Final Fantasy Mystic Quest


Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Mystic Quest Legend
Final Fantasy Mystic US boxart.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) Square
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Kouzi Ide
Writer(s) Chihiro Fujioka
Yoshihiko Maekawa
Ted Woolsey
Composer(s) Ryuji Sasai
Yasuhiro Kawakami
Series Final Fantasy
Platform(s) Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console
Release date(s) SNES
  • NA October 5, 1992
  • JP September 10, 1993
  • PAL 1993
Virtual Console
  • PAL September 24, 2010
  • NA October 18, 2010
  • JP December 21, 2010
Genre(s) Role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s)

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, released as Mystic Quest Legend in Europe and as Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest (ファイナルファンタジーUSA ミスティッククエスト Fainaru Fantajī Yū Esu Ē Misutikku Kuesuto?) in Japan, is a role-playing video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was released as a spin-off to Square's popular Final Fantasy series of video games. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was first released in North America in 1992 and marketed as a "simplified role-playing game...designed for the entry-level player"[1] in an attempt to broaden the genre's appeal.[2] The game's presentation and battle system is broadly similar to that of the main series, but it differed in its inclusion of action-adventure game elements. Along with Final Fantasy Adventure, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was the first Final Fantasy game to be released in Europe.

In the game, the player controls a youth named Benjamin in his quest to save the world.[3] His goal is to reclaim a set of stolen crystals that determine the state of the world's four elemental powers.

The gameplay takes a departure from the main series in a variety of ways. Many series staples are eliminated, such as random battles, save points, manual equipment, and the party system.

Contents

Gameplay

Exploration

Like previous games in the series, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is presented in a top-down perspective (or bird's eye view), with players directly navigating the main character around the world to interact with objects and people. The game features a unique way of traveling the world map. Unlike past Final Fantasy games, players cannot freely roam the world map. Instead, they travel along set paths from one "icon" (pictorial image on the world map) to the next. Some routes are blocked off (restriction is indicated by a gray arrow), but become accessible when the player succeeds in a specific task, such as completing a dungeon. Once its path is open, the player can enter an icon; the game's plot and action takes place within these icons, which include towns, dungeons, and battlefields.[4] The game is characterized by featuring action-adventure game elements; besides jumping, players can use weapons outside of battle, which play an active role in exploration. Players can chop down trees with an axe, detonate bombs to open sealed doorways, or use a grappling hook to clear wide gaps.[5] The game also has more puzzles than earlier Final Fantasy games. In the Falls Basin, for example, players must move pillars of ice across the ground level in such a fashion that they can be used as platforms to jump across on the second level. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest also does away with save points; players can save their progress at any time during exploration.[6]

Battle system

Benjamin and Tristam facing enemies on the battle screen

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest eliminates the system of random enemy encounters, a trademark of the main series. Instead, battles are represented in dungeons as stationary enemy sprites, and the player is given the option of approaching the enemy and engaging a battle. Once engaged in battle, the player is thrust into the battle screen, which presents a window-based menu with three commands to choose from: battle, run, or control. Running from battle transports the player back to the field screen, while choosing "control" toggles between the ally's battle mode, where the player can manually control the main character's ally or opt for a computer-controlled ally. If players choose to battle, they are presented with a submenu of four more options: physically attack the enemy, cast a spell, use a curative item (such as a Cure potion), or defend.[7] The game's battle system relies on conditional turn-based combat, where the characters and enemies cycle through "rounds" in battling each other, with the most turns awarded to the fastest character. Character health is represented by an incremental life bar, although the player may choose to have it displayed in numerical fractions as in most role-playing games. If all character life bars reach zero, the game is over, but the player is given the option of continuing and restarting the battle. If the player chooses this option, however, the main character's attack power suffers as a penalty. A character's performance in battle is determined by numerical figures (called statistics) for vitality, attacking power, defensive capabilities, speed, magical prowess, accuracy, and evasion. Character statistics are driven by experience points (EXP) gained from winning battles, which accumulate until players achieve milestones known as "experience levels." Besides awarding experience points, battling enemies also earns the player Gold Pieces (GP), which can be used to buy weapons, armor, and curative items. In the absence of random enemy encounters, battlefields are scattered across the world map. Players are immediately thrust into a battle when entering a battlefield, and must win ten enemy battles to "clean out" the battlefield. Once a battlefield is cleaned out, players are awarded either a large amount of experience, a large amount of GP, a piece of armor, or a magic spell.

Customization

The hero uses a grappling hook to reach a treasure chest

Unlike all other Final Fantasy games, players cannot manually equip characters with armor. Instead, newly acquired armor replaces the main character's current equipment, or upgrades a current version of a weapon, e.g. obtaining the knight sword will replace the steel sword. Using the L and R buttons allow the user to cycle through the weapons that have been collected so far. Benjamin uses four types of weapons: swords, axes, bombs, and claws. Although the weapons share a similar function in battle, all have different purposes when exploring the field map. The Dragon Claw, for example, doubles as a grappling hook. The weapon arsenal in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is considerably smaller than most role-playing games.

