This game just wasn’t very well-received here in the United States, and I can see why. Square’s local resources were used on this game when we could have gotten Final Fantasy 5 (Supposed to be called FF Extreme) instead. In a nutshell, this is the diet version of Squaresoft’s standard-bearer, Final Fantasy. It’s geared toward a younger (or first-time RPGamer) audience and by consequence doesn’t give much depth into anything. With that..
Gameplay: Gameplay was fairly decent. The battles are menu driven and turn-based (no active time battle.) World navigation is very limited – there’s nowhere to get lost to on the world map because the navigation takes you straight to landmark after landmark. Good, but not great.
Visuals: What stunning visuals. Ok, maybe not. Gotta give Square credit though: when you weaken enemies in combat, they begin to change to reflect this (giving a visual indication that they’re about to kick the bucket.) That was pretty good, I guess. Keeping in mind that this game came at a very early time for the Super Nintendo, I think these graphics were very decent.
Music/Sound: I really like the music out of this one. There isn’t really a main theme that the soundtrack, but all the individual songs are very good. The battle themes impressed the heck out of me. I can’t remember who composed for this game – I don’t think it was Nobuo Uematsu, but whomever that person was, they did a great job. Sound effects were also very decent, none of them seemed out of place or inappropriate.
Originality: Not really much to be had in this game, unfortunately. I could see why – if I were Squaresoft, I wouldn’t want to waste any creative abilities on a game that’s going to be geared toward the US anyways. ^_^ It might seem pretty original to a ten-year old that is playing this for his/her first RPG, though.
Story: Same thing as Final Fantasy. Collect the coins, restore the elements, go fight the bad guy and be done with it. The story is simple enough to understand by anyone, which I guess was the point of the whole thing. A sense of lightheartedness is maintained throughout the entire storyline with a touch of goofiness. (Why, oh WHY do I sound like the announcer on the Iron Chef? “The harmony of the dish is parlayed by the touch of horseradish, filling you with a sense of inner peace.”) Um.
Replay value: As stated above, this game takes a MAXIMUM of thirteen hours to complete. There just isn’t much to do in the game that would make it worthy of a second play after you finish it the first time. Having said that, let me turn around and say that if you have absolutely nothing to do one weekend, this is something you could kill time with.
Overall, I can’t say too many good things about this title. I would say that this title and Secret of Evermore are the two major failures in Squaresoft’s American Super Nintendo career. We probably would have been much happier with Final Fantasy 5, however I do have to say that something is better than nothing. This title does have a bit of decent gameplay and is a great timekiller that doesn’t require a lot of thought. This game was geared to a younger age, which doesn’t really bother me. I enjoyed playing the game, and if you have a few spare hours around that you are willing to devote to it, I don’t think you’ll be entirely disappointed. This game gets 6 out of 10 from me.