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Fizzzzle's Retro Game D1Pdive


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A few weeks ago, or a month ago or whatever it was, I played through the original Legend of Zelda for the first time. That game came out before I was born, so it was a bit before my time. I pretty much missed the NES/Master System era entirely. A friend of mine down the street had an NES that I played sometimes as a kid, but my first system was a Super Nintendo


So - The original Legend of Zelda for the NES: The core gameplay loop that makes Zelda fun *is* present in this game. The building blocks are there. It is fun to just go have a romp around Hyrule (if they even called it Hyrule at that point). However, there isn't really much else to it. Everything feels random, you're given no direction whatsoever, it's literally just fumbling around in the dark until you hit something that gives you a new tool, and then you start the process all over again. The final dungeon is literally hidden behind a random rock. Not a single thing in the game tells you it's there. Using a guide, I was able to beat this game in like 5 hours or so. It's really short. If you weren't using one, it would take forever. I'm sure that was kind of the point.


Today, I just finished the original Phantasy Star for Master System: Again, like Zelda, the core gameplay loop that would make games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy fun is there (Phantasy Star came out in America before either of the other ones), but again, the rest is a bit shit. The graphics for the time kick the dick off of FF and Dragon Quest, though.


But, still, it's the same problem of like "how in the shit are you supposed to do anything in this game without a guide?" Phantasy Star has a liiiiiitle more guidance within the game than Zelda, but not by a whole lot, and rather than aimlessly wandering around 1 overworld, you have 3 whole overworlds to fumble around in until you figure shit out. And there's lots of backtracking to boot. The game plans on the player either buying a guide or just wandering around until they solve a puzzle that they didn't even know needed solving. And, once again, the final dungeon is hidden. Accessing the final dungeon requires finding a pot that you have to know not to get rid of, knowing to add it with another item, and then knowing to give the resulting item to one of your party members


Phantasy Star, using a guide, I think took me about 15 hours to beat.


If you're using a guide, both of these games can be fun to play. I'd recommend Zelda over Phantasy Star for the simple reason that Phantasy Star has a ridiculous random encounter rate and frequently exposes you to enemies that can wreck your shit. Saving frequently is a must. The Legend of Zelda is still fun to just fuck around in.


Next up is the original Dragon Quest.

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I will admire this endeavor from afar. I find it nearly impossible to go back to games of this era without a lot of preexisting nostalgia, and even then it can be tough. I played and enjoyed the original Final Fantasy for the first time last year, but that was the remaster that had a fresh coat of paint and some qol improvements. 

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4 minutes ago, TheLeon said:

I will admire this endeavor from afar. I find it nearly impossible to go back to games of this era without a lot of preexisting nostalgia, and even then it can be tough. I played and enjoyed the original Final Fantasy for the first time last year, but that was the remaster that had a fresh coat of paint and some qol improvements. 

When i get to Final Fantasy, I do plan on playing the remaster. Same with Ys 1. The first 3 Dragon Quest games only have remasters for the mobile versions, though, which I'm pretty sure is the same version that's on the Switch. I think I'll play the NES version. Unless there's a good translation of the Super Nintendo version, which is supposed to be pretty good.

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On 6/14/2022 at 8:38 PM, dualhunter said:

There are translations of the Super Famicom versions of Dragon Quest 1-3. It's worth it not just for the better graphics but the extra EXP and gold so you won't have to grind as much.

Already finished DQ1. I played the super Famicom version.


Still lots of grinding. Probably not as bad as the NES version, though.


It's becoming clear to me that they only made the games so grindy to pad the game length. "Here, grind for at least an hour between dungeons." Enemies don't drop anything. There's no crafting. They literally just scaled up enemies so that you would have to grind battles. It's not very rewarding.


Next up is Ys 1/2. Gonna play the Steam remake. It plays kind of sloppy, but mmmmm do I love me some Nihon Falcom music.

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Also, still, with DQ1... How in the hell do they expect you to find your way through the game without a guide? It's literally just wander around until you find shit, and you don't even know what it's for. "Oooh, a harp... That's probably important in case I ever stumble across a shrine at the North edge of the map, and is also necessary to complete the game. Oh and the dungeon with the harp is located behind a secret entrance that the game never even hints is there."

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Just after classing up in FF1



Steam Community: FINAL FANTASY.


I have to say, with the QoL improvements in the Pixel Remaster, FFI is definitely more playable than it's ever been. The story is still basically nonexistent if that's what you're playing for, and there's still a lot of "blindly just explore things until you find something that seems important but you have no idea why, rinse and repeat" that is prevalent among basically every JRPG of the time. But with things like better maps, expanded inventory space, being able to walk diagonally, FFI is not nearly as much of a chore to play as I thought it would be. It's actually kind of fun.


What's also more impressive is the sheer scope of the game. I can see why Final Fantasy took off the way it did. Phantasy Star may have had better graphics and similar gameplay, but Final Fantasy's world feels massive in comparison. Which is saying a lot, since Phantasy Star has 3 worlds. One of the worlds is basically one massive dungeon, though. Both games kick the dick off of the first Dragon Quest game, it should be noted.


I'm kind of excited to get into Dragon Quest II to see how they changed things (or didn't) in response to Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star.


Oh yeah and I also just knocked out Ys I & II in the span of a couple days. More on that later. But before I get into Dragon Quest, I'm going to try my hand at Sword of Vermillion. I don't know how that's going to work out. It was very well reviewed when it came out, but pretty much everyone over the last 20 years that I'm aware of says that the game is complete trash by our standards. So that should be fun.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/17/2022 at 6:53 AM, gamer.tv said:

I really wish Nintendo would get some RPGs onto the Nintendo Online set up but that seems a bit much for them.


I would be down for this as well! I think some publishers *cough*squareenix*cough* prefer to sell their old games on the eShop. So that cuts out a lot of what can be released. But the service does at least have Earthbound Beginnings on the NES service, along with RPG-like games such as Crystalis, The Immortal, and StarTropics. Also, the Breath of Fire games on SNES as well as Earthbound, Sword of Vermillion on the Genesis expansion. and Paper Mario on the N64 expansion. (not to mention all the Legend of Zelda games for each Nintendo system on offer!) So there are at least *some* RPGs there for us! :D 


....still would be cool to get games like Chrono Trigger, Lufia II, and maybe some of the Ogre Battle and/or Tactics Ogre games, too! 

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  • 2 months later...

I beat Phantasy Star... at least 99% without a guide or online resources to help. I kept a notebook marking my progress as I played, and also mapped out the maps on grid paper. It took me like 5+ years (off and on), but I beat it. I really liked it... but I'm not sure I have the patience to ever beat another game with first-person grid-based dungeons you need to map out manually, lol.

I played the TurboGrafx-CD versions of Ys Book I & II and they're both amazing. I've been going through the Ys series as of late (in mostly release order), partly to tide myself over while I wait for more Trails games to come out in English. It's a really fun action RPG series and I adore it. It clicks with me in a way that stuff like Zelda never really did.


On 7/20/2022 at 2:34 PM, XxEvil AshxX said:

I played about halfway through Ys 1 before my save got wiped and I just don't think I could do that again. Might just skip straight ahead to Ys II

Ys I is an incredibly short game, lol. It takes like a few hours to beat from start to finish. You could catch up to where you had gotten over the course of a single sitting.

Ys II is also fairly short - together they make a decently-sized adventure, but it's still a rather brisk experience as far as RPGs go... which I actually kind of appreciate.

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