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Final Fantasy H vs. Shadowiii
Final Fantasy H
Fenrir-Lunaris
Download: 3.02 MB
V.S.
Shadowiii
Play Time: 10 hours and 0 minutes
Review # 7 for Shadowiii
Them's Fightin' Words
    Final Fantasy H has already made itself (and Fenrir-Lunaris) a name in the OHR community. Basically it has been hailed as a "Better Game Than Final Fantasy 1" in that the graphics are redone (that is, ripped from other Final Fantasies for tilemaps), that races have been added, and the battle system has been redone. However, the game itself isn't exceptional, nor do I think that it compares to famous OHR greats like Monterey Penguin, Ends of the Earth, Memoria, or Wandering Hamster. The game lacks originality, which is what is to be expected from a Final Fantasy 1 remake, but it also lacks enjoyable gameplay, which is where I am completely turned off.
Graphics
    Most of the graphics in this game are ripped. Even as you begin the game you will notice the dragon you fight is straight from Final Fantasy 6, the houses are from Final Fantasy 6 as well, as is the entire tilemaps. However, this is the most professional ripping job I have seen in my life, so good that when I first saw it I didn't recognize it as Final Fantasy 6. The NPC's and Hero Graphics are completely original, and done well at that. The enemy graphics, though ripped, are colored well and it is obvious some touching-up was done. Battle backdrops are also well done, though ripped. Overall, the original graphics are beautiful, and the ripped graphics are well ripped.  
Storyline
    Ah...the story. Personally, I thought Final Fantasy 1 had a pretty lame story to begin with, and Fenrir-Lunaris tries to spark it up by adding new characters and adventures. However, most of the villians are still bland and pathetic. I honestly cringed when I heard Garland utter his famous 8-Bit Theater line; I mean honestly, I'm sure Fenrir could come up with something better than that. The story itself still is Final Fantasy 1, complete with the amazing lack of hero character development, villians who do evil because they can, and poorly done sub-characters. The only character with a shread of development is Sereph, who sounded too much like Sephiroth for me to like him. The story DOES stay true to Final Fantasy 1 in many ways, but when Fenrir tries to add to it the story just falls apart. I have to admit it was a decent attempt on his part, though, because creating a decent story in a game where none of the heros have any backgrounds is difficult. Isn't a key characteristic of a good game one where you relate to the hero (or one of his side-kicks)? How can you if you:
1. Choose the hero
2. Can't develop him because you don't know what the player chose.

Overall, it was a difficult task to begin with, but I'd have to say Fenrir failed in this point. I didn't enjoy the story very much, though I did enjoy seeing my favorite Final Fantasy 1 characters. It might have worked out better if Fenrir had stuck with the original Final Fantasy 1 story, but then it would be a total rip-off. I commend him for trying, and think it is better that way, but he could have tried [i]harder.[/i]
 
Gameplay
    Gameplay, overall, is somewhat difficult and can become a bit irritating at times. Even though the battles were reasonably balanced, the fact that Fenrir tried to make the game balanced for EVERY POSSIBLE TEAM made the game too easy for some and too difficult for others. Again, a daunting task in the first place, but Final Fantasy 1 managed to do it, and Final Fantasy H didn't. Personally I'd recommend the Hard-Type over this simply because it is more of a challenge.

Another irritating factor was that a "balanced" team [b]does not work.[/b] This really bugged me. I had a team with a Fighter, White Mage, Thief, and Black Mage. Pretty decently balanced, right? Well it turned out that it wasn't. I had to buy spells for both my White AND Black mage, so I ran out of money fast. Also, since I had two spell casters instead of an extra fighter, battles took extrememly long. Usually a team like this is standard for me (though I usually have 2 healers instead of 1), but it failed miserably. I played it again with a team of monks and breezed through the game. Overall, it got a bit irritating.

My biggest irritation, however, was the lack of save points. You save in an inn. Now, this may sound like a good idea, but once I got further into the game, spells got really expensive. If you read my 'ideal' party above, I had little or no money left over after spells and (hopefully) weapons. Inns were expensive, so I had to go play for quite a bit more time before I could simply SAVE. I gave up a few times my first time 'round because I simply had to quit and I couldn't save. This addition was a bad idea, very bad.

However, there is some other stuff I really liked. Villiagers say three things instead of the standard two or one. They also say different things depending on your race. This really stands out to me; it shows the creator of the game put time and energy to try to make the game interesting. Every OHR game should have the ingenuity of this. I really hate playing games where, after you've been gone on your quest for a year, you come back to your villiage and they say the SAME THING after you left. Stuff like that. The most impressive part I think was the fact that prices rose and fell depending on your race. This was a very good move on Fenrir's part.
 
  Battle
    As stated before, the battle balance depends on your chosen party. Usually you won't pick the ideal party to make the game 'funnest' because, frankly, I don't think it is there. The game will either be too easy or too hard either way. I think a bit more effort should have been into balancing around characters rather than making the game huge and beautiful.

