My friends sev and las at Moogle University had the insane idea to replay ALL the Final Fantasy games, or at least the first ten, in a 2013 gamer marathon. I decided to join the insanity. Here commences my own ten-month-plus journey through the land of chocobos, airships, minimaps, and crazy dudes named Cid.
First up on our plate is Final Fantasy, the oxymoronically-named game that started the neverending franchise in 1987. I was a teen back then, playing games like Zork, Temple of Aphshai and Karateka on an Apple ][. I did not discover Final Fantasy until 15 years later, so I missed FF’s old school era entirely.
As I am over forty and have a life, I am violating the path of gamer purity by excusing myself from the original, delightful yet buggy NES version of Final Fantasy, which required massive amounts of grinding, dragging dead characters back to towns for resurrection (no Phoenix Downs for you, sucker!), and conserving the precious few spells one could cast each day.
Instead, I’ve opted for the kinder, gentler, EASY MODE iOS edition of Final Fantasy, which is a port of the remastered 20th anniversary Final Fantasy for PSP.* This will be my first time playing any version of this title. I’m looking forward to a lot of 8-bit and D&D nostalgia (I played tabletop D&D quite a bit in the 80s).
Gotta be an airship somewhere…
But enough expository banter. Let’s play Final Fantasy I!
Items and Item shops in the iOS / 20th anniversary edition are symbolized by a teapot. I approve of a game that uses tea infusions as restoratives.
Note: To help me deal with the cardboard cutout protagonists of the original Final Fantasy I, I borrowed names/personalities from an old favorite, Breath of Fire III. (Except for the main character, which I always called “Spoo” for comic effect.)
So apologies for the peanut gallery commentary from characters whom you don’t know, but they’re fairly self-explanatory.
[CUE PROLOGUE CUTSCENE TALKING ABOUT CRYSTALS GOING PLOTZ, PROPHECIES, ETC, ETC WITH AWESOME UEMATSU MUSIC]
…After a long journey, four young travelers did at last appear, and in the hand of each was clutched a crystal.
Rei: Why the heck do I have a crystal? Can I sell it?
Nina: It’s an FF game. We gots to have crystals.
Momo: WHERE THE FRICK IS MY GRENADE LAUNCHER?
Once again: since the Four Warriors of Light in Final Fantasy have zero personality, I’ve borrowed characters from another very old game. (Whose main character’s default name, “Ryu,” I played as “Spoo.”)
Rei: Hey, guys. Hold up. We need to talk. Nina: What’s up, Rei? Rei: Well, it’s like this. You’ve got some healing magic now, and Momo’s got her artillery– Momo: I SHALL THUNDARA YOUR SORRY SAHAGIN FISHBUTT! Spoo: *sweatbeads*
Rei: Right. And Spoo’s buff and all, so he don’t need magic. But I’m a thief. And a thief’s got needs.
Nina: Haven’t we found enough treasure in the last dungeon crawl to keep you happy?
Rei: Well, sure, if you consider weapons we already bought in the last Elfheim garage sale to be worth an hour of slogging through undead gunk. But I’ve got a job to do.
Momo: Steal stuff.
Nina: Okay, okay. But this is one of those early Final Fantasy games. We don’t start unlocking the good skills until we restore the first Crystal.
Rei: Good skills? You mean like ‘turn all undead to powder with my Dia spell’?
Nina: *prim* Would you rather I left them to you and Spoo?
Momo: NEVER FEAR! I’LL ROAST THEM WITH THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF FIRA!
Spoo: *dives for cover*
Rei: I’m just sayin’.
Nina: Patience, Rei. We’ve got to be getting close to the first Crystal. We’re out of the kiddie pool part of the map. I’m sure you’ll acquire a Steal ability soon.
Rei: Hope you’re right, princess.
Rei: The heck is this?
Nina: Spoo looks very heroic, to be sure…but…well… shouldn’t there be four Warriors of Light?
Momo: Well, see, I thought that if the Prince of Elfheim saw this, then maybe he’d be bowled over by Spoo’s bishie awesomeness!
Rei: So you edited out us clowns and tried to make him look epic?
Momo: Yep. And let’s start calling him “Warrior of Light” in front of the prince. It sounds a lot more noble than “Spoo,” don’t you think?
Nina: That’s… very thoughtful, Momo.
Spoo: *blushing furiously*
Well, whaddya know: Ochu from Final Fantasy is really Dungeons & Dragons’ Ochu in drag! Also, the Japanese for flan is “Black Pudding,” another D&D original monster! Also, the English translations in the original NES Final Fantasy are hilarious — MADPONY, BADMAN, CATMAN, to name a few. Take a look.