Magic in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is not learned by designated spellcasters through experience. Instead, the main character acquires magic spells through treasure chests or as a reward for clearing out battlefields. The system of spellcasting is similar to that of the original Final Fantasy; rather than using magic points to draw upon for supplying magic, spells are used according to a set number for their type, i.e., white magic, black magic, or wizard magic. The allotted number for each type increases as a character levels up. A spell's effectiveness is also proportional to a character's experience level. The higher the character's level, the more powerful the Cure spell, for example. The spell catalog in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is limited compared to most other Final Fantasy games.[8] Items in the game are analogous to the spells: their potency increases as the character levels up. The Heal potion acts as a cure-all for status ailment, eliminating the need for status recovery items.[8]

Plot

Setting

The fictional events of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest take place on a single continent of an unnamed world, which is divided into four distinct regions: Foresta, Aquaria, Fireburg, and Windia. The welfare of each region is determined by the state of one of four shining crystals: earth, water, fire, and wind, respectively. For centuries the Focus Tower had stood at the heart of the world. It had been a center for trade and knowledge, and the world's people met there to peacefully settle their differences. But on one warm summer day, powerful monsters stormed the Tower, stole the four crystals, and then took off with the magical coins that kept the Tower's doors unlocked. The monsters began consuming the power of the crystals; they grew in strength while the world, conversely, began to decay. An old prophecy tells that at the time the "vile four" steal the power and divide the world behind four doors, a knight will appear to vanquish the darkness.[3]

Story

The game opens with an adventurous youth named Benjamin climbing the Hill of Destiny.[3] While exploring, his village is destroyed in an earthquake. As he escapes the danger of the crumbling mountain, he is approached by a mysterious old man, who charges Benjamin with fulfilling the knight's prophecy. Although initially in disbelief, Benjamin accepts the role. To learn more about his task, Benjamin follows the old man to the Level Forest, where he is told that the Crystal of Earth must be recovered. With the help of an axe-wielding girl named Kaeli, Benjamin battles through the Level Forest, although Kaeli is ambushed and poisoned in the process. Benjamin's search for Elixir to heal Kaeli brings him to Bone Dungeon, where he's aided by a treasure hunter named Tristam in succeeding dual purposes: not only does Benjamin get Elixir from Tristam to heal Kaeli, but he defeats one of the four Vile Evils, Flamerous Rex, to free the Crystal of Earth and in turn restore life to the dying village of Foresta.

Under the guidance of the old man and with the help of allies met along the way, Benjamin frees the remaining three regions of the world and their respective crystals: Aquaria, which is blanketed in snow and ice; Fireburg, a region plagued by recurring earthquakes; and Windia, a land beset by intense windstorms. Upon the reclamation of the fourth crystal, however, Benjamin discovers an ominous addendum to the prophecy: "the one behind the four is darker than the night, and rises midst the land." It becomes known that the Dark King is the true source of evil. Benjamin thus sails to Doom Castle to confront the Dark King, who threatens to enslave Benjamin along with the rest of mankind. The Dark King claims that he wrote and spread the prophecy Benjamin had followed throughout his quest. Once the Dark King is defeated, the old man congratulates Benjamin and reveals that he is the Crystal of Light in the guise of a human. At the end of the game, Benjamin is seen still craving adventure, and he borrows a ship from Captain Mac as his friends gather to wish him off. While sailing, Tristam makes a surprise appearance, stating that he couldn't ignore the prospect of such adventure.

Development

Although designed by one of Square's development teams in Japan, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was specifically geared for the U.S. market. At the time, console role-playing games were not a major genre in North America; Square thus attempted to broaden its appeal through Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.[2] Square's executives cited the alleged difficulty of RPGs as the reason Americans shied away from them, and eased the difficulty level by tweaking various aspects of the main series' gameplay.[2]

It was developed with a similar graphical style and gameplay as Final Fantasy Legend III (part of the SaGa series of games). The gameplay shares numerous similarities with that title, featuring a very similar battle system and graphical interface. Even the "jump" feature from Final Fantasy Legend III has been reproduced faithfully, and almost all of the icons - from caves to the enemy sprites - are a color-upgraded version of Final Fantasy Legend III's character set. Besides allowing for computer-controlled allies, the game did away with random battles, complicated storylines, text-based menus, and so on. To appeal to the perceived tastes of North American audiences, which gravitated towards fast-paced games, Square included action-adventure game elements; players could now brandish weapons outside of battle, jump, and so on. Ted Woolsey explained that "The action/adventure players...are larger in numbers and the demographic is different. They tend to be younger and like the idea of jumping straight into the action with a sword in their hands; it's an empowerment issue - you get to go out there, start whacking things and it feels good! With the more traditional RPGs, it takes a good 15 or 20 hours of playing before you're finally hooked."[9] Because the game was marketed towards a younger demographic, the game sold for the price of US$39.99.[10] This game also came with an Official Strategy Guide that helped inexperienced and new RPG players complete it.