As for the battles themselves, there are no random battles (another change from FF1) which, in my mind, stinks. I know that the 'see an enemy, fight him!' style works well in general, but in this case it just doesn't. It takes away the old school FF feel.

An interesting factor of the 'viewable enemy' though is the fact that the treasure chests lying around the world can only be opened once all the enemies are dead and then a boss monster will appear. I think this addition to the game was rather intreuging, though I would rather see it carried on into a different game then one based off of FF1.
 
  Map Design
    Fenrir took out the world-map. And I curse him for that. Even though the lack of a world map does add some interesting features into the gameplay, and also makes the game more Fenrir's then Square-Enix's, it ruins the Final Fantasy 1 feel. Also, it destroyed saving (see my general Gameplay comment above) which basically really made me mad.

However, I will admit the maps ARE well designed. They are intersting and unique, even if I did get lost a few times.
 
  Balance
    Oh boy...Balance. Personally I commend Fenrir for trying, I really do. The task of trying to balance this monster must have been a real pain for the playtesters. However, I think I said my part about battle balance in my General Gameplay comments, so I'll move on to the race balance.

Races aren't different enough. I hate to say this, but I peronsally saw little or no difference between the races. Sure, maybe there is a point or two lost along the way, but overall it doesn't matter if my Black Mage is Human or Dwarven. The damage is off by what, 2 points? If the differences between the races had been dramatic (maybe in the extreme) then this would be really interesting.
 
Music
    What do you think? It was all ripped. But the ripping WAS a decent attempt, though I can't say I liked most of the placement. I should probably say I want to shoot the world-map theme. It keeps popping up ALL THE TIME. This game should have more ripped music, and a wider variety of it all over the place.

Yeah, it was all ripped, but not ripped well. Arfenhouse 3 is a spectacular example of well done ripping; it actually adds some emotion to a game. Time Flies is a great example of well placed music. What many OHR game designers fail to realize is what sets the mood is the music. If your NPC just sits there and a text box pops up saying "AAAAH!!! SISTER!!! NOOOOOO!!!" but the happy world theme is playing, there is not emotion at all. Placing music well is a difficult task, but it really pays off. REALLY pays off. Unfortunatly, this technique isn't manipulated very well in this game...
 
Enjoyment
    Even though I said a bunch of crap about this game, I actually enjoyed playing it. The Title Screen is one of the coolest ever, the game itself was interesting enough to keep playing (even if my party sucked) and I will say I did have a decent time playing it. However, there is nothing in this game that offers any replay value, even the different races. I probably will never play it again, unless I was 50 for nostolga purposes, and then I'd probably play Wandering Hamster instead.  
Final Blows
    If you read my entire review, I made references to the fact that this ISN'T Final Fantasy 1 in almost every way. I mean, the story and stuff are similar, but it's been screwed with. The entire battle system is ATB, which isn't Final Fantasy 1 at all. Save points are in inns. There is no worldmap. There are different races. Overall, stuff is different. The problem is that this game tries to give us the best of both worlds; an OHR Original AND a Final Fantasy 1 remake. I personally think this is almost impossible to achive, simply because the Old School fans will hate you for screwing around with their precious Final Fantasy, and the OHR fans will scorn it because it steals from Final Fantasy and isn't original. I personally preferred Final Fantasy Origins to this simply because it stayed true to Final Fantasy. If this game had been Final Fantasy H's graphics with Final Fantasy O's old school feel, it would have been an amazing game. However, in its current situation, it is a mess. Is it a fan game? Is it an original? I have no idea.

Overall:
Good, not great. The battles are pretty poor and the maps pretty bad. As for the story, Fenrir should make his own original games, not remakes of old classics. This game had a lot of potential, but it was limited by the fact that it HAD to be Final Fantasy 1.


Final Scores
Graphics: 8.5/10.0
Mind-nummingly beautiful. But ripped. 5.0 for the ripping, 10.0 for the original plus a slight bias because I LOVED the original graphics gives this score.
Storyline: 4.5/10.0
A decent attempt to make Final Fantasy 1's story more interesting, but it was a failed attempt none-the-less.
Gameplay: 7/10.0
The races idea was good in theory, but poorly executed. The battles need a lot of work in the balance. However, it IS finished, which is VERY good. You don't see that everyday.
Music: 5/10.0
Ripped and poorly placed. This makes for a bad combination. However, he didn't stray off the Final Fantasy beaten path, which was a good idea.
Enjoyment: 6.5/10.0
Enjoyable the first time around, but there is nothing for me the second. I probably won't play it again, simply because of the poor battle balance and the horrible saveing issues.
Overall Grade: C+
Final Thoughts
    This game has already become one of the most popular games in OHR history, and this review can't change that. However, I think its lasting value will only be for a few months, contrary to years. This won't live on like Memoria, Monterey Penguin, Walthros, or Ends of the Earth, simply because it has too many flaws.

Graphics don't make the game. Gameplay makes a game
 


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