Final Fantasy 1 - Pixel Remaster - First Impressions.

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    celticheartbeat

    Published on Jul 29, 2021
    About :

    Howdy Gamers

    Yesterday the first 3 Final Fantasy games were released on Steam in their "Pixel Remastered" versions.

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    These new versions have remastered 2D graphics and audio as well as an updated user interface. The result is a sort of "modernised retro" look.

    Below I have added a couple of screenshots from the 1987 Nintendo 8 bit system for comparison. All of the modern screenshots are my own, taken from the video capture above.

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    Old graphics from 8 bit Nintendo system put here for comparison. Image courtesy of geeklegacy.com

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    Old graphics from 8 bit Nintendo system put here for comparison. Image courtesy of geeklegacy.com

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    I've never played any of the first 6 Final Fantasy titles so I figured now is a good time to check them out.

    Today I picked up the first game which is currently available on steam for £7.49 (Around $10).This is currently a special offer price of 20% of which lasts until Aug 12th.If classic retro rpgs are your thing now is a good time to pick up these titles.

    I guess a brief history lesson is good here. The original Final Fantasy for the 8 bit Nintendo Entertainment system was supposed to be the last game Square made. At that time in 1987 they were facing bankruptcy and this title was supposed to be there farewell title. Due to the success of Dragon Quest Hironobu Sakaguchi was given the green light to create a new rpg for Square.

    Akitoshi Kawazu was the designer responsible for the games turn based combat system which is heavily inspired by table top pen and paper games like Dungeons and Dragons as well as video games like Ultima and Wizardry. Check out this awesome poster from a 1987 issue of Nintendo Power magazines with its classic swords and sorcery artwork. This was issued to advertise the game on its release.

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    Image courtesy of timidfutures.com

    Square originally wanted to call the game Fighting Fantasy but that name was already being used by a series of pen and paper rpgs and so it was decide that they would call it Final Fantasy instead.

    The game ended up selling around 600,000 copies in Japan and around 700,000 in America and thus Square was saved from bankruptcy and a franchise was born.

    The video above covers the first 45 minutes or so of the game. I completed the first major part of the story and felt I had enough footage to do this first impressions post.

    So lets dive right in...

    When the game begins we need to build a party of 4 characters.

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    Their are 6 different classes to choose from.

    Warriors the classic melee tank
    Thief's playing the rouge role
    Monks with their martial arts skills
    Red Mages who can use a combination of black and white magic
    White Mages are our priest/healer class
    Black Mages use destructive black magic

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    I decided on a party of Warrior, Red Mage, White Mage and Black Mage.

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    Next we need to name each character , I used the option to generate names automatically and this is what the game gave me...

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    Robyn the Warrior ok that's fine no issues there...
    Corrad the Red Mage again I'm fine with that...
    Yubert the Black Mage not a bad choice,Im cool with that...

    The name of the white mage however I'm going to have to be careful how I pronounce this...

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    I decide I'm going to pronounce it "een yah us".... and move forward ...

    Begin the game with this party? Sure why not!
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    I made this gif to show the opening intro to the games story. This game was originally released on the 8 Bit Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987.

    In this new repixeled version we have something looking more a kin to an early Super Nintendo or Turbo Graphix 16 game. Its old school, its retro and I like it.

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    Gif of my own authorship :)

    "The world lies shrouded in darkness..."
    "The winds die..."
    "The seas rage..."
    "The earth decays..."
    "But the people believe in a prophecy, patiently awaiting its fulfilment..."
    "When darkness veils the world four warriors of light shall come..."

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    "After a long journey ,four young travellers did at last appear..."

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    "... and in the hand of each was clutched a crystal."

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    Gif of my own authorship :)

    Its worth mentioning at this point that the scenes you see in the gifs above are accompanied by classic beautiful Final Fantasy music...dramatic and ominous at first and the magical and ethereal when the crystals appear.

    Systems like the Nes, Super Nes and Turbo graphics would have been unable to produce sound of this quality. The music reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy 7's sound track.

