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Final Fantasy (NES)

Final Fantasy NES
Genre: Role-Playing (RPG)
Perspective: Top-down
Art: Anime / manga
Pacing: Turn-based
Gameplay: Japanese-style RPG (JRPG)
Setting: Fantasy
Published by: Nintendo of America Inc.
Developed by: Square Co.
Released: 1990
Platform: Nintendo (NES)

“Final Fantasy” was the game that marked the beginning of Square’s leading brand, the “Final Fantasy” series, which still includes games on the most modern gaming, computer and mobile platforms. The game became one of the most influential early Japanese role-playing games and played one of the leading roles in the formation and popularization of the genre. Final Fantasy has been ported more than once for a number of home and pocket consoles and is often shipped in collections that also included the next part of the Final Fantasy II series, for example: Final Fantasy Origins for PS One and Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls "for Game Boy Advance.

The gameplay in "Final Fantasy" is not much different from most other JRPG games of the time. Before the start of the game, we ourselves must create a team of four heroes, who are called “Light Warriors” in the game: this is done by choosing a specific class and entering a name (initially it was possible to enter only 4 characters, but in subsequent games the number of characters increased to 6) for each character. Later, in remakes, the members of the team became known as the “Warriors of Light”. It should be noted that the choice of classes (we will talk more about them below) for the characters will not affect the plot of the game, but it will make a difference (sometimes very significant) in how the fights will be played in the game.

The objective of the game is to destroy the four Elemental Enemies, which are also called the Fiends of Chaos. On our way, we have to periodically visit various cities where you can buy new or sell old equipment, purchase all kinds of supplies, get supporting information, and also relax after intense adventures. Outside the cities, heroes of various kinds can attack monsters, which must either be destroyed or avoided by retreating from the battlefield. The victory over monsters gives heroes experience points (EXP, Experience Points), a certain amount of which increases their level of development, as well as gold (Gold, or Gil in remakes, in the manner of the subsequent parts of the series), the local currency in the world of "Final Fantasy".

With increasing levels of characters, their characteristics also grow, the stock of life points (HP, Hit / Health Points) and spells increases. The early versions of the game are distinguished by the lack of mana, instead of it the heroes had a certain amount of charges restored during the rest for each spell level, the amount of which directly depended on the character's level. In later versions of the game, starting with "Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls" for Game Boy Advance, the system introduced the consumption of magic points (MP, Magic / Mana Points), which is typical for most of the next parts of the series. Thus, each character (mainly magicians) has his own supply of MP, which is common to all learned spells. More powerful spells are expensive MP. The amount of MP is growing in the same way as the amount of HP - along with an increase in the level of character development.

Travels between cities and locations, in which the main action takes place, take place on a global map. There are several modes of transport in Final Fantasy. Initially, our team did not have any additional means of transportation, which is why only a small part of the largest continent in the game is open for research. But as the plot develops, the characters get a ship (for moving across the seas and oceans) and a canoe (for moving along narrow rivers), which will help to explore the entire main continent. And then you can also get a flying ship, which will make it possible to go on a distant adventure and discover two more outer continents, moving even further along the plot. Also, as you progress through the game, the heroes will be able to use the submarine to dive to the bottom of the ocean, but they will not be able to control it, it itself will deliver the heroes to the desired location.

Classes for characters are selected at the very beginning of the game and cannot be changed in the future. In the later stages of the game, each class can be improved by completing an optional quest. Three classes focus on physical combat, and three focus on magic.
  • Warrior (Fighter, in later versions - Warrior). He possesses any weapon and armor, has a strong attack and defense, after becoming a Knight, in addition to increasing strength and defense, he gets the ability to learn and use low-level white magic.
  • Black Belt or Monk. He does not recognize armor and weapons, trusts only his fists. In most cases, any armor or weapon only worsens its defense and attack. Upgrading to Master further enhances his fist attack and defense without armor.
  • Thief. He is quick and agile and especially useful when it is better to retreat reasonably than to shamefully lose. After becoming a Ninja (Ninja) gets an even greater increase in dexterity, and also gains the opportunity to learn and use black magic low levels.
  • Red Mage. It can use most spells of black and white magic (except for the most advanced types), and also fight effectively with melee weapons. After upgrading to Red Wizard receives permission to learn and use more powerful spells, and can also dress in more solid equipment.
  • White Mage. A specialist in white magic (and this is mainly healing and protective spells) is weak in close combat and does not particularly shine with protection. After being promoted to White Wizard, he gains access to learning and using the most powerful spells from the school of white magic.
  • Black Mage. The master of black magic (it concerns attacking spells), in essence, is similar to the White Mage, but has a stronger melee attack and less HP. In the same manner as the White Wizard, after being promoted to the Black Wizard, he gets the opportunity to learn the most powerful spells from the school of black magic.
Battles in the game are implemented step by step. At the beginning of the next move, you need to choose an action for each of your characters: it can be a simple attack, the use of magic, the use of a thing or potion, or a retreat command. Next, the sequential execution of these commands and the actions of the monsters begins, the order depends on the speed (agility) - the fastest execute their commands first, but if the speed matches, then the championship is determined randomly. The version of the game for NES has such a feature: if a character chose to attack a monster as a target, but with the onset of his turn, the monster is already killed, then the attack disappears, and the character simply misses the move. In later versions of the game, in such cases, a new target is automatically selected randomly, while retaining such a sometimes valuable blow. Everything described above applies both to simple attacks, and to magic or to the use of things. The battle continues until one of the parties is defeated or escapes. If we win, then all the characters get experience and money, if we run away, we don’t get anything and find ourselves on the main map, where we were before the battle. In the case when we lose the game, the game immediately ends on this.

