Monday, April 19, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest [Video Game Review]

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is a game for the Super Nintendo by developer Square. It was released in North America in 1992. It is certainly not the worst Final Fantasy ever made, but it is far from the best. Nevertheless, I seem to have an urge to play this game about every 5 years. Maybe it's a sickness. I'm not sure.

The story of Mystic Quest is that an unassuming boy finds out that the crystals of the world have been stolen by monsters, and he has to go on an adventure, fight those monsters, and liberate the crystals to save the day. That's pretty much it! There's no real twists along the way, and you learn that entire story within the first 30 seconds of gameplay. The point of Mystic Quest is not to experience a great, ground-breaking story. Then what is the point? Well... strangely... it's to learn how to play Japanese RPGS.

I'm not joking.

Final Fantasy, Mystic Quest happened because the people at Square thought that Americans would not be capable of handling some of their newest Final Fantasy titles such as Final Fantasy 5 [an amazing game, by the way]. They built Mystic Quest from the ground up to be extremely simplified. There was never a point in the game where I did not felt like hand-holding was happening.

Enemies can be seen before you choose to fight them. Armor is auto-equipped, and you don't have any say on which armor you put on. It just picks whatever will make you the strongest. Your companions are almost always stronger than you, allowing you to level up more easily to be like them later on. Your HP is replaced with a friendly looking bar that drains, although you do have the option to see the numbers if you so dare. [I never did. I think the bar is pretty.]

If you die in battle, the game will ask you if you want to give up. If you say "no," the fight will start over as if nothing ever happened. It will let you try as many times as you want until you win. And it isn't that hard to win. It really isn't. Not really.

From concept to creation, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest was made to introduce you to a very simplified JRPG world where all the basic elements exist, and all you have to do is walk the path they laid out for you. No need to explore. It will be obvious what to do.

But why have I played this thing so many times? Well, I do somehow find it just a little bit charming. For one thing, it has one heck of a great soundtrack. I mean... it's nothing by today's standards, but it still makes me smile. The characters you meet along the way are fun despite missing what is most likely a soul.

The way a lot of characters interact feels like they have performed every action in a play so many times over that they know how to do it fast. And so they push me around the board trying to get me on with my adventure so that I can beat my very first JRPG as quickly as possible. Everybody is in a rush! Full conversations last only a few seconds. "What do I need?" "You need to find the crystal of fire!" "Where is it?" "It's over there. You need this bomb! Here! Take it! Bye!" "Okay! I'm going!" BOOM!

I think, perhaps, I may find this rushy writing charming in a comedic way. I always giggle about how frantic and lifeless everyone is. It's like listening to a bunch of toys prattle at each other. There's a story there, and they perform it perfectly every time... but with the fast-forward button on.

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, otherwise known as Baby's First JRPG, is not a bad game. It isn't really a good game either. Do I recommend it? Nah. However, if you are interested in getting into JRPGs but don't understand how they work, this game does perform it's job well on that front. It is entirely designed to be an entry-level game. Just don't expect to get much out of the story... but maybe a few laughs and smiles. For me, I guess I find it relaxing. It's just something I can play every so many years to wind down. I guess that's what it is. It's relaxing. It's a game I play to relax. Sometimes we all need that, yeah?

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  1. Interesting that you keep going back to a game you consider to be shallow. Like you said, its ease makes it relaxing. I would love such a simplistic game about a hero slaughtering endless waves of cannon-fodder baddies. Such a game would either be a STAR WARS game and the baddies are Stormtroopers... or they are henchwomen uniformed in alluring costumes.

    1. It's a strange relaxing game with little point to playing it other than to relax.

  2. I never got a chance to play this one. Interesting that it essentially is a tutorial for JRPGs. I have heard the soundtrack though, I agree it is wonderful. I will be trying it out one day for fun and relaxation.

    1. It totally does teach how JRPG works in a very safe setting.

  3. If a game is fun, then it has fulfilled its purpose. Many are so difficult that you lose interest in playing. I prefer easy over frustrating.

    1. Well, there is none easier then this one. Just press the A button until the game ends. (A slight exaggeration, but mostly true.)