Virtual Console Wrap-up – 10/5

It must be a full moon or something, because Nintendo has actually released a pretty hotly anticipated title for the VC – Final Fantasy! But is it worth it? Let’s find out…

Final Fantasy
Developer: Square
Publisher: Nintendo
Original Release Date: 1987
Cost: 500 Wii Points.

Alex Lucard: The first Final Fantasy is actually my favourite. I loved the ability to mix and match characters and create your own team rather than be stuck with specific characters that. It’s one of the reasons I love games where you can change classes.

The story is quite cute and for an 8 bit game, it was the second best RPG of that generation (After Phantasy Star). At least in the US. When i finally got to play it, I felt FFII (Japanese numbering) was better, but as a kid, it never came to North America so…

My Freshman year of college, my entire dorm crowded around my Sega Saturn, but the second most popular system was the NES with people playing FFI together. This was before the FFVII blitz, so that tells you the fond memories even casual gamers had of this early RPG.

For five dollars this is a steal. You get a great game, with a ton of customization. I really enjoyed the story as a kid and all the fantasy monsters, even if I was sitting there going, “Wait. A lich is not an Earth Demon. Tiamat is not a Sky Demon” and so on.

Will I be picking this up? No, but that’s because I have a PSP and the updated version. I don’t need a second copy of the game. Still, at five dollars this is certainly a game worth considering as, time wise, you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

Aaron Sirois: Its shocking it took this long for Final Fantasy to hit the VC. I’m one of the many who never got to play the original game when it came out, so my experiences are with the remake on the PSP.

One thing I do know, however, is that each remake changed a little bit, so the version on the Wii is going to be pure. If you’re looking for a classic RPG with some classic RPG difficulty, this is a must buy.

However, if you’ve already got multiple copies of the game, as so many of us do, there probably isn’t a point into spending even more money on it.

Now if they start putting out localizations of the other games…

Christopher Bowen: I look at my RPG experiences like dating experiences. My first experience was with Ultima III. It was awkward, sloppy, and involved a lot of crying. After we broke up by passing notes in class, I moved onto Dragon Warrior, which was better, though it took me a year to finish it as my bumbling, untrained hands kept fumbling around it’s curves and bumps looking for the bra clasp that is Dragonlord’s Castle.

Finally, I moved onto Final Fantasy. She was a cheeky bird; she looked better than Ultima and Dragon Quest, which impressed my young eyes. She was open to trying new things, with six classes to choose from. She was even open to multiple partners, as she allowed for four party members at a time, much more than Dragon Quest. She was intelligent as well, with a story that was impressive for the era in which we met.

Yes, after early flirtations, Final Fantasy took my RPG virginity. And I can’t say I’m disappointed to have given it up, twenty years later.

In all seriousness, Final Fantasy was a good RPG for it’s time and still can survive as a game of it’s own right. The question someone has to ask themselves: is this worth $5, or are the other versions considerable first? I would say it depends on the person in question. While Final Fantasy is arguably the best RPG on the NES, it still pales compared to Phantasy Star. Furthermore, the NES version was a bit awkward compared to later versions of the game that cleaned up the interface. And RPG newbies will not appreciate the difficulty, something that was addressed in the GBA and PSP versions.

This is worth it for people who prefer the NES era difficulty or like a cheap time-sink. Other people interested in this game would do wise to look into the PSP version – I believe it’s about $10 nowadays – or the GBA version, which also includes Final Fantasy II.

Ashe Collins: YAY! So we can get… yet another version of Final Fantasy! Like the Playstation collections, the GBA set and the PSP enhanced version weren’t enough. Honestly, if you don’t have this one already you’re not missing out. The first is not even close to my favorite, and honestly I was really disappointed when I got I+II on the GBA.

Guy Desmarais: I never played a Final Fantasy game to completion. I have played many of the games, but never finished one. This one in particular was pretty painful. I was young, couldn’t understand English, and still decided to ask my mother to rent it because of the pretty pictures on the box. I didn’t make it very far.