    Music is a very important part of Final Fantasy games ,it helps to set the mood of what's happening in the game and here it is done exceptionally well. The new high quality audio merged with retro style graphics is definitely an enjoyable experience.

    So that's our origin story...the world is in chaos and the lands are plagued with monsters. Its up to our 4 warriors of light ,who each posses a magical crystal to set things right.

    I'm intrigued...lets continue :)

    We start our adventure near the first town which is called Cornelia

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    Before heading into town or to the castle I wandered around in the surrounding forest...

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    This game uses the classic Final Fantasy random battle system...A few seconds of wandering around in the forest and I'm attacked by 3 goblins...

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    Combat is the classic Final Fantasy turn based system. Right now all my party can do is attack...at this point we have no items and the mages don't know any spells.

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    gif of my own authorship

    It turns out we need to visit the shops in the town to purchase spells ,items and upgrade armour but we will get to that later.

    We get 18 gil and 18 exp from killing the forest goblins...

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    This random battle mechanic means its possible to grind exp and money right at the start of the game. This makes me think about the fact that this would have been among the first games to ever use this kind of mechanic.

    In 1987 I would have only been 4 years old.I believe it was around 1990 when I was first introduced to console gaming on the original 8 bit Nes. I would have likely got one for Christmas when I was around 7 years old.

    Like I mentioned at the start of this post my first real introduction to rpg's was Final Fantasy 7 in 1997.I would have been 14 years old and in high school then. Final Fantasy 7 blew my mind back then and I have been an rpg addicted ever since then. I am sure many of you guys reading this post can relate to this.

    While playing Final Fantasy 1 I couldn't help but wonder what my younger self would have made of a game like this if I had got hold of a copy back in the early 90s.

    Back then it was rare that a game gave you options right at the start....do I go out and explore the world around me? If I do that I will gain experience and become more powerful but its dangerous and one of my characters might die?

    Maybe I should visit the town first to seek advice and hear story's and buy supplies? Hmmm maybe I should just head straight into that castle and see what the king has to say?

    Super Mario didn't have options like that right at the start of level 1...this must have been pretty revolutionary back in 1987.

    I decided its not a good idea to wander in the wilds without at least having a few healing potions in my inventory so I head into the castle to see what's happening up there...

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    Heading up to the second floor of the castle we find a guard outside of the kings chambers...

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    It turns out the king is searching for the Warriors of Light..
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    "Th-those crystals! You must see the king at once!"
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    With that we head into the King's chambers...

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    In the video above while reading the kings dialogue I do my best attempt at a theatrical Kingly accent...Im hoping at least a few of you find it amusing :)..."Welcome ,travellers' I am told you carry crystals. Is this true?."

    At this point our 4 adventurers show the king their crystals...

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    "Its just as Lukahn's prophecy foretold: "When darkness veils the world, four Warriors of Light shall come."

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    The Chancellor is less convinced...."Your Majesty, we cannot be certain that these are the warriors foretold by the prophecy."

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    "Yet they stand before us with the crystals. I cannot dismiss this as mere coincidence."

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    "Crystal bearers ,there is a task I ask of you."

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    "Will you rescue my daughter ,Sarah?"

    It seems princes Sarah has been kidnapped by a rouge Knight....A black night if you will, there is always one...
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    Its up to our 4 Warriors of light to rescue her.
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    This evil Knight Garland is holed up in the Chaos shrine to the North...
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    It seems past attempts to save the princes have failed, Garlands to tough...none in the lands of Cornelia can match him...
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    It seems our party was heading north but the bridge across the ocean is long gone. If we rescue the princes the King will have the bridge rebuilt as a token of his gratitude.

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    "Go now, Warriors of Light , and do not fail me!"

    Ok so head north to a dungeon called the Chaos Shrine ,defeat an evil knight named Garland and rescue the princes so the king will rebuild the bridge which gives us passage to the North...sounds easy enough...

    Ok so lets head north...Ok so there is the bridge that needs rebuilding...

