Final Fantasy Chronicles

a game by Squaresoft
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews
Rate this game:
See also: Final Fantasy Series

Overview

Like a visit from that cool uncle who rolls into town every few years or that obnoxious aunt (depending on how you look at this review) who drives you nuts. The RPG world has come full circle. First debuting on the Super Nintendo System in the early 90's Final Fantasy IV (FF2 for us stateside) and Chrono Trigger essentially started the craze that would eventually have a virtual cult-like following. With it’s user friendly interface and engaging storyline FF4 eventually became the RPG of legend. Chrono Trigger showed us exactly what good graphics meant, leaving many other RPGs by the wayside.

Final Fantasy IV

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

As Cecil, the main character in Final Fantasy IV, you have started questioning the motives behind the king’s demands that all the neighboring countries relinquish their magical crystals. After being forced to literally commit murder to acquire these crystals, Cecil confronts the king and is subsequently demoted from his prestigious position as Commander of the Red Wings (airships) and told to go kill a dangerous monster in the far off Mist Valley. From there, the real scope of the game comes into view, as Cecil befriends many allies (who join his cause), staves off his true feelings for Rosa the Mage and attempts to stop pure evil. A story of betrayal and revenge that would inspire countless knockoffs.

First off, I’d like to say that reviewing this game was tough. Tough in the sense that we often remember games that are as old as FF4 in a way that seems almost magical. When I first played FF4, I remember thinking how cool it was and how much attention to detail the game was given. When I first plugged this game into my PSX I was treated to an updated CGI intro, and at once felt those old memories come rushing back. Now, here is where I think gamers need to take a step back and assess what exactly they are getting into when playing this game. Time has made me appreciate and remember it with much fervor; I felt a little betrayed because my memories presented this game in a much more grandiose scale. Like seeing a movie when you were a kid and remembering how much you loved it, only to be disappointed when watching it years later as an adult. Those of you who remember this game in the same vein, be forewarned, you may be disappointed.

The game itself is played like many old school RPGs using a top down view with minor detail while walking through the outside world -- blue for water, green for grass and yellow for the desert. It is very remedial and I dare say an accurate reproduction of the original. When walking around towns and dungeons the graphics increase a bit, but remember we’re talking about an 8-bit game so things do tend to look a bit plain. As a matter of fact, I almost think that Final Fantasy IX takes place in the same world, with it’s floating airships and mages that look mysteriously like a certain spell caster from FF4.

Once the game gets started it never slows, right out of the gate you’re rushing from one quest to another with little or no time to rest (you, the player that is). The game is fairly linear and you can certainly see the early ideas for future Final Fantasy games. Most notable is the introduction to the active time battle system -- FF4 was the first to implement this. As you know, this means that battle is not so much turn-based as it relies more on the characters' attributes, such as agility and speed. Eventually in the game, your characters will move so fast and have such power that the more simple adversaries will be crushed before they even get a chance to attack.

As far as character development goes, again, it will seem simple to RPG players of today’s caliber but 10 years ago, this was a virtual plethora of input -- learning more powerful spells, upgrading weapons and armor, and gaining experience points to advance the character’s level. On a side note, a second player can also join in and control characters at the same time while battling monsters and such. It’s a pretty cool addition.

Long time gamers should also notice that the plot has been cleaned up from the original’s shaky translation and that a "dash" button has been added so as to move the party much more quickly through the world. This added function cuts down on the sometimes tedious random encounters that happen every 12 feet in the dungeons (well, it felt like 12 feet).

Graphics

On the back of the game box, it states: "…enhanced with all-new cinemas…" Well, this is true -- they added a 42 second cinema at the beginning of the game that is an example of modern Final Fantasy games. Otherwise, this is a true retro game. It should be viewed with an open mind, remembering that this is a faithful translation of a SNES game. Don’t expect much, and you’ll be fine.

Incidentally, I couldn’t help but think this game belonged on the Game Boy Advance. The two just seem to me like a perfect fit.

Audio

Hoo boy! While the graphics look plain and accurate, they never wavered or skipped. As far as the audio goes, I was floored by how bad it sounded. And I don’t mean the music itself, but how it came through the speakers. It seemed to me like it was too scritchy and that it would sometimes get slightly louder and then softer. I know that it was the original music, but the quality made my ears bleed. It was painful.

