Final Fantasy

aka: FF1, Final Fantasy I, Finalnaja Fantazija, Zui Zhong Huanxiang
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(prices updated 9/28 2:41 AM )

Description official descriptions

The world is veiled in darkness. Winds don't blow, the seas are stormy, and the earth rots. All people can hope for is that the ancient prophecy will be finally fulfilled. "When the world is veiled in darkness, four warriors will come..." And indeed, they come - the four characters you have previously chosen. Their first quest is to free a princess from the evil knight Garland, and then the real journey begins.

Final Fantasy is played with an adventuring party rather than with a single character. Before the game starts, the player chooses four characters from six different classes: Fighter, Thief, Black Belt, White Mage, Red Mage, and Black Mage. He also gives the characters names.

In the game, the party walks around in a top-down world, visits cities, caves, palaces and other places to buy equipment, rest and get hints and new quests, and fights baddies when they are encountered. Final Fantasy uses a turn-based combat system. In battle, the player gives each character in order a command (attack a particular enemy, cast a spell, use an item, or try to run). Then the characters and the enemies act in a random order. Attacked enemies and party members lose hit points, dying when they reach zero HP. When all the enemies are defeated, living party members receive experience, eventually gaining a level and improving their stats when enough experience is accumulated. Slain party members can be revived in towns for a price.

Spells are bought in cities in special shops. The spells are divided into two categories - white magic and black magic. White Mages can only use white magic, Black Mages can only use black magic, and Red Mages can use both. Casting spells in battle uses up Dungeons & Dragons-style spell slots, which, like hit points, can be restored by resting in inns.


  • Финальная Фантазия - Russian spelling
  • ファイナルファンタジー - Japanese spelling
  • 最终幻想 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (NES version)

5 People

Original Concept
Character Design
Music by



Average score: 82% (based on 15 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 123 ratings with 5 reviews)

A game that helped popularize console Eastern RPGs, however, it is over-rated.

The Good
Final Fantasy had good graphics when it was released in December 1987. The sprites and the environment were more detailed than Dragon Quest II, which was released earlier that year in Japan. As with most NES RPGs, the graphics were not exactly impressive but Final Fantasy’s graphics were definitely better than other contemporary NES RPGs.

The music for Final Fantasy was well-composed given that this game was completed in the mid-generation of the Famicom era and the developers had to contend with the limited hardware of the NES at the time.

I liked that you could customize your party of adventurers in this game whereas in Dragon Quest I & II and Phantasy Star, you never had this option. You can go out adventuring with many combinations of six classes: The fighter, black belt, thief, white mage, black mage or the red mage. For example, you can have a balanced party of fighters and mages, a team full of fighters, a team full of black mages, or if you are feeling suicidal, a team of four white mages. There are over 100+ different combinations of classes that you could potentially choose for your party. While such customization can allow for great replay value, the game play suffers from a lot of factors which would make one not want to play this game again after completing it once.

The Bad
While the music was excellent, the sound effects on the other hand were somewhat annoying; especially the “bleeping” sound that is made whenever a dialogue window is popped up. It would have been better for Square to have left the dialogue window bleeps out of the game. Considering that bleeps were quite common in NES games during this time, the sound effects don’t take away that much from the overall sound though.

There was nothing about the plot that drew me into the game. You have four light warriors who must recover four crystals of elements fire, water, air and earth to save the world and you can save a princess early on. Gee I wonder where we have seen that before. Phantasy Star, a Japanese RPG for the Sega Master System, at least had a main character with a story to tell. The protagonist lost a family member to the “bad guy” and they were out to avenge death. However in Final Fantasy, there is neither character development nor is there the role-playing experience you can get from contemporary western RPGs like Ultima IV, which was released in 1985. Therefore there is nothing redeeming about the story of this game. Normally having a paper-thin plot would not matter if the game had great game play. However this is not the case with Final Fantasy.

The game play is a step up from contemporaries such as Dragon Quest and Phantasy Star with great character customization as mentioned before and this game is not as much of a level-up fest as these two games. However the game is still very much a level-up fest and fighting random battles constantly where you just mindlessly bash the A button repeatedly gets old really quick. This game is more of a test of tedium and patience rather than actual skill. It may not be as tedious as Dragon Quest or Phantasy Star but this game surely isn’t fun. Final Fantasy requires that you fight a lot of random battles so that you can level up and buy better equipment. If you don’t, you will get killed quite quickly. Levelling up is an entirely mindless process in this game. You go outside in the world map, fight the same enemies over and over again by simply bashing the A button repeatedly and then you gain experience to level up and get gold to buy better equipment.

