Final Fantasy II: A retrospective
February 18, 2019

I bought Final Fantasy II in a pawnshop one hot summer day in the mid 90s, when word of the PlayStation was looming over and 32-bit gaming was about to invade our living rooms. I had bought my SNES over a year ago as I had my SEGA Genesis Mark II first, me being a sega fan more than nintendo back then, but also wanted to ever try the SNES for its own games that I never got to try on the Genesis. Having played the first Final Fantasy on the NES, I was pretty much interested on playing a sequel, being that I never knew that by the time we had it on SNES, it was actually part 4 in the series and that we had missed out on the original sequel plus part 3 being that the first game was shown later on 1990 for the NES, a year before the SNES made its debut along with FF4 being translated as "2" in the US.

As such, I never thought about it much being that I never knew about said sequels, and tried to connect as much that I saw on this game in contrast to the NES one, something that actually kinda worked seeing how it shared many things with the prior title such as the 4 nefarious Elemental Fiends with new names and bodies trying to stop you as you went on to gather the crystals and such. Otherwise I was impressed on how instead of giving names to characters that seemingly had no back-story, now you played with characters that not only had said back-story, but also developed as you played through. It felt very much inspirational than anything else.

I also remember beating this game more than once, even going as far as drawing maps of the various caves I would play through and locations of treasures and the like. I was that dedicated back then. I still got the memory of when I first saw Zeromus and how DIFFERENT that last boss looked in such game where medieval-style monsters were the norm, as well as his rocking theme song which I can still hear as I type this.
Then the satisfaction of seeing him felled as I finish the game for the first time and enjoying its ending. I was very happy to see what became of each character that joined the party to save their world and all that, leaving me with a unique sense of accomplishment.

Of course some years later I learned all about the missing sequels we never got to see over the US plus the fact that 2 and 3 were actually 4 and 6 respectively, along with the fact that 5 was never even mention at that time. At least not that I ever read on gaming magazines that is. Even though FF7 made its way on the playstation and it was engraved with the correct sequel number, I really never got to play it until years later when I found a used copy at some movie/gaming trading store. Unfortunately the game had a nasty glitch on which it would freeze as Cloud and another character would get into the Golden Saucer ride. In case you are wondering, I always chose Tifa to get inside with him.

Anyway back to FF4. I still own my SNES cartridge and treasure it like no other. This is one of those games that did change my gaming life and still leaves an important impression within me.

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overdrive overdrive - February 18, 2019 (02:31 PM)
I first played this game from renting it in the late 90s for a weekend project since I didn't have to work and had no other plans.

And I beat it in two days (personal disclosure: on Saturday, I played it for roughly 15 hours. I did have to run from/avoid a lot of fights in the final dungeon and Ogopogo (optional boss that gives you a great sword) was pure hell. And, as I recall, with the final boss, I basically used a two-person party, as that was all I could keep alive for any length of time. It was, at least our American version, probably as easy as the series got. A few bosses were tough, but I was able to cruise through most of the game without much trouble.
CptRetroBlue CptRetroBlue - February 19, 2019 (05:17 AM)
The Ogopogo is heard to have 50,000 HP which is pretty high while at the same time being very tough as you described. Yeah, I also fought it and got the Masamune which made things a bit easier once I got to Zeromus, but what a fight. Sure enough the American version (which is what I got still) was a bit on the easy side compared to the original, but man was it ever enjoyable to say the least.
Masters Masters - February 19, 2019 (07:38 AM)
Great write up, dude. I feel the nostalgia.

This is one of the new RPGs that I've actually played, and fewer still that I've actually beaten. Although I do remember using some sort of cheat? It either gave you better weapons than you should have had or more HP or something. Do you guys recall any shortcut this game was known for having?
CptRetroBlue CptRetroBlue - February 19, 2019 (11:42 AM)
Not sure, the only cheat I can remember is how you can duplicate items to have two or even more than anything, being able to sell it for gil or have it used against enemies like the ninja throwing a vast amount of Excalibur swords at Zeromus during the final battle. And thanks, I live for retro gaming :)
Masters Masters - February 19, 2019 (02:04 PM)
This actually reads really well, I must say. You should make some tweaks and release it as a review.
CptRetroBlue CptRetroBlue - February 20, 2019 (07:15 AM)
I might just do that in the future, thanks for the feedback :)
overdrive overdrive - February 20, 2019 (01:24 PM)
I think what I found most enjoyable about this game was just how different it felt than the NES-era console games that I'd played. With all four Dragon Warriors and the original Final Fantasy, you opened with a reasonably lengthy grinding phase where you ran in circles to fight weak enemies before going back to town until you'd gained a few levels and bought some nicer weaponry than the crap you always started out with. DW IV wasn't as bad as far as it taking long to do, but that was balanced out by having to do it five separate times, once in each chapter.

Then you start this game and, damn, you're just running from one place to the next, with barely any need to stop and grind. So you get into the story, which was pretty involving for its time, since you're never in this "well, I need to go to this tower, but the enemies are tough, so I'll grind until I forget why I'm going to the tower..." mode.

I mean, I've played enough of these games that early-game grinding doesn't even bother me, but for the first time not having to do it? That was awesome and really contributed to how I busted through the whole game (minus optional stuff) in two days. On that second day, I legit could not put it down because everything was happening so quickly for me.
Masters Masters - February 21, 2019 (07:35 AM)
I concur with the game being a fast finish; I wouldn't have completed it otherwise since I'm not an RPG guy. But on the tiny list of RPGs I've beaten, this is one of them. I think the other is Mystic Quest, which is regularly mocked for not being a proper RPG. But that music! Fantastic.
overdrive overdrive - February 21, 2019 (01:14 PM)
Mystic Quest did have great music. Not sure if I mentioned that in my review, as I was really busy mocking other aspects of it. Might have to check it out to see!
overdrive overdrive - February 21, 2019 (01:19 PM)
Answer: No I did not. I was in pure 2004 bash review mode where I wasn't messing around with nonsense such as complements that I can't easily walk back to turn into insults.
CptRetroBlue CptRetroBlue - February 21, 2019 (01:28 PM)
Mystic Quest is a game that should have more love in my opinion, despite the fact it was made sorely for a silly reason on american gamers not being "adept" at RPGs, I mean, Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior (Quest,) for NES, the FF titles on GBn, and FF4 on SNES were all befoer it, I am not sure why Square then would derp up like this instead of sending FF5 but eh.
Masters Masters - February 21, 2019 (02:09 PM)
Haha, agreed, it was mildly insulting, but hey, it wasn't the turd everyone (that's you, Rob) made it out to be.
Masters Masters - February 22, 2019 (07:09 AM)
Rob: check out the OST and tell the track "Bone Dungeon" I sent you. ^_^

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