That happened a couple of times in my youth, and over the years, I have taken the time to play these games and finish them, as a kind of late revenge. Star Tropics and Dragon Warrior are good examples of that. This would be the perfect occasion to exact my revenge on FF many years later, and in the process, finally finish one game from that series. My colleagues are actually making me want to try it out. At 5$, it would also be one of the less expensive “revenge” I have ever taken.

Charlie Marsh: No one can deny that this is an absolute classic that should be played by everyone at least once. But personally, I find this game to be relentlessly boring. Just way too much grinding around and not enough emphasis on the story for my taste.

Still, you should really play it for yourself, and it’s not that big a hit to your wallet at $5. Just be ready for a grindfest. Or if you want a story, head to the PSN for Final Fantasy VII.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go into hiding from my fellow staffers for suggesting such a thing.

Aileen Coe: Considering Square’s penchant for releasing (and rereleasing) Final Fantasies on nearly every system known to man, I’m surprised this wasn’t thrown on the VC sooner. My first experience with the game was the GBA version (and yes, I know that makes me a heathen. Or something). I didn’t really get into II, but I alone was worth the price of admission.

If you’ve got a version of this on another system, there’s not much reason to buy this version as well. But if you found the remakes too easy and/or want to experience the first Final Fantasy game ever circa 1990 (OK, 1987 in Japan), this should tickle your fancy.

Bebito Jackson: Hmm. I might actually pick this up. Never played it before, but the first Final Fantasy HAS to be good if they created an entire franchise from it, right?


Nathan Birch: Well finally, I thought Nintendo and Square-Enix had forgot about thier promise they made back in like, February or March, to bring the Final Fantasy games to the VC. But hey, here it is, better late than never.

Anyways, if you’re only familiar with more recent Final Fantasy games, don’t expect this game to resemble them in almost any way. The heavy emphasis on storytelling and presentation is not present here in any way, shape or form (Phantasy Star was the big plot focused series of the era). That said, if you’re into getting into the guts of an RPG, you can have some fun with this one. The game actually features a fairly complex and well thought out job system. Hell, 20 years later tons of JRPGs are still pretty much directly ripping off the Final Fantasy job system.

I’ve never been a huge Final Fantasy nut, but hey, it’s 5 bucks. It’s worth it if only see where this mega franchise came from.

Mark B.: I was never really a big fan of Nintendo RPG’s during the eight and sixteen bit gaming generations; while Final Fantasy VI is probably about the greatest J-RPG ever made, I spent most of my time with Genesis RPG’s and strategy games, so most of my time was spent playing things like Phantasy Star and Shining in the Darkness. My first NES-era RPG was Dragon Warrior, which, while challenging, was not a game I enjoyed even a little bit, and to this day I don’t even know how in the hell I managed to beat it. As a result of my experience with Dragon Warrior, I ended up blowing off Final Fantasy for years, until I played Final Fantasy VI and decided I should go back and play the first game just so I could know where the sixth game came from.

Final Fantasy, at the time I played it, was still one of the best RPG experiences one could have, and while the story was incredibly basic, the game was suitably challenging and the job system was outstanding. Being able to completely customize your party how you saw fit, upgrade said party to the point where they’d be a force to be reckoned with, and buy a pretty robust amount of weapons and spells was something I wasn’t expecting from such an old game, and in general, the game was a ton of fun from start to finish.

So, as a five dollar download, Final Fantasy is fantastic.

On the other hand, you can acquire it reasonably cheaply for PS1, GBA and PSP, and the remade GBA and PSP versions are generally superior in most respects when compared to the original game. I mean, if all you have is the Wii (or you simply lack the aforementioned systems), the original NES version is by no means bad and is well worth checking out, but if you have a PS1 or PS2, a GBA or a DS with the GBA port, or a PSP, there’s really no reason to buy the VC version unless you want a historically accurate version of the game for some reason.

And on wii Ware this week is Word Searcher for 500 points. Yep. A word search game. Have fun with that. Until next week, let’s hope for something equally anticipated (EARTHBOUNDPLZKTHX).



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