Final Fantasy Chronicles
(Note: this review is only partially on the games themselves, while primarily judging the compilation package itself).
Final Fantasy Chronicles was a delightful romp into the past. Containing both Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger, this package gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It has its flaws, but overall if you’re looking to relive your youth or to see the roots of some of the greatest RPG brands the world has known, look to Chronicles for some solid classic RPG action.
|This is about as good as the CG ever gets. Yeah, I know…not that great|
The package starts off with Final Fantasy IV, long known as Final Fantasy II in the US because the powers that be decided it would be easier to do that than explain why English speakers never got Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III in the first place. The original SNES title was actually the “Easy-type” version. In Japan, two versions of the game were released: Easy-type for beginners and Hard-type for RPG veterans. For whatever reason, the US got only the Easy-type. However, with the release of Chronicles, there is now an English version of the Hard-type as well. This version contains many more items and harder enemies than the game you may remember from the SNES. The translation on this new version is more sophisticated as well. Unlike most of Square’s PlayStation ports of SNES games Final Fantasy IV suffers from almost no load time problems whatsoever. The cursor can get a bit delayed during battles with many monsters, but overall the presentation is very nice. The new items are nice to have, but many of them are actually pretty useless and just manage to clutter the inventory. The increased monster difficulty can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to have a little challenge to the bosses for once. On the other hand, the amount of leveling up one must do in this game can be a little tedious. The graphics are very early SNES so they’re not that spectacular to look at, but they have a certain old school charm about them. The music is a bit primitive, but the composition is good and the songs are reproduced faithfully from their original SNES forms. The story is, again, a little primitive, but it’s still rather good and contains some Final Fantasy fans’ favorite characters. There isn’t really much for extras, just a couple CG movies at the beginning and end of the game highlighting various events. The CG really isn’t all that good and definitely not up to par with the prior Anthology release. Overall Final Fantasy IV is a must-play for any Final Fantasy fan.
|Chrono Fans will surely enjoy seeing their heroes come to life in anime form, if nothing else|
The other game in the package, Chrono Trigger, is considered by many to be the greatest RPG of all time. It has a great story and characters. It has a fresh way of treating battles, with no random encounters and battles taking place on the same screen as regular exploring. Having characters combine their techs is a blast to do. The music is simply awesome. The graphics are gorgeous whether it’s one SNES or the PlayStation. Not to mention the replay value is through the roof because of the New Game + feature. Chrono Trigger also fared better with its cutscenes. There are numerous anime-style cutscenes dispersed throughout the game. Most of the major events are covered, and the cutscenes sport a few remixed tracks of the music. What makes all these wonderful qualities go awry are the simply godawful loading times. Chrono Trigger is the WORST Square SNES port in terms of load times so far. Even to enter the menu you are looking at a wait of quite a few seconds. However, if you can get past the load times there really isn’t anything stopping this game from being in your collection.
Overall Final Fantasy Chronicles has a lot to offer in the area of retro gaming. You get a lot of game for the money, and Final Fantasy IV is an almost 100% improvement over the original SNES game. On the other hand, the abysmal loading times of Chrono Trigger may put some off.
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
|The Verdict: 7|