Chrono Trigger

Gameplay

After befriending the young girl Marle at the annual town Fair, Crono finds himself in a desperate race through time as she is inadvertently shot through time and space by Crono’s friend Lucca (an accident with a teleportation device). What starts out as a rescue mission quickly escalates to something much more desperate. As (oh no!) Marle is no less than the King’s rebellious daughter. Bounce through time to stop the forces of evil and rescue Marle. With no fewer than 12 possible endings.

Chrono Trigger is a rehash of the SNES 1995 hit. An epic RPG, this game raised the bar as to what can and should be done while making a good adventure RPG. While viewed from above, this 2D RPG, incorporates several new (for 1995) aspects. Characters can interact with objects and the only the keenest of eye will notice everything hidden in this massive game.

An original interface system with a (newly) selectable combat system. Players can choose whether or not they want turn-based combat or real-time combat. As is the standard in RPGs, players will need to adventure in order to gain experience points to reach higher levels. In addition to this is the "Tech" feature which allows characters to expand on given combat techniques -- as the game progresses each character becomes more proficient in the various techs. It’s an interesting and, surprisingly, seldom used trait for an RPG. I feel this is one of the game's stand out features.

Additionally, as you adventure in the game, you can actually see the random encounter monsters as they amble throughout the various areas. This made avoiding the sometimes unnecessary combat much easier. Not to mention the benefits of avoiding monsters if your party is hurting too badly. I thought this a plus for the game, as we all know how frustrating it can be to fight monsters every three steps. Of course, this is the type of RPG where you can really jack up your characters stats by killing more and more monsters. This being the bedrock principle in most RPG player’s strategy on tackling a new game.

Naturally, this game has much to do with time travel (hence the title) and players should strap in for a pretty long adventure -- a role-playing game that leads to finding an original team of adventurers. Traveling back in time, you’ll recruit Frog, the noble knight who joins your quest in order to exact some revenge. Ayla, the cave woman who asks you to assist her in defending her village from giant lizards and Robo, (from the future) the robot from the future who, as you will see, bails out your team of adventurers more than once. It’s an ensemble cast that has been duplicated more times then I can count. Throw in the wild card character Magus for some spice, and you’ve just created the character base for many other future RPGs.

As far as the updates that CT has received, the fully animated intro sequence stands out as the best. Watch this one a couple of times and it really gets you pumped up to play. The additional bits of information they added to the game answer all questions and really add to the world that is Chrono Trigger.

Lastly, I would like to mention the fact that CT has many mini-missions/quests that don’t involve combat. Completing all of the Fair’s subplots is one of them. How many times have you had to use cat food to catch a wily kitten? Yes, it is a bit childish, but I like RPGs with other "little" things thrown in. CT is an excellent example of this.

Graphics & Audio

Surprisingly good-looking graphics. I remember how awesome this game was when it first came out, and it holds up considerably well for today’s standard. Granted, it’s not in 3D like Grandia 2 or Final Fantasy VIII, but its constructed areas and dungeons will make some of us "older" game players get a bit misty-eyed for that old school style. I was pleasantly surprised with the translation. The attention to detail in the world is also a plus.

While it’s not as bad as it’s counterpart, the audio does suffer from some strain. The "world" sounds, including battle, were done fairly well by even today’s standards. Not bad, but not good either.

Bottom Line

It’s pretty cool to see a major game company dust off some of the oldies and make them available to a whole new generation of gamers. It also provides those of you who don’t want to pay $77.00 on eBay for an original SNES cartridge with a much better price on a more modern system. Plus, finding a SNES system nowadays that works perfectly can be quite difficult. Lastly, I don’t recall another Final Fantasy game that allows five party members to fight at the same time. I’d certainly like to see this feature come back in future games.

Personally, I didn’t need to play Final Fantasy IV again. It should be viewed with 1991 eyes and appreciated for its innovations and original plotline. If you have an open mind and a desire to travel back in time then it’s definitely worth the purchase. But if you have played this game before and don’t want to tarnish those memories, don’t play it.

I feel Chrono Trigger is the bigger reason for purchasing Final Fantasy Chronicles. It has a huge quest and darn near endless replayability. I never got to beat all the endings when I originally had this game, now I can. For the $39.99 asking price, it’s a trip down memory lane that many of you cannot afford to miss, even if memory lane is a new place to you.

