Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (RPG Special) (Game Boy Advance) Preview

By Adam Riley 04.11.2004 2

Squaresoft was a fledging company back in the 1980s, plugging away at the Japanese market in the hope of finding a foothold from which to launch itself into the big leagues. However, times were becoming increasingly hard, and the developer was not enjoying as much luck on the 8-Bit Nintendo Entertainment System as it would have liked. Therefore, in a last gasp attempt at success, the 'Final Fantasy' was launched to great success and quickly saw an equally profitable NES sequel arise. Now, nearly twenty years on the two that started it all are back, in revamped format for the GBA. So what exactly is the deal?

Many believe that the evolution of the role-playing genre over the past two decades is largely thanks to the illustrious Final Fantasy series from the company formerly known as Squaresoft, now under the moniker of Square Enix after its merger. So what better way to pay homage to that enormous achievement than by bringing the two games that started it all kicking and screaming into the 21st Century? Well, Square Enix has done just that and Nintendo itself is on-hand with publishing duties to bring Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls crashing onto the Game Boy Advance in Europe as soon as 10th December, 2004! But do not go thinking that this is some lazy port...it is anything but that, with enhanced graphics, a re-orchestrated soundtrack and many new features packed in for the sake of value for money.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (RPG Special) on Game Boy Advance

Final Fantasy I sees the gamer selecting a collection of heroes, four in total and each one an expert in one of six jobs types, before beginning the long and arduous journey that incorporates heavy battling against the forces of Chaos as you endeavour to save the entire world around you! The original game has been tirelessly recreated in the past on both the Bandai WonderSwan over in Japan and as past of Final Fantasy Origins on Sony's PSone more recently. Yet this time there are new additions, such as the ability to save anywhere you want, thus negating the annoying factor of losing much of your well-earned experience when your batteries are running low or you simply have to stop playing for various reasons. There are also new enemies and weapons available, as well as the gorgeous visuals that look like Final Fantasy VI from the SNES, and the music that is also highly addictive and worthy of proper stereo sound from what has been heard so far.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (RPG Special) on Game Boy Advance

But the main pull of Final Fantasy I this time round, and the area that distances it from the previous remakes, is the brand new dungeon that is to be found within. Called the 'Soul of Chaos', it consists of terrifying challenges, with players having to 'square' off against some of the most feared Bosses from Final Fantasy IV, V and VI! This will definitely keep even the most experience gamers totally entertained, especially as it can only be accessed once the main adventure has been completed.

What needs to be remembered, though, is that there are in fact two games jam-packed into the little GBA cartridge from Square Enix and it is by no means an afterthought addition. Taking a slightly different slant from its predecessor, Final Fantasy II begins with four orphans who are trying to save the world (okay, perhaps not much different...) from a massive evil empire, intent on causing chaos and disrupting innocent people's lives. Unlike its older brother and younger siblings, though, the characters in this sequel do not go through the traditional levelling-up process. Instead, weapons and abilities increase in power as they are used more and more. This proved to be revolutionary upon its inception and remains so today as many other RPGs on the market have now employed it.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (RPG Special) on Game Boy Advance

Once more, as with Final Fantasy I, this has been spruced up to look like a high-end Super Nintendo title, except looking far more impressive since it is now on the smaller screen resolution of the GBA, and the enemies and weapons have been altered in places to maintain an air of freshness overall. Then, as with the first title, Final Fantasy II has something new included

Screenshot for Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (RPG Special) on Game Boy Advance

Final Thoughts

Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls is basically a reworked version of the PSone hit Final Fantasy Origins, but this is not a 'bad thing' in the slightest for us Europeans as whereas sales were impressive in the US and Japan, they were less so over here. Therefore we are not only getting another opportunity to sample updated classics, but we get even more extras than ever before

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (11 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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