(SNES / Super Nintendo)

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

A simplified Final Fantasy experience

Back in 1992, role-playing games were still largely ignored outside of Japan, but Square tried to remedy this with the release of Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. The game not only added a bit more action to the experience, it also greatly simplified the gameplay mechanics as well. While this certainly offered up a more user-friendly RPG experience for gamers who were not as versed in the genre, it ended up alienating the already small percentage of RPG fans who were hoping for something a bit more epic and similar in style to previous Final Fantasy releases.

The first thing seasoned RPG fans will notice about Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is that it takes most of the gameplay mechanics of the series and simplifies them. You won't have to roam around on a world map in this adventure, instead you'll simply jump from one area to the next as you progress through the game. There are also no random enemy encounters, replaced with actual enemies that you can see. Of course since you won't be doing battle in random encounters, the game does offer up the occasional battlefield where you can do battle with ten sets of enemies in order to gain experience and earn gold.

Instead of the Active-Time battles of previous Final Fantasy games, Mystic Quest keeps things simple and only offers up a handful of menu commands to select from. The game will even take control of the additional characters you'll have in your party from time to time, although you can choose to control them manually if you'd like. Even outfitting the characters with weapons and magic spells is carried out for you with newly-acquired equipment basically replacing the old. It's quite streamlined and intuitive, but a feature that gamers who like to micro-manage their characters might find a bit too restrictive.

The low level of difficulty might turn seasoned RPG veterans off a bit, but there's something refreshing about the way the game reduces the experience down to its essence. Sure the game's difficulty isn't terribly high, but there's still plenty of challenge to the game if you're willing to stick with it, and with the ability to take control of several aspects of the game you can still carry out the turn-based battles in a fairly strategic manner. It pretty much depends on how much control you want, something that should at least make the game accessible to a wide audience of gamers.

If you've played any of the Final Fantasy releases on the Super Nintendo, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a visual standpoint. The game pretty much sticks to the basics, meaning plenty of forests, dungeons and villages to look at. The enemies are all very well done and even have several sprite poses that show them degenerating as they take damage. It's a small touch, but given the fact that they don't openly animate during combat, it's a nice one nonetheless.

Placing the name Final Fantasy on a game automatically raises expectations when it comes to the musical score. Mystic Quest features some great tunes, many of which have the same familiar sound fans of the series have come to expect from the 16-bit releases. Some tracks obviously stand out more than others, but they all do a solid job of carrying the various moods of the game.


Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is certainly not a bad game, but its low level of difficulty and overly predictable storyline might prove to be a bit too minimal for long-time Final Fantasy fans. Of course gamers who've never really given the series a chance or those who've found the standard releases a bit too difficult and complicated might want to check this far more accessible title out. At the very least it's a fitting introduction to the world of RPGs and a nice starting point for those looking to delve into the world of Final Fantasy and all that it has to offer.

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User Comments (64)



antster1983 said:

I like the sprite art that shows your character stertching after a good night's sleep and shrugging his shoulders when confused.



Yosher said:

I dunno why but I loved this game back in the day, and still do actually. And being a starting gamer back then I even had trouble with it, of course that's way different now. I don't think I'll be getting this, though, but still a recomandable title for those who are new to RPG's.



Spoony_Tech said:

I had to play this back in the day just because it was a final fantasy game. Right on with the score good not great but it was definitely aimed at starters to rpgs but there is fun to be had here!



Shiryu said:

I love this game. Dunno why, it's definitely not the best, but... I love it. =)



Bones00 said:

I remember buying this almost 20 years ago because it was the "budget" Final Fantasy priced at $39.99.



KrazyKain said:

I actually hated this game, its basically Final Fantasy for .. and guess what it was released for americans... am I the only one who finds that a tad insulting?



Egg_miester said:

@zkaplan krazykain is talking about when the game was first made and released in the 90ies it was made by the american sqaure team



Kevin said:

Hopefully we'll get this soon. Never had a chance to play this one.



Link79 said:

So is this about as simple as say... Mario RPG? If so sign me up. I don't really enjoy overly complicated RPG games. A simpler one might be more my kind of game.



Noire said:

don't care, still gonna buy it when it hits us

yeah everything with final fantasy in the title



Rasche said:

Well that was fun to read...
Woo for 1992. Well I really like the fact that you can see the enemies and there's no random encounters...



Stuffgamer1 said:

Mystic Quest was NOT developed in America...the first Square game to hold that honor was Secret of Evermore. It was, however, supposedly designed with Americans in mind...which actually comes off MORE insulting since it was made by the Japanese developer. Still, it's a pretty good game, and Corbie's review is spot-on as usual.

