January 19, 2012

[Game 012] Final Fantasy II (NES - 1988)

Translation by Neo Demiforce

Though nowadays it has been ported and translated to many modern platforms, initially Final Fantasy II was only released in Japan and, once again, the English speaking rpgamers got the shaft.  Thank goodness we don't live in those dark times anymore (thanks to the efforts of ROM hacking and translation teams), because this game is a peach.  It's not a direct sequel to the first Final Fantasy but the look and feel of the world is the same.  Under the hood, though, is a system completely different from the first installment.  But more on that in another article.

The scene is set as we learn that the Paramekian Empire has been summoning hellspawn in order to extend their lands.  When their hometown of Phin was attacked by said empire, four young souls were forced to flee to the safety of Altea.  They are the dashingly handsome Shen, the sultry vixen Elvira, the brave and mighty Fabio, and Torgo.  Also, Shen has the biggest pects.  However, while fleeing, the quartet are caught by Death Knights and swiftly taken down.  Shen awakes to find himself in Altea and discovers he was rescued at the last minute.  Elvira and Torgo are also there but Fabio is missing!  The threat of the empire is still very much real and the three stalwart warriors join the resistance to do what they can to help.  Princess Hilda gives them the secret password that will let other resistance members know they're cool.

Weak password, Hilly.  Try putting
some _ & #'s in there.

The first big difference in the questing system is apparent here.  During dialogues with NPCs, there will occasionally be the option to learn a keyword.  This can then be used on other NPCs to get more information about the keyword.  In effect, this system is replacing the quest items that are normally used in most games.  There are still actual quest items in FFII but much fewer thanks to the keyword system.  A great innovation that not only clears up room in the inventory but draws one more into the storyline rather than just fetching another item for someone.

After visiting some of the nearby towns and meeting with resistance members, the group learns the resistance is lacking in weapons and armours and is tasked to find a source of some kind of metal that's, like, really tough and stuff.  Hmmm... I wonder what that would be in a Final Fantasy?

Mithril.  It's what's for dinner.

Now that mithril is in the house, the rebels feel a little more confident.  This confidence is short-lived, however, as information comes in that the Empire is building a massive Warship!  In order to get more data on the warship, the party pays a visit to the local airship specialist; my main man with the plan in his hand, Cid.

Then let's go take it on right
now, Cid.  Right.  Now.

Sadly, Cid Vicious here doesn't let the group take control of the airship.  Instead, he informs them that the weakness lies in its power source, the Sun Flame.  Thanks, Cid.  I never would have thought to sabotage the engines.  If the party can find a Sun Flame of their own, they may be able to overload the Warship's engines.  Rumours have it that Kashuon holds the Egil Torch, which is the key to taming the volatile Sun Flame.  Time is of the essence as the Warship is set to take off at any time and begin its rampage!

They may be evil but damn, that's a sweet ride.