Rating : 9/10
I have been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series ever since I was a kid. The three Final Fantasy Legend titles for the Game Boy are all here. Story-wise they were totally unconnected, but a lot of aspects of the gameplay carries through between the three. The Final Fantasy Legend games weren’t actually Final Fantasy titles at all but rebranded versions of SaGa games. The first game, known to us as Final Fantasy Legend was actually called Makai Toushi Sa·Ga? in Japan, translated as Hell Tower Warrior. The story of the game revolves around a team of heroes that are trying to scale a tower in the middle of the world to get to paradise.
The SaGa titles are known to be open-world style RPG titles, whereas the Final Fantasy series is a bit more linear. The levelling up system in the three SaGa titles is completely different from any that I have experienced. As soon as you start playing in the first two titles you get to make your dream team from a pool of eight different types of characters. First you pick your main character; Human, Mutant, Clipper, Redhorn, Wererat, or Zombie (the first two options can be either male or female. Once you have chosen the leader you head to the Guild to recruit the other members. The character types are slightly different from those above; you still have the Humans and Mutants, but your other choices are now Lizard, Albatros, Skeleton, and Goblin. It’s totally up to you how you want to make up your team, but the non-Humans and non-Mutants have really interesting transformations they can go through.
One of the most unique aspects of this game is how sometimes meat is left behind when an enemy is defeated. You are then asked if you want to eat it. That sounds pretty gross but it can be beneficial; any character you choose can eat it, but only the monster type will be affected. The character will be transformed into something completely different. This will all depend on the type they are before eating the meat, and what kind of meat it is. There are huge charts online if you want to try to plan it out, or if you want to experience it like you would have in 1991 just try your luck. I chose the latter so that I would be surprised at the transformation that was going to happen. If you are battling a strong monster and have a chance to eat its meat, it will be worthwhile to make your character strong. All three of the titles have this mechanic.
The visuals of the games look just like they did when they can out on the Game Boy but crisper and a lot bigger. You have the option of a couple different screen sizes. This can be changed at any time you are playing by hitting the corresponding button shown on screen. I always made it as large as possible, because why not. It’s nice not having to be restricted by a tiny screen. Plus, not having to worry about battery life or having the correct lighting is great. The colouring is still the greenish-monotone type of look you love from the classic games. Changing those colours would just feel wrong.
Along with improvements to the graphics, there is also a great orchestrated soundtrack. Although it is the same tunes that you loved from before, the chiptunes sound better than ever. Hearing the battle music again brought back so many memories from when I was young. The songs are so catchy and are some of the best I have heard from a Game Boy title. The other big change is being able to change the game speed at any time you want. If you set the speed to fast, your character will run around faster (like they are wearing Sprint Shoes) and the text will scroll faster too. This is nice because a lot of the battles in these games are text-based, so if you are grinding it’s great to be able to get through these battles faster.
Behind your game screen there is a background that you can customise by changing the wallpaper. These are pre-made, so it won’t be like on the Super Game Boy where you can start drawing on whatever you want. Some of the designs are darker coloured so they aren’t very distracting, and others have super cute sprite characters or artwork from the games. All the designs were cute, so every time I played, I switched it up.
There are a few changes that have been made to the collection. When the game is loading, it pops up a screen saying that a few things have been updated to reflect better with the views from today. There have only been a few changes that I have noticed that are just text based. A couple were translation errors in the original games like Catcraw has been changed to Catclaw. Then others were changing a weapon name from Colt to Pistol and changing Balken to Vulcan. Looking online, I saw people commenting how they changed an NPC’s statement referring to a stair that looks different by saying pigment instead of colour. For me changes like that aren’t really that big of a deal, as long as it feels like I am playing the original title I’m happy. There doesn’t seem to be anything huge that would be a deal breaker for me.
Collection of SaGa: The Final Fantasy Legend feels like the perfect update of games I enjoyed so much when I was young. Only now it’s a lot more accessible to a lot of people and being able to save at any time I want is great! If you played these games when they were originally released, it is definitely a great recreation of what you loved. If you haven’t got to experience them, then this is a great way to without having to find a Game Boy and pay a crazy amount of money for the original carts. Plus, who doesn’t want to play on a larger screen at a better angle that doesn’t hurt your neck?
Collection of SaGa: The Final Fantasy Legend is the perfect collection of these classic Game Boy screens, looking and sounding even better than the originals. Just keep in mind that they are early style RPGs so they require a ton of grinding!
Lover of cats, coffee and all kinds of video games! With a soft spot for retro and import games.