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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Final Fantasy 7... for the NES?!

That's right, I said it. Final Fantasy 7 for the NES. Or the Chinese-made, knock-off system, the SUBOR rather. It's none-the-less playable on the NES through an adapter, but I digress..

We all know and love this monumentally epic gaming experience, first released on the Playstation by Square (back when they were just Square, as opposed to the Square Enix of today). It had everything; gorgeously beautiful polygons, an epic story with all the feels, and a fantastic battle-system and game play. It was and is to this day a great addition to anyone's gaming library. Since its release, more than 10 million copies have been sold, and it has been elevated to a high status as a paragon of games.

I'd laugh and say you were lying if you've never heard of Final Fantasy 7, assuming you the reader are at least minimally a gamer or just slightly nerdy. I dare say no game has had nearly as long lasting and significant an influence on all of Nerd-dom. You can see it in the games that succeeded it, in our conventions and cosplaying, in comics and mangas, the merch still comes in droves, and there have even been a number of spin-off movies and games!
Geez, what a bad-ass!

What is little known though, is that there was the unlicensed port of Final Fantasy 7 that I mentioned previously. Developed in the early 2000's, this was developed for the Chinese's SUBOR which was essentially an NES or Famicom gaming system. After this, an English patch was developed for this which is how I played and was able to follow along. But anyways, unlicensed or no, this was a huge feat for the team of developers.

Some liberties had to be taken, however, given the restrictions of the hardware involved. One of these liberties taken was the shedding of some of the optional missions and characters. Also, the battle system was changed to be more like the Final Fantasy's of old. Aside that, this was pretty much the whole kit and kaboodle, with the original story very faithfully followed.
You're so pretty, Miss Cloud!
I thoroughly enjoyed this and my criticisms are few. The biggest problem I had were with the battles themselves. I'm not sure if it was just me, but they seemed a lot longer and drawn out than say a typical old-school Final Fantasy battle, or also a battle in the Playstation Final Fantasy 7. I usually get some amount of satisfaction out of the battles provided I'm not just in grind-mode, but the battles got to be almost horrendous. Just trying to get to the next area, I wanted to pull out my hair!

The only other major problem I had was the mishaps that occurred translating the original Final Fantasy 7 story with all the cut-scenes and luscious visuals, over to the NES-esque format which had cut-scenes reduced to pure dialogue and sprites moving minimally. This is particularly apparent and egregious once you meet up with Aeris in the church. It was hard to follow what exactly was going on without the full visuals and the action of the original cut-scene. Especially if it's been literally years since picking up and playing the original game.

Aside from that, it was a pretty enjoyable experience, and it was really neat and impressive. I recommend tracking it down for yourself to at least try it out. If anything, it's quite a marvel of skill on the part of the Chinese development team, and deserves some pretty hefty kudos.
Below is a short video I made to complement this article visually and give you a brief look at the "NES Final Fantasy 7".

This article was guest-written by Alex G for FPSX Games. If you found this interesting, you can find out about more gems of gaming from my main site at Red Herring Gaming Odyssey. I also operate in the Youtube's under the moniker The Red Herring Ultimo, so be sure to check me out and subscribe if you like.

Happy Zombie-Jesus Day!!
Thanks for reading!