Final Fantasy Chronicles - Review

A Blast from the Past

By: Jade Falcon

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 6
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 8
   Originality 1
   Plot 8
   Localization 8
   Replay Value 4
   Visuals 1
   Difficulty Easy - Medium
   Time to Complete

70-100 hours


Final Fantasy Chronicles

   RPGamers prayed year after year after year for the re-release of Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger for the Playstation. For the longest time, there was no indication that the games would ever make their way back to this side of the Pacific again. But, alas, Square pulled a rabbit out of its hat when it released Final Fantasy Chronicles in the middle of 2001. Do the remakes stand up to their former selves?

   Since this is a remake, some noted changes occurred between the originals and the new. What jumps out in FF4 is the re-translation of the text. Free of Nintendo's censor-happy policies of the 1990s, Square spiced up the game by means of not editing the translated "hard type" Japanese text, leaving in all details, and adding back enemies deemed "too tough for the Americans." As with the Final Fantasy Anthology release of Final Fantasy 5 and Final Fantasy 6, a very lackluster FMV, quite possibly the worst FMV Square has ever released in terms of graphics quality, was added to the beginning and end of the game. In some situations, though it was random, the music scrambled after a battle, causing an unpleasant sound closer to static than music to be uttered from the game until the scene changed. The loading time for the menus and battles is the shortest for all the re-releases, and the battle transition is preserved from the original. Thankfully, the line "You spoony bard!" was also left in.

He looks even less scary here than in the game.
A tad of FMV...  

   For CT, several anime cutscenes were added, drawn by Akira Toriyama himself. However, the framerate is remarkably poor, removing some of the impact of the scenes. Accompanying the anime are actual remixes of several old songs. Like FF6, loading times plague the flow of the game. The purpose of not having separate battle scenes was to speed up gameplay, but the loading time before every battle slows it down. The music sounds somewhat modernized since the instruments were switched to the Playstation wavetable. Taking advantage of CT's large number of endings, a bonus file is accessible upon completion of the game. With each different ending achieved, more information becomes unlocked in the system file.

   What did not change in both games were the in-game graphics and sound effects. Absolutely no attempt was made to improve either games' graphics, which to the growing crowd of RPGamers who want flashy visuals, makes the game unappealing. Some of the graphics look completely laughable when comparing them to, say, Final Fantasy X. The sound effects made no change as well, keeping their staticy backgrounds and their sometimes incomprehensible purpose. Most sound effects from the early to mid-1990s sounded more like thuds on a table rather than sword swings. Square could have taken more time to improve on these areas.

Fire & Ice
...A pinch of anime...  

   When examining the games themselves, they are true classics. The basis for nearly every ATB battle system today rests upon FF4's shoulders, but few games emulate CT's "let's get the battle done here and now" battle interface. CT was the first game to introduce double and triple techs. Both games were groundbreaking in their time. As game companies continue to experiment with more complicated battle systems, the original ATB will seem quite archaic. The plots of the two games differ in a large way, but both are great stories to remember. Classic crystal stories and the best time travel story to ever be conceived are the true reasons to play these games again.

   Upon release to the modern game market, Square found a defect in the FF4 disc that caused some PlayStations to not even be able to boot the game. To put salt in the wound, Square also announced that it would not replace the game for free, and another copy of the game had to be purchased. One would think that only die-hard fans of the two games would fork out an extra $40 for the game, but the number of people willing to repurchase the game was apparantly much higher than expected. For this one reason alone, that may be the reason why the sales of FFC topped the list for six consecutive weeks after its release.

The Judgment Day
...Do little justice.  

   As the old saying goes, "beggars cannot be choosers." RPGamers in America begged for the re-release of the games, and we eventually got them. The shoddy job on CT is inexcusable, but when we sit down and think hard on the subject, we are lucky to even get this reincarnation of the newest games. For any "new age" RPGamer who missed these classics, the price for the game is money well-spent for the experience.

© 1998-2017 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy