Final Fantasy Origins

Review

posted 3/17/2003 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: PS2
I had to do a bit of prep work before settling in to play Final Fantasy Origins. I found my SNES and Turbografx 16, started playing games like Chrono Trigger, Donkey Kong Country, and Bonk’s Revenge. You see, Final Fantasy Origins is not for the new school kids who loved Final Fantasy 7 and everything else that came with the 32-Bit era. This collection takes you back to a simpler time, when you didn’t need a party of ten or more characters, when the story was simple, and the music was a synth masterpiece.

Final Fantasy Origins is a reworking of Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy 1 and the previously unreleased Final Fantasy 2. Both games feature updated graphics, some FMV, new soundtracks, the ability to run, and re-written dialogue, but is it enough to keep them afloat in the time of games like Xenosaga, dotHack, or Breath of Fire? In three words, yes and no. Despite being quite simple and easy, the old school graphics and sound are something that will turn off a lot of gamers and that is quite unfortunate because these two games have truly been able to withstand the test of time.

Final Fantasy 1 follows the story of the four nameless heroes of the crystal, who are out to do a fine smiting to the forces of evil. You start with the basic party of four people, and are given choices as to which class you want them to be. Your choices include the bruiser Warrior, the lucky Thief, the ass-kicking Monk, the invaluable Whte Mage, the powerful Black Mage, and the jack of all trade magician, Red Mage. You’re able to choose four members in any combination. Want a party of white mages? Go for it. Of course withouth the proper balance of the party you’ll find yourself stuck in many predicaments which could end with your controller through the TV screen.

The graphics have recieved a very nice 16-bit level upgrade with all the characters getting new animations both in and out of battle. The monsters have received a piece of the graphical action and now look really good, however in order to keep things running smoothly still remain motionless and simply flash before attacking. Magic has also recieved some more special effects, no more three frames of animation for a Bolt spell.
The music is quite a step up from the synth days of the ‘80s. The music is not Nobuo Uematsu work but it is still quite impressive and fitting.

Buying magic? What kind of nonsense is this? Yep, in Final Fantasy 1 magic is purchased and fitted into one of three slots made for each magic level. Magic goes from level 1 to 8 and buying spells at times can be costly. And then there is the whole gaining levels in order to use the magic, so you can’t simply use it out of the box. The system is good, but it is something I don’t miss in the current Final Fantasy games.

If you remember playing this game in the past then you can’t possibly forget having up to nine enemies on screen at once. This doesn’t happen often but when it does you can expect the experience and money to be through the roof. This also cranks up the difficulty of the game considerably, especially when the enemies get pre-emptive attacks, and they will happen often. Simply put, this game is hard at times if you don’t know what you are doing. Fighting the bosses is easy, getting to them and leaving the dungeon after beating them is the hard part. Unless you’ve stocked up heavily on potions and made good use of your memo file, expect to get easily frustrated.

The story is wonderfully simplistic, four nameless warriors are out to save the world as evil gathers across the land. Each of these warriors of light bears a crystal that proves they are the chosen one. You are quickly sent on your quest as the King of Corneria asks you to find his daughter. Once the prologue is complete the game truly gets underway. But unfortunately the game and story lack direction which will leave you wondering where to go more often than not.
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