Well, since I kind of need to get away from my main Text Play for awhile and need to do something, why not do this game?
I do have a fair number of games I could have done for this one that don't have “Final Fantasy” in the title, but I'd have to take them a little more seriously than I really want to right now to properly do them justice. So instead, I'm going to do what seems to me like a rare thing in the video game world: the equivalent of the introductory starter kit.
Before I really get into explaining things here, I should note that I'll probably keep this short, as I've already covered this game two times (those are separate links, BTW) in Community Blog posts on Channel Awesome. That was entirely accidental, of course. I'd only meant to do it once, but still managed twice somehow. This playthrough will be more about actual gameplay and personal thoughts and details that I may have left out of the previous articles.
You'll notice that I also used the word “underrated” in the issue title for this. It's for good reason, as is the “starter kit” thing. See, when this game first came out in 1992, the reasoning behind those of us getting this game instead of Final Fantasy V like they did in Japan, as I understand, is that the North American audience was deemed just a little too slow on the uptake for this sort of game and Squaresoft thought we needed something a little easier to catch our interest and get us into these role playing game thing-a-ma-jiggers they were making.
The most embarrassing thing about this for me is not so much that I was eager enough for another Final Fantasy game after FF4 that I fell for it when they sold me this, or that I can honestly say that I actually kind of like this game, but that they pretty much snookered me out of an extra five bucks on this game by selling me a strategy guide for this game. And that would be bad enough if I'd managed to keep ahold of the damned thing all these years, but the only thing I can say for sure about it right now is that sometime between when I originally bought this game in early 1993 and when I went to college in the fall of 1996, I lost the guide somehow.
But that's OK. Part of the reason it wound up getting lost is that it's really useless. The game pretty much holds your hand the whole way through, if only because it makes it so your only option is to go exactly where the story needs you to go when you need to go there.
There are things I'll get around to explaining when I get to them, but to sum up, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is pretty much the Dragon Strike of the video RPG world, and the Final Fantasy world specifically. I'll post a link to Spoony's Dragon Strike review in hopes that the video will become available again, because he does a pretty good job of explaining the concept of this game, too.
Otherwise, this is a fairly straightforward “meta-title” for the series, meant to do what the aforementioned Dragon Strike was for tabletop RPGs, and I'm assuming there were other such things for the likes of collectible card games such as Magic the Gathering and the like as well.
So, in the very near future, we'll get underway for what I'd call one of the most underrated entries in the Final Fantasy family.