@Link79: Simpler than Mario RPG, actually. Mario RPG has manual equipment management, five characters from which to choose three at a time to fight, shared FP...honestly, it's quite a bit more complex than Mystic Quest. Doesn't mean Mystic Quest is bad, mind...just that it's not on the same level as Mario RPG.



StarBoy91 said:

I looked up that in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest you can use weapons in the overworld.



Alphack3r said:

If you take the words "Final" and "Fantasy" out of the title, this game suddenly goes from 'crappy spin-off' to 'fleshed out SNES classic'. C'mon, how many games are this good/fun? Is Yoshi's Island as hard as SMB 3? Heck no! But I find YI to be much more enjoyable. The same goes for this. Yeah it's easy, but a game's difficulty doesn't necessarily determine quality or a good rating (Takeshi's Challenge anyone?)
Great game - I recomend it.



StarBoy91 said:

I like Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island more than Super Mario Bros. 3 as well, Alphack3r, but both games I find fun.



Linkuini said:

The dungeons are also more engaging than what you find in a real Final Fantasy game, too. It's so much more fun poking around a tricky maze using Zelda-style equipment to advance without having to worry that each step brings you closer to another spontaneous fight that'll eat up the health and magic points you're trying to save for the boss at the end.

Game's got more charm, too. RPG fans who are bored with the same old static monsters will appreciate how the ones in Mystic Quest change appearance as they take damage. Not only is it priceless to see a Gorgon go bald before you finish her off, but it also clues you in to how close you are to beating a boss with lots of HP.

So while I agree that Mystic Quest is a good pick for players new to RPGs, I also recommend it if you feel like playing an RPG but are hesitant to put up with some of the genre's more bothersome tropes.



Jutrzen said:

Hello, I'm new here. I just wanted to say, that this is not a Final Fantasy game. It was made as a part of the SaGa series, but then Squaresoft just changes the title, to let the game sell better, because it's really awful. The problem is not the game being easy, but being dumb simple. If somone's interested, you have a review here (WARNING: link not safe for work) http://socksmakepeoplesexy.net/index.php?a=ffmq



Bass_X0 said:

its basically Final Fantasy for americans... am I the only one who finds that a tad insulting?

Don't be. It was a completely different era back then. Releasing RPGs outside of Japan was a very risky move. Sure Final Fantasy 1 on the NES sold well but that didn't convince publishers that America was ready for such games. It was not until FFII and III that they gained popularity.



Corbs said:

This is a perfectly good turn-based RPG. Sure it's not geared at the hardcore Final Fantasy fans, but it feels a lot like a Final Fantasy game at times and is still interesting enough for fans of the genre to enjoy. When I want to have my burrito handed to me every step I take in an RPG I'll play Vay on Sega CD. But for times when I want a relaxing jaunt through an adventure, this one will do quite nicely.



Jutrzen said:

That's not quiet right - instead of random battles, which you can run away from, here you have mandatory battles and running away doesn't help, because the enemy is still there. I finished this game when I was 5 and I didn't know anything in english.



Zach said:

I like non-random battles because I can try to avoid the enemy in the overworld area. Random battles feel really jarring to me.



Bass_X0 said:

You know FFII was released before mystic quest?

Didn't mean a page had been turned in the American attitude towards Japanese RPGs. These days, a modern RPG done like Mystic Quest would rightfully be an insult to us western gamers. Back then, not so much. Final Fantasy II may have come before it but there was still a lot of uncertainty towards Japanese RPGs as a whole, attitudes weren't completely changed overnight on what to expect from just Final Fantasy II alone but it was certainly the first step. While yes, there were some such games on the NES, proper Japanese RPGs were still a foreign concept to us. It was not until SNES Final Fantasy III that America fully warmed up to Japanese RPGs. Mystic Quest was just a product from those dark times before it. The difference between Final Fantasy II and Mystic Quest is that Final Fantasy IV was Americanised whereas Mystic Quest was developed solely for an American audience.

Responding to the socksmakepeoplesexy review
Let Mystic Quest's failure be a lesson to game designers: it doesn't matter if the mainstream crowd isn't accustomed to what you're putting out. Don't cater to them, and don't worry that the majority of gamers might not "get it." The game will stand on its own merits, and the players who understand it will automatically gravitate towards it.

Sales speak volumes more than quality. Did back then and still does now. An awesome game that only appeals to a very small amount of people and isn't bought by anyone else did a crap job - even if those few people said it was the best game ever, if it didn't sell well, the publishers won't be happy. Whereas a horrible game that does appeal to a lot of people (whether those people enjoyed it for long is another issue) and did garner a lot of sales did a great job and publishers will continue to make what sells. That trend is more noticeable today. Wii games like Muramasa sell badly while the WiiWare charts are almost full of low rated games. Its not fair and it shouldn't happen but it does.

