Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (1992 - SNES)

Anyone who's been following this site long enough probably knows that I have a love for Final Fantasy Mystic Quest that isn't shared by many players who think it's too easy.

There's no real denying that FFMQ is a lot easier than many other RPGs of its time (although it is comparable to modern day "casual" RPGs). Even so, I still find myself using a decent amount of strategy. I don't really feel like I could beat every battle with my eyes closed and by selecting "Fight" over and over again. Some parties and bosses require more thought than that. I still found myself getting a lot of "game overs", although they are extremely lenient here (the game gives you infinite chances to "try again").

The game is more or less based on the Final Fantasy Legend series (the 3rd-person battle perspective, the sense of humor, and some characters all come from either FFLII or FFLIII), but along with being an "easier" RPG experience for western gamers, it's also a hybrid of an RPG and a Zelda-style adventure game. Many areas have puzzles more akin to a Zelda game than a Final Fantasy game, and the hero is given a plethora of weapons that he can use to help solve many of them (as well as fight enemies). So, the developers were thinking about what westerners typically like, as opposed to endless level grinding and keeping track of equipment and stats. The fact that enemies are in set locations and not random in dungeons allows you to freely solve the puzzles without the irritation of being attacked every few steps.

One thing that struck me about this replay is that in the past, I may have taken for granted how well-written the dialogue is. I've seen enough terrible translations since the first time I played FFMQ that it's almost amazing how the humor actually works because it depends on the dialogue being believable. (Ted Woolsey probably doesn't get enough credit for this game.) Animations and expressions are also used to convey ideas. For example, whenever the character Tristam is about to appear, the music will change to his theme. At one point, the hero seems to actually notice that.

The soundtrack is great, but you've probably already heard about that. If you want some of the best electric guitar music on the SNES, here it is, in the battle themes and Doom Castle. I greatly appreciate the innovation of the music picking up where it left off after leaving a battle, so you don't keep hearing the first 1/4 of the same song.

So, it's a little short, but it's a sweet ride while it lasts. Also wanted to mention that I've never beaten the final boss by using the known "cheese" method. I prefer to do it the hard way.



Inindo: Way of the Ninja (1993 - SNES)

Now that I've beaten Inindo for a third (legitimately) and fourth (cheated a bit with the debug menu) time, it's funny to look back on my old review and see the very first sentence complaining that the game is not replayable.

Truthfully, I probably never would have replayed it if not for RetroAchievements. It's definitely not a bad RPG, but two times in a life (once for each difficulty path) is probably more than enough. Still, I can't say I didn't enjoy doing it again, and probably for all the good reasons I outlined in that old review. (I won't do it again here since you can just read that review if you care to know.)

What's far more significant about this recent outing is that I am the first person to prove that the game has no such "bad ending" for not completing it by the year 1601, as the manual claimed:

While it's still possible that other versions of Inindo may have a time limit, clearly the SNES version does not and will simply keep going until you defeat the final boss. This is further evidenced by there being no text in the ROM for such an ending.

So, by now if I haven't talked about this game enough to interest you in playing it, I probably never will.



Jurassic Park (1993 - SNES)

This is another game I previously reviewed, so I don't feel I need to say a lot about it now. All I can say is that I used my walkthrough to replay it for RetroAchievements, and holy hell, how did I ever figure this game out??? Reading that FAQ was like talking to a younger version of myself - one that doesn't seem to exist anymore. I don't think I could repeat that again now if I tried. I'd probably just get hopelessly lost in this game and resort to someone else's FAQ or maps to beat it.

With that said, the game is toughest at the onset when you're low on ammo and not used to the controls. But once you start gaining a stockpile of weaponry, it actually becomes a lot easier (enemies killed inside buildings don't respawn, but weapon and life refills do). Getting lost and figuring out what to do next is the hardest part - along with finding all those elusive eggs, and trying to avoid the instant-death Triceratops and T-Rex in areas where they can appear.

One of the most frustrating parts of this game is locating the nest in the Raptor tunnels, but I happened upon a very simple method for finding it almost right away: Spoiler: Left hand on the wall will take you right to it.

Like Inindo, I feel that if my yammering about this game hasn't convinced you to play it yet, it never will, but I have nothing more to say about it.



Super Mario World (1991 - SNES)

Super Mario World is a difficult game for me to review, because it's a game I like, but I don't feel very strongly about it. I don't hold it in as high of a regard as I do Super Mario Bros. 3, which, in many ways, it feels like an easier version of, except with Yoshi instead of the special suits.

It does have some decent stage design, particularly the later fortresses and castles, and the Special Worlds, but much of it goes by with little effort. Since this was the Super NES's flagship title, it's appropriate to comment on the graphics, which are bright and colorful, but lacking in detail. The final boss fight with Bowser, which makes heavy use of the system's Mode 7 function, is at least memorable if not super-difficult.

Another reason I've never found this game as enjoyable as SMB3 is that I don't like Mario's cape flying controls as much as I did his raccoon tail controls. The cape is awkward to use, and that's probably why it's never truly utilized in an engaging way - no stages that absolutely require you to fly to complete them. Yet, even with their unintutive nature, they can be easily used to bypass stages that are tough to traverse on foot. (For the first time in my life, I finally beat that forest Special World without flying, as I had to for an RA achievement.)

I realize this game has its fans who would probably be none too happy with this review, but considering that Yoshi's Island, the game's sequel, took every issue I've outlined here and improved greatly upon them, it would seem that even the developers knew that Super Mario World wasn't quite the game they had intended it to be.




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