The only change-up in strategy is that you’ll have to make sure you don’t aim at an enemy that gets killed by another party member of yours before you touch them. I do not see how this all of a sudden makes battle strategic as fans of FF1 claim. This is not strategy. You also have to heal up once in awhile between bashing the A button over and over again and if you are in a dungeon, you have to make sure to save your magic. It is pretty much the same old, same old that you see in Dragon Quest. You go to an area, level up mindlessly, buy new stuff and start over again. That is very much a large chunk of this game. You will spend most of your time fighting just to level up rather than to actually explore a dungeon or adventure.

On a positive note, Final Fantasy has more emphasis on elemental weaknesses and strengths than Dragon Quest or Phantasy Star, which gives it a more strategic edge than these games. However the majority of battles are lifeless and mindless for the most part. Considering that conserving magic in dungeons is a big part of the game, there really is not much variety in how you go about fighting the vast majority of random battles besides tapping A mindlessly to make a normal attack. To be fair to Final Fantasy, it is not so much of a grind in the end-game and gaining experience and gold becomes more reasonable. However in order for things to get to this point, you have to fight hours of tedious random battles solely for levelling up beforehand anyway.

The Bottom Line
As much as Final Fantasy is responsible for helping popularize console RPGs in Japan and introducing westerners to the Eastern RPG genre in the early 1990s on the NES, the game is derivative and primitive now and it was derivative and primitive back then. Final Fantasy deserves a lot of respect for what it did for the Eastern RPG genre but as a game, it is simply not fun and video games are supposed to be fun. Final Fantasy for the most part played like a watered down Dungeons & Dragons Lite with a modified Dragon Quest battle system in side-view rather than first-person. There was absolutely nothing revolutionary about the game itself. Final Fantasy’s legacy lies only in how it attracted interest in Eastern RPGs and how it was the start of better things to come for the Final Fantasy franchise.

NES · by Christian Delano (4) · 2006

I guess this is the first game ever that has a (decent) ending

The Good
I wasn't born yet when this game was first released, but I'm sure it was an incredible hit at this time. Some RPG were already there (Dragon Warrior, Ultima, etc...) but this one is much better and it's the one who had success with the role-playing genre. It has much better graphics and game-play than those few games, and this is probably the first game ever that have a decent storyline and a decent ending. Here you are an average game at this time : "A pretty princess has been kidnapped by an evil guy/monster/dragon or something, you shall rescue her and to be the master of the world". Or "You shall save the world from alien invasion with your space ship". All games had hard-cored stories like that. In this game, you have to save the princess at the very beginning, but it's rather a joke than a quest. And this is the first game where the princess does actually encourage you for your REAL quest, that is save the world, but not from aliens at all : from chaos. The average ending for the games at this time was "Yeah, congratulations. Got extra bonus score : 10'000 points" And then a new game begins again, only your score points remain for your previous game. I won't spoil Final Fantasy's ending, but it's more than decent, it's awesome, especially for this time, believe me or not. And there is NO new game starting after you completed the game.

Yeah, that's not all you'll get. Graphics aren't very good, but they are much better than Dragon Warrior's ones, for example. Some gloomy places are especially impressive. Also, you can both speak to people and open treasures with just the A button, when you press a direction on the D-pad, the hero immediately moves, all those stuff prove than Final Fantasy is indefinitely better than Dragon Warrior. Also, you can play 4 characters and be in front of up to 9 monsters at the same time, and both allies and enemies are well detailed in battle. I think this is the first game where you can see an actual difference between two swords, two axes, etc...

Music is still cool, but often too short (~15 seconds and the thing will repeat), and some music like the one you hear in a shop or in a castle would decrease my main opinion about the music of this game. Yeah, we're far to the incredible music you can hear into some of Final Fantasy sequels, but this is a good starting block.

The idea to select your party at the beginning of the game is good, and you can't change your mind later so this add a challenge to the game. The only problem is that when you start a new game, you haven't a good idea about what is a black mage, black mage, and what will be the exact differences, except if you read the instruction book.

The Bad
This game has in a lot of poor stuff, too. Most people had complains about the lack of Cid, Muggles, Chocoboes or something like that. For me that's absolutely not a problem, this is the first Final Fantasy, and all this stuff didn't exist yet, so how could this be said against the game, since those stuff DIDN'T exist ? Nope.

The music may be awesome, it's sound quality is poor. This is the NES, okay, but many NES games haven't only beeps and bleeps for sound effects, Final Fantasy is far to be on the list. There is only some sound effects in the game, and they're really poor.

Also, there is only one kind of healing-potion in the game. It heals ~30 HP and at the end your Max. HP is ~600 so, as you can see ~20 potions are needed to heal you totally. They shall do some better potions. That's not all, when you want to fill your stock of 99 potions, you have to buy the 99 separately, so to 99 times select the potion, and 99 times answer "Yes" at the seller's confirmation request. So you have to enter to an item shop, press 198 times the A button and exit. Square could input the possibility to buy more than one item at the same time. There is no way to cure your MP except sleeping in a Inn or "House" item that's very expensive, and that's frustrating at the end of huge dungeons (this would be okay without the potion problem I've say above).

