Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Review

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.

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Magic Knight Rayearth – Review

Phew, I can’t say very many bad things about game. Sega did a great job with this game, and the Working Designs translation was just as good. From what I remember out of the gaming magazines (and in fact postings here at RPGamer) for early 1998, this game’s release was postponed several times so that Working Designs could have that much longer to work on it. I’d say all their efforts paid off pretty well. In Magic Knight Rayearth we have a very solid all-around RPG that I would quickly recommend to anybody, regardless of whether or not they’re a fan of RPGs.

Gameplay: Basically you have an overhead view of your characters and enemies. Your two allies follow you around and you can switch out between them as necessary. (Just like in Secret of Mana.) The menu system is icon-based, giving this game easier access to a younger generation of RPGamers. There isn’t much to shout about in terms of gameplay mechanics, because this has all been done before. The important part, however, is that it was done well.

Visuals: Close to being run-of-the-mill for older RPGs. The characters are all sprite-based. Magical effects (of which there were few) were decent, but not great. The anime cutscenes were very decent and greatly facilitated storytelling. My only complaint would be the system performance when dealing with the graphics – there are several points where the Saturn just can’t play the game at full speed because of everything that’s going on.. and that’s supposed to be one of the improved parts! Kudos to WD….. or what? Over-spriteage leads to frustration in the Ice City of Rosen.

Music/Sound: I won’t go as far enough as to say that the music is grand. I have heard better. This is about the only category that Square can stake claim to complete ownage in. However, I’ll grant MKR’s music this – for the colorful and upbeat environment that the game itself offers, the music fits in very nicely. The sound effects are pretty decent as well. I liked the voice tracks for the magic spell casting, they added a nice touch to the whole audio scene.

Originality: Can’t tell you much good about it, unfortunately. The game just isn’t original. The character control system has been used already, the story’s a classic that’s been told and retold thousands of times. The one major feature I’d count as original, though, is the diaries that each of the main characters keep. You can read their entries and get three different points of view on the same situation. It helps with story comprehension, and the audio version makes for a very nice touch.

Story: Very good. A little cliched, earth kids saving alien worlds, it’s been done a hundred times, but just like the gameplay, the important part is that the story was done well. It’s tad bit short (no more than 10-15 hours, if even that..), but there are very, VERY few points in the game where you’re just running around doing nothing like you would in Final Fantasy.

Replay value: There isn’t much to replay, unfortunately. I personally don’t have replaying that game at a high priority in my life due to the commodity that time is, but if I had extra time I definitely would.

Overall, this is a very good title in spite of technical shortcomings. This is one thing I DEFINITELY would not mind seeing Working Designs re-release on Playstation or Playstation2, to tell you the truth. The game offers everything a video gamer would want – challenge, a decent story, and great gameplay. I give this 7 points out of 10. Sega and Working Designs did very well with this one, and this in combination with a few other titles is a major reason to buy a Saturn.

[Historical note 2021-03-30: originally posted sometime in the summer of 2000 on RPGamer.com. I’m not sure of the exact date, so I just used 2000-06-01.]

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Posted May 25, 2000

[Finally]

Just got through with the spring quarter of classes here at school. Pulled off some decent grades this time. I get three weeks off and then summer classes begin. Twenty quarter hours worth of classes, that is. And about 20 more hours at work every week. This is going to be a busy summer… I need to try to get a car, but I can’t afford one. But if I had more hours at work I could afford one. But I can’t get more hours at work until I get a car of my own to use as transportation. But I can’t get a car until I can afford one…

[Good Movie]

I rented Dragons Forever from Blockbuster yesterday. I’d seen it once before about a year ago, but after I mentioned it in respect to the combination of Jackie Chan, Samo Hung, and Yuen Biao I figured I might as well watch it again. All in all, this is a pretty good movie, both storywise and actionwise. As I noted last time when I talked about Yuen Biao not quite fitting into the trio in Project A (which I wound up picking up from Best Buy, hehe), Biao did a much better job in this film of fitting in with his two cohorts. You can’t really tell in the action sequences, though – the only way I can really tell how someone fits with someone else in an action scene is to see them fighting simultaneously a la Chan/Hung from Project A. Granted, you can’t have something like that everywhere, but it’s nice to have the indication somewhere along the line. However, the characters themselves gave Biao a better chance at completing the puzzle. (Maybe it’s the fact that there’s a four year time period between this movie and Project A.) This time, Chan plays a respectable lawyer who represents a chemical company that’s polluting a nearby pond. Hung plays the seedy quasi-legal kinda guy and Biao plays the part of a lunatic. When the owner of the pond decides to take legal action against the chemical company, Chan asks both Biao and Hung to monitor the owner of the pond. However, after Hung mistakes Biao to be a burglar, the traditional Chan-esque slapstick routines begin between the three main characters. This is a classic example of why I like the Chan/Hung/Biao combination. They act so well with each other. As the story progresses, Chan falls in love with the cousin of the pond owner and Hung falls in love with the pond owner herself. The conflict of legal and romantic interest creates a bit of a sub-plot toward the end as Hung and Biao turn against Chan and go try to gather evidence against the chemical company themselves. This all results in the last battle in a main area of a factory (looks like they were producing drugs, I guess) where all three team up to save the day.

