In honor of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy being released this week, I thought I’d write a blog about my favorite games in the series, as well as my favorite music and characters in each of the games. We’ll even take a look at Final Fantasy spinoffs I like! Plus this year is Final Fantasy’s 25th Anniversary, so I had to write something! You know what’s funny is that while I claim to have been a HUGE Final Fantasy fan back in high school and college, there’s really only three in the main series that I really enjoyed. But I have taken a look at all the other ones, if only for a little bit. So let’s get started!
Final Fantasy 1
You know, Nintendo doesn’t get enough credit for promoting RPGs. Back in the days of the first FF and Dragon Warrior (Quest) games, Nintendo pulled out all the stops to promote these two games. My friend had the first Final Fantasy game. I liked it, but I never felt compelled to buy it myself. I was perfectly happy playing it at his house. When I’d go over there, we’d take turns: one would hold the controller and play the game, and the other would give advice on where to go and what to fight while looking at the included map and bestiary (this was back when games came with GOOD instruction booklets).
The original FF game did have some good music, though. Some of my favorites include Gulug Volcano, Garland’s Dungeon, and Matoya’s Cave. There really wasn’t any real ‘characters’ in the first game, but my friend named the wimpiest character after me: the White Mage! I was so mad at him for doing that (well, not really THAT mad). What’s funny is that now, the White Mage is one of my favorite characters/classes in Final Fantasy games, because I like using cure spells.
Final Fantasy 2
Many consider this to be the black sheep of the FF family. And I can see why. I played it on one of the FF Collections on the PSOne. I actually didn’t think it was THAT bad (and I did beat it). But at the same time, I have no desire to play it again either. I can’t remember the music too well (Rebel Army theme was neat), but there was one character who stuck out in my mind. He was a white mage (yes, a male white mage), who wasn’t wimpy, but he did die heroically in the game. But that’s all I can remember.
Final Fantasy 3
I could never get into this one, even though I have it on DS. It’s the same reason why I don’t like FF5 and FF Tactics. I just can’t wrap my head around the Job system. The main reason why I don’t like the Job system is that when you want to change jobs, you have to buy all new equipment for that person to wear usually. So you have to grind a lot just to get enough gold to buy more stuff. And there are some times where you don’t have the opportunity to do that.
Final Fantasy 4
Even though I had played RPGs like Final Fantasy on the NES before, FF4 is really the game that truly got me into RPGs. When I first rented it (and eventually bought it), I was totally enthralled by the great story (for the time), and captivating SNES sound. Even though FF6 is my top favorite, I have to admit that FF4 has more replayability. Not sure why that is, it’s difficult to describe. But maybe that’s why FF4 has been remade and re-released so many times!
There are so many great tunes in FF4 that’s it’s hard to pick a few. But I especially liked the Blue Whale, Last Battle, Baron Castle, and Red Wings themes. When I first heard the Red Wings fanfare as airships flew over a Mode 7 map, I knew I was in for a good game. My favorite characters from FF4 include Cid, who is also my favorite FF Cid of all time. Kain is also cool. His story may be dark, but I liked how he looked and fought, too. And twins Palom and Porom are silly. Palom and Porom are also cool in the FF4 sequel: The After Years, especially since they gave Porom pink hair! Speaking of which, I’m glad we got to play the FF4 sequel in the US via the Wii and PSP, but it’s not near as good as the original. I hated some of the gameplay decisions like, “Oh, you killed that summon monster? Well you’ll never be able to use him again!”
Final Fantasy 5
As said before, I’ve never been able to get into this one since I don’t like the Job system. And believe me; I’ve tried several times to give it a chance, because otherwise it’s the perfect example of the kind of FF game I like! A lot of the music is good, but my favorite piece is the song they play when you fly on the dragon. And of course the Battle on the Bridge. Don’t remember much of the characters, except I think there was a pirate lady who was kind of cool.
Final Fantasy 6
There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who think FF6 is best, and those who like FF7 more. FF6 is my top favorite game in the series, and on my top five favorite games of all-time list, so you can guess where I fall in. I could probably gush a whole entire blog about this game, but I won’t. Just know that if you haven’t played it yet, you should.
I know it’s a bold statement, but I’d have to say that FF6 has the perfect soundtrack. I like every song in it in some form or fashion. But if I had to pick a few favorites, I’d say Devil’s Lab (cool how it’s a remixed Strago/magic town theme), Kefka’s theme, Terra’s theme, Dancing Mad, and of course, the whole Opera theme. Believe it or not, my favorite character in this or any FF game is Terra. She’s a neat main heroine, fun to use in battle, and she has green hair (well, in the GAME she does). And she can turn into a pink monster! I also like Mog, and Kefka is the best FF villain of all time. Who could forget his laugh? And he’s one of the few bad guys who actually got what he wanted and ‘won’ so to speak, as you have to pick up the pieces and fight him after the fact.
Final Fantasy 7
I know I’m going to make a lot of fans mad. I do respect FF7 for trying to be different and making use of the top technology at the time. But other than that, I didn’t like it and I have no desire to play it again. Compared to FF6, I didn’t like hardly any of the music. One Winged Angel was cool the first time I heard it, but now it is way overrated. Maybe the regular boss battle song and Tifa’s theme are good. My favorite characters include Cait Sith (he’s a cat riding a fat Moogle), Red 13 (he’s a doggy), and Tifa. Now, Tifa is not my favorite for how she looks, but rather because she’s the only human character in the game who is nice to others. Everybody else is a jerk. I did have fun teasing one of my best friends when this game came out, because my friend’s name is Barrett!
