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.
This 1991 sequel to the classic Squaresoft RPG Final Fantasy Legend is considered by many to be even better than the first game. And I would have to concur with that view.
Final Fantasy Legend II is more polished and rounded than the first game, and much bigger and more detailed too. Again: you choose a party of up to four characters from a pool of eight different races/genders, each of which has its own set of magic and combat specialities. Every now and then you will even get a special fifth character join you, as you explore a certain area. They will even help you in combat too, which is very cool, and a feature not seen in many other four-party RPGs.
Combat is level-grindingly turn-based and hugely fun. All the timings and button-presses are spot on and you don’t feel like you’re being made to wait unnecessarily. Graphically, Final Fantasy Legend II is bolder and more refined than the first game, and the musical themes have been carried over, so seasoned Final Fantasy Legend players will recognise some of the score.
Story-wise: Final Fantasy Legend II is pretty basic. All you need to know is that you’re collecting shattered shards of MAGI (that’s “magic”, with the last letter missing), and having to battle lots of monsters and bosses to get them. No one plays Final Fantasy Legend games for the story and dialogue anyway – they play them for the challenge. And Final Fantasy Legend II is one of the very best!
Final Fantasy Legend on the Nintendo Game Boy is a game that particularly resonates with me because I remember buying it back in 1989 and playing it to death over the space of six months. Everywhere I went at the time I had my Game Boy, battery pack, and Final Fantasy Legend cartridge, and I would play it whenever I had the time. And when I hear the iconic music playing it takes me back like a time machine…
Final Fantasy Legend is another Squaresoft “Gaiden” style action/RPG spin-off from the Final Fantasy series, just like the “Mana series” games (in fact: I’m sure they share the same soundtrack on the Game Boy, or at least the same themes), except Final Fantasy Legend features turn-based combat.
And although the story is trite and the dialogue has been ham-fistedly translated and is laughable, Final Fantasy Legend is still a bloody good level-grind, with some epic boss battles and excellent combat. When this first came out in 1989 there wasn’t much else around like it on the Game Boy. There was Zelda: Link’s Awakening, but that was much more mainstream and had real-time combat. This was turn-based and aimed at the more hardcore RPG fan.
Final Fantasy Legend also spawned two direct sequels on the Game Boy. The second was even better, and the third was just plain weird. All three Final Fantasy Legend titles together combine to make arguably THE major adventure trilogy on the whole Game Boy platform.