Final Fantasy Disc One
I totally agree with Funk. Bramlage is an exceptional artist, the graphics of the intro are undoubtably the best i've ever seen in a ZZT game. Unfortunately, when in the city they are too much messy. And then there are the problems related to the gameplay: I had very high expectations for this one, probably it was the real ONLY chance to make a decent Final fantasy-style RPG for ZZT. Apart for the intro, though, everything else suck: writing is sub-par, gameplay is ridicolous (simply watching cinema scenes and ONE, ONLY ONE battle in more than fourty minutes). Interactivity is nonexistant, even if the game even tries a day/night system (an utter failure, since it doesn't affect anything, apart cosmetic changes). Avoid.
Graphics: 10 for the intro, 7 for the game (because they're too much messy) Gameplay: 0 (yeah, that's a 0. Hype got it down from 3) Fun Factor: 0 (hype is a bad beast) Longevity/Replayability: 0
Good work. You ruined the possibility of a FFZZT forever.
Chase Bramlage; the Rob Liefeld of ZZT.
I'm sure he'd know what I'm talking about, if he saw this review; his games have always betrayed strong influence from 90's Image Comics to the point of near-plagiarism (his first game, for example, was called Boof, and was about a gerbil with telekinetic powers; I'm sure it's no relation at all to the now mostly-forgotten Todd McFarlane creation "Boof and the Bruise Crew" (the title character of which was also a mouse-like thing)), although I suppose that doesn't matter since it's only ZZT and, well, who cares who rips off what in these games?
Back to the point; why do I call Bramlage the Liefeld of ZZT? Rob Liefeld, for those who don't know, was, if not the key proponent of it, certainly a major element of the style-over-substance, kewl, X-tryme, "which superhero will die in this issue", exaggerated anatomy, 100 bad rip-offs of Wolverine/Lobo, gun-toting 'bad girl' garbage that most people think of when they consider the comic collector/speculator boom and bust of the 90's. Although this parallel is most evident in his game 'N-E-O' (in which every character seems to be a testosterone-sweating, hulking great caricature of the Liefeld creation Cable), Final Fantasy Disc 1 still has a lot to say for itself. Let's see.
Graphics; While it's true that Chase can draw pretty well, he then goes and wastes this talent by using a technique that could generously be described as 'diffuse'; objects may be well drawn, it's just that you can't work out what the hell they are. The houses in the first village look like month-old horse turds with windows installed, and the floor texture in the castle looks like everything's been chewed up by a puppy yet to be housebroken. There's a lot to be said for simplicity, especially in something as graphically primitive as ANSI.
In other words, top marks for style, minimum marks for technique. Just like Liefeld (but replace 'diffuse' with 'tiny ankles and swiss-cheese necks')!!!!!!!!!
Story; As has been discussed in depth by people who have actually played the damn game, this is a huge rip-off from Suikoden. As if stealing the name from a famous gaming franchise wasn't enough! I don't know much about Suikoden so I won't say anything else about that, though it goes without saying that Liefeld stole a lot of character designs from Marvel and DC during his tenure in Image (most notably Supreme, which Alan Moore later changed from a moronic, violent comic into something pretty awesome, but that's irrelevant).
Programming; Oh hell, I can't really make any comparisons between Chase and Liefeld in this catagory, can I? Well, I'll just say the programming is shoddy and leave it at that, shall I? I suppose that's excusable since the game is blatantly unfinished, but there's no excuse for the dialogue. I'm no writer myself, but I could crap out better dialogue than this "casual" scene's;
-- It is Devin Liukan, your childhood friend, you haven't seen in years. He rushes up to greet you. You both embrace.
Devin: "Surprise, dear friend!"
You: "What brings you to Stonegate?"
Devin: "I was in town on business, and I heard of your acquisition by the king. -I have come to congratulate you.."
You: "My friend, .. how long has it been?"
Devin: "Three years I believe.."
You: "You still studying to be a thief?"
Devin: "Still studying?! Hell I'm the teacher now!"
You both laugh.