There is a lack of action in the battle system. Yeah, Active Time Battle wasn't here yet, and when a character is fighting a monster that is already dead, it doesn't fight a remaining monster, but does an "Ineffective" attack, very scaring stuff. They could do something more... huh, how to say this ? More exciting. Battles will quickly become boring. Animation in battle is very simple, but still better than Ultima's or Dragon Warrior's one, so I won't complain about it.

One last thing, you can wear only 4 weapons and 4 protections at one time, and this is horrible. I hate item limitation, especially when you have to look on the net to show what you'll found in a treasure to know which of your 4 item you actually have you shall drop. But many RPG, even today (Golden Sun for example), have frustrating item limitations and this is one of the most evil thing about RPGs.

Oh, yeah, you can only have one saved game at the same time, and you shall sleep, so pay to save. For example you want to start a new game with 4 red mages just for fun, you'll have to erase your previous save where you trained up light warriors up to level 32 during many hours of gaming... pretty frustrating isn't it ? So this unfortunately decrease the replayability thing.

The Bottom Line
This is Final Fantasy, the first Final Fantasy game, the first Square's RPG, the first game who has a good story and a decent ending the first to .... hem the list can go on for a long time, so this game is a "first" in many domains. Everyone who like Final Fantasy shall have a try on this one, not at the GBA, Wonderswan, PlayStation or who cares re-edition, but at this original NES game. You'll have fun, and you'll discover what originally were Final Fantasy. I personally loved this game as much than many of it's sequels.

NES · by Bregalad (937) · 2005

The first game that started it all.

The Good
When a Square Co. worker thought of putting an last effort into his desperate attempts of making video games, it resulted into an masterpiece. Yes, I'm talking about Final Fantasy and its creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. Final Fantasy is the 1st title released in the long line of its series. Released in 1987,FF helped to popularise the RPG among the West. Although, many RPGs were available before it, none had a story that was so involving. Having good graphics,nice music and a great gameplay with a decent story, FF thwarted oversees.

The Bad
The game had nothing that can restrict the player from playing it. However, the most irritable part of the game was its sometime frustrating chain battles (Especially in dungeons) where you have to fight battles without an item to buzz-off the monsters. This can really sometimes make you close the game and continue it later.

The Bottom Line
Best RPG series. However, outdated on the NES, FF can be played on the newer consoles like Game Boy Advance and NDS. It is also available on Android and J2ME (java) enabled cell phones. A must try for RPG genre fans. I will give it a 4 out of 5!

NES · by ABGamer (70) · 2013

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
NES vs Famicom bugginess Scribblemacher (195) Oct 6th, 2012
Amazing story? Donatello (453) Jun 12th, 2007



As of 2002, Final Fantasy is the only single-player entry of the series where you can choose four characters from six different classes before starting the game.

King of the dragons

The most popular (and usually the most powerful) "summonable" monster of the Final Fantasy games makes his appearance already in the very first Final Fantasy. In this game you still can not summon the king of the dragons, but he talks to you.


It is rumored that composer Nobou Uematsu composed the theme song in just five minutes.


In Elfland, there are three tombstones next to the White Magic shop the furthest to the left says

"Here lies Erdrick" "837 - 866" "R.I.P."

This is a reference to a character in Dragon Warrior but in the Japanese version, the tomb says "Here lies Link" instead. Link, of course, is the hero of the Legend of Zelda series.


The first Final Fantasy game was called "Final Fantasy" because its creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, wanted to retire from the gaming business and by calling the game "Final Fantasy" wanted to say precisely that this game would be his final fantasy. The game's composer, Nobuo Uematsu, has deliberately contradicted this claim, however, and claims that the "the bigger reason, the real reason, was that Square was going to go bankrupt and the designers believed that it would be the company's swan song."

Who could have known that within fifteen years there would be ten direct sequels and many side-games under the very same title?


  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #93 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by FinalGMR, J. Michael Bottorff and Unicorn Lynx

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Related Sites +

  • FF-Fan (archived)
    A fansite that offers all kinds of information on the entire Final Fantasy franchise, including walkthroughs, game media, discussion boards and fan art.
  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from <i>Final Fantasy</i>.

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Unicorn Lynx.

Wii added by Charly2.0. Nintendo 3DS added by GTramp. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. BREW, J2ME added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Alaka, DarkDante, Zeppin, —-, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson.

Game added September 28th, 2002. Last modified September 1st, 2023.