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Final Fantasy Origins
Preview By: Steve Carlin
Developer:  Squaresoft
Publisher:  Square EA
Genre:  RPG
Est. Release:  April 8, 2003
Posted:  2-25-03

Fifteen years itís been since dangerously near bankrupt Squaresoft released Final Fantasy for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Little did anyone realize how much this title would revolutionize the gaming industry, evolving into one of the most popular series ever and placing Square among the top dogs of developers. Unfortunately for many of us (myself included), we were too young to experience this groundbreaking title when it was originally released. Following the trend of its Chronicles and Anthology releases, Square is releasing updated versions of Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II in a single package called Final Fantasy Origins so that we can all live (or relive) the experience. This is great news for all fans of the series, especially since Final Fantasy II was never released on our side of the Pacific.

However, Square didnít just port the classics without any sort of enhancements. Both games have been given a full graphical upgrade, making them look comparable to the Super Nintendo Fantasies. Each title now has a CG cinema introduction and remixed tracks (with a few new ones too). Also, an art gallery filled with drawings by Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano has been included. Finally, an easy mode has been added to Final Fantasy I and other minor improvements (such as dialogue) have been made to both games.

Although itís the one that started it all, Final Fantasy is quite primitive when compared to its own sequels. You create a party of four, picking out of six classes, but they arenít really actual characters. They donít talk, relate to each other, or add anything to the story at allótheyíre just there to beat some ass at your command. Speaking of storyline, FFIís is pretty basic: an evil monster has taken over the world, so itís up to you to destroy him. Extremely simplistic by todayís standards, but quite revolutionary during it's time. Donít worry though: all of the core elements of the series are found here. Youíll still be caught in difficult turn-based battles, exploring massive dungeons, and flying around in an airship.

Final Fantasy II is where the series really started to see some innovation. The game starts out with three central characters (Frionel, Guy, and Maria) attempting to rescue their friend from a wicked empire. As you continue on your quest, numerous characters will take the spot of the fourth position. It also has more complex dungeons and the first appearance of Chocobos. The experience system is definitely one of the most unique and interesting seen in any RPG (youíre rewarded for your actions, so if you cast a lot of spells youíll gain MP, gain HP for getting hurt a lot, etc.)

If youíre a fan of the series, this is definitely a title to look into. Heck, if youíre a fan of RPGs in general then check this out. Both of these games were landmarks and should not be missed; and it would be wonderful to see how much RPGs have evolved since then. Now all we need is for Square to port over Final Fantasy III and weíll finally have the entire series.

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