That is the funniest joke in the game. See what he did there?! As can be inferred from the dialogue, all the characters talk the same and there's really no characterisation; Devin is The Friend who accompanies you on your quest, Cleo is Your Sister (who annoyingly says "Father" or "Brother" at the end of seemingly every sentence she speaks), your Father is Stern, etc. These are archetypes, not personalities, which would be fine if there was at least an attempt at some sort of development; but it never comes.
As an aside, an odd quirk of Chase's that I've noticed on editing his work is how his commands all seem to have something to do with excrement; ':poop', ':shit', ':crap', etc. It's nothing significant, I'm just mentioning it as yet another possible parallel to Liefeld's propensity have his characters say 'shit' frequently. However, there are not enough references to blood in the code for this to be a major point (Bloodlines has 'blood' in the title though, I suppose that counts).
And it's awesome that Chase has only ever finished one project (ie. Bloodlines; I suppose I've no room to talk, I've not touched any aspect of Frost, in ZZT or otherwise, for months), again just like Rob Liefeld!! Holy shit, it's like they're the same person! I'm surprised Chase never tried to release his ZZT games with multiple title screens (one of which would, of course, be somehow covered in some kind of holofoil crap)!
Of course, taking the parallel to its conclusion, Final Fantasy Disc 1 has become the butt of a lot of jokes, just like Youngblood did. Ha ha.
In conclusion, stop giving this game good reviews, you idiots. If you can't live without a good fantasy ZZT game, go play a good game like Ned the Knight; the graphics may not be as kewl and extreme as FFD1, but it's got soul, which is an element absent from 90% of Chase's output.
0/5. I'd give it 0.5/5 but I feel a deep and abiding need to lower the score some more from those positive reviews.
ps. i sure do hope chase reads this and calls me a grade-schooler! it would be the highest honour ^___^
THis is by far one of my favorite ZZT games, i fell in love with this game seconds after I started playing, I have been a FF fan for years, and this is the best remake I have ever seen!!!!!!!AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Final Fantasy Disc 1.....
Anyone who plays this game, you must remember. Remember that Chase is a very bad programmer with a very good artistic side. This really shows in FFD1. There are some very big bugs in this game (the only move I could damage anyone with was MINUS STRIKE), and even a passage in the middle of nowhere that led to the Title Screen. Normally, this would mean a very bad game, except Chase manages to do this with style. In the beginning, you are treated to a cutscene of a blue falling star. There is a cutscene of your character's hair swaying in the wind (albeit, he has an idiotic smile), and a very good view of the side of the mountain. In sound, he does a very good remake of the FFIX title song on the title screen, and even has the classic FF victory theme. Now, the story... This story is blatantly ripped from Suikoden, a Playstation One game made in 1997. Still, if you're going to take other people's stories, take the BEST ones. Chase did just that.
REVIEW: GRAPHICS: <><><><><> out of <><><><><> SOUND: <><><><><> out of <><><><><> STORY: <><><><><> out of <><><><><> ORIGINALITY: <><. out of <><><><><> (He RIPPED the story) GAMEPLAY: <><><> out of <><><><><> (Due to some unforgivable bugs)
Until next time, Aaron fans! Over and Nanu Nanoo! (MY FAVORITE WiL GAME IS THE ROSE!) @}-,-'-
Good job taking a story from a rpg that isn't FF, Mr. Chase. Maybe you can buy some originality w/ what you'll get from the registered version!
Uhm.. the graphics are ok, but that's it. They look like they were worked on for a while but they still aren't too appealing. I think I'll just play Final Fantasy 2 instead.
Bramlage is, yes, probably the finest artist the ZZT commune has ever encountered. However, like most artists his skills do not extend too far beyond his chosen art. Remember Picasso's novels, or Van Gogh's symphonies? No? Exactly.