Release

After its U.S. debut, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest released in Japan under the title Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest. The European release of the game was titled Mystic Quest Legend to avoid confusion with Final Fantasy Adventure, which released in Europe as Mystic Quest. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was first unveiled in June at the 1992 Summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, where it was a popular venue,[2] and the game was later presented in more detail in the Fall 1992 issue of the Ogopogo Examiner.

Audio

The game's soundtrack is composed by Ryuji Sasai and Yasuhiro Kawakami. The album was first released on one Compact Disc by NTT Publishing on September 10, 1993.

No. Title Length
1. "MYSTIC RE-QUEST I"   4:14
2. "MYSTIC RE-QUEST II"   4:11
3. "Mystic Quest"   2:22
4. "Hill of Fate"   1:28
5. "World"   0:47
6. "Beautiful Forest"   2:30
7. "Battle 1"   2:22
8. "Victory Fanfare"   0:33
9. "City of Forest"   2:18
10. "Fossil Labyrinth"   1:35
11. "Battle 2"   1:47
12. "Middle Tower"   1:25
13. "Shrine of Light"   3:14
14. "Rock Theme"   1:12
15. "Fanfare of Friendship"   0:06
16. "Dungeon of Ice"   2:52
17. "Dungeon of Waterfall"   2:21
18. "City of Fire - Faeria"   1:59
19. "Rock 'n' Roll"   1:03
20. "Lava Dome"   1:46
21. "City of Wind - Windaria"   2:28
22. "Mountain Range of Whirlwinds"   2:15
23. "The Crystal"   1:16
24. "Last Castle"   2:33
25. "Battle 3"   2:10
26. "Mystic Ballad"   2:18
27. "Ending"   2:18
28. "RE-MIXTIC QUEST"   7:36

Reception

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly 7.25 of 10[11]
Nintendo Power 3.725 of 5[12]
RPGFan 79 of 100[13]

On its release, it scored a 3.725/5 in the November 1992 issue of Nintendo Power,[12] and a 7.25/10 in Electronic Gaming Monthly.[11] The game ultimately failed in its bid to bring mainstream popularity to console RPGs (a feat that wouldn't be accomplished until Final Fantasy VII five years later), and simultaneously alienated fans of the series anticipating another epic following Final Fantasy IV.[14] It has also been described as "Final Fantasy with an identity crisis"[15] due to the inherent flaw of creating a game that didn't appeal to the masses or the hard-core gaming audience.

On April 1, 2006, GameSpot included Mystic Quest in an April's Fools list entitled "Top 10 Final Fantasy Games", which mostly consisted of spin-offs from the main series and unrelated games. Mystic Quest was "praised" for being easy and having simplistic graphics and plot.[16]

References

  1. ^ Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (Game Case). Square Soft, Inc.. 1992. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ted Woolsey (1992). Ogopogo Examiner. Square Soft, Inc.. 
  3. ^ a b c Square Co., ed (1992). Final Fantasy Mystic Quest instruction manual. Square Soft. pp. 4–5. SNS-MQ-USA. 
  4. ^ Square Co., ed (1992). Final Fantasy Mystic Quest instruction manual. Square Soft. pp. 8–9. SNS-MQ-USA. 
  5. ^ Square Co., ed (1992). Final Fantasy Mystic Quest instruction manual. Square Soft. pp. 12–13. SNS-MQ-USA. 
  6. ^ Square Co., ed (1992). Final Fantasy Mystic Quest instruction manual. Square Soft. pp. 20–21. SNS-MQ-USA. 
  7. ^ Square Co., ed (1992). Final Fantasy Mystic Quest instruction manual. Square Soft. pp. 22–23. SNS-MQ-USA. 
  8. ^ a b Square Co., ed (1992). Final Fantasy Mystic Quest instruction manual. Square Soft. pp. 24–25. SNS-MQ-USA. 
  9. ^ Neil West (September 1994). "Interview with Ted Woolsey". Super Play Magazine
  10. ^ "The History of Final Fantasy - Final Fantasy Mystic Quest". GameSpot. http://au.gamespot.com/features/vgs/universal/finalfantasy_hs/sec4_2.html. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  11. ^ a b "Final Fantasy Mystic Quest Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly. November 1992 
  12. ^ a b "Final Fantasy Mystic Quest Review". Nintendo Power (42). November 1992 
  13. ^ Musashi. "RPGFan Reviews - Final Fantasy Mystic Quest". RPGFan. http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/finalfantasymysticquest/Final_Fantasy_Mystic_Quest.html. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  14. ^ "The History of Square". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/gamespot/features/video/hist_square/p1_04.html. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  15. ^ "Retro Review: Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest". 8BitGuys. http://www.8bitguys.com/8-bit/2009/6/10/retro-review-final-fantasy-mystic-quest.html. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  16. ^ "TenSpot: Top 10 Final Fantasy Games". GameSpot. 2005-04-01. http://www.gamespot.com/features/6146818/p-5.html. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 

External links


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