Final Fantasy Adventure

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-by Bevianna Bones

Recently, I read that the powers that be at Square Enix were remaking another one of its old properties. The beginning of the Mana story, Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden. Originally released on the original Gameboy (remember, the grey and green destroyer of ocular growth and development?), and then remade once as Secret of Mana on the SNES, and Sword of Mana years later on the Gameboy Advance.  This time round, rumor seems to point the remake in the direction of iOS, Android, and PSVita (yippie!!) Having played both incarnations, here’s to hoping that
this up and coming remake is slightly more faithful to the original.  Seeing this news, however, brought back a wash of memories and inspired me to dig out an old friend and revisit not only my first experience with Final Fantasy, but the only game I ever called the Official Nintendo Power game counselors for. Yes, it’s the only Final Fantasy game I’ve ever loved as much as VII…it’s Final Fantasy Adventure.

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The game…

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And the system…and after firing it up, the years have been less than kind on the poor old thing…forgive me, but the rest of this article and game will be played on an emulator. Check out MyOldBoy for Android and iOS.

One thing I immediately noticed, and remembered after starting it up, was the music. Gods I loved this intro music when I was a kid. I remember I would sit and listen to it and just let it play over and over on the title screen. The franchise has, since day one, across all boards, been spot on with the quality of its soundtracks. Even when it was just midis, and not full blown symphonic orchestration. I also recall that as a kid, I was so obsessed with this game, and my other loves; drawing comics and Star Trek: The Next Generation; that I started writing a comic using the dialogue from the game, and my TNG action figures as character models. I’ll have to look in the vault to see if I can find any of those gems for you…the apex of my preteen geekdom. Wait until I tell you guys about how I got the name Bevianna Bones. But for now, back to the game.

The gameplay is different thanks other Final Fantasy series, as it’s more action based, much more Zelda like than not.  The story starts, and your character, Boy, (Toby) is a gladiator type slave for the empire of Glaive. One of Toby’s slave pals dies after a fight in the arena, and on his death bed, he tells him to seek out the Gemma Knights, the Mana tree, and a man named Bogard, in order to save the world from evil.

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Willy passed away.

Toby sets off to escape the castle (?) via the entrance for the monsters, and is forced to fight again. Toby slays the beast and heads outside. Once there he overhears a plot from The Dark Lord and his evil sorcerer Julius. Seems that they want to harness the power of the Mana tree as well, that is inconveniently located at the top of a massive waterfall. The Dark Lord realizes that Toby has just overheard all of their evil plans, and before he can get the chance to thwart theme, pushes Toby off the ledge, and into the waterfall.

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Toby awakens to find himself in an unknown world, with vague instructions from his dying friend, and knowledge of an evil plot about to take place. He must find this Bogard and find out more info. He stumbles into a nearby town and hears tale of a strange old man that lives in seclusion up the falls.  This must be Bogard! 

Shortly thereafter, he saves a young woman from monsters, and the traveling companion she was with passes away. Toby, agrees to bring his newfound friend, Gaby, along with him, for she too, is looking for this Bogard.

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The pair make their way up the falls and find the secluded house. The old man inside tries to pull an Obi-Wan, and is hurried to tell them off, “leave me alone!!” That is, until he notices that the Girl, is carrying the pendant of Mana. (What this old thing? My mother gave it to me…) After seeing the pendant, he reveals that he was once a Gemma Knight, protector of the Mana tree, before the darkness entered the land, and that the Girl must be the key to stopping it, for there is power within the pendant.  He tells them to go see a sage named Cibba, in a town called Wendel, and that he will help them.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers here, that covered about the first 15 minutes of the game. The point of the quest is provided to you early on and fairly straightforward.  Protect the Girl, seek out information to said girl and tree, and then put it all together and save the world.

That’s not to say that there won’t be obstacles up ahead. Like when a creepy innkeeper kidnaps the Girl in the night and locks her in a casket in the basement. Why? Only to find out that he is a vampire and wants her for his bride!

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All in all, after playing it again after all these years, it’s still a great game. It’s definitely not as hard as I remember, nor is it as long as I remember.  But, it does feature all of the staples of a Final Fantasy; airships and a guy named Cid, Mogs, and of course Chocobos. Wark!

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And now, for an insider tip, for what could easily have a spot on the list of most absurd video game puzzles and corresponding vague clues.  Like I mentioned earlier, this was the only game that I ever had to call the Nintendo Power game counseling hotline for.  For younger readers, this was our only out when we would get stuck in a game. It was a time before strategy guides, walkthroughs, and the Oracle’s of Google.

While questing, you are told about the presence of a hidden cave, and given one clue to its whereabouts. Palm trees and 8.

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Sure pal. I got it. Off to spend months of my childhood trying to figure what the fuck you’re talking about.

Naturally, I figured that the location of the cave was somewhere where there was a grouping of 8 Palm trees. Except that was nowhere to be found. I tried everything I could think of, even backtracking as far back as I could go to see if I had missed another clue. But to save us all time, here’s the answer to the great mystery.

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What’s wrong, don’t see the answer? It’s simple really. Seems you have to walk a figure eight around those two palms and the cave will open up.