The title screen is spectacularly unappealing, but the intro sequence is nothing less than gorgeous (the picture of the planet is probably the nearest ZZT will ever get to photo-realism). The art, however, serves to highlight how dreadful Chase is at writing - not just in composing sentences ("When the clash of swords echo [sic], the journey chasing the past ends, and the journey to know today begins.."), but also in knowing exactly how to pace his drama. For a guy who wants to become CAPTAIN HOLLYWOOD, Chase sure doesn't seem to understand how stories should work. Take the second intro screen, for example; the player is treated to a fantastic animated picture of our hero - one so detailed that his mouth and eyes move, and his hair sways in the breeze. Now a GOOD storyteller would - well, tell the story and leave all the pretty animations as pleasant background details. Not Chase though! He has us sit there and be told that "A calm wind brushes against your face. You close your eyes and breathe deeply" (cue animation) "BLAH BLAH you look down at the courtyard" (cue animation) "BLAH BLAH you watch people walking by" (cue animation) until we really understand how much detail has gone into the graphics. Of course, this is horrible to sit through; aggressive self-aggrandizement is never a pretty sight, especially when one is trying to enjoy a story. It's like JK Rowling stopping in the middle of a sentence and saying "See? Isn't Severus Snape a clever name? Doesn't it just sound all EVIL?" - it's ugly, intrusive and makes the author look like a twat.
Sadly, Chase is unable to maintain the high level of graphics throughout the game; though the mountainside looks fantastic and some of the smaller villages are alright, pretty much all of the first city is horrible. Take the inside of the king's castle for example - Chase relies too much on diffused shading, so that everything lacks definition; walls blend into the floor blends into the carpets that almost hide tiny blue soldiers. In something like VGA it would have been okay, but when you have as few "pixels" as ZZT provides, the screen just looks like a jumble of random blobs. Yes you can pick out shops and fountains if you look closely, but the player shouldn't have to strain to make out where they're going. If the graphics are the best thing about this game and they aren't even all that good, you should have a rough idea of how fun this is to play.
Okay, let's move along then shall we? The plot itself concerns a young man who is sent on a mission to get taxes from asuidsuifoh -- sorry, I lost consciousness and hit the keyboard with my head. Where was I? Oh right; this lad needs to get taxes for his king, who aims to get the four crystals of s;zghkljda -- crap, I did it again. Uhm, so this lad goes to the village but finds that they're suffering attacks by bandits rxzgkjhoih --oh look, I can't do it; the plot's just too dull. It may well have been ripped off from Suikoden - I haven't played that game - but at least there you apparently had an expansive game world and decent gameplay. Here you get-- well, let's take a look shall we?
After the intro (which lasts about fifteen years), the first bit of 'gameplay' involves asking a guard for a password so you can leave the castle. Why on EARTH would you need a password to LEAVE the king's castle? Not only is this bit really stupid, it serves no purpose but to further delay the game proper. Whilst little stupid things like this may make the game last longer, it's something of a false economy. What's the point of making the game last another five minutes if those five minutes are boring? If Chase had put in some proper puzzles (perhaps you needed to knock a guard dog out with some poisoned meat) then at least the player would spend their time doing something entertaining.
So you leave the castle and enter the (very ugly and pixilated) village. Again, you have to do a series of small but annoying and pointless little actions before the game can progress - go to the weapon shop, then return home to watch a cinema then FINALLY get the chance to leave the town and get on with the game. Frankly, this could have been solved by just being given a big sword and sent on your way ala Ned the Knight (which is surely the template for such games), but no! Instead you have to be introduced to your father, sister, friend and servant who all talk EXACTLY THE SAME. Seriously; there are no distinguishing features between any of these characters, except for their names and sexes. No doubt some of them will be bumped off as the series progresses but Chase is going to have to buck up his writing if he expects us to care about them.
Right, we're outside and introduced to the crappiest world map ever. Firstly, there are the RPG battles - blue boxes "randomly" open up with the option to either fight or flee the baddies. In practice, this involves both sides attacking each other and doing the same amount of damage each time. Seriously, would it have been so hard to knock up a randomizer, or at least give more options than just "attack" and "run"? All bad guys of the same type do the same amount of damage and take the same amount of attacks to kill. No variations, no spectacular hidden moves - why not just subtract 15 health and then die? Hell, sometimes you can't even run so your options are "fight" or - er - "fight". And you still have to select the option, which just makes it even more irritating.
Worse, there are little objects running about the maps that engage you in arcade-style fights, so that you have to barge into them a few times before they die. There's nothing to stop them attacking you during RPG fights, so that in-between the blue boxes you can be losing health from a pack of bats or something.
