GSQ5: So why do they call it final if there’s like 14 of them herp derp

In retrospect, I can’t believe I finished Final Fantasy back in the day. Besides Dragon Warrior, I had zero hands-on experience with actual RPGs, and Final Fantasy is one seriously bug-ridden, antagonistic take on the genre. Hey guys, have a random encounter that leaves your entire party completely stun-locked before you can even move! OK, now reload your save from an hour ago! Yay! But finish it I did, and I still remember being totally excited about the way Chaos disappeared upon his defeat. He vanished line by line! Clearly he was a bad dude and my victory was awesome.

Anyway, this article is a companion piece to Monday’s Dragon Warrior bit. They dovetail, you see.

21 thoughts on “GSQ5: So why do they call it final if there’s like 14 of them herp derp

  1. Funny how FF was so deeply rooted in Western RPG tradition (relatively speaking) at first, when it would go on to become one of the most influential series for Japanese RPGs.

    I don’t wanna get into a DQ vs. FF debate – which is sorta pointless, given the disparate paths each series has taken – but FFI today is certainly more playable than DQ1.

    Then again, that’s also sorta pointless, since we’ve been spoiled by all the options to play FFI Square has given us (Maybe I have no taste, and that’s fine, but something about the PSP release’s too-shiny graphics kinda appeal to me).

  2. The first Final Fantasy did age better than Dragon Quest, something else to factor in is looking at the re-releases.

    With out any kind of emulators or roms the only USA way to play DQ1 is an NES or GBC where with FF1 you have the NES,PS1,GBA,PSP,iPhone and technically the DS,PS2 and PS3.

    So it seems that Final Fantasy has always had the marketing push behind it, the Saga games get renamed FF, the SNES games are remembered as epics, and FF7 is remembered as that game that went from the N64 to the PS1.

    But with all the marketing and exposure it feels like Final Fantasy has no soul these days, like it has become a brand name all the while Dragon Quest has remained simple but has kept it’s charm.

  3. Yeah, if you think it’s easier to go back to FF1 today than DQ1, you haven’t tried. DQ involves more grinding, but you will eventually hit a point where you can, with confidence, just go win. FF1 meanwhile will break your spirit with its broken magic defense… which is to say literally broken. Even with the best equipment and your levels maxed out, you’ll get a TPK if enough things feel like casting spells.

  4. At the same time, many of the special items cast spells when used as items in battle, though you wouldn’t have known it without a guide back when the original was out.

    One bigger problem with the original was that spells were fixed in terms of effectiveness, meaning, for instance, that Cure1 always recovered 16-32 HP. Not to mention the uniform 9 spell max per spell level.

  5. When I saw the way chaos died I was pretty amazed that a NES was pulling off that graphical trick. I beat it in 2003 and was still impressed!

  6. I enjoyed reading the Nintendo Power Strategy Guide, so I knew a lot about this game without ever actually playing it (my rental store didn’t have a copy). Their marketing worked on me eventually……..FF2 was a game I had to have for the SNES.

  7. I kinda wonder how much of DQ’s unpopularity over here relative to FF is due to them botching DQ’s introduction to the states but getting FF right. My gut answer is “not all that much” after looking at, say, FF7 vs. DQ7, but it would be interesting to see an alternate universe where they released DQ2 or 3 first but also skipped over FF1 for FF2, thus reversing US gamers’ initial impressions of the two series.

  8. For all its flaws, the thing that really keeps FF1 from aging well is its unbelievable slowness. I can’t imagine ever playing through it on a NES again, but it’s a very addictive game in its modernized forms or with the advantage of emulator super-speed.

  9. I’m still not sure Dragon Quest would’ve been particularly popular if it didn’t have to compete with Final Fantasy. From its inception until it its sixth entry, DQ was saddled with awkward, one-by-one tile-based movement, hideously pixellated graphics, a kludgy, overly complicated menu system, and some really screechy music. FF, in comparison, was not only much more elegant but also more aesthetically pleasing. It also had a battle system that had some visual engagement over simple text, which I think went a long way for making the game feel more action-packed than it actually is.

  10. I think the transition from Amano to Nomura doing the chara designs [Yes, I know Amano still occasionally contributes sketches for FF.] is one of the reasons the series has been on the decline for me for so long. He defined those games more than all the other staff combined, and gave ’em personality, while Nomura’s managed to dumb it down to merch you can sell at Hot Topic.

  11. These screenshots make me realize that I’ve never tried experimenting with my character classes in JRPGs, even back in the day when I would have time to replay the same game again and again. I’d always create the same boring “balanced” party.

    Have you actually used the kind of parties above to go through the game? I feel like giving it a shot, now.

  12. For me, personally, aging usually isn’t an issue. For every new 360, Wii, or DS game I play, I also end up playing an NES or Master System game I’ve never touched before, and usually I’m able to displace myself in time for it. In general, though, the term just refers to one’s condition to modern graphics or, moreso, mechanics, to make the older experience too grating. Such as moving so much slower than one would in a modern RPG, or hating that if you tell your whole party to attack monster A, but it dies on the first attack, they’ll still keep going after the dead monster rather than automatically re-targeting, as most every RPG in the last decade has done,or even the lack of hand-holding in the game, for some. It’s nothing WRONG with it, to be sure. Just things that modern gamers would be prone to despising.

  13. I think attacking dead monsters can be a game mechanic you can work with, whereas there is no excuse for being so damn slow.

  14. Could somebody make a YouTube clip of a NES Chaos battle and have Keith David announce his attacks?

  15. Glory of Heracles for DS actually works with attacking dead monsters, in that if you hit them hard enough while they’re down, you get an overkill. This turns them into Ether, which restores your MP.

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