Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Final Fantasy I
|Developer:||Square Co., Ltd.|
|Publisher:||Square Co., Ltd. (Japan)|
Nintendo of America (NA)
|Release date:||December 18, 1987 (JP)|
July 12, 1990 (NA)
March 14, 2003 (EU)
|Game modes:||Single player|
|ESRB rating:||Teen (T) (PlayStation)|
Everybody (E) (GBA)
|Platforms:||Nintendo Family Computer, MSX2, WonderSwan Color, Sony PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, NTT DoCoMo FOMA 900i Series, CDMA 1X WIN W21x Series|
Floppy disk (MSX2)
Paid download (900i/W21x)
Final Fantasy, also known as Final Fantasy I ("FF1"), is a Japanese console role-playing video game originally developed and published by Square Co., Ltd. in 1987 for the Nintendo Family Computer ("Famicom", known internationally as the Nintendo Entertainment System, or "NES"). The inaugural game in Square's flagship Final Fantasy series, it has subsequently been remade for several different consoles and handheld systems, including MSX2 computers and the Bandai WonderSwan Color ("WSC"). It has also seen versions produced for two Japanese mobile phone service providers: the NTT DoCoMo FOMA 900i series (as Final Fantasy i) and the CDMA 1X WIN-compatible W21x series of mobile phones from au/KDDI (as Final Fantasy EZ).
The game has frequently been packaged with its sequel, Final Fantasy II. Compilations of the two games have been released for the Famicom (as Final Fantasy I and II), the Sony PlayStation (Final Fantasy Origins), and the Nintendo Game Boy Advance ("GBA") (Final Fantasy I & II Advance, released abroad as Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls).
Several of these versions have been released in North America: Nintendo of America published the Famicom/NES version and the GBA compilation Dawn of Souls in 1990 and 2004, respectively, while Square Enix published the PlayStation compilation Final Fantasy Origins in 2003. The game did not receive official European release until 2003, when Final Fantasy Origins was published by Infogrames/Atari. The following year, Nintendo of Europe released Dawn of Souls for the GBA in Europe, as well.
- December 18, 1987 — Family Computer (Japan)
- December 1989 — MSX2 (Japan)
- July 12, 1990 — Nintendo Entertainment System (North America)
- February 27, 1994 — Family Computer (as part of Final Fantasy I & II) (Japan)
- December 9, 2000 — WonderSwan Color (Japan)
- October 31, 2002 — Sony PlayStation (as part of Final Fantasy I+II Premium Package) (Japan)
- March 14, 2003 — Sony PlayStation (as part of Final Fantasy Origins) (Europe)
- April 8, 2003 — Sony PlayStation (as part of Final Fantasy Origins) (North America)
- February 29, 2004 — NTT DoCoMo 900i Series (Final Fantasy i) (Japan)
- July 29, 2004 — Game Boy Advance (as part of Final Fantasy I & II Advance) (Japan)
- August 19, 2004 — CDMA 1X WIN W21x Series (Final Fantasy EZ) (Japan)
- November 29, 2004 — Game Boy Advance (as part of Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls) (North America)
- December 3, 2004 — Game Boy Advance (as part of Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls) (Europe)
Final Fantasy was developed during Square's brush with bankruptcy in 1987. In a display of gallows humor, producer Hironobu Sakaguchi said that his final game would be a fantasy RPG, hence the title. Far from being Square's final game, however, Final Fantasy proved to be a major success in Japan, not only saving Square from bankruptcy, but presenting them with the second most popular RPG franchise in the country (after Enix's Dragon Quest series). Three years later Nintendo of America opted to localize the game for a North American audience, a move which was met with moderate success, due partly to Nintendo's aggressive marketing tactics.
Final Fantasy, along with the original Dragon Quest, proved to be one of the most influential early console role-playing games. It was released at a time when very few such games existed and helped prove that such a game could be successful on consoles. Graphically and musically, it was a more polished effort than many of its contemporaries. Modern-day critics of the first Final Fantasy games point out that the game is very poorly paced; i.e. players spend the vast majority of their playing time wandering in search of random encounters to raise their experience and Gold levels as opposed to exploring and solving puzzles. However, this was a common trait in 8-bit CRPGs, and was carried over to some 16-bit CRPGs.
Final Fantasy takes place on an unnamed fantasy world with three large continents. The elemental powers on this world are determined by the state of four glowing crystals ("orbs" in the original English NES version), each governing one of the four classical elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind.
