The first game in the Seiken Densetsu (aka “Mana“) series was released on the black and white, handheld Nintendo Game Boy in June 1991.
It’s a spin-off from the famous Final Fantasy series, also by Square. In Japan the original title was Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden (translating as “Holy Sword Legend: Final Fantasy Side Story”). In the West it was released under the title Final Fantasy Adventure.
As you’d expect, Final Fantasy Adventure contains many of the features that later made Seiken Densetsu 3 so great – such as: elemental magic, real time combat and levelling, special attack moves, automated companions, Rabites, Moogles, and other recognisable creatures. Playing this game, you can see where that whole mythology came from.
Final Fantasy Adventure is arguably one of the best Game Boy games ever released. It’s a bit simplistic, compared to the mightiness of Seiken Densetsu 3, but that’s to be expected – the Game Boy is quite a humble device with a low resolution, so visually it’s a bit hampered. The dialogue is so short that it’s laughable, but gameplay-wise Final Fantasy Adventure is still absorbing and rewarding.