Final Fantasy 1 & 2 received a big graphical update in 2000 and 2001 when they were remade for the WonderSwan Color. Unfortunately, because the system was a bit of a failure (and never released outside of Japan) not many people got to play them. In 2002 they were both ported to the Playstation. They were available separately and in a package together with little figures. In 2003 North America and Europe got the two games together in a package called Final Fantasy Origins. In Europe they're still on separate discs, but North America got them on the same disc. This is the first time ever that Europe got FF1, and the first time anyone outside Japan got FF2.
Click here for FF1 screenshots.
This is not the first time these 2 games came packaged together. In 1994 they came together on one cart for the Famicom (Japanese NES).
Final Fantasy Origins (Playstation) - Review
Final Fantasy Origins takes two classic Final Fantasy games and puts them onto one disc for the Playstation with updated graphics, sounds, and features. Final Fantasy I is the NES classic that started it all, and Final Fantasy II was the Japan-only originator of many of the series' staples (Cid and Chocobos, for example).
Final Fantasy I:
If Final Fantasy 7 made RPGs popular in America, FF1 at least got their foot in the door. A last ditch effort of a failing company, Final Fantasy took the gameplay of Dragon Warrior, added 4-character parties, replaced the tedious leveling with... well, less tedious leveling, and had a story that, although simple by today's standards, was far better than what was around at the time. This version of Final Fantasy is basically a port of the Japan-only WonderSwan version, but with some added features.
The graphics are largely based the WonderSwan Color release, but there've been some improvements. Everything is much more colorful and detailed than the NES original, with most things based on their original version. Taking advantage of the Playstation, they've added an opening FMV, ending pictures, larger screen resolution, larger map characters, larger monsters, and a rounded view while flying the airship. Some things don't look quite as nice expanded from the WSC's small screen to full TV-size, but most look better. I personally would've liked a classic mode using the original NES graphics.
Like the graphics, the sounds are largely based on the WSC version. The tinny sound of the WSC is gone, and many things just sound better, but I was bothered that the *clang* of the Power Staff I loved so much was replaced by an ordinary *smack*. Everything sounds better than the NES version though.
The music is a big improvement over all previous versions. All the classic tunes got revamped, and a few new ones have been added. The sanctuary has its own song, there are at least 3 boss themes, and there are separate songs for good castles (Cornelia, Elf) and bad castles (Western Keep, Citadel of Trials).
This game comes from an era when RPGs were meant to be played, not watched. Even though they've added the "flashy graphics" and the ability to "just hold down the X button", strategy still plays a big part in battles. Random battles could stand to be a little less frequent though. They've fixed the buggy spells from the original, and modified the landscape a little to shorten up some of the long walks. The ability to Dash while holding the Circle button quickens the game's pace.
The story just doesn't hold up to today's standards. The new translation makes it a little better, but the ending will still confuse the hell out of you.
The dialog itself is much better than the NES translation. Names and spells allow for 6 letters, while weapons and monsters allow even more. Most items, weapons, monsters, spells etc. are much more accurate, but for some reason they mucked around with most of the character names. Finally, an accurately translated Marilith! One thing that really sticks out as stupid is the spell Esuna. Poisona in Japanese, Pure on the NES, and now we get the name of a spell no one was smart enough to translate in later FFs? Will someone tell these people that Esuna isn't a word? FF6's translation "Antdot" would've been fine, as would "Pure", or "Detox" would've been perfect. Other spells would've fit but were still given new names. Would the words "Death" or "Kill" have bumped up the game's Teen rating? Oh well.
The game is a little harder than the original since the bosses get twice as much HP as the original, and battles are more random (so bad guys with strong spells could be more likely to use them on you!) It's a little easier than the original with the ability to use Life spells and cure petrification in battle, and if you tell someone to hit an enemy and it dies, they'll hit the next one instead of swinging at the air. (These can be turned off though.) The WSC's Quick Save has been replaced with a Memo File like in the other PSX FF remakes. The problem is that it lets you save ANYWHERE for free, just not to the memory card. That's almost like using a save state in an emulator. The minigame now gives you a boatload of stuff for winning. Additionally, there is an Easy Mode where things cost about 20-40% less, levels require less Experience, you gain MP faster, and there are higher level and MP caps.
With a simple, straightforward RPG like this controls don't pose much of an issue. That said, let me tell you that you have to be more careful selecting things than in any other version of the game. Very frequently I found the cursor skipping off somewhere I didn't want it to as I pushed the Confirm button.
Load Times: 9/10
Load times are fine. They probably couldn't've gotten them any lower. Even memory card access is surprisingly fast. The load times are there though. If you're used to playing the game on a cart you'll definitely notice them, but probably not enough to be frustrating (like FF6). The only things that feel bad are getting on and off of the ship, which likely feels longer since you're not entering a whole different menu, map, etc., and using Sleeping Bags, which if you try to use several in a row will probably annoy the crap out of you. The PS2's fast load feature seems to offer no improvement.
Some simple but nice new features include the ability to reset the game by pressing Start+Select+L1+R1+L2+R2 (like other Square games on PSX), and rumble support. There is also a Collections menu, with a Bestiary, Item gallery, Artwork gallery, and another gallery that is only opened when you beat the game. Artwork is unlocked as you beat monsters. The artwork is a really nice feature, and you get to see the artwork many of the monsters were based on. To collect everything you must beat the game twice, open every chest, and beat at least one of every enemy. It would've been nice if a sound/music test was included, but my score stays high because of how cool the artwork is. The thing keeping it from a perfect 10 is that there's no artwork for some monsters.
Final Fantasy II:
I haven't had a chance to play this one yet, but many of the new features present in FF1 are here too. The game is fun, but requires more patience for leveling up than the first one.
Small Note/Did you notice:
Is this the first game released under the new Square Enix name?
Bradygames Final Fantasy Origins Official Strategy Guide - mini-review
This book is certainly useful if you prefer the convenience of a printed and bound book over a website, especially if you can't play near your computer.
A few things I didn't like:
- No world map, or even chunks of world map. What the hell?
- Some things seem poorly placed. You'll find maps of a dungeon before the page telling you how to get there and what you'll fight on the way.
- Typos and errors abound, but not nearly as bad as Nintendo Power's old book, and certainly nothing that would really screw you up, except...
- "Chaos doesn't really have any attacks that cause status conditions, so Ribbons and Protect Rings can be swapped out for better defensive items." WHAT?!!
Some that I did like:
- Nice-sized color pictures of all the spells.
- Complete stat increase charts for level ups. Charts a' plenty! Useful charts! Descriptive charts! Explanations of stats!
- Info about the relatively unknown duplicate chests phenomenon.
The PAL version of the game has a reference to the original NES version.
The US version, like the GBA version and all the Japanese versions, has Link (a Zelda reference) on the tombstone in ElfLand. The PAL version has Erdrick (a Dragon Warrior reference) instead. This is odd, because Europe didn't get the original NES Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior.