Final Fantasy

aka: FF1, Final Fantasy I, Finalnaja Fantazija, Zui Zhong Huanxiang
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(prices updated 10/3 11:29 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)

Groups +


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 treasure of the 80s, but does it really hold up compared to other games of its time?

The Good
Despite its simple concept, Final Fantasy could get quite addicting and even intense at times. Turn-based role-playing games were created before the release of Final Fantasy, so the concept wasn't anything too new. However, Final Fantasy implemented new ideas into this already-classic idea, like the advantages/disadvantages of choosing specific classes for your team, which would affect you throughout the game in either a good way or bad way. The classes ranged from Black Mages (specializing in offensive-based magic) and White Mages (specializing in healing party members), Warriors (who specialized in using weapons to fight, and could equip almost every weapon in the game) and Thieves (who didn't really specialize in fighting, but had luck and agility to make up for it), etc.

Items, equipment, weapons, etc. could also heavily determine the outcome of the battle. This showcased the complexity behind the game, where earning Gil (the currency of the world of Final Fantasy) was made possible by defeating enemies, which would eventually benefit you if your party was in trouble or in need of an upgrade. If your party is low on health, stop at an inn and get some rest to recover it, or if the enemies in the area are starting to get a bit too powerful for your party, stop at an item, weapon, or armor shop to prepare for grueling battles to come.

Not only does the complexity lie in boosting up character stats, but also the layout of the story. One task leads to another, and it eventually leads to the 4 Warriors of Light saving the world from the evil Chaos, who was fought earlier in the game in his first form under the name "Garland". Though you are basically given a blank slate to form your characters with the right armor and weapons until your characters finally evolve into something stronger, the story based around it, like the enemies and the people you meet along your quest, is a strong base for a storyline for what seems like such a simple game.

The Bad
The random encounters are like a necessary form of grinding. Though this was put in the game most likely as an intention to simply challenge the player, it ends up being one of the most frustrating features of the game. For example, you just finished a boss battle that took out every member of your party but one, which happens to be a class not known to specialize much in fighting (white mage, thief, etc.). You begin to walk a few steps to an inn only to be stopped by an enemy jumping at you literally out of nowhere. Your last party member gets slaughtered, and it's a Game Over. Having to fight enemies that come out of nowhere can not only get frustrating, but tedious and repetitive. It's different from other role-playing games, but all in all, in my opinion, it should have been kept out.

Another part of the game not particularly good would be the graphics. Although the enemy and character designs are nice, the game completely lacks when it comes to the environment. Comparing the graphics of Cornelia to the graphics of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda just makes Final Fantasy look bad.

The Bottom Line
Though it can seem pretty overrated at times, and even a mediocre start to a popular series, give Final Fantasy a chance. Patience will show you what is actually a pretty fun game.

NES · by Masa♥Yuki (3075) · 2010

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

The very first Final Fantasy game. Though a completely different beast all together compared to later titles

The Good
As I start this review this game brings mixed feelings. At the time this game seemed like a brave new world from the break of Megaman and Bonk and Mario. The game takes place in a huge world "for it's time and even now" which is seemingly populated by serveral people and towns.

You get a party of four characters which you can choose from the following classes. Fighter, Monk, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage. You can take a combination of any of them. Mix it up that makes the spice of this game.

The music for the time was well done and very detailed especially for NES hardware. The graphical sprites also pushed anything that Enix did with the Dragon Warrior series "though in all honesty Dragon Warrior games tended to be a bit longer"

The quest itself took at least thirty hours to complete. Though it could be pushed quicker the games enemies themselves are not easy like later final fantasy games and one or two levels could LITERALLY give you the strength points needed to damage the monsters.

The game introduced a very intriguing class changes into the later areas of the game where your characters actually grew up. Very small but very noticeable in a era where your characters always looked the same.

The packaging for the game was superb and the manual itself gave you help for 50% of the game.

The Bad
Gaining gold and leveling up can be very tedious since you get very little in this game in the beginning of it.

Monsters are overtly difficult bad if your a newbie but fun if you love challenge.

If weaned on later Final Fantasy Titles this game is far too difficult with no story to feed you. What you see is what you get.

NES Batteries are starting to go dead so you should replace the game battery before playing it.

The Bottom Line
The game is good for old school veterans or people who want to see the first Final Fantasy. Also if you can handle the difficulty then go for it! I give this game a 8/10 since I grew up with it and have beaten it several times. If I was a have to give a less biased view it gets a 7/10

NES · by Mr. Huh (105) · 2004

[ 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.