Sunday, 9 October 2011

Final Fantasy Adventure (GB) - Guest Post

Suddenly, jrpg expert Ocean appears from out of nowhere with a look at another classic Square game: Final Fantasy Adventure, aka Mystic Quest or Seiken Densetsu.

Despite the name, Final Fantasy Adventure is the actually the first game in the Mana series. I figured it'd be a better idea to go over this one first before playing the remake, Sword of Mana.

Here is Final Fantasy Adventure then! I have to say, this is one of the games I've probably replayed the most.

You start off and it sets the tone. You have to fight an enemy for the amusement of the DARK LORD, and then your friend dies in front of you.

I don't want to do much of a comparison post here but in Sword of Mana, he lives. And boy does he talk there. Here, he just tells you what you need to know (visit Bogard), and dies. It spares you friendship speeches, it's sad but ultimately for the best.

He's actually called DARK LORD here. I am not sure why he wasn't called Emperor or something, it would have been less silly. I mean, Julius calls him Dark Lord. Even evil people don't tend to call/think of themselves as evil.

Anyway, you get caught and pushed down a waterfall. And survive.

Despite the cute graphics and sort of upbeatish music, it's actually a sort of depressing story. A few minutes after the other scene the girl's guard dies, leaving you to defend her while you both travel to visit Bogard.

When you use the "Ask" option in the menu, she goes and restores your HP over time. Pretty nice, especially if you don't want to go using items up yet.

I'll show you more of the battle system later, it's an action RPG but a bit more like Zelda. Press A to attack, press B to use your equipped item/spell. Press Start to enter the menu and Select brings more options like saving.

Here, I've gained a level. You can choose what stat goes up, and it'll go up by 2 while 2 other stats go up by 1. Power is weapon damage, Wisdom is MP, Stamina is defense and HP, and Will determines how fast the limit bar fills.

I'm waiting for a proper cave to show off more of the gameplay as right now it's fighting mushrooms in fields. So here we met up with Bogard who shoos you off before realizing that the girl has the mana pendant.

He goes and helps you and gives you your first field tool, the Mattock here.

Go to the item menu, select the mattock, and you have 7 uses before you run out. You can buy it in item stores later though. Now when you press the B button, you'll use up a mattock. Use it to break down pots, stones, and walls. It can actually damage certain enemies too but I feel it's a waste of a mattock to do so. Still an interesting use.

Simple HUD here. HP, MP, Gold, and your Limit bar are here. Basically, over time that bar will fill up. When it does, your weapon does a special attack. You'll need to rely on it at least once, but most of the time I used it was for puzzle purposes rather than damage ones.

Actually, the HUD wasn't what I meant to comment on here though. The path up there you see? Later in the game, you'll be passing through there. I do not remember if it's the Snow field near there or the Rock level but it shows how connected the game is. Some places in the field you won't be able to access yet until you have a certain weapon/item/vehicle/pass a certain area to do so.

Item shop. You can stock up on some Cures and Pures, although you can find those in the dungeons as well. Keys are helpful as some doors are locked. Again, enemies can drop those, but it's nice to have some as backup just in case.

Time to go in this Castle. It's interesting, as this one is a haunted manor in Sword of Mana. It's not entirely out of suspicion in this game either (the interior plays cave music, and one of the NPCs comments on the suspicious nature of the owner), but you really are more inclined to rest in this place and just view it as weird rather than "oh a haunted manor, something's obviously gonna happen here".

Learned Cure magic! Like an item, you just need to go up to it in the menu and equip it so you can use it with the B button. Cure Magic is very nice, but I tend to rely on asking the girl for regenerating health so I can save MPs. Except then she gets captured.

This is how the maps in this game work. It will restrict your passage to the next area until you have the weapon/tool/whatever necessary to pass. You can go look around and explore up to that point. It makes sense too, you just need to be able to cut down those plants so you can pass. It's not like "INVISIBLE BARRIER PREVENTS YOU FROM CONTINUING".

Sword of Mana tried this at times, but with a grey orb that you needed to use a certain weapon on. Funny how the older game is the one that felt more natural and made more sense.

This Red Mage comes to your aid and tells you a little bit on whats going on. He hangs out right by the entrance too so you can't miss him. He throws fireballs and will give you tips on how to use the mattock and where.

He mentions that whenever you hear a peculiar sound when hitting a wall, you should hit it with your mattock. This game tends to design the room so that you're not just striking every wall you see. For example, the rocks here lead you to that wall. Or in a future screenshot, a patch of grass around the wall that can crumble.

Received a new weapon! Not only is it a circular area rather than a stab, it also has a higher attack power. It can cut down plants as well!

The room design here is simple and effective. It places an ice floor that you can only slide in from one direction. Now you're stuck, until you figure out to equip the sickle and strike the plants to get rid of them, which you are likely to do. So now you've learned that you can get rid of plants like that with your sickle!

A few skeletons here, no problem. There's also 2 switches. One that the ice floor won't let you access, and one that it will.

This is a slightly more complex puzzle that built off the knowledge/rules that you learned before.
  • Rule #1: Those squares are switches that will reveal a staircase. 
  • Rule #2: Ice floors will block you from one direction but slide you forward from the other. 
  • Rule #3: Rocks can be broken by mattocks. 
When you start building up rules like that, you can put them together in different ways to use what the player has learned.

The weakpoint is in the head!

