Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES)


Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest or as it is known in Japan “Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest” was Square’s response to the lack of interest western audiences had in Role Playing Games at the time (excluding table-top games naturally). This one of a kind game simplified the RPG formulas to such an extent that Square believed any person (read: American) would become hooked on RPG’s. The game itself is fairly lackluster when it comes to story and it’s most commonly noted fact is that the game had an amazing soundtrack which was a wonderful blend of rock and techno. I personally played this game long after I had played games such as Final Fantasy III and Legend of Zelda Link to the Past for the SNES. So to me this game was far from impressive until I took note of the hilarious dialogue and great soundtrack.

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Oh you!

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is horribly simplistic and lacks many of the conventions of modern RPG of it’s day. There are no random encounters, fetch quests are fairly simplistic and don’t involve much travel, and you can never truly lose the game. Now what do I mean you can’t “truly lose the game”, well if at any point in time you are defeated in battle you are giving the option to retry the battle with all your stats and items reset to what they were at the start of the battle. With such an option it makes it so that no matter how hard the game gets you are always able to move forward. The game also lets you save anywhere at any time, which is handy and in my opinion an option that all RPG’s should have.

Unlike most RPG’s where you buy your equipment and items in Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest you will find all of you equipment in dungeons aside from a select few, weapons however are mostly given to you by whomever it is that has partnered up with you for whatever dungeon it is you are crawling.

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Then Bomberman stole all of them.

This brings me onto the whole “party” concept in this game, in FFMQ you will only ever have one other person in your party aside from the main character and your party member will always start out at a higher level then you. Unlike your character though who gains experience and levels your party members will remain stagnant. This isn’t a bad thing and is done for a very specific reason, your current party member whenever he/she joins will start out at whatever level it is you will be by the time of the boss fight so if anything the party members stand as a testament to how you should level. Your party members will also always have better stats then you, so you should just accept that fact now.

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She’s only wearing a dress and she had higher defense? :/

All of the towns in the game are very simplistic and in only a few of them are there puzzles which get you a magic book or some cure bottles. For the most part towns are used exclusively for plot related events and for sleeping so you can heal.

Magic in this game operates similar to the “charge” system the first game had where you could use different types of spells a certain number of times before you need to use an ether or go to an inn. Spells are all found through books hidden throughout the land (mostly in dungeons). Interestingly enough many spells have dual purposes and can be used on both enemies and the party, a good example is the spell “Life” which can fully heal or revive a party member, or instantly destroy an undead opponent.

The battle system itself is limited to three options “Battle”, “Run”, and “Control”. Battle does what you would assume it opens a sub menu where you can choose to attack regularly or you can use a spell or item, run allows you to attempt to flee, and control switches the main character from “Manual” to “Auto” (player controlled to computer controlled).

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Damn Centaurs, the fake you out by surrendering then they tell you a riddle to confuse you.

This game has status effects and almost all the enemies in the game can inflict one upon you, so expecting the unexpected is key in battles. Another thing of note is that over the course of a battle as you damage a monster its sprite will change to show you how low its HP is. Generally most monsters have two sprites but more important monsters with high HP can have 3 or more.

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He needed to get some filing done anyway.

Another integral aspect of the game is switching weapons which you can do at any point in time by pressing the shoulder buttons. Each weapon in the game had special characteristics and uses such as the axe which can cut down trees and the bomb which can blow up obstacles. They each have their own unique status effects they can inflict upon an enemy not to mention that some weapons are naturally stronger then others. Though one thing of note about weapons and attacks is that in FFMQ any and all attacks which target more then one opponent divides the damage it would have done amongst all the enemies (i.e. Using a bomb which targets all opponents and there are three of them, it does 300/3 to each monster).

The games dialogue is campy and obviously meant to not be taken seriously, the graphics for the game are slightly less impressive then that of FFII for the SNES but the actual monster sprites I’d say are about the same in uniqueness. The soundtrack is the games most endearing quality and is the main reason for the games cult following. Give it a listen:

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest was generally considered a failure by many of its early fanbase, yet strangely enough it received average reviews and over time has garnered a much larger fan base from newer gamers and retro gamers. In my opinion this game is not truly meant for someone uninitiated to the world of Role-Playing games but instead is best for those who have been fans for a while and want something unique to change things up. The game is far from perfect as at times the dungeons crawls, just like in any RPG can get tedious, though despite that the game was innovative in how it handles many things (i.e. letting you jump over stuff). I recommend this game to any who are fans of Role-Playing games, or to those who are looking for something different.

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Maybe if he invests it in mutual funds he’ll be able to afford it in fifteen years.