Final Fantasy 8
Unfortunately, the differences in FF7 that I didn’t like, those were the ones that carried over into the series after it. So I never had a desire to play this one. I will admit that some of the music is good, though. Like The Man with the Machine Gun. I don’t think there are any characters in 8 that I liked, although I will say that the name Quistis sounds like a breakfast cereal.
Final Fantasy 9
Get ready for another bold statement from me! FF9 is what FF7 and 8 should have been. Here’s how I view FF9. With this game, Square basically said, “OK, all you old farts who fear change, this means you, too, Cary. We’re planning on taking the FF franchise into bold new directions, so here’s one last FF game for classic fans. Go nuts.” This was really the last main FF game I got into. I loved all the classic nods, and it’s really a FF game about other FF games! Plus, the Chocobo Hot and Cold mini-game is one of my favorite sidequests ever!
FF9 is another one of those games where I like pretty much all the music. Some of my favorites include Valle allo Flamenco (You’d better like this one if you’re going to do the Chocobo Hot and Cold game as you’ll hear it a lot), and the Overworld and Ending themes. My favorite characters include Vivi, Quina, and Steiner.
And The Rest:
You know, I think I can fit all the rest of the series’ main games into one paragraph. Never played FFX or its sequel, although it does spark a small bit of interest from me. I will admit that it had some good music, and one of the characters used plush toys of classic FF characters in battle, and I thought that was cool. I think her name was Lala or Lulu or something. I never was interested in the online FF games. FF12 seemed a little interesting and Fran the bunny lady was cool looking. Not interested in FF13 or its sequel either, and the only neat thing about main character Lightning is that she has pink hair.
FF Spinoffs I Like
OK that’s all I feel like talking about the main games right now. We’ll conclude this ridiculously long blog (I know, I get carried away sometimes) with a brief look at my favorite FF spinoff games.
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
When I was in high school, I thought this game was ‘so lame.’ “How could this be the follow-up to the greatness that was FF4,” I thought. Of course, that didn’t stop me from renting it and beating it multiple times, so I must’ve thought it wasn’t THAT bad. Now that I’m older, I have more respect for this game. Square made Mystic Quest to introduce RPGs to novice gamers and younger players. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. Like I always say, ‘Kids deserve good games, too.’ Mystic Quest helped shaped my views on games for kids. And Square didn’t advertise the game as anything but a novice RPG, so it’s not like they were lying or fooling us. And even the staunchest MQ haters probably agree on one thing: the music in the game freaking rocked! However, when I did show this game to my brother Jeff recently, he said that it looked like something you could do with RPG Maker. Sadly, he’s probably right!
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
It may have had a horrible name, but this fighting game starring popular FF characters is one of my favorite PSP games. Instead of just pooping out a regular one-on-one fighter, Square made this game their own. Combat is very original and feels like a mix of Kingdom Hearts with Dragon Ball Z acrobatics. And it’s way more complicated than you might think, with a story, overworld, tons of equippable items, summons, and much more! When the sequel came out (with an even worse name), I thought I wouldn’t play it as much as the original, but I ended up playing it even more! Wouldn’t it be cool if they made another sequel on the big consoles with full online play and everything?
Theaterhythm Final Fantasy
What is with FF spinoffs with horrible names that nobody can spell or pronounce? Anyway, this game just came out, so I’m still in the midst of playing it. It’s like a cross between music games such as Elite Beat Agents and Taiko Drum Master (though not near as good as either of those two games). But the songs are all from past FF games, even 8-bit ones. So you should only get this one if you really like FF music. Which I do, so there you go. I love how they made all the characters cutesy and ‘chibi.’ If modern FF games looked like this, I’d probably still be playing them. It’s also more complicated than you’d think, with classic characters to put in your party, items to equip, and goodies to collect. Theatrhythm hasn’t blown me away like Dissidia did, but it’s still pretty fun for what it is.
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Tales
This was just a collection of touch screen mini-games on the DS (and some were kind of frustrating), but I loved the presentation. Lots of great FF song remixes, and even the hamster from Dragon Quest 8 made an appearance or two. There was even a fun card battle game on here, and while it was no more complicated than rock, paper, scissors, I still enjoyed it. I also loved the cute FF characters they used for this game, which were the same ones from the Chocobo Dungeon and Racing games. Speaking of which, a few years ago Square made a Chocobo Dungeon game for the Wii. Does anyone know if this game is any good, or just another frustrating Mystery Dungeon title? I’ve been eyeing it for a while.
And also speaking of which, here’s a Mario Kart clone on the PSOne that got panned by reviewers, but I loved it! The weapons may have been mostly typical Mario Kart fare, but they were all based on FF spells and skills, and you could even steal trailing powers from others by bumping them from behind. Plus you could upgrade them by collecting more of the same power. The tracks were fun and full of great FF song remixes (some really obscure). By completing story mode, you could use points to create stats for your very own racer. And if you beat story mode a bunch of times, you’d start unlocking all sorts of crazy secret racers, like Squall, Cloud, 8-bit airship, Cactrot, even the “Jumping Jack” guy from 3-D WorldRunner, one of Square’s first NES games! When the 3DS first came out, I read somewhere that Square was going to redo Chocobo Racing for it. I haven’t heard anything about that since then, but I hope they do because Chocobo Racing is one of those games that deserves a second chance. I’ll conclude this blog with a video of the ending theme song from Chocobo Racing, as it also symbolically sums up how I feel about the FF series as a whole.
In the comments section, tell me your favorite FF games, music, and characters. And let me know if there are any FF games you think I’d like. That’s all for now, later! –Cary