Final Fantasy 4, Final Fantasy 6, Secret of Mana, and Super Mario RPG. What do all of these games have in common? They are classic RPG’s on the Super Nintendo. I know Final Fantasy 4 was named “2” here in the states and Final Fantasy 6 was named “3” in the states during the 90’s, but that doesn’t matter right now. The Super Nintendo had a lot of great RPG’s and many of them are still played today. However, there are other great RPG’s on the system like Lufia 2 and Breath of Fire 2. With every game system however, there is that black sheep out of the bunch of classics that it is either loved or hated by fans of that system. I absolutely love this game that I am reviewing and it’s Final Fantasy Mystic Quest for the Super Nintendo. Every one knows about this game due to the minor popularity of RPG’s back in the day, and this game was made to help American gamers get into RPG’s. The results, though, were that Mystic Quest was a failure and was not very popular. Though by today’s standards with RPG’s that require hours on end and a huge amount of multi-tasking, there is a certain charm to this wonderful and simple RPG from the 90’s. I guess I should jump on the bandwagon as well, and admit that I love this RPG. Let’s start the review of the cult classic and guilty pleasure-inducing Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.
The story stars a young warrior who’s default name is Benjamin. He is climbing the Mountain of Destiny when an earthquake destroys his entire village. Benjamin then meets an old man on top of the mountain who tells Benjamin that he must fulfill the Knight’s Prophecy and save the world by reclaiming special crystals. The story and character development is terrible and is so paper thin, you feel like you’re watching the Super Mario Brothers Super Show. However, this is definitely one of the unusual high points of the game. How many times have you played a current RPG and found your self utterly confused by the story’s plot and not feeling attached to the game’s main characters? Granted, you are not attached to them here either, but it’s much better than a lot of RPGs like Metal Saga. (By the way, don’t play Metal Saga.)
The gameplay is very simplistic for an RPG. You only have one ally, you never fight more than 3 enemies at a time, and that is just a few of the things that make this game loved or hated by fans of the franchise. The battles are turn-based, where you can do everything manually, or set it to automatic where the computer does everything. You find multiple weapons, like claws, shurikens, grappling claws, bombs, axes, and swords that can all be upgraded. Magi- wise, you get all the simple spells like fire and heal. The way that makes this game even more simplified is that the game is linear. There are no side quests at all. Grinding is also stripped down, with enemies being visible and none of them moving on the screen, and battle tokens on the map screen where you can fight through 10 battles each token. When you are in the levels themselves, it plays out much like a Zelda game, in a way, since you use said tools to solve puzzles that range from crossing gaps, climbing walls, or blowing stuff up. When you are fighting monsters, the battle system is a simplified turn-based system. Bars represent your health, but you can change it to numbers and your enemies don’t have health bars. If you want to know how well you are beating an enemy, their sprites change after a certain amount of damage. This takes out pretty much any strategy, and means you can just wail away while healing when needed.
The graphics might not look as good by today’s standards, but I think they look fine. They are not ugly looking, they don’t look out of place, and things look like what they are supposed to. There is a lot of variety in level design, where in other games like Resonance of Fate, everything just looks drab, repetitious, boring, and or uninspired. I guess the thing I am trying to say is that you will not be in the same area in two levels. The music is amazing. It’s catchy, memorable, and fun to listen to. The two composers for this game were Ryuji Sasai, who did the music for Bushido Blade 2 and Yasuhiro Kawakami who worked on Chocobo’s Dungeon 2 and Tobal No. 1. The story might be light, but there is some good humor that is in that “so bad, it’s good” category. The game isn’t that long either, with about 10 or so hours to complete fully.
However, there is reason to hate this game if you are an RPG-style gamer. The game is way too simple for its own good. Yes, they are design choices to get Americans to get into RPG’s, but there is a limit to how to properly introduce American gamers to RPG’s, and then there is the area where you feel insulted by how easy it is. While this doesn’t bother me as much, I can see why people do not like this game. The story is thin as rice paper. The story should be the most important part of an RPG due to you having to play through 50 or so hours. In Mystic Quest’s situation however, everyone comes off as bland and not interesting whatsoever. Then again, how much have you cared about an RPG character in recent RPG’s? How many times have you played modern RPG’s like Blue Dragon and just did not care who died or who survived? It is kind of hard to complain about this game since these were all design choices, so it’s hard to say that it’s a terrible game due to how simple everything is
All and all though, this is a great game to get young gamers into RPG’s with. I know some people argue that Super Mario RPG is the game to do that, but I think that’s the next step up after Mystic Quest. From what I have seen, Mystic Quest isn’t hard to find, but you can easily get it on the Wii’s Virtual Console. It’s a fun RPG for those who don’t want to play the next massive 50 hour RPG like Xenogears or Paper Mario. It sets out what it wants to do and while it isn’t fully successful, its cult status is there for a reason. This has been Cam’s Eye View and this ends part three of the six-part RPG special. Stay tuned for three more RPG’s.
This game gets an 8 out of 10