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Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
|Final Fantasy Mystic Quest|
North American box art
Square (North America, Japan)
ESRB: E (Virtual Console rerelease)
|This page uses content from Wikipedia (view authors), and falls under the compatible Creative Commons license.|
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, known as Mystic Quest Legend in Europe, is a role-playing video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was first released in America in 1992 and then in Japan and Europe in 1993. In America, the game sold for an MSRP of US$39.99.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is a beginner-friendly RPG that was designed to appeal to western audiences. As such, the game is titled Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest in Japan. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest also has some elements from action-adventure titles. While technically the first ''Final Fantasy game released in Europe, the game was not branded as a Final Fantasy game there, like Final Fantasy Adventure, which is similarly titled Mystic Quest in Europe.
The game stars a young man named Benjamin, who goes on a quest to reclaim a set of four stolen crystals that each determine the state of the world's four elemental powers: earth, water, fire, and wind. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest differs from games in the main Final Fantasy series in that it does not have random encounters, save points, or the ability to manually equip weapons, armor, and other equipment to the characters. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest's plot also has a lack of depth.
The game opens with Benjamin climbing the Hill of Destiny. While exploring, his village is destroyed in an earthquake. As Benjamin is climbing the Hill, he meets White, a mysterious old man who charges him with fulfilling the knight's prophecy. Although initially in disbelief, Benjamin accepts the role and White shows him the Focus Tower, supposedly the center of the World. After defeating a Behemoth, Benjamin follows White to the Level Forest, where he is tasked with recovering the Crystal of Earth. Proceeding to the decaying village of Foresta, he meets with an axe-wielding girl named Kaeli, who agrees to help Benjamin if he can help her rid the Level Forest of monsters. Kaeli is ambushed and poisoned in the process, and her mother informs Benjamin of the Elixir and where it can be found. Benjamin's search for Elixir to heal Kaeli brings him to Bone Dungeon, where he is aided by a treasure hunter named Tristam in succeeding dual purposes: not only does Benjamin get Elixir from Tristam to heal Kaeli, but he defeats one of the four Vile Evils, Flamerous Rex, to free the Crystal of Earth and in turn restore life to Foresta. Tristam leaves and Benjamin heals Kaeli.
Benjamin is told that Aquaria is in danger, and is in need of help. He is told by White and various others that he should see Spencer. He is told that a girl named Phoebe can help him as well. After proceeding through the first stage of the Focus Tower, and arriving in the province of Aquaria, Benjamin locates Phoebe, and learns that Spencer is trapped underground by thick ice floes. Phoebe needs the wakewater, which is said to be able to help free Aquaria. Benjamin and Phoebe head to the Wintry Cave and defeat a monster to obtain the Libra Crest. Using this crest to enter Life Temple from the Libra Temple, they find that the source of the wakewater has dried up. Finding White in the back of the Life Temple, they find that he holds the only bag of wakewater, and to use it on the plant in the center of town. Back in Aquaria, they find that the wakewater does not work, and reviving the crystal is the only thing that will save Aquaria and Spencer. They head off for the Ice Pyramid and defeat the second of the Vile Evils, the Ice Golem. The Crystal of Water is saved, and Benjamin and Phoebe head back to Aquaria. They find the town is now like Foresta after the crystal is revived there and Spencer is back and digging his tunnel to save Kaeli's father Captain Mac. Upon leaving, Spencer hands the Venus Key to Benjamin, and tells him to head for Fireburg.
Benjamin arrives in the Focus Tower to find White again, who tells him to find Reuben, and disappears. Benjamin heads for Fireburg, and finds Reuben, who joins him when Benjamin promises to help free Reuben's dad, Arion. Upon finding Tristam in the Inn who gives Benjamin the Multi-Key, they find the coward who left Arion in the mine in a locked house. He teaches Benjamin how to throw the bombs and says that it will free Arion. Benjamin and Reuben then proceed to the Mine and free Arion. Arion tells some tales of how the Crystal of Fire has gone berserk, and Reuben goes off with Benjamin to the Volcano to stop the Dualhead Hydra from draining its power. After defeating it, the Crystal of Fire's power is restored, and Benajmin and Reuben decide to head to Windia. Along the way, Reuben is ambushed by monsters and falls off the rope bridge. Tristam comes along and helps Benjamin cross the bridge, but they are stymied by a tree who won't talk to them. Tristam says that there is a gal in Foresta who can talk to tree spirits, and the two drop in on Aquaria where Kaeli was trying to find Spencer. Benjamin and Tristam go down into the tunnel and find Spencer, who tells Tristam of a great treasure. They leave, and Phoebe plants a bomb that collapses a tunnel Spencer was building. She leaves to tell Spencer what happened, and Benjamin takes Kaeli to the Alive Forest to talk to the dormant tree spirit. He tells them that he will take them to Windia if they kill the monsters dwelling within him. After they do so, the tree spirit takes them to Windia.
