Japanese Release Date: December 18th, 1987
North American Release Date: July 12th, 1990
Original Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Re-released on: Sony Playstation, Game Boy Advance, Mobile Phone, Playstation Portable
So it all started here. This was a pretty basic game that certainly had its flaws. It seemed like nine times out of ten your attack spells missed, so what was the point of even using magic? And that was if your Black Mage even lived long enough to cast it. Then there was the Magic Point system of the game. Later games had a set amount of Magic Points for every spell. Lower level spells cost less MP; higher level spells (obviously) cost more. But in this game each level of spells had eight casts, that was it. That was just another needle-in-the-haystack to the games incredible difficulty. All I have to type is the words “Marsh Cave” any anyone who ever played this game will cringe. And if you even made it out of the Marsh Cave the game didn’t let up after that. Weak ass characters, constant enemy encounters, only being able to hold sixteen items, grinding for hours to get one level. Sometimes I wonder how people were even able to play this game. I’ll admit that on NES I had to play with a Game Genie. The later re-release on Playstation had an “EASY” option that (unfortunately) was the polar opposite of the original NES releases difficulty level. It was too damn easy. Like, not even breaking a sweat at the final boss easy. Too bad they didn’t release a version with, I don’t know, NORMAL DIFFICULTY
But there is a lot to love about this game and it set the groundwork for the whole series to come. Your basic magic’s were set-up on this game and they’re still there some twenty-five years later. Items, classes and the basics of dungeons crawling were all laid out here and improved on over the years. And the famous Prelude
music made its debut in this game, and has been used in every game I know of save Final Fantasy XIII. It’s a very early NES title that was made on a shoestring budget by a company that was close to going bust. What more could you expect? This game wins just on sheer nostalgia.
It’s probably been re-released more than any other entry in the series and on more platforms. The original NES version has the charm factor but I still recommend the Playstation re-release because it isn’t as buggy. And it had some cosmetic improvements like showing treasure chests as open after you'd opened them (rather than always appearing closed and having the text "empty" appear whenever you went for a chest you'd already opened).
Favorite Moment: when your characters upgrade classes
Best Song: Temple of Fiends
Coolest Character: Garland, who doesn’t love Garland?
Lamest Character: the Red Mage
Average Completion Time: 10 - 15 hours
Gameplay demo: the final battle with Chaos
Rating: 4 out of 5
Final Boss: Chaos