Final Fantasy is a Japanese role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Famicom on 1987-12-18. It was later ported to the MSX2 and then translated to English for a July, 1990 release in the USA. Ports have also been made for the BREW and J2ME. Upgraded versions have been made for the PlayStation and WonderSwan Color by Tose. The game has also been completely remade several times for various other platforms. This is the first game in the Final Fantasy series.
The game is set in a Medieval fantasy world which has fallen into turmoil and four heroes are destined to defeat the elemental fiends to restore light to four orbs and stop chaos from destroying the world. Final Fantasy uses various RPG game play mechanics that were maturing in the 8-bit era, but added a lot of polish to them. You form a party of adventurers from a pool of available classes, each is equipped with weapons, armor, magical spells, and the like, you walk around maps fighting monsters, and speak with NPCs who task you with quests which usually end with you having to defeat a boss.
In sixth grade, a friend of mine and I both loved fantasy RPGs. I was playing Ultima: Exodus and he was playing Final Fantasy. We each talked about the games at length in school and eventually swapped them. I didn't have the game long enough to get very far, but I remember defeating Garland, getting the pirate ship, visiting the elves and dwarves, but then getting annihilated in the marsh cave from poison. I haven't played it much since and never beat it, but I did watch friends play through large sections of the game when I was younger, and I once even cheated my way through the entire game it at double speed on an emulator to research it for the VGMPF. I also know most of the plot points from reading magazines and walkthroughs.
I own this game for the NES, but I have not beaten it.
Best Version: NES
— This section contains spoilers! —
- For its time, Final Fantasy was a very in-depth and massive RPG. The story has a lot of interesting (if trope-heavy) elements like elemental fiends, a lost technological culture, an airship, etc. The whole thing really feels like you're on an epic adventure.
- The game's character art, designed by Yoshitaka Amano, is really fantastic. The player characters, NPCs, and especially the monsters, are all expertly drawn. I also like the overworld's graphics which appear far less tiled than other games of the era.
- Nobuo Uematsu composed an amazing and expansive soundtrack, surprisingly, without the use of the NES's noise channel.
- The variety of playable character classes accommodates several alternative play styles.
- I think the game does a really good job of mixing fantasy with small elements of science fiction. Something later games in the series fail at.
- Combat has a lot of nice quirks like animation that changes based on each character's weapon or spell, injured and fallen graphics, multiple hits, backgrounds which change based on the terrain.
- It's a minor thing, but I love how your avatar's body disappears when you walk in the forest.
- The MSX2 port, though it featured weaker sound and animation, had better graphics than the original.
- The game has a fantastic manual which includes a detailed walk-through of the first quarter of the game. This teaches you all the ins-and-outs of the game before releasing you on your own.
- I like how when you're pushing an NPC, they scurry out of the way faster than their normal walking speed.
- Game play is far too slow. Your character avatar moves too slowly around the map, combat drags on and on, dialog boxes are slow to draw, the game fades in and out
- Although it's more realistic and strategy-dependent, I don't like the "ineffective" hits in combat which require you to plan your strikes in advance each round.
- The game has too many random encounters, the Giant Cave especially.
- Four letters for characters and spells just aren't enough to make interesting names.
- I don't like that magic users can only learn three of the four spells in each level. Although this does make an interesting strategy decision, I would prefer it if they could change things up throughout a single game rather than have to start a new game from the beginning to try an alternate strategy.
- The game palette-swaps enemy graphics a bit too much. I would have liked to see a larger variety.
- Without any side-quests and very few hidden events, you pretty much see everything the game has to offer on your first time through. Subsequent play-throughs can be unique with a different party or spell configuration, but that's about it.
- Several of the enemy names are pretty ridiculous. Creep, badman, bigeye, etc.
- The game requires far too much grinding. More experience and gold should have been awarded to speed the game along.
- The fact that you have to buy everything for individual characters (potions, weapons, armor, etc.) and then move them between characters one at a time is extremely obnoxious. Thankfully, later games in the series allow you to buy items for the party and use them as needed. Remakes of Final Fantasy wisely adopt this practice.
The original box art was painted by Yoshitaka Amano. It's adaquate, but I don't care much for the style, and I don't think it represents the game all that well, but it does give a nice fantasy feel. The title text has an interesting shattered-ice quality.
The game contains credits, but all of the names are aliases. Over time, several of those names have been identified.
|Original Concept||Hironobu Sakaguchi|
|Character Design, Box Art||Yoshitaka Amano|
|Music and Sound||Nobuo Uematsu|
|MSX Director||Masanori Otsu|
|MSX Program Port||Yas, Katsumi Ito|
|MSX Graphics Port||Tadahiko Watanabe|
|MSX Audio Port||Tadahiro Nitta|
|Japanese||ファイナルファンタジー||Fainaru Fantaji||Final Fantasy|