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Wark! I’m pretty sure that’s Chocobo for WTF.

Makes perfect sense, only reason I didn’t come to that on my own volition might have something to do with the fact, at no other point in the game do you have to, or is it a point to have to walk patterns around or on anything.

And with that, I will leave you to further my own quest for the Mana tree, as I await the newgen remake of this classic. If you want to find out what happens, find a copy and fire up your old Gameboy, or procure a copy via emulator. 

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-BB

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Happy Birthday PlayStation!

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by Bevianna Bones

So many birthdays this month!! Yesterday PlayStation turned 20 years old. Hard to believe that it was that long ago when the face of gaming was changed. Picture it, Sicily, 1995…Sony decides to enter into the gaming realm with the big contenders, Nintendo, Sega, and Atari. (Although, at the time Sega and Atari are debatable as to if they were actually legitimate contenders by that point) Sony creates this compact disc based game system, and solves the storage solution by integrating flash memory cards.  Enter the age of console gaming that first saw the use of “3D” rendering and a plethora of full-motion video. The original PlayStation forever changed the console gaming landscape, much as the Atari 2600 once had. The PlayStation brand over the years has kept reinventing itself and continues to pioneer new technology and bring it into our homes. To celebrate PlayStation’s big 2-0…they are having a huge anniversary sale on the PlayStation Store (up to 80% off most titles if you’re a PSPlus member) And before I log on and download a slew of PSOne classics to my PS4; let’s take a moment to remember a few of the classic PlayStation games that I held nearest and dearest to my heart.

Of course I have to start the list off with, my all-time favorite of all:

Final Fantasy VII

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I could go on for the rest of the article about how much I loved, and still love this game; but for everyone’s sake, I’ll spare it until another day and just leave it at this. This is a really great game. Even now, all these years later.

Blazing Dragons

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Harkening back to the days of Space Quest and Kings Quest franchises, Blazing Dragons tells the tale of Flicker, a wanna be knight of the square-table. Created by Monty Python’s Terry Jones, and Cheech Marin; it’s a great adventure full of many darkly humorous moments. It actually spawned a short lived cartoon, and this author’s favorite go-to inside joke. “Can I have some useless information?”

Project: Overkill

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An isometric shooter that mixed a modern day Diablo with Metal Slug. Always great fun to play, especially when you had a bad day. And the best part…the little bloody footprints as you walked over a corpse.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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Classic Metroid meets classic Castlevania, in what was the last great release of the franchise. The graphics, the music, the sprawling gameplay; it’s a beautiful and enchanting game to play.

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos

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Ok, so this Banjo Kazooi/Mario 64 wannabe may have some camera issues, and chunky jumping mechanics by today’s standards, but Croc turned it up to 11 on the cuteness scale. Aww…like his little walk with this little backpack during the loading screen, his one little tooth, the little gobbos themselves (who look am awful lot like tribbles), the cutesy bosses, and “whazoo!!!”

Resident Evil

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Here is another one I could drone on and on about for sometime. It birthed a whole new genre of video games, and influenced many of the games we play today. I’ve mentioned elements of it in many other posts, so I’m going to keep this brief and simple. It may not hold up as well as the remasters, or later entries in the series; but the original gave many of us our first dose of video game fright, due partly to the creatures, and mostly to Jill’s bad voice acting.

Vandal Hearts

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This is one of Konami’s greatest games they ever made. A little known game, but to those of us that played it, it has a lasting impression in our hearts. Think Final Fantasy Tactics without the Final Fantasy part. And Vandal came first, so I’m not necessarily saying that one company ripped off another, but yeah. No T no shade Squaresoft. Combining strategy, rpg, beautiful graphics, and an engaging storyline…it’s a game that must be played if you can get your hands on it.

The original PlayStation was indeed a great system, so I say thanks for the 20 years, and hopefully many more.

But you don’t have to take my word for it…
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by Joshie Jaxon

As the Playstation’s birthday is upon us, I decided to share a few of my favorite moments from the PS1.

The only reason I even got a Playstation was that it was the only way I could continue playing the Mega Man X series. I was so excited by that fact, that I bought the game before I ever had the system to play it on. I saved my money, rode my bike to buy my Playstation. Only, it wouldn’t fit in my backpack. I had to go to Staples and buy duct tape to hold my bag closed for the bike ride home. It was so worth it. The anime style cut scenes, the ability to play as Zero, and have him gain boss abilities too was so awesome I couldn’t stand it. Discovering he was a creation of Dr. Wily was the icing on the cake.

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Then there was my discovery of Castlevania Symphony of the Night. It was my first Castlevania adventure, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I loved playing as Alucard, and venturing through Drac’s castle. It became even more epic when I discovered that was an entire inverted castle to quest through as well. The magic, the power ups, even the voice acting, which still has it’s own nostalgic charm, this is a game I can pick up and play over and over again.

