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Final Fantasy H vs. MultiColoredWizard
Final Fantasy H But the Light Warriors are supposed to rescue the princess!
Fenrir-Lunaris
Download: 3.02 MB
V.S.
MultiColoredWizard
Play Time: 20 hours and 16 minutes
Review # 1 for MultiColoredWizard But the Light Warriors are supposed to rescue the princess!
Them's Fightin' Words
    Whose game do you think was most valuable to the OHR Cookbook creators' time?
Here's a hint: RPGamer
Yet another: H
How about this hint: Final Fantasy H
Now, if you still do 't get it, then you deserve to be slapped silly.

Graphics
    While the majority of the graphics in this game were ripped from many sources, there are quite a few originally drawn ones. Fenrir is notorious for ripping graphics, though this time it's done in style, trying to match the look and feel of each area to enhance its mood. The Gurgu Volcano, for example, looks and feels like the inside of the bowels of hell, with molten lava strewn about the area, and the animated tiles are done in such a way to give the volcano a "heartbeat" feel. Likewise, the Sky Castle later on distinctively looks like the inside of a space-station, as it was meant to be. There's quite a bit of sprite-doctoring going on, mostly to get the ripped tiles to match up, but in many cases it's very hard to tell.
The ripped graphics are not just from one source, however. Quite a few of the enemy sprites are taken from Final Fantasy IV-VI. The elven forest, for example, uses tiles from Secret of Mana. The Hiroshima-like ruins of Liefen use tiles from the Makaitoushi SaGa WSC remake. In fact, 90% of the graphics are from remakes of games, published on Bandai's handheld, the Wonderswan Color (never released in America). Fenrir once said "if you're going to steal, do it with style, and make sure it's done well". Final Fantasy H is no exception to his rule.
However, Final Fantasy H is not ALL about ripping graphics. The walkabouts, hero sprites, weapons, attacks, and so on are considered some of the best in the OHR community because of their depth, shading, and most importantly, their ability to blend with the ripped graphics. Every possible color space in each sprite's palette is completely used, and there's even a bit of similarity between the different races and classes. All the dwarves have red hair, and the trim on their garments is suspiciously blue. Elves have blond hair, and favor more greenish looking tones and colors. Just by looking at each character, you can more or less tell their race, and their profession. The Clerics wear flowing white robes, the fighters are clad in shiny armor, and the monks are in various Karate Gis. The hero sprite for the Anthro Fighter is reputed to look similar to Fenrir himself, though it's just a coincidence I'm sure. There are also various degrees of shading for each color, and the results look simply great. My major complaint is that slightly more attention is given to a few more characters than some, and a few animations are actually nonexistent, but the strength of the graphics as a whole makes for an impressive visual experience.

 
Storyline
    Fenrir perfectly knows well how to tell a good story, or in this case RE-tell one. Of course, the basic story of Final Fantasy I doesn't have much going for it, but back when it was first made it was good enough to sell the game. One-dimensional characters, with simple personalities are more brought out to life, and their personalities actually change somewhat as the story progresses. The prophet Lukhan is one such example of a more fleshed out character, as are many others throughout the game. The Elemental Fiends, especially Tiamat also have their own motives and ways of talking. Who would have guessed that Kary was a valley-girl, or that Lich talks with a lisp.
The major character however, is NOT [one of] the Light Warriors, but their ally and enemy, the Half-Zyran Sorcerer Seraph. Though Seraph is never directly referred to as a man or a woman, similar to how many people once thought Kuja in FFIX was a woman. While, I won't spoil any secrets about it, Final Fantasy H is more about Seraph than the Light Warriors, and he/she may be as effective a villain as Sephiroth or Kuja.
The Light Warriors themselves get only a slight background to them, depending on whom you choose as your party members. Various Inns throughout the game charge more or less depending on your characters. For example, the inn in Elfland charges less for Elves, but overcharges for Dwarves. In general though, Final Fantasy H puts the player in the role of heroes that are more like NPCs, and has NPCs that act more like Heroes. It's an interesting twist, and is carried out better than most similar attempts.
Fenrir also knows how to tug at the heart strings(And dammit, he's good at it). Over the course of the story, we learn of the relationship between the Elven Prince and Astos, the heirs to the Elven Crown, and how Astos grew up hated by everyone around him. When Astos finally dies, it's like watching a part of yourself die as well. There's so much sadness throughout the game, and even the ending is a mixed blessing. Yes, you save the world, but at what price?