I really thought the martial arts efforts in this one could have used a bit more… uh, snazz, for lack of a better word. Most of the fights were any combination of Chan/Hung/Biao against about 20 opponents, and none of them sported any real spectacular stunts. However, I do have to say that most of the one on one combat scenes were really good. While most of them were Chan and/or Hung and/or Biao fighting amongst themselves, they were coreographed quite nicely and made for very entertaining scenes. The last battle itself has three phases – the first where Hung takes on about 10 guys then gets subdued with a shot of some drug – the second where Biao takes on 10 more guys and then gets knocked out by one of the main bad guys – and the third where Chan takes on the main bad guy and his legal client. Overall, like I said before, good, but not great. My verdict:

  • Preferred format: DVD, no subtitles
  • Action scenes: 6/10
  • Stunts: 5/10
  • Story: 9/10
  • Lack of Old-School Kung Fu: 10/10 (one of the main bad guys breaks into some Kung Fu poses – the only reason they didn’t bother me was because I was too busy laughing at how goofy he looked.)
  • Overall: 7.5/10

No single element makes this a great movie. Everything was more or less average. However, sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is a must-see.

[Holy Shit]

Got your attention, didn’t it? That’s what I said when I walked into work last Friday and say a near-mint condition copy of Magic Knight Rayearth sitting on one of the counters. I had taken my copy into work in hopes of being able to play a little bit of the game during some downtime, so I got a little sneaky and swapped the disc (which was slightly scuffed on the data surface) and the instructions (missing sticker in the back) for the perfect ones. Teehee. My new copy of Magic Knight Rayearth looks damn near close to like it’s never been used before. That’s always a good thing! While I’m on that, I found a copy of Albert Odyssey in almost identical condition as well. I gave no hesitation to grabbing that one as well. (I paid for it, of course. :)) Anyways, Albert Odyssey is shaping out to be a pretty decent roleplaying game. I had no idea Sunsoft was able to do something like this, but they did, and they did a damn fine job! This game plays a lot like Final Fantasy 6 in terms of graphics, battle, and whatnot. Storyline is pretty good so far, too. Alas, I am just a few hours into the game right now and can’t really give more in-depth opinions just right now. All in good time, though…!

[Recent Aquisitions]

  • Tenchi the Movie – Tenchi Muyo in Love (expect a segment on this in a near-future rant)
  • Jackie Chan’s Project A (bought this one!)
  • Mr. Nice Guy (might rant on this one when I get bored)
  • As I mentioned, Albert Odyssey

[Closing]

I would like to close this rant out with this thought:

Just remember, if someone farts, be sure you’re breathing through your nose when it happens. Basically a fart is particles of shit floating through the air… So… You wouldn’t want shit in your mouth, would you?

Don’t ask me, I’m just the messenger. Take care, thanks for reading!

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So what is it we’re complaining about, anyway?

We as American gamers expect to see games from Square. We expect them to be uncut, wrapped up in gold foil, the whole nine yards. Then we expect Square to alter a game they were going to send to us untouched just because we don’t like it.

I first became engrossed with this situation with Square games two years ago when I found this page. Square was releasing all these games in Japan but not sending them here? That’s not fair! If Square’s going to extend itself to the U.S., you’d think that it would extend all its products to the U.S. as well, right? Unfortunately, the answer to that is “no,” and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can put up silly petitions, we can sign them and ship them off to Square of Japan, but what will they do? Politely inform us that they’re looking into the matter, or give us a little information on what’s planned for the coming months. I’ve accepted that.

It really is no wonder Square chopped up Final Fantasy IV and gave us a sliver of the pie. We complain about everything. We are a nation of spoiled brats who want everything, and we want it now, so help us God, or we’ll complain! I don’t understand the motives involved here. What are we trying to accomplish? With Final Fantasy IV, we want the original. Then with Final Fantasy VII, we want something other than the original. Consistent? No. Persistent? Yes, yes, ten times yes. It’s no wonder the Japanese think we’re too stupid to handle their games.

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