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    I get jumped by some more goblins and after defeating them it occurs to me I have no way to heal my party right now....Not even one healing potion...
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    I wander a little further into the forest to the north and encounter a unicorn....We defeat the unicorn but the fight leaves my Red Mage Corrad with only 5 hit points remaining...

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    Its here I release that even when my party levels up they don't regain their hit points. I'm definitely going to need some supplies if I'm going to make it to the chaos shrine in 1 piece.

    I head back to town and find the various shops...

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    First stop is the general store where I purchase 5 healing potions...

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    Next I check the weapon store and find out I can upgrade the warrior and red mages weapons from a knife to a rapier.

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    Notice those green arrows above Robyn and Corrad this means the highlighted item is an upgrade.
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    Onwards to the magic stores...First up we check the white magic store...

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    Ahha so that's why my mages cant cast spells yet...I need to buy them and equip them

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    I purchase the cure spell for the red and white mages...

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    Here we can also purchase Dia which is a spell that hits all undead targets, only a white mage can use this spell so I purchase 1 for Aeneas.

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    Time to head next door to the black magic shop for some destructive spells...

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    I pick up the fire spell and thunder spells for the red and black mage.

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    Ok this is more like it, now we are a real band of Warriors and Wizards. Lets head to the Chaos Shrine!

    On the way to the Shrine a band of goblins attacks and Yubert gets a chance to try his fire spell...

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    Gif of my own authorship

    The way magic works here is really interesting. It seems that mages use magic points to cast spells...A lv 2 mage has 2 magic points meaning they can cast 2 spells. Each new level adds a new a new magic point. A nice system, I like it a lot, each new level brings an obvious new sense of power.

    Once the mages magic points are used up you need to use an ether or rest at an inn or with a tent to restore the points. This makes spells seem well ,more magical, a resource to be used wisely as it is finite...very nice :).

    After a few fights we make it to the Chaos Shrine...

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    Before we reach the entrance we get attacked by a couple of skeletons. This would be the perfect time to use the white mages Dia spell on them but he is currently level 2 and I've used both of his magic points to heal my party members so he cant cast Dia here.

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    With the skeletons defeated we can head into the chaos shrine...

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    Gif of my own authorship

    The first enemies we encounter in here are a couple of spiders which are quickly taken out...

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    Gif of my own authorship

    This Chaos Shrine is our first dungeon and like all good dungeons it has hidden treasure chest's full of loot. I find a leather cap which goes to the warrior.

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    Gif of my own authorship

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    As soon as we head out of the treasure room we are attacked by a couple of Giga worms that have an attack powerful enough to take out my black mage in 1 hit...

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    Gif of my own authorship

    Its at this point I realise I don't have a phoenix down to revive my fallen mage....they cost 500 gil each. I guess ill revive him when we get back to town.

    It turns out the evil knight Garland is right at the entrance of the Chaos shrine...

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    Gif of my own authorship

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    Garland talks big and mean....

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    ...but the fight was actually pretty easy, I killed him with 3 party members. We got 250 gil from him that should give us enough to resurrect the fallen mage when we get back to town.3 of the party members hit level 5 ,the Black mage is still level 3 he hasnt gained any exp while dead...

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    Gif of my own authorship

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    The princes thanks us for rescuing her and we all return to Castle Cornelia together.

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    The King thanks us for his daughter's safe return.

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    The King is now convinced that our 4 warriors are the prophesied warriors of light.

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    He recites the entire Lukann prophecy for us...In the video above I again use my theatrical Kingly accent to recite this, its worth watching the video just for the accent ,ill do my best to maintain such theatrics in future episodes...I do enjoy an accent :).

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    Before leaving the Kings chambers princess Sarah gives us a loot which appears to be a key item...

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    After leaving the Kings chambers we get a cut scene of the bridge to the north being repaired...
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    Gif of my own authorship

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    Before heading North I go and use the money we have earned to buy a phoenix down to resurrect my fallen mage.

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    Once he is up I use the white mage to cast heal on him and we are good to go...

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    As we walk onto the bridge we are treated to another cut scene...

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    And so their quest began....

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    We will see what destiny has in store for our 4 warriors of light in part 2....Stay tuned!

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