GBA REVIEW: FINAL FANTASY 1 & II: DAWN OF SOULS

Other than the nostalgic factor, Final Fantasy 1 & II: Dawn of Souls has little to offer modern-minded gamers.

The RPG craze is in full swing but playing this collection of old games, one has to wonder why anyone would have bothered with the genre in the first place. Aside from those tree huggers that cling to "classics," the average gamer of today would have little use for such long, drawn out RPGs that just simply can't compete with today's RPGs. There's a reason the RPGs are really popular now and that's because they've evolved from what they were.

Final Fantasy 1 & II are very basic. You have a party of characters that are out to save the world. They encounter all kinds of hostile enemies which they must fight. The more they fight, the more experience they gain and thus the more powerful they become. Dungeons are rife will all kinds of treasures, weapons and magic but you have to fight your way out to keep the goodies which will generally make your lengthy quest easier.

Encounters are random and plentiful. The more you fight, the more experience points you earn in which to level-up the characters in your party. In Final Fantasy II this process is more refined as specific powers such as attacks, spells and defense will increase depending on which actions you favor. If you use a lot of spells your spell powers will increase, and so on. It's neat to see how the gameplay evolves from the first to the second game as you begin to have more control over your character as an individual. It's no Knights of the Old Republic but it's a start.

Compared to the original games there are four more dungeons and an extra playable stage available when you complete Final Fantasy II. You'll also find that the story has been extended in the second game. These new elements just weren't enough incentive for me to complete either game. I played both of them long ago when they were released on the PSX as Origins.

Both games look almost as bad/good as they did on the PSX. They are simple and colorful but they would be more at home on the GBC. The music is old-school but the melodies are catchy enough to give you a lift. The characters get better looking in the second game. If fact, everything is better in the second game. The monsters are varied and the locations have a believable, fairytale quality to them. There are lots of repeated textures which add to the tedium of the exploring which at times can seem endless.

If you have a PS2 you can pick up a used copy of Final Fantasy Origins for next to nothing. If you don't have a PS2, you may be able to look around and find a used PSX system and a copy of the game for less than the price of a brand new GBA cartridge.

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System: GBA
Dev: Square Enix
Pub: Nintendo
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Fenix
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
2.5
CONTROL
2.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
2.0