In the centuries prior to the game's opening, violent storms sunk a massive shrine that served as the center of a sea-based civilization, and the Water Crystal went dark. At approximately the same time, a people known as the Lefeinish, who used the powers of the Wind Crystal to create space stations ("Sky Castles") and airships watched their country decline as the Wind Crystal went dark. Eventually, the Earth and Fire Crystals also went dark, plaguing the earth with raging wildfires and devastating the agricultural town of Melmond as the plains and vegetation decayed. Some time later, a sage called Lukahn (known as Lukin in the PSOne version) tells of a prophecy that four Light Warriors will come to save the world in a time of darkness.
The game begins with the appearance of the four youthful Light Warriors, the protagonists of the story. The Light Warriors each carry one of the darkened Crystals. They arrive at Coneria, a powerful kingdom that has just witnessed the kidnapping of its princess, Sara, by a rogue knight named Garland. The Light Warriors travel to the ruined Temple of Chaos in the corner of Coneria, defeat Garland, and return Princess Sara home. The grateful King of Coneria builds a bridge that enables the Light Warriors passage east of the country.
Traveling east, the Light Warriors learn that a wizard named Astos has been terrorizing the area surrounding the inland sea of the southern continent, Elfheim, stealing a crystal that the witch Matoya needs for sight, putting the king of the Elves into a coma, and stealing the crown of a minor western king.
The Light Warriors now have increased mobility, because of the ship, but remain trapped within the Aldean sea, in the center of a large continent. A large rock blocks the only exit from this sea. There is a group of Dwarves trying to remove the rock but they find themselves unable to proceed without TNT. The TNT is contained in a locked room in Coneria Castle, the only key to which is held by the sleeping Elf Prince. They retrieve the stolen crown, only to find that the minor king was actually Astos. After defeating Astos, the Light Warriors recover Matoya's crystal and return it to the witch, who makes them an herb that will awaken the Elf Prince. With the rock now cleared, the Light Warriors proceed into the greater world.
Proceeding to Melmond, the Light Warriors seek out and destroy the Earth fiend, Lich, who is responsible for the earth's rotting. The Light Warriors then enter the Mt. Gulg ("Gurgu Volcano") and defeat the fire fiend, Marilith ("Kary"). The Warriors defeat the water fiend, Kraken, in an underwater palace, and Tiamat, the fiend of air, in the floating castle. The four fiends defeated, and the crystals restored, the Warriors find that their quest is not yet over: The fiends created an archdemon, Chaos, using the body of Garland, and sent him 2000 years into the past. Following Chaos into the past, the Warriors discover that it was Chaos who had sent the four fiends into the future, creating a time loop paradox.
The Light Warriors, upon defeating Chaos, return to their own time, but having broken the paradox, they and the rest of the world are consigned to be completely unaware that the entire ordeal had taken place.
- Please note, the following refers to the original Famicom/NES version. For changes in subsequent remakes, see the section on Differences between versions
Final Fantasy begins by asking the player to select the character types and names of each Light Warrior (player character). As is typical with many 8-bit CRPGs, the player characters are more or less passive participants in the story, and therefore the player's choice of character type affects only the Light Warriors' abilities in battle. The character types are:
- Fighter — A specialist in heavy weapons and armor who can withstand tremendous amounts of punishment. Can become the Knight later in the game, who is able to use the most powerful weapons and some White Magic spells.
- Black Belt -- A martial arts expert who is best left fighting empty-handed. Does tremendous amounts of damage in combat, but can't wear heavy armor. Can become the Master later on.
- Thief -- A considerably weaker Fighter with fewer weapons and armor skills but greater agility and luck (ability to escape from combat). The main reason to play with a Thief comes later on when he is able to transform into a Ninja. Ninjas can use almost every weapon and most armor, and can use many Black Magic spells.
- White Mage -- A specialist in White Magic. Not a good fighter, but better than the Black Mage. Can become a White Wizard later on, who is able to use the most powerful White Magic.
- Black Mage -- A specialist in Black Magic and a very weak fighter. Becomes the Black Wizard later on. Many Final Fantasy players believe that the Black Mage is a poor choice for a character since most of his best spells are usable by the Red Mage. However, Black Wizard is the only character who can cast Flare (NUKE in the NES English version), one of the two damaging spells that retain full effectiveness against Chaos (the White Wizard can cast Holy/FADE, the other spell, but it is less powerful than Flare).
- Red Mage -- A jack-of-all-trades character, able to use some but not all of both White and Black Magic, and possessing fighting abilities similar to but not quite as good as the Fighter. Becomes the Red Wizard later on.
