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« Xbox Live Arcade - The 10 Games You Should Already Own And Love | Main | Pikmin - A KENZI199 Restrospective »

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - A KENZI199 Retrospective

- KENZI199 is a very good friend of mine and part-time, amateur freelance writer. He writes what he wants, when he wants, how he wants and then sends it to me. As such, his articles may not necessarily be the most relevent, but if I didn't think they were well worth a read, then they wouldn't be on the site. So enjoy!


That Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest was good is a legend that I propagated for some years. I have drunkenly, and with an alarming perspicacity, claimed this game to be one of my all-time favourites of my childhood. In writing this review I seek to discover whether I was right to do so, or if my memory is addled and rotten, or just playing favourites. I dusted down my old cartridge, connected my SNES, and fired the old girl up.


The facts are simple: Final Fantasy is a very early Role Playing Game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The legend surrounding these facts however varies wildly. That it has conquered the minds of children is true, saved us at least twice from Dalek invasion, sadly is not; and that it was created in a lab by breeding the original NES with a calculator and splicing the offspring with King Arthur crafted out of mutated Lego is on a need-to-know basis. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is dated before records began, and caused people to begin making records. It is responsible for the creation of Time, the wheel, sliced bread, exaggeration, and any realistic looking pair of mammalian mammary glands in a video game.

This uh... This isn't racist, right?

Final Fantasy is a game I want to win. I played through it in my childhood, let a friend borrow it and then realised I didn’t like him and he was poor and it was never returned. I remember the complex battles and monsters that looked awesome, the difficulty of beating some of the bosses and the ingenious dungeon layouts that made me get my Dad to print out a walkthrough (from work) for. That’s right, we didn’t even have internet at home. I got my dad to risk a warning at work so I could complete this epic game. Sorry dad. And fuck me, I should’ve been held back at school.

The dungeon layouts are like a living room painted white. Not modern, minimalist, art deco or a habitual statement about the dangers of excess in our binge culture. Just a lazy once in a lifetime job you don’t give a shit about. If in ten years anyone asks we’ll leave paint tin open for ten minutes, tell them we painted it last week with a brand new coat of beige.

I'd be gone too if I lived on a sphincter coloured mountain!The dungeons are as repetitious and become a chore quickly. Much like every (and I’m not over emphasising for a dramatic statement, it is every) fight you find yourself coming enthralled in. The “party” consists of you, the Hero, and a partner who is several levels above you who can kill the monsters you face in one hit. You can kill the monsters with two hits which makes it unbalanced in the encounters, until the point where you level up enough to kill them with one hit - but by then you’re on to a new partner (several levels above), and new monsters. Only, not quite. Most of the monsters are repeated throughout the game but coloured differently, making it feel like living in that white-slash-beige living room.

There is some joy to be got from the game. If you’re inadequate in some way this game will make you win, because it’s impossible to lose. A prime example is whenever you lose a fight. The game just asks if you want another go. Simple satisfaction, simple pleasures, simple minds. It’s hollow as the chocolate in an Aldi Easter egg, but pair it with being able to save anywhere and you just can’t lose.

Sorry Mystic Quest... But my days of hitting "No." are over...Sadly, its incompetence doesn’t even lend a so-shit-it’s-funny quality to it. There is a feeling of repetition; a consistent déjà vu, or feeling of repetition, which only a child’s imagination can ignite into a world of wonderment and excitement. I recommend your time is left with more absorbing games in the SNES/RPG category such as Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasy II, or that you at least leave this to a young audience. A “My First” RPG akin to a B flat monotone, harmonised by a troupe of disappointed bargain hunters echoing the sound of a rattled sigh. Avoid.


Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is available via car boot sales or downloadable via a ROM site.

(Thanks to IGN and MobyGames for having decent screenshots of the game)

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