BlueSmoke - Guide : A History of Final Fantasy - Part VII

 Date  : Jun 22nd, 2004
 Genre  : RPG
 Developer   : Square-Enix
 Author  : Jin-Ning Tioh

Welcome back. Today's episode is going to head even further away from the main series with games which bear the Final Fantasy name, yet are completely separate games on their own. This includes famous Square classics such as Seiken Densetsu, prequel to the well-known Secret of Mana. Also covered today is perhaps one of the least liked Final Fantasy titles ever released. Dig in for the dirt.

 

Final Fantasy Legend
 
Released:
September 1990
15th December 1989
 
Systems:
GameBoy
Wonderswan Color

Historical Facts

In the center of the world stands a tower. Rumor has it that at the very top is paradise. However, its many floors lead to many different worlds, each filled with helpful people and places as well as deadly monsters and dungeons. Many are those who have attempted the quest, but none were ever heard from again. Naturally, the task now falls to you to build up a team comprising of humans, mutants and monsters to explore the towers' depths and discover its secrets.

Actually the first game in the well-known SaGa series, these games are actually much less plot-intensive compared to the Final Fantasy series. Instead, the focus is on the the infinitely customizable characters. Unlike the usual level system though, characters' skills slowly evolve and improve throughout the game. Although released during the GameBoy era in all its 4-bit glory, gamers will still be hard pressed to find a better RPG for those long road trips. After a long absence, it was re-released by Sunsoft in 1998, with a remake of it recently made for the Wonderswan Color and released on 20th March 2002. For more on the game check out this site here.

Final Fantasy Legend II
 
Released:
November 1991
14th December 1990
 
Systems:
GameBoy

Historical Facts

Once there was a magical statue of the Goddess Isis with enormous power. For safety however, the statue was shattered into 77 pieces called Magi and scattered to the ends of the Earth. Your father, a Magi Hunter simply left one day seeking out the pieces of the Magi. Years pass before you finally gather a party of adventurers to seek your father and reassemble the statue to find out its true secret. Before the adventure ends, your party will encounter ancient castles, giants, dragon racing and more.

The second game in the SaGa series, Legend II continued its predecessors focus on character customization. Also re-released in 1998 by Sunsoft along with the first and third installments. For more on the game check out this site here.

 

Final Fantasy Legend III
 
Released:
September 1990
15th December 1989
 
Systems:
GameBoy

Historical Facts

Many millennia ago, a fierce battle was waged over an idyllic world known as Pureland. After much bloodshed, the warriors of Pureland managed to seal themselves off from the rest universe with the help of the Talon, a powerful space craft capable of both space and time travel. Centuries later the would-be Masters of Pureland have managed to create a rift in the galaxy, sending an entity to flood past, present and future. Four youths, each with unique abilities are sent through time in an effort to reassemble the 13 pieces of the Talon to combat this menace.

The third game in the SaGa series. Re-released by Sunsoft in 1998 along with the first and second installments. For more on the game check out this site here.

Final Fantasy Adventure
 
Released:
November 1991
14th December 1990
 
Systems:
GameBoy

Historical Facts

The land is in chaos, threatened by an evil warlord and the wizard Julius at his side. Overhearing their plans to harness the power of Mana to rule all, a gladiator who is made to fight for the king's amusement makes his escape with a spectacular dive off the edge of a waterfall. With the help of friends along the way, as well as the Mana tree, this escaped slave must travel to distant lands in his quest to save the land.

Actually the prequel to the US-released sequel, Secret of Mana, Adventure was released as Seiken Densetsu in Japan. An action RPG, the focus is on traveling the world dispatching foes with a variety of weapons and spells. Re-released in 1998 by Sunsoft. For more on the game check out this site here.

 

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
 
Released:
5th October 1992
10th September 1993
 
Systems:
Super Famicom Disk System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The Story

As a young boy is besieged by monsters, an old man helps him out. He then proceeds to inform the boy that he is the chosen one, and must immediately set out to restore the elemental crystals, gather the sacred crests and ascend the Focus Tower. Along the way he encounters foes and friends alike before facing the ultimate evil. Yup.

The Heroes ( Good Guys )

Benjamin - The hero of this tale. A young boy told to set off on an epic quest to restore the balance after being saved from the destruction of his hometown by an old man floating on a cloud. Let's hope he doesn't screw up. The only character customizable by players.
 
The Elder - The same old man on a cloud who saved Benjamin. He guides him throughout much of the game and reveals himself later into the game.
 
Kaeli - The first partner Benjamin encounters, she has the ability to speak to trees and has a rather unusual love for them. Also the daughter of Captain Mac, who will be of great help along the journey.
 
Tristam - A treasure hunter who shows up in the Bone Dungeon. Offers an elixir to help cure a friend in exchange for help hunting a rare weapon he's looking for. Seems to enjoy annoying Benjamin by calling him a kid.
 
Phoebe - When first encountered, Phoebe is attempting to defrost her town of Aquaria. A friend of Kaeli, she'll join up with you to restore the water crystal. She'll also be at your side to fight off the Dark King.
 
Reuben - Living in the town of Fireburg, Reuben is attempting to save his father who is trapped in a mine. He'll then proceed to help Benjamin restore the fire crystal.

The Villains ( Bad Guys )

Dark King - Looks menacing enough with his many forms. His bark is pretty much worse than his bite however.

 

Additional Hints & Tips

Hint #1

Cast cure on the Dark King to knock him cold. Pretty sad for a villain really.

Historical Facts

They say the road to ruin is paved with good intentions. Such is the case with Mystic Quest. It's one of the least liked titles in the series, and for good reason. Its plot is uninteresting, the characters generic, and the spells, weapons and accessories can be counted off one's fingers. Probably its best feature is the respectably catchy soundtrack.

This sorry episode began when Square noticed that the Final Fantasy games were selling decidedly more poorly in the states. In fact, Japanese games were outselling their U.S. counterparts by more than a 10:1 ratio. Thus, it was after much thought that they produced their somewhat misguided solution : Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Exclusively for the U.S. market, Mystic Quest would be a simplified RPG with a low price tag ($39.99) which would introduce and bring in tens of thousands of new players to the genre. They would play Mystic Quest, love it, then graduate to the regular Final Fantasy series.

You know what happens next. The plan backfired spectacularly. Final Fantasy fans in the states has just finished U.S. Final Fantasy II then, a masterpiece by all standards. Naturally, they expected Mystic Quest to be everything Final Fantasy II was and then some. Imagine how pissed they must have been when they discovered, instead, a simplistic, lobotomized RPG. Meanwhile, the uninitiated went on their way without a second glance. It was only later, with Final Fantasy VII that Square managed to truly break into the market.

More on perhaps the most legendary series soon, till then.



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