It is very difficult to treat the game objectively. To do this, you need to not just play it, and not even just pass it. You need to mentally return to 1987 and talk about it in the present, keeping in mind two phrases: "Dragon Warrior" and "Phantasy Star". What for? In those ancient times, Square was a small company on the verge of collapse. And they would have gone broke if they hadn’t released a game called Final Fantasy in time. Apparently, then Hironobu Sakaguchi (for "Final Fantasy" is his father) thought that this would be the last game made by the company. Otherwise, there is no way to explain such a name, which does not go well with the plot of the game. And the game, unexpectedly for everyone, including its creators, became a hit. Enix's Dragon Warrior (or Dragon Quest in Japan) was perhaps the first game in the genre now called JRPG. There are probably very few people in Russia who have played this RPG, but at that time Dragon Warrior became a kind of founder in its genre. The first part of this series was released a year before "Final Fantasy", and the second - in the same year with her, so the championship is there. Here he is, the trendsetter in the RPG for NES, and it would not be fair not to notice that the hit from "Square" borrowed from "Dragon Warrior" almost everything that is possible - from the graphic look to the combat system. The only comment - "Final Fantasy" was a little better in everything. This decided the outcome of the case.

Many say that the success of "Final Fantasy" was due to the original plot of the time. In fairness, we note that in the first "Phantasy Star" the plot was no worse. But, nevertheless, there was something in “Final Fantasy” that distinguished her from all the others, and what would remain with her forever was a love of sharp plot twists and spectacular outcomes. True, the game begins rather faded: four nameless, characterless heroes appear in the fairy kingdom, at first they save the princess, who fell into the hands of the evil sorcerer, for order. Then they learn that in the world something is wrong with the elements. The wind does not blow, the fire does not burn. It turns out that four demons captured the crystals that control these elements. In the end, playing the entire first half of the game is pretty boring. And then there is intrigue, and playing becomes very, very interesting. The most interesting thing in "Final Fantasy" is the denouement, and, perhaps, only for the sake of it you can torment and complete the game. After this, however, you can remain somewhat busy and dumbfounded, frantically trying to figure out all the confusion left in your head. And even after reading the final credits to the end, it is very difficult to understand - who, in the end, began to do all these atrocities in a fairy-tale world? Sometimes I even doubt whether the scriptwriters themselves figured out the plot of the game they created?

Graphically, "Final Fantasy" is much more beautiful than all the games that appeared on the NES from the Dragon Warrior series! In general, she was very beautiful for her time. And even in our time, playing it, you can find a lot of eye-pleasing details. The cities are very monotonous, but this does not apply to the dungeon’s, the enemies are drawn just fine. And if you play on the emulator with a small window, the impression will be that you play on SNES (but this is only in battle). If we talk about music, then the conversation will be even more difficult, because on NES, by today's standards, a soundtrack that was strong by definition could not be. Of course, the music in the game is not bad, especially in comparison with the same Dragon Warrior. It is worth noting that many of the compositions used in "Final Fantasy" later appeared in other parts of the series, with a much more decent arrangement.

Regarding the combat system, "Final Fantasy" made several breakthroughs significant for the JRPG genre! How did she so favorably differ from the games of the Dragon Warrior series and the hit novelty Phantasy Star (released in the same year, but on the much more powerful Game Gear platform)? The answer is ridiculously simple - in "Final Fantasy" during the battle, we were first shown on the same screen our heroes along with enemies! It would seem that this is so? But this added new strategic opportunities and facilitated the recognition of characters, in addition, the first-person view was already quite fed up with everyone. Of course, this is not the only innovation. The system of character classes, different types of magic, a large selection of equipment - all this was not completely new. But in "Final Fantasy" all this turned out to be more than others! And from revolutionary introductions - the characters in the course of the game changed their appearance, as if evolved, getting a more prestigious class and becoming stronger!

In addition to the standard warrior, the game also contains classes such as a martial arts master, black magician, white magician, red magician and thief. The red magician can use both types of magic (white and black) and fight with the sword, but all this does pretty bad. A thief, at first, is a very nondescript character, but over time he will be able to become a ninja, and this is already a very good fighter! Theoretically, you can get through the game using absolutely any combination of characters. Here are just some options it will make it harder. The whole party of black magicians looks powerful, like the army of Mordor, but you will go broke, firstly, on magic, and secondly, on bottles of medicine that you have to buy wagons. The same with the Red Mages, although they can save on healing. Exceptionally white magicians are even worse. Of course, such a party will not be easy to defeat in battle, but they will also have to kill their enemies for a long time, due to the lack of any combat magic except the "HARM" spell. Four monks are a good option for the stingiest players, since they can do without weapons and expensive clothes, and you can buy medicine with the money saved. There will only be problems with enemies who have high defense against physical attacks.

Naturally, there is no question of any “semi-real” time in battle. The battles are exceptionally step-by-step, and in the first "Final Fantasy" their strategic component is expressed much brighter than in all subsequent ones. From the first move, we have to distribute the enemies between our four heroes. And with that, you are getting lucky, honestly! That is why the level of difficulty in the game can be called high. Not extreme, of course, but if you go through the first “Final Fantasy”, the seventh or eighth will be a couple of trivia for you, not to mention the ninth. Moreover, the first game is very short - it will take no more than 20 hours to complete it. Moreover, three quarters of them are for leveling characters. Yes, you will have to train your heroes a lot, a lot!