iPhone Game Review: Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II Reviewed by JadeDragon
For most of us, the original Final Fantasy game is no more than a fond memory buried deep by the years and replaced by forever more exciting gaming experience as each FF installment went on. Though the original Final Fantasy didn?t have the awesome graphics we see in the new FF games or the engrossing stories and strong character building found in later games especially since Final Fantasy VII, the original game still has a special place in our hearts. Now Square Enix has made Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II for the iPhone and iPod touch, the fans of the series can relive the old glory without having to turn your garage upside down to find your old NES.
The iPhone version of the original Final Fantasy is largely a faithful port with two bonus dungeons that weren?t in the original release: the Soul of Chaos and the Labyrinth of Time. This is the first world of Final Fantasy that?s vast and full of monsters, dotted with familiar locations such as Elfland, The Orbs of Earth/Fire/Water and towns like Corneria and Pravoka. Traveling on a world map that expands as you go deeper into the story, the Warriors of Light will encounter random monsters, explore dark caves and save innocent people. Most of the original enemies made through the port, like the elemental enemies, worms, dragons, ghouls and gargoyle. Bosses too, if you remember the charming Garland, Vampire, Pirates, etc., they are all here.
Your own party includes the Fighter, the Thief, the White and Black Mage. Like in all FF games, you level up together as long as everyone is alive after finishing the battles. Some towns have shops where you can buy armor, weapons, spells and potions. Shops have stronger armor and higher level weapons as you travel deeper into the maps and earn more money. Spells and potions are also different too from each shop. You will need to do some extra fighting in the beginning of the game to earn some extra cash as you are getting some decent sets of armor and weapons for your party, and start out on some basic spells, you will need all the cash you can get. The special items also made into the port. These are the items you collect for future quests and adventures.
The controls in Final Fantasy are very easy to learn and use. Veteran FF gamers should pick this up instantly as the turn-based fighting system hasn't changed all that much, only the graphics have gotten fancier. The controls are all touch based with the touch control d-pad on the left and action/menu on the right, and you assign each character to fight, use a spell, use an item, defend, skip a turn or flee the fight using the large in-battle touch option keys. The fighting system moves smoothly, and you can check your inventory of items, magic, equipment and more before and after a fight. Leveling up is automatic as you?ve earned enough experience points. Be sure to keep your characters alive in each fight especially in a boss fight to get all the experience points for each character. Always keep Phoenix Down potions in your items for this purpose. If all your parties members have taken some hit points from enemies, buy some tents and use it to recover the entire party when you are in the wild, and use the Inn when in town.
While you won?t see the awesome animation and graphics in the latter FF games, the original Final Fantasy has its own graphics style that?s still being imitated by many games and has a strong following. The world map has a basic design but the monsters and interior design (inside of caves, shops, castles, etc.) have a lot more variety and interesting looks. Who can forget the colorful Cobra or the Red Dragon? The caves and dungeons also look sharp. The graphics style as a whole fits mobile gaming very well, and the iPhone/iPod touch certainly shows it off in a bright and colorful light.
As much as the gameplay and the graphics bring back some fond memories, the music will melt your heart if you are a diehard FF fan. The theme tunes sound much simpler played by a single instrument or a MIDI mixer compared to the symphony style music often featuring Japanese pop stars found in later FF games. But the charm and effectiveness of the music are not lost on the true FF gamers. Sound effects are also there, though in a much more smaller scale.
If you are a Final Fantasy fanatic, there isn?t much else to say but to get the game. The iPhone/iPod touch port has the depth of the original game plus two more dungeons. Once again you will see the simple yet familiar towns, caves and most of all interesting monsters on a very capable handheld gaming platform. And for those who were never an RPG fan and have not followed the FF scene, this is your chance to start from the beginning. Either way, the addition of Final Fantasy games has just made the iPhone/iPod touch that much stronger as a gaming device.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4.5 - A faithful port of the original FF look and feel. Sound: - 4.5 - Memory music though sound effects feel lacking in today?s RPG world. Controls: - 5 - Very easy to use and work smoothly. Gameplay: - 5 - For an RPG fan, FF has the classic turn-based fighting system, character level up and armor/weapon/spell upgrade.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- Like the broom says, press and hold the status window to see the world map.
- Always carrier enough potions even if your party member can heal and cure.
- Always use the Inns as it?s the cheapest way to heal the entire party.
- Pay attention to what people say. They often provide clues for future adventures or solving puzzles.