Gameplay is similar to that of many other console RPGs. The player wanders around the overworld with an overhead view, randomly encountering monsters which must be either dispatched in battle or escaped. Winning battles earns the player Gold, which can be used to buy weapons, armor, curative items, and magic spells, and Experience, which accumulates until players achieve certain milestones ("experience levels") at which characters gain greater capacity for strength, damage resistance (known as Hit Points, or HP), and spell casting. The player can enter Towns on the world map to be safe from random attacks, restore HP and spell charges, acquire information by talking to villagers, and shop. Battle is turn-based, i.e. players select the desired actions for their PCs (Fight, Cast Spell, Run, etc.), and when finished the PCs execute their actions while monsters retaliate depending on their Agility.
The game borrows very heavily from Dungeons and Dragons. The list of enemies the player encounters during the game is almost identical to the bestiary of First Edition Dungeons and Dragons. Also, the spellcasting system, in which spellcasting PCs have a certain maximum number of "spell charges" for each spell level which increases as experience is gained, is another obvious homage.
Differences between versions
Final Fantasy has been remade several times for several different platforms. While all of these remakes retain the same basic story and battle mechanics, various tweaks have been made in a variety of different areas, including graphics, sound, and specific gameplay elements. What follows is a brief description of certain characteristics unique to each remake.
Final Fantasy (Famicom) to Final Fantasy (MSX2)
The MSX2 computer standard was roughly analogous, in terms of technical capabilities, to the Famicom/NES, and so, as a result, the MSX2 version of Final Fantasy is probably the closest to the original Famicom version. However, while the Famicom was designed to operate exclusively as a gaming console, the MSX2 was intended to be used more generally as a personal computer. In practice, this meant that the game was subtly altered to take advantage of certain features offered by the MSX2 and not by the Famicom, and vice versa.
- Format. Released on floppy diskette, the MSX2 version of the game had access to almost three times as much storage space as the Famicom version (720KB vs. 256KB), but suffered from a variety of problems not present in Nintendo's cartridge media, including noticeable loading time.
- Altered graphics. Relatively minor upgrades. In general, the MSX2 version sports an ostensibly improved color palette which adds a degree of vibrancy to character and background graphics. However, some have commented that the choice of colors sometimes seems "off", and argue the Famicom version's graphics were of higher quality, despite the technical superiority of the MSX2 in this field.
- Subtly altered random battles. The world map seems to have been moved slightly, meaning that the placement of monster "areas" on the world map is slightly different, and that monsters appear in different places than in the Famicom version.
- Different saved game system. Game data could not be saved onto the original program diskette, so it was necessary to provide a blank floppy diskette to save one's progress. For some reason, it was possible to store only one saved game on any given disk at one time, although it was possible to have multiple diskettes for multiple saved games.
- Upgraded sound and music. The MSX2 featured more sound channels than the Famicom, and as such many music tracks and sound effects were altered or improved for the port. Also, some dungeon music has been swapped.
- Miscellaneous engine tweaks. In the Famicom version, the strength of a Black Belt would increase with his experience levels, meaning that very soon the player would reach a point where a Black Belt could do more damage without any weapons than he could with weapons. In the MSX2 version, this is not the case: Black Belt strength does not increase nearly as quickly, and as such he cannot operate effectively as a barehanded fighter. Also, a few (though not all) items available at stores have had their costs changed.
Final Fantasy (Famicom) to Final Fantasy (NES)
The 1990 North American localization of Final Fantasy was essentially identical to the original Japanese game. But technical limitations, and the censorship policies of Nintendo of America, resulted in a few minor changes to certain elements.
- Truncated magic names. The original game program provided only four character spaces for magic spell names, meaning that a lot of original Japanese spell names had to be abbreviated to fit into the space requirements for the English version. These changes include "Flare" being reduced to "NUKE", "Thunder" being reduced to "LIT" and "Degeon" being reduced to "ZAP!"
- Censorship issues. Nintendo of America policy prohibited games from featuring any overt Judeo-Christian imagery or reference to death. As such, some graphics were modified, so that, for instance, churches no longer featured crosses.
Final Fantasy (Famicom) to Final Fantasy (WSC)
Many more changes were introduced for the WonderSwan Color remake of the game.
- Upgraded graphics. The 8-bit graphics of the original Famicom game were completely redrawn for the WSC version, bringing the game roughly on-par with 16-bit era graphics. The color palette was much larger and battle scenes now featured full background images.
