Final Fantasy Marathon – Final Fantasy I

Started: 1/6/2016

Completed: 5/11/2016

Total Play Time: 29:49

I kicked off my Final Fantasy marathon, with the Final Fantasy Origins version of the original Final Fantasy game.

The game begins at castle Cornelia, where I learn that the king thinks that my party may be the fabled “Warriors of Light,” but he isn’t sure. He wants me to prove myself by rescuing his daughter from a bad guy named Garland.

PrincessAfter talking to the people and picking up some gear, I learn that Garland is hiding out in a temple to the north and I head that way.  I find an old temple, where I’m able to pick up a few useful items in some treasure chests, as well as discover a couple of mysterious rooms that require the “mystic key” to get into, before I take down Garland, in what turns out to be a pretty easy battle and rescue the princess, who returns my party to the castle.

The King declares that Liuken was right and that my party is indeed the fabled Warriors of Light and rewards me by having his men repair the bridge to the north, so that my party can continue its quest. The princess also gives me a Lute.

I head across the newly repaired bridge and am treated to a rather boring cut scene, where I learn that my Warriors of Light are on some sort of generic quest to defeat the forces of Darkness or some such thing.

I quest on, until I find the seaside town of Provoca, where I restock my supplies and confront some Pirates who have sacked the town. I easily defeat the pirates and am rewarded with a ship.

I hop on the ship and set out exploring, discovering along the way a witch who is looking for a crystal eye, some Dwarves who need some kind of magic powder to clear some rocks and a town full of elves who need someone to wake their king, who has been put into a deep sleep by some evil elf wizard and a few treasure chests and locked doors that require the mystic key. I’m given no clear direction on what to do next, but it is hinted that the witch I encountered near Provoca may be able to provide a potion that could wake the elf king, but I’m sure I probably need to find that crystal eye thing before she’ll do it.

Next up, I discover the Western Keep, which has more mystically locked doors and a character who claims he can revive the elf prince, if only I bring him the crown from the marsh cave. I head to the marsh cave and after several trips back and forth between the cave and the Elfheim to restock supplies, heal up and upgrade equipment and spells, I am able to retrieve the crown, after defeating a quartet of piscodemons.

AstosI take the crown back to the Western Keep, only to discover that I have been deceived by the dark elf Astos, who plans to use the crown in conjunction with the crystal eye to enact some evil plot. However, I am able to fairly easily defeat Astos and am rewarded with the crystal eye. I hop back on my ship and take the crystal eye to the witch Matoya and she rewards me with the jolt tonic.

Then, it’s back on the ship to return to the castle at Elfheim, where I hand over the jolt potion, which revives the sleeping elf prince, who rewards me with the mystic key. I pick up some equipment and money in the mystically locked up room in the Elfheim castle and next on the agenda, is to return to the Marsh Cave, the Western Keep and Cornelia Castle to unlock more mystically locked doors.

In addition to various equipment and gil, one of the mystically locked rooms in Cornelia Castle contains Nitro Powder. I take the Nitro Powder to the dwarf cave and they use it to create a canal that I can sail my ship through, in order to reach previously inaccessible areas on the western part of the map. I also collect a pretty good haul of gil and equipment in a mystically locked room in the dwarf cave.

I then get back on the ship and sail west, until I reach a run-down town that is being affected by the earth rot mentioned by the Dwarves. The townspeople point me towards a “wise old man” and the Terra cave, which are reportedly located on the southern end of the continent. The cave is said to be home to a vampire, who is responsible for the rotting earth.

I head south and find the Terra cave, but the more powerful monsters in the cave quickly exhaust my supply of potions and after a brief foray, I head back to the surface to use a tent and then head back to Cornelia to restock my items.

VampireAfter several trips back and forth between the Terra cave and Cornelia to restock supplies, I encounter a vampire in the Terra Cave. I defeat the vampire fairly easily and am rewarded with an item called the Star Ruby. I also discover a stone tablet in the floor of the cave, but am unable to do anything with it.

I make my way back to the surface and head west to another cave, which is blocked off by some kind of stone creature. The creature demands the Star Ruby and after I give it to him, he eats it and then lets me pass through the cave. Once I get past the stone creature, I discover some treasure chests and another set of stairs that takes me out of the cave on the other side of the mountains.

I then proceed to the southern tip of the continent and discover the Sage’s Cave. The Sage tells me that the vampire was just a distraction from the true evil that causes the earth rot and gives me an Earth Rod, which he says will allow me to delve deeper into the Terra Cave.

LichI then return to the Terra Cave and the stone tablet I had discovered previously. After using the Earth Rod, I am able to descend to another floor and eventually encounter the true dungeon boss, the Lich. The Lich is the most difficult opponent I have faced yet, but I am able to defeat him on the first attempt and am rewarded with the Earth Crystal and a warp point that takes me back to the surface without having to backtrack through the cave.