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In addition to discovering the Castlevania series, I was fortunate enough to have been there for one of the greatest games ever, Final Fantasy 7. I’ll gush in detail at a later time. I immensely loved the adventures of a Cloud and company. Not being familiar with the series, I didn’t know that Final Fantasy 8 wasn’t a sequel. It didn’t matter. Squall and his group were just as fun to quest with. The draw system was fun, and the variety of summons available made me love it that much more. Some people hated 8, but I’ll never be one of those people. If two Final Fantasy games weren’t enough, I was lucky enough to get Final Fantasy 9 as well. Zidane was a fun lil monkey to use, as were Vivi, Eiko and the rest. I missed the lack of summon animation each time, but after what we went through with 8, I understand when they scaled it back.

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The Playstation has given me many wonderful years of entertainment, and the PS2 and PS3 have continued the tradition. It was the first console I even bought for myself, and it made me enjoy it that much more. I still love my various Nintendo consoles, but what started my deviation from Mario, Link and the rest was the PS1. Thank you, Playstation! Here’s to many more years of entertainment.

-Joshie Jaxon

Console Classics – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV, Turtles in Time

  

By Joshie Jaxon
Major nostalgia attached to this game. Not only did I used to play it in the arcade, I played it at home on the SNES. My cousin and I had a record that we used to able to beat the entire game in roughly half an hour. Sadly, when writing this piece, it took me over an hour. I blame it on the fact I was playing with myself. I mean, that there was no second player. Pervs. Let the geeks begin!

  

The game itself is simple enough. You control either Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, or Michelangelo. Krang took the Statue of Liberty during one of April’s broadcasts. Once again, Shredder is up to no good. Rather than regular human authorities trying to stop him, cause who can fight a giant android with a living brain in it’s belly? It’s up to our pizza loving heroes. 

  

The first few levels have us travel through Manhattan, alleys, and the sewers. The entire time we get to whomp on the seemingly never ending Foot Soldiers. They’re robots though, so it’s ok that we kick their asses. It’s even more satisfying when you get to throw them at the screen. The end of each level features a member of the Turtles’ rogues gallery. They have a visible health bar, but in case you’re too engrossed to look at it, the weaker the boss gets, the more they glow red/orange/yellow. 
The real fun doesn’t begin until the Technodrome level. You fight your way through it, to battle Tokka and Rahzar. Upon their defeat, they revert to a wolf and turtle. Should you accidentally hurt the wolf version, it makes whimpering noises. Very odd thing to put into a cartoony kids game in the early 90’s, but whatever. After beating those two, it’s time to take on Shredder. He’s in a tank, and firing at you from the screen. Remember how I said you could throw Foot Soldiers? Guess how you defeat Shredder? That’s right, you summon Magneto and tell him that Shredder is anti-mutant. Actually, maybe that was just some bad fan fiction. Moving on. 

  
Once you’ve tossed enough of his flunkies into him, Shredder announces that he’s banishing you to a time warp. Vat the hell is a time vorp? 

  

Alright, I’m just gonna say it, Shredder has time travel technology, and rather than using it to say, I dunno, stop your enemies from mutating in the first place, you decide to hurl them back in time, as well as some minions and a boss, and hope they die before they reach you? Da fuq? Seriously, Saki, your boss is a literal brain and neither of you thought that through? Sigh. The game is fun, but as an adult the logistics of it baffle me a bit. For example, once you beat Slash in the dino-themed level, you just move to a new time period. There’s no explanation as to how or why. Logically, I’m sure the boss has a way to return to their proper time, but why not just ditch the turtles back there, and leave? For that matter, with the boss vanquished, do the Turtles just leave them back there to muck up history? Doubtful. Why not just return to their normal time period? The real reason for this behavior is that this was an arcade game, and we didn’t want a lot of story for our quarter. We wanted to mash buttons and kick some bad guy ass. 

  

After going through all these levels and bosses; 

Big Apple 3am – Baxter

Allycat Blues – Metalhead

Sewer Surfin’ – Rat King 

Technodrome Let’s Kick Shell – Tokka & Rahzar / Shredder 

Prehistoric Turtlesaurus – Slash 

Skull and Crossbones – Bebop and Rocksteady 

Bury my Shell at Wounded Knee – Learherhead

Neon Night Riders – Android Krang

Starbase Where no Turtle Has Gone Before – Krang
We return to the final level, Technodrome the Final Shellshock, where our opponent is none other than Super Shredder. Available now, for only two easy payments of $19.95, plus shipping and handling. Wrong super shredder. This one has three distinct attacks, based on his super saiyan aura color. Red, where he throws fire. Blue, where you can be turned into a turtle-cicle. And green, where you can be turned back into a harmless turtle. 

  

Wait, wait, wait, didn’t I have that idea earlier? Now, not only can he do it, he doesn’t finish you when he had the chance. I know, I know. Whose side am I on? It’s been well established I love villains. That’s not going to change. 

  

With the Shredded vanquished, the Statue of Liberty is returned to her home. April thanks the Turtles, as Splinter stands right there on local, or maybe national tv. Good thing it’s just a game, or there would be consequences in the next episode. In conclusion, this game still holds up 23 years later, and is still challenging. So go play with yourself, or play with a good friend. Just play; you’ll be glad you did. Goodnight everybody!