This is the first in a series exploring the much underrated Final Fantasy games that were released for Nintendo’s Gameboy through out the late 80’s and 90’s.
Final Fantasy Adventure was first released in 1990 in Japan under the name Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden, and as the name implies, was a spin off of the Final Fantasy series. The name was changed to Final Fantasy Adventure for it’s North American launch as to capitalize on the growing popularity of the original NES Final Fantasy title and the first Gameboy game, Final Fantasy Legend.
Final Fantasy Adventure is actually the first entry in the Seiken Detsetsu series. The second entry and sequel to Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden (Final Fantasy Adventure), Seiken Densetsu 2, was released in North America for the SNES in October 1993 as The Secret of Mana. At this point in both Japan and North America the relationship to the Final Fantasy series was abandoned and a new series created.
Infact, the name Seiken Densetsu was originally earmarked for a massive project that was to be released for the Famicom Disk System around 1988. This project was however scrapped in favor of developing what would be come the first Final Fantasy game for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
As far as the actual game play goes, it stood as a departure from the previous two Final Fantasy titles. The game play is similar to Nintendo’s Zelda games, and is often credited as the first Action RPG. Like Zelda, the action takes place from a top down perspective where you move on a grid one screen at a time. There are also many Zelda-like puzzles that you must solve before progressing through the dungeon areas of the game. Unlike the Zelda games, however, you retain the ability to save at anytime and defeating enemies awards you with experience points and gold. These experience points advance your characters level and improve a variety of stats, such as stamina and hit points. At different points through out the game you also can be accompanied by a NPC who can help you progress in the game by performing certain special abilities.
Even today, with it’s duo-tone colors and simplistic graphics the game stands up remarkably well. It excels it terms of story, music, and over all game play. It is still revered by fans of the genre as a landmark game that has held the test of time. When reviewed by IGN in 2000, the reviewer gave the game a 9.0/10.
If you have never given much thought to Final Fantasy Adventure, then I suggest picking up a copy. You get a cart for around $10 or $20 on Ebay. Just pop it in your Gameboy, Super Gameboy, or Gameboy Player and you will be surprised at just how much this little gem can suck you in.