Download Final Fantasy Chronicles

Game Reviews

Overview

Like a visit from that cool uncle who rolls into town every few years or that obnoxious aunt (depending on how you look at this review) who drives you nuts. The RPG world has come full circle. First debuting on the Super Nintendo System in the early 90's Final Fantasy IV (FF2 for us stateside) and Chrono Trigger essentially started the craze that would eventually have a virtual cult-like following. With it's user friendly interface and engaging storyline FF4 eventually became the RPG of legend. Chrono Trigger showed us exactly what good graphics meant, leaving many other RPGs by the wayside.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

As Cecil, the main character in Final Fantasy IV, you have started questioning the motives behind the king's demands that all the neighboring countries relinquish their magical crystals. After being forced to literally commit murder to acquire these crystals, Cecil confronts the king and is subsequently demoted from his prestigious position as Commander of the Red Wings (airships) and told to go kill a dangerous monster in the far off Mist Valley. From there, the real scope of the game comes into view, as Cecil befriends many allies (who join his cause), staves off his true feelings for Rosa the Mage and attempts to stop pure evil. A story of betrayal and revenge that would inspire countless knockoffs.

First off, I'd like to say that reviewing this game was tough. Tough in the sense that we often remember games that are as old as FF4 in a way that seems almost magical. When I first played FF4, I remember thinking how cool it was and how much attention to detail the game was given. When I first plugged this game into my PSX I was treated to an updated CGI intro, and at once felt those old memories come rushing back. Now, here is where I think gamers need to take a step back and assess what exactly they are getting into when playing this game. Time has made me appreciate and remember it with much fervor; I felt a little betrayed because my memories presented this game in a much more grandiose scale. Like seeing a movie when you were a kid and remembering how much you loved it, only to be disappointed when watching it years later as an adult. Those of you who remember this game in the same vein, be forewarned, you may be disappointed.

The game itself is played like many old school RPGs using a top down view with minor detail while walking through the outside world -- blue for water, green for grass and yellow for the desert. It is very remedial and I dare say an accurate reproduction of the original. When walking around towns and dungeons the graphics increase a bit, but remember we're talking about an 8-bit game so things do tend to look a bit plain. As a matter of fact, I almost think that Final Fantasy IX takes place in the same world, with it's floating airships and mages that look mysteriously like a certain spell caster from FF4.

Once the game gets started it never slows, right out of the gate you're rushing from one quest to another with little or no time to rest (you, the player that is). The game is fairly linear and you can certainly see the early ideas for future Final Fantasy games. Most notable is the introduction to the active time battle system -- FF4 was the first to implement this. As you know, this means that battle is not so much turn-based as it relies more on the characters' attributes, such as agility and speed. Eventually in the game, your characters will move so fast and have such power that the more simple adversaries will be crushed before they even get a chance to attack.

As far as character development goes, again, it will seem simple to RPG players of today's caliber but 10 years ago, this was a virtual plethora of input -- learning more powerful spells, upgrading weapons and armor, and gaining experience points to advance the character's level. On a side note, a second player can also join in and control characters at the same time while battling monsters and such. It's a pretty cool addition.

Long time gamers should also notice that the plot has been cleaned up from the original's shaky translation and that a 'dash'? button has been added so as to move the party much more quickly through the world. This added function cuts down on the sometimes tedious random encounters that happen every 12 feet in the dungeons (well, it felt like 12 feet).

Graphics

On the back of the game box, it states: " enhanced with all-new cinemas' 'Well, this is true -- they added a 42 second cinema at the beginning of the game that is an example of modern Final Fantasy games. Otherwise, this is a true retro game. It should be viewed with an open mind, remembering that this is a faithful translation of a SNES game. Don't expect much, and you'll be fine.

Incidentally, I couldn't help but think this game belonged on the Game Boy Advance. The two just seem to me like a perfect fit.

Audio

Hoo boy! While the graphics look plain and accurate, they never wavered or skipped. As far as the audio goes, I was floored by how bad it sounded. And I don't mean the music itself, but how it came through the speakers. It seemed to me like it was too scritchy and that it would sometimes get slightly louder and then softer. I know that it was the original music, but the quality made my ears bleed. It was painful.

