Saturday, January 27, 2024

(Archive) Final Fantasy ? / (Hatena) - RM2k

(Never thought I'd see this get translated. Thank you.)
(Will revise later, wanted to post before I forgot about it.)

(from catbox description; included in link below)

Four crystals of power govern the world's elements and bless the earth with prosperity. One day, the peaceful village of Mysidia awakens to find that their earth crystal has been stolen by forces who seek to abuse its power. Now, hoping to seek their stolen crystal, three friends set out on a quest that will take them around, and beyond, the world before it's too late? This lovingly-crafted fan game features many familiar faces and locations from Final Fantasy and and other golden age Squaresoft titles, a custtom battle system that feels true to classic FF games of yore, challenging boss battles, and around 15-20 hours of gameplay.

Now available in English.
Special Thanks to /vrpg/
Main Download - CatBox Collection 

 (from Andes Chucky - June 30th, 2023)

RPG Maker has a long and storied history with Final Fantasy fangames. Final Fantasy Blackmoon Prophecy (finally released in 2012 after years of development) sought to capture the look and feel of the SNES titles. 2002's Final Fantasy: Endless Nova repurposed Final Fantasy II's "learn by doing" system within a science fiction story. Maranda ignored gameplay entirely to tell a short story within the world of Final Fantasy VI. Then of course there are countless unfinished demos such as Final Fantasy Empires and Final Fantasy Discovery. It's extraordinarily difficult to make games of this type in the RPG Maker engine. But that hasn't stopped folks from trying.

One of the more impressive projects I've seen in this vein is Final Fantasy ? (also known as Final Fantasy Hatena), developed by Norikarn. Like Blackmoon Prophecy, FF? borrows graphics and music from the SNES trilogy as well as the NES titles. Unlike Blackmoon Prophecy, though, the story is an afterthought. You begin the game with three main characters: a dragoon, a white mage and a black mage. They develop in power over the course of the game, but not in personality.

Despite being made in RPG Maker 2000, FF?'s battle interface is comparable to SNES-era Final Fantasy. The dragoon Ryuno has a Jump command that works directly from the menu, normally an impossible feat within the default RPG Maker battle system. Even better, the game lets you change a character's equipment during battle, use elemental staves from the item menu, and switch between single and group magic targeting. These feats would be impressive in a modern RPG Maker version like VX Ace or MV. They are truly remarkable in an old engine like RPG Maker 2000.

As you'd expect, FF? references many of the NES/SNES Final Fantasy titles, often in a playful way. Ryuno and his friends encounter Final Fantasy VI's famous talking octopus Ultros in a waterlogged cave; weakening him in battle leads Ultros to call on Final Fantasy IV's Octomammoth for help. Later, Ryuno visits Baron and meets the hero of Final Fantasy IV, Cecil. Ryuno can even visit Cecil's archrival Kain, who brags that he has mastered white magic to become a "Holy Dragoon." There's a fair number of Dragon Quest gags, too. I laughed when I found myself fighting Slimes at the very beginning of the game. There are Metal Slimes out there as well, if you can find them...

FF? is also notable for being a Japanese RPG Maker fangame, translated in 2022 by 4chan's /vrpg/ board. As a result, its cultural touchstones are subtly different from those of English-language Final Fantasy fans. An early quest pays homage to Final Fantasy III, which didn't recieve a legal English release resembling its NES iteration until 2021's Pixel Remaster. English language critics insist to this day that III is a minor entry in the series, despite the game's influence upon later titles. FF? reminds us that cultural exposure, as much as the games themselves, determine how video game history is written.

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