[This article contains spoliers]
This game may be my favourite game of all time, and I even love the bad version. The dreaded Gameboy Advance copy. I’ve heard it being described as a bad port of a good game.
The SNES version has better sounding music. The GBA version slows when fighting enemies, which unintentionally adds a little bit more challenge to the combat.
This game, this version of the game, has problems. And you know what? I really don’t care. I adore this game. I have’t played it in a little while, but every time I play that song ‘Be Absentminded’ (do yourself a favour and listen to the SNES version) I fall in love with it all over again. I still really like the GBA version of the music, though the SNES version grew on me over time (with good reason).
You play Cress, a young man that loses his family and village. It sounds cliche, and it is, but I think it’s a hell of a way to start a story. Your friend, Chester, mourns his sister.
Cress is your good guy. Chester rushes into things. Mint is calm, warm and gentle. Claus is a man who strives for more, in a world where humans have no magic, he learn to summon spirits, so that he is able to do things that he shouldn’t be able to. I honestly love that little bit of lore; and I think it truly speaks to his character that he overcomes the very nature of his world. Archie is bubbly, and just fun, with the ability of magic due to her half-eleven nature. Suzu wasn’t originally playable, but I think she’s a great addition to the cast.
It’s important to note that everyone of these characters experience tragedy one way or the other. This isn’t a perfect story, and when it ends, there is a ‘more to do’ feeling for the characters. They’ve got to pick up the pieces from their broken lives. And that’s nice. Life never ends, and that’s realistic. That doesn’t mean the story isn’t resolved, it is, but the ending makes the characters feel alive. They’ve got a life they have to recover and that’s what’s important.
This game has time travel, it has futuristic technology, it has a unicorn. It even has a villain, Dhaos, though he is suitably intimidating, he isn’t the best villain you’ll ever meet. It’s a story with twists and turns, high and low moments. I think it’s a blast.
This game also has voice acting. It’s laughable, hard to understand, and doesn’t really play all that much oustide battles. But it’s there.
You’ll also be hard pressed to find a better looking game on the SNES or GBA. It looks that good.
It also has one of my favourite quotes from gaming by Edward D. Morrison: ‘If there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of men.’ I love Edward D.Morrison, and that you meet his descendants throughout the game. It’s that sort of attention to detail that really sets this game apart for me.
I honestly don’t understand why Final Fantasy IV and VI are so well remember and this game isn’t. Chrono Trigger is known as being a great game, but this one is forgotten.
Now I have played Final Fantasy IV, and not the other two mentioned (well I have played them, but I only finished FFIV). I think that FFIV is a great game, but so is Phantasia, yet it’s basically unknown.
It’s probably because the game never came to America until the GBA version in 2006. Fate has been unfair to this game, because it’s just as beautiful as the other games mentioned. And the story is just as compelling. At least to me it is. I think it’s worth another look, if you enjoy that classic experience and adore beautiful pixel art. This game shouldn’t disappoint you.