Damn it to hell. Mystic Quest isn't a Final Fantasy game at all. It actually belongs to the SaGa series.

The same people may have made both games and some monsters may have been reused but it doesn't make it a part of the same series. Neither is it a Final Fantasy game. All it is is that it was a stand alone game created by the same people who made SaGa.



StarBoy91 said:

Welcome to NintendoLife, Jutzren.
Hey, Corbie, would you mind if I called you Kirby (because of your Kirby avatar)? The names Corbie and Kirby sound alike, if you look at it one way.



Jutrzen said:

@zkaplan Unfortunately in this game many opponents are just standing in short corridors or just in front of a door, so you really can't avoid them.



YoshiSage said:

I may or may not pick this up, but most Final Fantasy games (or any RPG, for that matter) tend to overwhelm my younger brother with their difficulty (the only ones he's ever beaten were Pokémon games, and the only non-Pokémon RPG that he's ever even come close to beating is Super Mario RPG). He might like this.



StarBoy91 said:

I noticed on RVGFanatic's review of the game that the box art to this game slightly resembles the scene in The Lion King where Rafiki presents Simba to the Animal Kingdom (even though the latter came out two years later).



BulbasaurusRex said:

My only experiences with RPGs are the Pokémon games and Super Mario RPG. Would you recommend this game for me over the true Final Fantasy games?



YoshiSage said:


If those have been your only RPG experiences, then I'd recommend starting with Mystic Quest. If that's too easy, then you should play other FF games.



ogo79 said:

the only rpg games im into is the mother/earthbound series and startropics series if you count those as rpg games...so ive been keeping an eye out on this one as well...hmmm



Oregano said:

This isn't part of the SaGa series btw, that would Final Fantasy Legend which is part of the SaGa series. SaGa games are known for being quite brutal so Mystic Quest doesn't really fit in with the series anyway.



Stuffgamer1 said:

No, it's not part of the SaGa series, but the visual style does indeed trend more in that direction. I found that revelation quite interesting, as I'd always known the Mystic Quest visuals weren't very "Final Fantasy" (save for Benjamin looking suspiciously like Bartz), but didn't realize why they still looked vaguely familiar.

@Oregano: "Final Fantasy Legend III" is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY easier than the first two, though, and much, much more like a regular Final Fantasy game as well (removed weapon damage being the easiest-to-remember example). I will agree that the series as a whole deserves a reputation for being hard, as I was never good at it as a kid while I could still handle stuff like Breath of Fire and Earthbound without too much trouble. I bet I could go back and do MUCH better at them now, though. Still have FFL 2 & 3 around the house somewhere...



Curt said:

I don't know. I generally get through RPGs pretty easily, so this one might just be boring, considering the difficulty that gets mentioned so often.



CaptainDingo said:

Not only is this still a genuinely decent game, but it remains to be one of the few JRPGs that don't make me roll my eyes, and also remains to be the only Final Fantasy game I like, period. There's some serious merit in that!

Although I do have a bit of a liking for Crystal Chronicles, but that's really a spin-off.



crouterus said:

I enjoyed Mystic Quest and hoped that a release of Final Fantasy IV would follow, but it never came...

The next FF game I played was VII on the PS1.



SwerdMurd said:

FFMQ is way less a SaGa game than an FF game...it doesn't have the same feel at all.

This is one of those games where I know/agree with the fact that it's a 7/10 game but I still love it to death. I might give this one a courtesy play if we haven't gotten it in the US in a few months



Oregano said:

@Stuffgamer1: That's because it wasn't made by Akitoshi Kawazu and the remake of SaGa 2 for the DS was supposedly even more difficult and it looks like they're bringing SaGa 3 in line with the first two.



CanisWolfred said:

I did appreciate Mystic Quest's attempts at humor, but all in al, it's just a pretty boring RPG.



That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Urgh, this game isn´t very good. Really boring, basic gameplay, dull overall. There are 3 good tracks in the music though. I´d give the game a 5.



Bakajin said:

Sorry Bass, I don't buy your arguments. I was insulted then when this first came out, and I'm still insulted. Of course, I didn't realize FFLegend II was supposed to be hard, as far as I can recall, that was the first RPG I ever played so to me that's normal for how difficult an RPG should be. When I finally got an SNES FFIV was already impossible to find, I read the reviews for MQ and said to myself F*** that, and waited impatiently for FFVI to come out.



