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Role Playing (Games)

Final Fantasy Turns 20 88

1up has a massive quartet of features up this week, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Final Fantasy series. Starting with 'Origins', the site looks at the beginning of the series, an event that was supposed to spell 'the end' for Square. The company lived on, of course, and in 'Everyone's Fantasies' series author Nadia Oxford looks at the rise of the Final Fantasy dynasty going from 8-bit obscurity to the 'mega-fame' of FFVII. Her final piece in the set 'Fertile Fantasy', examines how Square/Enix is now franchising the heck out of the name. To wrap up with 'Future Fantasy', Jeremy Parish looks at the staggering fifteen games with the FF brand due out in the next year. "Even if all of Fabula Nova Crystalis slips to 2009, that's still one title per month -- and we haven't even seen what's on the roster in the way of announcements for the new year. Clearly, Final Fantasy is going strong, but Square Enix's franchising efforts may be doing as much harm as good; of those 15 titles, only one is a new 'true' Final Fantasy game. True, the series has always supported its share of spin-offs -- even blatant name-whoring back in the Game Boy days. Still, we can't help but worry that the Final Fantasy name is being spread a bit too thin; if Square Enix really hopes to keep the series alive for another 20 years or more, they'll need to reconsider what the name Final Fantasy really means."
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Final Fantasy Turns 20

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  • Amazing Series (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:55PM (#21618219)
    I completely missed most of the history of the FF games until recently. I pretty much thought they were just the same games made over and over again with better graphics each gen. But now that I've started playing a range of the games going all the way back to the first two I can see why the series is so wildly successful, IMO. Even though there are many recurring aspects Square keeps reinventing the series in major ways each new generation. I was shocked to see the large range different gameplay mechanics that have been employed over the years.

    It is going to take a long, long to catch up to the rest of the FF fans who've been playing the series for so long. Can't wait for FFXIII to see what Square can do with a 50 gig BluRay disc, standard harddrive, and a machine as powerful as the PS3.

  • by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <oarigogirdor>> on Friday December 07, 2007 @06:30PM (#21618693) Homepage
    What nonsense. Hironobu Sakaguchi chose that name because Square was nearly bankrupt in 87, so he expected their next game to be the last.
  • by Conception ( 212279 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @01:04AM (#21621575)
    It's nothing of the sort. Even in TFA, it says,

    "Square Enix's rescue from oblivion does seem like the stuff of legends, so it's no surprise that fantasy is what the company does best. The Final Fantasy series acquired its ironic name 20 years ago when SquareSoft employee Sakaguchi put together an RPG that was supposed to be the teetering game company's swan song, but turned out to be its savior instead. Sakaguchi probably never imagined that he'd see an age where fans, reviewers and the world in general joke repeatedly about a 12-title series that isn't anywhere close to being final. Today, the series continues to innovate, draw fans, and divide them."

    And I've heard that story repeated elsewhere many times. Sorry, bub.
  • by colmore ( 56499 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @04:10PM (#21626323) Journal
    FF1 is a great game. Anyone who likes older console games and hasn't played through it should. It's kinda hard though, harder than later members of the series at least.

    Here's a breakdown:

    - Run away. The dungeons are hard. (especially the marsh cave - the first real dungeon, the ice cave, the fiend of wind's dungeon(s) and the final castle) There are a small handful of really efficient places to level up. When you aren't actively leveling up, you should run from just about everything. Once you have protection from death effects and reusable healing items, you can be more lax with this, but in general run away. This, by the way, is what the much-maligned Thief is useful for; he's got the best chance of getting away. But in practice, the fighter, red mage, and black belt get away about as often.

    - Starting right after you get your first orb lit up, keep 99 heal potions at all time. The game lacks effective healing (except for 3 vital items you find in the late game) so you'll want to have access to the at most 2970 points of healing the potions offer. However, white magic isn't all that great. It's pretty viable to not have any healing except potions.

    - Here's where to level up: until level 8 or so, walk around outside towns. After level 8, make sure you have Fire 2 and ideally Harm 2, and go to the tip of a little peninsula east of the second town. There's hard but not too hard monsters that will give you 600-1000 XP per encounter; just be sure to nuke the frost wolves a.s.a.p. Later, there's recurring undead on a square in the waterfall, and once you have ProRings, the Eye at the end of the Ice cave can be fought again and again. Much much later, the vampires on the penultimate floor of the final level are the fastest way to reach levels 30-50.

    - Though it lacks flavor, the party of 2 fighters and 2 red mages is so good as to be something of an easy mode. Black and white magic are both kind of underpowered, and having a team that can all take punches makes up for not getting Harm, Heal, and Nuke. Make sure you don't skip Fast, Invs2, Exit, all the Cures, all the Fires (for undead, the other attack spells aren't nearly as important). Life and the aElement defense spells are pretty good. Everything else is either useless or good only in a specific fight (e.g. sleep against the pirates) or is available too late (aRub). Really black magic sucks in the game. It's useful against a handful of obnoxious encounters with massed enemies, but not so much against any of the bosses. Red mages much better than black mages.

    - If you do want a black and white mage instead, I'd still put a second fighter in as #2. The first two positions absorb the lion's share of attacks, and having both get to wear full armor is amazingly useful. The upgraded thief gets almost as good of armor as the knight and he can cast Fast, so a thief is a pretty viable option. Black belts only get better than fighters at the very highest levels, and they have the most boring upgrade. Red mages aren't really strong enough to stand in position #2; it'll be hard to keep a second-in-command red wizard alive in the final dungeon.

    - Use the floater in the desert southeast of the volcano. If there's a clue to do this that's placed in the game, I've missed it. I think everything else can be figured out by talking to people.

    - Use attack magic to kill enemies that have ugly mass attacks or instant death effects. Hit bosses with swords.

    - Don't throw away magic items just to keep lousy helmets and shields on non-knight/ninja characters. You want a fire item, a harm item, a lit item, 2 or (much better) 3 heal items, and the white shirt.

    - Speaking of items, the swords and armor that are extra strong against certain elements or types of enemies don't actually have any effect. There's a patch out there for the ROM that will enable this feature. It's worth seeking out, as Square *did* intend the Dragon sword to be good against Dragons etc. But if you don't use it, don't hold on to any weapons or armor for specific encounters.

    - Once you beat the game, there's a rare challenge enemy on the walk up to the fourth fiend.

    Ok, that's enough. I love that game.

Disks travel in packs.