an orb that can restore balance to each of the elements.

In the game Final Fantasy, you create a party of four by selecting members from six occupations: fighter, black belt, thief, red mage, white mage, and black mage. Once you select the party, they must enter a town to purchase armor and weapons; otherwise they're defenseless. With that settled, the four warriors begin their quest by rescuing the princess who was kidnapped by Garland. Accomplish that goal, and the king rewards you by building a bridge to the rest of the continent. Once you cross the bridge, your quest will truly begin, as the game displays a pretty scene, some lovely music, and the credits for the games producers.

Final Fantasy plays similarly to Dragon Warrior games and other RPGs. Enemies appear at random while you explore dangerous territory. The characters attack opponents by selecting the appropriate command on the menu screen. As the characters gain levels, they become stronger and their different attributes increase. What sets Final Fantasy apart is that this game displays the enemies on the left side of the screen and the warriors on the right. When a character performs a command, the game displays it. You can view a fighter swing a sword during attacks. However, the sword does not physically touch the enemies. The act of swinging a sword is more symbolic of an attack. In addition, the battle scene background sometimes varies, depending on the terrain you travel in at the instant a battle begins. Also, whatever magic that mages use must be purchased at magic shops, instead of learned automatically with increasing levels. Some spells cannot be learned by mages until after they undergo their coming of age ceremony. Bring proof of courage to the dragon king, and he'll reward the heroes by changing the classes of the warriors so that they become stronger and take on a new look.

The world the four warriors explore covers vast continents and deep caverns. In certain instances, drawing maps certainly comes in handy. If you ever get lost in the great outdoors, press B + Select to view a map of the world. The travel music varies, depending on the type of terrain they explore. In addition to traveling on land, the warriors travel by sea and air, by acquiring ships. Travel is quicker when they ride a ship instead of walking on land. I love the realism! (Not like in a Dragon Warrior game, in which a ship travels at the same rate as the warriors walk on land!) With the infamous airship, which is faster than a sea ship, the warriors cross the entire globe in no time flat! I love the music and sound effects when they travel by sea and air. You can hear the sound of the ocean when they travel by sea. When they travel by air, you can hear the sound of the propellers spinning around rapidly. The battle music always sounds the same, which can get annoying, but at least there's enough over-all variety when exploring the various localities in the game.

The overall game-play is much like most other RPGs. The story element feels a little weak. The warriors pretty much concentrate restoring order to the four elements by reviving their orbs. There aren't too many surprises in this game. The ending feels pretty confusing, what with the time-loop and all. Do the warriors return 2000 years to the future, or the past? To me, it doesn't really make much sense. Another thing I don't like about this game is that you have to spend money at an inn in order to save the game. I hate the inconvenience this presents! Oh well. Final Fantasy games have become pretty popular, lately. Later games improved on the limitations of the first Final Fantasy game, yet retain the same overall style of the original. They still use menus in much the same fashion as the original, change backgrounds for each battle, and display the actions of the characters during battle. Considering that Final Fantasy was created by a small group of people, I find this game pretty impressive.

Best Cheats: This is totally irrelevant to completing the game, but it's still a neat trick to know about.

Final Fantasy includes a short mini puzzle game. To play this game, first board the sea ship. Next, press and hold the A button while pressing the B button 55 times. Do this right, and a jigsaw puzzle will emerge onto the screen.

Game Play: 6
Graphics: 8
Music/Sound: 7
Originality: 6
Overall Rating: 7

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