Upon arriving in Windia, Benjamin and Kaeli find Otto, whose daughter was caught in Pazuzu's Tower when the winds from nearby Mount Gale knocked out his Rainbow Road. The only way the road works is when there is no wind, so Benjamin and Kaeli proceed to Mount Gale and stop the wind by defeating a powerful monster at the top. After returning to Windia, Otto powers up the Rainbow Road and the two adventurers proceed to Pazuzu's Tower. After giving chase, they corner Pazuzu and defeat the fourth Vile Evil and restore the Crystal of Wind. Norma is reunited with Otto, and Kaeli stays to take care of her. Reuben shows up and after a series of long events Captain Mac is rescued. Reuben falls down because of the injury sustained on the Rope Bridge, and Phoebe joins Benjamin instead.
White tells Benjamin an ominous addendum to the prophecy: "the one behind the four is darker than the night, and rises midst the land." It becomes known that the Dark King is the true source of evil. Benjamin thus sails to Doom Castle to confront the Dark King, who threatens to enslave Benjamin along with the rest of mankind. The Dark King claims that he wrote and spread the prophecy Benjamin had followed throughout his quest. Once the Dark King is defeated, White congratulates Benjamin and reveals that he is the fifth crystal, The Crystal of Light in the guise of a human. At the end of the game, Benjamin is seen still craving adventure, and he borrows the ship from Captain Mac as his friends gather to wish him off. While sailing, Tristam makes a surprise appearance.
Like previous games in the series, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is presented in a top-down perspective. Unlike earlier Final Fantasy games, the World cannot be freely explored. Instead, Benjamin travels along set paths from one pictorial icon to the next. Some routes are blocked off, as indicated by a gray arrow, but become accessible when Benjamin succeeds in a specific task, such as completing a dungeon. Once its path is open, the player can enter an icon; the game's plot and action takes place within these icons, which include towns, dungeons, and battlefields. The game is characterized by featuring action-adventure game elements; besides jumping, players can use weapons outside of battle, which play an active role in exploration. Benjamin can chop down trees with an axe, detonate bombs to open sealed doorways, or use a grappling hook to clear wide gaps. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest does away with save points; players can save their progress at any time during exploration.
Instead of random enemy encounters, battles are represented in dungeons as stationary enemy sprites, and Benjamin and other characters are given the option of approaching the enemy and engaging a battle. Once engaged in battle, the player is thrust into the battle screen, which presents a window-based menu with three commands to choose from: battle, run, or control. Running from battle transports the player back to the field screen, while choosing "control" toggles between the ally's battle mode, where the player can manually control the main character's ally or opt for a computer-controlled ally. If players choose to battle, they are presented with a submenu of four more options: physically attack the enemy, cast a spell, use a curative item (such as a Cure potion), or defend. The game's battle system relies on conditional turn-based combat, where the characters and enemies cycle through rounds in battling each other, with the first action of the turn awarded to the fastest character. Enemy sprites are always far larger than player sprites in battle, despite appearing further away from the game camera. Some animals attack by physically crushing the players.
Character health is represented by an incremental life bar, although the player may choose to have it displayed in numerical fractions as in most role-playing games. If all character life bars reach zero, the game is over, but the player is given the option of continuing and restarting the battle. If the player chooses this option, however, the main character's attack power may suffer temporarily as a penalty. A character's performance in battle is determined by statistics for vitality, attacking power, defensive capabilities, speed, magical prowess, accuracy, and evasion. Character statistics are driven by experience points (EXP) gained from winning battles, which accumulate until Benjamin or another character reach another level. This resets the invisible EXP counter. Besides awarding experience points, battling enemies also earns the player gold pieces (GP), which can be used to buy weapons, armor, and curative items. In the absence of random enemy encounters, battlefields are scattered across the world map. Players are immediately thrust into a battle when entering a battlefield, and must win ten enemy battles to "clean out" the battlefield. Once a battlefield is cleaned out, players are awarded either a large amount of experience, a large amount of GP, a piece of armor, or a magic spell.
