RPG Review #43: Final Fantasy Legend

NuMetalManiak These reviews have been flowing like lightning since #40. Man it's impressive how much I can get done in one week. Of course, these games are quite short, so that is a factor. Anyways, The Final Fantasy Legend has the words Final and Fantasy in it, but is not a true Final Fantasy game. In fact, it is the first in the SaGa series, released in 1989 on the Gameboy. It was one of the first Game Boy RPGs ever in fact. Now, I really want to get to SaGa Frontier pretty soon, but it is the seventh game in the SaGa series, much like Final Fantasy VII, you know. And I want to play these things in chronological order if possible.

Gameplay: You've got your standard navigation, shopping, encounter, and battle systems in effect throughout the game, so much of it is pretty typical. What's not typical is that items in the inventory are usually in limited stock. This is obvious for healing items and attack items, but also carries over to most weapons as well, including swords and such. Without them, a character generally cannot attack on a turn. To further complicate this, there are only eight slots in the party inventory, and depending on the character class, a few slots in character inventories. As far as any shopping goes, most of it is typical, but in order to rest at an inn, the characters must pay up 1 gold for every HP needed to be filled. Without the right amount of money, there's no resting allowed. For dead characters, they can be restored at a "House of Life" for 100GP, but a heart will be removed from the character. These hearts can be bought for like 100000GP I think, but without them the only way to revive characters is with an equally expensive revive item.

As far as battles and grinding goes, it's not actually that bad. Levels are nonexistent in this game, which means I'm only grinding for money (which I sadly need most of the time). Certain character classes do however get stat boosts after fights, and others do not. Strength, agility, and mana are the main stats, with them denoting the obvious. However, certain melee weapons do damage based off of these stats, so maybe an agility-based weapon does more than a strength one. All in accordance with chosen characters. Overall, this game is quite a juggling act with its gameplay, you wanna make sure to have a good amount of weapons and items, since their use is quite limited. Grade: C+

Characters: Like in the original Final Fantasy, a character name and class is decided. Here are the classes:

Humans: Humans are the well-rounded fighters here. They tend to have good stats across the board, except for mana. Male humans have better strength while females have better agility. The important thing about humans is that they don't gain stat bonuses via battling. They get it via potions bought at stores. There are potions such as Strength, Agility, HP200, HP400, and HP600. These can increase the stats of a human permanently. One thing I found out, is that the caps for the strength and agility say 99, but really it goes up to 255. But going further than that causes it to reset! Overall though, with tweaking, humans can become some of the stronger characters to have without them ever even entering a battle. They have 8 free item slots too.
Mutants: The mutant characters (both male and female again), are the main ones that gain stat boosts from battles. This includes mana, so they can be effective spellcasters too. Notably though, in addition to stat boosts, they have 4 slots of their inventories reserved for special abilities, which seem to randomly pop up after battles. They are quite random, but can be quite fun. Unfortunately, they are not tweakable like humans and they only have 4 free item slots available.
Monster: Although I never used the monsters, they comprise the final class. They are generally the weakest class, as they cannot carry items, and all their abilities are preset to what form they are in. What form you ask? Well, the random drop from encounter will always be a meat of an enemy slain (yes, even if your enemy technically isn't meat. I know, it's silly getting of all things, "jelly" meat). By giving a monster character this meat, they can transform into that form! Brings new meaning to the term "you are what you eat". Nevertheless, I wouldn't use them, since they tend to always be weaker than humans or mutants, but I guess eating a boss monster meat wouldn't hurt.

Up to four characters can be recruited in addition to the character the player starts with. They are recruited at a "guild" which is another type of shop. It's even possible to replace characters you don't want anymore using the guild, but I think you can only do that if they die. Grade: B

Plot: There doesn't seem to be much of a plot in this, but from what it is, the player is set to climb this massive tower, built by a Creator to link worlds. The other worlds are the World of Continent, Ocean, Sky, and Ruin, and the player starts off in Base Town, which is on the World of Continent. The general idea, of course, is to make your way to the top of this tower, which apparently at the top resides some sort of "Paradise". While this isn't a Final Fantasy game, it has something that recurred through the series, and that is four fiends. Since there's four worlds, you bet that each fiend is set in each world. Certain items known as "spheres" are to be collected after killing the fiends in order to further progress up the tower.

On the World of Continent lie three kings named Armor, Sword, and Shield. Armor falls in love with a damsel in distress, Sword is fought by the heroes, and Shield is apparently backstabbed by a steward, all for items to redeem to a great hero statue. Only they had to fight the first fiend, Gen-Bu, for the first sphere. Up the tower and then it's off to the World of Ocean. The mystery of breathing underwater needed to be solved, because the second fiend, Sei-Ryu, resides underwater. Up more floors is the World of Sky, where the third fiend Byak-Ko leads a troupe of guards in the clouds. After finding two twin sisters Jeanne and Milleille, the player's party is captured, but breaks free to confront the fiend, who ends up killing Jeanne. At the World of Ruin, it's a post-apocalyptic area where the fourth and final fiend, Su-Zaku, patrols the region relentlessly. A biker gang led by So-Cho and his sister Sayaka help the party, and So-Cho dies rather stupidly to give them a route while Sayaka becomes a damsel in distress. Su-Zaku's forcefield is destroyed along with Su-Zaku himself eventually.

At the very top of that tower, it is time to face tower boss Ashura, who wanted to bargain with them but the main characters bluntly refuse. After fighting, they fall all the way down, okay. By rescaling the tower, they find the truth about the Creator, in that he made the whole thing about fiends and the tower just to see good triumph over evil and rewards to be given. But you know what? The main character isn't liking this sort of manipulation, and the final boss is none other than the Creator himself. Winning that one wins the game. Interesting overall. Not really amazing by any means, but the fact that it was all some scam was quite a twist. Grade: B-

Music: Nobuo Uematsu actually struggled quite a bit with the composition, due to it being a new platform of gaming and all. Not a whole lot to note for a soundtrack. The battle theme wears thin and some of the other themes are a bit repetitive too. None of it was really bad except for maybe the final boss music which I thought was just silly honestly. Grade: C-

Overall Grade: C+

Wouldn't outright recommend this, but since it's quick to play all the way through and has good amounts of tweaking, it's worth a checkout. The gameplay can be quite hard to get the hang of, but thankfully, grinding isn't gonna bore most people to death since there's no need to level up like crazy. Now I do look forward to continuing the series as soon as I could.