Varoennauraa said:

This was 4 *s back then and now its almost useless. The "Those americanos don't understand rpg's, so we make sufficiently stupid version for them." (even if the damn genre was invented in west, where at this point there were over 1000 times more complicated rpg's, than even the most diverse japanese rpg's) -way of thinking fired back big time.



StarBoy91 said:

My, my, how is it that a game of its kind deserves such animosity (which I don't feel it deserves, though I have yet to experience it), judging from the few negative comments I've noticed?



Stuffgamer1 said:

@StarBoy: Having played it (note that I got it on eBay LONG after its original release fully aware of what I was getting myself into), I can see where they're coming from, even though I personally enjoy the game. Actually, the game's at its best when you're sick, which is when I last gave it a go...too sick to play a really complicated game, but you still want to play SOMETHING...something easy like this can be absolutely PERFECT!

Anyway, I'm side-tracking (as usual). Anyone who holds themselves to standards of difficulty (never wants to play anything too easy) and had already played previous FF releases would've DEFINITELY been disappointed by Mystic Quest. It's been reasonably well proven that the "Americans are too dumb to play our complex games" theory was extremely misguided, so I can see where one would be insulted by that generalization. Fact is, that was true of some people (and still is). All that means is that those people shouldn't play RPG's, and Mystic Quest couldn't change their mind.



Sabrewing said:

This is a game where that line from the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding" applies really well.

"Sometimes you want creme brulee, and sometimes you want... Jello."

FFMQ is among the perfect "Jello" games. It's quick, it's easy, it's close to being the RPG equivalent of a PopCap game, if you think about it. It might have been better served if it had been titled something else, but that's strictly speaking from a sales standpoint, which doesn't affect it personally at all.



PSICOffee said:

I remember playing this game years ago on emulator, not knowing anything about it before hand. Sure I was surprised at its simplicity, but I assumed it was that way on purpose. It was still a fun game I haven't finished, and has a decent story. With the right frame of mind you can enjoy this game, and knowing its really part of the SaGa series puts it all into perspective. It's a shame they tagged the FF name onto the SaGa series here, as it hindered the FF name unintentionally, and exposed the decent but not awesome quality of the SaGa series itself.



CanisWolfred said:

I don't know about you, but when I want something that doesn't require effort, I just watch TV. Every other time, I'll play games. Unfortunately, Mystic Quest would've been boring if it were a TV show, let alone a game.



Vinsanity said:

I remember having this for SNES and barely ever touching it. For some reason, my parents really wanted to either get into RPGs themselves or have my sister or I get into them, so they bought us a good number of 'em - Including Mystic Quest. Even though I must've been 6 or 7 and just wanted a "run to the right and jump over stuff" kinda game like Mario.

I've heard that this is supposed to be awful, but I'm looking forward to checking it out again when it comes out here in the US. I would love to see how it actually holds up. One thing I do remember is that the music is fairly pretty. At any rate, now that I've gotten into RPGs (thank you DS), I'm looking forward to getting much farther in Mystic Quest on VC than I ever did on my SNES.



retro_player_22 said:

@ Alphack3r
"If you take the words "Final" and "Fantasy" out of the title, this game suddenly goes from 'crappy spin-off' to 'fleshed out SNES classic'. C'mon, how many games are this good/fun?"

Indeed, surprisingly this game was originally released in Europe under the title "Mystic Quest Legend" considering the Final Fantasy franchise didn't exist to Europe audience until Final Fantasy VII.



starcrunch061 said:

I thought this was a pretty good game, actually. Initially, I was disappointed, but after a couple of plays (since the game isn't so long, you can play it a lot), I grew to really like it. I'll definitely pick it up.



TheBigHamlin said:

Alphack3r United States 25 Sep 2010, 18:31 BST

"If you take the words "Final" and "Fantasy" out of the title, this game suddenly goes from 'crappy spin-off' to 'fleshed out SNES classic'. C'mon, how many games are this good/fun? Is Yoshi's Island as hard as SMB 3? Heck no! "

You really think SMB3 is harder than YI. Are we talking cruising through YI or completing it 100 percent. I find YI much harder to complete. Anyways, i recently bought this game on snes and just could not get into it. Also, i know alot of you are in Europe, but it seems like there are alot of games you are "waiting" for on the virtual console when you could go out and get them for the actual system for cheaper, at least in my experience. And i am not counting Ebay, try Goodwill, local used game shops, etc. Sometimes games are priced too much but just sometimes you get a steal...



HellBoy55 said:

It is trully a very basic concept of a RPG even though its catchy and interesting especially for newcomers. The best part is the finall boss battle if you know how to beat it:-DDhealing is the secret word...

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