Unlike all other Final Fantasy games, players cannot manually equip characters with armor. Instead, newly acquired armor replaces the main character's current equipment, or upgrades a current version of a weapon. Using the L and R buttons allows the player to cycle through the weapons that have been collected so far. Benjamin uses four types of weapons: swords, axes, bombs, and claws. Although the weapons share a similar function in battle, all have different purposes when exploring the field map. For example, the Dragon Claw can be used as a grappling hook. There are fewer weapons, items, and spells than in the main Final Fantasy series and other RPG titles.
Magic is not learned by designated spellcasters through experience. Instead, the main character acquires magic spells through treasure chests or as a reward for clearing out battlefields. The system of spellcasting is similar to that of the original Final Fantasy; rather than using magic points to draw upon for supplying magic, spells are used according to a set number for their type: white magic, black magic, or wizard magic. The allotted number for each type increases as a character levels up. A spell's effectiveness is proportional to a character's experience level; the higher the character's level, the more powerful the Fire spell, for example. Items in the game are analogous to the spells. The Heal spell and potion act as a cure-all for status ailments, eliminating the need for unique status recovery items. Similarly, the Cure spell and potion each restore 25% of HP, eliminating the need for a range of potion or spell strengths.
- Benjamin - The main protagonist and the knight foretold by the ancient prophecy. Uses a variety of weapons and every spell, and is the only character capable of gaining experience points.
- Kaeli - Spirited girl living in the forest village of Foresta. She is poisoned after an encounter with a Minotaur Zombie, but recovers to help Benjamin later in the game. Uses Axes, one of which she gives to Benjamin.
- Tristam - Ninja treasure hunter of the group, he loves calling the main character "Kid". Tristam is the only character who has his own theme music. Uses replenishable Shuriken.
- Phoebe - Healer that lives in Aquaria. Helps Benjamin out on several occasions, including the final dungeon. Uses a Cat Claw until she gives it to Benjamin, after which she uses the replenishable Bow of Grace.
- Reuben - Armored youth living in Fireburg. He joins Benjamin to rescue his father, Arion, and to acquire the Crystal of Fire. Reuben uses a Morning Star as his weapon.
- White - An old man who constantly appears to give Benjamin hints about his destiny and where to head off to next. Very mysterious and enigmatic, he Rides a cloud everywhere as his means of transportation. Turns out to be the fifth crystal, the Crystal of Light, in the guise of a human being.
- Captain Mac - Kaeli's father whose boat has disappeared at sea. Kaeli still believes him to be alive somewhere.
- Spencer - An elderly inventor and explorer living underneath Aquaria. Is Phoebe's grandfather.
- Arion - He is Rueben's father, who is trapped in Fireburg's Mine and has to be rescued.
- Otto - A mechanic living in Windia who built the Rainbow Road machine. He asks Benjamin to rescue his daughter from Pazuzu's Tower.
- Norma - Otto's daughter. Is trapped in Pazuzu's Tower.
These creatures, after being encountered for the first time in the story, are encountered later as weaker, common foes.
- Behemoth - A giant bull that attacks Benjamin at the start of the game after being unleashed from the earth by one of Flamerus Rex's earthquakes. He has a weaker form known as Gorgon.
- Minotaur - A giant man with the head of a bull, he is an evil woodsman, rotting away the earth's trees and poisoning the land. Has a weaker form known as Minotaur Zombie.
- Squidite - A giant squid that makes use of electrical and fiery attacks that guards the Libra Crest in the Wintry Cave. Has a weaker form known as Phanquid.
- Snow Crab - A giant crab made of ice and snow that uses cold attacks. It guards the passage from Falls Basin to the Ice Pyramid. Has a weaker form known as Freezer Crab.
- Jinn - A fire-type genie like character with one eye and a huge sword, has taken over the mine. Has a weaker form known as Iflyte.
- Medusa - A woman guarding the Volcano. Like her Greek mythology counterpart, Medusa has snakes for hair, and can petrify a party member. She has a weaker form known as Stheno.
- Gidrah - A multi-headed Chimera which has taken over the world's largest tree and laid waste to the insides of it.
- Dullahan - A headless knight riding on the back of a headless horse. He serves Pazuzu, and has a weaker form named Thanatos.
The four major bosses of the game are the Vile Evils, creatures that have been draining the power of the crystals. The Vile Evils serve under the Dark King, who wishes to cover the world in misery and famine. By defeating the Vile Evils and recovering the crystals, balance is restored to another element. At the end of the game, Benjamin must ascend Doom Castle, at the top of which the Dark King resides. On each of the Doom Castle's floors, Benjamin must defeat a second, more powerful version of each of the Vile Evils.
