Final Fantasy II was released in the US in 1993. My mother and father who had played the original Final Fantasy (and loved it), went ahead and purchased Final Fantasy II as a Christmas gift…what they didn’t know was that it was released for a whole different video game system than what we already had, the Super Nintendo (SNES). I make mention to to this, because this game came out around the time I began really snooping around the house for Christmas presents. I found this one hidden in my mother’s top nightstand draw.
I remember having a conversation one day, shortly after, with my mother while driving around town about how there was to be a new Final Fantasy game…but that it was only being released for the Super Nintendo. The shock and confused look on my mothers face and in her voice is something I remember to this day. Long story short, I don’t think if I hadn’t made mention of this, my family would not have had a Super Nintendo to open on Christmas morning as a “family gift.”
I don’t remember all the games my siblings and I received with the Super Nintendo like I do with the NES. I do know the SNES we received was bundled with Super Mario World, and maybe that’s all we needed this time around. I mean we already owned a NES with a few dozen games…I do remember, much like the original Final Fantasy, I could not play the sequel until my mother had beaten it.
Final Fantasy II, by Square mirrored a lot of the same styles of the original game. You have a party of heroes that explore the world, encounter monsters, do battle, earn experience and gold, buy new weapons and armor…rinse repeat and continue doing it until you beat the game. Unlike Final Fantasy, you do not get the chance to chose who your party is. You start the game out being the character Cecil a Dark Knight under the employment of a cruel and corrupt King. Your mission is to travel the world in an airship steal legendary crystals of power, while creating havoc and chaos, death and destruction every where you go…
This was the second release of the Final Fantasy franchise in the US, in Japan, this was actually Final Fantasy IV (4), so Square had time to change how the game play goes and started creating stories with characters who all have story lines, emotions, and plots. At the opening of this game, Cecil was beginning to develop a conscience and wanted to know why he had to do such cruel things in the name of the King.
As the introduction/narrative moves along at the beginning of this game, Cecil’s conscious forces the King to strip Cecil of his title and send him on a mission to deliver a package to a neighboring town. We meet the character Kain, for which we are to assume to be Cecil’s best friend who joins him on the mission. We also meet the characters Rosa (Cecil’s girlfriend) and the engineer known as Cid.
I think one of the things that makes the Final Fantasy franchise so successful is the engaging stories, well thought out characters, and reoccurring characters and motifs. Part of the fun of playing a Final Fantasy is trying to go around finding all the hidden items and treasure. And then there are the characters who like to strip naked and dance around the city…
Final Fantasy II, is a great game with a beautiful story line…although the characters do not have the traditional classes Final Fantasy uses, they more or less play the same. Rosa for example, is a white mage and can cast healing and defensive spells. Speaking of spells, one huge difference in this game that was different from was that characters learn their magic as they level up. Yep, no more spending hard earned gold on spells…which makes sense since this game introduces so many different character classes and each had their own skill sets beyond that of Fight and Magic, such as the Dragoon class (Kain) with the ability to Jump.
One of the most creative aspects of this game was how you could explore the above world, the underworld and eventually the moon. I always appreciate how the main character is able to come to terms with who he is and goes through a class change from a Dark Knight to a Paladin so that he can change the world and put right what wrongs he caused in the name of the king.
This version of Final Fantasy also introduces multiple party combinations. Since you meet/gain more characters in this game, than you can have in your party, you can mix and match your party members so that everyone gets a chance to levels up. Be warned though, some characters may come and go with the party as the story line progresses, and some (Palom, and Porom) sacrifice themselves to save the party and never come back into the game.
Final Fantasy definitely didn’t have as much of a replay value as the original Final Fantasy, at least not to me anyway. It is still a really great game and like Final Fantasy before you want to take the time to level up your characters.