This battle gets me 2 rewards: The spell of Fire and the Mirror. The Mirror is a one time use plot item, sort of like a unique key. The Fire spell is a new spell for you to play around with. That is also the first time you are able to damage certain types of enemies who were immune to most physical attacks, especially the ones you have by then.

It doesn't have Secret of Mana's ring menu. Oh, one possible point of confusion, you generally need to have items like keys/plot items set as the B button to use them in dialogue or opening a door or something. You can't just have them in your inventory for the most part. But that goes for just about all the plot items/keys so at least it follows a pattern.

This repeats a similar puzzle as the Sickle room did. I got a new weapon, the Chain. But I was blocked from that way I entered. So now I need to learn how the chain works so I can continue and press the switch to deactivate the block. Again, nice and simple way to show players how something works without a long tutorial.

My list of items. You have healing items, keys, mattocks, spell items and some with other effects. There are a few that are there just to sell, but most have an actual use. You can run out of inventory space though so you may have to make decisions on what you may need. So no, 8 packs of keys isn't the best idea. This pillow here casts a sleep spell.

With the sickle weapon, we are able to cut down the plants we couldn't before.

With the whip, we're able to get across here just in case you did get a sickle but not yet the whip. Both are required as the game will be using them for other occasions too. Funny enough, it doesn't do this with the battle axe weapon, but you'll need that too. But it does put a shop right in your direct path with the shopkeeper basically asking first if you want to buy the axe before you buy anything else. So even then it didn't do too bad a job of getting the player to get one.

Just to test it out, the battle axe is here. It cuts down trees, and will leave a stump or just remove it entirely. The paths are hidden behind trees sometimes, so you'd have to cut the trees down. They're not as bad as it sounds though, like you'll usually see the path ahead that you want to get to, and you just need to cut down some trees to get there, rather than trying to chop down a whole forest.

You should see how ugly they made this poor old guy in Sword of Mana.

Oh no, Empire Glaive is coming! The Red Mage that helped you out in the cave is here and says he'll take the girl to a safe place. But... they are suspicious of his motives. You go to check on him...

It's Julius, he was playing you all along!

By the way, this review may contain spoilers.

Now to use a minecart, you have to oil it, with oil you find from a shop below. There aren't many npcs in an area, and they tend to be helpful in telling you where you have to go next. One dwarf mentions that the airship is past Gaias path, one mentions that Gaia loves Silver, and one mentions that Watts is in the mine looking for Silver. This next sequence of dungeons isn't gonna be too hard to figure out then!

Gaia the earth spirit likes Silver, but you have none so it won't let you in. Time to go to the mines then.

Remember the sickle weapon? It's good for hitting switches here too. The track will keep looping until you figure out how to hit the switches and which switches to hit. There aren't many so I don't think the player will spend hours looping around trying to figure this out.

You find Watts down here. When he joins you, you can ask him and he sells you things. This is nice, because this is a sort of point of no return until you beat the boss, and you will need some mattocks. They could have also solved it by having enemies that drop mattocks, but having to rely on random chance is not always the best method so I am glad they did it this way instead.

The boss! You have to hit its head to damage it. Like with other enemies, if the attack is ineffective, it will give a different sound effect. It's the same one you get when you hit a breakable wall. This is a nice indication of what works and what doesn't. You don't slash at the enemy and have a message display that it missed, or have to wonder if enemies resist your attacks or not.

You get some Silver from this. Instead of just being a key item you present to the Gaia spirit, you get armor/sword made from the Silver so it acts as both an upgrade for your character and a way to progress in the game. Also, the Silver Sword can do damage to certain enemies that resist physical attacks. This is nice for saving MP if you don't want to Fire them (even though fire only costs 1 MP, you may still want to save it for the 2 MP cure spells).

On the airships side, trying to rescue the girl. Well, I dunno how it would work out really because they're so high up in the air. Julius knocks the hero off so he falls down into the next town, where the next part of the story continues.

I didn't want to do too much Sword of Mana comparisons, but it is so refreshing to have your objectives clear, simple, and have dialogue take place in 2 message boxes or so at most, not having 15 minute cutscenes on the heroes being all whiny about everything.

Where I stopped off for the day. This town has no music, so it feels silent and lacking, and you'll hate it just like the citizens do. Lester was supposed to play the Harp in this town, but he's not here... maybe we'll have to find out where he went, because we're also looking for his sister Amanda (who was one of your friends back in the castle in the very beginning). There's still more of an adventure ahead!

I have to say, I really enjoy this game. I replayed this game so much and for this post, I didn't mind replaying it yet again. It's not a PERFECT game, but for being done on the Game Boy, being made so long ago, it was quite well developed and polished. When I get to the Sword of Mana post, I'll refer back to this game since it's the remake of it. I don't have an equivalent of Ray's "Wins the prize" award, but I would gladly award it to this game!

Final Fantasy series:
1987 - Final Fantasy (NES)
1991 - Final Fantasy Adventure (Game Boy)
1991 - Final Fantasy IV (SNES)
1999 - Final Fantasy VIII (PSX)


  1. Makes me want to play it....

  2. God, you couldn't have picked a worse palette. Everything looks so washed out and drab.
    When in doubt, choose black and white, it's what the designers were drawing with anyway.

  3. I rather like the palette.

    1. The problem is that the game was never designed with this hideous pink and blue palette in mind. Using this palette makes all the textures and shading look wrong, especially on the mountains and plants. It's really hard to distinguish what is meant to be a background texture and what is passable terrain.


Semi-Random Game Box