And I haven't even started on the random deaths in the mountains! Stand too close to the edge and you'll die without warning! Push the wrong boulder and you'll die without warning! Step on a pressure plate and spears?ll skewer you! Question: Since when has arbitrary death ever been fun? Answer: NEVER!
And what about the 'proper' RPG battles? Lifeless. You do damage on bad guys but there's no real indication (No flashing "YOU DID DAMAGE TO THEIF 2!" or injury animations), and the moves are distinctly unimaginative. In fact, the RPG fight against the cave thieves stuck after a bit, so I had to zap my way out.
Which reminds me! The game has tonnes of bugs. Accidentally fail to select a name in the intro screen and you'll be stuck looking at your character's hair waving in the breeze forever. Accidentally fail to say yes or no to the chap in the castle and again you'll be stuck until you restart. Enter your house again after the "father/sister" cinema and you'll be flung to the start (though that might be a ZZT problem due to filesize). Only one of the exits from the cave leads to the correct cinema - the rest go straight to the fight. Gimlio's "Dragon" attack (I wonder where Chase 'borrowed' that from?) does nothing at all. These and many more mistakes appear throughout the game, frequently resulting in reloads. Apparently three people beta tested this game. Presumably they just skipped through a lot of it, because there's simply no plausible way that they could complete it without finding at least one crippling bug. And let's not forget the spelling mistakes! Chase is hardly the most literate gent in the universe, and though Herc did his best to find all of them, there are still little mistakes here and there (including a classic your/you're mix-up).
This is a horrible, horrible game. It splutters and misfires repeatedly, is no fun to play whatsoever, has a thoroughly boring plot and even its best features - the graphics - are not without their problems. Final Fantasy gets a 0.5 for graphics and nothing for anything else. Do us a favour and learn from your mistakes, Chase. You've made far too many games that are pretty but thoroughly lack fun.
Traipse through an ultra-derivative plotline and meet flat, uninteresting characters while performing flat, uninteresting tasks.
Elemental crystals of immense power? Check.
Player character is a knight in service of a possibly megalomaniacal king? Check.
Old childhood friend who happens to be a skilled thief? Check.
A "stop the bandits who are robbing our village" subquest? Check.
Here, FFZZT shines. This is great work - detailed, varied, and textured. Some very nice animations round out what is probably one of the most well-illustrated games I've seen in a while. The effort that went into these scenes is obvious and commendable.
The writing in FFZZT ranges from the trite and mediocre to the utterly horrible. Spelling and grammatical errors abound, and the story takes quite a while to creak into action. It's all rather threadbare, and actually made the Final Fantasy movie look good. This writing left me begging for claptrap about Gaian Spirits and Bold Sacrifices By Dull Heroes.
The worst part is, it's still better than the majority of ZZT games.
Not much new here, really. The turn-based battles near the beginning of the game soured me on combat, and the gameplay didn't really improve particularly much from there.
A good effort, a lofty goal, and a weak execution. It's worth the download, if only to see what all the fuss is about, but don't expect anything special.
Grade: B-, for effort. If some of that effort had gone into the writing, this could have been a great game.
Chase Bramlage. You know, excellent graphics, smooth gameplay, overall fun, Herc gives it a 87%.
But this one is a demeanoring aspect to the Chase Sub-Genre. The bugs got overwhelming very quickly, and the fact that you couldn't skip the intros. But the graphics were in very decent taste.
What can I say? Grade-A Bramlage fluff.
Awfully big chance making a Final Fantasy game to be THE Final Fantasy game in ZZT. Oh the graphics are pretty and it seems to live up to the name, but I though we had a few of these lying around...
Also, the battles aren't particularly fun, hell when the dragoon jumps he can still get hit! Oh well. And if ry0 says it's a rip off of the story, then it probably is, cause the FILE WAS TOO DAMN BIG FOR MY ZZT TO RUN!!!! (I had to edit out half to game just to play the RPG battles)
A three, but only because the graphics sugar coat this sour medicine.
Well! I certainly couldn't say this game takes the name 'Final Fantasy' and slaps it on a near complete ripoff of 'Suikoden' with worse writing, because Chase Bramblebush is a very original, professional writer!
Sure is pretty, though.