Thursday, December 27, 2018

Final Fantasy Origins for PlayStation (2003)

Original ad featured in the June 2003 issue of EGM (167).
Press to view or download image at higher resolution.

Fantastic artwork for a relic of the past

During the last days of Sony's original PlayStation, Japanese RPG giant Squaresoft published a series of Final Fantasy games on what was the world's most popular game console. Sadly, the games were not good at all.

This was king of a big thing back in the start of the naughts. This was the first time Squaresoft had released the original Final Fantasy games on a Sony console. Up until then, they had published major 3-D installment in FFVII, VIII and IX, all of them excellent. So everyone was expecting a huge upgrade for the previous 2-D Final Fantasy titles, only released on Nintendo consoles in the 80s and 90s. (As many of you know, Nintendo had a big fight with with Squaresoft during the dusk of the Super NES and the development of the ill-fated Nintendo CD add-on).

Unfortunately, hardcore JRPG fans were seriously disappointed with Square's 2-D efforts. For starters, the games retained all on the original FF (1987) and FFII's (1988) difficulty. No modernized tutorial for you. Worse yet, every time you loaded the menu screen, the system would take an eternity to load and exit. This broke the entire RPG experience. Graphics and music were upgraded to 16-bit quality assets, yes, and the inclusion of CG intermissions was a nice touch, but this was not a good gameplay experience at all. A shame really, since this was the first time FFII was brought over to America (not counting the Wonderswan release), basically 15 years after its original release in Japan.

The printed ad for the double pack was incredible, though. The hand-drawn art was truly poster worthy and the screenshots were just what you would expect of a FF title. To the right- hand size of the page is a huge illustration of the antagonist that pops out of the page even when seen in a two-tone sepia. The artwork is Yoshitaka Amano's, as confirmed by the ad's fine print on the lower right. The font set is beautiful, minimal and clean. A remarkable piece.

Original ad copy

Remastered editions

Final Fantasy Origins
Final Fantasy & Final Fantasy II

Experience the first two games in the world-famous Final Fantasy series

Two complete, classic games in one exclusive package. Two amazing stories with dozens of hours of gameplay each, plus all-new enhanced graphics and bonus features. Two incredible adventures at one low price.

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