Backlogged: Final Fantasy

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The story is relatively simple. Four warriors of light appear in the Kingdom of Coneria each holding a darkened orb. After meeting the the king sends them on a quest to rescue his daughter from the castle next door. Here the warriors fight Garland, an evil night, and save the princess. Once they return with her the king is inspired to build a bridge and the warriors of light go on their merry way. After roughing up some pirates and stealing their ship they go on a bunch of fetch quests until they learn about uniting the crystals to save the world.

After collecting all the crystals and defeating the big bad boss monster, my time with the first installment of Final Fantasy has come to an end. What can I say about such a classic game? I’m still not really sure I had fun playing this or if the curiosity of how games used to be got me through this.

There were parts I genuinely enjoyed. The first couple of areas were fun and scratched an itch for a really simple turn based combat game. I liked the first quest where the four heroes had to save a princess from Garland. The few adventures we had along the way were also really fun. Without a map I was stumbling around the wilderness just praying my heroes could survive until we saw town again. It probably took a lot of extra time but I think that was the best experience I had with this game

Some of the dungeons are tough as nails. I didn’t think an 8-bit rpg could give me so much anxiety. In Grugu Volcano after I defeated the boss my party was in bad shape. the white mage was dead we were down to our last precious health potions. As the party made its way back to the entrance the monk and the red mage were picked off. Enemies only hit my warrior for 1 damage each turn and he had a lot of health as long as he wasn’t poisoned. 3 squares from the exit a pack of adders spawned which poisoned the warrior and then destroyed his remaining health. That was an hour of playtime gone. It was disheartening but nothing a little grinding couldn’t solve.

It was around the 10 hour mark that my interest/enjoyment started to wane. It was right around the time I actually decided to follow a map. It’s frustrating when you don’t know where your going or who the last NPC was that had some useful information. The story became not so entertaining as I was flying from point to point on the map wondering  when I would run into the next crystal.

Around the 15 hour mark I was bored but it looked like I was almost to the final location so I buckled down and pulled up a walk through for the final dungeon. Even with a decently leveled party and full inventory of items I barely made it through on the first try. The walk through explained a lot like that the healing staff could be used as an item to lightly heal the whole group.

It also gave me a map of the dungeon which would not have been fun to figure out on my own. I know it’s an end game dungeon but there are so many dead ends. This final dungeon has you face all of the previous bosses and then the big bad horribleness. I almost lost this fight. By the time I got there even with the walk through I was out of my 99 healing potions and my white mage was on his last leg. What surprised me was that he only had one form which my master and his fists of overpoweredness were able to dispatch easily.

Was it fun? Yes, for a little while but it got old after the first 3rd. My total play time was 20hrs I felt like I got my moneys worth out of this one though. It was interesting to play through a game that is one of the pillars of classic RPGs. It wasn’t as basic as I thought it would be. I was surprised that I got to form my own party in the beginning. On top of that,I could pick different classes too. It really made me miss tool tips, item descriptions, and quest journals a lot.

Since I got the Origins edition for the PS Vita I also own Final Fantasy 2. I’ve heard some terrible, awful, horrendous things about FF2 and it’s weird leveling system. I’m excited to try it out. How bad could it really be?

 

 

A Weekend of Older Games

Every few months I make the trek back to my hometown to visit family and friends. This weekend was one such time. I always try and visit my friend Jay when I go home, we’ve known each other for a long time and always have fun together. Jay happens to collect everything gaming related under the sun so when I go over there we always end up playing some really old games. He’s got games from every system generation and every system to go with it. It’s kind of like a museum over there, complete with a working Panasonic 3DO. This weekend we played Super Ghosts and Goblins and Earthworm Jim on whatever this thing is. It plays a whole slew of cartridges with the only downside being the sound is a little distorted.

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Playing so many retro inspired 2D indie games, I’m always a little surprised how familiar actual retro games are when I get a chance to play them. Most of them are fun to see how far games have come. There is always that moment when you run into some piece of archaic game play or UI but for the most part these older games aren’t as alien or a simplistic as I thought they’d be.

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Super Ghosts and Goblins is one of those games that wold fall into the Metroidvania category. Jay’s convinced that this games name should also be part of the genres name but Metroidvaniagoblins just doesn’t roll off the tongue. There are chests you find throughout each level that contain new weapons and armor. You can only have one weapon and armor equipped at a time so you have to choose if its worth giving up your current ones for new ones. When you get hit you lose your armor, get hit twice and your dead. It’s hard, even on normal difficulty it’s hard but the platforming and the enemies are fair. There’s a life system and once you lose all of them you have to use a continue. This ends up not being that bad as you can give yourself 9 lives for every continue and your given 7 continues…that’s a lot of lives to go through. We ended up playing about an hour of it before we gave up and moved on.

Super Ghost and Goblins felt like a rouge-lite without procedural generated levels. When you die you have to start over but not completely. You keep the last weapon you used and sometimes there are check points. You have to go through the whole level again this time with different armor and weapons dropping from the chests. It’s also just hard enough that I felt like it was a challenge without being unfair.

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The other game we played was Earth Worm Jim which was definable an experience. I’m not sure if there’s some back story in the manual but as far as I can tell I was playing a space worm with arms and a gun. We only played the first level and what a level it was. Being chased down by garbage bats, being attacked by junk dogs, and bouncing on old tires. The level boss was a garbage can that would upper cut me into the stratosphere if I  got too close. It’s one of those games that left me wondering how exactly did someone think this up. Its a game I’d like to return to on my next trip up there but it’s a game I can only play in small doses. It has great art and colors and feels like playing a Saturday morning cartoon. It also reminds me of a random 5 dollar Steam game you buy on sale because it looks ridiculous.