: Final Fantasy Legend II
: December 1990
: Game Boy
The symbol of
The legacy of
the ancient gods
Many fought for
the mighty power.
and some failed.
of bravery is
about to begin...
The Title : The title Final Fantasy Legend II is somewhat of a marketing ploy as it was called SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu in Japan. Because of game play similarities between the Final Fantasy Legend mini-series and the SaGas, it could be argued they are more accurately classified with the SaGas than as separate Final Fantasies.
The Story :
Final Fantasy Legend II was more heavily influenced by mythology than any game I've seen besides Valkyrie Profile. Mythological themes are found in the two major objectives of the game and many characters and monster names come from mythology. The primary objective is for the hero to find his missing father. (Note that a female or genderless robot main character is available as well; I'm just using male pronouns for convenience.) A young man's search for his lost father may seem like a cliche in this day and age, but it is an established mythological theme. Countless other video games use it. I found that this game's treatment of this common theme of searching for one's father was far more well done than in some movies and its only on a puny Game Boy!
The other major objective in the game is for the hero to collect pieces of MAGI to build a statue of the goddess Isis. Legend has it that Great Power comes to the one who does. As one might expect, there are evil individuals and groups trying to harness the power MAGI for their insidious causes. Thankfully, the MAGI is scattered into 77 pieces throughout just about 20 mini-worlds. Most of these antagonists are named after other classical mythological gods like Apollo and Venus. Each piece contains a considerably amount of power individually, so even a single MAGI in the hands of an enemy is dangerous. The heroes venture through these worlds, collecting MAGI and searching for the hero's father. They travel between worlds through this trippy, pseudo-outer space series of organic, twisted pillars and doorways leading to nothing.
Various other characters join the group for story reasons and are usually a great help. Among the more notable are Mr. S, a mutant teacher that is vastly overpowered for the first level; Mask, an enigmatic guy that looks reeeeeeeally familiar to the heroes; and the goddess Isis herself, who literally has every statistic maxed out.
The game play :
As I mentioned before, FFL2's plays considerably different than the mainstream Final Fantasy series. At the start of the game, a single character is chosen to be the hero/heroine. After the opening scene, three more characters are chosen to accompany him/her on the quest.
These characters are:
- Male Human - The Male Human is the traditional Fighter/Knight character. He grows in strength and hit points, but is really slow. I usually chose him for the hero. His sprite looks like an early pixelated Crono or Cloud Strife.
- Female Human - Similar to the Male Human, the Female Human has more agility and less strength. As damage for bows and lithe weapons like knifes are based on agility, she is essential the same, but uses different weapons. She looks like an early Tifa with black hair and a flower on her head.
- Male Mutant - The traditional Black Mage character, the Male Mutant starts out with the Ice spell. Excelling in magic with a bit of strength, he looks an elf with half his face missing.
- Female Mutant - Once again, the female counterpart is nearly the same as the male, but she has a bit of agility instead of strength. She looks like a female elf with a tiara and starts out with a Flame attack.
- Robot - The robot is my favorite character as it is quite an interesting and innovated. Like the robots in SaGa Frontier, the robot's stats are based on what it equips. Therefore, equipping multiple weapons based on strength, such as Long Swords, will raise its strength. The more powerful the weapon, the more its stats are raised. I'm a big fan of buying a Gold Bow and a bunch of agility based swords to boost its agility; it can be dealing out 300 damage (999 is the max) with the bow very early in the game. It looks like a stereotypical robot with treads for feet, pincer claw type arms, and antennas.
- Baby-D - The following three characters are monsters. Enemies randomly drop meat after battles which monsters can eat. Afterwards, the monsters randomly evolve (Pokemon style!) into something hopefully better. The stronger the monster, the better the meat, and the better chance of getting a better monster. Baby-D (D is for dragon) starts out with a useful fire attack; if I chose a monster as one of my characters, I always start with it. It looks like a weird bug, hardly resembling a dragon.
- Slime - The slime monster starts out with an attack that absorbs hit points called dissolve. It has one centralized eye and looks like a green blob.
- Imp - The imp monsters starts out with a basic strength based attack. It looks like a tiny demon with wings.
The instruction book recommends a Male and Female pair of Humans and Mutants. This is a solid balance between strength, agility, and magic for the entire game. The other character combination (my personal favorite) is a Human, a Mutant, a Robot, and a monster. With a wide array of versetile skills, this group becomes incredibly powerful late in the game. Choosing three or four of any type of character is a bad idea as your party will lack in its abilities to kill certain bosses that are weak against certain things.
In addition to choosing your characters, there are many other differences with the mainstream Final Fantasies. For example, the characters don't gain experience or levels. Stats are randomly raised after using the appropriate weapons (or spells) to raise them. However, as the story progresses, more pieces of MAGI are found. By equipping MAGI, stats are significantly raised, making it easy to customize and augment characters' roles.
Several bosses are extremely difficult. I remember slaving for hours trying to beat some of the late game fiends. With the lack of a "Life" spell or other means of resurrection, losing people in battle is devastating. Also, the possibilities of curing yourself in battle are limited: Mutants either have to randomly learn the innate cure spell (which can later be randomly "unlearned") or buy an expensive magic item that runs out after so many uses.
Speaking of items running out after so many uses... With the exception of a sword found late in the game, innate spells and robot equipment, every useable weapon can be depleted. This adds a strategic element to the game as one can't repeatedly mash the Fight command without fear wearing down good weapons.
Other points of interest : Final Fantasy Legend II was a beacon of RPG goodness in its time in the early 90s, especially for being on a hand held system. Existing the vast nebulous far before the flashy RPG revolution of Final Fantasy VII, the music was unremarkable as were the graphics.
This game shouldn't be hard to find as Sunsoft, who bought the rights to the Game Boy Final Fantasies, recently re-released them.
This write-up complies with the E2 FAQ: Video Games standards.
Playing the game