- Parity with later games. Character sprites (especially the upgraded classes) were redesigned to look more like characters from the Super Famicom Final Fantasy games. In the Famicom version, shops and inns had no interior map: once a character entered the building, they were greeted with a menu-based purchase screen. In the WSC version this was changed to more closely resemble other games in the series, where each building had an interior, along with a shop counter where the transaction screen could be accessed. Similarly, the battle screen was redesigned, with all textual information moved down to a blue window stretched across the bottom of the screen in an arrangement similar to that utilized in Final Fantasy II through Final Fantasy VII.
- Added cutscenes. Short cutscenes, using the internal game engine, were added to expand the story of the game somewhat. One such cutscene involved the construction of the bridge by the army of Corneria.
- Expanded text. The original Famicom version of the game did not have the ability to display more than one window of text during a conversation, which meant that all conversations with non-player characters were strictly limited in length. The WSC version removes this restriction.
- Optional engine tweaks. In the original version of the game, any attempt to attack a monster that had been killed by a previous character's attack would result in an "ineffective" attack. The WSC version introduced an option wherein the attack would be redirected to another monster rather than fail. Similarly, a "dash" option had been introduced: holding down a specific button while walking around in a town or dungeon map would cause the character to move around at twice their normal pace. Both of these options can be turned on and off via the game's configuration screen.
- Deletable spells. As in the original version, every magic using character has successive "spell levels". Each character has only three available slots per spell level, but is given the option of choosing from four spells. Once that choice had been made in the original version, there was no way to "unlearn" spells to free up a space for the unchosen fourth spell. In the WSC version, this has been changed so that it is possible to delete spells once purchased.
- More save game slots. The original Famicom cartridge could only store one set of game data at a time, and every time a new save was made, the previous one was overwritten. The WSC version provides up to eight distinct slots for saved game data. There is also a "quick save" feature introduced which allows the player to save his or her progress at any time (except during battles). This will exit the game, however, and as soon as the game is resumed, any quick save data is lost.
- Changed item system. In the original version, only items specifically assigned to a character could be used during battle. In the WSC, this has been changed so that there is a party-wide "pool" of items which can be accessed at any time by all characters. Certain status healing items (such as "Phoenix Down" and "Soft") can now be used during battle. The status ailment "silence" no longer prevents items from being used.
- Added music. In addition to remixing the soundtrack, composer Nobuo Uematsu has composed several new tracks, including a new "boss battle" theme.
- Bosses have more HP. Because many of the above changes make the game simpler than before, the hit points of certain monsters, and almost all boss monsters, have been substantially increased (doubled, in some cases) in order to better balance the gameplay.
- "Auto-naming". During character creation, the player can choose to have the game randomly assign a name to each character. These names are all taken from other Final Fantasy games and include Desh (Final Fantasy III), Giott (Final Fantasy IV), Kelga (Final Fantasy V) and Daryl (Final Fantasy VI), among others.
Final Fantasy (WSC) to Final Fantasy Origins
The PlayStation remake of Final Fantasy was released alongside its sequel, Final Fantasy II, in a collection entitled Final Fantasy Origins (or Final Fantasy I+II Premium Collection in Japan). Both of these games were based on the WonderSwan Color remake, and most of the changes instituted in that version of the game remain in this version. However, there are a few differences:
- Higher resolution graphics. Although the graphics are basically the same as in the WSC version, the higher screen resolution of the PlayStation means that most of them have been improved to some degree, with quite a bit more detail.
- Remixed soundtrack. Nobuo Uematsu remixed the soundtrack to Final Fantasy IX quality to utilize the audio capabilities of the Sony PlayStation and also composed a few new soundtracks.
- Rewritten script. In the Japanese language version, the script has been changed to include kanji. The English language translation, too, has been completely rewritten, and is, in most cases, much closer to the Japanese than the original English NES version was. Character and magic name lengths have been increased from four to six characters, as well.
- Even more saved game slots. Saved game data takes up one block on the PlayStation memory card, which means that up to fifteen games can be saved onto each memory card. The "quick save" feature of the WSC version has been excised, but in its place a "memo save" feature has been introduced where game data can be temporarily saved to the PlayStation's RAM. This data remains until the system is turned off, or its power supply is otherwise interrupted.
- Added full-motion video cutscenes and omake. The game is now bookended with two full-motion, prerendered video cutscenes. An "omake" (or bonus) section has also been made available. It includes a bestiary, an art gallery, and an item collection that are unlocked as the player progresses through the game.
- New "Easy Mode". A new "easy mode" has been introduced wherein shop prices are cheaper, experience levels are gained more quickly, and stats are increased more rapidly. This mode is optional and is chosen at the start of the game.