 
Gameplay
    Fenrir also shows his ability to create a GAME, and not just a work of art, or literature. For the most part, there is no world map, forcing the player to travel from one area to another by foot, navigating through treacherous terrain and avoiding monsters to get from one area to another. Later on, with the introduction of the airship, travel is made simpler though. The town structure and dungeon layouts are suspiciously familiar, seeing as they are based on their equivalents in the original Final Fantasy, from which this game is based on. The encounter rate for most areas is rather low, but Fenrir compensates for this in several ways, such as having wandering monsters on several maps. By defeating all the wandering monsters, an “area boss” shows up, often after much backtracking through an area. Defeating this boss allows the player to earn a special relic from a locked chest in each area. While this is a benefit for sure, and entertaining to see if you can collect every treasure, the appearance of the random monsters is more or less limited to the first third or so of the game. All the other treasure chests in the game contain money, forcing the player to purchase their own equipment, and adds a feel of customization to each character. The regular NPCs also have a variety of different things to say as well, hinting at a clever system of Tags going on.
Final Fantasy H also follows a proven method of throwing a large load of subquests at the player towards the end of the game. Some are more rewarding than others, depending on their difficulty/lateness in the game. It’s kind of funny to see just who you run into, as far as “secret” bosses are concerned. Apparently Fenrir likes Zero Wing.

 
  Battle
    At the core of any good Role Playing game is its combat system, and Fenrir knows the ins and outs of the OHRRPGCE engine when it comes down to this. The basic setup is your standard OHR-ATB system, with enemies and heroes racing to have their atb gauge fill up so they can quickly perform an action. While this has a tendency to turn into mindless button mashing in most OHR games, there’s a bit of strategy involved here. Up against an enemy that uses strong physical attacks? - cast Protect. Magic the only way to harm an enemy but your skill power’s too low? - use the “Focus” ability. The MP cost of spells is dependant upon their “level” as well. In addition, any hero can cast any spell, provided the spell is cast from the player’s limited item stock. While this may make the game seem easy, it’s more or less made to balance out parties that otherwise would not be able to complete the game without it. And fully stocking up on high level spells is extremely expensive.
Spells themselves are divided into Black and White magic, with certain characters only being able to naturally use one or the other. The uniqueness in each character, aside from the spells they cast is their special and unique “ability”. Clerics may pray for free HP restoration, Monks may build up their attack power, Thieves can steal rare and valuable items from enemies, etc. Many of the rarer (and inherently more powerful) weapons and armor can only be obtained by stealing it from enemies.
Leveling up is a progressive system in Final Fantasy H. Monsters tend to give out just enough Exp to keep the player constantly leveling up. Gil (currency) is dropped at a fair rate, and spells are obtained/purchased at points where they are most relevant. By the time you need to start casting Life, it’s available. When enemies show up that are weak against Fire3, the spell becomes available to purchase. Of course, you can backtrack to get things you’ve missed. The weapons and equipment you get also have a handy series of icons and numbers indicating the bonuses you get for equipping them.
Most of the battle system involves a degree of preparation to it as well. When facing enemies that use fire, defend yourself with equipment that absorbs fire damage. There’s also a bit of “Paper Scissors Rock” going on with the elemental spells… Fire beats lightning beats ice, beats fir, etc… Undead monsters are weak against harm spells, while everything else is immune. Flying creatures completely ignore damage from Quake attacks. There’s also a generalized “status effect” statistic that can be set to ignore damage from Poison, Blind, and a host of other miscellaneous status effects. Running into Malboros later on really puts the Esuna-type spells to their fullest use in any OHR game seen to date.

