Welcome, one and all, to the very first Review Rewind up on Team Totally Awesome dot com!
I had considered typing up a "Philippe's favorite video games ever" type of article, but decided instead to do something interesting. Or at least something I think is interesting, and just review some games from days gone by. I suppose, by proxy, I'll only really be reviewing the games that I thought were truly badass; therefore, in the archives there will be a sort of list of games I found to be fun, so if you were looking for that, you lucked out. The rest of the world can simply sit back and enjoy the first of at least three articles about Final Fantasy! Yay!
In particular, I'll be reviewing the SNES Final Fantasy games, which included IV, V, and VI (which are in plans to be released on the Nintendo DS...*drools*). Most people have never played V, of course. It was never released in the US (well, at least not until many years later on an obscure "Best of Square" Playstation disc, but I digress).
Final Fantasy IV, or as it was released in the US, Final Fantasy II, was one of my favorite games ever and brought about a kind of golden age for RPGs in the United States. Why, you ask?
Simply put, because it was fucking huge. Coming in with over thirty hours of gameplay, this thing put every other RPG to shame.
The game also featured one of the finest battle engines that an RPG ever had and was just plain fun. It also set up what was to be a central feature in the next RPGs.
That feature? Crystals. Now, they, of course, had crystals in the first three games. However, the crystals weren't that big in the story line. Essentially, before FFIV, you had a darkened crystal ball or something and you had to re-light it by beating random boss number 2. The crystals were simply an excuse to go beat the fire boss.
In FFIV, however, everyone is after the things and the bad guys already have a head start. It turned the game into something of a race, which added a sense of urgency.
Granted, I'm aware that "urgency" is a bit of a silly term in RPGs. Unless there's a timer clock on the lower left-hand side of the screen, you could take as many naps and sleep overnight in as many pup tents as you damn well pleased before the brick was gonna fall on some girl's head. Still, I think subconsciously it added that sense.
The storyline in FFIV was also a lot more complex than most RPGs of the day. Within the first hour, you forcefully rob innocent people of crystals and kill some poor girl's mother, who you then "adopt," as it were, as your own. Hell, all throughout the game, people die.
Granted, in the US version, they brought everyone back to life in the end. A nice little deus x machina where everyone appears all of a sudden and says "I didn't die after all! Now I'm in a tank and I will cause a distraction so you can sneak into the tower and save the world!" I actually thought it was a bit more believable when everyone was dead. They sacrificed themselves for the greater good. They became heroes. Then, all of the sudden, their sacrifice seemed a lot more selfish. They stopped being heroes and instead became simple tools; tools for the player to use whilst hunting crystals and saving the world. God, I love role-playing games.
Where was I? Oh, yes. So, you do a lot of fucked-up things. You send one of the moons of the planet hurtling off into the stratosphere (no doubt causing irreparable damage due to the tidal effect that it brought), smack your brother down, kidnap a girl because she liked some other boy, and kicked everybody's ass.
RPGs are a complicated business. I have to say, however, that this game, while not my favorite of the SNES games, certainly paved the way for some of the greatest games ever to hit the system (and a few after that).
I give it 3 out of 5 stars and suggest that you try out this bad boy at some juncture. Now, I'm not telling you how you might be able to do that...cough, ROM, cough. Hack, EMULATOR. Cough...ahem.
If you have the means to buy the games, though, wait for the DS version. Or just find hidden meaning in my cough-fest up there. I say go for it.
In the meantime, play lots of video games and drink and do drugs and fuck a lot.