Tag Archives: Final Fantasy

100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Level-Grinders; Dungeon-Crawlers; Role-Playing Games – whatever you want to call them – they are my (and many other people’s) favourite type of video game.

They allow you to build up your characters via the process of levelling. That is: by gaining experience, which in turn increases your character’s power levels.

Level-Grinders also allow you to hoard virtual items that don’t exist in the real world; accumulate unimaginable wealth in an imaginary world, and solve mysteries while you’re doing it.

Over and over again. For the love of the grind…

So here we go… The 100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Note: I did think long and hard about whether to include Zelda games or not, and decided to include them, because they are dungeon-crawlers at a fundamental level.

To see the individual games in more detail, click the links.

Enjoy, The King of Grabs

01. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, PC
02. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, PC
03. Dungeon Master, Atari ST
04. Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo
05. Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City, Nintendo DS
06. The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, XBox
07. Fallout: New Vegas, PC
08. Fallout 4, PC
09. Deus Ex, PC
10. Final Fantasy VII, PlayStation

11. System Shock 2, PC
12. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Nintendo 64
13. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Nintendo 64
14. The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Super Nintendo
15. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, PC
16. Fallout 3, PC
17. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, PlayStation 2
18. Shadowrun, Super Nintendo
19. Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard, Nintendo DS
20. Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition, PC

21. Earthbound, Super Nintendo
22. Legend of Grimrock, PC
23. Paper Mario: The Thousand year Door, GameCube
24. Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep, PC
25. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, GameCube
26. Legend of Grimrock II, PC
27. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, Megadrive/Genesis
28. Lufia: The Ruins of Lore, Game Boy Advance
29. Anachronox, PC
30. Shining the Holy Ark, Sega Saturn

31. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, GameCube
32. Neverwinter Nights, PC
33. Final Fantasy Legend, Game Boy
34. Mother 3, Game Boy Advance
35. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Game Boy Advance
36. Fallout 2, PC
37. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, Super Nintendo
38. Final Fantasy VIII, PlayStation
39. Shining In The Darkness, Megadrive/Genesis
40. Skies of Arcadia: Legends, GameCube

41. Chaos Strikes Back, Atari ST
42. Super Mario RPG, Super Nintendo
43. Phantasy Star II, Megadrive/Genesis
44. Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds, PC
45. Wasteland, Commodore 64
46. Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon, PC
47. Vagrant Story, PlayStation
48. Paper Mario, Nintendo 64
49. Fallout, PC
50. Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption, PC

51. Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos, PC
52. Baten Kaitos Origins, GameCube
53. Breath of Fire II, Super Nintendo
54. Breath of Fire, Super Nintendo
55. Golden Sun, Game Boy Advance
56. Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Game Boy Advance
57. Earthbound Zero, NES
58. Final Fantasy Legend II, Game Boy
59. Eye of the Beholder, PC
60. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, PlayStation

61. Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, Super Nintendo
62. Phantasy Star, Sega Master System
63. Shadowrun: Dragonfall, PC
64. Icewind Dale II, PC
65. Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, PC
66. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, PC
67. Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, PC
68. Grandia II, Dreamcast
69. The Legend of Dragoon, PlayStation
70. Nox, PC

71. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, PC
72. Etrian Odyssey, Nintendo DS
73. Parasite Eve, PlayStation
74. Grandia, PlayStation
75. Dungeon Master: Theron’s Quest, PC Engine CD
76. Eye of the Beholder III: Assault On Myth Drannor, PC
77. Dragon Quest VI, Super Nintendo
78. E.V.O.: Search for Eden, Super Nintendo
79. Amberstar, PC
80. Albion, PC

81. Final Fantasy VI Advance, Game Boy Advance
82. Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, Game Boy Advance
83. Final Fantasy V Advance, Game Boy Advance
84. SD Snatcher, MSX2
85. Grandia: Parallel Trippers, Game Boy Color
86. Chrono Trigger, Super Nintendo
87. Dungeon Hack, PC
88. Tales of Phantasia, Super Nintendo
89. Dragon Quest V, Super Nintendo
90. Final Fantasy Legend III, Game Boy

91. Arx Fatalis, PC
92. AD&D: Treasure of Tarmin, Intellivision
93. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, PC
94. Secret of Mana, Super Nintendo
95. Dragon Warrior, NES
96. Final Fantasy, NES
97. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Game Boy Color
98. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Game Boy Color
99. Swords and Sorcery, Amstrad CPC
100. Out Of The Shadows, ZX Spectrum

  • This list is subject to change at any time, of course. Why, even the mighty Witcher 3 is sure to be usurped at some point… Maybe with Cyberpunk 2077? Or the next Elder Scrolls game? Who knows? Who cares?! If you do care, please leave a comment below. 🙂
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Final Fantasy Legend III, Game Boy

As Final Fantasy Legend games go this third instalment in the series is a little weird. It plays just as good as the previous two games (maybe even better because it has the advantage of refinement), but the way it’s presented is somewhat strange.

Final Fantasy Legend III‘s designers decided to use a kind of ‘modular’ or ‘sticker’ design look for the enemies that you see during battle, and when you’re facing off against them they look kinda funny… I guess that was the intention, although the change of style results in a bizarre-looking game rather than a scary one. You might be asking “What could be scary about a game like this?” and I would simply point to Su-Zaku in the first game – an indestructible fiery bird capable of drawing terror from all who encounter it… But the monsters in this just look googly-eyed and daft. It’s a pity because I loved the look of the first two games.