- Flamerus Rex - A giant, zombie Tyrannosaurus rex that is encountered as the boss of Bone Dungeon. He is the undead ruler of the Crystal of Earth. Flamerus Rex causes destructive earthquakes, one of which is the catalyst for the beginning of the game. Has a double in the Doom Castle called Skullrus Rex. Being an undead enemy, Flamerus Rex can be instantly defeated from the Life spell.
- Ice Golem - A giant, armored barbarian made out of blocks of ice. He is encountered in the Ice Pyramid, and has turned the world's water into sheets of ice and covered the land in thick blankets of snow. When he is injured, Ice Golem begins melting into a puddle. He has a double in the Doom Castle called Rock Golem.
- Dualhead Hydra - A two-headed dragon encountered at the Lava Dome. He is responsible for the world's volcanoes to erupt violently and destroying towns. Dualhead Hydra has a double in the Doom Castle called Twinhead Wyvern.
- Pazuzu - A giant, demonic Eagle dressed in finery and jewels. He is encountered in his own tower, Pazuzu's Tower. Pazuzu is the chief lieutenant to the Dark King and the only one of the Vile Evils who has a defined personality. He uses the Crystal of Wind to cause gale force winds to tear through the world. Has a double in the Doom Castle called Zuh.
- Dark King - A wicked king who represents the ultimate evil. When the battle with him begins, he appears to be a large, green-skinned man dressed in red robes and a crown. Once enough damage has been inflicted, he throws off his robe to reveal eight reptilian arms, each clutching some sort of weapon. Further damage causes him to revert further towards his true form, into a giant tarantula with a grinning, bearded, demonic face. His final stage is akin to the tarantula stage except his spidery limbs have been replaced with tentacles. Heavy damage can be dealt to Dark King using the Cure spell, enough to kill him in three hits, therefore preventing him from having a chance to fight in his fourth form.
The entirety of the game takes place in the World of Mystic Quest (named World in the game), which is divided into four quadrants, each consisting of a region. The welfare of each region is determined by the state of their respective crystal. Regions missing their crystal are plagued by decay, climate change, or other natural disasters. When Benjamin recovers a crystal, its associated region returns to normal.
- Foresta - Forested area that prospers under the Crystal of Earth. Prior to being restored, it is wilting and in decay.
- Aquaria - Town on a large lake that prospers under the Crystal of Water. Prior to being restored, the town is frozen over.
- Fireburg - City on a mountainside that prospers under the Crystal of Fire. Prior to being restored, the town suffers perpetual earthquakes.
- Windia - Cliffside village that prospers under the Crystal of Wind. Prior to being restored, the town suffers from crippling gales.
- Focus Tower - A giant tower that stands in the center of the world. Passages and doors inside the tower lead to the other four areas of the world.
- "The action/adventure players... are larger in numbers and the demographic is different. They tend to be younger and like the idea of jumping straight into the action with a sword in their hands; it's an empowerment issue - you get to go out there, start whacking things and it feels good! With the more traditional RPGs, it takes a good 15 or 20 hours of playing before you're finally hooked."
- —Ted Woolsey, Super Play Magazine (September 1994 issue)
Although designed by one of Square's development teams in Japan, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was specifically geared for the United States' market. At the time, console role-playing games were not a major genre in North America; Square thus attempted to broaden the genre's appeal through Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Square's executives cited the alleged difficulty of role-playing games as the reason Americans shied away from them, and eased the difficulty level by tweaking various aspects of the main series' gameplay. Square even worked with their American offices to ensure that the game would be accessible to children.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was developed in a graphic and gameplay style similar to Final Fantasy Legend III. The gameplay shares numerous similarities with that title, featuring a very similar battle system, graphical interface, and dungeon system. Even the jump feature from Final Fantasy Legend III has been reproduced, and almost all of the icons - from caves to the enemy sprites - are a color-upgraded version of Final Fantasy Legend III's character set. Besides allowing for computer-controlled allies, the game did away with random battles, complicated storylines, and text-based menus. To appeal to the perceived tastes of North American audiences, which gravitated towards fast-paced games, Square included action-adventure game elements. Ted Woolsey stated that Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was one of the easiest games he had to translate, due to the game's small size.
- "The History of Final Fantasy" (Final Fantasy Mystic Quest). GameSpot (archive.is).
- Ogopogo Examiner issue 2
- (Fahs, Travis) "IGN Presents the History of Final Fantasy". IGN (Wayback Machine). Published June 26, 2009.
- "Bob Rork Woolsey Interview". Chrono Compendium (Wayback Machine).