Gameplay

After befriending the young girl Marle at the annual town Fair, Crono finds himself in a desperate race through time as she is inadvertently shot through time and space by Crono's friend Lucca (an accident with a teleportation device). What starts out as a rescue mission quickly escalates to something much more desperate. As (oh no!) Marle is no less than the King's rebellious daughter. Bounce through time to stop the forces of evil and rescue Marle. With no fewer than 12 possible endings.

Chrono Trigger is a rehash of the SNES 1995 hit. An epic RPG, this game raised the bar as to what can and should be done while making a good adventure RPG. While viewed from above, this 2D RPG, incorporates several new (for 1995) aspects. Characters can interact with objects and the only the keenest of eye will notice everything hidden in this massive game.

An original interface system with a (newly) selectable combat system. Players can choose whether or not they want turn-based combat or real-time combat. As is the standard in RPGs, players will need to adventure in order to gain experience points to reach higher levels. In addition to this is the 'Tech'? feature which allows characters to expand on given combat techniques -- as the game progresses each character becomes more proficient in the various techs. It's an interesting and, surprisingly, seldom used trait for an RPG. I feel this is one of the game's stand out features.

Additionally, as you adventure in the game, you can actually see the random encounter monsters as they amble throughout the various areas. This made avoiding the sometimes unnecessary combat much easier. Not to mention the benefits of avoiding monsters if your party is hurting too badly. I thought this a plus for the game, as we all know how frustrating it can be to fight monsters every three steps. Of course, this is the type of RPG where you can really jack up your characters stats by killing more and more monsters. This being the bedrock principle in most RPG player's strategy on tackling a new game.

Naturally, this game has much to do with time travel (hence the title) and players should strap in for a pretty long adventure -- a role-playing game that leads to finding an original team of adventurers. Traveling back in time, you'll recruit Frog, the noble knight who joins your quest in order to exact some revenge. Ayla, the cave woman who asks you to assist her in defending her village from giant lizards and Robo, (from the future) the robot from the future who, as you will see, bails out your team of adventurers more than once. It's an ensemble cast that has been duplicated more times then I can count. Throw in the wild card character Magus for some spice, and you've just created the character base for many other future RPGs.

As far as the updates that CT has received, the fully animated intro sequence stands out as the best. Watch this one a couple of times and it really gets you pumped up to play. The additional bits of information they added to the game answer all questions and really add to the world that is Chrono Trigger.

Lastly, I would like to mention the fact that CT has many mini-missions/quests that don't involve combat. Completing all of the Fair's subplots is one of them. How many times have you had to use cat food to catch a wily kitten? Yes, it is a bit childish, but I like RPGs with other 'little'? things thrown in. CT is an excellent example of this.

Graphics & Audio

Surprisingly good-looking graphics. I remember how awesome this game was when it first came out, and it holds up considerably well for today's standard. Granted, it's not in 3D like Grandia 2 or ][Final Fantasy VIII]], but its constructed areas and dungeons will make some of us 'older'? game players get a bit misty-eyed for that old school style. I was pleasantly surprised with the translation. The attention to detail in the world is also a plus.

While it's not as bad as it's counterpart, the audio does suffer from some strain. The 'world'? sounds, including battle, were done fairly well by even today's standards. Not bad, but not good either.

Bottom Line

It's pretty cool to see a major game company dust off some of the oldies and make them available to a whole new generation of gamers. It also provides those of you who don't want to pay $77.00 on eBay for an original SNES cartridge with a much better price on a more modern system. Plus, finding a SNES system nowadays that works perfectly can be quite difficult. Lastly, I don't recall another Final Fantasy game that allows five party members to fight at the same time. I'd certainly like to see this feature come back in future games.

Personally, I didn't need to play Final Fantasy IV again. It should be viewed with 1991 eyes and appreciated for its innovations and original plotline. If you have an open mind and a desire to travel back in time then it's definitely worth the purchase. But if you have played this game before and don't want to tarnish those memories, don't play it.

I feel Chrono Trigger is the bigger reason for purchasing Final Fantasy Chronicles. It has a huge quest and darn near endless replayability. I never got to beat all the endings when I originally had this game, now I can. For the $39.99 asking price, it's a trip down memory lane that many of you cannot afford to miss, even if memory lane is a new place to you.

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