Well, we'll be able to eventually, anyway.
For now, though, we've gotta get our intro stuff out of the way and our first party member.
As the game begins, we meet our player avatar, who's “official”, if unspecified, name is Benjamin. We can name him anything we want, but I think I'll go with the short form of the “official” and call him Ben. Kinda breaks a rule I usually follow in these games, but an exception every now and again is good, too. As we meet Ben, he's climbing the Hill of Destiny after seeing his town get wrecked by monsters. Or at least, that's what we're supposed to gather from his conversation with the Old Guy he meets there. The Old Guy guides Ben to safety and then tells him about a prophecy about four vile demons who have sealed the world behind four doors in the Focus Tower, and that Ben is the knight who will save the world.
Soon as the Old Guy finishes the story, a monster shows up, and he gives Ben a sword to fight it with. This is not quite a scripted fight, as it's possible to lose, but the game lets you start over as often as needed. That start over thing isn't unique to this fight, either. It applies to every battle in the game, far as I know, though most of the ones outside of boss fights like this are pretty hard to lose.
With the fight won, the Old Guy says his guess was right, and now Ben needs to save some crystals to save the world from destruction. Ben gives him the first of many Whachu talkin' 'bout, Willis? expressions that will be a recurring thing throughout the game. The Old Guy says Ben's on his own for that, but should meet him in a place called Level Forrest and then flies off.
Ben just shrugs and heads off on foot, just as the Hill of Destiny collapses into a pit, never to be seen again. When he gets to Level Forrest, the Old Guy says he needs to go to Forresta to get help, but doesn't really explain any more before leaving again. Fortunately, though, there is a guy from Forresta there who needs a little help getting back to town.
As it happens, there's a big rock blocking the path to the only exit to town available right now, and the guy going there is too weak to move it on his own. So, it's up to Ben to jump over the guy and move it. With that taken care of, the villager gives Ben something called the Tree Whither, to take to somebody in town called Kaelie. She's got an ax she can use to take out some of the bad trees in Level Forrest, but needs help with the monsters. Seeing the doohickie that the villager gave Ben is the final push she needs to join up and go in.
Due to the peculiarities of how this game was coded, there's a bit of a glitch that starts to come into play right about here. While all the armors and accessories and such in this game do have stat and defense bonuses like they do in the games in the main series, in this one, the game has to be saved and restarted in order for the effects of each thing to be applied. In this case, it really isn't that big an issue, because Ben doesn't have any yet, and Kaelie isn't in the party long enough this time for it to really matter even if she does, because the normal monsters really aren't that big a threat, and I don't think the dungeon boss here uses status attacks anyway. Plus, and spoilers on this 23-year-old game, this boss poisons Kailie as part of the story and she's out of the party until very near the end of the game anyway.
The first real boss of this game is a Minotaur who has possessed one of the trees blocking the north exit to this dungeon. When Kaelie cuts his tree down, the Minotaur appears and tries to reenact this scene from the climax of Ghostbusters 2, only with poison, which means that Kaelie's going to be leaving the party shortly. Of course, since Kaelie and Ben are the heroes, they get to make it into a scene from the Sandman episode of Real Ghostbusters instead. Gotta say, critical hits are nice when you get them, especially at this point in this game.
But since Kaelie really is poisoned, she gives Ben her ax when her mom comes to take her home after the fight, explaining that she needs something called Elixer to get better. The Elixer is supposed to be in a place called the Sand Temple.
Which will be for next issue, folks, because I'm going to be breaking this up the way I did Final Fantasy 4: at the boss fights, at least early on. So next time, we'll get to meet our second party member: Tristram the Ninja! Until then, stay safe, have fun, keep gaming, and DFTBA!