I head back to Melmond to see if I can unearth any clues to my next destination. The only bits of information I gleen in Melmond are a mention of a “land to the north” and that I need a canoe to travel on rivers.

After restocking my supplies, I hop on my ship and sail north. I discover a number of places I haven’t visited before, but there is nowhere to dock my ship, so I head back to the south and after wandering around the ocean awhile, eventually make my way to a town called Crescent Lake, where I discover a group of mystics and a prophet named Liuken.

The mystics inform me that by lighting the Earth Crystal, I awakened a fire fiend that I will need to confront at Mt. Gulg, which is located to the west of Crescent Lake. The mystics provide me with a canoe, so that I can cross the rivers and reach Mt. Gulg. After picking up some supplies and equipment, I spend the night at the inn and then head west.

MarilithAfter taking a few wrong turns and ending up back at Cornelia, I find the right path to Mt. Gulg, which is a large dungeon filled with HP zapping lava and relatively strong monsters. After a number of trips back and forth between Mt. Gulg and Crescent Lake to heal up and restock supplies, I finally make my way to the Fire Fiend and narrowly defeat her with just two living party members remaining. I light the fire crystal, warp out of the dungeon and limp my way back to Crescent Lake to revive my party members, heal up and restock supplies. I make one last return trip to see if I missed out on any treasure at Mt. Gulg before I head off in search of the next crystal.

Evil EyeOne of the residents of Crescent Lake directs me to seek the Levistone, which he says can be found in a cave north of the town. I hop on my ship and take it to a northern dock and then head west and back through some more rivers to reach the Ice Cave. The Ice Cave has a few powerful enemies scattered among more mundane fare and I have to return to Crescent Lake to restock and heal up once, before making my way to the Levistone and confronting the Evil Eye. The Evil Eye turns out to be a pretty easy fight and I make it back out of the Ice Cave without any trouble and return to Crescent Lake to restock before heading off to the Dwarf City, where I previously met someone who made mention of the Levistone.

I wander aimlessly on the ocean looking for the Dwarf Cave, but I never find it. I stumble into Elfheim, where a friendly resident suggests I use the Levistone in the sands below the Crescent. So, I go back to Crescent Lake and find the sands and retrieve the Airship.

I hop on my airship and use it to explore previously inaccessible areas on the northern continents. The first place I find is a series of dragon caves, where I find a few treasures and am advised to seek the Citadel of Trials to obtain a token of my courage to present to Bahamut, the king of the dragons.

Next, I find a town that mentions mermaids and has a dock with a submarine made out of a barrel, however I can not use the sub until I obtain something called Oxyale, that will allow me to breath under water. One of the townies mentions a caravan at the edge of the western desert where I can purchase unusual items, so I head there next.

I find the caravan and purchase an expensive bottle containing a fairy. I use the bottle and the fairy flies away. Hoping this will payoff later, I get back on my airship and explore some more, eventually coming to a town in the mountains called Gaia. In Gaia, I discover a spring, where the Fairy I released lives. In gratitude for setting her free, the fairy provides me with the Oxyale I need to use the sub. I also learn that the Citadel of Trials is in a castle to the west, so I decide to head there, before returning to use the sub.

bahamut-class-changeThe Citadel of Trials proves not to be too much of a challenge. I have one dicey battle with a large pack of Red Devils that keep casting Fire 2, but other than that, it is a pretty easy trip through the castle. I obtain a valuable piece of treasure called the Heal Staff, which allows me to heal up my party during battles without using up potions or magic and the Rat Tail. I take the Rat Tail to Bahamut and he bestows new titles upon my party. My fighter becomes a Knight. My karate guy becomes a Master. My white and black mages become White and Black Wizards. As far as I can tell, the primary benefit of the new titles is access to some equipment and magic spells restricted to those upgraded classes.

Before taking the sub, I decide to investigate the cave behind the waterfall, that one of the residents of Onlak tipped me off about. The cave is pretty straightforward, though it does have a number of annoying dead ends. The random battles are frequent, but not particularly difficult. Eventually, I make my way to a room that contains a number of treasure chests and a robot. The robot gives me an item called a “warp cube,” and instructs me to use it to defeat Tiamat in the sky fortress. The treasure chests contain a couple of decent weapons, an item that protects against special attacks and some gil. After collecting the treasure, I make my way back out of the cave and return to Onlak.

Water FiendAfter restocking my items and resting at the inn, I head over to the sub. The enemies in the water palace are mostly pretty easy to defeat, but I end up wandering around for what seems like forever, thanks to a confusing level, where I ended up backtracking, because I didn’t realize the level scrolled onto the next screen. However, eventually, I manage to collect some decent treasure, including the Rosetta Stone and defeat the boss to light up the Water Crystal.

After making my way back to town, I head off to use my Rosetta Stone at the village I previously discovered, where the residents all speak some language I can’t understand.