Final Fantasy Legend III is a fine JRPG though, and it does a few things new in the series that give the game an extra dimension. Firstly: you can jump over holes in this third game, which is new. Jumping was not something that was allowed in previous games, and it might seem quite minor, but it allows for different puzzles to solve. Secondly: this time your party members can eat the meat dropped by slain monsters, which transforms them into different races, each with unique abilities and powers. While the meat-eating element does add another layer of interest to Final Fantasy Legend III it’s not obvious which races are most useful in which situations, so unless you have a chart to refer to you’ll be flying blind. There is one in the manual, but it’s a bit of a beast… [pun intended].

Another cool feature of Final Fantasy Legend III is The Talon – a legendary time-travelling spaceship that you acquire some distance into the game. You must collect a number of upgrade units to make it battle-ready, but when you do you can fly around the game world, shoot enemies with it, and get in and out of it at will. It’s worth persevering with Final Fantasy Legend III to at least get The Talon upgraded. 🙂

Final Fantasy Legend series on The King of Grabs:
Final Fantasy Legend, Final Fantasy Legend II, Final Fantasy Legend III

More: Final Fantasy Legend III on Wikipedia

Final Fantasy VI Advance, Game Boy Advance

Final Fantasy VI Advance was released in Japan in 2006, and 2007 in English language territories. It’s a remake of the Super Nintendo original, developed by a Japanese company called Tose.

It has to be said: Tose did a great job with the remakes, and this final, fourth release cements that fact. The 4:3 screen ratio of the original has been replaced by the 240×160 widescreen ratio of the Game Boy Advance, which means that the graphics have been re-drawn and re-scaled to fit the new screen ratio. They’re essentially the same, though, with some colour enhancements. The story, plot, and other original elements all remain the same.

The best enhancement in Final Fantasy VI Advance is the menu system, which is fast, compact, and easy to navigate. It actually makes the original looked dated and shows you the power of good fonts and text alignment.

Again: if you want to play the early Final Fantasy games – including this one – I’d recommend the GBAAdvance” remakes over the SNES originals. Together they make a brilliant set.

Final Fantasy Advance remakes on The King of Grabs:
Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of SoulsFinal Fantasy IV AdvanceFinal Fantasy V Advance, Final Fantasy VI Advance

More: Final Fantasy VI on Wikipedia

100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Final Fantasy VI, Super Nintendo

Final Fantasy VI (six) is where the series started to move away from its ‘cute’ roots and into darker story-telling territory, foreshadowing the distant Final Fantasy VII. It was initially released on the Super Nintendo in 1994.

In part six there are fourteen playable characters, and you begin the game as a woman –  a half-human girl called Terra Branford. Terra is on a mission to chew bubblegum and to kick ass, and… to cause the ruling Empire as much trouble as possible by being a bit of a rebel. It’s epic storytelling, as you can imagine… But seriously: Final Fantasy VI goes for a character-driven, Steampunk-influenced storyline, and is much more emotional and ‘deep’ as a result. The party customisation features alone make this sixth instalment worth playing, and that’s without even touching upon the game’s many other qualities.

Graphically, Square went for a more detailed, realistic looking this time around. Whether you prefer it to the rather bright (some would say “lurid”) look of previous games or not is a matter of taste. At the time it was good to see the series go in a new direction.

Gameplay-wise, there’s little to fault in Final Fantasy VI – it is the culmination everything the developers had learnt from making the previous five games, and it of course has Chocobos in it (and Moogles!), which are worth the admission alone.

Final Fantasy VI was the first Final Fantasy game not to be directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, who had directed all the previous Final Fantasy games, instead the role of ‘Director’ on Final Fantasy VI was shared by Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito, who it has to be said did a sterling job.

A number of remakes of Final Fantasy VI have appeared over the years since its initial release. Of particular note is the Game Boy Advance version which I think is even better than the original. It’s also been ported to the PlayStation, to iOS, Android, and Windows.

More: Final Fantasy VI on Wikipedia

Final Fantasy V Advance, Game Boy Advance

Final Fantasy V Advance is the third Tose-developed remake for the Game Boy Advance and was first released in 2006.

Again: it uses the same refined interface and beautifully-drawn and coloured graphics of the previous two Tose remakes and somehow manages to make the Super Nintendo original look a little drab in the process.

Story-wise: all you need to know is that you play a guy called Bartz and your mission is to stop an evil sorcerer from breaking the four seals that hold her.

An extensive “job system” (as initially seen in Final Fantasy III) allows customisation of playable characters, and Final Fantasy V has been rightly praised for its customisation features – it helps keep the game interesting.

Given the choice I would play this over the SNES original, because it’s quicker, and because it looks better. And because the English translation is official, and obviously much better than the unofficial fan translations found littering the internet.

Final Fantasy Advance remakes on The King of Grabs:
Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of SoulsFinal Fantasy IV Advance, Final Fantasy V Advance, Final Fantasy VI Advance

More: Final Fantasy V Advance on Wikipedia

100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time
100 Best Level-Grinders Of All-Time

Final Fantasy V, Super Nintendo

Final Fantasy V (five) was released in Japan for the Super Nintendo in 1992 although it did not get an official English language translation until it was later re-released on the Sony PlayStation in 1999.

Which has led to a variety of fan translations appearing to fill that gap. I think the one shown here is an unofficial English translation, because the text looks a bit dodgy to me… Square wouldn’t have used such large, chunky text in an official release. It just looks unprofessional…

Unfortunately this is what you have to accept if you want to play the game in English on a Super Nintendo. Either that or you could instead play Final Fantasy V on the Game Boy Advance (which is the superior version in my humble opinion), or iOS, Android, or Windows, which I believe it’s also been converted to.

In spite of Final Fantasy V never having been released in the West, it did manage to sell over two million physical copies in Japan. Which is a pretty big middle finger to those who decided it wasn’t worth translating (“Yeah! That’ll show ’em!“).

More: Final Fantasy V on Wikipedia