Thursday, 16 February 2012

Final Fantasy IV (SNES) - Guest Post

Final Fantasy specialist Ocean returns to take a look at Final Fantasy II, which is actually the fourth game in the main series, but the second released outside Japan, and the first on the Super Nintendo. To avoid confusion I've labelled the post Final Fantasy IV, which is what the game's known by these days.

Nostalgia hit me so I had to do this one.

Final Fantasy 4! Released in the US as 2, which is the version I'll be playing.

Our protagonist is Captain Cecil, and we start our journey on an airship, at the lead of a group of airships no less. 

Why are we robbing crystals? Because we're SKY PIRATES! Remember, Basch lives! (Alright, you're not really a Sky Pirate.) (This is a Final Fantasy XII reference... I think - Ray.)

Flashback to 5 minutes ago. We have just robbed Mysidia of their crystal. Seemed like a nice idea at the time.

Back to the present time, the crew warns you of monsters.

This is a cutscene battle. You just watch Cecil use items that you'll never have access to in this version of the game. In the original Japanese FF4 version, you'd have access to those items, but by the time you do they're not really that good any more.

Time to report that our crystal stealing is a success!

Yeah killing people and stealing a crystal weren't quite in the job description. Though, with a job like "Dark Knight", I guess that's implied. Maybe it's in the "this is not a comprehensive list of tasks you may be asked to do on the job". (Hey, Batman never kills anyone - Ray.)

So they kick you out of the Red Wings. They don't want people that think for themselves! I know first hand that some supervisors can be like that.

Time to go all UPS/Fedex and deliver a package. It's the only way to be redeemed and put back in your post. They don't want people carrying 70 pounds by themselves so you have to go with a team member.

Something evil in the castle? Well it's either me, my friend Kain, or the King. Or all three of us. Well, let's get out of the castle, since my in-game GF called me a wimp.

So now we're on our way. 

I'll just place this music here:

This is a nice, simple and effective way of showing the might of these characters. They're fully armored, trained characters, and they have the stats to match. They're not the type of heroes who can jump all over the place showing off with their blade in a cutscene, only to start off as level 1 weaklings in gameplay.

Outside of the castle, we get into a battle already. Again, these enemies are a real pushover, unable to do much more than a scratch to you.

Kain is a Dragoon class so he has this Jump command. Using it makes him leave the battle for a little bit, then return and hit the enemy for 2x the damage. Each character usually has their own unique command. Cecil originally had DarkWave, which hits all enemies but uses some of your HP. They took it out in the US release though, so I don't get to enjoy using it

So I'm in the Mist cave and.... awww, I guess I'll go back and tell the King I wasn't allowed to go.

And yes, I did listen to the voice and I did go back. I remembered there was a town that I skipped over when I left the castle...

...where I can bully the townspeople and make them dance for me.

Here's another way they show the status of the characters; in how the townspeople treat you. They fear you and have definitely heard what you've done. You're not some nobody from a farming town who is secretly the chosen one.

Uh, I guess I'm going back to the Mist cave.

This time I'm taking the chocobo there, as I hate random encounters.

The random encounter rate is so screwy. You can go a dungeon room without fighting an enemy, or you can take 2 steps and encounter yet another enemy after the 2 steps you took to fight the other encounter. I'm not exaggerating, the encounter rate is really bad.

Just like WingRaptor, Whelk and Guard Scorpion after this (FF5/6/7), this mist dragon has a period of time where it will counter attack you if you hit it at a certain point in battle. In this case, it's when it's mist form, but you don't take too much damage from it really

After taking care of the dragon we were free to head into town to deliver the package and complete the quest.

This is why you should tape up your packages well! Don't assume 2 strings will keep your package secure.

Well seriously, in the Japanese version it's called "Bomb Ring", which is a little less mysterious than "Package". I mean, 'bomb' sort of gives away what's going to happen at your destination right from the start.

Good job hero, you blew up the town. And just when Cecil thought this day couldn't get any worse, it turns out that mist dragon he killed had been summoned by this girl's mother, and the two were linked.

Though sometimes it's nicer to say things like this out of earshot...

...because it's not a good idea to upset the daughter of a summoner. The quake cuts off your path from Baron/Mist to the desert. So, time to get moving.

Kain went AWOL in the earthquake, but Cecil was able to get himself and the girl to a nearby inn to recover.

Cecil's through with following the orders of evil men, especially when they wake him up in the middle of the night.

I wonder how they even got here past the blocked passage, I guess by airship? Oh well, time to FIGHT!

Leave a Soldier alone and they kill themselves. I know it'd probably be easier to take out all the soldiers and have the officer retreat or something.... but this is way more fun.

After protecting the orphaned girl from the soldiers, she offers to join you. You can see the power difference here. A little girl isn't as trained as the experienced Dark Knight, and it shows.

You don't honestly need to go crazy levelling here, I fought one battle outside of the desert, gained 2 Rydia levels for it, went back to town to heal, then went off to the next dungeon.

Oh yeah, plot event to motivate us to go to the next dungeon. How did Cecil's GF even get here? Did she go on the same airship as the soldiers? Did she walk? How did she make it past the... ahh never mind! What matters is that she is stalking you and got sick and you must heal her!

To the Antlion lair!

Now to guess what the more annoying thing is. Dropping money when you run, or hearing Tidus' "Live and Let live!"/"I'll be right back!" all the time. (Final Fantasy X reference, maybe - Ray.)

The latest recruit to my team is a wise old sage, and he has a nice high level to show it. He's got a good MP count for the time but that won't rise as we gain experience.

It's nicely designed, as it works with his character since he's old and not suited for learning many new things. Plus, it works for a later plot point as well, as well as for helping you and your party (which contains a new low level character) to get through this new dungeon easier. He even has a command (in the non US version) called Recall which casts a random high level spell.

And he also beats up Spoony Bards!

It's been ages since I've played this game really. It was highly regarded on release, but these days I think it's appreciated more for nostalgia reasons. It still does a bunch of things right, but for that you also have to suffer through things like getting into a random encounter after 2 steps in fairly long dungeons, repetitive dungeon areas (the first 3 areas you enter are all caves, and I got sick of it), and the lack of options for your characters mean that it does take some willpower to be able to get through it all again. It does however attempt to blend in story with the gameplay, has great music, likeable characters (Other than Edward/Gilbert at least), and would be good to play through at least once if you haven't.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Semi-Random Game Box