Final Fantasy Origins to Final Fantasy 1 & 2: Dawn of Souls
Another fairly extensive list of changes accompanies the Game Boy Advance release of Final Fantasy as part of Final Fantasy I & 2: Dawn of Souls. Among them are:
- Reduced difficulty level. The difficulty level of the GBA version most closely resembles the "easy mode" of the PlayStation/Final Fantasy Origins version. Unlike that version, however, there is no option to switch back to the original difficulty level. Similarly, the optional redirection of "ineffective" hits, which had been optional since it was introduced in the WSC version, is now mandatory.
- Lower resolution graphics. Compared to the PlayStation version. Graphics are more or less identical to the WSC version, although the GBA has a slightly higher screen resolution than the WSC, and certain sequences (such as flying around on the airship) look better on the GBA than on the WSC.
- New magic system. The "spell level"-based magic system is dropped from this version in favor of magic point-based system used in more recent Final Fantasy games. Although spells are still classified at certain levels for some purposes (characters can still only be equipped with three of the four available spells of any given level, for instance), every spell is now assigned a point value. When cast, that value is subtracted from a total number of magic points (or MP) that apply to all spells known by a character.
- New item system. Many new items have been introduced. Healing items are now much easier to procure, and less expensive, as well. Your party starts the game with 500 gil instead of 400 gil as in previous versions.
- Omake bestiary. The omake artwork gallery and item collection present in the PlayStation version have been omitted, but the bestiary gallery remains and operates more or less exactly as it did previously.
- Miscellaneous game engine tweaks. Certain classes have been modified: the Thief and Monk have become more powerful, whereas the Red Mage has become less so. Stat growth has been altered, and Intelligence now affects the strength of weapon-based magic spells.
- Altered save system. The game can now be saved at any time, anywhere (again, except during battles). There are three available save game slots.
- Monsters have even more HP. Because the changes introduced in this version make the game even less challenging, many monsters and boss monsters have had their hit points increased once again.
- "Soul of Chaos". Four new optional dungeons have been introduced, one corresponding to each Fiend, and becoming available after that Fiend is defeated. These dungeons are especially challenging and feature items and monsters not found anywhere else in the game. At the end of each dungeon there are a variety of boss monsters from subsequent games in the Final Fantasy series, including 2-Headed Dragon (Final Fantasy III) and Ultros (Final Fantasy VI).
Original Famicom version
- Original Concept — Hironobu Sakaguchi
- Character Design — Yoshitaka Amano
- Programmer — Nasir Gebelli
- Scenario — Kenji Terada
- Music — Nobuo Uematsu
- Executive Producer — Yoichi Wada
- Producer — Yusuke Hirata
- Production Manager — Kiyomi Tanikawa
- Directors — Hideshi Kyonen, Katsuyoshi Kawahara and Kazuhiko Yoshioka
- Movie Director — Koji Wakasono
- Movie Designers — Mitsuhira Yamado, Satoshi Sumida, Masata Motoki, Yutaka Maekawa, Wataru Ikeda, Shin Azuma and Rumiko Sawada
- Movie Programmer — Naoto Uenaka
- Original Music — Nobuo Uematsu
- Graphics — Yoshisuke Nakahara, Mieko Hoshino, Tomohiko Tanabe, Hideki Omori and Eiji Yamashita
- Testing — Reiko Kondo
- Localization Manager — Akira Kashiwagi
- Localization Directors — Tomoko Sekii and Kazuyoshi Tashiro
- Localization Programmer — Yoshinori Uenishi
- Localization Specialist — Amanda J. Katsurada
- Localization Assistant — Satoko Kondo
Nintendo Family Computer
Nintendo Entertainment System
North America, 1990
Bandai WonderSwan Color
|Final Fantasy Premium Package|
|Final Fantasy Origins|
|Final Fantasy Origins|
North America, 2003
|Final Fantasy I & II Advance |
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
|Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls|
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
North America/Europe, 2004
- The Collector. "Final Fantasy 1 Version Differences FAQ" Final Fantasy Origins. Accessed on January 8, 2005.
- Anoot Gantayat. "More Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest" IGN Wireless. July 12, 2004. Accessed on January 8, 2005.
- Final Fantasy Classic
- Caves of Narshe Final Fantasy I Collection
- Final Fantasy I Shrine
- 8 Bit Theater A webcomic based on Final Fantasy, borrowing a lot of its art and story concepts, that satirises D&D and CRPG games
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