Continuing in my “play every FF game” quest, I managed to get myself through the one that started it all. By the way this CGI movie has nothing to do with the game because you don’t fight any dragon bosses and also the warrior’s sprite outfit looks nothing like the one in this CG movie or any of his artistic or Dissidia renditions 😂.
And so our 4 adventurers, whose names you can pick and whose jobs you can pick are set off to find the 4 crystals and stop Chaos from destroying the world. While my husband insisted on naming them BUTT, POOP, BOOB and FART, I used the ingame name generator to name them after characters in previous FF games:
And so I decided to go with the classic 3 and replace thief with red mage because I just wanted to have someone who could do decent melee damage but also cast spells such as haste. As usual, disclaimer, I can’t be assed to grind this game but because I could only get a few codes to work the best I could do was give myself a ton of gil, and earn a lot of exp after each battle. So for a while, I was actually going around killing trash and leveling up and once I hit 99 I turned all my cheats off and continued that way. However I got to a point where I had to go into maze-like dungeons. I am not kidding when I say maze:
So I have to basically figure my way out through these stupid maze dungeons and every time I constantly get attacked and have to do a trash battle, I get spun around and my train of thought derailed as to where I was going. Not only that, but once I got the item I needed on say floor 5, I have to fucking go back the way I came from because you cannot use an “exit” or “teleport out of dungeon” spell until halfway through the game when you change jobs. (ノ# ﾟдﾟ)ﾉ ┫:･’∵:．┻┻:･’．:∵ Additionally each “tile” on the map has a set monster that will spawn on it (such as in front of an entrance or a chest). So if you say go to get a chest, kill the monster, then accidentally spin around the wrong way and go back to open the chest – that’s right you have to fucking fight the monster AGAIN. It will CONTINUE TO SPAWN forever on that tile and NEVER go away. This also applied to the final 4 bosses in game where I ended up having to fight one of them twice because I was not paying attention and was looking at the guide for what to do next. ಠ_ಠ I suffered through this bullshittery until I got my jobs got my air ship….
The airship you get in a desert, won’t even let you land on sand. And the game would intentionally place a bunch of important MSQ towns in the middle of a god damn forest. But not only that, the closest “empty green spot” to land an airship was SO FAR AWAY that you had to almost walk and entire half island just to get from where you land the airship to where the actual town is. Why you ask? Of course so you can waste more time killing trash on the way!! So halfway through the game I got so irritated, I scoured google until I finally found a code that lets me turn off these cursed encounters. Suddenly I saved myself probably like 4 days of wasting time on garbage and managed to get through the story and finish the game. Whadya know 70% of this game is just spent on going back & forth and killing trash, genius really!! 🤪
So finally after fighting the 4 fiends all over again (fortunately they were silenceable which made the battles trivial) I got to the final boss Chaos. Okay sure I figured I got all my HP buffs, I went around and got all the good weapons (like Excalibur) I got my Holy, my Flare and my Haste buffs let’s do this. Unfortunately I was met with the fact that Chaos’ HP was buffed 10 TIMES from the Nintendo version. That’s right his HP in the Nintendo version was 2000, his HP in the GBA version was…20,000. Wtf? Not only that but this dude healed himself TWICE for 9999 during the fight. Literally he healed himself back to basically full health. I’m sitting here with like max attack, pretty good weapons, 999 HP/MP and I still needed to use some of my ethers,elixirs after spamming flare/holy on him several times because this was endless. I can’t even imagine doing this legit like are you supposed to fight him for an hour or something? Wtf. ಠ_ಠ This is another one of those “guess I’m glad I never played it for real” but also the fact that the NES version was so easy at 2k HP, why in the god’s name was he buffed so much in the GBA version? Did people complain that the final boss was 2Ez for them?
Yadda yadda, we saved the world and defeated Chaos but actually this is another one of those genius time travel bullshittery stories so Garland will keep time looping and coming back to life and we keep being reborn and killing him again to give a 4th wall connection of why you’d want to replay this game more than once. 😂
Just like with all other FF games, I did enjoy the side banter of some of the NPCs even if my main 4 characters were just job-templates and had no real personality. The map style was very very similar to FF2 so I had no issues making my way around – aside the fact that the dungeons were way more maze-like and the fact that the game basically forced me to dock my boat at only designated docks and land my airship at designated green spaces. There was also nonsense dungeons where most of it was lava forcing your party to lose HP for literally no reason other than to once again force you to grind money to buy potions to heal them all back up (or restore their MP from the healing.) It makes me really glad a lot of these synthetic game “mechanics” have been removed in all the newest FF games and the focus is now more on story and character development….instead of forcing padded waste of time on the player.
One thing I will say though, the soundtrack from this game was definitely one of the top FF soundtracks for me. I listened to the remastered versions of some of the tracks and they sound really great so at least I got something good out of this whole experience.
And now as usual some thoughts from my husband who played the Nintendo version as a kid, and the usual and extremely accurate Rabtoons parody:
Okay so I played this game like…30 years ago on the original NES using the strategy guide that came with Nintendo Power magazine. So I remember the broad strokes of things, but forgot the minor stuff like “oh right, you have to find a fairy first before you can take the submarine down to the water temple.” Of course, the other big thing I kiiiiiiiiiinda forgot was “you will get attacked every like 5 steps and thrown into random battles.”
This also means that things I vaguely remembered from the first game like “oh yeah all the buff spells are bugged and don’t work”…got fixed in the ports. Or that unlike most Final Fantasy games, buffs stack in this one. Yeah, so you can (and well, learn that it’s actually optimal to do so) is to begin every fight by spamming all the buffs over and over again. Remember that your Knight or Ninja can also cast low level spells, so they can sit there buffing too. What this means is after like 4 or 5 turns of spamming everything, you are practically immune to damage and your strength has been pushed so high that you can then kill Chaos in like maybe 3 rounds of attacks. Whoops! So therefore, you don’t “really” need to grind that much to trivialize the game. But again, you’re still trivializing the game so does it really matter if it’s “use Game Genie to max out everything” or “cast a bunch of spells at the start of the fight to max out everything.”
It was amusing comparing the difference in how how stuff there was to actually do in the game once we turned off the random encounters. There was always tons of cutscenes, sidequests, minigames, itemization, etc. to do in the other games. FFVI took something like 25 hours even with no random encounters. Meanwhile after turning off the random encounters it took maybe 3 hours to clear out the second half of the game. Just go to a town, have the characters there tell you which dungeon the next crystal was in, clear out like 4 or 5 floors of a dungeon plus boss fight, repeat. Without the nonstop overworld encounters while trying to do basic stuff like make the annoyingly long treks on foot from the one possible spot to land your airship to your destination, or doubling back through dungeons because you wanted to get the loot that was on the other side from the stairs, you realize that there’s almost nothing actually here to do. It was pretty obvious why the Rabtoons video for this game had almost nothing to joke about except for incongruous gameplay elements.