Back in 1986, Final Fantasy was the game that started it all, it spawned many imitators and a craze for computer game Role Player Games was born. It’s difficult to think that at that time Square was struggling to survive and this game was a last ditch attempt for Square to discern if they could make it as a games company or not.
The original Final Fantasy became a million seller in Japan and Square soon realised it’s talent for making RPG titles, three years later and Nintendo picked up the title for an English translation and an overseas release.
The story begins with the sage Lukahn making a prophecy that when the world would reach a dark time – “The Wind Stops, the Sea is wild and the Earth begins to Rot” – four warriors would appear, each carrying one of the elemental orbs and through these would resolve the cause of the world’s problems.
It’s a fairly hokey plot, but think of it as the initial paragraph of a story which becomes deep and intriguing fashioning character driven events which are memorable and powerful. As the game develops the player is immersed in a world where every battle and action matters.
These heroes are known as the Light Warriors and right from the start, the player is asked to make a choice regarding what type of heroes that they are leading into battle. There is a choice of six occupations for each character of the team. These are fairly generic but fit the nature of the story extremely well.
We have the Fighter – This is a class whose characteristics are high strength and health points . They can wield heavy weapons and wear metal armour. The next choice is the Thief , this class is fast but they have fewer Health Points than the Fighter class and they have a limited choice of weapons. The Black Belt has the highest attack strength of any class, they are also faster than the fighters, their defence is lower than the fighter’s however, they can also use no magic skills. The Red Mage is a balanced character, able to use both White and Black magic and they aren’t completely useless at melee combat either. The White Mage is the traditional healer and the Black Mage uses offensive spell casting to cause immense damage. Later in the game each of these classes can be upgraded and gain specialisation – as shown in the image below – this provides even more choice and more reasons to replay the title for the player as the main storyline is completed.
Once you have assembled your team, the game begins in Coneria, it is here that you, as a player, is given their first task. The king sends the young warriors to the abandoned temple of Fiends where a renegade knight called Garland has brought his daughter Sara.
This is a fairly short assignment which is used to teach the player the basics of the combat system, as well as the initial enemies, spells and weapons that are present in the game. The combat system in the initial game in the series uses rounds, each hero and monster takes a round each to choose an action – this order is chosen randomly and not related to speed of actions (which becomes more common in later games in the series)
Final Fantasy displays some incredible graphics for the time that the game was developed. There’s some lovely artwork present in the towns and dungeons that the player will traverse through. The art and design of the oceans, the rocky cave floors, lava puddles and castles maintain the beautiful fantasy world aesthetic wonderfully.
There’s also some amazing monster design present in the artwork – the monsters themselves are a little stereotypical, enemies like Old Evil Sorcerers, Giant Lizards, Trolls and bats make an appearance.
There’s a real charm to this title and it has been remade a few times, most notably on the Game Boy Advance (which comes packaged with the sequel) and the PSP which features improved graphics with 3D cutscenes.