Hands-onFinal Fantasy Origins

We take the revamped Final Fantasies I and II for a test drive in the forthcoming PlayStation compilation.

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There aren't many games being published for the original Sony PlayStation these days, but in April, owners of Sony's old system will be getting Final Fantasy Origins, which includes updated versions of both the original Final Fantasy game and its sequel. Of course, Final Fantasy Origins will also be playable on a PS2. We've had a chance to delve into both games, so check out our new media and read on for impressions of how old Final Fantasy is holding up.

The original Final Fantasy first appeared in the United States in the late '80s on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The graphics of that version of the game have been entirely replaced in Final Fantasy Origins, though they retain the same basic design. Don't expect a remarkable overhaul--though Final Fantasy Origins' version of Final Fantasy doesn't look like an 8-bit game, it does look like something out of the 16-bit era, featuring visuals on par with what you might find on the Sega Genesis, SNES, or Game Boy Advance. Purists may have mixed feelings about the visual changes and also about the remixed musical score. At any rate, while Final Fantasy is a fairly simple game by today's standards, it also goes to show that the conventions of the role-playing genre actually haven't changed that much--the game is still basically enjoyable and engaging, as you take your custom-made party of four characters from one dangerous location to the next.

Final Fantasy II may be the bigger attraction of Origins, since that game has previously never been released in this country. This will be confusing to some because of the classic Super Nintendo Entertainment System game called "Final Fantasy II," which is actually the fourth installment in the series, renamed for the US release since the previous two chapters weren't published in this country. Final Fantasy fans will be interested to check out the "real" Final Fantasy II, as its more character-driven storyline arguably sets the tone for all subsequent games in the series.

Both games in Final Fantasy Origins look and sound roughly the same. Impressive prerendered CG cutscenes are used for the openings of both Final Fantasy and its sequel, giving Final Fantasy Origins more of a modern look. The English translations of the dialogue seem good enough, and the games manage to retain a good amount of their charm today even after all these years. Final Fantasy Origins will retail for about $39 when it's released a couple of months from now.

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