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Final Fantasy Chronicles is an Rpg players dream come true. Contained within the 2 CD set is Final Fantasy 4(FF4) and Chrono Trigger (CT). Both of these titles were released many years ago, FF4 on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Chrono Trigger on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Only now, Rpg\\'ers with a Playstation or PS2, can fully understand the brilliance of these two epic titles.
Both are Rpg\\'s in which dire consequence has befallen your world, and only through (active) turn based battle and diligent exploration of both towns and dungeon, can you ever hope to right the terrible wrongs taking place.
Since Final Fantasy Chronicles contains two very detailed and epic adventures, I will forgo the usual intro of the story. Instead I will delve right into the gameplay mechanics and leave the plot up to you to discover entirely on your own. Suffice to say, both have enthralling storylines that decidedly warranted Square to re-release these two gems on the Playstation.
FF4 is an early work of Square and it shows. I for one have played almost all of their Final Fantasy series, and it\\'s been a very long time since I\\'ve seen one operating at old 8-bit console levels. I guess I\\'ve been spoiled by the more recent Final Fantasy\\'s. That said though, the roots and soul of this title still come shining through.
The gameplay mechanics are all menu driven, but lack some features that I have come to take for granted. This is hardly a problem but does provide a painful reminder of how far the Fantasy series has come. Battles are all done in turn based style, you enter the commands for your party such as fight, magic, use item, etc. and then the action of the battle gets carried out. FF4 uses the ATB, or Active Time Bar system. The player can chose either a Wait type battle, that will stop time, or the Active option, that will keep time moving no matter what. When I speak of time, I mean exactly that. While you are in a fight the monsters and you recover and attack according to the stats. If your character has a slow stamina, they will take longer to actually do their action (attack, magic, etc.), while of they have a higher stamina the attack will come quickly after you enter the command. Having the option set to Wait will pause this time when you are in a menu to select items or magic types and such. This is helpful to those new to the genre, or those who prefer a more strategic pace of battle.
The battles in Chrono Trigger use this same ATB system. The difference is in the Tech moves offered. When battling with other characters you will learn Tech moves over a period of time. Each won battle earns a set amount of Tech Points these point are tallied up toward reaching an amount that will eventually cause character(s) to learn these so-called Techs. Techs are special moves, either individually, dual, or even triple. By battling alongside different characters, different Techs will eventually be learned. This is a bonus, seeing which Techs will be learned with which combination of characters gives the battles a fresh appeal.
Battles in FF4, with the exception of bosses of course, are VERY random. At one time you may walk across the whole screen without a battle, while at other times you won\\'t be able to get 2 steps. This was a little frustrating, but doable. CT\\'s battles are much more thought out. There are areas that have some random battles, though scarce, but most monsters are placed in locations and visible so avoidance is possible.
In both titles movement is easy and straightforward. The Dash feature also makes for quick exploration, in towns or dungeon areas. Towns are brimming with characters who are always willing to talk to you and give all the juicy gossip and latest news of the day, and that comes in helpful when you\\'re tracking down those pesky evildoers. The world maps are laid out for ease of navigation and differing modes of transportation also make traveling the worlds quick and enjoyable. The games are also loaded with items, armor, treasure, and weapons to assist in the vanquishing of evil. Both also have fairly simple menus to help in organizing your parties and items, although Chrono Trigger has a noticeable lag in loading these menus. On the other hand Final Fantasy 4 takes quite a while to load and save to the memory card.
The visuals in both games are nothing to write home about. Keep in mind that these are fairly strict ports of older games. Both sport the sprite, flat, 2D look, as opposed to the polygonal, 3D look of today\\'s games. Keeping that in mind, the graphics hold their own ground.
FF4 is the older of the two, and it shows. Graphically it is at a bare minimum. While the effort is very apparent through playing the game and seeing the interaction and animation of the characters, you realize quickly that this game was made originally for a system that didn\\'t have the technology to fully express through graphics, as well as it would today. Still, the use of colors is well done and animation and detail is accomplished nicely affording the tools available at that time.
CT was released years later on a console with more power, so graphically it\\'s superior and comes somewhat close to Playstation standards for 2D gaming. Animation and design is still well done, but because of the difference in generations, the effects of spell casting, techs and other effects are visually satisfying and detailed.
Sound and music on both games are again limited somewhat by the technology of the original work, since these are strict ports. Both titles have minimal sound effects, but are well placed and do add to the experience. The soundtracks, and musical scores for both titles are catchy. Players of the FF series will no doubt recognize some of the songs, which have remained the same over the years, with the exception of higher quality sound processors. The CT soundtrack will always be a favorite to me having a plethora of songs that are not only catchy, but they will stick in your head and haunt your dreams. Use of these songs in both games creates a mood that is fitting and involving.
Added to both FF and CT are cut-scene videos. Some purists may have a problem with them and I admit I had my reservations. Fear not. The videos are a blessing. Well done, and following the storyline fittingly, these little gems break up the game and give you a deeper sight into their respective worlds. I thought the additions of the videos made both games that much better.
(Final Fantasy 4)
· First in the Final Fantasy series to implement the ATB system.
· The original unedited storyline with an even better translation than when it first appeared on the NES.
· All new CG movie sequences to further tell the tale of Final Fantasy 4.
· A Dash feature added to make exploring towns and dungeon areas even more accessible.
· Extra game modes such as theater, music box, and art gallery will open up as the game progresses.
· Characters can team up to perform dual, or even triple spells (Techs), to further enhance the fighting experience.
· Added CG cinemas to add depth to the story that was originally told on the SNES many years ago.
· Storyline that changes with the player\\'s decisions, giving multiple endings.
1 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 1 Players (without Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'Final Fantasy Chronicles' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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