 
  Map Design
    The maps are closely based on the maps of the original Final Fantasy, and as such may get a little confusing at times. Notable areas that retain the original layout are the temple of fiends, and the Giants’ Hallway in the Earth cave. For the most part, the dungeons are NOT straightforward at all, but rather tend to loop around and are designed to get the player lost. If an area looks familiar, it’s because it was designed that way. If the rewards for getting through each dungeon are anything to be relied upon, it is in the variety of the different locales and the ambient music throughout. The maps for the “overworld” areas involve some interesting navigation, particularly in the Imp Forest west of Coneria, since you have to dodge trees. In most cases though, the path you are expected to take is fairly straightforward and relatively simple to navigate. There are three areas that deserve a special mention though...
The first is the “Infinity Maze” in the Sky Castle. It’s extremely easy to get lost and no directions are given. Same situation with Pandemonium Castle, which is even more confusing since it is not based on any previously encountered dungeon in the original Final Fantasy. Finally are the ruins of Liefen, which have the “Lost Woods” trick going on from Zelda 1, it seems. A wrong turn, and back to the beginning you go.

 
  Balance
    The balance of the game is mainly set from the very beginning with the class selection. True, fighters are physically stronger than mages, but there’s more subtlety here now. Humans are in general well balanced, with elves geared more towards magic, and Dwarves leaning more towards fighting. Want a Cleric that can fight as well as the other fighters? - Get a Dwarven Cleric. Need a Fighter than can heal himself more often? - Use an Elven fighter. Like it says in the game, the difficulty of the game changes slightly depending on who you have in your party, as a matter of the basic stats. My personal preference is to go through with Anthro characters, but only because they eventually surpass all the other characters in terms of skill and stats. Some of the "hidden" playable characters tend to throw any balance out the window, but it’s somewhat entertaining to watch Bob the Hamster split open Garland’s head.

 
Music
    As with most OHR games, Final Fantasy H also rips music. The basic “overworld theme” from Final Fantasy remains, however there are something like 8 or 9 versions of it throughout the game, generally in the areas between towns and dungeons. Aside from a few locations, you’ll rarely ever hear the same exact song twice. Some of the locales have very soothing music, giving the impression that the world itself is a dream, only to be changed by the sudden tempo of a battle theme and a nightmarish fight against the Fiends.
Another interesting feature is that this game includes battle themes for the bosses and Fiends, and has quite a few extra boss tracks to go with it. Normally, I get killed by the Elemental fiends because I’m too busy listening to the music. I’ve come to understand that the new boss songs are in fact from the Wonderswan and soon to be released playstation versions of Final Fantasy 1, so how Fenrir could have found the songs for these bosses several months ahead of time is beyond me.
As for the rest of the music throughout the game, it’s generally very well placed. The song that plays when Astos dies comes to mind. The final Boss’s introductory music is also a welcome addition to fans of Fenrir’s previous game, Timestream Saga 1. The music that plays when the party is defeated also apparently changes as well, probably linked to the tags that force what NPCs say.

 
Enjoyment
    While it hardly deserves to be said, many people have said that this game is probably the most enjoyable game ever made with the OHRRPGCE yet. Every piece fits together perfectly, to deliver a tour de force of upwards of 20 hours of gameplay. You can also go through the game with only one character, taking on a “single character challenge”, for those who want to see if it can be done. There’s also a “hardtype” version of Final Fantasy H, which cleverly tweaks a few aspects of the gameplay while leaving the story completely identical. While few games can truly boast any degree of replay value, Final Fantasy H carries a truly impressive load.

 
Final Blows
    At the time of writing this review, this game has gotten 826 downloads; why do you think that is?


Brooms are bilingual.

Brooms are bilingual.
Final Scores
Graphics: 8/10.0
Graphics were mainly ripped (and ripped well!), but the originals are pretty decent. It would have been interesting to see the entire game done with original graphics.
Storyline: 10/10.0
Story was very much improved upon.
Gameplay: 10/10.0
Gameplay is much more quality, and somewhat difficult! I enjoy trying "one character" challenges.
Music: 10/10.0
Ripped, but placed well. Credit is given, and atomsphere is all ears
Enjoyment: 9/10.0
< Insert ^_^ here >
Overall Grade: A+
Final Thoughts
    Overall, my choice for game of 2002, and so far it's sticking to 2003. Congrats, Fenrir.  


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