Everybody has one. Don’t kid yourself, you know you do. It may not be something that you willingly want to admit in public or to friends, but there is a game out there that you love that you keep hidden. I probably have more than one, but I will at least admit to one right here, right now. I love Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. There, I said it.
I have been a Final Fantasy fan since the very beginning. Matter of fact I still own my first Final Fantasy for the NES, I think I still have the instruction book for it as well. I also owned all the SNES versions (Mystic Quest Included), all the GameBoy versions, PSOne, PS2 including the atrocious (to me anyway) Final Fantasy 11.
If you asked me what my favorite game of all time is, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you Final Fantasy VI (three in the states). However Mystic Quest, for some reason or another, holds a special place in my heart. I even own the soundtrack to it, and regularly listen to it over the course of a week. Maybe it’s the simplistic style of the game or how it felt more like a core Zelda game than Final Fantasy. I don’t really know, but it still to this day, is enjoyable for me to play.
Mystic Quest was not very well received by critics or fans. Critics panned it because of it’s simplicity, and fans were upset because they wanted another epic tale like the one spun in Final Fantasy IV (FF2 in the states). The story was very linear, almost to a fault. You had to save the world (naturally) and had to get from point “A” to point “B” with help from friends to defeat the final evil boss.
The overworld map resembled something more akin to a Mario game than anything. You moved your character from place to place then selected the world and either went to the town there, or a dungeon to fight monsters. Mystic Quest was also one of the first (for us in the US) to feature visible enemies, not random encounters. Granted most of them were fights that you HAD to engage in, but at least you could see them coming before being surprised.
The battle system itself resembled something of a mash up of Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy. Enemies appeared across the top half of the screen while the player and party members were displayed on the bottom. As subtle as it is, I really like the way that enemies slowly degraded during battle while taking damage. The weapons of Mystic Quest were also rather boring, admittedly. You got weapons like a sword, and axe or a claw. Nothing drastically changed between the three except who was more venerable to what weapons and the attack animation. There were only twelve spells at your disposal, though all of them were relatively different, they were your basic spells from most any RPG at the time.
The music however really shinned here. As I said I have the soundtrack and every song is a gem. Though not done by the uber famous composer Nobuo Uematsu, it still has a very epic quality to some tracks as well as a lot of charm to the more simple (there’s that word again) ones.
I loved this game then, and still do. While listening to a podcast that was reading out the weekly releases, I actually gave a little “Hell Yeah” out loud when I heard it was coming to the Virtual Console. I would tell you that it’s worth the money to check it out if you haven’t already, but that probably would be a mistake. Needless to say, Mystic Quest is an acquired taste. Though it will never be my FAVORITE Final Fantasy game, it does rank up there with the others that are.
So what’s your guilty pleasure game? Come on, it’s just you and me here. Go ahead, spill it.