Final Fantasy Retrospective

Inspired by an article by Jason who I follow on twitter.

At this point I don’t even remember if Final Fantasy is the first Final Fantasy I played. Between Final Fantasy I/IV/V/VI which I played on emulators… I can’t remember which got me into the series.

I do remember that I played Final Fantasy I on the nes emulator and how I was totally absorbed by it. When I first started playing it… it felt kinda stupid because… you initially have no gear. The default team was really bad. I think it was fighter/thief/black belt/red mage. Which is the default team that I started with for my first playthrough. I don’t think I finished the game with that team but since I realized that I couldn’t get warp/exit and I was really sad.

This was back in the days of gamefaqs and I think there was this site dedicated to final fantasy 1. I looked up all the teams and various combinations… and basically any party of 4 with Fighter/White Mage/Black Mage would generally get a really high rating. I decided to go Fighter/Black Belt/Black Mage/White Mage.

Back in the day you had to buy potions manually. And you could only buy one potion at a time. And you needed 99 potions for more dungeons else you’d put yourself in serious danger of not completing it. I think the highlight of the game for me was that there was this small pennisula where you could face uber enemies way in the future. Basically… there’s this area that’s only accessible via airship… which is really late into the game. But the programmers made the monsters from that area appear in the pennisula opposite of it so you had 2 tiles where you could walk around in a low level area which would make you face uber enemies. And you could actually get to a point where you could beat these enemies with some luck/preparation and it allowed you to power level and farm much easier. Good times :)

I played it on an emulator so I many of the pains were less for me. I could fast forward the boring parts. When your fighters would hit air… I would just reload and retarget. The most annoying thing about the game was that monsters would start having death / insta death spells way before you could get protection. And if your character died then your characters would be off-leveled from the rest of your team. Like… 3 of your characters would level before the character that died. And there was a quite a few bosses with insta death before you could get the pro-rings. Which brings me to the naming… unless you had a guide. How would you know that pro-ring protects you from instant death. o.o.

I played through this game with so many different parties. In the old one… you could only have 4 weapon and armor slots. So you wouldn’t be able to carry all the good stuff. Like healing staff and healing helm. Would take up one of the valuable 16 slots. That was crazy. I think my favorite party from before would be the my first official party. Fighter/Black Belt/White Mage/Black Mage. Fighters get to tank and do damage… Masters do more damage than fighters when fasted. Fast was a crazy ass level 4 spell. I still remember. And of course the necessary white mage / black mage.

On warmech. I do remember getting brutalized by warmech. Me being n00b. I saved on the battle encounter. I’m pretty sure he just crushed me even with saving/loading. But then subsequently when I was all trained and equipped with the masamune on my white mage… he wouldn’t show up for the longest time. I think one of the sad things is that… you got the masamune so late so you couldn’t have fun with it.

I played this game again to death on the PSP version. There was this glitch where you could equip armors as weapons and weapons as armors. Or any armor in any armor slot. So what happens is each weapon matches to a corresponding armor code. Go look up the glitch and come back. But basically, you didn’t need a warrior in your party anymore since your mages could equip dragon armor or some other godly armor. And it freed it up to so much new possibilities. I think having a warrior still helps in terms of giving you full access to all the possible item combinations. But the introduction of new side dungeons and better gear was so good.

It’s crazy that a master still does the most damage with the fist. I think my new favorite party on the PSP was master/master/whitemage/blackmage or swap a master with a thief. The warrior’s best ability was equipment… and with the equipment glitch… it just opened up whole new worlds of fun. I definitely spent more than 200 hours with Final Fantasy I.

tl;dr - Final Fantasy I is all about different adventures with different parties. Play the PSP version for a much better battle experience. It’s still so fun. But I don’t know how much of it is nostalgia vs… actual goodness