Unfortunately, when I arrive at “Hawkwing,” I discover I still can’t understand the language and I have to backtrack. After talking to some townspeople, I discover that I need to take the Rosetta Stone to a scholar named Unne, who is located in the town of Melmond. I haul my cookies to Melmond and talk to Unne, who teaches me the Lufenian language. I then head back to Hawkwing. The residents tell me about their ancient sky castle and I learn that the entrance is the nearby Tower of Mirage. One of the townspeople gives me a bell, which will allow me to enter the Tower. I then take the airship over to the Tower.

I make my way through the Tower of Mirage, picking up a few treasures along the way. The enemies are pretty standard fare and nothing of real note happens in the tower. Eventually, I make my way to a place where I can use the Warp Cube I previously collected from the robot to enter the Flying Fortress.

The Flying Fortress is a pretty easy dungeon to navigate, with the exception of the last floor, which has a bit of a trick to it, but the pattern is pretty easy to figure out. None of the enemies are overly difficult and I find quite a few useful treasure items along the way, including a key item called adamantite. The Fortress also contains a window, which reveals the location of the Temple of Chaos, which appears to be located in the place where I first confronted Garland.

TiamatOn the final floor of the Fortress, I find and defeat Tiamat. My Warrior and my White Wizard are the only members of my party who seem to have reasonably effective attacks against Tiamat, so I use the other two to heal the party and cast some supporting spells. Tiamat goes down for the count after a few uneventful rounds of combat and I light the final crystal.

After leaving the Fortress, I take my adamantite to the Dwarves and they make the sword Excalibur for me. I then visit a couple of towns to pick up some spells I missed along the way, restock my items and rest at an inn. I then get on my airship and head for the Temple of Chaos.

After speaking to some bats, which turn out to be people who Garland turned into bats, I pass through a time portal that takes me back 2000 years into the past.

I make my way through the Temple, which is a fairly good-sized dungeon with some annoying dead ends and a door that blended into the background, which causes me to pointlessly retrace my steps looking for the way forward, before I figure it out. Once I get going in the right direction, progressing through the temple is fairly easy.

The Temple is full of some reasonably tough enemies, so I spend a lot of time using my healing helms and healing staff, while my Knight takes out the bad guys. As I progress through the Temple, I encounter tougher versions of the fiends I defeated in the present day to light the crystals. The Lich gives me the most trouble when he paralyzes my Knight and I’m forced to use my Black Wizard to take him down with Flare spells. The rest of the bosses go down without much incident.

ChaosFinally, after collecting the sword Masamune, I make my way to the final boss….Garland….a.k.a Chaos. Garland tells me a story about how the four fiends sent him 2000 years into the past, creating some kind of time loop. I use my Knight and my Black Wizard to damage Chaos, while using my Master and my White Wizard to keep the party healthy. Chaos goes down without much incident.

After Chaos is defeated, I get a cut scene that reiterates the story about how Garland’s hate allowed evil to get into his heart, which set the events of the time loop in motion and something about peace and having crystals in your heart and such. The Warriors of Light are returned to the present, except now the events of the time loop are completely erased.

The game closes with some scenes from around the world as the credits roll. Saving the game marks my save as “completed.” Loading that game brings me to the new game screen, but it doesn’t appear that playing from that file makes any difference, so I don’t think it’s a true new game plus or anything.

My introduction to the Final Fantasy series came with Final Fantasy II (now referred to as Final Fantasy IV) for the SNES, so I didn’t get a chance to play the original Final Fantasy until I picked up Final Fantasy Origins for the PSOne a number of years ago.

Origins upgrades the graphics to the SNES era, so while they still look dated by today’s standards, they aren’t quite as jarring to the eye as the original NES version. Final Fantasy is a pretty simplistic game. It does have some story elements, but the story is not as complex as many of the later installments. You pretty much spend the game going from place to place, finding the right NPC to give you a fetch quest or point you towards the next bad guy to defeat, battling monsters in random battles, exploring dungeons, collecting treasure, stopping to upgrade your weapons, armor and magic and repeating the cycle until you reach the game’s final boss.

The game introduces some items, monsters and classes that will be featured throughout the series over the years. There were spots in the game in the early going where I had to leave a dungeon and return to town to replenish my healing supplies a number of times before I could get through the whole dungeon, but there was never a point where I found myself just plan walking around looking for monsters to fight in order to level up so I could defeat a boss, like I have had to do in other JRPGs. Probably the most challenging thing about the early part of the game is that your white mage only gets a few uses of her cure spells and there are no stronger versions of the healing potion or items you can use to revive fallen characters, so it’s pretty easy to blow through all 99 potions you can carry or have to high tail it back to town to get a dead character revived.

The second half of the game becomes much easier, thanks to the healing rod and later the healing helms, along with some other magical items, that allow you to win battles faster and heal up characters without using up your potion supply or blowing through all of your character’s magic.

As a fan of the series, I enjoyed playing through the game, but I think it might be a tough sell for gamers who began their gaming career with any system more modern than the SNES.

That concludes my adventures in Final Fantasy. Next up is Final Fantasy II!

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