Top positive review
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Excellent update of some classic titles!
on June 20, 2003
I am another of those who remembers when the original Final Fantasy was released for the original NES back in 1990. I played it and thought that it was a great game, though there were a few aspects of the game mechanics that were annoying, such as the fact that you could only buy one item at a time from various shops, so if you wanted to buy, for example, 99 potions, you had to sit there and buy them one at a time. This has been fixed now to where you can specify the number of items you wish to purchase, so only one transaction is necessary. Other enhancements to the game include a bestiary, item list, an improved world map, an artwork gallery, and much improved graphics and music, with some fairly nice spell effects. The item storage system is also improved, allowing you to hold on to more items than could be previously carried. Anyone who has played the old version of Final Fantasy doubtless remembers having to dump some fairly good weapons and armor just to make room for other items found in dungeons. That is a thing of the past now, and the game is much better for it. The new version also does a good job of informing the player when a weapon or piece of armor has special properties, such as magic spells, allowing the player to make the best use of the weapons available to them.
Of course, all the graphical and mechanical improvements in the world won't save a boring game. The translation from the original Japanese is improved, so some of the things various characters say make more sense than they did before. Many of the place names in the game have been changed, and a lot of the monsters have been renamed.
The storyline of the game is passable, although certainly nowhere near as rich or complex as the later Final Fantasy installments. That's to be expected, considering that this was originally an 8-bit cartridge game. You start out with four characters, and you assign them names and job classes at the start of the game, and that will be your party throughout the game. Again, it was fine for its time, though someone who has played the newer Final Fantasies and not this one may find this somewhat of a disappointment.
As for Final Fantasy 2, I had never played this one before, since it was never domestically released in the USA. So, I really can't comment on its improvements from the original version. However, it is on a par graphically and soundwise with the updated Final Fantasy 1, so I imagine that is is also much improved from the old NES version. The system for character improvement and magic improvement is much different from the first game. Essentially, it is a system whereby the more a character uses a certain weapon or magic type, the better that character gets at that action. So, your characters specialize over time. A very interesting system, and one which allows for a greater amount of freedom in character creation and growth than in the original Final Fantasy.
All in all, I would say that these games are very well-done remakes of some classic NES titles. If you have fond memories of the original versions, I guarantee you will enjoy these updates. If you are interested in seeing where the Final Fantasy series got its start, I highly recommend this collection. Happy gaming!